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THE THUMB on the Pulse of Art

Art Basel, the Disney World of art fairs, is held in three parts of the globe; Miami, Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland. This is the show to attend to see the masters of Modern and contemporary art from all around the world. Currently, as this post is written, the Miami show is happening from December 1-4. Upon attendance, you will find a plethora of sculptures, paintings, film, photography, and everything in between. 46 years running you can find up and coming artists, veterans of their respective craft, and legends of yesterday. With over 70,000 anticipated attendees the 200+ galleries will be displaying over 4,000 artist’s work for attendees to drool over. The show is so immense that it spills onto surrounding parts of the venue with outdoor films and exhibits. Fifty dollars and some change is a reasonable amount to gain entry to an endless array of creativity. Need inspiration? Go to the show(s).

Can Dagarslani


This photo was taken by one of my favorite photographer, Can Dagarslani. Can Dagarslani is a Turkish photographer of great talent in portrait, color, and composition. This photo called Identities in bright and warm color schemes and harmonic tone, and it focuses on the woman and deer and the relationship between them. I chose this work because it’s a great work of modern photography and it has another two meanings.

This portrait has a strong feminist color that the woman hunched her back and makes her kneel down on the ground, which shows the self-indulgent status of woman. Then, during the end of the 20 century and the beginning of the 21st century, the position of women in society is continuously rising, and they are gradually playing a bigger role in the daily life. At this time, the female has stronger self-awareness. They attend social and political activities, enjoy the freedom, and they can do anything they want.

What’s more, I can see the environmental issues in this work. In the 21st century, almost every year at least one animal disappears from the earth because of the destruction of the ecological balance of human activities. The main threatening factors to survival are habitat destruction, poaching, and environmental pollution. In this work, the human and animals exchange the positions that the stuffed animals of deer hang on the wall, and the human drink water like a deer, which causes a profound thinking of protecting the environment.

What do you think about it?

I Don’t Give A Data Set

giorgia-lupiPrepare yourself, I am about to ask you a series of rhetorical questions.

What colors are all of your socks? How many times have you looked at the clock since you woke? Who did you say hello to up to this point of the day? What’s your favorite form of caffeine and how many have you consumed this week? What annoyed you this month?

The answers to these in-depth inquiries are unique but the common thread they all share is the ability to contribute to a data set. A data set is a collection of information. Regardless of the vitality or importance of the data, a graphic designer has the ability to be a conduit to transform these complex collections, or systems, into a simpler form of visual comprehension for easier digestion. Infographics vary in genre and can be splintered to be more abstract or literal for presentation. A few categories include but not limited to; survey data, explaining how something works, comparisons, interesting facts, or a recruiting tool. Googling infographics will result in waves of color and typography overloading the senses. You could learn a lot in a just a few clicks.

Whether or not you are an artist I challenge you to create an infographic using the questions above as a template to make your personal infographic. If you need inspiration on how to tackle such a task visit Giorgia Lupi’s Dear Data site and see how she used her collection of data to change her perception on life.

Social Media as a Platform

Social media has surrounded our lives from every angle and it has come to our rescue many times. Often time I hear the negative effects of social media but I rarely hear people talk about the positive side. I want to take a moment to appreciate how social media has helped so many people, especially artists.

Originally social media was created to help people connect, but today not only it helps people do not only that but it gave people a platform to display their talent. Many people use social media for personal connection, but for artists and other creative individuals it can help build many professional connections as well. For example, Instagram is no longer a platform that just showcases millions of selfies. When I am on Instagram, I come across so many videos and photos containing many different kinds of talents. It includes everything from photographs, paintings, sculptures and even tutorials on the process of how the artist created the work. I think this platform helps people find more inspirations and experiment with different styles of art. Personally, being a student and having two jobs I find it very difficult to dedicate much time to research art but when I just see it pop up in my social media I find it very helpful and inspiring.



Scam or Misunderstanding?

While talking to my good friend Ernest he brought something to my attention that I never would have thought of. He was telling me how ironic it was that the typeface Arial basically “counterfeited” Helvetica and is way more popular. This reminded me of my previous blog posts about the Pixel coping the iPhone and the new Call of Duty coping Halo’s design. As this new scam was brought to my attention I thought it would be a great topic for my final blog post.

As I did some research I found out way back in 1957 a Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger, created the typeface Helvetica that’s still around today. Miedinger’s objective was to create a neutral, clear sans serif typeface that could compete with the Akzidenz Grotesk typeface. Pretty soon his typeface Helvetica was usable in a wide range of applications. Down the road in 1982 Arial was created by Robin Nicolas and Patricia Saunders. Later it was licensed to Microsoft and was complete with all the versions of the windows operating system.

Now there’s two sides to this argument. One side is that Arial is a knock off and these two typefaces couldn’t look any similar and the other is actually quite interesting. In Arial’s defense they say it is true that they were intended to be a strong competitor to Helvetica. They explained how it is kind of the same situation to when Helvetica came in as a competitor to the Akzidenz Grotesk typeface back in 1957. It was not their purpose to “copy” in any way. They say their typeface Arial is actually based off the Monotype Grotesque typeface. This typeface was apparently designed at the turn of the century.


What’s your take on this?


Public Art

When I think of public art, Cloud Gate by British artist, Anish Kapoor comes to mind. It is located at Chicago Millennium Park and it is also the very first public sculpture in the United States. This sculpture reflects Chicago’s skyline and the clouds above, making it a gateway to the city and live up to its name. It is also known as “The Bean” because of its shape. It was inspired by liquid mercury, and measures 66-feet long by 33-feet high. The scale and geometric shape of the sculpture is astounding. It shows uniqueness and originality, which makes it stand out in the Chicago.

Public art is a part of our public history and evolving our culture. It reflects our community. It is also called public art because it is accessible to anyone. In addition to being a public art, it’s also a site specific art. Site-specific art refers to a work of art specifically designed for a particular location. In comparison to going to a museum, I like how public art allows the public more freedom to interact with the artwork, and take pictures with it. It is stimulating and inviting. With this particular work, it literally reflects the person looking at it and allows them to see their surroundings. It is valuable to society and I think there should be more public art because it gives the community character and provides the public a way to experience the city.


What’s So Interesting About _____?

Recently I had to do research on an artist named Tara Donovan, and her work really intrigued me! She likes to take mass-produced everyday objects that we don’t pay any real attention to (things such as toothpicks, plastic cups, pencils, glue, etc.), and transform them into something completely unrecognizable. She’s able to actually do this through mass amounts of accumulation and by analyzing the object itself and how it reacts to light and space around it.

Her work, though, takes massive amounts of patients, control, surrender, and endurance because the process she uses is filled with repetition. There were two works of hers that absolutely fascinated me, and I’ll add pictures of them below. The one on the left is called Mist but the one on the right is untitled, but reminded me of stalagmites when I first saw it.

Look at them real quick and closely and, without cheating, make a guess at what they’re made out of.

Mist contains over 2 million plastic drinking straws that were glued onto the wall and the other is made up around 1 million index cards stacked and glued together. Think about it… there are no machines she uses to help make these pieces.

She’s taken just simple index cards and plastic straws and transformed them into masterpieces. It’s fascinating, really, just looking at them. Especially before you find out what they consist of.downloaddonovanuntitledweb-jpg__800x600_q85_crop

Thanks 2016, It’s been weird.

Recently Spotify has started a global campaign that is based on their data that they collected from its user. It sounds like they are sharing people’s data with the world but it’s actually pretty cool. In this campaign they are saying farewell to the year 2016 and have named the campaigned “Thanks 2016, it’s been weird.” For this campaign they took localized interesting facts figure from their data and made if fun and entertaining. They say things like “Dear Person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, What did you do?” The campaign is going to be placed in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Sweden.This campaign was done by Spotify’s internal creative team in New York and were supported by the Spotify teams around the world.

What is interesting about the campaign is that the purpose of it was to show culture in different areas of the world and to express creativity. Spotify CMO Seth Farbman said “There has been some debate about whether big data is muting creativity in marketing, but we have turned that on its head. For us, data inspires and gives us insight into the emotion that people are expressing.” Sometimes data is hard to express without using infographics or charts. I think they were pretty successful. In their ads they used a bright red box to put their type on and then put an image and other abstract shapes around it. These shapes and pops of color help provide visual interest to guide the eyes from the bright text box to the image and around. The size also helps draw attention to the ad. The ad is about billboard size, maybe bigger, and is near or above places its viewers will look. What’s also great is that the text isn’t boring to read. It makes you laugh to read the data and then Spotify’s comment to it.


Take Off Those Designer Glasses


It’s difficult for me to not look at everything in my life from a designer’s viewpoint. We are surrounded by design in everything we interact with. Some design is mind blowing, some is ok, and others are irritating. I went to the grocery store today to pick up a few things, and couldn’t help noticing the van parked a few cars away from me. It was a portable pet valet? and on the side of it was a life-size cutout image of a man’s body with a dog’s head. He (it?) was wearing some sort of pet service uniform, standing next to the words, “Pet Valet.” Despite the fact that I really have no idea what pet valet is, I didn’t really care. I was way more distracted by the hideous half man/half dog thing that was slapped onto the side of the car. Was it their logo? WHY?? I almost took a photo of it, it was so bad, but decided against it. On the door of the truck was a Proverbs verse from the Bible…still trying to figure out what Jesus has to do with pets or vets or whatever these people were offering.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen good design on the side of a van, why is this? Do the companies with terrible branding buy vans? Is there a correlation I wonder…After recovering from the shock of this dog/man hybrid logo, I went into the store to and tried not to think about it. Later on, I realized that there is such a gap between people that see good design and people that don’t. While seeing good design requires practice and knowledge, I feel that this eye for design is somewhat innate in some. I sometimes look at terrible design and think, “Who thought this was a good idea? Was it a collective effort?” As someone that is learning about design, practices design, and has been an artist since childhood, I have to remember that there are lots of people who have no exposure to the art and/or design world. It is our job to not judge, but to be patient and help people see like we do. We don’t just design, we are strategists, problem solvers, and brand ambassadors. We have to take off our designer glasses every once in a while, and see what the other side is seeing. While it’s almost impossible, it’s helpful in understanding how non-designers/artists think about the world.


gettyimages-625920210On Saturday a piece of punk history was burned and destroyed. The son of British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and fashion and music business maverick, as one time manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm Mclaren decided to set fire to a collection of Sex Pistols punk memorabilia. Now why would someone set fire to $6 million worth of punk artifacts?

Corre and Westwood burnt the memorabilia on the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks” cd. He said that it was a statement against nostalgia and commodification of the cd. He chose to set the pieces on fire on a floating barge in the Thames River in London. While on the barge Corre delivered a message “Welcome to the great punk rock swindle, a time when you can buy McDonald’s punky nuggets, an ‘Anarchy in the UK’ credit card at 19 percent APR, punk rock car insurance, and bondage trousers from Louis Vuitton. And London is being socially cleansed and turned into a theme park.” The whole event was put on a YouTube account named Burn Punk London, which has 26 videos of both Corre’s and Westwood’s speeches. The whole event also featured a couple of mannequins that were wearing vintage punk clothing, they were called “The Extinctions” and had printouts of British politicians faces on them. During the event there were cameramen and crew located around the river, suggesting that there will be some sort of documentary following this burning.