ferrumaeternum: (concerning hobbits)
For some reason, school started on a Thursday (on my birthday, of course) and all of my professors gave us a week’s worth of homework to make up for it. Thursday is most UWM students’ last day of class, so everyone was rushing to get everything done by Tuesday over Labor Day Weekend, including myself. :/ This was not easy to do on the weekend after my birthday. I also had a ton of work to do last week, and I just have two things to do today before I’m finally caught up. Today is the first day where I’ve felt like I had enough time to sit down and breathe, so I’m going to try to catch up on updating my journal, too. I also decided that this semester I won’t be updating anything on Twitter or COLOURlovers to give myself more time for homework.

* On that note, with LiveJournal’s new features, please don’t link anything from my journal to Facebook or Twitter! I don't know why anyone would want to, but you never know. I know most of my journal is public, but I still don’t want certain people I know to have an easy time finding it. ;)

This semester marks the beginning of my senior year, and I can’t believe how quickly the time’s flown by! I’m taking First Semester Swedish, Advanced Art History: Early Medieval Art & Architecture in the West, Figure Painting, Intro to Ceramics, and Visual Journals. Swedish is pretty easy so far because so much of it is similar to German. My art history class is once again online and mainly focuses on medieval Scandinavia, Germany, France, and the British Isles. I was told that it’s been several years since a medieval art history class that doesn’t focus on Rome has been taught at UWM, so I definitely feel lucky to be a student here at this time. I was a little worried about Figure Painting and Ceramics, but everything is going well so far. Loosening up my drawing has definitely helped relax my painting style. This is the second painting class I’ve ever took, but working from live models and having limited time to paint the poses helps inspire me and forces me to rely on instinct when I’m painting. Visual Journals is also online, and I’m basically creating an art journal/diary with a theme and using it to solve weekly problems that the professor posts. The theme I chose was body modification. I originally wanted to create a grimoire, but I think death is a bit too broad of a topic to make a journal on for only a few months. If I enjoy the process of making this visual journal, maybe I’ll do another one with that theme in the future. I actually have to create a page today for it, since it was due Monday. I hadn’t received any feedback from my group or the teacher before then, so I didn’t know if I should have just went ahead and started on it. (Apparently, I should have.) I also spent that day doing two paintings that my painting teacher decided the next day wouldn’t even be looked at until Thursday. Just my luck, eh?

At least luck was on my side earlier this week when I found out I won the contest at The Rave. I am on the guest list to see Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, and Orphaned Land for free tomorrow! \m/
ferrumaeternum: (concerning hobbits)
Hopefully this will be the last school-related post for a while. :p

I’m still having nightmares about this metalsmithing class. What was supposed to be a four-hour jewelry class four days a week, turned out to being anywhere from 6 to 9 hours of nonstop work each day and on the weekends. This was the first (and coincidentally last) summer class the teacher taught, and it felt like she tried to cram in too much work for the time we had. In addition to two projects, we also had to make 12 samples on 2 x 2" squares of metal of each metalsmithing technique we were taught in 3.5 weeks. Here is the cuff/bracelet I made for the first project, where the topic was wearable sculpture:

+ 7 photos of the bracelet on and off the body )

The bracelet is made out of two pieces of 18g nickel that are soldered together at the center. The knot design was created with etching and chasing. Rivets were required for this project, so I attached the flattened piece of wire using two of them. The entire piece was soaked in nickel oxidizer to turn it black, and then buffed in certain areas with steel wool to bring back the silver and give it an antiqued look. I was inspired by late Medieval-era jewelry as well as nature – particularly the ivy that grew all over the parking structure near a beautiful garden and woods I walked through everyday on the way to class. I got a lot of criticism for not having the knot design stand out, but I wanted the sculptural piece on the end to be the focal point. Some also said that it looked unfinished because mine was one of the few that didn’t have nickel, brass, and copper all slapped together in some kind of steampunk clusterfuck. God forbid I make something subtle and actually wearable! :p I’m getting really sick of these people in art school who seem to make art for other artists instead of things that everyday people can also appreciate and understand.

I also made a little soldered nickel and brass box that looks like a treasure chest and holds a seashell, but the lid got all botched up because my teacher made a mistake when telling me how to construct it. The pieces didn’t fit together, so they couldn’t be soldered, and I ran out of time when I started to drill holes for the rivets. I had to super-glue it the night before the critique just to hold it together! I also accidentally superglued my hands (and my mother’s table) in the process, and the only way to remove it was with sandpaper, which wasn’t fun. The piece ended up unfinished, though the teacher only took 10% off my grade for it and I still got a B+ in the class! :D I’m just happy I passed because I don’t like 3D art much at all. I only have one more 3D studio to take, which will be ceramics this fall. Hopefully that will be easier, since I’ve worked with clay in the past. I simply didn’t have enough upper body strength to control some of the tools and machines we worked with, which led to craftsmanship problems. It’s good to fail once in a while, though, because it keeps you humble. I can still use the box without the lid, since that turned out well and has a wood grain etching on it that gives it some character.
ferrumaeternum: (here lies david st. hubbins)
This is also ridiculously late, but I just recently figured out how to convert my magazine project from an Adobe InDesign file to smaller (yet still readable) PhotoShop files.

I spent a month slaving over this project, measuring every letter and line of text in Print Magazine, so I figured I’d still post it. Intro to Design was a great reminder of why I decided not to major in graphic design, as I originally intended. I feel that with this project (and field, in general), I was very restricted in terms of creativity and expressing my point of view as an artist. The first two articles were required, and we got to choose from a list for the last two short ones. I wanted to do the one on Russian prison tattoos so badly, but the teacher said that would be the article that would ruin the project by shocking anyone in the graphic design field who saw it. :( The magazine design also had to be heavily influenced from an existing design magazine. I had free reign of font choices, images, layout, end bullet, and title, but that was pretty much it.

One good thing that has come out of it is that I now feel that I could put out a more professional d.i.y. music zine in the future if I can ever find the time. I also found a great small company printer on the East Side that only charged me $20 to print the whole thing out. Each page measures roughly 9" x 11".

Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out, but the layout for the Unger article could have been better. The teacher had a rule where we couldn’t use any pictures of him because he was sick of looking at his face and purple shirts, so it was hard to find any other images on the topic. I also started working on it a day before the project was due, which didn’t help either. There was also some drama when the teacher accidentally entered 10/100 for the presentation grade of this project instead of 100/100, which gave me a D- on the whole thing and a B- in the class. I had to contact the head of the Peck School of the Arts to get my grade straightened out, but everything has been taken care of, and I ended up with an A- in this class and A's and A-'s in all my others. :)

+ 14 non-dial-up-friendly spreads )
ferrumaeternum: (hail to the hammer)
Here is the series of drawings from Advanced Drawing Strategies I’ve been working on outside of class all semester. All of the drawings are 19.5" x 12.75". The black border around the outside of each drawing is the same width as the inner border. It's impossible to photograph them perfectly straight, so I just filled the rest in with black, which I hope is less distracting than my bedroom carpet was! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish all 12 that were originally planned and required, but I managed to get 9 done and still got an A- in the class. It’s a miracle I even accomplished that many, since all my classes this semester were at the junior and senior level (300 and 400).

I probably should have one drawing that actually shows Baldr’s death, but at the same time I don’t want to be too literal. I’m mentally done with this series, so I don’t think I’ll be going back in to add it. I may revisit this topic for a completely different piece in the future. I think it’s pretty obvious that the funeral ship is Baldr’s, anyway. These are also a couple of the most famous stories from the Norse myths, and are referenced quite often in music, literature, and Yule/Christmas traditions, so I don’t feel the need to beat my audience over the head with the plot. Halfway through the series, everyone in my class agreed during critique that they’re more interested in my interpretation of it than the actual story. I also reworded some of the text from the translations I found for the sake of my class and my mostly English-speaking audience, since English does not directly translate from Old Norse. Obviously, there are things I would change about certain drawings or redo them if I could. I think they help show how I’ve improved and grown as an artist as the series progressed, so I’m keeping them as is.

I also have to add that the figures of Odin and Sleipnir riding into Hel are John Howe’s of Gandalf and Shadowfax as they ride to Minas Tirith. I wanted to change them enough to make them my own, but I ran out of time. I am making no profit on these drawings nor do I claim the two figures as my own.

I am going to be totally pretentious now and post my artist statement, but I really do feel that it sums everything up and puts the series into context for those who are unfamiliar with the mythology:

For my series, I am using passages from the Prose and Poetic Eddas that chronicle the passing of the Norse god of light, beauty, and happiness: Baldr. The Eddas are the main sources of Germanic mythology and skaldic tradition, which were recorded during the 11th Century A.D. by Snorri Sturluson as Northern Europe underwent Christianization. Baldr’s death ultimately sets off the series of events that lead up to Ragnarök, a great battle where most of the gods and all but two humans will perish. Through Baldr’s death, the gods discover a traitor among them and are reminded that even they cannot escape death or fate.

I am portraying the concept of death and the afterlife in this series from a pagan perspective while showing my personal interpretation of the mythology that inspired much of today’s fantasy genre. The figures are represented naturalistically, drawing inspiration from 20th Century illustrations, while keeping their accurate Viking Age appearances described in the Eddas. Charcoal, graphite, and ink are the materials used throughout the entire series, as the absence of color reflects the serious tone of the story in addition to Europe’s Dark Ages. I am also celebrating the narrative tradition by weaving text from this story into the series that is reminiscent of the stylized manuscripts from Medieval Northern Europe. The series begins with text taken from the original Beowulf manuscript and ends with a detailed floral illustrated Gothic manuscript. The progression of time is depicted through the evolution of typography in the series, just as the gods’ fates unfold as time takes its course.

+ 9 drawings and 2 close-ups to show detail )
ferrumaeternum: (art is what you can get away with)
On Friday I finished the last of my exams and moved out of the dorms and back home with my mom, sister, and cat. I’m still anxiously waiting for my grades to be posted, but I’m optimistic that I passed everything. The class I’m most nervous about is offered during the summer, so if I don’t pass, I can just retake it next year. I’m actually taking my first summer class in a little over a week so I won’t have to take a full load of classes my last two semesters. I’m trying to do everything I can so that I will graduate after three more semesters. I can’t wait to be done with school! It’s bad enough that I’ll have to go an extra semester, and I’ll be taking a class next summer as well to ensure I’ll be graduating in 2011. This summer I’m taking a 200-level intro class in Jewelry and Metalsmithing, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. I hope I can actually wear some of the stuff I make because I love jewelry. It’s four days a week from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, so at least I’ll have the afternoon free as long as I keep up with my classwork. I’ll also be driving two hours round trip, so I’m slowly adjusting my sleep schedule this week so I can get used to going to bed around 11:00 PM instead of 4:00 AM. I hope I can make this work because I am not a morning person! The class is only for three and a half weeks, though, so either way I’ll survive.

I still have to photograph my series, and I probably won’t get around to posting it until Tuesday, since tomorrow I’ll be going to see Hypocrisy, Scar Symmetry, Hate, Blackguard, and Swashbuckle in ungodly 90-degree heat. In the meantime, here’s what I worked on all semester in Issues in Contemporary Art:

The theme for the semester was alternative art practices, and building off the idea that creating art by yourself and in isolation is becoming a thing of the past, the class was able to choose groups of artists they wanted to work with to address a variety of social and public issues. Obviously, since I care about the environment so much, I decided to help form the ecology collective. There were also collectives about street art, rural art, d.i.y. crafters and printmakers, pop culture, art education, the segregation of Milwaukee, housing and development issues, and a collective that documented the entire class and made a book that will be published soon.

Working with a group is always an interesting experience. Sometimes things turn out great, like they did with my collaborative drawing earlier this semester. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. There were five others in my collective, ranging from sculpture to graphic design to painting and drawing to art education majors. Three of them went to high school together and were more passionate about hanging out together during class than the ecology in our city. After kicking around tons of irrelevant topics, I convinced everyone that we should focus on water, as it is the source of all life and Lake Michigan affects a huge number of people living in the Midwest. From there, I helped everyone narrow the topic down to the bottled water industry, since it threatens Milwaukee’s brewing industry and is less safe and more expensive than the treated water that comes directly from the lake.

Not wanting to be too pushy, I let the rest of the collective choose which other ecology-related collective from anywhere in the world to interview. They chose a grocery store in the ghetto, to put it bluntly. While they do occasionally display art in the store, they aren’t an artist’s collective and we ended up being downgraded for that. I also wrote most of the interview questions, and everyone bitched when I couldn’t make it for the time they chose to do the actual interview. Then after emailing me absolutely no information about the interview the next week, they shoved the microphone in front of me at our presentation in an auditorium of about 100 people. My presentation got the point across, though it was very shaky, and the rest of the group didn’t talk to me until the following week. Thanks a lot, guys. :/

I decided that I had to take charge again for our final project to prevent another disaster. All the collectives, including ours, did some kind of non-permission (read: illegal), public art display for their final project. We decided to individually design fliers and tags that would be placed on or near where bottled water is sold and photographed for documentation purposes. This allowed us to work on our own terms and completely avoid any further scheduling problems. I made a WordPress blog for our collective and emailed everyone in the collective, asking them to send me their designs and pictures so I could post them. Although most waited until the night before the presentation to send them to me, I received them from four out of the five members. Two of them said they collaborated, but it reads more as laziness and apathy. I also came up with the totally lame name for the collective at the last minute, since no one else took the initiative. Overall, our final project was a success, though I would not choose to work with these people again. Finally, here is my design:

For the record, I did not choose that awful orange and blue violet color scheme; one of the art education majors in my collective did. :/

+ 4 of the flier in action )

Please check out the rest of the collective members’ contributions to our final public art project and collective interview here: http://milwaukeecologycollective.wordpress.com/
ferrumaeternum: (uria - audrey kawasaki)
This is the last piece I had to do outside of my series for Advanced Drawing Strategies for the rest of the semester! :D I’m getting really stressed out about finishing the series because I only have three completed drawings, and twelve are due in less than a month. The only other thing I have left to do for this semester (other than the usual weekly reading and writing stuff for my other classes) is a magazine design. I’m hoping things will start to get done more quickly for the series now that I have a little less work to worry about.

Since I was so pressed for time, I spent the two days before this was due working on it between everything else. I used India ink and a watercolor brush, since I knew it would get the job done more quickly on the 22” x 30” piece of paper. This assignment was just to react to the collaborative drawing as an afterthought. I basically just wanted to create a believable scene of all three of our destinations, capturing the looser style the other two in my group used for their parts of the drawing. I tried to make it so that the tropical island scene wasn’t too cheesy, and I hope I accomplished that by using the ink. Someone said during the critique that the Greek buildings looked like a septic tank, and I kind of have to agree, but they all look that way! XD I’m just glad no one brought up the fact that the castle with the Caribbean landscape is reminiscent of Walt Disney World. I’m also definitely done with drawing Neuschwanstein for a while. That had to be one of the most tedious technical challenges I’ve given myself in a long time!

ferrumaeternum: (baroque bamf)
I whipped up this 11" x 17" poster for Issues in Contemporary Art: Alternative Art Practices last night in Illustrator. Everyone in the class had to bring two posters to class today so our professor could take them down to Chicago this weekend for the Version Festival. They will be displayed April 24-25. This is part of the WPA Today project, which revolves around the idea of if the WPA was around today, what would it be/look like. (I wish it were ‘cause I’d be much less worried about finding a job after graduation!) I’m pretty excited about the whole thing, since this is the first time my work will be in an art show outside of the UWM campus, and the fact that it’s going to be in such a large city makes it even more exciting. Our posters had to draw inspiration from 1930’s American WPA posters, and my color palette was particularly inspired by this one. Most of the WPA posters have simple, general, optimistic messages, and I wanted to continue that by encouraging people to get involved in their city’s music scene. I hope you guys and the rest of the public enjoy it! The second copy of the poster will be wheat-pasted somewhere public in Detroit in June. Since the city doesn’t have enough money to remove street art, I hope it will stay up for a long time like so much of Detroit’s illegal public art has.

I still need to post about the Overkill show from Saturday, but I probably won’t get around to it until after Monday, since I have four drawings on top of work for other classes to do by then. Expect a review of that show, along with the Finntroll show I’m going to tomorrow, sometime next week!
ferrumaeternum: (modern art matters)
Sorry I haven’t been a very good updater or commenter lately, but this semester is by far the most hectic one I’ve ever experienced. This project for Advanced Drawing Strategies was finished a couple weeks ago, and I’m now just getting around to posting about it while I take a break from working on other projects.

My group decided on doing a piece where we could each work independently over spring break and then bring all our pieces together to form one large collaborative piece. The theme we decided on that related to the chosen topic was to pick anywhere in the world that you wanted to go for spring break. Jigme chose the Caribbean, Leeann chose Greece, and I chose Germany. We all worked in charcoal and pastel, and how much we used each was up to our discretion.

+ 6 )

Honestly, I just really wanted an excuse to draw Schloss Neuschwanstein. ;) That, and the Ragnarök festival is coming up, and would love to be there! I was originally going to draw a scene from one of the German metal festivals on the left, but I was still working on the rest of the piece a few hours before it was due, so I had to leave it out and throw in some quick gray atmospheric shading instead at the last minute. That’s what I get for only devoting three evenings to working on this project. I'm pretty sure the graffiti on the building was by Banksy or someone imitating his style. According to a Google search, the graffiti was done in Germany, but if anyone knows exactly where, please let me know! My part of the piece measures about 2’ x 3’, so you can get an idea of how large the whole thing is. The main design for it was Jigme’s idea, including the 3D topographic map stacked paper mountain formations that connect across all three pieces. Overall, I’m really pleased with how this turned out and enjoyed working in a group for probably the first time in my life. I think everyone’s individual styles meshed really well together for this piece.

Here’s what the other groups did for their collaborative drawings:

+ 9 | semi-NSFW due to topless female nudity )
ferrumaeternum: (shieldmaiden of rohan)
My design is finally up for voting on Threadless! It was just posted today, since there was some downtime on the site over the weekend.

Shieldmaiden of Asgard - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

Original illustration here )

I wish I had more time to work on it, but it’s still one of the best out of all the Intro to Design classes, so I’m satisfied with that much. We also were only allowed to use the pen tool in Illustrator for the project, which didn’t help in terms of time management or the rendering of the illustration. I would rather have included some more painterly elements by using the brush tool or directly scanned parts of the drawing or watercolor. The next time I submit something, it definitely won’t be as cartoon-y or flat. Most of the other students just had solid shapes with an outline, while I at least tried to add some shadows in the style that Brian Ewing uses for his poster art to give it some more dimension.

I was also not happy that we were told we had to use Threadless’s 640 x 640 template with the background image as the design and a smaller version of it PhotoShopped onto one of their model's shirts. Our original designs were done in a very vertical format, so I would have liked to extend the template down further, which is allowed by Threadless. We also weren’t allowed to use the Flash option or display our designs any other way, which I’m worried is going to hurt this in the end because a lot of the detail is more difficult to see this way. We also could not submit our designs for a critique first. This would have been fine if we actually had a proper critique during class. His idea of a critique was to put up all the designs for five minutes, and point out a few things he liked in some of them. WTF! That is not a critique!

This is just another reminder why I switched my major from Graphic Design to Painting and Drawing. Cut for a rant of epic proportions. )

After class tonight, I learned that most of the students’ designs were rejected by Threadless, which makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing. If your design isn’t even accepted to be in the running, that’s a good indication that it totally sucks! ;)

...and on

Dec. 28th, 2009 01:05 am
ferrumaeternum: (phasers on funky)
I hope everyone had a good time with family and friends over the holidays. I’ve been quite busy the past few days, but as I promised in my previous post, here are the artist’s books I acquired from my group’s trade.

Erik was inspired by how extreme some people take body modification through their obsession with plastic surgery, so he decided to create a modern-day Frankenstein (apparently with Tara Reid’s botched-up boob-job). I love how the book looks like animal hide and is stitched together with red thread. It’s interesting to think about how the more dangerous methods of body modification (plastic surgery, tanning, bodybuilding, etc.) cause a great deal of bodily trauma and are socially acceptable while much safer ones (tattooing, piercing, scarification, dermal implants, etc.) are not.

+ 3 )

Kat wanted to do a comic book/Quentin Tarantino-inspired piece that featured a housewife turned assassin. I like idea with the retro feel of the cover and the high contrast images, but I can’t help but cringe at the use of Comic Sans MS font. I am also concerned that there isn’t a colophon, so if I hadn’t known who this was from, there would be no way of telling the artist or how many copies were made.

+ 6 )



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