Sunday, November 18, 2007

What Would The Pilgrims Think?

What would the pilgrims think if they saw the modern thanksgiving? Thanksgiving used to be about the turkey, the one that your dad killed,in the backyard (because you lived on more than an acre). So yes there may still be a turkey on your table, or these days maybe its a tofurkey but there is no thanks anymore. Thanksgiving is another indulgence in gluttony while gathered around the TV for the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.

I actually think the parade is a wonderful display of icons and three dimensional art. As a child the floats seemed to transcend this world. Giant embodiments of the figures i watched on television and read about in books. Even at the age i am now, there is something magical about the floats. The way they shut down blocks in new york city is amazing in and of itself. Not only do these floats captivates audiences both young and old, they, they market products. The giant Clifford float is the epitome of Clifford the big red dog products. Children get swept up in the magic of these huge displays of art and there fore want a smaller piece of that magic (attainable for a reasonable price and a smaller size).

The size and complexity of these "sculptures" never ceases to amaze me. The accuracy that even early floats demonstrated i think is lost sometimes. Floats are a growing art form that is seldom recognized. We must learn to see beyond the float and into the time and skill it took to create it. While the floats are a staple of thanksgiving currently, we must not sacrifice the true meaning of thanksgiving for the sake of the media.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

iconic images: more than just your aim picture

The staple of early 1900 art; American Gothic, is a painting that has become omnipresent. We all know it, we’ve all seen it in some way shape or form and so, it has become an iconic. An iconic image is one which some might say is “synonymous” with a time period or event. Grant Wood’s painting embodied small town life, the early 1900’s, art during that time and puritan values. It was a slam dunk as far as iconic images go.
Images such as this painting negate a lot of the artistic value many would see, did they choose to look deeper. Its just a painting of an unhappy farmer and his wife (or spinster daughter depending on whom you talk to). It really is a brilliant oil painting filled with intricate line work that happened to consume any other painting Wood would create. You see, this one painting is what he was known for, though most people fail to recall the title let alone the artist.
Iconic images irk me. On the one had they bring forth information and a somewhat contrived defined truth. They say what words can not and connect the many through a single thread. How ever these same images are defining complex matters. One photograph of a starving child can not convey the horrors of the many that are dying of malnutrition. Whether it is puritan values or war, a danger exists when ever a label is slapped onto anything.

I thought it was also important to show how iconic images can be used to market things or simply to convey another idea

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If Websites Could Talk

Tis’ the season, to be pulling your hair out and knocking back vats of coffee to keep sleep at bay. That’s right boys and girls the college application season is upon us. Many of you are in the midst of this harrowing process and for those of you, who think this is a distant part of your future, reconsider your naive position. College applications much like the cheetahs of Africa stalk their pray. They pounce suddenly and swiftly, leaving a wake of blood and tears behind. Narrowing down the list of colleges is half the battle, figuring out how to do this is the other half. One could spend countless hours visiting, touring, and talking to various colleges or, one could simply review the college website. How much can you tell about a college by it’s website? Everything and more.

~Community College. What a wide variety of students their website represents. Their website says “We’re tech savvy, we’re sporty and artsy but above all, we’re peaceful.” By book ending the image of a student meditating with images of an athlete and an artist, this website scream WELL ROUNDED. I thoroughly enjoyed the photograph of the light through the leaves. Had there not been the link underneath pledging to go green, the photo would have been very out of place. Despite the link that provides context, I look at this picture and think, “you know I could go to WCC and lay under a tree in beautiful lighting and things will be just peachy.” ( )

~Art schools. Naturally you would expect them to have outstanding visual websites, and you could be correct. School of Visual Arts based in New York City goes above and beyond other art schools. Instead of having a plain background SVA has a patterned backdrop with art and students sporadically placed through out. That’s right, go to SVA and your life becomes a trippy backdrop. Instead of having stationary images and links like many other schools there is a constant stream of student work, upcoming exhibits and quotes. After viewing the website for an extended period of time I began to feel sensory overload set in, the average viewer I suspect would be both engaged and impressed with the website. ( )

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Little visual stereotypes if you will, symbols have coexisted with the human race from the very start. Cave paintings come to mind when our old ancestors are questioned but, have we truly progressed that far beyond them? Yes, yes we have “technology” which has given birth to such miracles as computers (and lead to the death of handwritten letters, an art form in its own right) but, what I mean to assert is that we are a society heavily dependent on symbols. Blue is for boys pink is for girls. On every bathroom door a stick figure indicates gender. A moon for the night, a sun for the day theses simple symbols along with their more complex counterparts turn up in art constantly. One of the most famous examples is the Sistine Chapel which ironically contains many pagan symbols. This past week symbols were heavily evident in the halls on Unnamed High School. The Bear always the victor triumphing, over the panther which embodies this year’s villain. The halls were covered in bear claws and green for five days, a not so subtle reminder that school spirit is alive and well.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Genesis; No Longer Just a Book in the Bible

What a band, what a band. The Genesis concert though impressive in its own right was complimented by a stunning visual display. Held in Giants stadium the stage was nothing short of breath taking. Video was constantly streaming behind the band as Phil Collins lead fans on a walk down memory lane. Many of the songs appealed to the original fans whom had been tracking the band since the 70’s, leaving later generation open mouthed at lyrics that had never graced their ears. This arena was not just the perfect setting for Genesis but for the media. Though the screen was the most attention demanding feature the presence of advertisements can not go on noted. The t-shirts alone could cause me to ramble on for several paragraphs; I wonder what those shirts say about the people who ware them.( It was as if I was becoming engulfed by walking billboards. All the while they’re screaming “I’ve done this before and I have the t-shirt to prove it”, “buy into the cult” and believe me, it is a cult .
Genesis is a band clearly drawing in an older demographic than the current generation, and thus they tailored their ads accordingly. I passed a good ten vendors offering me Beer and Smirnoff before I found anything I could legally purchase. Then I was faced with the daunting task of choosing, bottled water or lukewarm soda, Genesis had not accounted for its sober fans. The presence of alcohol though frustrating when you’re underage and thirsty always makes for good people watching. A man sitting directly to my right whom we shall call Bob, was simply mesmerized when ever the screen lit up with moving figures. Bob though he could not stand straight and I believe forgot his wife’s name at one point, was not alone in his amazement. The animation and use of graphic design took many by surprise, as well as the TV screens to the left and right of the stage which “zoomed in” on the action, allowing those with the farthest seats to still enjoy the show. Genesis, a long time favorite band, did not disappoint in sound, it did remind me though that my musical tastes are sometimes older than I am.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Where in the World?

Ignore the fact that I am an inanimate object. Pretend for just a moment that you have an imagination and can fathom a talking sock. Welcome to somewhere far south of the rabbit hole. At this juncture is a place where artistic license trumps the law because here, there and everywhere in between, art is in everything. Do not misunderstand me for a hippy spewing liberal jargon. Or maybe accept me as a hippy spewing such jargon and heed my advice; the world will become more beautifully twisted if you recognize the overwhelming presence of art.

I’ve just come from recently seeing the movie Across the Universe which brought again the questions to my lips, what is art? And who is an artist? Surely some would have viewed Jude’s use of strawberries as a medium similar to paint as obscene and untraditional while others, marveled at his unconventionality and brilliance. A juxtaposition of opinions, a fruitless quest to classify the unclassifiable, so is the nature of art in America.

Art. Define it. Few of you will dare to try and slap a cohesive shinny label on one of the most subjective words in society’s vocabulary and that my friends is what this blog is about. It is about something broad, something that will make your bones creak with sheer effort if you try to take it on. So don’t take it on, don’t dissect it like a medical specimen, realize that is living, breathing, for ever changing, a questionable part of our world. It is here to stay and invites you to come for a visit, as do I.
Inanimatly yours, Sanders