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.