Ryan Johnson

This evening there was a talk by Ryan Johnson who integrates the futurists motion, painting and sculpture in his work. While his body of work main is sculpture there is a lot of 2 dimensional perspectives in three dimensional spaces, forcing you too look at the work at a certain angle. Johnson talked a lot about his inspiration for his pieces, many metaphoric such as tv’s falling and killing people or personal relationships. Johnson also was mainly concerned with ‘freshness’ in his work. While he does have an aesthetic and recurring forms he is constantly seeking new inspirations and materials to use, he did not like it when he felt limited and confined to a certain idea or medium.

One piece that I was was his piece Cart, which was a shopping cart where he extended the lines making them meet at a point-so the cart was now triangular and jutting out. He actually placed the shopping cart in the Lowe’s parking lot near his studio. He placed he object back in it’s original context but since he altered it it no longer fit into the environment it belongs in. It caused a lot of confusion for customers and passerby’s who mistaken it a new cart prototype. At that point Johnson realized that a lot of his work had to do with the presence in the space and environment. Over all I enjoyed seeing his extensive body of work and hearing about the influence of his cultural background, which also influences my work.



From both the documentary and article I think it definitely questions the process of reaching success of an artist. Thierry, following all these street artist-especially obsessed with Banks-seemed to think that the way to become successful was repeating pop culture in unexpected places and ways over and over again to engrain in our heads, showing twisted iconic imagery with no particular concept. Strangely this idea worked, although in my opinion I found money value and success in the ‘name’ rather than the work itself was more important. Think of it, like with the art collectors method, the lady that spoke didn’t speak of pieces. She wouldn’t have said “I fell in love with these ingenious pop culture prints and I’m so inspired by the concepts conveyed by the artist.” She says things like “Yeah, the first Warhol I bought is stashed and collecting dust in a closet. Oh Yeah I almost forgot I have a Liechtenstein and oh here is a Banksy from his LA show.” It’s all in the name. The name is hot. And art collectors must be able to say they own part of that name. It scares me how they throw these names around, bragging about the names and owning part of it instead of actually recognizing the ingenious of the artist work. Or at least it was portrayed that way in the documentary. And because street artist are so repetitive in their concepts, often recycling popular images they are able to easily enrapture mass public recognition because people are attracted to things that are familiar, especially the street art full of familiarity with unexpected vandalism spayed across iconic symbols or the artist establishing iconic symbols themselves with repetition. I don’t think it matters if the documentary was fake or set up-what matters is that it is showing the evolution of the art world’s obsession of success in the name and having the movement flourish in front of our eyes in many different ways through each artist’s process and story. 

My visual response to beauty in the terms of fine art and design: recreating the intimacy and expression of love as many artists and designers (like Klimt and Yip) have done. I find work produced from the theme of love to be beautiful. Love is bliss as well as chaotic among many other emotions, it often brings out beautiful concepts and imagery. Love and romance is considered a beautiful thing and many people connect with that experience, thus they can be attracted to the piece because they can relate to the subject matter. I imagine more of the ‘hopeless romantics’ like myself often find ‘romantic’ work or work about the theme of emotional expression and personal relations and such to be considered beautiful.

The Kiss by Vienna Secession painter, Gustav Klimt and a few works from her series, You’re Here But You’re Not, by the illustrator, Peopny Yip. Blog Post: Beauty imagery.


Blog 14: Beauty

Beauty varies for every person. In the context of art and design I believe it comes down to inner and outer beauty. Fine art is defined as conceptual, therefore more often there can be beauty, a sort of inner beauty, that the piece delivers. As for design beauty is much more of an outer beauty and experience, it’s all about conveying a message that other people will be attracted to. You are applying beauty for others and in fine art, you are applying beauty for yourself or the work itself. Beauty I believe can also depend in which context. There can be beauty in the idea, the way it’s crafted, the colors it uses, the subject matter etc…some people believe that the technicality and high quality craft are more beautiful while others find the ideas and emotions expressed within the peace beautiful. There is our own version of beauty within ourselves and the version of beauty that is universal and is presented in most of our imagery today. Within the context of both fine art and design sometimes the beauty is brought out with application of media, the themes, the concept, the colors etc…

To me I find the expression and intimacy of a piece to be beautiful. In a way beauty is found in the work by the way it evokes a person. If it evokes emotion, thought, memory, sense of familiarity or connection then I would consider the piece beautiful.

I always found myself attracted to the intimacy and finery created within a piece. I’ve always considered intimate art and design beautiful, something hand made and personal but yet still sending a message. One of my favorite artists that I consider to create beautiful work is Gustav Klimt. To me his work is breath taking, especially my favorite painting of his-The Kiss. There is a romantic and intimate atmosphere in the painting and effectively applied gold leaf that makes it gleam, creating warmth and vibrancy. The theme of love, I believe, is one of the most powerful themes because every human being experiences it and so many artists produce beautiful pieces regarding themes and emotions of love because love is a beautiful and lively feeling (to me at least).

The second piece I find beautiful is by illustrator Peony Yip, who does beautiful and elegant series usually revolving around personal relationships and characteristics of the human. One of my favorites is her series You’re Here But You’re Not. I feel as though often times, like Yip and Klimt, the theme of love and intimacy created in art work results in a usually beautiful aesthetic. Love is considered beautiful, it invokes a lot of powerful emotions that Yip channeled through her series. Her series , in colored pencil, has figures, lovers, where one is colored blue and the other one in warm vibrant colors to show the wishful and nostalgic feeling of missing someone and wishing they were there, imagining they were right next to you-something almost everyone experiences. Her series is beautiful to me because of the subject matter of love and relationships that is completely relatable. I make a personal connection with her work and admire her elegant and subtle technique and aesthetic. 


Blog 13: Success

A lot of people consider an artist successful with the amount of awards, recognition and showings under their belt. Designers would be consider successful if they are working in giant companies that involve wide spread design, successful according to the amount of eyes that see it. When creating a successful piece to me, I need to have self-satisfaction. If I love the piece, it is a success. If the client loves the work I have given them, then it is a success. However to me, a successful piece is always unexpected. Take imagery on tumblr. I do disperse my art on tumblr. The pieces I may be more proud of will get less notes than other pieces I illustrated. Once I posted a doodle of two foxes, a quick 2”x 2” sketch in pencil as a tattoo request for a boy at school. 10,000+ notes-that means 10,000+ reactions from people that liked the image, and promoted it through their blogs. Entirely unexpected. i hope to have successful pieces in the future that will gain wide spread attention when needed, but I know that the most unexpected ones can get the most success. I mean Van Gogh didn’t think he would be successful, he just created and then sold one painting to his brother. Part of your success has to be the raw feeling of just wanting to create for yourself.

Aside form that overall success for me is my satisfaction, that I am making my passion into my living and living happily doing what I love. If I am satisfied with my work, I am satisfied with myself. If an unexpected work creates more success, I am even more satisfied and surprised.  


Blog 12: Symposium

Blog Post 12: Symposium

The first artist that I found most intriguing was Mitch Mortimer. He was the graphic designer and illustrator. The reason why is that  other than being extremely talented, he was very insightful. He laid out the information and said the most important part is having fun with the projects you take on and enjoying what you do. He talked a lot about how networking as an Illustrator is extremely important and that all his jobs he got was an ‘accident’ or in other words, how he got the job through someone he already knew. You never know exactly is what gonna happened and I was really inspired by the work he did and what he had to say. He was very friendly and it was reassuring to hear how the field isn’t as terrifying as it might seem.

Then the other artist I enjoyed was Ross Bigley, the filmmaker. I was surprised at how he graduated with illustration and photography and ended up being owning two filming productions and being in charge of Milwaukee’s film festival and other film projects and groups. From him i learned about how much business insight you need to gear yourself into a successful career as a designer. It was great to hear how he ended up in such an unexpected place and has developed his own businesses.

One experienced that challenged me would have to have been when I was living in south america. Living in a completely different culture I often felt conflicted and difficult to fully emerge in my other lifestyle. From that I spent my entire time working in my sketchbook, documenting my experiences and emotions from doodles to journal entries to full out drawings. The sketchbook was filled to the brim on every page, back to back. With out my artistic outlet i don’t know how I would have dealt with the stress and emotional roller coaster of living in a different country. From that difficult experience I was able to grow as an artist and understand better how to communicate more intangible ideas.

I do have five questions however I didn’t ask the artists every one. Mostly because there were too many kids swarming the tables and not enough time to have a personal or direct conversation with the artists, sometimes all I could do was listen in on their responses. Also I asked entirely different questions that were more suitable at the moment for the conversation. In this case I’ll list some questions I asked and also some responses that the artists gave.

To Ross:

I asked Ross about first about his role as a cartoonist, so then he started explaining how he went to miad for illustration and photography. he told me because of his illustration skills, he developed all his story boards for his films himself and then because he was inspired to see his photography in action he started creating films. I then asked him about his productions and he told me how he handled business with his work.

To Mitch:

I asked Mitch about the flexibility with clients, weather clients look for an illustrator who versatile with styles in their work or those who present one strong style. He explained how even though an illustrator might be influenced and experiment in different ways, there will aways be that aesthetic in their work. He said himself his style changes up but it still has the same aesthetic which is true.I also asked him about finding work and he told me most of his job experiences had to do with net working. 

To Mary:

I have worked with Mary before so I asked more in depth about her experience in A.W.E and her position there.

To Nikki:

With Nikki I asked how her interests in graphic design and interior architecture were able to support each other in her work and the biggest thing I got form her is to always take courses, like electives, in things you are interested in because you never know when it’ll come in handy. She tool a lot of graphic design electives while at MIAD and it helped her out a lot with her own design in interior architecture as well as with the jobs she had.


Blog Post 11: Shape of Design

Blog Post 11: Shape of Design

This reading, like the radio post, had to do with reasons of why one creates and the process. I enjoyed this mush more, only because I completely agreed to the author’s points. It’s comforting to know that I’m the only one wondering how come there is more How than Why and how we need an equal balance of it. Take on of my classes at school for example, the teacher does not care about the content. He really doesn’t. All he cares about is the form and How to make it. Yes, technical skills are extremely important but with no emphasis on Why we are making these projects or looking into why we choose something, I feel like the item looses it’s magic. Here I am rushing, pouring imagery from my head quickly onto paper so all I can focus on is executing the object I’m making. It feels empty. Without Why my work, like this project, just feels empty. I don’t even get that feeling. Sometimes for me Why can’t even be explained-just like how the text comments on how an artist steps back to analyze their work-we do that because we feel the Why and we want to make the How supports the Why. I look at the current stage of my project and I feel empty, completely not looking forward to even executing the project or to make it look enough for his impossible standards of perfection. Without the soul in the work how is it even suppose to stand on it’s own if it’s just crafted perfect?


Blog Post 10: Radio Lab

I don’t know I found it sort of creepy that there’s such diseases out there where it drives artistic ability and then strips it form the persons soul…I always believed that repetition and obsession is a quality all artists have. Usually you would think our brains will last longer because of the continuation of creating. It reminded me of Georgia O’Keeffe who still created even after she was blind and my friend who is an artist and will be fully blind by 30. I don’t believe the impulse to create ever goes away and it always drives us forward. I guess my obsessions have stayed with me a long time. Phases came and went but I felt like the same things always interested me, like mythical creatures or character development. I did relate to her obsession with a certain song and creating off of that. For a long time, I’ve always used Tchaikovsky as an inspiration for my drawings and to this day I still listened to his flurry of music from his composures of Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty whenever I need to ‘get in the zone’ or have the impulse to create elegant things. 

My own inspirations come from a variety of sources, like most artists. After a long time my own culture appears in my arts, as well as history and a sense of fantasy. I could not pinpoint a more direct source than my mind, constantly generating new worlds and characters. I’ll draw characters over and over again, constantly developing them and making the worlds they live in and their plot line and stories. Take one summer when I was twelve, I was consumed by this world I created and wrote over 250 pages in word-pretty much a novel of my characters. I still draw them today and although a few aspects changed they are still dear in my heart and every once in a while I’d feel inspired to continue their story or re-draw them into existence. My characters and worlds are solely mine and I always refer back to them because I never felt more satisfaction than drawing them during my impulses of inspiration.


Blog Post 9: Prints

Makers in Print

Guirong Lou

“Beautiful Autumn”

I chose Beautiful Autumn because beforehand my friend was saying how much she appealed to it, then I when I went to see it in the show I feel in love with it’s surreal qualities. The detail drew my attention mostly because immense amount of detail usually appears in my own work, as well as the sense of mystery and dark whimsicality.

Beautiful Autumn is woodcut print, it’s of a figure, I believe a woman, lying in the middle of a grassy field, configured into a vulnerable pose hiding their face with a head scarf. The print is not colored, well it has a greenish color but mostly focuses on dark/light quality and their is much presence of light and openess in the bizzare, obscured setting. 

What was strong was the detail. I was amazed with the amount of detail in this print and how crisp and varied it was. The composition is strong it’s self by placing the figure in what seems to be an endless and timeless field. The artists successfully created a sense of a strong light source through the textures of the details in the field and figure. I can hardly think of something that didn’t work out so well. It would’ve been interesting to see it in color to get a better sense of the setting but I kind of like the mystery of it. 

I have to say that I love this piece, it stood out from the rest in that of how dark and mysterious as well as light and open it is. The craft and as well as content of this piece got a lot of attention. I can imagine that Lau was devoted to the process of applying a lot of detail, much like myself. Beautiful Autumn is a beautifully developed print and incredibly strong.