Tuesday, January 29, 2008


there are few things that will stop me dead in my tracks. things like starbucks (at any time, any place) or ellen lupton encounters on campus. and, most recently, pantone color presentations.

so far this semester has been a lot of color. josef albers color relativity experiments and the color wheel in elements. grids of endless squares (hue, hue + 1 part white, hue + 2 parts, hue + grey, hue +black, hue + complement, compliment, etc.) with oil paint. movies like "the cook, the thief, his wife, & her lover" and ambitious undertakings for assignments (10 colors x 10 objects = 100 things to lug to class) in drawing. it's been some good stuff. but not one mention of cmyk or rgb or pantone colors (color aid is not the same thing.) my graphic design side has loved all of the anal color analyzing, but part of me is still left unfulfilled.

so i was so geeked when i walked into the enoch pratt library tonight to de-install the a neighborhood called baltimore exhibition, and found a huge sign stands before me reading: pantone goe system presentation, 3rd floor.

i froze. and started asking random people around me... what is this? are you going to this? can i go to this? feeling spontaneous, i took myself right on up there, wrote up my own name tag, and grabbed a seat in a room full of professional designers and printers. always a good time.

the presentation consisted of three parts: psychological reactions to color, color trends, and promotion for the new pantone goe system. i learned some new things. like, in 90 seconds 60% of your acceptance or rejection of an object, a person, or an environment is determined by color? color is such a powerful, universal medium.

i came back home and had to do some sprucing in the hall. putting those hp tests to good use. it totally changes the feel of the space. and tara and i can pretend we're in a design studio.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

mica mondo beyondo

i love making lists. to-do lists, pro-con lists, shopping lists, etc. but this one's a biggie. now that i'm full blown back at mica, it seemed necessary. it's a mondo beyondo list of goals and aspirations. i came across this concept a few years ago when reading about the problem with new years resolutions, and a solution of switching them to more inspiring intentions or lists. for me it takes the shape of what i want to do while i am here at mica. it's supposed to be juicy. things i am almost too scared to write on paper. (or type, because i guess that is what i am doing.)

here it goes...

teach art at mount royal elementary school.
be in a mica student exhibition.
become friends with with president lazarus. (i’ve always had a way with freds in high places.)
meet ellen lupton. have her as a professor & a friend. have her help me write my book.
experience a rolly chair race in the halls of third floor brown center at three in the morning.
be a program manager. help plan halloween.
be an orientation leader. and by the time i am a senior, an orientation coordinator.
be a tarc at mica pre-college and spend five extra weeks in baltimore during the summer.
participate in the planning of a major exhibition through the class with george cicle, like "at freedoms door".
start a french club. sustain it while i'm at mica and prep it for continued success when i leave.
study abroad in france.
cross register at johns hopkins (just to say i'm going to johns hopkins.) to take french sophmore through senior year.
get a sweet summer internship.
get my own apartment in a baltimore brownstone. with stairs. (like in the cosby show.)
take as many classes as possible.
major in graphic design. minor in art history. concentrate in book arts. or maybe community arts.
apply to georgetown or yale for grad school.
meet my soul mate/life partner.
and get married in the main building.
ride the ducks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

book a week

over break i started making a list of all the super-expensive design books i want to read. (i told my mom that if she ever wants to make a serious investment in my future she could buy me life style by bruce mau.) and i realized that i wasn't taking full advantage of the resources already available to me at the mica library. so i decided to come back and start checking out a new book every week. books that appeal to me because of a sweet cover design that sticks out when i'm searching... or specific books that i've had on my list for a while.

i commit to checking them out, but after that... there are no rules. it totally depends on the book/week. i could read the whole thing. or just skim it. or find a new favorite and decide i need to buy my own copy. or they could stay in a stack by my bed and inspire me just by their presence. should be interesting.

week one:

"thoughtless acts?" -jane fulton sun + ideo
"toothpicks & logos: design in everyday life" -john heskett
"s,m,l,xl" - o.m.a., rem koolhaas, and bruce mau

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

second semester: spring 2008

i'm nervous. but that's a good thing. not much can phase me anymore. so when i actually admit to myself that i'm nervous, i know i'm stepping out of my comfort zone. maybe first semester was too comfortable. i picked mica because it would be a challenge. and i'm still waiting for the classic art school post-crit breakdown. but i'm sure i shouldn't speak too soon... i'm doing lots of scary things* this semester. (not to mention taking on the position of arts and education program manager in the student activities office...)

monday - drawing II (4 - 10 pm)
wednesday - sculptural forms* (8:30 - 2 pm)
thursday - elements of visual thinking II (8:30 - 12:30) & critical inquiry (1:30 - 4:15 pm)
friday - painting I* (9 - 3 pm)

sorry, dad. no spelling class.

edit: i just had to add this syllabus from sculptural forms today. scary? not so much. he put quotes on his syllabus. good quotes. reassuring quotes. i can dig it.

this one was on the back:

"there is no measure with time. no year matters, ten years are nothing. being an artist means not reckoning and counting but ripening like the tree which does not force it's sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer."

ken talked about his own experiences in grad school. encountering all the fears and doubts. thinking "i'm not any good at this." or just getting plain sick of it. but realizing that it's all part of the process. and you just do as well as you can. because he had a history of always doing as well as he can. he just needed a reminder to trust himself and believe in himself.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

design blog binge

last night i was on a roll. i can't even remember where i started. or how many windows i had going on at once. so i figured i'd share some of the design bookmarks i've been accumulating. here's some old favorites and some new finds. enjoy.

abby clawson low
aesthetic apparatus
aiga design archives
ali edwards
bembo's zoo
bruce mau
compendium inc.
cooper hewitt
design 21
design sponge
ellen lupton
i love typography
kate spade
push me pull you
post typography
speak up
urban forest project
you are beautiful

and i'm sure i'm missing something. but i'll just keep adding to this post as i come across more.

"the best design does not come from knowing 2,000 typefaces and 6 macintosh programs by heart. it comes from having a life and being observant and involved in the world at large."
-randal balsmeyer

Thursday, January 17, 2008

visual essay: detroit

taken at the museum of contemporary art detroit at the exhibition: "words fail me."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

ann arbor, street art, and connecting the dots

this past weekend i went out to ann arbor to visit jackie at u of m. i needed to get the true college experience out of my system. (you know, studying at starbucks, frat parties, lecture halls, dorms with community bathrooms...) and i needed to go to show that i support her & all the choices she has made to get her there. michigan suits her. it helped me to know that we are both in the right place.

when i got back there was an email from donaghy. some inspiration. he had seen banksy on the news today and wanted to pass on the link to his website.

here's where i start making connections.

there's a kid at my school, andrew, who does amazing street art. amazing. he's one of the kids i met at the baltimore/fear discussion. i found his flickr account and was floored. seriously cool stuff.

also, we had a presentation/lecture in art matters this past semester about graffiti. (and a baltimore graffiti tour in elements.) and i remembered afterwards about that whole turtle thing in detroit a few years back. i googled it to see what would come up. to see what the situation is like now and how it's being recorded as history. i hit the jackpot and found a site for a documentary titled "paint cans and politics." it was so intriguing.

and jackie and i took photos in a graffiti covered ann arbor alleyway yesterday for a future art project. they turned out pretty cool. it's weird. when i was little that stuff used to really bother me. now i can appreciate it. i guess decay never sits well with me. mentally filling in the foreword to things falling apart always makes me uneasy. (and also sometimes extremely motivated.) but it helps to pull forward the art inherent in those situations/settings.

jackie wanted to use a line from imogen heap to describe it.
"there's beauty in the breakdown."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

two thousand eight

a new way to document some slices of life in two thousand eight. should be pretty easy. stick things in the binder pocket as i go. & when i'm ready, cut out squares and insert into the slide protector sheets.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

on the campaign trail

disclaimer: usually i'm not one to shove political beliefs down peoples throats. but this election is important. if it bothers you, get over yourself and read the next post or something.

i didn't have cable at school, so being back at home has let me watch a little bit more news. recently, a news clip of barack obama caught my eye. all i saw behind him was the word believe in big white helvetica on black. (look familiar? it should. talk about drawing connections.) presidential campaigns means some seriously crucial typography. i'm not preaching, obama just has some good graphic design.

so is it completely unfounded to have your vote swayed by a savvy ad campaign? (check out this critique of the campaigns: it's called "reading tea leaves and campaign logos.") not so much. i've made a lot of choices based on subtle signs. and they've worked out so far. (except for when i rented "babel" from chart hits video because i liked the graphic design on the front. ooops.)

moral of all this psuedo-political banter:
you have good instincts. trust them.

back to watching the democratic debates. change is such a loaded word...

EDIT: juste pour rire from my friends at speak up

Tuesday, January 1, 2008