Tuesday, September 29, 2009

oh, baltimore

i was in philadelphia on saturday for no more than an hour before i found this in a place called the book corner (what i take to be philly's equivalent of the book thing, except the books are deeply discounted instead of free.) guess i was homesick already. i've loved looking through it already, finding familiar places plus places i've never even heard of and seeing just how much has changed. it was published in the early 70's, back when urban renewal was starting to slow down, but there was still plenty of praise for projects like charles center. i pulled this passage from the intro:

"some day the prime movers who decide our destinies may come to understand that the character of a city as a fit place for men and women to live depends on the survival of intriguing vestiges of the past. they give a city the historic dimension that, whether people are entirely conscious of it or not, imbues the inhabitants with a certain dignity they would not otherwise attain. the ideal city would be one where, as in so many cities in europe, samples have been preserved of all the different phases of architecture and decoration the place has gone through since the beginning. it isn't enough to do a williamsburg on a few choice mansions. it is the modest buildings, adapted and readapted to a thousand uses... in the old architecture intimations of the kind of lives the citizens lived linger on."

and so i think of how that was one of the things that drew me to mica when it was just pictures in a college view book (and i had no clue the context it was in.) i think of east baltimore and ebdi, and how stephanie is taking a class through hopkins about collecting oral histories before they, literally, are erased. (how eerie/unsettling is that?) i think of the sweet juniper lecture in detroit, and how much there is to say about ruins. (winning/dominance/survival vs. loosing/a perverse interest in our own demise.) he talked about becoming picturesque, a quality to be gained only after time, in a way that its creators never expected or planned. and i think about the project m blog that i just looked through, from their recent stint in the city. i think of how i still feel sort of guilty for leaving that city behind and going some place else. (and not being the kind of "urban pioneer" granholm wanted.) i think about the new york times article i just read about bing. (not the search engine, the mayor.) i think about how even though i'm going on my third year... there's still so much to take in. so much to connect. i might have slowed down a bit from how i used to rush to take it in and process and spit a response back out, but it's still certainly enough to keep my mind busy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


when we had to bring examples of our work to the first day of class in photo imaging, i tried explaining that if i can find a way, i'll stay surprisingly far away from the computer. it's just so much more fun to use puffy paint, paper, or maybe even wood. (i guess my point was that how effective end result is depends more on how it is photographed/photoshopped... something i'm hoping photo imaging will help me with.) you can imagine my excitement to start working with these zippers to advertise mica's upcoming sweatshirt design contest. (the t-shirt thing was getting kind of old, so we're switching things up this year with these babies.)

more to come soon!

absolutely adorable

we've been going in and doing a "graphic design" workshop at st. francis neighborhood center in reservoir hill as part of an after school program they have called the power project. (i put graphic design in quotes for good reason...) our first week there we got to know the new names by having them label folders with their name using cut out magazine letters. (perfect intro to kerning!) this thursday we kicked it up a notch by making business cards and talking about hand lettering. still, we kept it simple... name plus special talent/title on the front, and a symbol to go along with it on the back. each kid made ten, so there was enough for them to trade with each other. maybe i should mention that the ages range from kindergarten to eighth grade. so when the littlest kid there came up to ask me how to spell wafflemaker, it totally made my day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

my kind of design

so clever. i love it. imagine if this was every ad campaign?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

sav-a-lot still lifes

i wanted to channel a modern day raphaelle peale for this photo imaging still life assignment. (2 found, 2 composed.) beyond the allure of sav-a-lots dirt cheap prices, i've long been a fan of the crazy off brand names and colorful patterns of stacked packaging. not included in my final four (but totally purchased) were the "higglets hot n spicy" pork rinds and "fruity diamonds" cereal.

Monday, September 21, 2009

songs that got stuck in my head in september

i haven't done one of these in a long while... so here it goes. if i wasn't being so modest with the length i probably should have included the entirety of night ripper. it's my new secret staying awake weapon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

i'm never typing on a keyboard again

it's official. i love letterpress. and i love that we learned how to set type today by watching a vocational video from the forties. so good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

flash! in your face!

i can't figure out for the life of me how to get my flash files embedded in blogger (and i'm starting to think it might be impossible without changing the document size and re-building them all. which is not something i plan on doing...) but i really want to share these assignments we've been doing in gd 3. the class is, as far as i can tell, going to be all motion graphics. and shockingly, it's becoming one of my favorites. who knew code could be so fun? (or at least copying and pasting the code someone else painstakingly wrote...) so, for now, i'll just have to put some still shots and hotlink them. just click on the picture to play the game/answer the question/have your future revealed!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

characteristics of a photograph

the thing itself
"he learned that the world itself is an artist of incomparable inventiveness, and that to recognize its best works and moments, to anticipate them, to clarify them and make them permanent, requires intelligence both acute and supple."

the detail
"he could only record it as he found it... he could only isolate the fragment, document it, and by so doing claim for it some special significance."

the frame
"the photographer looked at the world as though it was a scroll painting, unrolled from hand to hand, exhibiting an infinite number of croppings - of compositions - as the frame moved onwards."

"all photographs are time exposures, of shorter or longer duration, and each describes a discrete parcel of time. the time is always the present... photography aludes to the past and the future only in so far as they exist in the present, the past through its surviving relics, the future through prophecy visible in the present."

vantage point
"and yet it is photography that has taught us to see from the unexpected vantage point, and shown us pictures that give the sense of the scene... an artist is a man who seeks new structures in which to order and simplify his sense of the reality of life."

our first assignment for photo imaging was to read john szarkowski's seminal "the photographer's eye" and respond by taking five pictures over five days. those were my five, along with some of szarkowski's quotes. he has such a poetic way of putting things everyone already knows about photography, but tends to overlook.

Monday, September 7, 2009

mmm... ice cream

free ice cream for graphic design majors/concentrators in front of the brown center tomorrow (tuesday) from 2:30 to 4 pm! and that is why we are the best major at mica.

(and this postcard is why i bribed you to drive me to the supermarket for a container of sprinkles at the end of the summer, ben.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

best way to spend a saturday

working with the living classrooms foundation on a set of murals. i had no idea of how much ground they cover under the "learning by doing" umbrella. programs like fresh start, the crossroads middle school, safe streets, baltimore urban gardening, even my favorite uss constellation in the harbor. they really know what they're doing. (they've been at it since 1985) it was awesome to learn more about it all, meet some current students, and spend the day in the sun, by the harbor, painting purple row houses. so worth waking up early.

ps. i've been promised pictures of the finished mural and more action shots. i'll come back and post those upon their arrival...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

no more knots!

yesterday, with freshly combed hair and an open schedule, i took my stubborn self to sprout in hampden for a hair cut. the stylist, a bit appalled but extremely forgiving, took three inches off and sent me on my way... so long as i promised to start combing. (yeah, right.)

and proof that the right thing, no matter painful it may be, really does always pay off... i was able to head over to atomic books afterward and purchase this super cool letterpress book (the cover says it all, it's beautiful) with none other than mr. john waters himself standing in line in front of me. wild.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

so far, so good

a nine hour drive back to baltimore (thanks dad), a day of schlepping stuff from storage (thank you again), and a week of training/orientation leading later, and i can finally sit down and feel like i'm back in business. it's been busy. (i didn't even get around to mailing those thank yous until last thursday. oops.) but fun. from channeling "jenny from the block" for extreme bingo to racing to grab wood blocks last night in letterpress...

here's my schedule for the semester:

monday- letterpress (4-10 pm)
tuesday- center for design practice (9-3 pm)
wednesday- photo imaging (4-10 pm)
thursday- objectivity (7-10 pm)
friday- gd 3 (9-3 pm)

should i be worried that my only academic class is the science requirement? hmmm...

anyway, i took some pictures of my new room before everything starts getting thrown around and abused. even though i'm not a famous fancy artist/designer (and i doubt design sponge would do a feature on a dorm room) i felt the need to pretend and do my own little "sneak peek" just for kicks. proof of precisely the time post move-in when my ocd (and expertise at arranging stuff from alterman interiors) kicks in and i get to sort and color code for a whole new space. if only i was as determined about doing the dishes.