Will Art Make You Sicker?

I recently missed a class at SpaceTaker for selling and marketing one’s artwork to the medical community.  It was entitled Art Consulting for the Healthcare Industry.  It makes sense that a company, Skyline Art Services, exists in Houston and that providing art to the healthcare industry is a focal point.  No one really wants to stare at boring white walls and coughed all over magazines while sitting in a doctor’s office.  Why not have something to focus on, while trying to distract yourself from the giant needle coming your way?

I missed it, so I’m a bit bummed, partially because the concept sounds interesting, partially because it could be a lucrative way to make money while doing something I mostly like.  Let me rephrase, make enough money to occasionally eat out while wearing relatively well-made, pretty clothes, without concerning myself with scrounging for loose change in old purses in order to pay for it.  Not that I could make a steady income painting pictures and creating sculpture for hospitals, but it would be significantly more money than I would otherwise earn from “creating just for art’s sake.”  Or some such drivel that really means, “I display my art in my living room.”

What mostly got me interested is that the artwork in my GP’s office, looks to be painted by a first year student of the Michael’s School of Art.  Heavy thick acrylic.  Perspectives are a bit askew.  Colors are mostly hideously wrong.  Shadows and shading are illogical.

Why would he or she fuss with details when the overall scope is so wrong?  Can he/she not see the world around them?

Michael’s School of Art student makes it seem attainable, displaying art.

The Dancing Interview

The revival

I watched The Red Shoes recently.  I hoped it would inspire me.  It didn’t.  I’m not a dancer; the movie didn’t speak to me as I hoped it would.  It brought me back to the musical that led me to it, A Chorus Line.

Specifically, it tugged me back to one entire song and the last verse of another.  “I Can Do That” and the final verse of “I Hope I Get It.”  Same musical, completely different sentiments.

A Chorus Line revolves around different dancers trying out for a Broadway musical, which has no leads.  All manners of dancers, singers, and actors vie for spots of mediocrity in the chorus.  In the final round, the director has the remaining dancers, sing and dance their answer to that horrid question, “So, tell me about yourself.”  A few women cite The Red Shoes in their answers, which led me to The Red Shoes.  Not being able to sit through the entire movie and searching for a job led me to the aforementioned songs.

I suppose I should take a step to the left or right to extricate myself from this vicious circle.  The lyrics to the songs, however, keep me suspended.  Pushing and pulling, pushing and pulling.  Not really in a chorus line, rather vying to hope to get into a chorus line.  Even in Sheboygan if it comes to that.  Wisconsin?

Not Another Tutu

I recently battled procrastination and learnt a valuable lesson: procrastination is good.  I should have given in to my gut.  Not in a heartburn sort of way, rather an inner eye sort of…sight.  My subconscious was kicking and screaming at me like an angry, thinks she knows everything fifteen year old woman-child.

About a year ago (a year and a day minus three weeks and four days), I decided to explore the selling world of crafting on Etsy.  I set up my own page (I’ve long-since forgotten my login and password—whoopsie), and proceeded to research items to make and sell.  I came up with a list and began to make idea number one on that list.  I got bored.  They were pretty, but I was too bored with the craft.  It involved embroidery and napkins.

After a six month “regrouping break,” I moved on to idea number two on the list.  I bought about $18 worth of tulle, which sat in a bag hanging from a closet door handle for three months, then hung on the other side of the door for another month.  A week ago, I made the skirt.  It took roughly three hours of constant cutting and knotting tulle strips onto a strand of ribbon while watching a quirky British movie, “High Heels and Low Lifes.”From the movie poster

Then I logged onto Etsy to see if I should post it.

My tulle is back in the closet in its newly altered state.  There were far too many tutus listed.  Most of them listed for about $65.  I’d have to market my page until just before the end of time, in order to be found.  Then the cost of crafting labor would amount to around $13.50 per hour.  Not so bad for just sitting there and knotting tulle while watching Minnie Driver attempt to blackmail Michael Gambon.  But it shouldn’t be so time-consuming, this crafting and marketing.

I need a cheaper craft; one that doesn’t take eons to create.

Pop-up greeting cards?  Suede cuffs?  And so I hurtle towards year two of “craft-selling experiment.”

W Anderson, Master Soundtracksmith

I just spent several hours writing, and I’ve had an epiphany.  I really like Wes Anderson’s soundtracks.  I knew this before, but really, it’s just hit me.  And not just his soundtracks, but I can easily listen to his movies, while writing, and not get terribly distracted.  They’re calming and contemplative without being whiney.  In my experience, this is a huge fete.  I can’t relate to sappy singer-songwriter veined music, so this is a huge accomplishment as far as I’m concerned.

His soundtracks, both music and auditory gaffing of the movie, are…well, pleasant.  They don’t awaken the snarky monster within that gets annoyed with bands such as Interpol and Tori Amos.  Any bands with the word: black, keys, or feeble in their name.

Most likely I can easily tune out the movies, as I’ve seen them an endless number of times, but I don’t imagine that is the entire reason.  I wouldn’t be able to tune out Pretty in Pink or M.A.S.H in the same way.  Floating in and out of the story, getting lost in the music.

Is it a testament to his film-making skills?  His devotion to movie making?  This apparent love of sound, as well as story?  It is all very multi-media, in the strictest studio art sort of way.  As if he’s adding watercolor to his lithograph.  I wonder if he writes music, or if he solely sculpts music into his story.

It would drive me mad; my musical knowledge is finite.  Beyond the scope of many, but still, finite.

Twig Bouquet

I don’t like faux flowers, but buying fresh flowers (or stealing them from a person a few streets over’s front yard) can get expensive and time-consuming.  Too many decisions involved.  What type?  Do I continue getting the same flower?  What if the new season’s flowers don’t match my decor?  Do I replace the stolen flowers with some sort of thank you gift?

My solution is either peacock feathers or twigs.  Not so traditional and they don’t require water.  Both are organic and natural, so there’s no need to worry about “perfection.”

This is a fairly simple concept: wrap embroidery floss around twigs and stick them in a vase.  Really, the hardest parts of this exercise are finding twigs that aren’t muddy and are mildly interesting.  The knots are a bit tedious, but not terribly so.

Supplies:

  • Twigs (I used Oak twigs from a park)
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors
  • wax (to seal untamed bits of floss that may stick out at odd angles)

Directions

  1. Get an idea of how many twigs you’ll use by arranging unwrapped ones in your vase.  Think, “I’m arranging a bouquet of flowers,” if it helps.
  2. Carefully take the twigs out and begin wrapping.
  3. Tie a sailor’s knot, and cautiously begin wrapping the floss; hold the short end of the floss flush against the branch and wrap it under the “coils.”  There will obviously be many imperfections in the wood, so just compensate as you go.  If you add different colors next to each other, knot the two ends of floss together and wrap under the new coils.
  4. The end knots are a bit tricky; don’t over think them.  A simple knot where you tuck one end under a coil, then add a knot in the single strand of floss.  Trim.
  5. The how much and color changes and where to wrap is up to you.  Some suggestions, you query?  Vary where you add color to give a more random look.  Add green towards the bottom of the stems and colors on the tips.  Gauge roughly the “center bottom” of your arrangement and add the same color pattern.  Run wild.
  6. Arrange in your vase.  You may have to add more floss (or take some away).  Fix, then rearrange.

fin.

All Tomorrow’s Bauhaus Parties

“Play becomes party-party becomes work-work becomes play,” was the original backbone of The Bauhaus School.  When the school was fun, when it created and produced Avant Garde art, and encouraged free-thinking, creativity, and daring.  Johannes Itten (1919-1929), impressed this upon his students.  While, Walter Gropius, the early school director, alluded to it in the Bauhaus Manifesto.  “Theater, lecture, poetry, music, costume balls.”  These tenets bore the freest flow of creativity, the Bauhaus Parties.

Gropius believed that gatherings, whether they be spontaneous poetry readings, lectures from visiting artists, theatre productions, costume parties, or major parties should be approached as a complete artistic expression.  They were vital to the school cohesively working, learning, and creating together.

The school, students and professors alike, created lithographs, and then printed postcards and posters for main parties.  They also created costumes, sets, interiors, and decorations for the parties and gatherings.

Central at the parties, was the Bauhaus Jazz Band, which was begun and led by Andor Weininger.  He attended Bauhaus to study painting, however upon graduating, was asked by Gropius to handle public relations.  He soon became the head of the unofficial “fun department,”  and formed the band.

The four main parties at Bauhaus in Weimer were: Drankenfest (The Kite Festival), The Lantern Party, Summer Solstice, and Christmas Dinner.  Each were major productions, and all but the Christmas Dinner, were meant to bring the residents of Weimer and the students of Bauhaus closer.

Drankenfest was held during the day.  Some students dressed in outlandish costume, but all designed and constructed outlandish kites.

The Lantern Party, although initially meant to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of a local poet on June 21st, it later served as Gropius’ birthday party on May 18th.

Summer Solstice was also held during the day.  In 1922, Paul Klee made several hand puppets and enacted a puppet theatre.  The puppets, made for his son Felix, were fabricated from objects around his house such as bristle brushes and bits of fur and shell.

The Christmas dinner was a lavishly simple decorated event.  A large green pine tree, surrounded by white presents for his students.  A large table next to it beautifully laid.  Gropius read the Christmas story, then served everyone their meal.

Two other significant parties where The Metal Party and The Beard, Nose, and Heart Party.  The Metal Party, held on February 9, 1929 brought forth the schools fascination with the machine age.  Everyone wore metal, from foil to pots and pans.  The attendees entered the party by sliding down a chute, then were created by a great noise of metal, The Bauhaus Jazz band, and theatre productions.  The Beard, Nose, and Heart Party was held on March 31, 1928 and organized by the Bauhaus Jazz Band.

Although the school had three homes during its short fourteen year history, the parties and social occasions tied the school together.  When free thinking and Avant-Garde art was in danger of being quashed by a narrow-mindedly strict German regime, time was made to celebrate and create art.

School’s NOT Out for Summer

I’ve been considering going back to school…again.  Certainly not full time, but perhaps part time, and for art.  Not really to gain a new degree, but just as a refresher and to re-evaluate my knowledge.  To pick up a few things that I missed on the first go round, and to learn a few media that I didn’t really have time to explore while “in school,” as it were.

In Houston there are many options for such evaluations, but I am focussing on either Glassell or Houston Community College.

The main criteria that I am using to make my decision are as follows: cost, quality of teachers and attention given to students, quality and variety of materials and equipment, networking leads, diversity of portfolio-worthy material pieces, and courses offered.

Not that I’ve made an ultimate decision, be it cost or prejudicial vanity, I believe I am going with the most cost-effective, Houston Community College.  To satisfy my frame of mind, however, I’ll mildly explore my guidelines listed above.

  1. Cost: HCC classes run $175 each, with anywhere from $0-$100 material fees.  They offer financial aid, including Pell Grants.  Glassell classes run $400, or $330 for art history, with material fees ranging from $10-$130.  They offer financial aid based on quality of work; not offered to new students.
  2. Quality of Teachers and Attention Given to Students: I feel this is hit or miss.  You get what you put into the experience.  Rather, I’m relying on this idealism.  Teachers are teachers no matter where they are.  The quality of knowledge they impart should not be luck-luster because they are teaching at a community college, or stellar because they are teaching at a school affiliated with a museum.  As a point of mental reference, I’ll use myself.  I had a pretty lousy job for some time.  It was a bit menial and I certainly wasn’t educated specifically for the tasks I performed, I was overeducated (and a bit too witty for it, in my ego-inflated opinion).  And was paid next to nothing for the dedication and quality.
  3. Quality and Variety of Materials and Equipment: Neither campus is going to have equipment as high quality as my alma mater, and it wasn’t the vanguard of the art community.  I survived.  Without really exploring both facilities, I’m not going to be able to use this as a true deciding factor either way.  HCC could have some great funding that has afforded the art department state of the art equipment.  However, a hunch tells me that Glassell would win this category, perhaps losing a few points for not having a cone 10 kiln.  (That’s just an assumption on my part, however.)
  4. Networking Leads: The Glassell is meant to be a transitory education facility for students who have just graduated with BAs and BFAs; I assume there are many connections to be made with the Houston art community there.  How invasive and intricately woven these tendrils extend are key in determining the issue of cost.  This isn’t really a setback, per se, rather it would save considerable time and make marketing art via myself a bit easier.  Regardless of the internet, via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, and a few other sites, making networking a bit easier, it comes at a price: mental exhaustion.  Glassell often displays their student’s work, with a publicized exhibit towards the end of the year.  HCC offers juried shows of exceptional works, so they too, are not to be merely tossed out with the trash.
  5. Diversity of Portfolio-worthy Pieces:  Yes, I know.  Focusing on the big marketing picture takes something away from the journey and experience and education gained.  I could step upon a soapbox and lead the masses in a heart-rending, five-part harmonied ode.  I won’t.  That’s not why I’m here, although I’m a bit embarrassed to show my slip in such a vulgar manner.  Essentially, a new, updated portfolio would be nice to have.  I could do this on my own, but I’d be limited to the types of media that I could include.  I just don’t have the space or know-how to build a gas kiln in my mom’s back yard.
  6. Courses Offered: HCC offers a few standard art classes.  I’ve taken all of the basics required, but technically (as mentioned in their flyer) I can attend any class without taking the pre-requisite.  Glassell offers a wide range of courses, some of them exceptionally specific to a branch of art (Gold-leafing, for example).  Most of these require pre-requisites.  While this in-depth approach leads to a more well-rounded education, it does seem a bit daunting.  Also, shouldn’t these topics be addressed in the general class for its subject, allowing the student to explore at his or her own leisure?  I believe if I tire of HCCs courses (2- and 3-D Design, Drawing, Painting, Life Drawing, Sculpture, Print-making, Fibers, Metals, Ceramics, Digital Art, Photography, and Watercolor), perhaps then I could explore subjects such as Bookbinding at Glassell.

Perhaps I should explore previously unlisted Option #7: Research Facilities.  Speak with an advisor in the art department of HCC and Glassell…and hopefully explore their facilities.