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‘why we bend' a Bachelor of Fine Arts honors thesis exhibition by Ximenna Hofsetz and Tiernan Warner brings together installation, digital, sculptural, and printed artwork. The main focus concerns memory; and its vague, formless, and hazy nature. The work also examines what would happen if cognitive space could be physically mapped? What would it look like in sculptural form? Memory erodes and distorts with time. We influence our memories as much as they affect us. Thus, just as relationships are ever-changing, and our memories of those we interact with constantly shifting, our relationships with our own memories are malleable and evolve through time. This transient nature of memory is depicted in the various stylistic means of this exhibition by referencing time and space as well as personal memories and ephemera in both concrete and abstract ways. ‘why we bend’ implements a variety of multimedia techniques to examine recollection and its hold on us.
"Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?" \u2014 Albert Camus Making a decision between committing suicide or continuing about the monotony of a life void of meaning can be surprisingly difficult to make when all human logic entices us to do the former. In fact, doing the latter seems definitively humanely impossible. In my art series "The Absurd Man", I visually analyze a variety of human reactions to absurdism, drawing from absurdist texts as well as personal experiences to force upon the viewer, recognition of the discomforting reality of human frailty.
"On Music Videos" is an exploration of music videos, particularly narrative ones. As such, a brief history of the music video and its genres are examined. Ideas about narrative are also discussed through descriptions of what is meant by "story," based on theories from Pixar animators as well as author J.R.R. Tolkien. The connections between how story fits with music videos is then outlined. From this background research one is able to analyze examples of existing narrative music videos, before applying this knowledge and reflecting on the process of creating a narrative music video.
This honors thesis project combines the research of regional marketing trends in international film posters and game packaging designs with a creative application of that research. The thesis consists of 4 main sections. The first section includes background research on film poster marketing design approaches and summary of international guidelines for game packaging standards. The second part contains an analysis of selected global film posters from all genres leading up to Disney/Pixar movies, and also a few popular video game packaging designs. The research is then be applied to 3 designs based on regional trends in the largest hubs of digital design in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Lastly, a survey will be conducted with international contacts to identify if the trends were correctly identified and which designs they personally preferred. The background research on video games includes 3 interviews. Diane Fornasier the current Vice President of Marketing at Immersive Play, and former VP of Marketing at Maximum Games, Sony and Sega talks about the evolution of packaging and packaging trends. Tom Kalinske, the former CEO of Mattel, Sega and Leapfrog details the emergence of the ESRB board in America and of the rating boards and guidelines from Asia, Europe. Al Nilsen, the former Director of Global Marketing at Sega explains international marketing and the character development of Sonic the Hedgehog. The case studies examine some film posters of all genres and some of the most successful international Pixar film posters to compare and contrast the different design elements in different regions, along with any outlying observations that cannot necessarily be allocated to a specific trend. The findings from the case studies are applied towards creating three film poster designs based on the most remarkable trends in the Americas, Europe and Asia that were observed. All of the film posters exhibit successful methods of engaging and appealing to their audiences based on cultural norms and values. Finding Dory, a film with a strong global appeal that showcases different regional design elements was a suitable option for the design concept. This will not only help understand the basic rules of international marketing when it comes to digital art, but it will also help us identify cultural norms and values that most of us might not be aware of when it comes to what can be publicized or not and what appeals to different target audiences.
The depiction of mental illness, schizophrenia in particular, within film is a unique phenomenon that film directors have decided to undertake more so in the last 20 years than ever before in cinematic history (Wedding & Niemic, 2014; Robinson, 2004; Gabbard & Gabbard, 1999; Wahl, 1997). Countless filmmakers have taken on the challenge of depicting this complex, yet degenerative condition that entails auditory and visual hallucinations, disorganized thought and speech, and delusions. Its portrayals are usually exaggerated and romanticized, and convey a sense of separate "Otherness" with those who have a mental disorder. And while filmmakers try to encapsulate the schizophrenic experience, it is not without psychiatric error and regarding the person who has schizophrenia as a spectacle. This unfair and ostracizing view of people who have schizophrenia is fueled by films like A Beautiful Mind and The Shining where the film either creates impossibly high standards for schizophrenics to perform at, or the film paints the character as a violent savage. In either case, the end result is the marking and, usually, denouncement of the schizophrenic for their illness. What filmmakers tend to overlook is how much the public learns from the cinematic portrayals of these disorders, and that their films are contributing to an overarching issue of public presumptions of actual schizophrenia and how it is perceived. While the Hollywood approach offers a depiction that is usually more tangible and enjoyable for masses of audiences, spectators should recognize that these are artistic interpretations that take liberties in their depictions of schizophrenia. Viewing these films with an objective mindset to better understand the inner workings of schizophrenia is absolutely crucial in arriving anything close to the truth behind this mental illness that has been demonized long enough.
For my creative project, I began an art press that produces small-run vinyl records and artist's books. Initially, the venture began as a means to circumvent record pressing facilities as a vinyl record-cutting service. By the end of this project, the focus shifted to encompass more visual art products than just vinyl records. The project began with vinyl records because I saw a need in the market; in the past decade, the industry has grown dramatically, but the dozen record pressing plants in the country cannot keep up with the demand. Because record pressing companies prioritize large orders, it is difficult for many small bands and independent record labels to produce work on this medium. This is due to the long lead times, high prices, and large minimum order sizes. I located a man in Germany, who invented a machine that makes high-quality, lathe-cut records. I named the project Blushing Soup, as homage to my father, who passed during my first semester of college. It is through his passing that I was able to secure funds to pursue this venture. I brought on a partner, who was more familiar with art and audio recording than myself. In the summer of 2015, we met with this inventor to learn how to use his machine. By October of 2015, a machine of our own had arrived. In early November, Blushing Soup won a grant from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. During this time, we released two vinyl records for local bands. For a culminating project, I coordinated a Record Store Day compilation album consisting of six bands featuring. After securing all of the music, the machine started having problems, which forced me to cancel this release. Recognizing the delicacy of the machine, prompted a shift in the aim of Blushing Soup. During this process, I started learning printmaking processes, and I realized that Blushing Soup could function as more than a record cutting service; we could be an art press. In the last few month of this project, I started making artist's books. By the end of April 2016, Blushing Soup will have released vinyl records for two bands, as well as produced four handmade books. This creative project centered around the process of creating art through lathe cutting and printmaking; the objective was not to maximize profits but rather refocus the consumption of art (in a sustainable practice).
Dysmorphia is a series of large-scale paintings that address the relationship between a body image disorder called Body Dysmorphia (BDD) and plastic surgery. The audience sees women of all colors, shapes and sizes in their most vulnerable state. However, the shapes of their bodies and the abnormal background are not what we are used to seeing. Presented in the IAP Studios, Dysmorphia aims to start a conversation around the rising global occurrences of cosmetic procedures, the patients who suffer from Body Dysmorphia, and how the two subjects relate. Plastic surgery is a highly controversial conversation that the world is currently having. However, BDD is not a common topic that comes up within those discussions. Many surgeons may not realize or choose to ignore the fact that a vast majority of their patients have a body image disorder. Sometimes the patients themselves may not even realize it. Whether we believe plastic surgery is a positive life-changing choice or that it takes advantage of those who have disorders such as BDD, the end result will be up to the audience to determine. By establishing a connection between the two contrasting ideals, society can then begin to identify where they might fit in the conversation. Dysmorphia aims to spark informative discussions about these kinds of social issues by exploring the female body and bringing to light plastic surgery's attempt to alter it.
Abstract Retrograde presents questions about the creation and value of art through a graphic novel. Materials used to create the work were illustration paper, ink, brushes, and printed screen tones. The piece was created in four stages: first, each panel was sketched into the first draft; second, the sketch was researched and fully developed into a complete drawing; third, the sketch was completely traced with ink and texture was added; finally, the drawing tones were added with ink and screen tones. The plot of Retrograde revolves around the protagonist, Vera, as she attempts to find a place for her art in an artistic community that rejects her for her lack of commercial success and for the advantages she got through connections. When Vera appears to have succeeded, a sudden plot twist reveals a conspiracy which undermines her success. By following Vera, the novel illustrates a corrupt artistic society in which the value of art is established by a small amount of artistic elites. The written portion of the project expounds on the various ideas that drove the novel, including how art forms like graphic novels come to be situated low in artistic hierarchies and how interpretations can be negatively guided by already established institutions. Among some of the theorists referenced within the paper are Walter Benjamin, Clement Greenberg, and Susan Sontag. In conclusion, the project illustrates an inclination to judge art by potential commercial value and by already established hierarchies, limiting the possibilities of new interpretations and shifts in those same hierarchies. Keywords: art, art theory, graphic novels
Popular culture has a longstanding tendency for being affected by, and reversely affecting, politics. Films, in particular, can exist as either purse “escapism” or heady pathways for political commentary. During the Second World War, governments in both the United States and Great Britain used film as a vessel for their own messages, but after the war ended, the two nations allowed their respective film industries more free expression in commenting on wartime and post-war politics. Film also provided particularly vivid political commentary during, and in the years immediately following, the Cold War. Though film has a longstanding history of being a force for political commentary, the medium’s specific engagement with the Cold War holds particular significance because works produced by the two nations’ film industries paralleled the social trend toward political activism at the time. While films produced in the UK and the United States in the 1960s addressed a wide range of contentious political issues, a huge body of work was spurred on by one of the most pressing political tensions of the time: namely, the Cold War.
The United States and Great Britain were major, allied forces during the Cold War. Despite their allied positions, they had unique politico-social perspectives that greatly reflected their immediate involvement in the conflict, in addition to their respective political histories and engagement in previous wars. As the Cold War threat was a large and, in many ways, incomprehensible one, each country took certain elements of the Cold War situation and used those elements to reflect their varied political social positions to a more popular audience and the culture it consumed.
In turn, filmmakers in both countries used their mediums to make overarching political commentaries on the Cold War situation. This analysis looks at five films from those countries during the 1960s, and explores how each representation offered different, often conflicting, perspectives on how to “manage” Cold War tensions, while simultaneously reflecting their conflicted culture and political decisions. The films analyzed reveal that each country focused on contrasting perceptions about the source of the threat posed by Soviet forces, thus becoming tools to further promote their distinct political stances. While the specifics of that commentary changed with each filmmaker, they generally paralleled each country’s perspective on the overall Cold War atmosphere. The British message represented the Cold War as a very internal battle—one that involved the threat within UK borders via the infiltration of spies the tools of espionage. In contrast, the American films suggest that the Cold War threat was largely an internal one, a struggle best combatted by increasing weaponry that would help control the threat before it reached American borders.
China's wildlife and the deep connection I felt with it fuelled "What the Dragons Know," a self-published children's book that I wrote and illustrated. My objective was to create a fun and interesting book for children that gave abroad introduction to Chinese wildlife, art and animal mythology. The Chinese landscape has a captivating and unique beauty, which competes daily with the devastating effects of pollution. This project was the manifestation of the passion and sorrow I felt for that landscape. I drew on these feelings, as well as personal past experiences and research into Chinese art, to portray the magnificence of that world and hopefully inspire others. My approach to this challenge consisted of researching Chinese art theories, styles, and techniques, and choosing aspects from all eras that I felt would most engage young readers. I then interpreted and transformed what I'd learned, filling it with my personal style and character. Dong Qichang, a Ming scholar-official, artist and art theorist, emphasized transformation of older models. He, among others, believed that artists should refer to the masters for guidance: using old models as inspiration, imbuing them with one's own style, and creating their own works. His ideas and those of other literati painters drove my approach to this project. This was not so much an effort to make the pictures "look Chinese" per se, but instead my own interaction with and response to Chinese art and art history. My approach to the writing process began with researching Chinese animal symbolism, which I planned to incorporate into my writing. I then outlined an interesting plot and began writing the story, which in turn influenced the illustrations. Like artists of Emperor Huizong's court who painted pictures based on lines of poetry, I also based my compositions around what was happening in the narrative \u2014 using each picture to capture a moment in the story. The illustrations, although primarily intended to be aesthetically appealing, were an experiment with how I reacted to and interacted with the long and intriguing history of Chinese painting. Essentially, I intended to complete a book that was both enjoyable to read and appealing to look at; that would portray the splendor of the Chinese landscape and reflect my feelings for it. The final book will be self-published using CreateSpace.com, and copies will be available for purchase during the Celebrating Honors Symposium or through Amazon.com.