This week more than most, I really appreciated seeing the artwork that was pulled out for us to view at the end of class. Being able to see real life imagery of immigrants in their daily routine made the book, “ The Arrival” much more impactful to me. While I greatly enjoyed the imagery and plotline within “The Arrival”, I found it difficult to relate and imagine the story in real life. However, the combination of talking about the book in class and then immediately viewing the pictures pulled out for us allowed me to have a better understanding of the messages Shaun Tan was aiming for.
In addition, since all our ancestors were immigrants at one point or another in our country’s history, the photos we saw on Monday and Wednesday morning particularly impacted me because I felt a connection to them. I have often heard stories of how my great-grandfather came to America and the hard conditions he went through in order to provide for his family. While each family’s immigration path is different, these photos definitely gave me a better understanding of what people went through during this time and the conditions they were forced to endure.
It is clear to me that Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” is catered for children. As we talked about in class, the text is easy to follow and the pictures are pleasant on the eye. Because of this, I found it interesting that the movie we saw this morning was catered to an adult audience. While we only saw a few minutes, it was extremely apparent that “Miss Potter” was not created to appeal to children. Considering the subject matter of “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit” and its continued appeal to modern day children, I believe the slow and mature angle the director took was a mistake. There were moments in the first few minutes where the film appealed to the childish nature of Potter’s book, like when a young Beatrix imagined her parent’s carriage in an animated light but this was a fleeting moment in the movie. I will have to finish the entire movie to comment fully but I have to believe the film would have been more successful if scenes like this one were included which would have appealed to a younger crowd.
Having not created a collage since I was in elementary school, our exercise Monday morning was quite the throwback for me. To reiterate a point that Professor Serrano stated during our class, it was a very relaxing experience. Bringing together images and scraps from numerous magazines and creating something on a blank piece of paper was quite rewarding. I found that I lost track of the time and was completely focused on thinking about the direction of my collage. Personally, I am very un-artistic. However, I found that making a collage was more about creativity and vision. Because of this, I felt more confident in the process and wasn’t self-conscious that my final product was going to be terrible.
While I am excited for our digital workshop on Wednesday, I know that for my final project I will be making a collage. The relaxing nature of creating a collage combined with the fact that strategic/creative planning are the key elements in being successful really appealed to me. I look forward to starting my final project!
Throughout my time at Hamilton, it has always been a special moment when I have been able to hear an artist or writer provide their own perspective on their work. This morning was no different! When Julia was explaining how she came to create her artwork and where her inspiration came from, it allowed me to see her creations in a new light. There was one part of our lecture with Julia that really stood out to me. She mentioned how some people interpret the meaning and messages of her artwork in ways she never intended for them to be seen. She went on to say that she was delighted at these new interpretations and that she welcomes any new ideas regarding her artwork that she has yet to discover herself. The idea that an artist creates a piece of work but does not know all the power and influence their painting contains is very interesting to me. It also helped me understand the point that every person interprets a piece of art differently and that there is no definitive meaning to a particular artwork.
I thought our discussion on children’s books this morning was an interesting one. We talked about how these books can be initially viewed as created for children. However, upon further examination, they are clearly for adults. Why would an artist or writer create a picture/ comic book that was geared towards adults when the stigma around these types of books is that they are only for kids? I believe the answer to this questions can be closely related to standup comedy. A comedian often discusses dark and serious topics in their routing but they are not as hard to discuss because it is being talked about with a comedic undertone. Therefore, it is easier for adults to talk and listen about these hard topics when there is a playful side to the argument. Presenting intense topics in the form of a children’s books is no different. Having cartoons and illuminated pictures helps ease the mind of the serious content. For example, the comic book Maus describes one man’s holocaust experience through cartoon animals. This allows the deeply painful events of the holocaust to be viewed upon in a different manner, one that is easier to digest than a typical book.
I found our discussion on Monday about collages very interesting. I typically do not regard collages as a traditional form of artwork. Rather, my mind immediately thinks of painting, photographs, or drawings when thinking about types or art. However, our discussion and analysis of some of the collages we viewed opened my eyes to this artwork. After our class, I asked myself the question of why someone would make a collage over a painting or a drawing? What does this technique offer that makes it special? I came away with the conclusion that a piece of art is not always about the final product. In fact, I think a great deal of art is appreciated because of the process that the artist underwent to create their work. As we talked about in class, a collage is formed different pieces of material in order to create one image. The vision, talent, and thought process that goes into making an amazing collage is daunting to even think about! While an artist can fix an improper stroke of their paintbrush or retake a poor photo, a mistake on a collage will not go unnoticed. Each piece must work with each other in order to create the final product. Because of this, I believe creating a collage is one of the more difficult art forms to master.
During our two days in the letterpress studio, I was particularly astounded at the lengthy process that is required to create a single page. Even with an instructor by our side, it still took us nearly two hours to create one phrase accompanied by an image. This process made me appreciate the luxuries we have currently with computers and that we do not need to go through this process as people once did. In addition, working with the letterpress made me further appreciate what individuals went through years ago to create a book. It must have taken months! Furthermore, when specifically dealing with the Bible or any other religious text where it needs to appear perfect, it must have been an extra grueling process. Any minuet mistake would not have been accepted and they would have had to start over. I will have to go back to the special book collection at the library and revisit any of the letterpress made items. This process has given me a better understanding of what it took to create them and I now have a greater appreciating for their value!
Before Monday’s class, I had never particularly given much time into thinking of the role and significance that a book cover holds. I came away from class concluding that the cover is essentially the introduction to the book. Before even reading a word, the reader’s mind has made some conclusion as to what the book’s content will entail. However, our examination of the very different book covers pertaining to Don Quixote left me feeling rather confused at the role a book cover should have. Whether it be the Spanish looking windmill cover or the westernized, metallic black cover, these illustrations were extremely different. While they differed, the content of the novel obviously stayed the same. The point I am getting at is before reading a single word Cervantes has written, an artists portrayal of his book has shaped the readers mind to form an opinion of Don Quixote in a manner that the author may not approve.
While the entire class agreed that the boring Penguin version was our least favorite, I think this cover might provide the most service to the actual text. As we concluded, the reader will pay no attention to the cover and will immediately divulge into the text. I would obviously prefer to have a wonderful and exciting book cover but it is important to think about the fact that an illustrator might not be capturing the essence of the text in a manner the author would have liked.
I wonder if Don Quixote is considered one of the great pieces of literature because of the reaction it received when it was released to the public for the first time its long history. As we talked about in class, Cervantes grew up rather poor and experienced an adventurous life as a solider and being taken hostage. Because of these facts, the common individual most likely found him a more relatable and likable author, thus leading to Don Quixote being well received upon its release. While there is no denying that Don Quixote is a great novel, there are many instances of notable artwork and literature continuously staying prominent throughout time because of their famous history.
For example, the Mona Lisa is considered one of the most famous painting in the world, not because it’s the most astonishing thing to look at, but rather because of the painting’s history. The Mona Lisa has been stolen numerous times and has been photographed with extremely famous individuals. Because of its continuous prominence in the media, this painting has become a household name. I wonder if Cervantes’ novel has a similar story. Is it really one of the most well written pieces of literature ever, or has its history allowed the novel to stay prominent over many decades?
I found today’s lesson of how the many generations before us created paint fascinating. It became apparent to me that it was quite the long process that people had to go through in order to get their desired product. While we saw an abbreviated version of this, it is easy to see why this process would take weeks many centuries ago. When I was grinding the paint together with Christian, he told me that the cavemen would grind their pant on their cave’s walls. This was surely a more time consuming and less productive method of creating paint in comparison to what we saw and did today. Learning the history of how this paint was created throughout history gave me a greater appreciation for how readily available it is today for our usage!