Go Out and Experience the World

Even in the age of having everything at our fingertips, there are certain experiences you can’t get online. I went to an unbelievably amazing glass art gallery with a friend tonight (hi Brian!) and was blown away (lol) by the talent. There had to be hundreds of pieces throughout the several buildings we walked aimlessly through. I was continuously shocked by the textures and colors in the art. I took over 30 photos tonight, zooming into the intricate details of things I thought were extraordinary.

My CMF teacher had told us earlier in the semester that if we were to come across really interesting materials in person, to take a photo of it. She had told us how difficult it was to find these kinds of images online. And quite honestly I think I’m going to make an extra effort to start making my own archive of stuff like this. I was geeking out about it all tonight, and I hope the depth of the artwork is translated in the photos for you to see it properly. Enjoy the start to my new archive!

A Designer’s Website

I finally have a website. If you’re in the art and design field, you know how time consuming making and updating a portfolio is. I’ve probably spent over 50 hours making my current portfolio which is in a PDF file. It has 5 projects, and was obsolete the moment I saved and compressed it.

I’ve been curious about having a personal website for a long time. But I never had the content for it. Until now. Not saying I have the most or the best, but I’m finally starting to feel comfortable about putting myself and my work out there.

My projects are all over the place content wise, so everything is still a work in progress. If you’re curious about checking out my site though, feel free to find me here: sydneyhembree.com

I only have a few hours into the bones of it right now, but I’m really excited to start fine tuning everything! Art and Design is always such a fast-paced environment, so I’m hoping this keeps me on my toes.

I only have about 15 more days for this blog challenge, but I know I can transfer all of this content to my personal website if I so desire. Curious to see if I’ll be able to continue over there. We shall see!

Discover Your Creative Self: A Quiz

I’m always a sucker for quizzes that claim to “tell you who you really are.” I’m sure there’s some study I could find that goes into the innate curiosity of humans and their need to take some stupid tests online. I’m not saying I take the ones that say “Click to find out what kind of pasta you are!!!” But, I will admit, I’m a fiend for personality tests and the like.

I find myself to be a lot more different than what I’m described by my friends and family as. I would consider myself a fairly introverted person, which is typically in stark contrast to the comments of, “Wow Sydney you’re so social and outgoing!” Not trying to toot my own horn here by any means. It’s just extremely fascinating that every individual is completely unaware of themselves externally. I read a post the other day that had said something along the lines of this: “You’ve never seen your face in anything but a reflection. You’ve never seen yourself smile and get excited when you hear good news. You’ve never seen the little frown you make while you try to concentrate. You’ve never seen yourself laugh until you can’t breathe. You’ve never seen yourself in a candid way like others always do. So why do we listen to our inner dialogue more than we listen to others?”

I think that’s such a powerful way of looking at it. We’ve all had to deal with negative self esteem at some point in our lives. Each to a different extent, but we all have friends and family that surround us, telling us how amazing we are. But only a few of us actually believe them. We take quizzes online to tell us we’re this or that, because we want some force to tell us what we probably have already heard. Or better yet, know ourselves! Your friends are your friends because they love you. As much as they might berate and tease, they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t find you amazing.

I’ve seen several of my friends posting about this quiz from Adobe called Creative Types.

It’s one of the more artistic interpretations of a quiz that I’ve seen so far. The questions aren’t very groundbreaking, but the snippets of art after you answer each step (15 in all) are great. They are very vague, visual projects that could be considered impressions of each response. Who knows. But I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

I’m not roasting people who take quizzes (or maybe I am making a horribly self-detrimental joke in the process). I am merely pointing out that people who seek to find themselves through an algorithmic quiz should first take to heart all of the wonderful things everyone has said about you. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

My Color Project is Complete!

One of my projects for this semester has been completed as of today! I won’t officially present everything for another week or so, but I wanted to share the results. These posters will be hung up in an art gallery setting for our class with Ford. I will be inserting the poster’s text below after a few close up shots of the photographs. Enjoy!

The Newest Release in Video Editing is Mindblowing

@adobe

As a design student, I’ve been using Adobe creative programs for years now. Photoshop and Illustrator are my main jams, but being in interdisciplinary classes this semester, I’ve learned a few new programs from other peers. It’s always interesting to see people use equipment that is foreign to you. I’ve had the privilege to be surrounded by amazingly talented friends who can teach me new things, and I’m so excited to tell them about this!

I’m going to use some jargon here, but if you’re not familiar with what I’m saying, definitely watch the video I’ll be placing down below.

So, for those of you that have used Photoshop before, hopefully you know about their Content-Aware tools. Whether that be the Patch, Healing Brushes, or Stamp options, there is capability to remove things from a photograph completely. Here’s an example (credit: Peter McKinnon). Notice the door to the left that disappears.

Pretty amazing, right? These tools can be used for a lot of really cool and useful things. But those tools have only been applicable to still images…until now! Adobe has released a teaser in the video below, showcasing brand new technology that can Content-Aware fill in a video! Seriously, watch it:

I don’t do any video work – or at least I haven’t in the past – but a lot of people in my studio right now are mocking up videos for our final project. Now, this technology won’t be out for a couple of weeks, but wow, this is incredible. For all of the artists and designers out there, welcome to the newest, coolest stuff on the market! Can’t wait to see what crazy things people will do with this. If you want more info, find it here.

Color Trends: Real or Fake News?

Have you ever heard of the color “First Lady Pink”? I personally had never known about it until a few days ago. I was taking a workshop with a Color and Materials Designer from Kohler during class on Wednesday. She was discussing the basic progressions of color trends in kitchen/bathroom plumbing throughout the past few decades.

More often than not, people tend to think trend forecasting – an integral part of CMF design – doesn’t mean a whole lot. Or that it’s totally fake. Well, I’m here to tell you I’ve found the best example yet.

Mamie Eisenhower, during her time as the First Lady, had renovated her bathroom in the White House all pink. She had done an interview with the news after it was completed, sharing her one-hue palette. Needless to say, all of the women in the States heard this interview, and within the next few years, bathrooms everywhere – and I mean everywhere – turned a Pepto-Bismol shade of pink.

Now, I’ve been in several of these period-correct bathrooms that have stood the test of time – their shade of bubblegum still bright as ever. You see, I had personally noticed this shade in bathrooms, but chalked it up to being the fashion at the time. I never thought more of it. Until this Kohler designer pointed it out. She said through the company’s research, they found that fixtures, tiling, etc. in the very specific shade of blush during the 1950s skyrocketed directly after this interview of Mrs. Eisenhower (just look at the advertisement I found above!).

The shade became officially known as First Lady Pink after that. I think it’s absolutely fascinating to finally make this connection (even if I learned it from someone else). It’s the connecting of dots like this that show you how trends in pop-cuture effect a vast majority of products and people. Forecasting in the art and design world is an extremely difficult thing to do. Now whenever the next person asks me to describe part of my work, I’ll be able to give a concrete example to help visualize something that quite often sounds like nonsense.

Who Owns a Mural?

Arguably one of Detroit’s most famous works of art, The Illuminated Mural (the “dripping rainbow wall” is the street-known name) has been contested in lawsuits for years now. Katherine Craig is the creator and originally painted this piece back in 2009. The wall has been the backdrop to thousands of photos, including the ones of my friends and I above, taken back when I had started college in 2014.

It has brought joy to the city since its creation, and when the building’s owner started to talk about proposed renovations a few years ago, the difficulties ensued (no pun intended). See, the remodels for the apartments were scheduled to punch holes through the mural for new windows along the side of the building. Craig pushed back, saying that it violated the art she had made. Several campaigns around the city were held to show support – #SavetheRainbow being one of the most influential.

Now, legally there were a lot of discussions surrounding all of this. You can read an older article from Detroit Free Press here. It outlines what was current a couple of years ago during the melee. The reason I am talking about it today, is because driving past it earlier this week, I noticed brand new windows had just been installed. Don’t panic – the windows now occupy the strip of brick on the left side of the facade that doesn’t have any paint. You can see the space in the photo below:

@playground.detroit

My mom actually knows Craig’s mother believe it or not. So this wall has been something we’ve personally talked about for years now. I haven’t heard much in the local press lately, so I’ve been out of the loop on the developments. I was definitely happy to see that some sort of compromise has been made. After driving past a few days ago, I knew I had to research the updates. I haven’t been able to find anything published recently regarding the situation.

I do understand the legality of the building owner having the right to the wall, but if windows really had been scattered throughout it, I know how distraught the community would be. Art – murals especially – is a major component of Detroit’s culture and people. More often than not, you hear the arts are the first to be cut from struggling schools. Art and design are extremely important in the establishment of not only ideas, but society in general. It seems like not many artists win these days, so I wanted to share a small victory I encountered this week. If you’re in the area I highly recommend you take a trip to see it in person!

Finding Your Awe

@quintessenz

What is something that inspires you? Something that just truly makes you, well, gasp. There are moments in life when you come across something so beautiful and pure, that your body is sent into this overdrive state. Your mind is blank, but at the same time, reeling with thoughts; your heart feels as if it stops, and then instinctively kicks back in to pump blood even faster. Everything is heightened.

Everyone experiences this at different times in their life. Sometimes it’s fleeting – oftentimes why people go looking for adventure – and other times, it’s more extended states of bliss. These full body experiences, where we feel unbelievably content with our lives, these are moments of awe.

I think artists and designers are special because we tend to seek moments of awe more often than others. This can be good, but also detrimental (more on that another time). I listened to a podcast recently in which – the name of the person escapes me at this moment – this individual was describing how instinctive and biological humans are. We have this innate drive to eat and sleep (amongst other animalistic behaviors) and those self-sufficiency, survivalism habits are what drive our every waking moment. Whether we realize this, or are actually aware of it, those habits are what consume us.

But, there are times in our lives – times of complete and utter awe – that interrupt our habits. Those awe-inspiring moments are what captivate us. Quite honestly, that’s what some people live for. I’ve met surfers who’ve shared their stories about traveling across the globe searching for the best waves. I have family members who have traveled across the globe for religious pilgrimages hoping to see miracles. I’ve witnessed friends receive job offers for life-altering careers that would take them across the globe. For humans, we are inclined – somehow, someway – to do everything we can to make those awe-filled moments as regular as possible.

I just experienced one of these moments. The photos I’m littering (a terribly ironic word choice here) throughout the text is what gave me goosebumps a few minutes ago. I have no idea how I came across these artists, but my goodness. Scrolling through their website, my mouth was hanging open. Photo after photo, video after video, my body went into that overdrive state.

Quintessenz is a dual-artist team that creates installation and mural work. I don’t know (yet) what it is about the art they create, but it’s something that hits me – and hard. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was overwhelmed by awe looking at this. I’ve had moments in my life – most of these in nature – that consumed me. I can recognize these moments now (which I highly recommend you become aware of these), and this was definitely one of them.

I beg of you…please check out the website I linked above. Scroll through the endless amount of content and experience it for myself. I will tell you now, this is some of my all time favorite art to this day. If I ever find myself within hundreds miles of one of their pieces, I will make it my mission – completely ignoring my eating and sleeping habits – to see it in person.

To All of the Learners Out There

I am a naturally curious person. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that some people, are just not hardwired the way I am. Not saying my way is the only or best way, just that there are a lot of thinking processes out there. Which is also fascinating to me.

Regardless, I went to a lecture tonight in which Anna Sui – the amazingly talented, and well known fashion designer – sat down and answered a bunch of questions about her work. It’s always inspiring to hear remarkable people talk. I’ve loved her work for years, and quite honestly never thought I’d see her in person. It’s interesting, meeting famous people.

One of the hosts tonight had mentioned the famous saying, “Don’t meet your heroes because you might be let down.” I definitely have to disagree. You should certainly meet them. And I hope that you do! What an amazing experience. Just because someone isn’t the spitting image of your wildest fantasies, doesn’t mean they are a disappointment.

I find that artists and designers usually exceed my expectations every time I hear them talk in person – no matter how much I’ve previously conjured up in my mind. Anna Sui had discussed her idea about making cake-shaped purses for a show because she “loved the way the bakery next to [her] first apartment did icing on their pastries.” There’s probably some art critic rolling over in their grave because they thought it was some homage to child-hood trauma where she didn’t get a cake at her 12th birthday. Sorry, I’m being melodramatic. If you want to see a great let’s-poke-fun-at-art film, watch Velvet Buzzsaw on Netflix.

Despite all of the interesting backstories to her endless stream of art, Sui had said something tonight that really hit home with me. In response to someone telling her she was “showing off” she responding eagerly: “I become obsessed with something new, and when I finally figure that something out, I want everyone to know about it. And my way of sharing that something with the world, is through art. I just want to share.”

@anna.sui

In an industry that is shifting almost every instant, art is amazing. I’m lacking in adjectives here because quite honestly, there’s too many to list. Lazy, I know. But I think you get the point. Sui’s art is not her creating for the sake of proving people wrong or bragging about her talents. When she said such a simple, beautiful thing, she said it like a child who wants to show their parent something they are proud of.

I go to lectures and movies, gallery openings and performances, to hear things like this. In a world overrun with social media, we see curated bits of the finest and flashiest moments of people’s lives. When you go out in to the world, immerse yourself in the cultures, talk to people, listen, and most importantly learn, wonderful things happen. I’m not saying every learning opportunity is going to make a lasting impression, because life is not an Instagram feed. Sui discussed her highs, but also some of her lows. Remarkable people don’t dismiss the learning opportunities as foolish or unimportant. Sometimes, the lowest points in your life make you into the wonderful human that you are today.

Keep learning and growing. I’m still doing that. And I hope I never stop.