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!

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.

I’m in a Creative Block

Image result for creative block book
@amazon

Hello to all my fellow artists and designers out there who seem to be struggling right now. I feel you, and I know your frustration. Even though I’m still in school, I worked in the industry for 6 months last year, and day in, day out, I could feel the artistic part of me shrinking. It’s the strangest feeling – being required to make things, when all the creative juice has been sucked out of you.

Creative block seems to come at the most inopportune times. It’s funny how that always works, right? I have a few fantastic projects to work on for a few classes, and yet, I’ve been struggling to even blog a few hundred words each day. For someone who isn’t in the art world, it might sound like a total cop-out. Believe me, I’ve heard people use the “I’m just not feeling it today” excuse a few too many times to sympathize anymore.

But, quite honestly, I can’t think of many other industries that struggle with this. Sure, science has its research and big ideas; like math though, there is usually an answer that works, and an answer that doesn’t.

Art is different. There is a famous quote from Chuck Close that states:

Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.

Now, artists can agree with this to some extent. And other times, it seems like our brain wiring lost a connection and nothing works up there. I am not even trying to be dramatic for effect here.

So, where do we go from here? I have no idea, hence my current liminal mental state. I started doing research earlier today, seeing if I could seek out some tools; seeing if there was a hypothetic/figurative chisel I could buy, that would chip away at this impermeable crust that is currently holding my brain captive.

Well, I came across a few pieces of advice (and the book shown above that I definitely need to purchase in the future) that stuck with me. Now, who knows if these will unlock anything, but if you see me posting consistently again, you’ll know something go knocked loose. Here’s what I found:

1. Make for the sake of making, without regard to a finish or outcome.

2. Go outside and take a walk; purposefully look for new things you haven’t noticed in your environment before.

3. Work on something besides art. Put it out of your mind for a bit, and be productive with errands, laundry, or cooking.

4. Read or watch something new. Sounds simple, but you never know what idea will spark you in a creative way.

5. Listen to music with headphones on. Block out the world, and your thoughts too.

6. Make something crappy. Throw it out. Repeat.

Most of the above ideas were taken from this article. I hope this helps even one person besides myself. Tomorrow is a new day, with a fresh start, and an open mind. Let’s get creating.

AI Could Take over Creative Jobs too

NVIDIA’s New AI Tool Transforms Simple Scribbles Into Realistic Landscape Images
@digital.information.world

I’ve been off on blogging for the past few days. This week I had my birthday, and everything with school and life seemed to happen all at once. It’s funny how that always tends to happen. Regardless, during my time away yesterday, a new technology was dropped. And it’s changing everything.

I’m not even trying to be dramatic here. I’m actually emphasizing the importance of this new development to its fullest capacity. The tech company NVIDIA has launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that takes simple abstract art, and creates images from nothing. Now, obviously the images are composited from somewhere, but the craziest thing about it, is that the technology only references the internet image collections. The actual creation of the imagery is done through its own pixel distribution – AI is now creating the way an artist would.

Everyone has been concerned about robots and AI taking over the mundane jobs of the economy (truck-driving, food prep, delivery, healthcare, etc.), but what we all thought was untouchable are the creative fields. Art and Design has always been held at a prestigious level throughout history. Not everyone can be creative, so that innate talent is hard to come by. We’ve seen an increase in the amount of jobs that are being created in the art world, and the stress being placed on the creator’s importance in all aspects of business.

So, this new technology seems to be upsetting all of our preconceived notions regarding AI’s lack of sensitivity to art. Here’s a short video that briefly describes and demonstrates its abilities:

As a designer, this is unbelievably fascinating. I don’t know anything about coding, but I can only image the amount of time and craft that has been put into this programming. However, when the VP, Bryan Catanzaro speaks about “everyone becoming an artist,” I start to become wary. He states right after that, that he hopes this technology will actually aid artists and designers in their new creations. I don’t know how I feel about this just yet. Sure, it’s a program created by artists, for artists. But where does this technology stop? Will AI eventually make the artist obsolete? I don’t think so; but it’s difficult to understand just how soon this program could eat up photographers, digital painters, etc.

I was naive to think the creative fields would remain untouched by such a technology. The future is upon us, and it’s becoming even more difficult to predict.

Color has the Ability to Inspire

@sydney.hembree

I am currently working with Ford in a studio of mine this semester. I had posted about the overview of the class in January, and in that post, I mentioned I would update with progress reports if something interesting occurred. Well, I’m here today, sharing a snippet of my process and some good news!

My goal for the semester is to create a color palette to inspire Ford for the renovations that will occur over the next few years at their new Corktown, Detroit campus. One of the ideas that has permeated the conversations over the last few months, has been Ford’s desire to fully integrate within the existing community. More often than not, when a large company is creating a new campus, the plans are structured around a self-sufficient and free-standing area that is almost completely separate from its surroundings – whether that be residential or industrial.

Ford’s extensive and progressive goals are to create a campus – one of those buildings being the famous Michigan Central Station – that fit homogeneously within the Corktown landscape. One of the most inspiring things I’ve personally observed throughout this landscape, is the unique color palette. It is so unique, lively, and the colors permeate almost every inch of the community. My personal project and goal is to create a comprehensive Color Catalog throughout Corktown by compiling photographs from the area. All photos will be taken by myself – within the train station, and the neighboring streets. I’ve inserted a few from today’s shoot above and below. As you can see, the rusty oranges and warm tans, complemented by the minty greens and hazy blues, are already starting to pattern themselves out.

A color palette proposal will be created by color sampling from this catalog I’m compiling. My goal is to help give inspiration to Ford for upcoming projects so that the renovations directly assimilate colors from the community into the campus. Here is a piece of inspiration I found from a fellow student of mine. He directly sought out green in the Detroit area and created swatches that could then be used for the project’s final:

@vikas.sethi

My goal is slightly different – I want to see what comes out of the cataloged photos. Instead of directly seeking out a specific hue, my mission is to shoot as many photos of color in the area as possible, and see what trends form by themselves. Especially in the light of these new renovations, the last thing I want to do is force my own voice, perspective, or motive onto the catalog. The colors will speak for themselves.

As Ford tries to integrate their campus within Corktown, incorporating the existing neighborhood colors into new buildings will help establish a more seamless and culture-appropriate approach. I received great feedback for my proposal during our pitch meetings today, and I hope my project fulfills a gap I think is currently missing in this new age of the Corktown landscape. Color is such a driving force within cities and communities and I am extremely excited about the prospects. Will update as more surfaces!

Out of thin Air

@gessato

Following my current blogging, sustainability kick this week, I’m featuring a company called Graviky Labs. Based in Bangalore, India, this team of scientists and industrial designers are creating ink out of air pollution particles.

Yes, you read that correctly. Let me say it again: making ink…out of pollution.

How fascinating, right? I’m not a chemist by any means, so I’m not sure how they actually make it work. But let me break it down for the lay people out there. They produced a can that fits over a car exhaust, which then filters the smoke, creating particles of ash, which are then combined with different solvents to make liquid ink. This ink can then be used by anyone – artists have obviously taken an interest, since it’s such a uniquely creative idea.

Image result for graviky labs
@cnn

Of all the sectors of pollution, the discussion around air pollution is often dismissed. As physically visible problems – trash in the ocean, dumping of chemicals in undesignated areas, burning of chemicals unlawfully, etc – often trump the unseen, the air we breathe is very nearly forgotten about. But air pollution has been a large contributor to detrimental health problems over the past decade, specifically in Asia.

What really fascinates me is the language they use to describe the pollution, and eventual ink. Their range of markers currently includes a 0.7 mm and 2 mm round tip, a 15 mm chisel tip, and a 50 mm wide tip. Under each marker description they have specifications on the average time it takes to make the ink. For example, a 2mm round tip marker would take approximately 50 minutes of diesel car pollution to create enough particles for the product. How freaking interesting.

Their website clearly states that the main byproduct of fossil fuel burning, is soot. This soot either ends up in water sources or our lungs. They are trying to directly combat the eventual destination by designing a product that takes those particles, and makes something useful and utterly mesmerizing of them. Sure, the ink looks just like any other ink. But when you see someone describe “oh, I illustrated this poster with 100 hours worth of pollution,” it makes the gears in your head turn about a million miles a minute.

Check out the comprehensive video of the patent pending technology below. Enjoy!