IVT - Art 105.01 - Spring 09

Course blog for Art 105.01 - Intro to Visual Thinking, Spring 2009. Patrick Kelley

Monday, April 13, 2009

stopmotion inside stopmotion

you may have seen something like this, but this is a particularly nice example:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tina - the peanut project

I had heard of projects like this where you draw an object from feel, then you draw it without looking at what you're drawing, then you can both look at the object and what you're doing. I first thought that's what we were going to do, but then we gave the peanut a story, a past. The peanut's story and life experience helped with the next questions of it's gender and age, personality traits, and finally the name. After personifying the peanut it was difficult thinking of switching it with another peanut because I ended up describing a person I knew, and to eat it was just out of the question. It's funny to think about not eating a peanut because it reminds of me of someone, but I guess that's what happens when you personify anything into something familiar.
This project actually ties into too some of my goals in drawing studio. I have been working with abstraction of objects by zooming in on detailed views, and capturing the "essence" of objects. This process would actually help me develop these ideas because it leads to a deeper understanding of the object and a closer connection for the artist. Once you feel connected to the object, it is easier to express its meaning and purpose.
Also, in my drawing studio, we just had a visiting artist talk about ekphrastic writers (translate art into written word). I think I had that idea in my head when I wrote the life story of my peanut ("ode to a grecian urn"...). This simple exercise definitely displays one of the most important skills for artistic expression. An artist must be able to truly connect with his object in order to create. And it was obvious that after the exercise, most of us had made some kind of connection with our peanut. I will use this process in developing my work in drwaing studio.

Your Nuts

The idea of becoming attached to a peanut sounds absurd, but after drawing the peanut several times, developing a life story for it, giving the peanut a personality, name, etc, one may start to value such a small and once-insignificant object. By personifying an object, we as humans start to associate the insignificant object with distinguishable characteristics and eventually humanistic traits. Once we sense that a peanut has humanistic traits, all hopes for sanity are lost; would you eat Frank, the last standing WWII peanut veteran? ...Well still maybe, but it makes it harder for you to eat the peanut; in some cases you would replace your peanut for another peanut to eat. In any case, the idea behind becoming closer with an object by giving the object humanistic traits is pretty unique and this experiment surely hit the spot showing us that even we students can be crazy (in the good sense).

Peanut Project-Sean H

It was neat to see the differences between my peanut drawings. The idea of what my peanut looked like did not do justice to the characteristics that made the peanut truly unique. When you are looking closely at an object like that, certain things jump out at you and stick in your mind so you would be able to pick your peanut out of a line up. Giving the peanut a name and a story, while using its characteristics to do so, really made the peanut personable. I started looking at it as something with value, not just a peanut I want to pop in my mouth at a bar. Well at least for a little bit because I just ate him. But it shows you can add meaning to something no matter how insignificant it really is. I even find myself talking about him as if the peanut is a human being. Another thing about the project that I found interesting is what you visualize an object looking like and the way it actually looks. 


I enjoyed this project and was surprised how far the class was able to go with this project. We started by just drawing a stereotyped peanut. You rarely find those perfect symmetrical peanuts in a bad; most are oddly shaped. But, still that is was most people drew. I thought it was interesting that we highlighted the characteristics that did not fit into that mold of the perfect symmetrical peanut and accentuated them. After observing the peanut, all the students were even able to pick theirs out from a large pile of other peanuts. The deformities in our peanuts gave us interesting ideas for a life story or occupation. Just from the things that made our peanuts different from those symmetrical ones we think of, we were able to associate long lists of personality traits. Even thinking about something as insignificant as a peanut for so long, trying to associate feelings with its appearance, I thought it was amusing that most of the students in the class did not want to eat it at the end of the project. This project was one of my favorites because it was silly and fun, yet it still had some relationship with art and could be connected with the class.


Today we looked at peanuts. By looking at them and thinking about these peanuts in different ways it helped to see all the unique features and distinct imperfections that each individual peanut had. It even allowed us to imagine a past for the peanut based on the condition of its shell. Usually I only think of the best way to crack them open so I can enjoy eating them, but this time we gave each peanut a life and a personality which was a new way of seeing it.

Peanut Friend

The process of this experiment surprised me. There is an amplified connection made with an object when you personify it. You begin to narrate this character's life story in your head like a character in a book or a film. Even though those characters do not exist in real life we form an attachment to their struggles and their achievements. We find ourselves sympathizing with their emotional trials. When this character attachment process is applied to an object, the outcome is no different. We each found something unique about our peanuts and began hypothesizing their entire life stories from there. Once you form that emotional attachment, it is hard to imagine it back as simply an organic matter grown from the earth. I enjoyed giving life to something I otherwise wouldn't have thought twice about cracking and eating.

Mike V - Peanut Activity Reflection

When we were drawing the peanut, that was all it was, a peanut. Even in the caricature drawing, in which I made mine look like something of a human face smiling, there was never a connection or anything like that. But when a life story was created, along with demographics, and personality, there began a certain process of anthropomorphism that inherently created a meaning in the peanut, that wasn't there before. And, finally, to give it a name makes it an individual, unique, and special beside the others, whether they be human children, or peanuts. Then, for whatever reason, there is reluctance to trade in the peanut for a better one, or eat it. Of course we are projecting this personality onto the peanut, so most likely it greatly reflects our own personality, or at least how we conceive of our own personality. But still, the peanut is not reacting or giving back, there is no interaction, as there would be with another person that we meet and learn to identify by name. In this personal interaction however, it is possible to not like the other human. In regards to the peanut, where the personality is coming from within, most likely the peanut will be liked. But, it is easier to forget that you like something when it never reminds you why.

The peanut project

This was a very worth-while study. It made me reflect on how attached I can get to simple objects. We do the same thing with stuffed animals as children and with cars and ipods as adults. I know people who have named their cars and children who can't bear to be separated from their stuffed animal for one night. I think that personifying objects is our way as humans to relate to them, because our concept of life is based solely on our humanity. We can't truly fathom what life must be like for a rose bush or a bird. Part of our attachment to objects is how we acquired them. Where they came from or who gave them to us, how much they cost or how often we use them, all affect how attached we become.

In creating a work of art, the artist develops a relationship with the object they are making the portrait of. They spend time studying its physical aspects and pondering its history. All this can be conveyed visually in a piece.

Reflction on Peanut Drawing Project-Devin Sherwood

I noticed that after we took the time to draw, give a life story, characteristics, and a name to our peanut it was no longer just another peanut. When asked if we would like to trade our peanut for a more perfect one most people in the class refused to give up their peanut. By paying so much attention to this one peanut we personified it in a way. No longer could anyone eat their peanut, but rather a bond was formed between that person and their peanut. By noticing the imperfections and weird shape of our peanut we noticed its uniqueness, and every other peanut lacked the special qualities of our own peanut. It was then easy to distinguish our peanut from a group of other peanuts because we recognized its own unique imperfections.
At first this peanut was just another peanut in a shell, it didn't mean anything to anyone. Yet, after completing this assignment and "getting to know our peanut" it became our own personal peanut, even our friend.

Reaction to the peanut experiment

In my opinion the peanut experiment helped to perceive a simple object such as a peanut in a different way. Since we had to ascribe the peanut with human character traits I inevitably associated the its characteristics with those I have noticed about human beings. During the process of describing the peanut's life and background, a more and more clear and precise picture was created in my mind of what the peanut would look like if it was a living human being.
Especially the acy of given the peanut a name is probably mostly connected to our own experience with a single person. If there would be a chance to see the real person behind the peanut's name (If there is one), the other students in class would possibly notice if the artist made a positive or negative connection between the peranut and the person.
However, I was slightly amazed how quickly I had built up some kind of relation to my peanut. After the professor invited us to eat our peanut, I briefly thought about keeping it as a memory of my year abroad but decided not to.

Peanut Project

I wasn't exactly sure what this project was supposed to be "about" at first, but it now makes a lot of sense. Being able to take something that is as boring as a peanut and transform it into an entire new entity with a life, a personality, and a name is a feat of the imagination. I think that if everybody got the same peanut, each "story" would be different; this diversity of creativity is pretty exciting, I think. It would be interesting to see how the projects would turn out if we were given a longer period of time to attribute lives to our peanuts.

peanut project

I was surprised by how strangely shaped so many of the peanuts were. I thought all peanuts looked the same but now I think there are probably more freak peanuts than regularly shaped ones. I liked that we did a number of drawings and tried to experience the peanut with multiple senses. It reminded me of blind contour drawing, where you look at the object and draw without looking at the paper or taking your eyes off of the object. Also, after spending so much time constructing an idea of what this peanut's life is like, you get a little attached.

Peanut Personification

It's amazing how I can take a little peanut, a food object, something to keep in bowls at a bar, and make it into a person.  The human capacity for creativity and imagination is rather impressive. From a rag tag peanut with cracks that would normally pick it out for something easier to eat because you can get to the meat inside that much faster, I have created Jonathan.  Characteristics valuable in a peanut become detrimental to the person I have created.  It becomes a he and he becomes a war hero, a momma's boy, a dedicated member of society.  He's a peanut!  He will do no more good for this world that causing someone who is hungry to have a little protein. Suddenly, with a little imagination and motivation, cracks become slashes, knots become calluses, and separations in the shell become a broken bone in need of a cast.  What makes us capable of seeing all these impossibilities in an unrelated object?  It was a fun activity because giving life to something inanimate is a pastime mostly lost after the days of playing pretend and barbie dolls when we were little.  

Bob the Peanut

Out of all the projects we've done so far, I think this one has been my favorite. First, it was interesting to see how my idea of peanut compared with my actual one. The one in my head was much more idealized and perfect, like the kind they use in advertisements. Bob, my peanut, was pretty much completely full of imperfections. Just another example of how the media interferes with our perception. Feeling the peanut was a really cool exercise as well, because it's just as powerful as sight, but you could misinterpret it, and draw something radically different than what you have. My favorite part was giving the peanut an identity because it makes the project even more personal. Bob looks like a moose head without the antlers, think Bullwinkle from Rocky and Bullwinkle. Not only is there a nose like projection, but even the texture plays a role, because the pattern breaks in a certain area, creating an eye. This is going to sound totally ridiculous, but I don't think I'll ever be able to look at a peanut again without thinking of its personification and Bob.

Dominique peanut project reflection

I enjoyed this project because it involved creating a living being from a peanut shell. First we spent time drawing it and in the process, I became attached to my peanut. So when the second part of the assignment was given, it was not difficult for me to describe her life, characteristics, and personality. In doing so, I learned that although all peanuts are assumed to look the same, they are not. This can be paralleled to many other objects and even people: it is never OK to simply categorize based on similar appearance; Everyone is unique in their own special way and sometimes it takes a little observation and analyzation to realize that.

Jackson Peanut Reaction

The exercise with the peanuts was pretty fun. It was a good way to be relaxed but still learn something on how I view objects. It was odd because the whole time II wanted to write out the concept map or flow of my thoughts out of my head. That way whoever was viewing the peanut and the information  wrote about it would understand totally why I named my Peanut Rambo. 

It because I watched a movie satirizing the Rambo film over the weekend. So if you had me do the same exercise with the same nut like 2-3 days earlier or later I may have related it to something else in my recent past. So how many other works of art are the same way? What if the Mona Lisa was only named because of a small but intricate series of events and thoughts? 

It helped to give some depth and more character to art i see. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Op-Video: Sex, Lies and Photoshop (NYTimes video)

Why magazines should let readers know if images have been retouched.

dara - pictionary

Tina Giordano: