1/29 (6. Write about an advertisement whose design you find especially compelling. Write about an advertisement that you think was poorly executed.)
I remember when Pepsi came out with their “protest” themed ad featuring Kendall Jenner. My social media timelines were in flames, I saw hilarious tweets, infuriated Facebook posts, and visual parodies on both Instagram and Youtube. Personally, I shared the same emotions as a majority of Blacks living in America felt: the same white ignorance and blasé, almost sarcastic attitude towards the very real struggles of minority people living in the States. I thought what was especially humorous and insulting about the commercial was the choice of Kendall Jenner as the icon portraying the rebel-spirit Pepsi was trying to commodify. The young model is an offshoot of the Kardashian-Jenner empire, who made their fortune rooting their aesthetics and social relations in Black America. While culturally appropriating and commodifying black culture, they failed to take a solid stance on political issues of Black Americans一particularly #BLM and mass incarceration, even considering that some of the sisters have black love interests. Therefore when the Pepsi protest was released, and the company showed Kendall sharing one of the sodas with a police officer as a primer for partnership (which echoed the photo of a young black woman being arrested by several police officers), the internet hellstorm began.
As an interesting contrast, Heineken, another drink empire, released an ad based in political statements as well. Titled “Worlds Apart,” the ad focused on bringing together people on very opposite sides of the political ideology spectrum, to share a beer and discuss their thoughts. The ad, while still promoting the beer, used the ad to focus on specific issues (feminism, climate change, police brutality, etc), and allow people a platform to give their argument. I also was able to appreciate this commercial a lot more because the focus was not glorifying a model; the Heineken commercial used regular people to represent their ideologies.
1/30 (2. Think about a part of yourself that you truly don’t understand. Ask a question and explore some possible answers. The goal should not be to find one completely correct answer, but to ask even more questions about it. This can be 300 words of questions with no answers.)
I don’t understand why I procrastinate. I can self identify my own problem, so why can’t I also self solve it? I have a lot of projects that I plan for myself: art projects, writing projects, personal spiritual projects. I am truly not sure why I take time from myself and waste it on other things. I find my usual distractor is my phone, and under that is my social medias. I wish I could delete them, or at least not use them as much. But, being a young artist, it’s so hard to exist and display my work without the help of social media. Instagram and twitter have actually alotted me a lot of traffic and response to my art works which I would not usually have access to. But even so, I wonder how I could build myself without the help of social media? Would I have more artworks? Would I be less afraid to try new things out? I feel sometimes hesitant to try out the images I have in my head because I’m afraid they’ll be received as corny or unoriginal. How can I push past that? Will it actually involve dropping Twitter? Upon moving to New York, I’ve also felt very unsuccessful. Many of my peers have achieved some level of fame, and while I feel that my work is sometimes better than theirs (and I am not a conceited person whatsoever, but from the very bottom of my heart I feel that some mediocre work has been given attention because of existing privileges), I am upset to see it not receiving the same feedback. I think that pressure has hindered me largely from executing projects because I’m trying to find the one that will get me the most “clout” on social medias. And then when I find a project, I procrastinate it’s creation because putting off something means I never have to see it fail.
2/1 (7. Choose a subject you would like to write “about.” Then attempt to write a piece that absolutely avoids any relationship to that subject. After you’re finished, grade yourself.)
Being in college is a weird thing romantically. I feel that I see something weird with people my age each day. To me, the confusion comes from seeing boys my age dealing with girls, and not respecting them equally or treating them in a weird way that makes the girl seem “othered.” This is an extremely specific group for observation, I feel queer couples are sometimes different because queerness involves more communication between the people involved. And I believe heterosexual boys have been given a certain amount of leeway to act laissez-faire their whole lives, and haven’t been held to the same standard femmes have. From childhood, misogyny has forced girls to grow up and mature much faster. We learn to respect people earlier, their space and their feelings, while boys are kind of allowed the room to mess up because “boys will be boys.” Boys are even allowed to breach other’s personal space because of the myth that this means they “like” the person. They aren’t taught to apologize for their actions, nor take accountability. I’ve seen boys completely step on other people’s feelings with little to no awareness of it simply because they haven’t been conditioned to be aware of it. Meanwhile, some femme is left angry over someone who they shouldn’t be wasting their emotions on. I’m unsure of how to navigate this landscape, as I desire love and companionship but finding someone is just a hard process that uses too much of my energy. Why should I donate so much extra time when I feel 1) it should be a largely effortless process and 2) I have so many other things to devote this same energy and time to. I’m also afraid of getting burnt and I just would rather skip over trying. That being said, being in college is a weird thing romantically. For me, it requires being knowledgeable of the systems in place that have conditioned us all to be like we are now.
2/2 (8. If you were the subject of a painting, what part of your appearance would the artist focus on?)
If I were the subject of a painting, I am not sure what the painter would focus on. I do think I am a beautiful girl, but I don’t believe I have an asset that is particularly striking. My skin looks pretty in the spring and summer sunlight, when it’s at its most healthy. If it were May or June, maybe a painter would focus on the reflectivity of my skin. When I paint myself, reflectivity or the subtle differences in tone is what I usually focus on. My eyes are funny to me – I have dark circles around them and I can’t do anything about it. When I haven’t caught up on sleep, they look especially dark and though I may not feel bad, people make a point of asking me if I’m okay. Sometimes it works out for me, I don’t have to use extra makeup to create a smokey eye. A painter could definitely focus on those details in a painting of me. My hair is a personal attribute that is constantly changing. I shift between my afro, to cornrows and short twists, to my patterned head wraps, and maybe soon: a bald head. People who are around me often take not of this. My close friend Raj usually tells me “Logan you change your hair everyday.” What’s more humorous to me is the fact that I’m not truly changing my hair all the time, sometimes I just shift between it being twisted up and untwisted. This yields a protective look and an afro look but I assume people create 10 hairstyles in-between that in their heads. Perhaps if I was the subject of a painting, the painter would not focus on a physical characteristic of my appearance, but something that I can do. I feel I can organize outfits really well. What I wear functions to me as a part of my personality, and people who don’t know me are able to gain some insight into who I am through my clothing. I have painted myself in outfits before, and I feel besides my bodily characteristics, this would be something that could be focused on.
2/3 (Can you teach art? Can you teach someone to be creative? How?)
Teaching creativity has been the topic of many educators and academic theorists in America for a while now. Many believe that the future success of America’s people is dependent on their ability to adapt to the ever-changing economy. To do this, the people have to be creative. And what better a place to teach creativity than in school? But that’s the issue: how do we teach creativity? I, for one, believe that teaching it is not the issue. When we are children, we are all extremely creative and imaginative. To me, preserving that youthful creativity is more important than trying the start over and teach the concept again later in life. To preserve this creativity, a lot of educators have begun to rethink what classes we take, and for what reason. There’s now a push to create classes like “critical thinking” and the like in order to give kids classes that test their knowledge and creativity in a more effective way. Now with teaching art, this is a different concept. Since art is so undefined, deciphering what actually is and isn’t art is a complicated process to do. I believe that we have the possibility to teach others technical skills, conceptual skills, and art history, but what the person does with this knowledge is entirely up to them. The person might choose to take some of the techniques they learned and say “I don’t like any of this” and start from their own ideas, or someone might follow their lessons up to a T and produce very academic art. The choice is with the artist. This is why some non-artists don’t “get” why certain art pieces are in museums. Why would a painting of a straight line be something we all covet and praise in the art world? Why would it be the same price as a hyper realistically painted woman? In some ways, you can teach someone how to appreciate art, but I personally think art is an “if you get it, you get it” situation.
2/4 (Describe your ideal place to live and to work. Describe the design of your ideal studio.)
My ideal studio is a medium sized white space. I don’t like large spaces because, like a large sketchbook, the extra space makes me feel unfocused and anxious. In my studio, I would have a mixture of natural and artificial lighting. Preferably two of the walls would have large windows, something to allow sunlight into the room, and I would also have some kinds of mixed lighting on the ceiling. Light is important to me because I am most oftentimes painting, and lighting affects how the paint looks on the canvas completely. I would want one desk for writing, emailing, etc, and a separate two tables for drawing and drafting. I would also have a big cabinet to store my materials. On the other side of the room, I would have a sink, equipped also with a hose so that if I wanted to screen print I had the ability to wash the emulsion and ink off with ease. I would like to have a spot to store my paintings, a big sideways filing system that could hold pieces up to 60”x60”. Kind of like the carpet rack in World Market. I would want this work space to attach to an apartment, which would be my main living space. The connecting room would be the kitchen, and I would try to keep the decorations in the kitchen based on color. Then a small living space would be next to that area, with a couch, a small bookshelf, a coffee table with the magazines I like. I feel that magazines are a way for me to gain inspiration in a no-pressure way so it would be nice to have them in the living room. In the next room would be my bedroom, which would have either an armoire or a vanity, a full size bed, and a floor mirror. I would like a wall of art I’ve collected to hang either behind my bed or to the sides of it. I would also want to have windows, and some plants to go by the windows.