Tag Archives: Art

Why you should hire me. NOW!

I have a BFA. Everyone is saying that an MFA is the new MBA. They are partially correct. I didn’t start out as an art student, mathematics came first. Mathematics have me a way to look at the world in certain terms. It’s what I love about it. Theoretically is you knew all of the variable there isn’t a problem you can’t solve without mathematics. It gave me such certainty, until I started making art. Art was this silly world of feelings and emotions, at least that’s what I thought. I started my BFA the semester I got back from Denmark living as a pig farmer, but we will get to that. In my practice I learned that art is math and math is art (that’s a tautology).

Both art and math are governed by a base of assumptions. Math we have postulates, art we have history. Both grow from the pasts they have inverted and follow a logical progression and iterative process. The most wonderful aspect of both of these areas of study is that they can train the mind in finding solutions in not the most obvious places. That was my education, and I pushed that as hard as I could everyday I was in university.

Art was a way of receiving an assignment. Reading the instructions and limitations and bending them to my will. Most student would ask for clarification on exactly what they needed to do to fulfill the assignment. I would push and reinterpret the “guidelines” to allow me to create something outside of the usual scope of the object being created. One example of this would be a project I had in a fundamental 2d class. We had to use words to create a design. I built a flip book in flash, then wrote a program to export frames. Took each one of the frames to a printer and produced a flip book. No where I. The rules said I couldn’t, but everyone else in class had a static image.

I was a pig farmer in Denmark. In my transition between math and art in university I had the opportunity to live in Denmark for six months as a pig farmer. I had never farmed before in my life. I really hadn’t ever been to a farm either. I had the opportunity and I took it. I arrived in Denmark in July. I settled in to my room on my uncles farm that night. I woke at 5am ready to start working. I learned how to go around and make sure the pigs had water, food, the straw was dry, and they were healthy and happy. I would be working there for the next six months with my uncle and his wife, or so I thought. Roughly three weeks after being there my uncle had informed me that I would be watching the WHOLE farm by myself for ten days while he and his wife would be on a cruise. A much needed break for them.

I was quite taken aback. Knowing that they had ready booked the cruise and I didn’t have any way out of it I accepted the responsibility, and decided I had all the confidence that I would be able to do it. There really wasn’t any other option. Those ten days went fairly well except for the automatic feed system getting jammed, which I had to fix while getting directions over the phone from another farmer.

Soon enough I was working a few days on another farm. A chicken farm. Usually at the beginning of the day I would get fairly vague instructions for the tasks that needed to be done that day and was set off on my own. I learned a lot of skills working on these farms. How to repair machinery, plow a field, mend various other items, back up a tractor with a trailer on it. No matter what the job was I faked the confidence to do it, because I had spent most of my life just figuring out how to do things.

Anyway, if you are a potential employer I have never worked in a true corporate environment. What I do have is the knowledge to figure it out. A previous boss would just say, “handle it, handle it”. This was code for I know you will figure it out just don’t care how the sausage was made (something else I know how to do). I have a breadth of knowledge, and a passion for what I am doing. Hire me already

Thank you potential employers.

P.S. It’s a prerequisite your company cares about making a difference in the world.

My new things the week of 22/02/2010

Ok,

If people didn’t know I have taken a small hiatus from the art world in order to pursue my culinary passion. Though it isn’t directly connected to the fine arts realm, I believe that there is still a strong connection between the two fields. Currently I am trying to apply lessons learned from fine arts to my culinary endeavors. For me food elicits a visceral experience to the viewer/patron, allowing me to give a richer experience.

Currently I am working in two restaurants in Oxford, Oh. The restaurant I usually start at in the morning is called Kona Bistro, which is a casual modern dining establishment. Currently at Kona Bistro I am the head prep cook responsible, to all of the great line cooks there, for making sure everything is stocked. In addition to doing daily prep I have recently had the opportunity to do the weekend dessert specials. This weekend is extra special because in Oxford it is Think Pink Weekend, and for this weekend the dessert special is a pink strawberry Pots de Creme in order to celebrate Oxford’s Thin Pink Weekend.

My nights are spent working as the head sauté line cook at Steinkeller,a tradition Bavarian Bier Hall. Working at Steinkeller affords me the opportunity to use my artistic ability in plating dishes, as well as as well as playing with flavors in making weekend specials. This weekend I was especially proud of myself for coming up with a delectable and filling vegetarian special, we don’t have many of those at a German restaurant. The special is a Green Bell Pepper stuffed with sautéed shallots, onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs mixed with basmati rice and slow roasted. The pepper is served over a spicy roasted red pepper sauce and a bed of arugula.

Well, those are the things I am up to this week, check back Monday (02/22/2010) for the recipes and photos.

C.

The WristBand project

WristBand OneFor Change Two

This project began as a joke. One night during the fall semester of 2008 me and a friend decided to keep the wristbands from going to the bars on our wrist for the entire semester. Well about a week in he quit, which just gave me more motivation to continue doing it. I would catch a lot of flak from people about it. For some reason I knew that there was something more in it, that something could be derived from it.

The semester came and went, I cut off the wristbands and didn’t think too much of it until I was approached by some friends of mine who were putting together a book of images and writing about change. It took me a while to figure out what I was going to do. I remembered that I had taken a picture of my wrist each day of the fall semester, and that by definition it changed depending on whether I went out, or where I was when I woke up.

The piece was built with Processing. I start with the first image and then slowly change it by grabbing pixels from the next image, and replacing the first image’s pixels with the second’s. I take snapshots in time at a constant interval to document the change.

We notice large changes in our lives, and when these large changes happen we tend to look for a root cause. Usually though there isn’t one single root cause of anything, it is all an accumulation of very small changes. In the piece I started with the beginning of my venture and the ending of my venture. There are two changes between them. The start has fewer wristbands and the wristbands are on my arm, opposed to the end where there are more wristbands and they are cut and lying on the table. If we were to look deeper we would realize that there are a large number of steps from A to B, and paying attention to those steps is critical to our understanding of ourselves and others. I think bottom line is that I want people to pay attention to the very small things that happen everyday, and understand that a lot of very small change is what inevitably forces the very big change.

Thank You…..

Thank you everyone that came to the reception last Thursday. We appreciated everyone taking time out of their busy week to come check out our installation.

It seemed that the show was well received by everyone, and everyone enjoyed the experience. I personally got a kick from everyone asking what was in the reflecting pools. It seemed that everyone was very surprised that it was water when they touched it.

I also want to thank Sarah Salbu for writing the article about our show for the Miami Student. The article came out very well, and it is always cool to see that there is interest in the stuff we do outside of the Art department. If you would like to read the article its up here

Below are some short videos of the installation and the reception for anyone who missed it, check em out they are pretty cool. :). Remember that the show will be up until this Saturday May, 9th. Again THANKS for everyone that made this possible!!! I hope everyone enjoyed the food.

Spatially Snesed Experience: Phase One Reception from christian mclean on Vimeo.

SSE: Reception from christian mclean on Vimeo.

SSE: Reception from christian mclean on Vimeo.

SSE: Reception from christian mclean on Vimeo.

SSE: Reception from christian mclean on Vimeo.

Another Twitter Mashup… But this time with Processing and Helvetica


Twitter/Helvetica/Processing Mashup a.k.a Twartistatment from christian mclean on Vimeo.

For my upcoming collaborative show at Miami University, I wanted to do something other than just have a comment book. Because of the nature of what we are doing with technology in the form of installation and involving the user in the environment, and because I want to be the best genY’er I can be, I wrote a sketch in Processing that uses the Twitter4j library for processing.

What happens in this sketch is it is actually two sketches. The first sketch runs in the background, kinda like a separate thread, this sketch runs the queries to twitter, writes them to a file; then finds all of the unique words within the whole document. It then compares each of those words to each tweet, and uses that count and an index of how relevant the tweet is in relation to the other tweets that showed up in the search. It then writes those numbers to a file indexed the same way as the whole file that contains the tweets, to keep a one to one correspondence. The second sketch is the visual part. This is the video shown here. It grabs all of the tweets and counts and pair them up in an object, and then displays it to the screen. Remember that number from the unique comparisons earlier, well it is used to determine the size of the rectangle drawn to the screen, as a visual way to see how relevant the tweet is within each of the other tweets.

Well thats the long explanation of what is going on behind the scenes, but what I intend to do with this is have it replace the comment book is in a gallery setting, because these days there really isn’t a need for a physical comment book when we can always have our comments in the cloud and access them anytime we want. Because o this non-spatial comment book, anyone in the world can has a direct impact on anyone else in the world who has viewed the show, either by video, photographs, or were actually there. Breaking down barriers of the specific gallery “space”.

There are a few problems I see. One, well twitter is free and it might be really busy that day. Two, it seems like everyone I talk to around here doesn’t use twitter, nor would they get an account just for the opening. Three, I have written the code so fat that it locks up, hopefully I can solve this problem, but you can’t change humans.

Hot off the critique floor..

Here I have a video courtesy of Mr. Geoff Riggle. We set this installation up for a graduate critique last night. This is the first time that we have been able to get a half-way decent installation of this piece.

We have been working with the arduino hardware, and ceramic materials, mainly ceramic fire brick, in order to create an interactive environment. What happens here is the board controls the fading of the light, and when the P.I.R(infrared sensor) is tripped the board fires the secondary light. There is still a little issue with the timing due to the hardware and the fact we are using ac current.

It’s hard to talk about these conceptually right now, because we have been so involved in how to get these things to work. Especially with using newer technologies, you tend to get wrapped up in making it work, that’s fine. The idea was to create a monolithic element contrasted with a more ephemeral element, hence the large brick structure and the dimming light. From that ideas of breathing, life, cycles start to enter the frame. A comment came up that these things start to reference cities. That is the closest metaphor for what we are making. Just like a city, these modularly built structures that begin to have a life of their own. Without people the city would have it’s character that it has, trying to incorporate that further into the installation I am working on a twitter and Hiestand Galleries, located at Miami University, Oxford Ohio. We hope to have a large gathering, and maybe enough tweets to summon the FAIL WHALE.

New Print from my drawing program

built with processing

built with processing

I have been dealing with a visualization of sound for a while. This one here is an image of what an hour at Kofenya, my local coffee shop, looks like. I adapted the pillbug sketch to “record” the sounds of life around me. What is happening here is that about 50 “chains” (stings of drawn lines) are drawn and follow a vertor path affected by the noise in the room. The noise also affects the size of each link, resulting in the varying line weights giving a us this image. What’s fascinating is the incredible variation of the lines weight, allowing the viewer to compare to amount of quiet and noisy times. I will be posting the source code and the application online, when I can get everything cleaned up, and also add controls to allow the viewer to be the composer of the random acts of noise. Please leave a comment, and let me know what you think.

Why do we need to know how to draw anyways???

Stickman

Why is it if I draw like this...

After a conversation, about the benefits of drawing, with a previous professor at the local coffee shop. I started to think about the current pedagogy of teaching the practice of creating fine art.

If drawing is the basis of art, as I am told, then why don’t you need to be able to draw to be an artist these days. Now some people might disagree with me, but please finish reading until you post a comment.

I think that there are very good lesson learned from drawing such as; understanding the difference between what you see and what you think you see, understanding how/why you make the marks that you make, and refining ideas. In my undergrad experience I had to take six drawing classes and only two of those classes actually taught me the lessons above. The reason is because before drawing 3/4 we did small task based assignments (contour line, inner contour line, perspective). I don’t disagree with learning these things, but I do disagree with the way they were taught. Because they were treated as isolated assignments I just wanted to get them done and over with.

I can conceptualize things like this

I can conceptualize things like this

That was drawing 1/2 and then I ended up in drawing 3/4 the atmosphere changed. The class wasn’t treated as a “class” but more of a workshop. We came in and drew vigorously from life for two hours and then reflected on the drawings, learning and thinking after every step.
I think that it is the process of making – reflecting – acting – making, in which became the invaluable lesson of drawing.

I think that after you realize this process in drawing you can apply it to any other form of art without sitting down and drawing. For me it is most appropriate for an idea to spring into my head – then sit on it – then do some samples – then make it. Because I don’t sit down and do a detailed sketch of exactly what it will look like give me the flexibility to evolve alongside the piece.

At some point “drawing” becomes more of a technical problem instead of a learning dialogue. I think it is time to acknowledge this. By doing so we can substitute what we can learn from most processes what we learn from drawing, therefore turning drawing into a mere technical problem.

The Economic Value of Artists

Take Out Again?? - Detail
After reading a guest post on chrisbrogan.com by  Amrita Chandra titled “What Artists Can Teach Everyone About Social Media”. I started thinking about how/why artists are important.

I came to the conclusion that good artists will always be willing to try the “new” things, be it technology or a breaking topic that needs to be discussed in visual way. That is why in the way that urban renewal works is that usually in an economically depressed neighborhood the artists will start to move in. I think its because it’s cheap and artists don’t really mind the rough neighborhood because no one really messes with them.

The next step is that artists start to add some different views on everything, start making things look different/interesting. A few little boutique shops move in, such as a coffee shop, a small clothing shop, some new bars, and some little diners. Things start happening and its catches the eye of a local lifestyle paper.

All of a sudden the galleries start doing ok, and the gay community start frequenting the area and moving in. Well the gay community start living there and cleaning things up, all the while pumping money into community stimulating the micro-economy of the neighborhood.

Things are going really well, and the the young executives catch wind of this new prospering neighborhood and since they have a “real” paycheck they come in and start buying real-estate and hanging out in the community. Well what that also does is it starts raising the price of living there, so what happens is that the artists can’t afford to live there any more and move to other places to start the cycle again.

These are just some very general observations I have made thinking about my own situation as I have just graduated college with a degree in Fine Arts, and search for a place to live for a while. Currently this is happening in a part of Cincinnati called Over the Rhine. But if you look at New York, in New York you have Chelsea and Williamsburg. Then there is Portland, Or.

Vitamain D will rot your brain

Ok, the title is a little harsh but that’s pretty much what I thought about this article when I read it. It starts out with broad assumptions/generalizations, and especially in this postmodern time that we are in creating those type of generalizations are more often than not WRONG.

What this article did do was open up the idea of drawing to include are more diverse definition of drawing. Instead of defining drawing as a skill the article was talking about how drawing was a state of being/finding where you are in the universe. This little pearl of wisdom became interesting because it removed drawing from a rigorous process of paper and drawing utensil. It allows an idea to take precedence over the specific process.

When we limit ourselves to living by rigorous rules of process within a certain discipline we lose the ability to see the forest from the trees. Experimentation and disregard for the modernist interpretations of materials and processes is where we are at, and drawing helped us get there. Because without the ability to draw, again when I say draw I am not referring to pencil/charcoal/ink and paper but a broader sense of using tools to figure out where a specific person is in the universe, we would have never arrived at many of the destinations we are at now. I doubt even this blog.

-Christian