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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Recapping an entire summer’s worth of experiences in one post? Let’s do this. Essentially, this summer I had the wonderful opportunity to intern with Lilly Pulitzer’s print design team in King of Prussia, PA. I when I say wonderful, I am not exaggerating. Lilly is a relatively small, close knit company devoted to their brand, and that really shines through in the fun-loving, community-oriented atmosphere that permeates the Pink Palace. (Seriously. I worked in a pastel pink building. How cool is that?)

Immediately on the first day, I was thrown right into the mix, helping to finish up Summer 2012 artwork and send it out to vendors. From there we jumped right into concepting and designing for Fall 2012. The pace was fast, the work challenging, and I loved every minute of it. Whether we were hard at work or giggling around a table, there was not once a dull moment at Lilly. In between designing and cleaning prints, we took an inspiration trip to the local botanical gardens and sponsored a charity event with Oceana in the Hamptons. Okay… maaaaaybe those days spent cleaning prints for what seemed like forever were a little dull, but even those weren’t too bad.

When I wasn’t working on Summer and Fall artwork, the other interns and I were working on a collaborative project to design and market a proposed line of products for Spring 2013. With interns representing many different departments at Lilly, we had a lot of great minds from a variety of backgrounds each bringing a unique perspective. Large group projects are always challenge…. but we pulled it together and wowed our audience in our final presentation.One of the things I really appreciated was that in my 2 months there I was never just an intern. I was part of the team, working side by side with seasoned print designers. Because I got to work so closely with them, I really did learn a lot this summer. Now I understand better how products become reality. I know I can paint giant canvases with ease (one of mine even ended up in the Lilly store in Ardmore, PA!). Most importantly, I have learned to just do it, also known as confidence in your first attempt. I think that in coming out of art school many of us think too much about what we make. To the point where the focus is on whether or not what we are making is good/right/valuable/worthy of an A and not the actual product. I have learned the value of an idea and the importance of editing. Get your idea out there. Let people see it and give feedback. Adjust from there.

Now that I am home, job hunting and enjoying time with old friends. I have had the chance to gather my thoughts about this summer, as well as some of the things I’ve made. So, expect a few more posts along this same vein. :)

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Sometimes you go looking for wisdom and inspiration. Other times it just happens. Life is funny like that. This morning I stumbled upon this article “How to Steal like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)” by Austin Kleon, the same guy who does the newspaper blackout poetry. It echoes much of what I am feeling and hearing here now in the throes of graduating and preparing to go out there and be an artist in the “real” world.

Every professor I have had this year has told us to make the most of it. We will never again have so many eager people willing to give feedback on our work and brainstorm with us. This realization is incredibly disheartening because I have come to treasure and thrive on the community of artists I have around me. When I step outside it, creativity feels quiet and ostracized. While it’s still there,  it takes more effort to find and build up.

It’s important that I find my own internal drive. It’s important to be constantly making. It doesn’t matter if there is a grand purpose or concept or plan, make. This has been the mantra getting me through all the chaos of this year. If I focus on simply being busy and making something instead of the deadlines and requirements, I feel more serene. Some part of me knows that as long as I do, it will get done.

To quote Flaubert and Kleon’s article, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” I have been wondering often what my life will be like post-graduation. I think as artists we are expected to be a good story, to live these zany, amazing lives. But that is an empty pursuit. In trying to be an artist or a story, you aren’t really one. To a certain degree I believe in fate and that we will all end up where we are supposed to, but I think that can only happen if we are open and accepting. If you are open to adventures and experiences, they will happen. It’s hard to see that now, with my whole life ahead of me, but it is a comforting thought.

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Well… here we go again. 3 classes, new and old faces, the familiarity of my studios. I love the beginning of the quarter because it hints at a whole world of untapped possibility and knowledge. I get excited about all the things I might just accomplish in the next 10 weeks. This eager anticipation of learning is something I think I’ll really miss about post-college life. And that life is going to be a reality in 5 short months. But that’s a whole other thing for a whole other time. Right now I’m just focusing on the immediacy of this quarter.

And right now I’ve got three classes: Advanced II, Digital Textile Printing, and Intro to Psychology. The tentative forecast goes a little something like this. Advanced II, my senior level class, should be very productive. I am already somewhat behind since I spent last quarter experimenting and trying to figure out what kind of portfolio would best showcase my abilities. And well, it will be mostly me continuing my ideas and concepts from last quarter. Digital Textile Printing is probably the class I am most excited about because it is a return to a technique-based class. We get to learn how to use the Fibers department’s giant, awesome Mimaki printer!! Hopefully, I’ll get some portfolio worthy pieces out of this class, as well. Lastly, Intro to Psych will just be another SCAD lecture class. Nothing too special there, but psychology has always been interesting to me.

And well, here’s to hoping this quarter is a great second to last one!

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Doing It For Effect

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern by Joshua Zeitz.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the 1920’s. It’s an insightful non-fiction book which explores the character of the flapper and her relation to the dawn of the modern era. Featuring not only brief vignettes into the lives of such celebrities as Zelda & F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and Clara Bow, but also a look into the role of the everyday woman and the reaction of society. The flapper is misunderstood by today’s culture. In actuality, she was so much more than short hair and short skirts. She was confident and brazen in breaking social taboos of her parents. Smoking and drinking. Rouging her lips and bobbing her hair. Going about with young men without adult supervision. She did everything in excess and thrived on decadence. She was petulant, ambivalent, and sexy. Most importantly, she was a symbol of independence, earning her own living and leaving the family homestead for the big city, even if wages for women were scarcely enough to live on. I love the flapper. I think she is fascinating, and I could go on and on about how modern society just wouldn’t be the same without her. But really, for all that stuff you should just read the book.

The other day I decided to reread this book just for kicks. And about halfway through I read this “People who were in the know…often objected to being labeled flappers, if only to avoid being rigidly compartmentalized.” And that seemed awfully familiar. It reminded me of a common stereotype in today’s society: hipsters. Like flappers, general society despises hipsters. Even the people who might fit the definition of hipster, despise hipsters. They are the subject of ridicule and the brunt of so many jokes. The hipster is absurd and often times hilarious, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the hipster.

I go to art school. I ride a vintage bike and sometimes wear vintage clothes. I listen to non-mainstream music. I find mustaches amusing. According to some  definitions, that’s enough to make me a hipster, and I’m okay with that. While I don’t consider myself one, I recognize the influence of the hipster on the culture of my youth. To deny and ridicule the hipster is to do the same to our generation. Because although kin to the flapper, the beatnik, the hippie and the valley girl, the hipster was definitely our own invention and a unique byproduct of today’s consumer-driven and technology-oriented civilization. I wonder how much of an impact the hipster will have on our culture? Like the flapper, will historians 100 years from now write books about the importance of the hipster and their impact on society? And while I can’t claim to know, or even guess at, the long-term influence of the hipster, knowing that my generation is contributing something makes me feels intrinsically connected to the whole of history. And that feeling is pretty cool… Or I suppose I should say deck?

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Bring it on, 2011.

2010 was an okay year, definitely not an easy one. There were new, never before-faced difficulties, but also many accomplishments and both personal and artistic growth. I braved the Midwest and a little bit of the “real world” for a summer. I dabbled in collaboration and fine art, exploring ways to bring in the conceptual. Best of all, I had great times with friends, both new and old.

I could keep on writing and get all sentimental about the year that is about to pass…. but right now I’m decked out in glittery tights and sparkly jewelry and determined to dazzle into the New Year. 2011. I can’t wait. Let’s go. It’s going to be a great year, I can tell already.

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I think I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally come to a peaceful solution regarding the direction of my senior portfolio. I’m certain you are all shocked and amazed and maybe even a little bit proud. Now I’m gonna be mean and give you a little exposition before I make my grand reveal! (For all you impatient people, I suppose you can just scroll on down.)

Much of last quarter was spent working with my hands, probably as a reaction to the very computer-driven life I led this summer at my internship at Kohl’s. On some basic level, I wanted to re-ingratiate myself with the tactile processes of my major, to touch and feel and make. Also, this past spring quarter I had stepped outside my box and made a collaborative fine art installation with fancy and profound concepts behind it. Combine those influences with a class that made it pretty much mandatory that we do whatever and explore, I followed through on all those urges. I dyed and felted….

….and deconstructed and even sewed. Somewhere in all of that, my decision to create a print portfolio got lost, and I began to toy with the idea of creating a fine art portfolio. Lost in indecision and a world of experimenting, I resolved some of my experiments as my final in that class, which resulted in this: a nuno felted & dyed window installation. (Shown here with direct sunset light shining through it, there are pretty colors. I promise.)

Cue winter break, plenty of time to think, and the purchase of a Wacom tablet…. And well, YOU CAN STOP SCROLLING NOW, I am going to make a print portfolio. Didn’t see that coming? Here is why. Taking the time to make some “art” was exactly what needed to happen, a vital step in balancing out myself as a maker. In spending a solid amount of time submersed in two extremes, I was able to let them influence each other and find a happy middle ground. You guys, I have come up with some real exciting ideas for my portfolio. Ideas that involve drawing, weaving, dyeing, screen printing, sewing and so much more. It’s going to be great. So. You should stay tuned!

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I think my family has the best Christmas tree in the world. It’s not color-coordinated or elaborate or changing every year. It’s simply a collection of memories, and each ornament is truly unique. Some have been inherited, others bought new this year. Some were bought to remember travels, others to remember an occasion. Some are elegant, others kitschy. Several of them are gifts from my mom to my brother and I, given to us so that we would have ornaments to put on our own trees one day. As a kid, I was too young to appreciate the gift of an ornament on Christmas morning. Now that I’m faced with the prospect of having my own tree next year, I am incredibly grateful to have memories with which to start my own tree.

Honestly, winter and Christmastime are really different these days. Because I am not kid, the magic of Santa doesn’t enrapture me. Because I am in the South, common cues such as the first snowfall, or even temperatures regularly below 50, just plain don’t exist. Because I am in Louisiana, there are no extended  family gatherings.  This Christmas marks only the second year since 1992 that we’ve not gone back to the frigid northern land of snow. Last year, the first southern Christmas, this post would have been a surly tale of woe.  But this year I find myself trying to appreciate the change and reflecting on tradition and what it means to “grow up”.

(Yea, that’s right. I was a pretty adorable kid. :) )

Because I am in the South, common cues such as the first snowfall, or even temperatures regularly below 50, just plain don’t exist.

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