Monday, December 21, 2015

Music that's Art by Lindsey Sterling

Growing up with three sibling has its ups and downs, but you learn to really enjoy the positives. One thing we all have in common is an indomitable love of music. Its a shame none of us can play a note (or maybe a mercy in disguise), but the product of this is that our house holds a constant exchange of opinions and music styles. My younger sister introduced my to the listening's of Lindsey Sterling a couple of months ago and I have to say I am more than a little impressed. She combines dance, music, and art in her work in a way that would make Alice wish she could walk into her world, rather than Wonderland. Sterling's bright attitude and passion for her art makes each piece a pleasure to watch.....over and over again, if your in my house.

Here is one of my favorite pieces by Sterling, which she entitles "Song of the Caged Bird". I think its rather "illuminating". If you like it, I encourage you to subscribe to her channel on YouTube! 

            

Monday, December 14, 2015

Imangi's Newest Artistic Success - Frozen Shadows


This week was the premiere of Temple Run 2's newest update, Frozen Shadows. As you can see from my earlier review of Temple Run: Oz, I am a huge fan of the digital art that makes up this fabulous genre of games. After almost two months of waiting, I was excited to finally get the update to my Kindle Fire (7in second generation). Now, as a gamer, I've become a bit cynical about game updates because they usually end up being less of a positive experience for me as a kindle owner than for other players on different platforms. However, this is definitely NOT the case for Frozen Shadows. It works like a perfectly oiled machine, even for us older device owners. NOTE: Concerning treasure chest/artifact pick-up; the developers haven't made a prize for gathering all the frozen shadows elements yet, but don't worry, they will! (they said on their Facebook page).

Now, onto the art review! I am pleased with three specific elements of the design. Firstly, the stone work. I appreciate the fact that the graphic designers took the time to impose interesting patterns and details into the  surroundings. It adds to the mystery and unspoken history of 'the run'. It makes me think Imangi could develop a whole slew of games within the 'Temple Run' story line outside of the game type and platforms they have now (hint, hint).

Second, the ice graphics during the sledding sections of the run. I always look forward to this part, particularly when you get past 10,000 meters. It becomes very challenging, with obstacles appearing every half second! The background imagery is gorgeous as well. It makes you feel like you really are far off in the alps, from where no human has ever returned.... (creepy but thrilling).

Thirdly, interactive elements, such as the scary monkey, falling tree branches, and rock avalanches that keep you on your toes! You can't imagine how many times I failed. While some players have complained about the bright and icy terrain, I like the challenge of 'running' on a road that teases you with hidden ice shelf's and snow covered boulders.


A word of advice for Kindle owners: Go through the app store to download your update (just search for the game and instead of giving you the option to buy, it will say "update" instead). I tried updating through the game and it kept on crashing. Also, turn off and on your device after the update. Only then did my app work perfectly. 

Please share your thoughts on Frozen Shadows via my Facebook, Twitter, or the comment section below!

Monday, December 7, 2015

VFFT Week 18 - Holiday Windows at Ralph Lauren!

 If there is one thing that makes me gravitate to the upper east side, its the window displays on Madison Avenue. Without fail, Ralph Lauren always wins my approval, with its chic, yet artsy displays of fashion. Never mind that the building facade is gorgeous! It almost mirrors the ornate gilded frames over the paintings at the MET (which works well in this case). As for the mannequins, they remind me of the wind-up marionette dolls from the Nutcracker. There life like poses and well fitting ensembles allow them to interact perfectly within the artificial world the windows encase. 


I don't know what  like better in this photo; the window decor or the reflection of the city in the highly polished glass. It's interesting how a photo can transform and transpose meaning, proving what a great art form it is. Either way, so cool!

I also enjoyed seeing the installations in the children's store windows; which use more traditional colors and themes, such as strings of lights, stuffed bears, and snowy, gingerbread backdrops.



After viewing these windows, I was thoroughly inspired to go home and decorate my own apartment to the nines. I can't imagine why...

Monday, November 30, 2015

VFFT Week 17 - Harlem River by Ernest Lawson


I find that paintings of New York City feel like old friends to me. Its almost as if I had found a picture of my sister in someone's scrapbook or Facebook page. Even though I wouldn't have taken the picture, I would know it was her the instant I saw it.

Harlem River, 1913, oil on canvas, Ernest Lawson (pic taken by me as seen at the MET)


To be frank, "Harlem River" by Ernest Lawson is more like a picture of my mother's childhood friend than of my sister. Either way, Lawson's rendering of (the way he paints) the river caught my eye immediately. I knew those dark green waters, the reflection of the bridge overhead, and the straggling trees on the riverbank. I've passed it hundreds of times on the express bus.

I think Jean Francois Millet had it right when he said, "It is the treating of the commonplace with the feelings of the sublime that gives to art its true power." Lawson takes the commonplace subject matter of an urban river landscape, making it beautiful with his attentive brush work and devoted use of lifelike color. It makes me sentimental for my city.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Memoirs at the MET

Out of all the places I could go in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the only one I could go to every week and never get bored. My connection with this place started when I was a freshman in high school. My sister, a friend, and I jumped on the 4 train and rode it down to 86th Street with 75 cents between the three of us for admission, and $10 for lunch. Yup, we were real fancy that day.

Before I knew it, we were wandering, giggling, and commenting on the odd objects we saw (I was a far cry from the serious artist I am now *wink*). While it may sound cliche, we were like three princesses in a castle... where we couldn't touch anything. Its funny how history can repeat itself. This summer I had my two best friends visiting from abroad and we ended up doing the same thing.


Another time, I went with my sister and we got lost wandering through Central Park before finally making it to the Van Gogh Exhibition (it was her fault of course).  At the time, I didn't realize how special it was to see an entire room dedicated to this dear and troubled impressionist.

For me, the halls of the MET are filled with life and fond memories. I look at the permanent pieces in each gallery and I remember a moment where it made an important contribution to my life experiences. Art is like that.

While going with friends and family is great fun, I find taking time to go on your own is just as exciting. Yesterday, I went from gallery to gallery as free as a bird, without any agenda to guide my feet. First I went to the Egyptian section and explored artifacts both massive and minuscule. The METs current show on the Middle Kingdom attracted so many tourist's and school groups, I had just as much fun people watching as I did looking at art!


After taking in some natural light at the Temple of Dendur (seen above), I struck out again and made my way up the great stone steps, into the European Painting galleries on the first floor.


























Okay, so this is probably closer the American wing, but the layout is the same. I wandered so far right that I started seeing pictures of George Washington! Definitely not European. All I can say is, the galleries are gorgeous an way worth the risk of getting lost in. Somewhere around gallery 733 I found a pair of glass doors and found myself on a balcony level overlooking the American Wing Cafe and this.... sculpture garden??


























After only 2-3 hours, I dragged my sore feet and happy imagination out of the main hall and into the rain. What incredible fun! I was able to view one last body of work: The building itself. With its magnificent and decorative architecture, its like the cherry on top of a sundae, and a great way to end a trip to the MET. 





Sunday, October 18, 2015

VFFT Week 16 - Art on the A Line by Tom Otterness

 

Summer-time in the city brought me to different parts of the MTA that I never encountered before. Riding on the A line for the first time, I found myself catching a glimpse of these little fellows as my train pulled into the 14th Street station.


 Small, whimsical, pudgy (yes, I said pudgy) statuettes depict commonplace figures, such as a grimacing police woman, an officer (guarding a ball of tin foil), a homeless man sleeping under the stairway (the statue was placed there deliberately, I should think) and many more.

As I walked by these figures, I found myself thinking back to my high school history class. These figures look a lot like the cartoon newspaper drawings of the late 1800- early 1900s depicting the bankers and politicians of the Gilded Age, like Boss Tweed. Here is a comparison below:


http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Artwork:_Life_Underground_%28Tom_Otterness%29
Pic Credit: Richard Panse

What a great surprise to stumble on in the subway! It almost....almost.....makes up for the heat and lack of personal space on the train. Click on Mr. Money bags above to see more of this great art installation!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

VFFT Week 15 - Mural Art in Chinatown

Walking around NYC with my international girlfriends this week allowed me to see it with new eyes. As an day-to-day city slicker, its a strong temptation to overlook all the little diamonds in the rough as I zoom by each day. Walking around with the purpose of viewing the city, and not just commuting, allowed me to notice how much art was put into the small nooks and hideaways. After taking a jaunt to the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (my favorite place on earth), we made our way down Canal Street, only to find this beauty on the corner of Mulberry Street.


What a dynamic way to show one of America's most important icons! I always get a thrill when I see murals around residential windows. Its the closest thing to living inside a painting.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Relevance of Rembrandt - Lessons in Artistry and Sticking to What You Know

Academical Figures of Two Men
Rembrandt van Rijn - 1646, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam  (Netherlands - Amsterdam), Height: 20 cm (7.87 in.), Width: 13 cm (5.12 in.), Etching
Rembrandt van Rijn was, is, and always will be my most favorite artist. There is an openness in his work that makes me feel that I can really see what he was thinking. In many ways, he did not polish or refine the image of humanity, but endeavored to cast a tender light upon its imperfections. He was a man who knew both the joy and sorrow that life has to offer; with success's ecstasy and loss's disillusionment. I was able to study his work a lot as an undergrad, and while I may no longer have the voices of my professors to instruct me, I will always have a teacher in Rembrandt!

Here are some things I have learned about being an artist, and a graphic designer, from his work and history.

The Little Children Being Brought to Jesus ("The 100 Guilder Print")
Completed 1647-49 (150 Kb); Etching and drypoint, 1st state, 27.8 x 38.8 cm; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam







Lesson 1: Compose your ideas from what inspires you

During the crafting of both etchings above, Rembrandt would have been in his mid- 40s. He was a man who experienced life; who went from being a millers son to one of the most popular artists of the Dutch Golden Age (art's Baroque Period), to a teacher, father, husband... and then widow. Historians have their own ideas about what made Rembrandt great, but as for me, I feel his art holds the answer. His work had become an honest description of humanities fallen state and its need for help and love.

Looking at the etching of the two academic figures, they are used as a reflection of the lightly drawn figures behind them (an elderly women and a child). The men are dressed (or un-dressed!) in the same manner, almost as if to say, 'we are the same, old and young'. Again, while the etching above is called "the little children being brought to Jesus"... both the old and the young are being brought to Him, because we are all someones child, even at 92! This is the light in which an aged Rembrandt now sees the world around him. He infuses it into every subject matter he depicts, whether it is biblical or artistic. Every artist should do the same!
The Artist's Father 1631 Ashmolean Museum - University of Oxford  (United Kingdom - Oxford) Height: 14.5 cm (5.71 in.), Width: 12.9 cm (5.08 in.), Etching
 
Lesson 2: Don't take the 'mundane' for granted

No matter what field you are in, the finest work you will produce will be that which involves YOU in it. Here is what I mean.
 The portrait etching above is of Rembrandt's father. Out of all of the portraits he made, whether of aristocracy, soldier, and others, only this one could hold the skilled knowledge of a model intimately understood. I'm not saying that he was on best terms with his father (I don't know), but I can see the slight smile hidden beneath his fathers mustache, the quiet demeanor of his expression. He may be dressed in finery, but he is a man who seems to be cut of simpler cloth. These are suttle elements of his character that only Rembrandt could have shown, because it was his everyday knowledge. So there are things that you know that will make you the very best teller of a certain story, or depict-er of a moment, or singer of a song.

Adoration of the Shepherds: A Night Piece
Rembrandt van Rijn - circa 1652,  British Museum  (United Kingdom - London),  Height: 14.9 cm (5.87 in.), Width: 19.8 cm (7.8 in.), Etching and drypoint
I leave you now with the Adoration of the Shepherds, one of my favorite etchings. Who would have know that with so much ink and lines, that the artist could show such luminosity! It is a lush, velvety scene; a quiet moment, as a small explosion of light chases away the darkness from the faces of the shepherds, coming in from the night.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Art of the Plains Indians - Then and Now

It was with great surprise that I found myself visiting the exhibit, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, at the Metropolitan Museum last month. I have always loved the beauty and mystery surrounding Native American art forms. In the works I have seen, there is a constant striving to capture the voice of history. While animals and nature are strongly used, I have found that if you look close enough, you will see that each work is a story about a people, a hope, a defeat or a victory that is being told using these elements. The Plains Indians were (and are) a people whose world is steeped in symbolism. The greatest thing about this exhibit is that it allows you to visit the pieces of the past before giving you the opportunity to view the artworks made by contemporary Native American artist (which comes at the end). It keeps it in historical perspective. As an artist, I love to use symbolism as a way to compose my work, so I understand and appreciate the way that it is used, whether in embroidering regalia or beading the travel case of a daughter (see below).



I have to give it to the MET curatorial staff. The vast gallery space that the work was placed in allowed the viewer to shift easily between the works without having to be guided by a strict linear direction of movement. I like that a lot. The dim lighting of the gallery, while used for archival reasons (to preserve colors most likely), added to the atmosphere of the space. I felt like I was walking through a chasm of history; where time stood still as life rushed by outside. It was both an enjoyable and relaxing experience and allowed me to take my time among the pieces.








 (left) Probably my favorite piece over all, this is an elaborately decorated infant board.... to carry those adorable little papoos!


With such interesting and thought provoking works of art, I only wish the MET could of held on to this exhibit a little longer. If you are in NYC and would like to view exhibits like this one, you can go to the National Museum of the American Indian! Personally, I could stay there for hours (if only my feet wouldn't 
 give out on me).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Paintings on Etsy

So, as the city once more warms it bones in the throws of spring, my desire to paint has come back as well. Like all artists and writers, the changing of seasons has a strong effect on what I am inspired to make. I have added four beautiful works to my "Midnight Letters" series in Passeridae Americanus, my Etsy shop. Here is a peak below of what I have been doing this spring!

boy, do I wish I could have more cat naps!


























Remember, all my work is below 20 dollars USD and a unique and special gift idea for you friends, colleagues, and family! Look on my site, and if you would like a custom painting made, let me know! Maybe you would like the cat asleep on a letter F, or the inside color neon orange instead? Customizations are always the best part of having a shop. It keeps the creativity alive!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

App Art Favorites - Dragon Story

Team Lava studios are known for there fun and vibrant apps. Games such as Dragon Story and Bubble Mania completely envelope the player in atmospheric music, simulation game play, and a social network of safe and helpful 'neighbors' that love the game as much as you do (a BIG selling point for me)!

Dragon story in particular is an app that I started about three years ago and haven't stopped loving all this time. Like Oregon Trail: American Settlers, the app is cloud protected (at least on kindles), so I have been able to stop and start where I left off as many times as I need, without the fear of loosing my data.

Another plus is, it's the sort of game that you can play with or without social connections. By joining gaming groups on Facebook, or looking up discussion boards, a player can find other players willing to have neighbors and start getting connected. The positive about this buddy system is that no information can be passed from one person to another. All dialogue and gifts are structured by pre-developed in-game options. Its safe for kids and adults.



Now about the artwork! This is what keeps me coming back. Dragon Story is a visual feast for the eyes. The entire game is based on the ongoing creativity of the developers. Dragons are offered in a variety of colors and designs, based off of things we see in the real world, as well as in folklore and fairy tales. See what I mean below!


While I have had an overall great experience with this game, there are a couple of things that get my goat. One, the amount of goals available are overwhelming. I can't keep track of all of them, so I have literally given up on any storyline prospects. Two, its sometimes difficult to move items around to the other surrounding islands. I hope they can fix those problems soon!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Visual Food For Thought Week 14- Long Live New York


So, this is definitely some food for thought, particularly for my fellow New Yorkers. Actually, its thought provoking no matter where you live, but this work uses the location and need-based imagery of NYC.

I love artwork that has a hand in the real world. Short films, like the Paper Man, La Luna, and Long Live NYC, take the real world and turn into an emblematic, somewhat whimsical, experience. Whether its love, familial arguments, or a current PSA (public service announcement), these works never loose their luster on film. I first heard about the film when I saw an advertizement for it on a Metro North train going downtown (Even in our tech-obsessed generation, sometimes paper and ink is still better).

So now without further ado, here is this wonderful short about how the people of New York matter as much as its icons!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

App Art Favorites- Temple Run: Oz

Whimsy Woods

As an artist, I love art that captures all things whimsical and out of this world. As a child I could get sucked into the world of the Wizard of Oz because of its incredibly bright colors and basic storyline; of a young girl who travels to a fantastical land where friends are found in uncanny forms and glittery shoes are a girls best weapon (I had a pair myself!)

When Disney came out with the film Oz, the Great and Powerful, I had a hard time believing it could do any justice to the original. I was pleasantly surprised, as the witty and fresh story line stayed true to the tale I grew up with, while allowing the land of Oz to show more sides of its bright and unique landscape. The game, Temple Run: Oz, does not disappoint. Its vibrant colors, keen details, and painterly transitions from region to region are breathtakingly executed. I actually saw the movie after experiencing the game, and loved how well knit together the two entities were. I felt like I was walking straight into the film every time I played the game. Now if ONLY they would develop the Chinatown (as in tea cup's). The Game currently allows you to run through Whimsy woods (where the film starts out), Darkwood Forest (where Oz meets Glenda for the first time, the Emerald City (does it need introductions??), and Winkie Country (where the Queen's guards and farmers live).

Portal From Whimsy
Portal coming into Darkwood

 The portal transition as you go from place to place is probably my favorite visual aspect of the game, and the BEST transition yet in all the Temple Run games (I've played them all). Its very atmospheric and smoothly seems the scenes together. All in all a very magical gaming experience. Thank you Disney and Imangi!

Darkwood Forest
Hot Air Balloon in Whimsy Woods




For more info on this game, its availability, and others in connection with Imangi Studios, please see here!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Etsy Shop Update- Poster Art

Besides gaming (and sharing about it), I have been making efforts to expand my offerings on my Etsy shop, Passeridae Americanus . One of the most wonderful reasons for having said shop is because it gives me an outlet for all my creative ideas. I happen to be one of those terrible "let me make a series" sort of artists. Its another way of saying "there are way too many ways this could go, and I just don't feel like making a direct choice". Well, Etsy was made for artists like me. It gives us a structure with which to positively share our oddity.

My newest series of work is called "The Four Seasons Ballet Club". Unlike "Midnight Letters", the media I chose was not painting, but rather digital illustration. I loved the process of sketching, redrawing, coloring, and then digitally rendering these works. There are currently four works to this series. What I love the most about my selling options is that I can offer these pieces for a more-than-reasonable price because they are high quality downloads! This means that you receive the image the moment your order is processed AND if you want customizations, they are more efficiently done. Here is an excerpt of the series below.

Like my previous offerings (which are still available), these piece are whimsical in nature, with bright colors to emphasize life and movement. If you like these works, we now have a board on Pinterest to share from!

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