Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Barb Talkzzzzzz

For my final project, I wanted to use a video that I made for the drag show, featuring Marshall Cuffe as Barb and me as Pam.

The video is a mockumentary style short focused on Barb, a member of a small Midwestern church.  Oh, and we're both drag queens in our roles as church members.  The video is a tongue in cheek personification of what a typical religious midwestern person might be like.  It touches on social transparency, in that we did this video to open and create dialogue in areas where people tend to be hush-hush, especially where it concerns religion and gender norms, sexuality, etc.  This video is not intended to be offensive at all, because the that work that drag queens do is always out of love.  And lots of fake lash glue and lip gloss.

I'm still on the fence as to whether I should put up the video, mainly because we went to the church in the middle of the night and filmed it without anyone's permission, so we'd like to stay out of trouble.  However, I am considering uploading the video privately so that Julie may watch it.  I will post an update as soon as I make my decision... and find my fake lashes.

Thanks to everyone for a great year :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Makeup Artist is Present | Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I would like to take a spin on Marina Abramović's The Artist is Present, a phenomenal performance piece in which she sits across from a person and shares her energy and space to create an "energy dialogue" with her audience.  I don't think that I would like for my project to be quite as public as hers was, as I would like to create a dialogue with my audience to discuss their ideals concerning beauty and cosmetic, and how it impacts their own ideas of how they view and present themselves to the world. 

As a makeup artist and visual artist, I'm very interested in how beauty is perceived by women and men.  For the majority of cosmetics history, men have been largely ignored even though many of the pioneers in the makeup industry have been men.  With my project, I would like to film a "makeup application dialogue" in which I film another person applying makeup to me in a style that they would typically apply to themselves.  Throughout their application, I would like to create discourse in which they tell me of how ideals of beauty imposed on them throughout their life have impacted them, negatively or positively. 

This ideally would be presented in the form of a video, much like Marina's own documentary presentation of her retrospective and The Artist is Present performance.  Mine wouldn't be quite as long, though. ;) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beyoncé and the Maurizio Cattelan Experience

But of course you knew that.

I chose Maurizio Cattelan for my final project because I've always had an interest in him ever since I learned about him in the fall of 2013 in my sculpture class.  Partly because of his silver fox status, but mostly for his critical, ironic, and satirical portrayal of society through his sculptures.

But really, isn't he a babe?!
I chose to confuse my presentation audience with a reading of Beyoncé's biography and a series of images of her from my own personal collection, much like Cattelan's own personal style of interviewing.   He’s known for having ridiculous interviews where he actually sends in people for him that are prepared with absurd, evasive answers and non-sensical explanations that never directly answer the interviewer’s questions.  What a beautiful way to conduct an interview.  You’re able to evade this random ass stranger that’s wants to interrogate you and ask you all sorts of invasive questions about your life and what it all means and you just say "NOPE I’m not doing this.. here.. have an impostor instead. Thank you!"

What a beautiful art piece in and of itself.  I think it speaks to the artificiality of interviews and the wall that is created between the interview taking place and the audience intent on learning more about their favorite celebrity.  During an interview, we, as the audience, are trusting that the interviewee is being honest and trustworthy about what’s taking place in front of the cameras and microphones, but we have no idea.  We have no idea who’s coaching them, who’s feeding them the answers from the void, but Maurizio is letting you in on the sham.  He’s telling you exactly what’s going on.  And he’s being honest about it.  Isn’t he great?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vivian Maier | De-mystifying the Photog

On Thursday, May 1st, we were fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Pamela Bannos concerning the found photos of Vivian Maier, French/American photographer and live-in nanny.  Bannos describes her not as a nanny photographer, but a photographer who happened to be a nanny.

Vivian Maier in her signature selfie style.
The mystery and herstory surrounding her photographs is one of intrigue, fascination, and excitement, much like those mystery shows one watches late at night when flipping through channels. Throughout the lecture,  I couldn't help but wonder if Bannos was going to pull a "Punk'd" and tell us that she was actually Vivian Maier in the flesh.

What struck me most from Bannos' lecture was how influential social media was in Maier's rise to posthumous fame.  Through the internet and her crazy mad researching skills, she was able to amass a vast amount of knowledge that aided her in piecing together not only Vivian Maier's history.  She was even able to study Maier's photographic thought process with Google Maps by tracking her movement while taking photos in the streets of NYC.  As a said, Bannos has some maaaaad researching skills, albeit she seems a tad bit obsessed.

Overall, Bannos' lecture was a refreshing change of pace from the normal lectures that we attend.  Thank you Pamela Bannos!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


For my in class video session, I decided to bring YouTube to the classroom and film a no mirror, two minute blind makeup challenge.

Challenge of all sorts are all the rave among the professional YouTube bloggers so I decided to film one of these challenges, but in front of an audience in class.   Most of the time, people spend their time watching this videos in the privacy of their room, usually alone or with a small group of friends, and without the blogger in the room physically.  But how many opportunities does the blogger ever have to film a video in front of an audience to see their live reactions? Probably hardly ever!

Monday, April 14, 2014

DO RE MI MI MI | A Musical Relational Art Exploration

As a musician, I'm almost always thinking in sounds, pitches, music notes, rhythms, etc.  So usually this translates into turning almost any pitch I hear in normal, everyday life into a song or pitch in my head. Seriously, it can get annoying and overbearing, especially when trying to sleep.  Remember that part in Shrek when Fiona outsings the bird and it explodes? That’s what it feels like sometimes, especially at bedtime, but you learn to cope and deal with it and move on with life.

This project is an attempt at explaining what it's like to be inside of my brain.  I'm kind of obsessed with how other people think, especially when their train of thought isn't focused on anything specific and it's just jumbling around.  To get into someone else's brain and have a lasting encounter (page 19) on it is extremely fascinating to me.  Consequently, my video is also attempting to prompt the audience to think like me, in song and pitch.  The conductor is a guide, much like a real musical situation, for the audience to sing the pitch either in their head or out loud.  I'd actually prefer the latter, especially if it was an unexpected reaction and gut instinct to sing aloud.  Due to my musical pursuits for the majority of my life, I don't know how to sit still still whenever a conductor gives a cue. It's a problem.

Ideally, this would be projected onto a much larger screen in a darker room, much like that of Christian Marclay's  The Clock, to isolate the audience from their own thoughts and ease them into mine.  This would also be much longer with more pitches and everyday sounds from my life, but I chose to only include the three sounds I hear most often for the purpose of saving class time. 

I hope you enjoy! You can view the video here on my YouTube account if the embedded video doesn't work.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cosmogony 2.0 | A Carol Emmons Intergalactic Art Exploration

"Where do we come from?"

A question I'm sure we've all pondered and entertained at some point in our lifetime and one that will probably run through our mind at some point again while trying to go to bed.

"Hmm.. I wonder like where we come from.. is my mascara running?"
As light-hearted and cheerful as I try to be, I definitely have had my share of "existential" moments where I've endlessly let my mind run through the endless possibilities of how we as a human race have come into existence and where our future is headed.  For me, Carol Emmons was able to capture the sentiment of one of my bouts of existential pondering.  When I walked into the room, my eyes immediately started scanning the text spanning the entirety of the Kohler Gallery.  Being an installation artist, I feel that Carol successfully transformed the space into a zen-like meditation and reflection zone where one could contemplate not only the art pieces that Carol offered us, but also our own relationship to the individual and communal worlds that we experience every day.

I was particularly drawn to the idea of combining elements from various creation stories from around the globe.  Stemming from my childhood experiences with religion, I've always struggled with the Christian mentality of "we're right and everyone else is wrong" where it concerns stories of our earth's creation.  It made me extremely happy to see an artist being inclusive of all cosmogenic theories, not only the one King James wanted us to hear about.  

Thank you for an exceptional installation, Carol Emmons!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

YouTube Beauty Gurus of Babel

My goal with our final project was to collect various YouTube beauty videos from all over the world and string them together to form a new makeup tutorial in hopes of shedding light on the global beauty village that we are all a part of as a reference to the idea of the global village in Marshall McLuhan's "The Medium is the Massage."

Although I sat through about 12 hours of YouTube makeup tutorials in over 20 languages (Google translate was my best friend), this project was a refreshing reminder that there exists a world of beauty outside of the United States.  It was so interesting to see all of the different nuances that certain countries play up with regards to makeup application.

For example, in South Korea they really value a light application of makeup.  Anything beyond that resulting in a "cakey" or heavily made up face is regarded as undesirable and unnatural looking.  South Koreans would not fare well in India where they apply layer after layer of makeup and really spackle it on.

What's most interesting and refreshing to me is that there are so many different definitions of what beauty is depending on your place of origin, where you reside now, your parent's definition of beauty, etc., and how they're all 100% valid.  Who am I to say that your faintly filled in brow is not as beautiful as someone else's heavily drawn on brow?

If you'd like to browse through all of the videos I looked at for the project, you can view the playlist right here.  You can view my final video on YouTube by clicking this link.

Thank you for a wonderful class, everyone!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Charlotte Moorman | The Topless Cellist

We were recently tasked with a research report project based on people found within Marshall McLuhan's The Medium is the Massage."  Upon denial of Marilyn Monroe, I chose Charlotte Moorman solely based on the fact that she was a musician like me.  Well, that and maybe this super awesome "cello bomb" that she used in an art piece once upon a time.

"Cello Bomb" Who woulda thunk?
Charlotte Moorman was an essential player in the world of performance art born in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin (shout out to Texas, yawl!!) and did postgraduate studies at The Juilliard School.  She was a classically trained cellist, but made the transition into performance art during the 1960s Avant-Garde movement.  Researching her history and huge involvement in the promotion of avant garde art was largely inspiring to keep doing what I do with my own art.  Although she was arrested for performing semi-nude (interview video link), she kept pursuing what she loved and didn't stop for anything, even through her battle with breast cancer that eventually took her life.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to research an important figure that paved a way for an important period of our art history.

Charlotte Moorman with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Something is Happening | Exhibition Experience

This past Thursday, my digital processes class had its opening night at the Mudd Library at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.  Even though the rain and lightning scared away some people from coming, the experience was definitely a success!

Our exhibition was focused on our photo books that we made for our Something is Happening project.  For the exhibition, we had to make two inkjet prints and frame them, something I've never done before.  I absolutely loved the process of going through the photos and choosing the two photos I thought best represented my collection and overall message.  Although I did run into some hiccups with the inkjet printer, I was very happy with the end result.

One thing that I've found throughout my classes where I deal with time-consuming art is how short my attention span is.  With makeup, the process usually only takes an hour or two at most, but the process that we went through for this project took much longer that.  I'm finding that I need to develop my patience for art that takes a little longer than I'm used to. Knowing my brain though, I probably won't be able to.

All in all, I'm extremely proud of everyone's work and am glad that our efforts were successful! This was a great experience!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Because You're Worth It?

You may be tired of my cosmetic and beauty approach to everything in this class, but you'll learn to love it ;)

My goal with this project was to highlight the beauty ads that we are bombarded with in our day and age.  Like most companies do, all of the major cosmetic retailers have taglines and slogans that they employ to help set their company apart from the competition.

Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline.

Never Dries - it Beautifies!

With the introduction of TV and radio ad spots, companies now have the chance to drill their slogans into our heads relentlessly.  These days when we walk past their products in stores, chances are we're going to be singing their jingle in our heads while simultaneously being annoyed that they were able to get their silly slogan engrained in our brains.  It's almost as if "everyone [is] psychologically attuned to memorization" in an aural sense (McLuhan 113).  Actually, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what's happening.  Although everyone has their preferred or most effective method of learning whether it's visually, orally, or tactile, oral methods of memorization are almost always effective.  There is something about the rhythm of sounds and words that our brains automatically tune into, so hearing a slogan over and over again is no doubt going to cause it to stick with us. Oh, and this is all in the hopes that you'll buy their products forever and ever and ever... because you're totally worth the advertising money they spent.  Right? Right.

My soundscape was focused on the repetitive nature of a few cosmetic company's slogans. I wanted to string together repeated slogans in a way that was harmonious to my ear, but somewhat disrupted by the odd placement of some of the repetitions so that the listener wouldn't necessarily be inclined to naturally internalize the slogan.  I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Overload | Escape from Hoarders

As part of my digital processes class, I was tasked with expanding my Flickr Overload photo set into a photo book.  I pieced my photos together in a style that tried to remain true to the Flickr set.   It's hard for me to say if the narrative had more of a say in the process of placing the photos, or if the consumerism had more of a voice.  Maybe they were both equally heard. Who knows…

I wanted the viewer to simultaneously experience my everyday routine that I go through when it comes to beauty and to also be gradually overwhelmed by all of the brand names and logos that I tried to portray through the photos.  The photos that are spread over two pages at the end are photos that I felt drawn to aesthetically.  After all, someone(s) did sit at a desk and design these products for us!

Some lovely design humor, poor guy/gal

As a result of this process, I realize I've seemingly become blind to my own consumerism that I'm totally giving in to.  But at the same time, it's my job as a makeup artist to be familiar with new products and current trends in the fashion/beauty industries.  How do I find a healthy balance between these two problems?  Is there a healthy balance? Is it worth looking into?  Should I start looking into contacting an space organization specialist?  So many questions, so little time.

You can view the photo book here on the Mixbook website or watch the cute little slideshow below.  (If you watch it below, you won't be able to get the full effect of the photo spreads.)  I wanted the theme of the book to remain relatively simple with the emphasis on being this sensation of being overwhelmed as a viewer.  I tried to listen to my intuition, as suggested by Sandy Dyas, to puzzle my narrative together with some semblance of a flow.  Hopefully my intuition was right.

I hope you enjoy :)

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

Friday, January 31, 2014

Lauren Semivan | Shaping an Artisan Lifestyle

Lauren Semivan is a Lawremce alum that visited our digital processes class earlier this week to talk about her life after graduation. Like me, she was formerly in the LU Conservatory but made the transition to the college to pursue interests in the studio art department. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one! Life can be such a drag in the conservatory at times.. Kidding. ;)

Typical life of a music major... I wish I was kidding. 
Semivan's husband, Lorne, also joined us in our meeting with the artist, telling us about his 60-90 minute treks through Alaskan tundra just for water.  Can you imagine? I can't. Well, enough of these polar vortexes we've been having and maybe I can.

While Lauren's deft capabilities with photography were visually captivating and beautifully composed, I was mostly drawn to her philosophy about how she strives to live her life, "setting [herself] up for stimulating and life-long learning."  I love how versatile and applicable this philosophy is towards any lifestyle route we choose to take in our lives.  Personally, I've been trying to apply this outlook towards my own life for the past few years and am comforted to know that it's possible for Lawrence grads.  As a young artist coming into my own, I often worry about what my artistic environment will look like after I leave Lawrence.

Lauren expanded on this philosophy by explaining the inspiration behind the subject matter of a portion of her photography. While visiting her husband Lorne while he was working in Nome, Alaska, she found herself pushing her comfort zone by exploring the vast landscape the isolated city had to offer.  Although I probably won't be trekking through Alaskan lands anytime soon, I hope that I'll be afforded the opportunities to pursue art that pushes my artistic comfort zones as well. Life is much too short to spend it behind walls. Like Lauren, I strive to mold a life that provides endless opportunities to create art and further evolve my style and aesthetic.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Overload | A Makeup Artist's Antisocial Routine

For this project, we were challenged with capturing the notion of our environment and our own antisocial actions.  I set out on capturing an antisocial environment that I create daily, my very own morning routine.

During my morning routine, I am faced with countless products screaming for my attention.  Whether products new or old, the cry for attention is the same across the board.  The amount of products that I have for one person is pretty ridiculous, but one can't help buying shiny new things when the opportunity presents itself!  My Flickr set is focused on capturing the essence of a quote from "The Medium is the Massage,""When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past" (p 73).

When planning which products to photograph, I found that I gravitated towards the ones that I choose almost everyday.  Although I probably have over a hundred products to choose from, I consistently use only around fifteen of them.  I realized that I am "liv[ing] imaginatively in Bonanza-land."  I hope to expand on this idea and photograph other people and the routines that they run through in the morning, with a focus on the brand name overload.

Why so much?!

Consumerism and our obsession with new products coming to the market almost daily are not only problems concerning our pocketbooks, but the waste that we are seemingly blind to.  Consistently using the same fifteen items means that the countless others I have are wasting away to no use at all.  How many other people are living like me?


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Smoking Causes Film Ideas: An Experimental Film

When presented with the prompt for the experimental film project, I was initially worried because of my inexperience with this type of media.  Or any kind of media project for that matter.

"We thought it was one of those new fancy candle warmers! Oops!"

However, I was not ready to give up solely based on my inexperience with Final Cut Pro!  Armed with a Sony Nex-5 camera and our somewhat trusty friend Google, of course, Zain and I set out to explore the space created when smokers need their separation from the anxieties of the 21st century life.  What is the 21st century life like, you ask? Just watch and listen to this.  If you’re not convinced, it’s sung by a cute Australian guy, Sam Sparro.

Mr. Sam Sparro
The song shares some of the sentiments expressed in “The Medium is the Massage.”  Sparro sings about having “21,000 things [he] has to do today,” which I believe can be related to the constant buzzing of iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, etc., that many first world country citizens can relate to.  McLuhan suggests that we have been deceived by this constant technological buzz into believing that we’re somehow being soothed and satisfied by the connection between our thumbs and the Internet, when in reality, we’ve merely been conditioned to be anxious for the latest status update or CNN headline.  “Smoking Creates Film Ideas” examines the zone of silence and solitude that smokers enter when they flick the lighter, exhale, and allow their minds to wander without a screen in front of their face.  Even in sub-zero temperatures. 

We hope you enjoy our experimental short film. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sandy Dyas: A Glimpse into a Midwestern Collage

Advertisement for her lecture & exhibition opening @ LU

I initially met Sandy Dyas in our Digital Processes class and was struck by her spunky and upbeat attitude.  I am grateful for the chance to meet her beforehand, as her attitude and personality greatly informed and enhanced her exhibition “my eyes are not shut.”  We were told to seek out the connections to space and time that Sandy was constructing in the gallery space. 

I was lucky enough to have the chance of seeing her exhibition before the official gallery opening and was blown away by her ability to transport me into the world of Midwestern life the photographs offered.  Initially, I was put off and confused by her collage-inspired presentation of photographs, but I grew to understand and appreciate the motives behind her decision to do so.  The grouping of photos allows the viewer to explore the subtle nuances captured in individual photos, then start to relate them to the others that have been strategically placed around it. Sandy spoke of working through a certain awkwardness in her photos in the lecture, and while this may or may not have been that awkwardness, I do believe that her method of collaging offers a solution to an awkwardness that I personally deal with when viewing photos in a gallery setting. 

I understand that placing photographs individually gives the photograph the space and individuality the piece deserves, but I often struggle with the process of piecing together the narrative, if there is one.  Sandy’s process not only allows the viewer to have a more informed idea of her narrative, but it breathes a new life into the way that the viewer is able to generate new meaning and connections from existing ones.  

If you're interested in hearing Sandy talk more about her work, inspiration, method of working, etc., check out "six white horses" on her Vimeo account which you can check out here.

Sandy Dyas was certainly a refreshing visiting artist to grace the walls of Wriston’s Kohler Gallery.  Her spirit and passion for art is something I won’t forget!  The integrity and confidence instilled in her photographs are traits I hope to exude in my own artwork with time and practice. Thank you, Sandy!

The photographer in her natural habitat.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Primers first!

In the world of makeup, a smart makeup artist always applies a moisturizer and primer to the skin before any makeup at all. As Elle Woods put it, "The rules of hair care are simple and finite. Any Cosmo girl would have known." I'd like to think of this post acting as my primer for the class.

Bruiser Woods would agree.

My name is Ariel Garcia and I tend to resolve to the world of fashion, makeup, cosmetics, or anything beauty related I can drown myself in.  I'm a budding makeup artist intent on shattering the stigma concerning makeup and its use by everyday people.  My initial obsession with makeup stemmed from my younger years as a boy growing up in a southern Pentecostal church.  I would stare at the beautiful singers on stage and admire them for the pounds of makeup they loaded onto their faces to look pretty for Jesus.  I wanted to look pretty for Jesus, too!

Ain't I so pretty now, momma?
It was not until I moved to Appleton for college that I was able to escape the suffocating smothering of the southern Jesus I came to know in my adolescent and teenage years.  I was finally free to buy all of the makeup in the world and consequently become not only a poor college student, but a pretty one too.

I call it... Hobo glitter brow chic...
I would like for this blog to serve as an extension of my artistic palette, primarily because it seems that the cosmetics and beauty industries have taken such a large interest in how the everyday consumer is affected by more than just advertisements, but the increasingly popular "beauty blogs and gurus."  I find the relationship between the cosmetics consumer and technology to be incredibly fascinating and, unfortunately, vastly under-studied by artists.  I hope to explore and exploit this dynamic in the coming months with this blog.

PS - I am a proud selfie enthusiast.