Category Archives: art

Making Creativity A Priority

At the beginning of the year, I dove into The Daily Create, part of ds106. Then, real life intervened: the semester started at the two universities where I teach, the to do list for my day job got longer, and, this week, the spring gardening season took off as we started working on the greenhouse and planting beets and carrots. The 15 to 20 minutes required to take a picture, record a sound or create a video suddenly seemed more difficult to find. I saw today’s assignment to record a sound of something that comforts or makes you feel safe, and I knew exactly what I would do. But as the afternoon got crowded, it was tempting to skip it again.

Since I was going to make my afternoon latte anyway, I decided it wouldn’t be that much harder to record the sound and do some quick processing. Garageband gave me a little trouble but I was able to get it done and posted.

Is it creative? Is it art? It answers the prompt: my afternoon latte is part of my daily ritual. It means a break from the work day for a cup of coffee and a few pages of whatever book I am reading. I curl up in the window seat upstairs, read and watch the sun set. And the act of recording it gave me a break from the daily work as well.

I can’t help but think about the classrooms across the country where the work–often defined as preparing for the test–takes away from the opportunity to create, even something as simple as recording every day sounds. And as budgets get tight, the creative arts are the first things to go.

So, here’s my ode to creativity and my pledge to continue to find that time for creativity as much as possible:

Looking At: The Art of Calligraphy

My parents run the second-hand shops at their retirement community and are often passing along interesting items. For Easter, they gave us a tackle box (for my husband) and I got all the calligraphy pens that they found in the box. A big pile. And tonight I decided to try out some of the pens. I have beautiful bottles of a dozen different colors of ink. So, while I listen to all the tracks in iTunes that are named “Track 1” etc, I am going to fool around with calligraphy.

This would normally not really be the stuff of blogging for me except that I had the big revelation when I googled “calligraphy.” I found a terrific article by Julian Waters at the Calligrapher’s Guild: Calligraphy, Lettering and Typefaces. He quotes Chinese calligrapher Wang Hsi-chih: “Writing needs meaning, whereas calligraphy expresses itself above all through forms and gestures. It elevates the soul and illuminates the feelings.” Calligraphy is really a forerunner of electronic text that invites us to look at it rather than through it to the meaning. It enhances the meaning but also appeals to the viewer in its own right. It’s funny to stumble upon rhetoric in this way. There’s the toggle that boggles the mind, being able to look at and through. A little theoretical twist to my artist’s date!

Painting the Mona Lisa with Paint

I’m writing my article for the VEA News and focusing on a random collection of Web 2.0 tools.  I have to include Google Maps since I spent all day yesterday creating my first mash up of our Texas trip.

I went to YouTube and checked out my subscriptions.  Here’s a very cool video from Eclectic Asylum Art.  What if Da Vinci had had Paint?  And Photoshop?  Talk about media convergence:


Race or Culture?

The American Anthropological Association has a new website entitled, Race – Are We So Different? Interesting way of looking at the way race is constructed historically and personally. The underlying argument seems to be that race is more about how we look than how we act. Here’s a paragraph from the About page, “Looking through the eyes of history, science and lived experience, the RACE Project explains differences among people and reveals the reality – and unreality – of race. The story of race is complex and may challenge how we think about race and human variation, about the differences and similarities among people.”

Then, this morning, after I uploaded some video to YouTube, I did a little surfing. (I am, to be honest, procrastinating writing a paper.) I found the video below…an Asian American rapper. I don’t listen to rap on a regular basis, but I am fascinated by the whole phenomenon. And now here is a young Asian man seeming to step completely out of the stereotype. Jin’s video is completely self-conscious; he is looking at his life and his place in the world and moving through them to create something new. This video is called “I Quit” and was supposedly his swan song in rap. Evidently, however, he has reemerged as The Emcee. If I was really procrastinaing, it would be fun to ponder what that means…did he kill off a character only to bring a new one to life? A new “points of viewing” as Goldman-Segall would call it. But now that evoked her name, I need to get back to the paper in which I am using some of her ideas.

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