Musicians You Should Listen to…Right Now

Ok, so as I was drawing a comic for my final project for school (yes, I get to do that, and yes, it’s AWESOME), I was listening to the music I have and realized that most people don’t know who these artists are. So I want to remedy that…and introduce you to some really cool new musicians.

Firstly, Alex Day Today’s actually the first time I’ve heard his stuff, but oh my GOD, I love his acoustic work. His album Soup Sessions are mostly songs about love, but they’re still sweet. Plus, he’s British, and his accent is adorably thick. I love it.

Second, Two Cans. These guys are actually local to my campus, so I’m partially biased for them. They’re a techno rock group, but they love to experiment, and I love that spirit they have in their music.

Third, Ellery. They perform just about every year in the Arts Village, the residential community I live in. Their label on YouTube is “Alternative”, but this is definitely a mellow performance group, similar to Sixpence None the Richer.

Fourth, Hemline Theory. I did album art for these guys way back in the day. :D Seriously, though, I love their sound. The best way to describe their sound? Jazz…for ghosts.

Fifth, Year of the Gun. They’re a hard rock group based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s incredibly awkward for me to mention this, personally, because the lead guitarist was the guitar teacher for my ex-fiance. Despite that, they’re easy to listen to, and I love the riffs they go on.

Sixth, Todd Carey. This is the most pop-y artist out of this list…but he knows how to work his voice and his guitar. I don’t know what else to say.

Seventh, I think I’ve saved my nerdy best for last…Hank Green. He’s the cofounder of DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) Records, who also releases Alex Day, mentioned above. But Hank Green is my go-to-guy for nerd songs and general happiness. He writes songs on stuff like quarks, and makes it cool.

I hope you enjoy! If you have any little-known musicians you’d like to share, please leave a comment in the comments below! :D

My Artistic Influences

This originally started as a Facebook meme, but I wanted to share this list with you all. The stipulation in making this list was that I would list the first names that came to my head and not give too much thought into it. So there are more artists who inspire and influence my art style (especially on deviantart), but I thought I would share just the first people who came to mind when creating this list.

Here is the list of the artists, musicians, performers, etc. that influence and inspire my art:

1. Yoshihiro Togashi (more for his work on Hunter x Hunter, a manga series which I LOVE)
 2. Michelangelo

3. Ai Yazawa (Nana is FAR better than Paradise Kiss, but the latter was my first series of hers I read)

4. Lady Gaga
 5. Scott McCloud (Making Comics is my bible)
6. Brad Bird


7. Jeff Smith (I <3 Bone!)
8. Don Bluth (pre-1990s)
9. Tess Stone (creator of Hanna is Not a Boy’s Name, which is AMAZING!)
10. Hayao Miyazaki (I love the messages he has in his work, and the fact his movies cover a LOT of age ranges)
11. Walt Disney (the man and his art, not the company)
12. Tetsuya Nomura (the character designer of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy)
13. Yoko Kanno (INCREDIBLE musician!)
14. Shinichiro Watanabe (I love his directorial work for Cowboy Bebop)
15. Satoshi Kon (director of Paranoia Agent and Paprika)

I realize many of my artistic influences are from directors of animated movies, but 1) they have art styles, too, and 2) I was originally going to go into animation before I stuck with illustration, but their influence has stayed with me.

So what artists inspire you to create? I’d love to hear in the comments. :3

Thoughts from Places: the Toledo Museum of Art

Yes, I totally took the idea of titling this blog from the vlogbrothers. They sometimes do a segment called “Thoughts from Places,” where they record what they did at a particular location and then reflect on what they had experienced.

I intend on doing the same here.

Last week, I went to the Toledo Museum of Art to check out the exhibition of Frank Stella’s Irregular Polygons. It was at this exhibition that I first came across the idea of an artist making things for the logic of it, and for utilizing their functional brains and showing it. In other words, thinking over feeling.

I had never thought about making art as a process of thinking over feeling. I was under the assumption that the arts existed to show emotions of the user. Thinking about it, though, I could maybe understand the idea of art showing the results of logical experimentation, over showing the results of spontaneity.

This is a sculpture. It freaks me the f**k out how realistic this is. My friend Ben and I thought he was actually asleep.

Sometimes art could be like a scientific experiment: you play with materials to see the outcome of it, without putting emotion into it. Or it would be more like testing an idea before making it a final image.

But when does a test become art? And why would it be called art? The common man assumption is that art is an expression of creativity, but these experiments in materials and logic seem to go against that definition. Logic is not creative, according to this idea.

In the art world, I’ve noticed, we don’t use the everyday-man definition. We, being artists, made one up.

I’m so glad I could see this original by Piet Mondrian. It’s better to see in person than in pictures.

The definition of art, to my understanding of how academia sees it, is an expression of the artist’s mind. Whether that mind be logical or emotional, that’s up to them.

Does this mean logical art wins over emotional art? Depends on who you ask. If you ask me, I say both have their pluses and minuses. Art that uses the creator’s logic can lend itself to breaking the formal rules of the art world. Art of logic doesn’t have to be representational (that is, look like something that already exists) and it doesn’t have to represent just one idea.

A Frank Stella original. I believe this was made after the Irregular Polygon series. And it’s humongous.

The cool thing about logic-based art is that it can open up the mind to play with those same principals that are being broken.

The problem is that most people don’t know what those principals are.

Not that art based in emotion answers those questions, either: they can break the rules, as well, but usually it’s done on the artist’s whim and personal expression. It wouldn’t necessarily be based on playing with formulas to stimulate their functional parts of the brain.

For the emotional artist, art exists to express ideas they feel in those moments, ideas that are based on their perceptions and feelings. Logic often doesn’t come in at all.

This piece was titled something like “City Scape”, though I feel like it looks over a harbor of boats.

As can be noted in the caption for the picture above, the artist that uses emotions willingly lets their pieces be open to interpretation for the patron. For many of them, it’s not about, “This is my idea, do not deviate from this idea.” It’s more about letting the viewer make up their own meaning.

This goes against the logical artist because the logical one makes things and just lets them be. They often don’t have some kind of emotional message to the work.

Another thing that can be noted for the logical artist is that sometimes their pieces can be functional.

This is a bank teller’s gate. The photo can’t capture it’s intense level of detail.

The bank teller’s gate, above, is a good example of this. The enormous bronze doors shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art are another.

Can logic and emotion combine into one art piece? Sure. After all, art is an expression of the artist’s mind. An art piece can be both logical and satisfy the artist’s left brain and be emotional and satisfy the right brain. Rules can be played with and emotions can be displayed.

This Grecian vase, besides being lavishly detailed, is both functional/logical and emotional.

The Greeks and Egyptians did that a lot, but especially the Greeks: they were obsessed with the Golden Ratio and mathematical formulas, so their vases and other forms of art would fit into these logical molds. But then they could be decorated with stories, which are more whimsical and emotional. In this way, Greeks satisfied both parts of their brain, the left and right side.

Personally, I always go towards the emotional art: they, more often than not have stories behind them. They can also portray the artist’s life circumstances of that moment.

This is a painting of the artist’s male lover. It has both story and tenderness to it.

Logic-based art is something I can respect, and understand a little bit, but it’s not something I would like to do. My brain is logical, sure, but that doesn’t mean I can understand the other artist’s logic.

I have no idea what this is suppose to be.

If you’ve noticed, art within the last century has been shifting from being based on emotions and stories to being based on logic and the creator’s thought processes. I don’t know if this is a bad move, but I think that can explain why I don’t understand modern art at all. There are times that I just can’t understand the artists themselves. And if you can’t understand the artist, you can’t understand the artwork they’ve made.

What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, sorry this entry was OBSCENELY long, but there were so many ideas I wanted to get off my chest. Keep your eyes open for another blog update in the next couple of days. ;D

Frank Stella, and My Visit to the Toledo Museum of Art.

So I just came back from a field trip with the 2 Dimensional Arts Association (or 2DAA) to the Toledo Museum of Art to see Frank Stella.

Who is Frank Stella, you may ask? If you don’t know, check out these links first:

Wikipedia Article

Artsy’s Frank Stella Page

Essentially, he’s a non-representational abstract painter who makes gigantic paintings of irregular polygons. He especially likes to play around with color and line, and most of his pieces are named after towns in New England, where he grew up.

The TMA is showing his Irregular Polygon series right now, and some of the pieces on exhibit are show below:

frank stella paintings

frank stella painting

This show is the first time that all of the pieces (I believe there are 12) were shown in the same gallery space at the same time.

These pieces are HUGE. I’m talking about ten or twelve feet high! For their time, back in the 1960s, they were the largest abstract pieces of art made.

Also, Frank Stella the man reminds me a lot of my Grandpa on my mom’s side: a little old man, down-to-earth, tired, and always talking off-topic. He’s hard of hearing too, so at the Question and Answer session at about 11 a.m., when people asked him questions, he would sometimes ask people to repeat themselves because he couldn’t hear them.

Not that he made it much easier for us in the audience to hear him. When he spoke, he had a microphone in his hand, but he’s also one of those speakers that talks with his hands. So he would gesture and talk and the microphone would be swinging away from his mouth. And he was a quiet speaker, which didn’t make it any easier. Despite that, though, he’s a good guy.

Now, do I like his work?

Sort of. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not big into abstract art, but I can admire what Mr. Stella is doing when he plays with shapes and colors. I especially admire the fact that the canvases he paints on are NOT SQUARE. They’re actually built to fit the shape that is painted on them. So something like this:

is NOT on a square canvas. It’s cut into that weird trapezoid-esque shape. Plus, like I said before, they’re enormous.

So I admire him for breaking conventional rules of art and doing his own thing.

That DOES NOT MEAN, though, that I’m going to start painting or drawing abstract images tomorrow. Just because I admire it does not mean I love it and want to incorporate some of these ideas into my work. I can safely say, though, that I feel I can understand abstract art a little better now.

If any of you are in the Toledo area, you should go! Admission into the museum is FREE (seriously) and the show is up until July.

I’m going to go for now, and enjoy my lunch and then work on my collages for class. UGH. Why can’t I go back to the museum!?

Next week I’ll be posting pictures I got from the TMA. I would post them today, but I have to get back to work.

(UPDATE 1/31/15: Nicholas from helped give some updated links and art for this post. Thank you, Nicholas!)

WARNING: Naked men.

I was thinking of what kind of April Fools’ gag to pull, but I was never any good at that stuff, so I decided to not do it.

Anyway, here are some of my naked men. There was a life drawing session held by the Computer Art Club on my campus (they are awesome!) and I was there for about an hour. Got some great stuff. :3

Also, sorry for the crappy scan quality. Some of the pencils were really light, thanks to my 2H graphite.

I’m going to try to post more often during the weekdays. Those updates will more than likely be in random spurts, but I have opinions I would like to say and things I would like to share, and this blog seems to be a great spot to do it.

In the meantime, I update my Twitter. You could check there, too, if you’re into that. :D