WK 6 – Art Activity of the Week – Sketching in the Garden (the Beach Actually)


This art activity actually turned out really fun, and also quite revealing, for me personally. First, I noticed I drew a lot better and faster than how I would typically draw in my apartment (or at least in less natural atmospheres). I really felt in tune with my hand when I was performing my sketches, as if I was more in “flow” when trying to create my quick finishes. Also, I think my 30 second sketches got me prepared to do my 5 minute sketch. Below are my 30 second sketches I finished as my “warm-up”.



Some of the objects I was trying to draw, such as sketch #5 “the Dog”, were difficult to mirror on my canvas because the object would move sometimes. This really got me trained on my eye-to-paper drawing, where I would use lighter stroke marks on my other sketches, to at least get a basic framework for my object to draw so I could at least finish a piece to look (at least) remotely similar. And when I was able to get the framework down, I was able to use more and more additional time to add in details, making the quick sketches as realistic as possible. Also, I did a blind contour drawing of my hand. This is where I had to keep my eye trained on the hand I was going to draw while moving the pencil with the other hand. This drawing technique is important to use, especially when you’re trying to draw living objects because those objects may move and people might miss important details. Personally, I was surprised to see how my hand turned out and I really liked it! I think other artists, or artists in training, should utilize these drawing techniques to become more effective artists.

WK 5 – Artist of the Week – Dread Scott


About the Artist

Scott Tyler, known professionally as Dread Scott, was born in 1965 in Chicago, Illinois. His art works are focused through the mediums of installations, photography, paintings, performance, print and video. His art works, often participatory in nature, are directed towards the experiences of African Americans in the contemporary United States. His art is derived from his passion to uncover injustices, and to uncover and discuss political and social issues residing in the world. However, he has received backlash for his art works from certain audiences and the government, where some of his installations were seen as “disrespectful” to the nation.

dread scott being hosed

Formal Analysis

After analyzing his art pieces, you can see how some people would see them as bizarre or offensive. In the above piece called “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide”, you can see the artist being hosed down by a local firefighter. If you google the art piece, you can find a video of him as he walks closer and closer to the firefighter, continuously being pounded by gallons and gallons of water. He does this piece as a public showing, where the audience are just 20 feet away from the spectacle. And as he pushes against the rushing water, you can see as he grimaces against the force of the water, leaving expressions of urgency and anger. Although this art work involves his personal participation, he also allows the audience to participate in his other art works and installations.

What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?

Content Analysis

His art works are aimed at challenging societal norms of people of class, age, gender, etc. His aim is to bring about awareness to certain political and social issues residing in America, where he shows through his art work the challenges that marginalized groups have had to experience. For his “On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide”, this demonstration showed the hardships and discrimination placed before African Americans living in the United States. By looking at the piece and observing his behavior and expressions, you could get a sense of frustration towards the government, as well as a strong will to continue to fight against the oppression (that being the continuous pounding of water from the fire hose). Also, the above installation titled “What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag” has received many criticism from his peers, the United States government, and even President George H. W. Bush. The piece asked for volunteers to step on the flag to “comment” in a book or diary. The installation essentially requires its participants to somehow cross the boundary which is the physical obstruction of the flag and voice their opinion, which resides in the comments left behind by the audience. The flag being a strong symbol to the nation and held dear by many people, it is understandable why people would be upset by such an installation. However, by analyzing it more you can look at the other side and see the frustration from marginalized groups and their anger towards society. For those that have stood on the flag, they may have had feelings of resentment towards the nation and how it’s addressing and modifying its current domestic policies. Ultimately, this piece shows exactly what the flag means to everyone, and how it’s a powerful installation.

Protests  US  1989     Illinois    Chicago    Art   Flag

Thesis/ My Experience

Dread Scott is an activist, and now my idol. He has shown (and continuous to do so) the past and current issues residing in America. Some of these issues, such as discriminatory laws, racism, and political injustice that Scott illustrates in his art work are typically avoided topics or issues that are still ignored to this day to the general public. I believe everyone should take a look at his art work, his installations in particular, and become more informed and aware of the political and social injustices that are placed among marginalized groups, our fellow citizens. For me personally, I’ve already have been aware of most of these issues, and observing his work has only made me more informed and enlightened with the way society treats certain individuals. Hopefully if others view Dread Scott’s works, they too can be aware of these potential threats towards people and their civil rights.

WK 4 – Artist of the Week – Maika Elan

the pink choice 3

About the Artist

Maika Elan, formerly known by her surname Nguyen Thanh Hai, is a freelance photographer based in Vietnam. Elan was born in 1986 in Hanoi, Vietnam which is where she was first exposed to photography. She attended the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, Vietnam where she studied sociology. She would be given a camera at some point in 2008 to document her daily life and private life. She would turn to professional photography, working for editorial clients and fashion firms for a couple years. Then she would turn to documentary photography, where her famous project “The Pink Choice” began to take shape. One day when she took photographs of gay couples engaged romantically and showed it to the citizens of Vietnam, they returned feelings of disgust towards the photographs. She would later release a series of photographs in many exhibitions, including “The Pink Choice” which challenged societal norms on gender inequality. Other notable exhibitions include “Like My Father” in Hanoi, Vietnam, “Dislocation/ Negotiating Identity” based in Massachusetts, United states, and “Photoquai” in musee du quai Branly, Paris, France.


Formal Analysis

Maika Elan is really skilled with the way she uses her camera! For some of her photographs, she leaves behind many layers: where you begin to look at her photographs and you see what seems to be a reflection of another image. This adds some sort of euphoria surrounding the image and brings out the picture more. By looking at the above photo from her series of photographs from her exhibition “Like My Father”, you can clearly see a man standing peacefully at what looks like a park. But with the enhancement of this secondary images (that being the close-up pictures of flowers and what looks like a glare) really projects this bigger picture, providing more of an array of colors.

the pink choice 2

Content Analysis

Maika Elan has used her camera as a lens to activism. She has had many exhibitions where her works have challenged society’s norms o gender identity, gender inequality and discrimination. One day, she took prototype photos of gay individuals engaged romantically and showed the pictures to some audiences out in the real world. Most returned feelings of disgust towards the photos, which prompted her to work on her biggest exhibition to date. From her 2015 exhibition “The Pink Choice”, she released a series of photographs of people identified as gay or lesbian engaged romantically, or partaking in some sort of leisure activity. However, by looking at the photographs you can see that they engage in similar ways as straight people, and they share and express the same type of love that heterosexual couples express.

the pink choice 1

Synthesis/ My Experience

I really like Maika Elan, and I think a lot of people should view her photographs. I personally have a few gay friends where, every now-and-then I would hear them discuss times of which they have been discriminated against because of their gender identity, and talk of stories of where they were engaged with other people that displayed pure messages of hate to them. I believe it’s very important to be aware of these issues, and also the fact that gay or lesbian people are just people after all, just trying to live a decent, happy life. I highly recommend  looking at her series of photographs in her 2015 exhibition, “The Pink Choice”. It’s a great way to be informed and aware of the gender identity norms and gender discrimination practices that are alive today.

WK 4 – Art Activity – Week 7 Art Activity “What is Meditation?”


“My post on Insta’ would be ‘What is meditation?’ and I would hashtag it #MeditationArt110 and #IntroToTheVisualArtsAndMeditation .

This is a picture of my friend Sadao doing what he loves to do: write and create music. He loves to rap, and feels happy whenever he gets a chance to write up lyrics for a song and create music. He tells me that he feels “present” during and after he raps, telling me of a state of serenity he achieves through music. He’s bee practicing with music and rapping for 4 to 5 years now, and still does it to this day.

What does it mean to meditate? What is meditation? For the most part, the pre-concieved answer to that is quite simple: it’s LITERALLY meditating. But is it? Meditation has many meanings, and what is gained through the physical and literal sense of meditation is a state of peace. Meditation, I feel, is ultimately achieved by most artists in the world, whether it’s through graffiti writing, photography, installations, painting, and all other art mediums in the world. However, can this state of mind be practiced in other forms? In, perhaps, the forms of dynamic leisure activities or hobbies? Meditation can be anything that you feel gives you that “state of peace”, a state of mind where you feel completely relaxed and not thinking of the constant stresses of your past, present and future state. It is at this point you feel one with yourself, and your mind feels uplifted in the end. This can be achieved by doing anything, from going surfing, doing yoga, rock climbing, visiting museums, taking photography, etc. What ever it is that makes you feel at peace with yourself, that is true meditation.

So, an idea I had for our 7th week activity for my Intro to the Visual Arts class was to post something on Instagram of us trying to obtain serenity or an image of yourself in the environment of which you obtained that serenity. For example, let’s say you find yourself achieving peace through the meditation of hiking. Get a picture of yourself hiking in the woods, desert, etc. or perhaps a picture of yourself gaining that peace through meditation, and it’s environment behind you. Post it on instagram with the hashtag(s) #MeditationArt110 and/or #IntroToTheVisualArtsAndMeditation. Doing this will allow us all to reconnect online later and see how we all achieve our meditation!

WK 3 – Artist of the Week – Jason “Revok” Williams


About the Artist

Jason “Revok” Williams was born in 1977 in Riverside, CA, and his art medium is through the practice of graffiti writing and creating murals. His works can be found all across Los Angeles where he was able to gain the popularity that he has today. However, graffiti writing is considered vandalism, where he has even been sentenced to 180 days in prison with bail placed at $320,000 for his “Arts in the Streets” public exhibition. But the community would later provide their support for him, where his prison sentence was reduced to 44 days where he paid a fine of $24,000 instead of $320,000. Revok was also a one-time member of the graffiti crew “Mad Society Kings” or MSK where he was also arrested in 2009 in Melbourne, Australia for his publicized pieces. He went on a creative hiatus after the Los Angeles arrest, where he practiced his graffiti art work in Detroit and revolutionized it even further.


Formal Analysis

By looking at his graffiti pieces, you can tell it must have took Revok days if not weeks to finish these projects. The above piece was painted on the Bowery Graffiti Wall in New York, NY where the wall has been previously used by other graffiti artists. But you can’t help to marvel at all the details, bright animation of the characters, the formatting and the colors he utilized. A common theme throughout all of his art works is the extensive use of animation, colors and contrast he brings to life in all of his pieces. With his most recent murals, he’s taking on more geometric designs, which he has combined with his utilization of colors bringing about even more spectacular art pieces.


Content Analysis

A common reason why a lot of people enter the art world is through expression. This could be said for graffiti artists such as Jason “Revok” Williams, where by examining some of his art works you can tell of his discontent towards society and the way it governs its people. This could also be present by which the very nature of how and where graffiti art is practiced: out in the streets. Where it is considered vandalism, I consider it art, where instead of seeing dull, money consuming advertisements you can see great art work that illustrates some of the issue residing in society or even the individual who created the art piece. Also, another reason why people practice graffiti art is to get their name out and to be remembered. Throughout most (if not all) of his art pieces, he has his tagging name “Revok” illustrated on them, sometimes the name taking up most of the canvas. And by looking at his art works, I can get a sense that the artist has a deep urge to have his works and life remembered by his fellow community and future generations of people who happen to come across his murals.


Synthesis/ My Experience

I really liked studying Revok and his graffiti art work. The idea of having one’s name engraved and to be remembered by society really took a keen interest for me as I examined more and more of his work. It also reminded me of a friend that I know that takes part in graffiti art, where I can recall times of him first stepping through the graffiti art world’s door step, saying such things that he wants to be known for something, and that he wanted to be remembered and famous. I feel that it is important for everybody to stop and examine not just Revok’s art murals, but the thousands of murals that are spread across the nation, for it tells a tale of someone trying to be remembered, and by examining certain murals, you can see how they challenge societal norms and attract our gaze on to what’s happening to certain individuals.


WK 3 – Art Activity – Graffiti Writing


So I took on my graffiti writing activity through a different direction and utilized a different canvas. I used a palm tree leaf as my canvas, and wanted to display this once palm leaf as an elegant feather. I took on the direction as it being the feather that once belonged to a Phoenix, which has long since been a symbol of “rebirth from fire”. Also, it is well-known that palm leaves are a symbol of peace, which seemed appropriate to use as a form of peaceful protest. I made this piece as a form of protest against Trump and his administration, and how their new government policies and ideologies are not only contradictory of what I believe in and stand for, but are contradictory to the beliefs and stances on politics shared by a significant amount of people living in the United States. The overall finished project is emblematic of a need for change that is not only felt by me but by many others during these difficult times. “Rebirth from fire” exemplifies my desire (and many others) for change in our government policies and actions, hoping to revert back to ideas and policies that are considered to be our fundamental rights, such as affordable healthcare (healthcare that is truly affordable and available to the general public). In the end, this piece symbolizes my resentment towards American politics now, and a deep desire for change, reverting back to the way things were meant to be for us as a society.

I really loved this activity; it allowed me to engage in a form of peaceful protest. Whether it be through graffiti writing, music, poetry, etc., I feel it is important for people to stand up and voice their opinions with these different forms of art during times of collective, emotional, political, or social unrest. I’ve always felt fine and fascinated with graffiti writing before watching the documentary “Bomb It”. However, after I watched the film it inspired me to do the piece above where I felt a deep desire to show people, through the use of graffiti writing, of how I feel during these times of distress falling before us, concerning our current American politics and ideology. Now, not only do I see graffiti writing as an art but more so as a form of speech.

WK 2 – Artist of the Week – Ai Weiwei

About the Artist

Ai Weiwei was born on August 28, 1957 in Beijing China. Weiwei is a contemporary artist who practices in many mediums including installation work, photography, music, architecture, curating, film and sculpture. He is also known with being political active against the corruption of the Chineses government, where he’s actively protested for the rights of his people during  many scandals perpetuated by the Chinese government. In 1978, he attended the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation. Also, in 1978 he formed an early avant garde art group called the “Stars” that would eventually be broken up in the same year but Weiwei would still participate and release art work in exhibitions and shows. He would later live in the states from 1981 to 1993, where he would study English at the University of Pennsylvania and Berkley. Later he moved to New York City to attend the Art Students League of New York where he would eventually drop out (1983-1986). After his dropout, he would work odd jobs and would later be exposed to works from Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, where he would began to create conceptual art by altering ready-made objects.


Formal Analysis

From his music to his photography, his art canvases are unique and bare quite the audience attention. Specifically, looking at his art installations amazes me, where he uses ready-made objects and creates a unique design or bigger art display using a multitude of the same basic building blocks. From using chairs to bicycles, he utilizes almost anything that people use on a daily basis and converts it to art. One of my favorite installations by Weiwei is a piece called “Forever Bicycles”, where he uses a multitude of basic full-metal bike frames (with full metal wheels and handle-bars). Also, being a person that loves bikes in general, where my hobbies reside in going to the desert and going dirt biking, was on reason why I chose this as my favorite art piece. At first glance, you can’t help to wonder how long it took to put the 1,200 bikes together in such a way. And by looking at his installations, they almost seem to represent geometric patterns and dynamic designs. By looking at “Forever Bicycles”, I find myself lost gazing at his dynamic piece looking at what seems to be a universe of never-ending bicycles.


Content Analysis

One thing to note and remember is how Ai Weiwei is heavily involved in the poltical sphere, where he continues to fight for the civil rights of Chinese citizens infringed upon by the corruption of the Chinese government. By specifically looking at the way he finishes his installations, you can make out a symbolic representation of the design and see a correlation of what his people went through. By looking at this piece, I could see a sense of urgency of him trying to unite his people. I can also see how this piece could symbolically represent the Chinese government’s power over people, and how the government condones its power over its Chinese citizens. Even Ai Weiwei’s father was targeted by the Chinese government, which could point out to another reason why he began revolting against the government, creating art such as this. Art being a great way to deal stress, his installations, in particular, symbollically represent the distress and frustration that he and many others feel towards the corruption of government and its abuse on its citizens.

Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Unveils This Year's Unilever Installation At The Tate Modern

Synthesis/ My Experience

I really love Ai Weiwei and his dynamic art work. From his inspiring photography to his dynamic, captivating installations, he clearly has not only the skilled mind of an artist but knowledge of the world and international issues that are still present. Even today, Ai Weiwei is still active against the corruption of government power, where he was involved in the recent Sichuan schools corruption scandal in 2008. The scandal which involved an earthquake hitting the Chinese province of Sichuan destroyed the school’s infrastructure, killing many innocent children. The schools infrastructure planning was not built around engineering standards, which resulted in the devastating collapse of the schools there. Ai Weiwei and other supporters would soon challenge this, and other corruption charges that the Chinese government were behind. By studying his art work and his work in the political sphere, it makes me more eager to try to create art with the objects I have around me now, where I used to take that for granted. His methodology of how he finishes his art installations shows that you can make almost any ordinary object into art. And for his political involvement, it makes me even more eager to challenge and question what our government does. Although a lot of people have their presumptions of the United States government and does not pertain to a corruption like mentality, his art work is at least a reminder that you should always be skeptical of people of higher power, and challenge them if they try to abuse your human rights.


WK 2 – Art Activity – Landscapes with a Corpse

Many of us question death, and many people ask what comes after life? But many people seem to avoid such questions like where do you find yourself at your final breathing moments? For me personally, I’ve always loved going to the beach for fun or just to relax. But another reason that prompted me to use the beach as my theme is how the location (beaches in general) are symbolically linked to death. Think about it like this: how are the sands that we now use to practice our leisure time got there? Death. Well not exactly, but through many patterns of erosion (the process of which rocks are formed through chemical or mechanical forces of nature and human beings). Rocks go through a particular series of mechanical erosion patterns, practiced by the strong currents and the continuous smashing of waves. Rocks that are affected by this are beneath the surface of the ocean, something that most people don’t think about. These rocks, after facing many processes of erosion, are grinded down and deposited closer to the shore until further erosion deposits them on the shoreline as sand. These sand particles now take up our beaches, and are used by everyday people, whether it be hanging out with friends playing volleyball to families getting together allowing their offspring to enjoy the fruits of nature. The sand dispersed across the beaches of Long Beach, California resembles the death of rocks that were once massive, and that were present among a vast generation of previous human and animal life. Sand represents the last breathing moments of rocks until they are reduced to dust, and blown away through the winds.


I had a lot of fun with this activity! The idea behind this piece was that I was with my friend on his boat moments before this was taken, where a storm hit us, throwing me overboard. It was here that the forces of nature would get the best of me where I would be battered and beaten by the oceans currents and waves, eventually being washed up ashore with a few breathing moments as I laid gazing up at the sun. I wanted to use sand as my “deathbed” because of its symbolic representation and processes that go about death. Death, being a topic that is not discussed enough, has been more present with me now after completing this activity. Personally, I find myself more invited to death where I typically use fear as my motivation to get through life. However, not all people are like this where death is often feared by most people, and remains a constant terror for some individuals. This activity has made death for me a more inviting topic: I feel more relaxed talking about it.

As to how I would change the activity, I wouldn’t want to have done it much differently. Except maybe block out more of the sun: it was really bright and there was not as much overcast as I hoped.


WK 1 – Artist of the Week – Ana Teresa Fernandez

IMG_0951Ana Teresa Fernandez

About the Artist

Ana Teresa Fernandez was born in 1980 in Tampico, Mexico. She was raised there for the majority of her adolescence until she moved to San Diego with her family in 1991. In 2001, she would join the Alliance Francaise II Diplome, Ecole Brilliantmont, Lausanne, Switzerland. She would also get herself more involved in the art world by first obtaining her Merit Scholarship for the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) in 2001. In the early 2000s, she would earn her BFA (2004) and her MFA (2006) at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), where she would begin teaching students how to draw and paint.  The main media she works in involving her art work is through the use of intricate paintings, where they are often mistaken for photographs. She now lives and works in San Francisco, California.

Formal Analysis

Her art work, consisting of detailed paintings and sculptures, is very detailed. By using many different color schemes, while incorporated texture and contrast of colors, she brings her oil paintings to life (again, often mistaken for photographs). From using vibrant colors to using more bland colors almost (incorporating a black-and-white theme), she utilizes her paint brush in almost any possible manner. From straight brush strokes to using more “wavy” styles, she does an effective jobs of bringing her paintings to life. By looking at her paintings you can see the texture, contrast of colors and a consistent, yet dynamic, display of lines being displayed on all of her canvases.

Content Analysis

Her artwork is very detailed to say the least. In the art work painted in the above posted photograph, is a picture of one of her art works titled “Bay Area Now (5)”. You can see a women perched on her knees facing away from a window, where you can see her shaking her head viciously. But why is this woman kneeling before us? Why is she shaking her head in such distress? One thing that Ana Teresa Fernandez stands for and explores are the politics of intersectionality and how it affects society and issues of race, gender, class, etc. Throughout all of her works, she incorporates this theme to express how she feels on the matter, and what she and many other groups of people deal with in terms of those challenged by race, gender and class barriers aimed at disenfranchising them. By looking at “Bay Area Now (5)”, you can see the stress that not only lies within this women, but women across this country as in terms of their never-ending battle with gender discrimination laws and practices. And in particular, women do in fact still face discriminatory laws in today’s America. Whether it be working in sexist working conditions or even being “cat-called” in the streets, it is still an issue of concern when a group of people are subjected to harsh harassment and even physical abuse. After all, it was not long ago that women were able to vote for the first time due to the enactment of the 19th Amendment (ratified on August 18, 1920). These sort of responsibilities, actions and issues should be addressed to everyone, and the discriminatory practices are alive to day are reflective off of her art works. By bringing her oil canvases to life (with enormous amount of details), she addresses to the public of the social and political unrest that people of marginalized groups face, in terms of race, gender and class, and shows of the struggle that they all endured (and still do).

Synthesis/My Experience

I really love Fernandez’s art work! Through her detailed, emotionally encompassed paintings in particular, her paintings are a strong reflection of what she went through in life. But not only her: she does an amazing job of displaying what many people endured, and what many citizens even in the United States face as in terms of racial, gendered-base and class-based laws aimed at dismantling the benefits and efforts placed on those being marginalized. Her paintings are a reflection of what women, people of color and those that live in the lower-class and in poverty face in every-day-life. Personally, I feel more on the feminist side, where I strongly disagree on the discriminatory laws in place today and how this country is patriarchal (“rule by the Fathers”), and love Fernandez’s art work, and what she stands for. She does a great job of presenting this in her art work, and it is in her art work that I would recommend other people to view it, not only to view the impressive works she brings to the art universe, but by also look closely at the emotions on display and encourage others to be aware (or get aware) from issues regarding the politics of intersectionality of gender, race and class. People are still facing these issues today, and I love how she continues to address this in her art work.

WK 1 – Art Activity – Plaster Casting

IMG_0939This is my finished project of a plaster cast that I completed on the sands of Seal Beach, Long Beach. Of course, it doesn’t represent the fist cast that I initially had planned, but it turned out to resemble some of the rock features that are present in Joshua Tree National Park. I find it ironic because Joshua Tree is one of my favorite spots to go camping and hiking, due to the vast land attributed to he area and the unique rock features they have on display. These rock features were beginning to take shape around 270 million years ago when Pangea (super continent) was still thriving. Through many years through continental and sea tectonic plates colliding with each other produced magma pockets beneath the Earth’s crust, that would rise higher and cool off  to form these rock pockets if you will. These would form as the surface of the Earth was undergoing its own erosion process, where the forces of wind and rain would scrape the surface of the Earth, a process that would sometimes take millions of years. And eventually, with these two separate forces of erosion going on above the surface of the Earth would soon expose these pockets of cooled down rock that has long-since been hidden in the crust of the Earth for all of our eyes to finally see.

Declared a national park in 1994, I’ve been going to Joshua Tree ever since I’ve moved down to Southern California. Ironically enough, while doing this art activity which was supposed to turn out to be a cast of my readied fist, I had a reminder of the Joshua Tree rock formations come to mind instead. Now I definitely know where I want to go camping soon 🙂