Monday, October 18, 2010

Japanese Flower Arrangement

This past summer, I went to Japan to study abroad. One of the courses related popular culture to traditions of the Japanese. In doing that, we have to first learn about the traditions through cultural lessons.

One of the cultural lessons was flower arrangement. We were told to "go for it". We arranged the flowers and leaves as we saw fit. We tried our best to match the aesthetic of the well trained flower arrangers of Japan. Of course, we had trouble doing as great as a job as they did. When corrections needed to be made in order to reach perfection, our teachers let us know. They explained to us the way it was supposed to be. There is definitely a technique when it comes to flower arranging. There cannot be too many flowers blocking the leaves, one leaf cannot be as long as the other, and there must be a difference in height when it came to making the flowers look presentable.





Compare Me. Contrast Me.

Two artists are bound to have things in common, and most definitely have things that vary when it comes to their creative process.

Take the well known tattoo artist Kat Von D and her colleague Dan Smith. They work in the same shop, both do tattoos, but their approach is different.

Here are some tattoos by Von D:




Here are some by Smith:




Kat Von D's work is much more realistic than that of Dan Smith.

Photos taken from Kat Von D's and Dan Smith's myspace profiles.

Design as Conversation

In class we discussed what is means for design being a conversation.

My first thoughts were that the creator of the a piece is trying to relay a message to their audience when they create something. People in turn, have something to say about it. They may even be inspired by the piece and create their own. When people see this piece, another conversation is started. The cycle never stops.

Yoko Ono's "Cut Piece" performance speaks volumes to the fact that design is a conversation. She did not speak during the performance, yet you can take so much away from it, because it provoked audience members to think about things that are not talked about on an everyday basis. She created conversation among the people watching.

She is an artist that has does this often in her work. I am sure that there are many artist that do the same thing that I may not know about.

Another way to look at design of a conversation is having a piece in your home to talk about. These are the pieces that are cool, odd, or just plain random. They create dialogue among people because they are not seen as what is normal. People want to know why it was created, what inspired it, how does it serve a purpose, and other questions.

Below are pictures found on, in an ideabook entitled The CONVERSATION PIECE.



What do you have to contribute to the conversation?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Creativity from Without

Artist often find inspiration from within. They design objects, paint images, sing songs based on their feelings. Artist also find inspiration from outside of themselves.

Ibrihim from the Centric show 'Model City' is a model as well as a painter. He uses the money he makes from his casting as a means to fund his artistry. In the episode above, he is preparing for his first gallery show by painting many pieces, getting his mind right, promoting the event and working with his partner to make sure everything runs smoothly.

During the show, he does a live painting. (This scene does not start until the nineteen minute mark). He is accompanied by his partner in art, live music and the positive energy in the room. Ibrihim's piece is freestyled and taken from everything going on around him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

to be inspired...


The mentors of my design class gave advice to the class during the first week of school. One said, "The library is a really cool place." Another said to check out the fourth floor of the library. Today, I had to take a book back to the library reserves. Before I exited the building, I had the urge to run to the fourth floor and see what was so amazing.

Because I am becoming more interested in interior design, that was the section I was in. I was there for about thirty minutes, although I wanted to stay longer. I found three books that I just had to check out. One in particular that I am excited about reading is Creative Space: Urban Homes of Artists and Innovators by Francesa Gavin. Just flipping through the pages and seeing pictures of artist all over the globe makes my heart pump faster. I am interested in reading what they are inspired by and how they got into their fields. Everyone has a back story. That, to me, is what makes them unique.


Design has a way of displaying our innermost thoughts to the world, even when we don't realize. I have been following Donna over at Soul Pretty for a while now. She's an interior deisgn based in New York. I am always inspired to create something when I visit her blog. I just learned her story. It makes me want to keep going for my dreams of becoming a designer.

I want to be like the designers that I look up to, using my experience as a springboard to achieving my goals. I aspire to inspire.

Stone Soup: A Learning Process

During last Tuesday's class, we had the tasks of creating something. What we created was "up in the air". There were no restrictions or rules, as long as we cleaned up after ourselves. Every group member was also expected to contribute something.

The idea was taken from Marcia Brown's Stone Soup, in which soldiers encourage villagers to each bring something to the pot of boiling water and stones. Each contribution helped improve the soup.

In the case of our class, we were told to bring supplies to design something, anything. We worked with our groups that were chosen a couple weeks ago. We all threw our materials into the middle of the circle that we had created. Thinking about what to create out of all of this stuff that may not have usually gone together was a feat.



There were ideas thrown out that were not considered as much as others. This is to be expected with design. I am sure, the creators of the first cell phone did not agree throughout the entire creative process.

*please excuse the fact that I'm not looking forward;
there were two cameras and I was too slow*

Above was our end result. I cannot say I was happy with the results but I am glad we got something done. This is a prototype for something more amazing. Afterall, designers often draw up or think of more than one thing before they settle on one set idea. Unfortunately, we did not have time for that. We were inspired by a deck of cards that a group member brought. We decided to try and replicate a King card.

After the work was said and done, we got to roam around and look at the work of other groups. I was very impressed by the creativity.



Stone Soup taught me that collaborating, exchanging ideas and being open to other people's creativity is very necessary to design something that can be looked at as substantial, innovative or just great.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Gorgeous and Thin.

Gorgeous and thin are the way things are supposed to be. Anything too bulky or ugly can be left at the door. The company seen in the video below have succeeded and making thin and gorgeous even more thin and gorgeous!

Phone and computer deisgn is something most people in the United States come in contact with on a daily basis. Technology is ingrained into our idea of what is necessary to live. People without the newest and coolest phones are often looked at as behind in the times. I cannot imagine living without my laptop and blackberry. The iPhone 4 can do what my phone and laptop can do combined.

The fact that the makers over at Apple can fit so much into this small of space is amazing. Design is about continuing to improve products even when it seems that it cannot be improved anymore. I cannot imagine what they will come up with next. I wonder if any phone or computer companies will ever catch up to the success of Apple.

One of the BIG questions raised during the first week of class was: Who are the people of design? An answer that Housefield stated is that we all are. And to some agree, I have to say he is correct. The folks over at apple, however, can definitely be described as people that are designers. They have taken minimalism to a whole different level.

Also over the last decade Mac products have grown to be very popular, among families, college students and big businesses. When your products can reach a wide audience, that is when most of your respect comes as a designer. Apple has reached this and continues to bring new innovative products year after year, and sometimes every few months.

Apple's designers seem to understand the Greek root of design which is translated as "approximate, near, about". They are continue to get as close to perfection as humanly possible.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jungle Gym in My Room?


For the early part of my childhood, I was very spoiled. It wasn't because I asked for a lot. I was just the only one my parents had to provide for for about four years. In turn, I had a lot of gadgets and toys. I enjoyed most of them.

One that stands out the most in my memory, though, is the Fisher Price jungle gym I had in my room. I'm unsure if this was where the manufacturers meant for this greatly assembled piece of plastic to go but I was not complaining. I could play on a jungle gym, not only on the playground at school and at the park, but also in my own home. I think it it's amazing that something that is usually huge and found outside can be made small enough, without losing its touch, to go fit inside of a bedroom.

There were openings that were hard for my mother and father to enter, yet very easy for me to. This object was designed specifically for people my size. Something else that was great about the jungle gym is that, it was not made of wood, glass, nor metal. It was made a plastic which helped me avoid a lot of pain, as it would a lot of other clumsy children.

The colors of the gym were pleasing to the eye. Lots of colors also made it a good learning mechanism. Parents of children learning colors could question the color of slide they were sliding down as mine did. The jungle gym in my room was an apparatus of fun and learning, simultaneously.

If that's not great design, I don't know what is!