Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Break Was Nice....

....and now we're back!

I'll be honest with everyone, I'm at a point in my semester where I have stress piled on stress piled on stress. Looking for jobs, and working on my thesis consumed every moment of spring break, so I apologize for running on Empty.

Regarding last class, I'm very happy with our conversation on the topic of games. I think people's favorite games tell a lot about them, and we had a great discussion about what we like and look for in games. It's interesting to me how many people get addicted to mobile games, and the different reasons they give for getting pulled in. Eni, in particular, mentioned Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, a game that I also was sucked into a while back. It's crazy how even silly-seeming games have the power to pull you in.

When I was a child, video games were so important. I remember hours of playing Animal Crossing on my Nintendo DS with friends (with or without multi-player options), and bonding over the husbands and children we had in Harvest Moon. Kingdom Hearts is still my favorite game, and I have many fond memories of taking turns playing with my best friend. What strikes me about games like I've mentioned, is that they're still relevant today. The slightest mention of one of these games can turn into a full-blown nostalgia-fest with the most unexpected people, and I treasure these conversations. Although I was never a gamer, I understand why these bonds are important.

On a small scale this past weekend, my dad and I bonded over a hidden pictures-esque game he found on the Play Store (the name of which escapes me). We had a great time playing through and finding the hidden items, and it was a cool experience to bond over a multi-generational game taken to a mobile platform.

In class, I had the time of my life playing Little Alchemy 2, and it seems like others did as well. It was amazing to combine different elements and see what could be built, and remains an apt analogy for our class. Katherine's progress in the game was admirable, and I still can't figure out how she created life! I may have to go back and play some more, when I have time (hah-- what's "time"?)

I'm happy that I was able to participate in the studio visit with Remi Kalir and Keegan Long-Wheeler. As you will see in my first DDA response below, I am not well-versed in video games. I enjoy them, but I haven't played in years (although I'm coming out of retirement for Kingdom Hearts 3-- FINALLY). Our conversation regarding the importance of games made me ponder how they might be incorporated into the classroom to evoke responses from students. We live in a time where everyone is so jaded that we cannot take fun for granted, and I believe it should be integrated in every way possible. I'm excited to see the games that Professor Maha Bali's students in Egypt are working on, and I look forward to communicating with them!

DDAs: 3/13 through 3/19/18

My caption sums it I've said, video games are fun and important and cool but am I a gamer? Not whatsoever.

As Hailey and I have discussed, there's really no way of making eyes look normal in this kind of picture. But "artsy" was my goal so.....

In conclusion, I'm nervous for this week. Sound editing is not really my thing, so we'll see how it goes! I have a lot of admiration for people who do it well. Last semester, I was quite impressed by Brooke, and I can't wait to see what this semester brings!

Monday, March 5, 2018


I love digital art. I've been interested in the digital world for as long as I can remember, from, to, to my discovery of YouTube when it was a relatively new platform. I have always been interested in the different ways that people express their art, and I appreciate that GIFs are finally being given the recognition that they deserve.  

One of my favorite types of digital art are YouTube videos. I've loved YouTube for years and years, and it's my default for entertainment and news. I have a collection of favorite makers, some of whom I have followed for years, and I've learned so much. For example, one of my passions is makeup and, as a young girl, I used to watch Michelle Phan and Julia Graf, and that's how I learned to do makeup! It's also cool to me that, despite the fact that time has passed and much has changed, I could still find the videos I loved so long ago. By growing up in the digital age, digital art became my culture and I am grateful for it. 

GIFs are interesting to me because process GIFs, like the ones we worked on in class, aren't that different from videos. They show steps in a process and, if you're a visual learner, they might be even better for you than YouTube videos, which tend to have a lot of talking and explanation. 

Show your work:

Here are my syndicated blog posts. I seem to have10 from this semester.

Here is the link to my DDA responses, but for some reason nothing will load. Alan, thoughts? I've certainly been participating :) I haven't been as responsive as Kevin (@dogtrax) with his 51 tweets since January 1st, but I'm a top runner with 14 responses. 

Watch me go on TAGSExplorer at the above link! It's amazing to watch the course interactions mapped out. Netnarr really is a complex organism. Do you see me right in the center of it all? Let's play "Where's Waldo."

As for my place on the leaderboard of Makes, Hailey I'm coming for your title!

GIF a Process Make:

Showing off one of my favorite processes! I'm re-doing my nails tonight, so I will try to remember to take pictures in order to re-do this make. I'd like it to reflect the process a bit more, rather than just showing the components.

GIF if all Together: Digital Art / Digital Life Make

I had so much fun with remixing this GIF! I love reaction GIFs and the reactions I included are some that made me laugh quite a bit!

DDAs: 2/27 through 3/5

In a recent development, I am no longer able to embed my tweets here because I have made my Twitter account private-- at least for the time being. I am applying to teaching jobs and I don't want potential employers looking through my social media. Obviously there's nothing bad, but I can be silly with my friends and I need to attempt a professional persona ;) I'll make it public for the sake of Twitter chats and class events and, from now on, I will post screenshots of tweets. 

I love to share these photographs because I was quite proud of them. I've never seen such a beautiful rainbow!

This was so much fun! I made a QR code that links to my Twitter. I didn't know it was so easy to make one, and I'll keep this in mind for future projects. Of course I had to include glitter, it's my favorite!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Make Bank: Photograph a Process

For this make, I am submitting a process that is fun, frustrating, and something I am learning day by day. I love having my nails done, but going to a salon every two to three weeks can be quite expensive. It's also a time commitment of about two hours, which is usually more than I can spare. So, about two years ago I decided to learn to do my own gel overlay. I bought all of the supplies: gel, tools, files, buffers, plastic tips, and a UV lamp, and each time I get a little better. It's hard, but relaxing and fun. It also gives me so much satisfaction each time I complete a set I am proud of. 

Here are the parts of the process:


Monday, February 26, 2018

GIF it up!

Last week was a nice break, although I'm glad we had time to talk about GIFs which, next to memes, are my favorite subject. I love using GIFs in conversations with friends, and often joke that lately, these two are personal favorites:

Honestly, when isn't there a use for hell Elmo? As for the drinking bleach meme, maybe you have to know my friends, but they send some crazy stuff to our group chats. 

It's cool to me that GIFs are also an art form. Artists have never been bound, and I love that people have taken this silly form of communication and made it into a format that can be shared in art galleries. I am referring to this, which I also shared in the Referencium: 10 Emerging GIF Artists Who Prove Motion Photography Has No Limits

I hope you enjoy the makes I submitted for this week! I had a lot of fun with them!

Captioned GIF for Many GIFs From One [Western] Video Make:

Uncaptioned GIF:
(but if this were to be captioned anything, it would say #BYE)

Interesting GIFs

Here are the links to the Tweets I posted about interesting GIFs. Honestly, the egg underwater still has me reeling! My favorite is definitely the tennis one though, it's seamless!

This GIF was amazing to me, because it explains how keys work, which is something I have struggle to understand since two weeks ago when my key broke in my office door.

Daily Digital Alchemies 2/20-26/18

DDAs weren't a requirement this week, but I saw this prompt and I really needed a puppy today. Shouldn't every day have a puppy?

Monday, February 19, 2018

On Selfies

Selfies are an interesting topic to me because, as I expressed in class, I don't take many! Usually when it's time to pick a profile picture, I have to scroll through many, many pictures on my phone before reaching one that I would like to represent me. That's not to say I never take selfies, I just feel rather vain sharing them. 
To preface this, I don't like attention. I don't like putting myself out there for others to pick apart, and that's not an insecurity, I'm just a private person. I don't talk to a lot of people about the deepest matters of my heart, and I think that selfies can reveal a lot about a person-- stuff that I don't love to put out to the general public. I prefer candid shots, nature shots, shots that show something real about the world. My instagram is full of flowers, nature scene, and pictures of my friends and family. One of my favorite posts on my account, currently, is a series of photos my friend captured of my and my fiance. He wanted to a couple photo and I felt awkward, so it came out to be a series of pictures of me trying to run from the camera. It was candid, it says something that I'm okay with revealing, and that's why I like it. 
I cannot express enough-- I don't have an issue with people taking selfies, it's just not really my thing. Even when I don't look great in a group picture, I would much rather be posing with friends than standing on my own in a photo. Maybe I'm too critical of myself, but I find that sometimes, after I post a selfie, I look back at it and find issue with it. Usually my issue is, "I don't look like that!" I find that selfies, while they help us to look attractive, cater to our best angles and, in my case, that's not realistic. I like dealing in reality and when I know how much time and effort went into taking and choosing the perfect selfie, it ruins the image for me. 
Like I said, it's complicated. 

Emilio Vavarella Studio Visit

It was so interesting to hear from Emilio! He is so young to be as accomplished as he is, and it's impressive to hear the things he has taken away from his experience as a young artist. I thought it fascinating to hear that his inspiration is drawn from fields of theoretical research and philosophy-- in addition to traditional artistic inspiration. I have chosen to share the clip below because I was struck when he mentioned that his original inspiration in high school was drawn from surrealism and Dadaism. We spoke about this topic briefly last week in class, when we briefly discussed Dadaism in relation to nihilistic memes. I shared an article in my last post which talked about the fact that nothing is new, and the nihilism of millennial's humor and memes is reflective of Dadaism. It's fascinating that Emilio originally took inspiration from similar sources!

Google Arts and Culture

I had so much fun with the Google Arts and Culture app. I'm embedding my tweets below, but it made me laugh! Some of the results did bear some resemblance to me, although the two I am sharing first were apparently the closest matches. The first one reminds me of pop art, the second one reminds me of a drawing I could have done in fifth grade. I'll leave it to you to decide which one is a more attractive semblance.

As for the side profile....oh man! I don't know about that! Is that really how I look, Google?

Google Arts and Culture is a fun app, but I can certainly see how people might have issues with the results-- particularly, people who are not of European descent. I don't know which library the app draws from, but there certainly does seem to be far more art representative of European culture. The one thing I can say for sure is that it's a fun app, and not to be taken seriously at all. After leaving class, I got dinner with a friend and she and I had a good bit of fun messing around with the app's capabilities.

Daily Digital Alchemies 2/13 through 2/19/18
Oh, Charlie. Charlie, my dude. His dumb, adorable face lends itself to memes.

A picture of my favorite area of my bedroom. My favorite candle, and my favorite not-so-little-anymore plant. I'm quite proud of him for surviving this long, but I definitely need to re-pot the poor thing.

Honestly I didn't plan on doing this one but I saw Hailey's idea for matching tattoos and I was inspired. Hailey, when we goin'? I'm committing to memes for life.




Artist Statement:
I have chosen to share this selfie because it is a rare image of myself that I love, accompanied by a backdrop of one of my favorite places in the world. The shine of light spanning the photo is a crack in the screen, which I have manipulated to work in my favor. My unselfie is a photograph of my happy place, a peaceful spot in my home surrounded by people and things that I love. 


Expanded Post:

What is seen: I took this selfie a few weeks ago in Hoboken, right on the waterfront in front of the Manhattan skyline. It's the first selfie that I have taken in a long time that I love, and I use it as the avatar for my professional/personal Gmail account. I believe that it is fairly representative of me, and it's a good picture.

What is unseen: There's also a subtext to this photo that would certainly not be picked up by the average viewer. The selfie is taken on the waterfront, with NYC in the background, but still very much in New Jersey-- which is how I like it. I love Manhattan, but I am glad to have it as the backdrop, and not the forefront, of my life. I can visit whenever I want, but the craziness can stay safely behind me while I focus on my life in the much quieter (but not too quiet) NJ.
Additionally, the light in this selfies is slightly blurred. You see, I have a crack across the front of my phone which, unfortunately, crosses over the front facing camera. It used to be a source of constant frustration to me, because it reminds me that I foolishly shattered my phone. However, this picture is evidence that I'm able to get past the frustration because one of the tenants of my life is that perfection is not only impossible, it's undesirable. By forcing myself to be okay with my camera, by learning to work with the cracks and making the light fall where I want it to--- it's sort of a metaphor for how I live my life. A selfie alone wouldn't reveal that. 

This dresser is my happy place. It's full of things I love: makeup, jewelry, a stained glass lamp, and photographs of the people I love. I choose to share this unselfie because it's the view I focus on every morning as I get ready for work, looking at my makeup and jewelry and deciding how I will portray myself that day, while also looking at images of the people I love. Getting ready every morning is the most peaceful part of my day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Memes and Selfies

I love that this class recognizes the importance of something as seemingly-silly as memes in the overall narrative that is digital culture in the 21st century. Memes are very important because, as I mentioned in class, they're a form of communication that we tend to take for granted. For example, I mentioned The Meme Bible, a gift I bought for my friends (10/10 recc, by the way, buy it immediately #notspon). When I looked through the activity book, I realized that the strangest thing about my absurd purchase, was that my parents would look at it and have no earthly idea what the book was about. The language is English, but it might as well be ancient Greek for the communication barrier. There are many levels to understanding memes, some far below the surface, and that fact is amazing to me.

In another meme-related note, I bought a game for my fiance for Christmas called What Do You Meme?, which is like Cards Against Humanity but with memes. To play, the dealer pulls a meme card which displays a photo, for example:

The players then throw down cards that have phrases on them, to correspond with the photo. The best photo/phrase combination wins. Perhaps this could be played by people with no understanding of memes, but I think that a huge element of the game would be missing. Memes have meta narrative and are best enjoyed when they are understood. 

Make Bank: Memes!

I live for memes, have I mentioned that enough times yet? I love them. I'm fascinated by them. I think they are a fascinating view into the mind of the current world, for better or for worse. My fiance sent me an article this morning from, regarding the bleak nature of millennial memes-- e.g. eating Tide Pods. The author compares the nihilism and absurdity of millennial humor to Dadaism, a movement that has been around for a century. It's an interesting look into how history repeats itself.

As for my memes:

The Most Fascinating Subject

Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)

Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)

Memes That Meme Themselves


In regard to selfies, selfies are a complicated topic for me. I don't think they're hugely empowering to people, nor do I believe that they suggest a desperate cry for help. I think they're pictures, as we have been taking for years.

Everyone wants to look good in pictures, and selfies allow individuals to choose how they portray themselves to the world. There is no inherent issue in wanting to post a cute, happy, sexy selfie. However, selfies tend to be correlated with vanity, which is another topic altogether. Vanity is a real thing that I believe should be avoided, primarily because it serves no one. To that end, I will include one of my favorite drawings by Charles Allan Gilbert, "All Is Vanity."

A picture speaks a thousand words
Selfies are not the problem. Vanity is the problem. Desiring beauty is not the problem. Being consumed by beauty is the problem. Being confident is not the problem. The desperate need for verification is the problem.

Personally, I don't take many selfies because I think the world is more interesting than my particular face, but I certainly don't think selfies are inherently bad. You do you, friend. The problem was never selfies, the problem is, as it always has been, the meaning beneath the selfie. If taking a selfie makes you feel better about yourself, absolutely do it, but also understand that your worth lies far deeper than what a camera can capture. 

DDAs, 2/6 through 2/12/18