Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring "Break"

So, I'm sitting here in the computer lab at school during Spring "Break"...which really isn't a break at all as I'm spending it catching up with all the work I couldn't do regularly. x_X
Figured I'd blog as I work.

This week I'm making two trips down to the base for a lengthy physical regarding the job I'm assigned in the Air Force. They're doing extensive testing on things like my sight, hearing, heart, breathing, blood, dental, body fluids, and women's health stuff. So far so good! My eyes are pretty damn good, but, unfortunately, they aren't perfect. SO...I will have to wear my glasses full-time on the job. It's a job that requires perfect vision no matter what. Glad I already have them so I don't have to buy new ones, and also glad I'm not going to be a pilot - they HAVE to get corrective surgery if they're not perfect already. ...But the glasses are still not something I'm looking forward to.
I also found out I'm blood type O+. Finally. I've had blood drawn several times before, but never pushed to find out. ^_^ I'm totally okay with this.

This week, I was also able to wash my car for the first time in several months. It's finally starting to get warmer outside! I love it.
And speaking of my car...I'm still having major problems with it. The engine light has been on for at least half a year now, and we've just barely pinpointed the problem. I've had the spark plugs replaced, switched my fuel to premium, cleaned out the fuel system twice, gotten a new battery, and now it looks like we've narrowed it down to bad ignition coils. LOL Fuck. After all the other diagnostics and fixes, I can no longer afford to do anything else. My finances have dwindled to almost nothing. I have just enough to pay rent and bills through June, then I'm fucked. >_> I had to take out a loan and quit my job last year due to school work loads - I took out what I thought was far more than enough with emergencies in mind, but...I had NO idea all these emergencies would come up one after the other. It's like something is fucking targeting me, because I can't get a break. My friends and family are like...wtf is going on with you?? 'Cause really...this is beyond ridiculous.

It's not just my car, it's my cat and school, too. Cat's gotten sick THREE times in the last few months with killer allergies and fleas. $100s down the hatch. I don't have enough to get his shots renewed this year now. Then school demanded much more than I was expecting. What with all these required museum trips and lab fees. Luckily, via super awesome (and quite legal) ninja methods, I was able to save $400 on textbooks this semester. p:

One thing I found out this past weekend as I was getting my car oil changed was that my two front tires were bad. ...And not just bad...we're talking like...the tread had worn down to the cord, and I wasn't even aware 'cause it was on the side hidden by the wheel well. If I'd kept driving on those, they would have blown. Dad told me to just get them rotated to the back, but Firestone was like, "Uuh...yeah...not an option. Those things are bald. You need new ones."
WELL FUDGEMONKEY. What am I supposed to do?? Spend money I don't have or die?? :V
I chose to spend money I don't have...just sayin'...y'know...in case there's a chance I can still do cool shit in this life.
So. I'm now like $300 in debt with the tire company, but hey...I get to live a little longer. ^_^ And they did some alignment work, too, so my car doesn't pull to the right when I let go of the wheel for a bit like it used to. It's nice.
Things that still have to be repaired:

-restore headlights (I'm doing this slowly over time with a spray)
-fix squeaky breaks
-replace lighter fuses
-fix stuck driver's seat
-lubricate back shocks??
-replace blower motor
-renew paint/dents??
-lubricate and clean steering wheel
-replace ignition coils

Ugh...y'know this car is a year 2000 and has over 200,000 miles on it. It's fricken been places...I dun even know. Bought it used. When I go active duty, I'm just gonna sell it to some poor college student and get a new one. LOL But I do love it as my first car. :3 ...it could be a lot worse, ironically.


In the midst of all this, I've been trying to find time to clean my apartment...but...I have a confession...
I pre-ordered Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon last year for the 3DS, and it was just released on Sunday...sooo...^^; I've been spoiling myself a little. I regret nothing.


I was finally able to finish some wedding gift art for a couple colleagues of mine that I started back in January. It felt good to do some CG illustration again! (sample below)



But, in the process, my version of photoshop stopped working. I can't reinstall it for some reason, so I'll be looking to get a newer version ASAP so commissions can continue. For now, I'm on the trial version for CS6...x_x 28 days remain...halp.

As for homework, over break I'm working on catching up with 3D animation (both various exercises and major projects), video art (a music video compiling 3 movies, demonstrating successful juxtaposition), Intermediate electronic art (an abstract animation in After Effects) contemporary art (video and reading assignments with response papers), and research papers for both of my art history courses.

Right now in the lab, I'm working on rendering an abstract 3D animation I've been working on for a couple months now. It's a slow process as we learn new things and apply them to our own custom scenes. We didn't have to make an abstract piece, but my professor has always pushed us in that direction. I know she loves that kind of work, so...just to make life easier in the classroom this time around, I went for it. But it's compiled of objects I like. I modeled some things from scratch that I like to illustrate in 2D to make it more fun. I'll share some stills below, but would prefer to keep most of it to myself until its finished.





Lots of color, composition, camera, and animation experimentation involved. Many, many hours-worth.
Rendering animations takes forever as well. We have this program called Squidnet that puts the projects through a "render farm" where it uses every machine in the lab to convert the animation into a high quality movie file. It's been having lots of issues for weeks. 
The person we call for tech assistance also teaches GPHD 10 (Intro to Digital Art) in the graphic design department. I had to ask him to come to the lab for assistance this time around as the software was acting up, and asked if he was tired of hearing Ms. R's voice all the time asking for help. lol She's literally calling for him multiple times a day for this kinda thing. Technology's a pain in he ASS sometimes. He, bluntly...said yes. :] 
Then I let him know that he was my very first professor in college about 5 years ago, and he got a kick out of it. He just teaches that one class, so I never had him again. But he's a great instructor! One of the best I've had. Very easy to follow, and is very helpful with the assignments.


Aaand speaking of modeling...I don't think I shared my final project from last semester. o.0
Don't remember all the details of the assignment, but we basically needed to create another surreal composition. Below is what I came up with - Ms. R ended up liking it.







So, yeah! Good stuff...
I clearly have a lot more to learn about the 3D world, but I've gotten some good insight about the processes so far. If I had more time, I'd probably be working on much more elaborate/well-refined works, but with the workload I have right now, that just can't happen. It's just like...learn it, show it, move on, rinse and repeat.
In class we're now learning how to rig models with bones, joints, IK handles, control curves, etc. That shit...is HARD. It's no wonder companies like Pixar employ individuals just for that step in animation. Complicated. As. Hell.

In other news...
One of my works from last semester's Senior Seminar made into an art show on campus. This would be the...2nd show I think...that I've made it into. First one was a couple years back with my Women & War photo manipulation. That one was kinda cool, 'cause they basically made my piece the icon of the entire show and put it on the pamphlets and signs all over campus. 



And I almost didn't enter this next one.
Ms. S had pushed me to enter a couple photomanips and one of my giant drawings in a show back in January/February. All three were rejected, and I had just kinda had it with that whole thing. I've noticed that the artists at this school are very biased and picky about what kind of art is desirable. Specifically professors and other higher-ups. Works done in a traditional medium and abstract works are the most celebrated kinds of art here. Mine were neither. Ms. R got upset when she found out that not even my digital works got in, and is now on a mission to create an all-digital art show. lol Even when I'm graduated and gone, she's going to extend the show to people like me. :]
But anyhow...
she pushed me to enter this last one, and I said no, that I'd had it with the bias already. But...she was very persistent. >.> She had me pull up my senior project from last semester and picked out her favorite one: "Fragile Moments."

                                       
It depicts a visual of the emotion I feel when my inner strength breaks apart and is consumed with fear, darkness, and despair. It was the 8th piece in the story from the project. The image of me in black was taken when I was about 15 or 16 years old (2005 or '06). And the one on the right was taken in 2012.
The world is shattering to reveal a bloody mess as what was supposed to be my light of hope dissolves into nothing.

Well. This one was accepted.
A few classmates made it in, too, so Ms. R let us all skip the beginning of 3D Animation class to attend the reception a few weeks ago. So much good free food!! :3
Aaand the show ended a few days ago, so I'll be retrieving the work after spring break. :]
It was a nice pick-me-up after all the shit I've been through this semester.




Lol and speaking of art shows...
I almost completely forgot last semester a couple of my friends had their own personal display in one of the campus galleries, and I was used in one installation. The artist did a series on censorship, and it was all stuff that talked about how censorship is ridiculous and used famous quotes about it.


Also, random...!
When I visited my uncle's dental office this past winter, I got to see the logo I made for him in action. It was cool. :P





Anyway, I'm gonna get back to work. Shit ton of stuff still to be done...I can't believe I'm about to pull an all-nighter on break, but...AUGH. 56 days.



~Uni



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Museum of Modern Arts

My Contemporary Art History professor is requiring us to take a trip to San Francisco this semester and "raid" the Museum of Modern Art (a.k.a SFMoMA) to write a research paper on our favorite work there.

So, that's what I did this past Saturday. SF is about a 2-hour drive from me, and I went with a fellow classmate and her two friends.

We were required to visit every gallery in the building across 5 different floors. We had to take multiple photos of works in each gallery, and of ourselves...because she will not even grade our work if we don't have photo proof that we were there. x_x So, pretty much it was a given that we had to go with other people...not only because SF is a hell of a city to brave alone...but also so we could take each others' photos and what-not.
We also had to sketch our favorite work, and keep a photo journal inside the actual museum. BUT...as a blogger, I'm naturally inclined to take more photos than necessary. :P

We stopped in Berkeley because we don't like actually driving into San Francisco. Crazy place. So, we parked to catch a train...and saw a Mario block on a bridge. Win.


I took the below photo and texted my mother saying that I was taking the BART for the first time, and she was like...uuh...yeah, you took it when you were like 4. -__- Oy. Well, excuse me for not remembering. I was pretty excited about it anyway.


When we got to SF, we found out they were celebrating St. Patrick's Day a day early. o_O; Green. Everywhere. I was glad to have worn even the smallest amount of green on the letter beads of my bracelet, and in the teal eyeliner I had on. lol HEY, it counts.



My classmate n' I kept taking photos of random architecture around the city 'cause it's really pretty. I realized then just how much SF and Toronto have in common. Pretty cool. I could never live in a city like that, though. Way too hurried, too expensive, the people are SO strange, pollution, noisy, dirty, etc. Not good for my stress levels. ^^; It's a great place to hang out for a bit, though. Gorgeous old buildings, lots of history, I love all the businesses and people in suits, the ocean, etc. It's also very liberal, though, which I can't stand. 

I've been to SF several times in my life, but not much as an adult on my own. It's quite a different experience. Seems a bit more exciting when I have the freedom to do whatever I want. :]

This is where PikminLink attends college. :P We passed by it looking for food.
A view of the city from the 5th floor of the MoMA
View of the city from the 4th floor of the MoMA
Front of the MoMA
MoMA lobby
Below was the first piece we saw inside the museum...I didn't particularly like it, but my friends went crazy about it. lol You can definitely tell it's done by a Japanese artist just from the way the eyes are done. Takashi Murakami. The title is "Super Nova."


Definitely had to take a photo of this one below. It's Mark Rothko's "No. 14." You walk in and it's like glorified on the back wall all on its own. The lighting is majestic (photo doesn't do it justice), and there's a wooden line built on to the floor where you're supposed to stand while looking at it. This is an artist who puts large bodies of color on a hugs canvas and calls it a spiritual experience. I was talking with my classmate about it and said I believe it's only a big deal because people have intentionally made it that way for some reason. Think about it. Call it genius, sublime, contemporary, what have you...but what the actual fuck makes it that way? 

The artist himself said that looking at his work is meant to evoke a spiritual experience in the viewer just as he went through. So, another girl and I just stood there staring at it for a good while, and were just like...yeah...not gettin' anything. 

Yet, at the same time, I can completely understand how it would spark feeling in others. Perhaps I simply wasn't letting it speak to me. But as an artist who most certainly does NOT prefer abstract styles, I also chose to not view this image as the extraordinary piece it's been made out to be by certain other people.


I like the below painting a lot better - "Leaky Ride for Dr. Leakey" by James Rosenquist (another artist we've studied). I'm much more drawn to Pop Art than Abstract Expressionalism (the movement Rothko participated in), even though I still find its randomness a bit irritating. I'm picky, what can I say. :P But I can still appreciate. 


The artist I deemed my "favorite" in the museum was Lebbus Woods, and architect who draws and creates some of the most intricate and intriguing designs I've ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, it was one of the galleries we weren't allowed to take photos in. Why? I have no fricken idea. I found it out a bit late though...so I have a few. It wasn't even flash photography, so none of us understood the issue.




Funny how I'm drawn to this abstract style, no? :] I was surprised myself. It was just so incredibly gorgeous. Look up his stuff online!! It's amazing! I will be writing my paper on him for sure. So much to say. Good chance I'll share it here.


Top of the stairs on the 4th floor - back of the giant tapestry piece.



Top floor has a roof garden and coffee bar. I asked for bottled water. This is what I got. $3 down the hatch. x.X

I found Alexander Calder's work on the roof! It made me excited 'cause I wrote a paper on him last semester. :]


Lastly, we visited the gift shop to look at books and see if we could find a souvenir. I found a Wonder Woman art book on sale for over half off - I got it to expand my western art collection in the midst of all the Japanese pop culture I possess. lol Can't wait to have time to read through it. :]



I also got this SFMoMA paint brush...which wasn't only extremely soft, but was also a pencil on the other end. ^_^ Can never have enough pencils...


MUGS YOU CAN DRAW ON, WHAT?? Craziness. 


And theeeenn....on our way back to the train station I spotted a Japanese Sweets store... >_> Being on the Pacific coast, SF has tons of Japanese/Asian culture in it, and you can get some legit cuisine out there. We didn't wanna pass that up. Expensive as HELL, but sooo, so worth it. It was so good. I made a video about it below if you wanna hear me talk about sakura sweets for like 10 minutes. :v

My classmate and I still speak some Japanese, so were able to communicate with the basics while we were there. It was so incredible. I would eat Sakura Daifuku every day if I could. D: And there we sooo many other things we would have gotten if we had the money. One girl with us was a high schooler, and I told her this is the kinda thing college students totally should not do, but do anyway. xD 


Didn't get to try the Hakuto Mochi! So bummed...


So pretty...~





Dun be judgin' now...people in every country go crazy over foreign "exotic" culinary experiences. :3




Anyway, the day took it out of me for sure. Back to work. Lots of homework. Gonna be another all-nighter. Even so...I made up a list of good habits for me to look at and remember to follow this semester...hopefully it'll help me get through...








~Uni


P.S. San Francisco is absolutely crawling with incredibly attractive men. It's unfortunate I have to assume that half of them are gay. :<