On “Functional” and “Non-Functional” Art and the purpose of art itself.

A few weeks, ago I was able to take a day trip to Salem with a good friend of mine and as part of this trip we were able to make a visit to the Peabody Essex Museum, where we were able to view, among other things, the museum’s collection of Japanese artworks (antique and more recent, as well as artworks emulating those of Japan). The exhibition itself is intended to discuss the global reach and impact of Japanese artwork and aesthetics throughout history, but as we walked out of the museum, my friend and I got a completely different takeaway from this exhibit.

Continue reading “On “Functional” and “Non-Functional” Art and the purpose of art itself.”

Take the Initiative (for once in your life)

I haven’t written much for this blog in a while. Yet now as I write I’m sitting in my desk, unable to sleep though it is far too late for me to stay up on my computer. I suppose I feel the need to write now because of a number of events happening in my life recently that have forced me to think about how exactly I’ve been living my life for… basically forever.

Here’s how it started: I noticed at one of the jobs I worked at that I wasn’t getting many shifts at work. Now, last time I noticed this, my employers (who shall not be named – they’d know who they are) had brought up some concerns about how I did my job.

“You don’t apply yourself”

“You need to put more into the job and take action”

And I wondered if that was what was happening here. So after much frustration and wondering whether or not I should leave altogether, I wrote an E-mail to my employer. I asked just what was going on, and a few hours later, they had gotten back to me. Their concerns had been familiar to me as they were last time.

“Your performance is inconsistent”

“You haven’t been taking initiative”

Nonetheless, we had agreed to meet and discuss how I was doing my job. And so I ventured to my workplace that Monday morning, as if to slay a monster, fully prepared to resign from the job with what could have been my final shift (which was scheduled just minutes after I got a reply) being that Friday. Mentally, I prepared what I was supposed to say. Practically speaking, I had prepared the names of a few places I could apply to if this went south.

What happened next may have changed just about everything.

The conversation itself wasn’t particularly eventful. I was told, again, to take initiative and assert myself more at the position. I agreed to try it. What was interesting, however, was how even the small act of going forward to the supervisor to address my concerns could be taking initiative. Indeed, they had referred to it as such when we met. The rest of the conversation had me thinking long and hard.

So I went to the woods. Not very far from where my work place is a nature trail that I sometimes hiked in. I often go into nature when I feel like I need to clear my head, or to reflect on the past, or meditate on the future. Forests for me are like cathedrals in which to take refuge in. I needed to do all of those things after what my bosses and I just spoke about.

That’s when I started to think. For much of my life, a lot of personal problems for me were indeed because I didn’t take initiative. Lots of regrets and mistakes I made that wouldn’t have been if only I could take initiative.  Relationships that could have formed if only I’d taken initiative, times I could have spent with potential friends if only I’d taken initiative, groups I could have joined if only I’d taken initiative. I remember feeling like I was simply “coasting” through high school and college, focused mainly on trying to get by and barely even being able to do that by the end.

Since then, I’ve tried to take initiative in a number of ways. Talking to people on the street or the bus. Signing up for an event. Getting back in touch with people I haven’t spoken to in a while. All sorts of things that I’ve been trying to push myself to start doing. I’m still trying to get better at it. Still trying to overcome my apprehension or general laziness to do certain things.

But overall; It’s been working for me so far.

Screens

Another, shorter, less polished animated short about the (technologically imposed) isolation that I feel is inherent in modern life. Inspired by one time I was in a coffee shop sitting across from a complete stranger and we were both looking on our phones, not really looking up or starting conversation.

Enjoy.

The Violin Maker

A short, not that great animated short I made somewhat recently. It’s based on this painting from the MFA in Boston, and was inspired by my imagining of the processes and thoughts of the subject of that painting as he makes the instrument. I did have to do some brief research how violins were made for the sake of the video as well. By “research” I mean finding a video on YouTube showing how violins are made.

If anyone is reading this, I hope you enjoy.

My first (real) blog post

I really haven’t been very proactive with writing for this blog, I will admit. For months, the blog has simply been sitting on the Internet, and a huge reason for this was that I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write on here. I’ve considered the many directions in which this blog could posssibly go, what sort of content that I might possibly have on this blog. Do I write about politics and turn this into a poltical blog?  Or do I simply post artworks, and turn this into an art blog? Or do I write short fiction for the blog and make it into a literary blog? Is it possible to do all of these things at once? For a while, I simply couldn’t decide what the topic of my first blog post ought to be.

It was at that point that I realized perhaps I ought to take the opportunity to reflect on my life and the state it is at right now, and where I hope to be in the future.

I graduated from college some time ago, in May with a degree in History. When I did, I had little idea of what would come next, particularly with all of the changes that were happening in my life and in the world. I didn’t really consider the ramifications of my graduation or what they truly entailed. But I saw it as the end of one era and the beginning of another journey. That was three and a half months ago.

Since then, my life hasn’t been particularly eventful. I took continuing ed classes to learn about animation and continue to expand my art, as I hope to become an animator someday. I’ve polished and re-polished my resume as I continued a long and unending quest for employment. I’ve created artworks that I hope to publish on this blog over time, and I’ve occupied my time primarilly through television, job aplications, and time spent in parks and at coffee shops. So not particularly eventful.

But the future, like this blog, is open ended. I still hope to go to an art school to work on becoming an animator. As I write, I am working on my portfolio so I can apply to these schools. I am continuing to develop my art over the coming months. As I write, I doubt that many people will be reading this very post that I am typing now, though I am interested in seeing where I am in five, ten, or twenty years when I come back and reread all this.

For the first time in my life, I truly feel as if my whole life is ahead of me, and life…

Life is an open book.

Welcome to the Site!

Here’s my site where I plan to write my thoughts on life, the news, media, and anything else that comes to my mind. I don’t know how often I’ll get to write stuff, but I hope to do so early and do so often. There’s just so much to talk about and so much time to do it. I also hope to put some art stuff up here when I can.