Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Be Incredibly Awkward on Camera

The objective of this project, on a purely superficial level, was to create a how-to video. In regards to that, this project was a complete and utter failure. Though I am fairly accomplished with origami, I went a little overboard by trying to do a how to of an origami design that I myself had only learned that day. Therefore, something that should have only taken 2 minutes ended up taking 7, because I forgot the design halfway through. Though I edited the video to be amusing for the viewer, the actual experience was painful and frustrating for me. From my perspective at the time, I had completely ruined the project and I was angry at myself. I had failed to execute my concept perfectly.

However, when thinking about this project in the frame of relational aesthetics, there is no way one could really fail at this project. In essence, this project was less about making a how to video and more about creating a work of art that depicts a state of social encounter. In that case, I could not possibly have been more successful. This video perfectly encapsulates my fears of failure and embarassment. I have found throughout my life that the more preoccupied I am with doing something perfectly or not being awkward in front of people, the more likely I am to end up making a mistake. My experience in making this video is similar to other experiences I have on a daily basis. Fortunately, I have a pretty solid sense of humor, which allows me to look at the events of my past in a more forgiving manner. If it generates a laugh or a feeling of sympathy from the audience, then my video is successful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Building a Meme Community around Dysthymia

As I near the end of my senior year of college, I've found that I am most concerned with the presence of unnecessary suffering in the world. One of the ways this manifests is through mental illness, which  is what I chose to focus on for my relational aesthetics piece.

My own experiences with depression has led me to be interested in the experiences of others, and conveying that experience in an accurate, poignant, and artistic way. For this project, I snooped around the clinical depression forum of, which is a useful online resource for anyone looking for support. I read through topics and picked quotes from anonymous users that I felt that I, and other people suffering from depression, could resonate with. All of the users were anonymous, and the comments were all made in a public forum, making them free for public use. Specifically, I looked in the topics related to dysthymia, which is also known as chronic depression. Though the symptoms of dysthymia are less severe than those of major depression, the symptoms often last for a greater length of time and the effects that it has on a person's life can be equally devastating. 

I was absorbed into this project, and it allowed me to reflect on my own experience with dysthymia. It also revealed to me that many aspects of my experience were similar to those of other people, which helped to validate some of my thoughts as well as make me feel less isolated. This project was a great way for me to express my interest in hand lettering as well. I hope in the future to do more art projects related to mental illness since it is one of the biggest inspirations behind my art. You can see the rest of my works here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Proposed Arena of Exchange

The internet is a place where tons of micro communities are formed through social media outlets. These forums allow a private space for people to share their thoughts anonymously. Though these forums can be negative and result in cyberbullying or a general reduction in the collective IQ, there are many forums that are formed with the intention of helping one another. One of the most touching example of these that I have found  are forums that are built to support people with anxiety and depression. These mental illnesses can be extremely isolating, but one has to only look around the internet to know that they are not suffering alone. For example, the depression comic of Hyperbole and a Half has resonated with a shocking amount of people. Because I'm also a comic artist, I also appreciate the way illustrations can bring people together. For my project, I will attempt to extract some of the common thoughts of loneliness and pain that people express on the Internet and illustrate them in a way that makes them relatable through a small cartoon. This cartoon figure will be someone that anyone suffering from anxiety or depression can relate to, like the narrator of Hyperbole and a Half. I intend to do about 25 of these, and then post them on Flickr.