Sunday, April 29, 2012

Long Time No See

Well, it's been quite a long time since I've posted due to technical difficulties, and a lot has happened since the last post.  However, I can most definitely say that the most memorable experience that occurred within this time period was the Rodrigo y Gabriela concert I went to at the Chicago Theater.

For those of you who don't know, Rodrigo y Gabriela are a guitar duo from Mexico City (though they gained their following in Dublin, Ireland) who play flamenco music with a twist.  Their music isn't the typical flamenco-sounding kind, and instead, it incorporates elements from different genres like rock and apparently thrash metal.

The concert was absolutely stunning to say the least.  First of all, the Chicago Theater is one of my absolute favorite venues.  It seems like you have a good seat no matter what, and the stage is beautiful.  But enough about the venue-

Rodrigo y Gabriela certainly know how to put on a show.  Their acoustic sound was accompanied by a lively band, CUBA, featuring trumpets, electric guitars, bongos, and basses.  Not only that, but the stage lit up with amazingly vibrant lights which completely added to the performance. Despite the fact there was rarely any singing in this concert, the audience was always involved, humming along with the soft melodies and dancing to the more livelier ones.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patty's Day

Hi everyone!  To be festive, I'll share a St. Patrick's Day story with you.

Yesterday, I traveled downtown to Chicago for dinner.  My family and I obviously didn't think this through, because when we got there, we were welcomed by massive groups of green-clothed people, causing traffic on almost every street.  Driving wasn't even the worst part.  When we were walking around, we couldn't even walk one step without bumping into someone in a green top hat.  Almost every restaurant we walked by was packed with insane amounts of people, and was blasting celebratory Irish-rock music.  Despite all the noise and the large crowds, seeing almost everyone decked-out in green clothing, ranging from green spandex to green wigs, was quite an amazing site.  Unfortunately, I was equipped with a black-and-white film-loaded camera...


Have a festive dragon!




I hope everyone had a Happy St. Patricks Day!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Graphic Novels

When a lot of people think of graphic novels, I'm sure they're thinking of those with superheroes- more comic-bookeqsue.  However, I'd like to share two of my favorite graphic novels, none of which involve superheroes.  In fact, they are all true stories that take place during dark periods of time.

MAUS- Art Spiegelman
Picture from here
Maus is a graphic novel about the author's father's life during the Holocaust.  Every now and then it switches off between events that occur to the author himself, in present day, to those that occurred to his father in the past. This book is certainly unique, to say the least.  Different ethnicities are portrayed using different animals.  You would think that this would take away the seriousness of the book, but instead, it just makes it all more powerful by utilizing people as animals in a different manner than the "Jews are rats" propaganda spread during the Holocaust. Maus is a page-turner, and an emotional one as well.


Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi
Picture from here
Persepolis follows the author throughout various periods in her life while living in Iran.  It focuses on how she is impacted by the various laws implemented after the 'Islamic Revolution," (i.e. all women must wear veils) and by the unraveling war between Iran and Iraq.  At first, while the author is a young girl, the book has a feeling of innocence.  As the book progresses and as more tragic even take place, however, the innocent feeling is lost and is replaced by a more adult point of view.

There are many other graphic novels that tackle serious subject matters in an engaging manner and are in no way reminiscent of super-hero comic books.  I encourage any reader who has not yet explored the graphic novel genre to begin with either of the above books and he or she may find themselves hooked on this form of literature.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Rainy, Dreary, Gloomy

I'm sure there are many of you out there that will disagree with this, but I just LOVE rainy days.  I know a lot of people dislike dreary days because they're wet, muddy, and almost melancholy, but I beg to differ.  I love the dreariness of these days much more than the blinding sunshine of a bright and shiny day.  I find bright days a bit overwhelming, though I can't really explain why.  Rainy days, however, I find quite peaceful, and days like those are great to sit down and listen to music or read a book to.  In addition, I love how quiet it gets after it rains, and the earthy smell that the rain leaves.  One thing I am not a fan of, though, is the mud.  Nobody should enjoy trudging through that stuff.





Photo From here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photography



Recently, I have started shooting photos using my uncle's camera, and developing my photos using my school's dark room.  When I go out shooting, I find things that I would have never noticed otherwise.  Take this water fountain for example.  While focussing on it for my photo, I realized that this fountain was from the 1800s.  Taking photos like these help discover hidden treasures, and reveal them to the rest of the world.  Of course, you can also keep them to yourself.
In addition, not only does photography reveal hidden treasures, but it also brings out a hidden artistic element in some of the most mundane things.  It gives beauty to the unlikely, and puts a spotlight on the unknown, as well as give a new look to those that are known.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pens

(I've noticed that I'm really bad at titling my entries, but hopefully I'll improve as the year progresses)

Pens, in my opinion, are some of the most overlooked items.  The type, color, and brand can all affect how one writes or draws.  In this entry, I will be focusing more on the drawing aspect.

The most underestimated pens are the ones that you would find in an office, laying on the floor, or given out at a presentation.  Pen's like this BIC Round Stic-


You can do amazing things with this cheap pen! What people don't realize is that you can get a great range of shades from this one pen, depending on how hard you press, which can really help add shading to your pictures.


 In addition, because you can get a variety of shades from this pen, it is not hard to blend two colors together.


The design on the back of my chemistry notebook, for example, was done in the same BIC pen, and I was able to shade and give areas like the hair highlights, which really makes it stand out as opposed to if I outlined it without shading.


Using pens like these can really make a big difference in a drawing!

For example-

This-

As opposed to this


These two pieces were doodled using two different pens, one i was bale to shade with, the other, not so much.  The shading in the second piece causes it to look much more detailed, as opposed to the first one, which appears more flat.

Despite the facts that pens are so under-appreciated, they can make a big difference!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Motivation and Inspiration

In my opinion, the hardest part of being an artist, writer, or in this case, blogger is finding inspiration.  It is a common occurrence where I am motivated and eager to draw something, but cannot think of what to draw.  In addition, it is insanely painful to stare at a blank sheet of paper for several hours and then conclude that you cannot draw at that moment because you cannot find motivation and/or inspiration to actually draw.

It is anger inducing.

But recently, I have found new ways to gain inspiration.

The way that seems to be working best for me is just by simply looking at others' drawings in their sketchbook.  Something about seeing people's ideas put on paper stimulates me and inspires me.  It gives me ideas on what to fill my sketchbook or sheet of paper with.  And this is why I always carry around these two books.









Inside these two books are various pages from numerous street artists' sketchbooks.  As I mentioned earlier, by just simply looking at other people's sketchbooks, I am both inspired and motivated to draw.  Seeing what others have drawn triggers something, and fills my head with new and unique ideas.  In addition, I think it is such a privilege to have an opportunity to look at another artist's sketchbook, which is almost like their private journal. Below are some of my favorite pages from these sketchbooks.








Some of my favorite pages:




Additional Links:
First picture
Second Picture