Bread and Puppet's Ulysses

On Saturday I saw Bread and Puppet's production of The Return of the Ulysses at the Cyclorama. As I expected I had a difficult time following the story, but I still enjoyed the show. It was a total sensory performance. The company had a brass band and opera singers, handmade set design and costumes, and even served sourdough bread with aoli after the show. I really liked the overall DIY aspect of the performance.

Bread and Puppet is a traveling theatre company based out of Glover, Vermont.

What is Black and White all Over?

Jennifer Ramos is a designer from L.A.

Michael Jon Watt is inspired by typography, vintage signs, and bus scrolls.
On his Etsy site he creates custom-made scrolls, which can be used to commemorate events like weddings or record your favorite places, people, or things.
These two posters resonate with me because there is a seamless marriage between the concept and the aesthetics. Conceptually, both pieces examine a singular idea (the word "hello" and a wedding day) and offer several variations that further explain the idea (such as different ways to say hello and the various destinations associated with a wedding)

The vertical list format, the simple sans serif font, and the black and white color palette remove all unnecessary visual elements, which makes the the viewer focus on the message of the piece. The design is neat, clean, simple, modern, yet powerful.

I think it is interesting how this is a common trend in the design world, after all two separate artists are making very similar choices about font, color, and composition. This push towards minimalism is a re-occuring theme in modern and contemporary art and design. Several artists use font in a similar manner. For example, the painter Ed Rusha works with the viscersal associations that are connected to specific words and the contemporary installation and conceptual artist Jenny Holzer uses short text phrases ("truisms") as a way to communicate a specific message.

Ed Rushca, Noise, 1963, oil on canvas, 72 x67 inches.
Jenny Holzer, A Survival sorozatbol, Times Square, NY. 1985-86.


Blast from the past...

Back to high school.
Accordion Book. 4"x4" when folded.

Watercolor, pen. 11"x14".

Inspiring Video on the Importance of Arts Education

I thought this video was interesting because many faculty and students in the Art Ed. department have similar beliefs about our current system of education. In their view (and in my view as well), it stifles certain ways of thinking because conformity and standardization are valued.  For example the speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, questions the advent of standardized testing, the separation between academic and vocational pursuits, and the set-up of the traditional public school in which classes are separated by age.

Sir Ken Robinson relates the current unpopularity of arts education somewhat obviously to the rise of standardized testing. More interestingly, he believes there is simultaneously a connection between these two phenomenon and the number of prescriptions for ADHD given to children and the ever increasing amount of "distractions" like computers, iphones, and advertising.

While this video raises many questions, it does not offer concrete solutions. I know it is the belief of the Art Ed. department to treat visual arts education as a transformative medium that can directly effect the lives of students. For example, it can used to coach students in a variety of life skills (such as those in Lois' Eight Studio Habits of Mind)  and inspire curiosity, discovery, creativity, spontaneity, and joy (through crazy and fun lesson plans).

I'm Back!

Last weekend I saw the comedian Patton Oswalt speak about his new book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. He was hilarious as usual. Patton talked about his hodgepodge of show business jobs like dubbing the voice of the rat in Ratatouille, being a celebrity guest commentator on VH1's Best Week Ever, starring as lead man in the movie "Big Fan"...

After reading excerpts from his book, Patton did a little Q&A session with the audience. One woman asked if he had any advice for an aspiring comedian. He simply said "Go out every night". Every night go out to comedy clubs to put your stuff out there so people can hear it. No matter what, go out. Also, he said in this day and age there is no reason for a talented comedian not to "make it". We are living in the age of social media. There's YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Tumblr... If you are talented and show your work, you will have a fan base