Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sketches: Fall 2011 classmate studies

To make up for my long hiatus, brought on by the busy-ness of school and finals, here are a few scans of miscellaneous doodles and rough sketches that I drew in various notebooks during my classes this past fall.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Research Paper: Symbolism within the Tarot and Comparative Visual Analysis

The paper that I wrote as the culmination of the undergraduate research project I've been working for the past year and a half is finally finished and published online! I can't quite believe it hasn't even been two full years since I first began planning and preparing for this project; it feels like I've been working on it for so much longer than that.

I'm pretty sure that most of the people I know who are likely to actually bother to read this blog of mine already know all about my project, because I tend to get very talkative about things I'm excited about with people I believe to be willing to put up with my long, passionate ramblings. However, on the off chance that by some miracle someone is reading this who is not one of those people who I've already told all about it, then I will explain it as simply and briefly as I can, so you can choose whether or not to read it.

It's a proposal of a relatively practical, comprehensive method of how to conduct an in-depth study of the Tarot through a progression leading from objective visual analysis of individual cards (from any deck), to comparative visual analysis of multiple cards, to broad research, ending in the synthesis and interpretation of all that has been learned.
As someone who finds the Tarot to be incredibly interesting and rich topic of research, I want to encourage others to discover how fascinating and rewarding it can be to engage in a serious study the Tarot, whether undertaken for academic purposes or to learn how to perform readings of them, or both. I hope this paper can be a resource that can help inspire, guide or somehow assist in the learning of those who might be interested in studying the Tarot, even in the smallest of ways.

My paper is shared on the University Digital Conservancy and is free for anyone to read. Here's the link to it: It can be read or downloaded in PDF format.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

iPod Doodles and Sketches from Early Fall

Sorry I haven't been updating much lately, but school's in full swing and I've got a lot of irons on the fire all the time now. However, despite all the busy hustle and bustle I have been able to keep myself doing art regularly, with the help of my new iPod touch and an app called "Artstudio", which is pretty much like a basic version of Photoshop, and it's just brilliant. I've been sketching and doodling on it during my classes, instead of a on notebook like I was before. It took a bit of getting used to, but it's really fun to work with.

So here are some of the little works I've made on my iPod. There are some silly little low-quality brainfart pieces, and also some sketches of random classmates.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sketches from Class: Early September

Sorry I haven't been a very active blogger as of late - I'm afraid both the end of summer and the beginning of the school year have been a mite hectic. I haven't been doing  too much art lately, but school has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to have lots of artistic subjects that I can draw discretely while they're distracted by a teacher. Here are some of the sketches I've made during my lectures.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Which Reality is Virtual? - Combination Digital and Screen Print:

A print created for a class assignment, from about two years ago, for which we had to combine a digitally printed image with a screen printing image. In this print, the head, goggles, and monitor are all digitally printed, and the images on the screen of the monitor are screen printed on top of it. The pictures I used for this all came off of google images, and while I photoshopped and rearranged them, I do not claim them to be my own.

Poetry Book Pamphlet Design

I'm planning to post here about some of my slightly older projects and art, that I ought to have talked about earlier but forgot, and I thought I could start it off with a little something that has to do with my mom. She's a talented writer and poet, a passionate, caring and strong person, and a mom that I am constantly proud of and thankful for. I could have asked for no better mother to have been born to.

My brilliant mother, Theresa Alberti.

But enough of me buttering up my mom so she will be less unhappy if I eat rhubarb cake and refried beans for dinner - let's get down to business. And of course, by "business" I mean "plugging my mom's book of poetry and encouraging you to spend your money on it".

This is her website, where you can learn about her and read samples of her poetry. Her book is available here on amazon. My painting is even on the cover!

I'm bringing this up because of something my mother wanted my help with a while ago. She was going to an event where she would have the opportunity to advertise and sell her book. She thought it might be a good idea to make some fliers or pamphlets about it to pass around, so she wrote up the information she would like to have on it and asked me for help with the design, since I have a generally good eye for that sort of thing. So then I went about rearranging and tweaking it into something that I hope looks at least somewhat professional.

Below are the two versions - the original one my mother put together is on  the left, and my own modified version is on the right. I blurred out her phone number for privacy's sake, but everything else is intact.

Go check out her website and poetry, and if you find those interesting, please go take a look at her book too!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Steampunk Clay Cyborg Face Pendant

A cyborg face pendant that I created using polymer clay, miscellaneous metal bits and beads at a craft workshop at Convergence, a scifi/fantasy/anime/gaming convention. We were supposed to make hearts out of the clay, but I decided to try something different. I would have put some little gears on it to make it obviously steampunk (because you can make just about anything steampunk by sticking a gear to it) but everyone else at my table had already grabbed them by the time I got around to thinking about it. But it's still pretty cool without any gears, and I'm happy with how it turned out.

Bento Box Creations from Convergence

My family just recently attended the sci-fi/fantasy/literature/anime/manga/gaming/general nerdiness convention "Convergence", which we have been going to every year for quite a while now, and we all had a very good time going to panels, watching movies, partaking of free food and drinks and looking at all the interesting cosplayers.

In past years I'd barely even noticed that there was a craft room at Convergence, since I spent so much time at panels or walking around, but this year I noticed some interesting-looking events that they had scheduled going on in that room, so I decided to try them out, and with a couple of them I found myself having a very enjoyable time.

One of these craft workshops, which I attended with my mother, was for the purpose of making bento boxes (Japanese boxed lunches). The purpose of bento is not just to fill them with tasty food, but to make them look appealing too (see various examples of cute bento boxes at the linked-to page).

So for the bento workshop everone sat down as volunteers began passing around various foods, fruits and vegetables, and then we all set about using various materials to make adorable and edible animals, flowers, people, etc. for our bento.

I, however, was (as usual) not satisfied with doing what everyone else was doing - I had to go outside of the box, to make something different, to use my creativity to its fullest capacity...

...which meant, of course, making an "ero bento" (ero being the Japanese term for "erotic").

I was inspired first to use the tips of a hot dog and little bits of carrot to make the boobs, and then I just had to cut a little penis out of a cucumber slice, and arrange them just so. Yes, I am that juvenile.

I also took photos of some of the other fun bento created by various people at the workshop. Below is my mother's delectable creation, complete with a non-traditional hot dog octopus.

Below is the only other bento with boobs, made by someone I didn't know. I'm not sure what the scene is supposed to depict, or what the creature is, but it's still a very fun lunch box.

Here's the bento made by someone at my table, with a little woman in a flounced grape dress with a cheese hair bow, and a clever rice head with vegetable features.

The next bento was made to look like a clever little scene. I'm not sure what it's suppose to be, other than what looks like a saint praying and what looks like the dead form of the Dread Pirate Roberts (from the film The Princess Bride), but it's very cool nonetheless.

And below is a cute little kitty that someone at another table sculpted out of rice and nori sheets.

So as you can see, the workshop was enormously successful and fun, and the room was just bursting with creativity - I know I definitely want to try making bento again in the future. There's something really satisfying about preparing food that's not only tasty, but creative (and maybe a little bit sexy) too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crafts: Valentines Day Box

Here's a box I created for my dorm room door this past Valentines Day. Our floor's wonderful Community Advisor organized a little event where the members of our floor could get together, make and decorate these boxes and hang out. There was glitter, heart-shaped stickers, pipe cleaners, paper in red and pink, and so much more - it was a decorating smorgasbord! I haven't made something like this since fourth grade, so it was really great to get craftsy again, and I think it's pretty evident that I had a lot of fun creating it.

Sculpture: Metal Cyborg Arm-Pencil

Yesterday, as my brother was working on cleaning out the extra room on the upper floor of our house that has served as a storage area for a lot of miscellaneae, he pulled out this!

 It's a piece that I created for a sculpture class about two to three years ago. We had to create various assignments using plaster, wood and metal in turns, and the prompt for the metalwork section was to create something that was an extension of our body, both literally and metaphorically. We had to actually be able to wear it for the class critique.

Since I've loved to draw since I was little, and my most oft-used instrument being the common pencil, it really does feel like an extension of my body when I use it. It was also easy enough for me to figure out how to portray that using sculpture - just make a big metal pencil arm!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Statuesque Painted Gentleman

A long while ago I purchased a plain white statuette of a victorian-esque gentleman from a local thrift store with the intent of painting it at some point. After at least a year passed, and after accidentally breaking both legs of the statuette off and then subsequently attached them again (thank Cthulhu for hot glue guns), I finally got around to bringing him to life.

So a few weeks ago I spent a whole day hunkered down in my room with my acrylic paints and assorted other necessary supplies (including coffee) and painted him. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of him as he was when he was completely white and unpainted, but by the time I remembered and took some comparison photos I had already painted his face and head. His face was something I worked long and hard on getting just right, and the transformation of it from blank whiteness to color was quite interesting, I'm sad I didn't capture it. You can at least see some of the effect that a paint job had on him in the comparison shots below.

Monday, May 30, 2011

a Delightful Ditch of Dandelions

I took these photos a short while ago on day that was so truly gorgeous I couldn't help but go outside for a walk. I traversed the neighborhood and enjoyed the fresh air, greenery and flowering crabapple trees. I began to approach my old elementary school, and as I did I passed by a sort of ditch, an area that was sunken in the dirt and filled with water and the remains of fallen leaves, that lay just beside the sidewalk.

I decided to pop off the head of a dandelion growing in the nearby grassy areas (since many of them were in bloom at the time) and throw it in the water. Then, I just kept doing that - for more than an hour I spent my time collecting dandelion heads and laying them on the surface of the water in such a way that they'd float upright upon it.

I don't know how many flowers I ended up getting on there, but it was definitely more than fifty. It was really interesting to watch them move about on the water with the force of the wind, sometimes collecting at one side of the ditch or the other, and sometimes spreading out evenly upon it. By the time I tired of it, my hands were dirty and yellow from handling the dandelions, and my calves ached from doing so much bending over and squatting, but I felt quite pleased nonetheless.

Once I was done, I took some photos, and I thought I'd upload them here, for as simple as this was, it's a little like art. I know the artist Andy Goldsworthy did a lot of things like this - using natural ingredients like flowers, leaves, rocks, wood, wool or even ice, he'd make very simple but interesting and beautiful temporary art pieces in natural environments. Some of them involved arranging leaves or flower petals in the water of ponds or streams, and their interaction with the water and movement in it was part of the art.

While my little adventure with dandelions wasn't much ofanything in the scheme of things, and certainly wasn't as interesting or work-intensive as his works, it was still fun, and brightened up an otherwise dank little pool of water.

Is it art? I don't know, but I don't think it matters whether it is or not. I had a good time, and I got my hands dirty, and I made something pretty: that's good enough for me.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making Tasty Meaty Pasties

I cannot express just how glad I am to be back home for the summer, to be free of the stresses and time-consuming works of school! Just to have free time that I can spend without the knowledge that there is another assignment waiting for me around the corner. The only thing waiting around the corner that I have to deal with is my family, but I'll take them over essays and tests any day!

 Well, to segue into my main post topic... Earlier last week, out of the blue my mother (shown on the left) asked me to help her make pasties for dinner. They've become something that we eat every once in a while at the Alberti household ever since the first time I created them, entirely on my own, just after I first went to see the Sweeney Todd movie. While that movie probably made a lot of people sick to their stomachs, it just made mine rumble for delicious meaty pastry!

Those pasties had been a bit time-consuming to make, but they were just so delicious that all of us developed a taste for them. So this time around I was quite willing to participate in the pasty preparations, especially knowing that I wouldn't be the only pair of hands working on them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

SignifiKate - Pop Culture-Based Super Sidekick Bio & Sketch

This is the first of the Bios for my Pop-Culture-term based Super-Powered characters, who I made up for a project for my Mass Media and Pop Culture course. I created an animation about them, and I thought it might be fun to post more detailed sketches and descriptions of these characters, their powers, relationships, etc. 'm really getting into it! Who knows, I might do something more with them in the future.

Pop Culture-Based Super Sidekick:

She can imbue things – people, objects, words, etc. - with meaning, significance, and importance. She can use it to make certain words or phrases popular, to make an article of clothing or accessory fashionable again, to lend an an actor a certain air bout them of special-ness, etc.

Her Relationship with the Polysemic Protector:

SignifiKate became the Polysemic Protector's sidekick for several reasons. The main one is that her powers make it so that she can be of enormous help to him, and she likes that. With him, she isn't just giving an actress some extra charisma to help her win an audition, or making the quilts constructed by a little old lady seem a little more special in order to help them sell so she can afford medication – for the Protector, her powers can mean the difference between defeat and victory, life and death. In this way, her makes her feel important, meaningful and useful.

She also does so because she likes to live vicariously through him – she has powers, but they aren't very badass and they don't allow her to fight injustice, corruption and evil as directly as she would like. However, when her power gives the Protector what he needs in order to kick ass, she feels the satisfaction that he was able to do that because of her. It helps quiet that little part of her that always feels that her, and her power, are just useless.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photo: A "Chipper" Stump

A photo I took of a cute smiley face drawn on an interesting-looking stump with charcoal at a small beach near the Mississippi. A friend, a sibling and I all went down to the beach and ended up making this, if memory serves, but I can't remember which of us drew it. It's still cute though!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drawing: Flabby Cheeks - Initial Sketch, Reminiscing

I just dug up a photo of the original concept sketch for my lithographic print, Flabby Cheeks, featured below alongside it for comparison. (Sorry it's so blotchy, the graphite got smeared over time and the paper became all wrinkly and caught the light when I took the picture)

I remember drawing it in my papermaking class while the teacher gave a demonstration. I had the image already so perfectly planned in my mind that I didn't need to draw it more than once: it just flowed out and took form. As you can see if you look below, the final print of it looks pretty much identical to the sketch, besides some small changes in detail.

I have an odd sort of fondness for this piece, after all this time, even though it really isn't popular with other people. Maybe because it's a pretty odd and unique idea, or because it all kind of fell into place without much fuss, I just really like it. I hope I have more dreams that lend themselves so easily to artistic portrayal sometime.