Collage Scrap Exchange

As someone who started a "paper collection" in the 3rd grade, you can say I've been a fan of paper products for awhile. I have boxes of old maps and collage materials that have been laying around unused for far too long. Now that I'm trying to recommit some time to creative endeavors, I was thrilled to hear about the Collage Scrap Exchange. Put on by Papirmass and Brown Paper Bag, when you sign up you get matched up with another person (domestic or international) and mail each other collage material. Then you make a piece using the other person's materials. The theme is new landscapes and I couldn't be more excited! I requested an international partner so it'll as least be worth it to get some fun mail:)

Joffrey Ballet- contemporary choreographers

I've been going to see Joffrey performances for the past few years after getting a groupon with some girlfriends. It is so fun to see friends, go downtown and be in the beautiful Auditorium Theatre. The latest performance was a few weeks ago and I wish I could find it on video to share but all I could find was their preview video. There were three performances as part of their Contemporary Choreographers, some were better than other but overall I was so happy I got to see them, it was so inspiring!


I've come across two projects recently that I think are really worth passing on. The first one is from one of my former students from Marwen. Queion is in his first year of college at Drake University and is trying to raise money for a trip to South Africa this summer where he will visit Johannesburg, Cape Town and Kruger National Park. I was lucky enough to visit all of those places when I was young and it had such a huge impact on me, I'm so excited for him!

The next project is very different, our local bakery, La Boulangerie, recently had to close and they are looking to reopen in the neighborhood. I bought their bread every week at our farmer's market and was so bummed to hear they closed. They have started a kickstarter campaign to raise some money, check it out:


My grandmother included this quote in her Christmas letter to us this year that I LOVED.
It's from a Leonard Cohen song called Anthem. One more reason she is the coolest grandma around.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Thanks Baba!

Do Ho Suh- Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

Korean artist Do Ho Suh (previously here) has just completed his largest artwork to date at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Titled Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home, the giant installation represents two previous residences the artist lived in at 1:1 scale, one structure inside the built with jade-colored silk evoking the feel of a 3D blueprint. The smaller structure is a traditional Korean home where Suh grew up a child which he then suspended inside a replica of his first residence in the United States, a modern apartment building in Providence, Rhode Island. The piece is so large that visitors are invited to walk inside and virtually explore it which you can do through May 14, 2014. Learn more over atLehmann Maupin and MMCA. (via colossal)

Caitlin Moran- My posthumous advice for my daughter

Here are a few excerpts from an article by Caitlin Moran titled My posthumous advice for my daughter. I found parts of this article to be so touching and a good reminder about what's important in life. I hope I can pass this wisdom on to my son!
Go here for the full article.

The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly. You will be bright and constant in a world of dark and flux, and this will save you the anxiety of other, ultimately less satisfying things like ‘being cool’, ‘being more successful than everyone else’ and ‘being very thin’.

Choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them, because the jokes are easy and you feel like you’re in your best outfit when you’re with them, even though you’re just in a T-shirt. Never love someone whom you think you need to mend – or who makes you feel like you should be mended. 

Whenever you can’t think of something to say in a conversation, ask people questions instead. Even if you’re next to a man who collects pre-Seventies screws and bolts, you will probably never have another opportunity to find out so much about pre-Seventies screws and bolts, and you never know when it will be useful.

See as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. Run across roads to smell fat roses. Always believe you can change the world – even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it. Think of yourself as a silver rocket – use loud music as your fuel; books like maps and co-ordinates for how to get there." 

Paper love

I have an addiction to paper- notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, stationary, whatever you want to call it, I can't get enough. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this sort of thing. I've had to live with this affliction since I was very young. I remember starting a "paper" collection when I was in 3rd grade, living in Mozambique. My friends and I would get together and trade treasures. I still have my collection intact and let me say, it is the best time machine. I especially love that I have stationary and party invitations in a slew of other languages since all of my friends were from other countries. Check these out:

teaching and learning

Have you heard of Dabble? It's a website where you can find all sorts of fun classes/workshops to take in the city. As a teacher, I love this sort of thing. Learning new things has always been my favorite part of teaching. The range of classes that are offered is huge- all types of visual art, cooking, music, writing, tech stuff, public speaking, design, dance, etc. You can also propose ideas for classes you want to take or propose to teach a class.
I'm looking forward to having free time to take advantage of this sort of thing!

Why we love beautiful things

GREAT design, the management expert Gary Hamel once said, is like Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of pornography — you know it when you see it. You want it, too: brain scan studies reveal that the sight of an attractive product can trigger the part of the motor cerebellum that governs hand movement. Instinctively, we reach out for attractive things; beauty literally moves us.
Yet, while we are drawn to good design, as Mr. Hamel points out, we’re not quite sure why.
This is starting to change. A revolution in the science of design is already under way, and most people, including designers, aren’t even aware of it.
Take color. Last year, German researchers found that just glancing at shades of green can boost creativity and motivation. It’s not hard to guess why: we associate verdant colors with food-bearing vegetation — hues that promise nourishment.
This could partly explain why window views of landscapes, research shows, can speed patient recovery in hospitals, aid learning in classrooms and spur productivity in the workplace. In studies of call centers, for example, workers who could see the outdoorscompleted tasks 6 to 7 percent more efficiently than those who couldn’t, generating an annual savings of nearly $3,000 per employee.
In some cases the same effect can happen with a photographic or even painted mural, whether or not it looks like an actual view of the outdoors. Corporations invest heavily to understand what incentivizes employees, and it turns out that a little color and a mural could do the trick.
Simple geometry is leading to similar revelations. For more than 2,000 years, philosophers, mathematicians and artists have marveled at the unique properties of the “golden rectangle”: subtract a square from a golden rectangle, and what remains is another golden rectangle, and so on and so on — an infinite spiral. These so-called magical proportions (about 5 by 8) are common in the shapes of books, television sets and credit cards, and they provide the underlying structure for some of the most beloved designs in history: the facades of the Parthenon and Notre Dame, the face of the “Mona Lisa,” the Stradivarius violin and the original iPod.
Experiments going back to the 19th century repeatedly show that people invariably prefer images in these proportions, but no one has known why.
Then, in 2009, a Duke University professor demonstrated that our eyes can scan an image fastest when its shape is a golden rectangle. For instance, it’s the ideal layout of a paragraph of text, the one most conducive to reading and retention. This simple shape speeds up our ability to perceive the world, and without realizing it, we employ it wherever we can.
Certain patterns also have universal appeal. Natural fractals — irregular, self-similar geometry — occur virtually everywhere in nature: in coastlines and riverways, in snowflakes and leaf veins, even in our own lungs. In recent years, physicists have found that people invariably prefer a certain mathematical density of fractals — not too thick, not too sparse. The theory is that this particular pattern echoes the shapes of trees, specifically the acacia, on the African savanna, the place stored in our genetic memory from the cradle of the human race. To paraphrase one biologist, beauty is in the genes of the beholder — home is where the genome is.
LIFE magazine named Jackson Pollock “the greatest living painter in the United States” in 1949, when he was creating canvases now known to conform to the optimal fractal density (about 1.3 on a scale of 1 to 2 from void to solid). Could Pollock’s late paintings result from his lifelong effort to excavate an image buried in all of our brains?
We respond so dramatically to this pattern that it can reduce stress levels by as much as 60 percent — just by being in our field of vision. One researcher has calculated that since Americans spend $300 billion a year dealing with stress-related illness, the economic benefits of these shapes, widely applied, could be in the billions.
It should come as no surprise that good design, often in very subtle ways, can have such dramatic effects. After all, bad design works the other way: poorly designed computers can injure your wrists, awkward chairs can strain your back and over-bright lighting and computer screens can fatigue your eyes.
We think of great design as art, not science, a mysterious gift from the gods, not something that results just from diligent and informed study. But if every designer understood more about the mathematics of attraction, the mechanics of affection, all design — from houses to cellphones to offices and cars — could both look good and be good for you.
Lance Hosey, the chief sustainability officer at the architecture firm RTKL, is the author of “The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design.”

So where's home? A film about third culture kid identity.

I've talked a lot about how my childhood has been a constant source of inspiration in my art work. I was exposed to many different cultures growing up and lived abroad from 3rd grade through 8th grade.  I thought this video was an interesting take on young people growing up in similar circumstances, something that is more and more common these days.

So Where's Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity from Adrian Bautista on Vimeo.

Edson Oda Animation

This animation by Brazilian artist Edson Oda blew my mind. The way he combines a variety of media is fascinating and more interesting to me than the story itself. And of course I love getting to hear some Portuguese!

According to the Vimeo page:
"MALARIA tells the story of Fabiano, a young Mercenary who is hired to kill Death.
This short film combines Origami, Kirigami, Time lapse, napkin illustration, Comic Books and Western Cinema."

I'm excited to show this to my Lab students!

Malaria from Edson Oda on Vimeo.

Centro Cultural de Belem lightbulb landscape

One of my favorite places to visit in Portugal is the Cultural Center in Belem, just outside of Lisbon. It's a beautiful building that houses tons of cultural events, including the Berardo Museum Collection which shows tons of modern and contemporary art. I just read about this cool installation that's in the walkway to the building, one more reason I'm dying to go back!

As part of a promotional effort to promote a new line of lighting solutions, IKEA Portugal partnered with LIKE Architects to create this fun illuminated walkway in the Belém Cultural Centre in Portugal. The lamps are programmed to have oscillating intensities, with each light possessing a unique pattern that results in a sort of shimmering maze of bare lightbulbs. See much more over on Domus. (via Colossal)