Week 12-Artist OTW-Mahsa Soroudi

Normally when I prepare to write a blog post for the Artist OTW, I always do my own offline research to find out more about the person. However, Mahsa Soroudi had very few results when I googled her name. I only had her website to go off of and the interview on slack, which made writing this blog a little different from all of my past ones.

I absolutely loved the interview between the professor and Soroudi. All of the past Artist OTW videos have been the professor talking about an individual, and showing examples of their work. This is one of the first videos where he had a chance to interview the artist himself. It made her story much more personal, and I felt more connected to her projects and pieces after watching the video.

Although Soroudi does a lot of photography, her plant project stood out to me the most. Sorouri is a refugee from Iran who turned to growing succulents to cope with the sadness and changes that came from her having to leave her country. According to Soroudi, “plants taught me how to remain beautiful and strong while struggling to grow roots and adapt to a new home”. I think the fact she was able to use plants to not only cope with, but grow from her transition from Iran to the US. A lot of times, people turn to negative things like drugs and alcohol to cope with sadness and loneliness. However, Soroudi was not only able to find a positive outlet, but she was able to share it with the world as a form of art.

I think Mahsa Soroudi was a brilliant artist to end the course with. The interview provided a deeper connection and appreciation for her works. Also, many of the past artist OTWs had beautiful and amazing pieces of art, but not all of them had a distinct background as to why they chose to create this work of art. I was usually able to gather information offline, but I was able to hear from Souroudi, firsthand and in the rawest way, the meaning behind her project. A lot of the other Artist OTW required a lot of interpretation, so it was nice to be shown a beautiful project with a beautiful and easy to understand meaning.


Week 12-Activity-One More (Automated Drawing)


For the final activity of this course, I decided to revisit the Automatic Drawing activity from week two. When I first did this activity, I was still learning to identify what art really is. I feel like I was still pretty close minded about could be considered art. I know I remember thinking my finished product wasn’t really a form of art. However, as I have progressed through this course, I have gained a newfound appreciation for different works of art, especially ones that aren’t standard.

When revisiting this activity, I originally wanted to do the exercise with my same sister I did it with last time to compare pieces. However, I decided to do the activity with my friend Aaron. He’s an extremely talented artist and graphic designer so I thought it would be cool to do an activity with him. This experience was a lot different than the first time I did it. The first time my sister and I had a hard time taking it seriously and we kept laughing.

This time as soon as we started we both closed our eyes and took it serious. It was truly intimate experience, not in a sexual way obviously, but in an intimate way that really made us connect. Everything flowed really easily and we did the activity longer than it lasted the first time.

When we opened our eyes I was really pleased with the results. I definitely think it’s a form of art, we even decided to sign our names at the bottom in case we can make money off of it someday lol. I definitely think I made the right choice in choosing the automatic drawing exercise as my final activity for this course. Such an awesome experience.

Week 11-Artist OTW-Vanessa Blaylock


For this week’s Artist OTW, we looked at the works of Vanessa Blaylock. I have to admit this was one of the most confusing art concepts to grasp throughout the duration of this course.

Even after watching the professor’s Artist OTW video on slack, I was still pretty confused on what exactly Blaylock did. I did a lot of offline research and came across her website and blogging site. I saw something on her site that said her website “allows avatars to demand their civil rights”. This struck me as super odd because I realized that in this whole world of “Avatar Art”, people are really genuinely trying to live through these graphically designed characters.

I took time to look through some of her projects, and I definitely had some thoughts on it. I have a very hard time considering what Blaylock does as being a form of art. I know that art comes in a million different ways, but I feel like this really stretches my belief of Avatars as a form of artwork. I feel like some of the characters look cool, but I don’t know if I could ever see one of her performances and think to myself, “Wow what a beautiful form of art”.

However, I also think that not everyone sees art in the same way. I should not make the statement that what Blaylock does is not art, but I definitely have my own personal opinion on it.

Week 11-Activity-Wall Hanging

For this week’s activity, I really had a chance to be creative. I’ve been trying my best all summer to only use supplies I have at home when doing each activity. I feel like this week’s activity was the hardest to accomplish using at home products.

For my wall hanging project I used a roll of tape, thread, hanger, and an old T-shirt. I started off by shaping the hanger. The wire hanger I found was thicker than normal so I had a fairly hard time trying to shape it. I tried to search for other forms of wire in my house but I had no success. After semi long process, I finally got the desired shape I wanted. I tried to straighten out the tips of the hanger but I was not strong enough to do it lol.

Once I achieved the best shape I could manage, I got an old t-shirt and cut strips from it. I started off trying to make each strip perfectly straight but that proved to be time consuming and not worth the time. Thankfully, the strips were placed so close together the jagged edges of the strips did not stand out to much. Once I was done cutting, I tied each of the strips to the wire hanger.

I finished off my project by suspending the hanger by attaching a roll of tape to a piece of thread, and attaching it to the hanger. The hanger and strips proved to be too heavy for the thread so it broke and had to be retied about 3 times in a 5 minute span.

I feel like my project could have taken 5 minutes to make if I had gone to an arts and crafts store for a ball of yarn and thin wire. During the process I kept telling myself I should be cheap and just go to the store, but I’m happy that I did not. I like projects that are creative, so even though it did not turn out exactly like the examples the professor provided us with, I’m happy with my interpretation of it.

Week 10-Activity-Art Care Package (ACP)

So I decided to send my ACP to my cousin who lives in Germany. I have never met her before, but we know each other exist so I thought it would be a cool way to share a bit of my life with her. I added a US currency bill in there to symbolize where I live. I added a sheet from my criminal justice text book on a section called writing a police report. I chose that page in reference to all of the chaos and injustice that has been going on in our justice system. I added a ring given to me by our grandmother to show her our family connection to each other even though we have never met before. The “Beach”business card represents where I attend school and the “CHOC” food pass is to represent where I volunteer and spend most of my time. The bow represents the last 4 years I spent on the LB State cheer team, and the necklace represents our African roots.

Sending someone an ACP is similar to sending someone a snapchat because it’s something that doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s more meant to document a point in life. Snapchat is meant to let viewers know what is going on throughout your day and week, just like all of the memoirs from the ACP are meant to show the viewer what is going on at a certain point in time.

What’s different about the two is that it takes multiple days and even weeks for an ACP to arrive to it’s destination. With a snapchat, it can be sent to someone immediately. Another huge difference is that each ACP can only be sent to one person, whereas a snapchat can be sent to hundreds of people at once.

I think ephemera’s hold trash to one person and a treasure to someone else. I think a lot of things placed in ephemera’s have a lot of sentimental value more so than actual value prepay. However, ACPs that have been created an extremely long time ago might have some memoirs in it that now hold value in today’s society.

I definitely think there’s a difference between art that is seen by many people like a painting in a musem vs the ACP I sent to someone. I think it holds a more personal touch when you create something for one specific person. I also think it will allow them to connect with it more in contrast to a painting that was created without them in mind.

I think the time and effort that goes into an ACP holds more personal value because it shows the receiver that you genuinely care enough to spend your time creating something just for them. With a snapchat, you can snap a photo in a just second. I think when something takes a long time to create, having to wait a few days to get it is reasonable.

I think you can prepare a meal with love even if it takes a short amount of time. If someone moves quickly to make a meal for you, it can show even more love. When I come home after a long day at work and my mom will stop what she’s doing to make me my favorite sandwich, I really appreciate and feel the love for her doing so. It doesn’t matter to me that it only took her 5 minutes to make, it’s the fact she stopped what she was doing to attend to my needs.



Week 9-Activity-Cuisine


I had a lot of fun with this week’s activity. It took me awhile to decide what to create but I decided to go with something food inspired. I had remembered my friends and I talking last week about how healthy rice cakes were and all of the different healthy garnishes to put on top. I decided to put a spin on what my friends and I were talking about and go for a rice cake with a piece of pizza on it. We had seen recipes with organic tomatoes and crumbles of goat cheese sprinkled on top, so I used pizza to add an unhealthy yet similar twist to it.

My friends and I went to the gym today and I invited them over to try out my “healthy” post-workout snack I had made for them. I explained that I had made a rice cake snack and they were both very eager and excited to try it. When I pulled out my creation their faces were confused and one of my friends started laughing uncontrollably once she got what I was trying to do. A rice cake with cheese and tomatoes on top, also known as a rice cake with a piece of pizza on top lol.

If I ever did one of these again, I would definitely want to do a crazy hairstyle out in public. I feel the responses would be a lot different with strangers rather than just my friends. If I did cuisine again I could even serve this snack to strangers and see their responses. I think that would be pretty funny and awesome to see as well!

Week 8-Artist OTW-Various Street Photographers

So for this week’s artist otw it was cool to be able to look at multiple works from different street photographers. Due to the sheer amount of content I focused mainly on Garry Winogrand and Daniel Arnold.

I’ve always been fascinated by black and white photography so it was really cool to look through Winogrand’s portfolio. I think black and white photography forces viewers to look more at the details to bring about interpretations of the photos because we don’t have any colors. As I looked at his photography I sometimes would see a particular photo found myself wondering which ones were off guard and which ones did he ask permission to take. I like the fact his photography is raw, and really captured people exactly the way they were. Side note I know it isn’t street photography but as I was doing offline research I was super excited to learn that Winongrand took some of the most iconic photos of Marylyn Monroe.

The works of Daniel Arnold are really inspiring as well. After doing so much research on Winogrand, it was almost weird looking though a portfolio of color street photography. I really fell in love and was inspired by this picture of children playing by Daniel Arnold. It really brought about reflection about our society compared to how it used to be. As stated during discussion:

“With this new hype of the PokemonGo game, whenever I’m outside I’ve been seeing kids glued to their phones playing this game. We have been praising this game because it encourages exercise, however many of us fail to remember how things used to be. Back when we were younger we did not need a game on our phone to get us to be active. We would make our own fun by playing outside like the girls and boy in the picture, and entertain ourselves with things like jumping rope, hopscotch, etc. I think the photographer did a great job of capturing the essence of what childhood really is.”


Week 8-Activity-Street Photography

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So for this week’s activity, we had to capture photography of people on the street. I was walking from our car to Bj’s with my family and saw the perfect opportunity to do some photography. After looking at the sample photos posted in our instructions page, I had originally planned to do up close off guard pictures of strangers like I had seen online. However, that proved to be much harder than I thought because I felt embarrassed trying to take these up close photos without the pedestrians knowing. I was paranoid they would see what I was doing and I would be forced to awkwardly explain myself. So instead, I chose to take photos from further away.

The first photo I took was of 3 girls crossing the street. I really liked this photo because it was inspired by the iconic beetles Abbey Road album cover, where the members are crossing at the crosswalk. Although the girls were walking side by side, instead of one in front of the other like the cover, it still made me think immediately of the beetles when I took the shot.

The next photo I took was on the sidewalk under a ledge. I really liked the angle of the photo because it looked like a rectangle tunnel, like a vortex of some sort, with a group of people at the end. The family in the photo was clearly visiting from another country due to their thick accents, and the mom and kids kept stopping to look around which is why the dad kept turning back to make sure everyone was still following him as seen in the photo. I also like the different textures of the wall as well.

The last photo I took was my favorite because of the lighting. The focus of the picture was the tree, and I really liked this photo because the lighting was split down the center of the tree. The right side is all sunny and bright, and the left side with all the people is all darker and gloomier because of the sun blockage. I like this picture because the right side without any people represents the untouched part of nature/the world, and the left side which is gloomy with all the people represent the negative mark society has had on our nature and the world we live in due to loitering and pollution.

The fourth picture I took, I chose to do an off guard up-close photo of my family walking. However, when they found out once we got home, they were not pleased I was trying to use this “unruly” up-close shot of them, and I was banned from including it in my blog. In the future I will make sure to take more than just 4 photos so that I will have a wider selection to choose from in case I can’t use one of the photos.

Week 7-Artist OTW-Janet Cardiff


It was really interesting to learn about this week’s artist of the week, Janet Cardiff. Cardiff is  most famous for her sight specific work installations which are works of art that are specific to a place and not meant to be moved. I watched a few of her pieces which incorporated a vast amount of speakers either in a circle or hidden in a variety of places. People can come and experience a indescribable form of art only accomplished through sound. I really liked her audio walk in the forest where people came to experience a multisensory experience projecting sounds from all angles.

Since most of her works are sight specific, I know I did not have anywhere near close to the experience as the people who actually went and attended her exhibits. However, watching videos of it from home still gave me a good idea and glimpse of how moving and powerful her pieces are.

I feel like I’m surprised more and more every week. I feel as though this class is starting unlock a whole another world of art that I never even knew existed. If someone had told me an artist was famous for playing music through a bunch of speaker I ignorantly would have stated “that’s not even art”. However, this class has given me the eyes to understand and appreciate these unique art forms that are so uncommon in our everyday lives. I actually did some offline research on Janet Cardiff to see if there are any audio tours like hers available to the public in an area near me.

Week 7-Activity-Art Museum Visit


So for this week’s activity I went to the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. I originally wanted to go to the LACMA but opted for an art museum that was closer. I had never heard about this museum prior to going so it was pretty cool to explore someplace new that I never knew was right by my house. Upon arrival I took a selfie outside the museum and then proceeded to enter. I was pleasantly surprised to learn there were free art exhibits today so I went in for free. I was the only person in the ENTIRE museum so it was kind of creepy, but still cool.

The two art pieces I chose to observe was Film of the Mind by David Lee, and Distant by Matthew Yi. The painting styles in terms of color and texture are similar. Although the faces in one of the paintings is more abstract, they both use the same light and dark peach colors to warm the faces. The features of “Film of the Mind” are a little more defined and realistic whereas the features (especially the nose) of “Distant” is very obscured.

When looking at “Film of the Mind”, the man in the painting looks like a construction engineer. He’s wearing a hard hat as worn during construction but from the looks of his jacket and collared shirt, he doesn’t appear to be the one doing the work, more so overseeing everything. The film strip could represent his mind and his memories, maybe the memories meant to bring together a project.

When looking at “Distant”, there is a woman with a hat on, with what appears to be a mountain on top. She also has a very long nose, where a person in swinging on the end of it. When I saw the nose the first thing that came to mind was the Pinocchio movie where the puppet’s nose would grow longer every time he told a lie. Since the woman’s “hat” is a mountain and she appears to be coming out of the ground, I feel like she could represent mother-nature or the world itself. With all the turmoil going on in our world today the woman’s nose could represent a world built on lies and deceit. We are the little stick figure swinging from her nose, so oblivious to what’s going on around us and lies that have been told to us from higher up sources like our government and justice system. Both these pieces evoked heavy thought. I felt like they both had deeper meaning, especially with both these individuals shown having objects coming from their head.