an interview with a genius and a fond farewell

Well, my senior year has come and gone. I graduate June 10th from high school — forever. I’m afraid I won’t be too particularly disappointed to see it go; while there will be things about it I will miss, high school has not been the kindest to me, and I think it’s in our best interests that we go our separate ways.

So for my final blog post mandated by my journalism class (the jury is still out as to whether or not I’m going to continue this blog after school ends; more on this later), I bring you, dear, few readers, an interview with someone I’ve gotten to know pretty well over the course of my high school career. While I’ve gone to school with him since first grade, it wasn’t until I got into high school — last year, in particular (shout-out to Longenecker’s first hour and the literal five people that were in it) — that I really got to know Brendan, and now I am pleased and honored to call him my friend. While not an artist in the way one might typically think, he is a talented actor, a brilliant public speaker (this boy could talk for hours if you let him), and a beautiful writer, not to mention a genuinely kind, good, thoughtful human being, and an avid lover of musical theater. He’s someone I trust to really think deeply about questions when they are asked of him, and because of this I decided I would interview him on his perspective, as a non-artist (at least not visual art), about his thoughts on the subject of art, what it is, and what makes people artists. As I expected, he did not disappoint, and I am proud to be able to share his answers with you, my small yet dedicated reader community.


 

Q: How would you personally define art? What does it mean to you?

A: As someone who’s taken Theory of Knowledge and therefore spent way too much time thinking about this sort of thing, I’ve settled on a definition that I think is fairly simple and straightforward. I would define ‘art’ as intentionally created beauty. ‘Beauty’, in this context, refers to any sort of stimulus that people find appealing, that they gain pleasure from observing or experiencing. This encompasses aesthetic creations of all sorts, from paintings to poems to piano concertos. Exactly how beautiful something is depends entirely on the perceptions of individual people – beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. But for a work to actually constitute art, I think, an additional element is required: it must be deliberately created with the intention of appealing to observers. So while one might easily find beauty in a sunset or a waterfall, that beauty was not intentionally created and would not be considered art. Likewise, while spiderwebs or gears in a clock are deliberately constructed, they are not designed with aesthetic goals in mind.

As for what art means to me personally, I often see it as a means for one person to convey ideas or emotions to others in ways that could not be replicated with information alone. When I find a piece of art that resonates with me, I feel as though I’ve encountered a fragment of genuine human connection, as though I’m experiencing a slice of the world through someone else’s eyes.

 

Q: What form of art (I’m being very broad here, so feel free to use your own interpretation of the word “art”) would you say you appreciate the most? Why?

A: Generally speaking, I’d say the art form I appreciate the most is spoken language. There’s something I find particularly captivating in listening to the phrases and intonations of actors trading banter or performing dramatic monologues, or the measured tones of an audiobook or podcast. I can listen for the emotions behind each syllable, turn the words over and over in my head to decipher their meaning. I feel that same appreciation for spoken words in any form – someone reciting a poem, arguing a court case, or simply telling a story.

I suspect my affinity for this particular medium stems from a few different sources. Firstly, I’ve always felt a stronger influence from auditory experiences than visual. Listening to things just feels more immediate, more real to me than looking at them. I also think that spoken language in particular has so much to unpack, from the significance of the exact phrases chosen to the tone and rhythm of the words themselves. While the meaning of a painting or a symphony might be obscure to me, human speech has countless variations and all of them convey information about the mindset of the speaker. Finally, I think one reason spoken words hold so much interest for me is their pervasiveness in everyday life. I can easily go a week without hearing a scale or looking at a canvas, but it’s hard to go an hour without putting my thoughts into language or interpreting the language of others.

 

Q: How do you think that art influences you, as a non-artist, in your daily life?

A: I think that the most profound influence art exerts on my life often goes unnoticed at the time. Even when I’m not explicitly thinking about art, my past experiences with artwork of all forms has shaped my implicit perceptions and opinions. My attitude toward technology and progress, for instance, might be quite different had I never read science fiction growing up. Or my feelings on fairness and punishment, how could they have developed without listening to the music of Wicked or Les Miserables? Even my experience of the world around me is subject to this sway: my dad is a watercolor artist, and growing up with his landscapes all over the house has undoubtedly shaped my appreciation of the natural world.

But perhaps the most valuable role art plays in my daily life is as a form of communication. Any art that both my friends and I are familiar with contributes to a sort of shared language between us, allowing one person to quickly communicate subtle or complex ideas to others simply by referencing a book, movie, or song.

 

Q: What is one form of art you wish you had more experience with (whether it be creating, learning about, or just looking at)? Why?

A: I wish I had more experience with music. So far, my contact with music has been largely passive – I listen to it when it’s there, and I often enjoy it, but I don’t really take steps to seek it out. Almost all that I actively listen to is musicals, and I very much appreciate hearing music used to tell a story, but I don’t have anywhere near as much experience with music in general as I’d like to.

As I mentioned, I enjoy listening to speech in general, but music in particular intrigues me because it contains so much variety. It feels like I’ve encountered just glimpses of an endless diversity of styles and techniques. When we were learning to distinguish different genres of music in Spanish class, I realized that I could barely tell them apart in English, and I’ve become increasingly aware of just how clueless I am about what the musical world has to offer. And from what I’ve seen, a shared familiarity with music can give people an opportunity to connect with one another on an interesting level. Finally, I myself would love to have more skill and experience with singing. I’ve always been interested in acting in a musical, but I doubt I’d have the necessary musical talent.

 

A: At what point do you, again from the point of view of a non-artist, believe someone can call themself an artist?

A: This is an interesting question. My instinctive answer would be that an artist is simply any person who creates art, but that doesn’t really look like it holds up. After all, going with the broad definition of art I laid out earlier, pretty much every human being on the face of the earth has created art at some point or another, and there’s no point in using the word “artist” to refer to everyone. Nor would it make sense to have the label come on and off whenever someone engages in artistic activity – we shouldn’t call someone an artist one minute and then not the next. Many terms for a “person who does ‘X’”, such as “doctor” and “lawyer” hinge on accreditation or professional employment, but neither would be useful in this context. An amateur artist is still just as much an artist as a professional.

With that in mind, I think that artists can only be self-identified. In other words, I believe that someone can call themselves an artist when creating art is a central part of their self-image, when they view it as important enough to constitute a defining element of who they are as a person. It’s sort of like being an “athlete” or a “mathematician”. Lots of people do math or get exercise, but each person has to decide for themselves whether that’s a part of who they are. We can’t prescribe some sort of magical objective criterion for the right to be considered an “artist,” because it’s primarily determined by an individual’s own state of mind.

 

Q: How valuable do you think the study and creation of art (as opposed to, say, studying something in the STEM field) are to society?

I think that the study and creation of art are tremendously valuable both to individuals and society as a whole, providing a means communication and shared experience that makes up an essential part of what it means to be human.

That said, I think that STEM research is much more valuable than art.

Look at the sheer power and efficiency of the scientific method, the goal-oriented drive that has progressed the knowledge and ability of the human species to unimaginable heights. Look at the technological advances that have raised human living conditions to the point where anyone reading this is living like a god by the standards of just a few centuries past. It’s easy, I think, to zero in on the emotional intensity a piece of artwork can evoke, or the painstaking work that went into it, and weigh the overall value of art accordingly. But at times like this, we really need to shut up and multiply. All of the happiness ever experienced by anyone who looked at the Mona Lisa or listened to Hamilton is nothing compared to the value of each and every one of the millions and millions of lives saved by seatbelts and antibiotics and computers and vaccines and fertilizer.

Yes, art is and will always be important. Yes, anyone who devotes their life to creating artwork for others to enjoy is their own sort of hero. But a world where the creation and study of art are the most important tasks facing humanity… that’s not the world we live in. That’s the world the heroes of science are fighting to achieve.


 

Hey, it’s Aubren again. Briefly popping in to add just a few things. As those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning of my second semester know, this blog is technically an assignment for my journalism class. However, I’ve posted some more personal stuff on here as well — mostly art that I’ve done in my free time, not for any class. Because of this, I’m not sure whether I should continue this blog or not. I don’t know how time-consuming my freshman year of college will be, but I think it could still be valuable to continue posting art and personal rambles and rants to this blog, even if no one reads them. It could be a way for those friends of mine who do keep up-to-date with my blog and who are going to college in distant, faraway lands to keep an eye on what I’m up to off in Michigan.

Still, just in case I don’t continue with this adventure on the internet, I’d like to say goodbye and that it’s been lovely. Even though it’s only been a couple months, I’ve found and followed so many interesting blogs — some of which were kind enough to follow me, a mere high school senior and wannabe art student, in return. So, all in all, it’s been real, WordPress. Thank you to my journalism teacher, Miss Lewis, for making me do this assignment in the first place, and to my friends and family who followed my blog after I pestered them relentlessly into doing so. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts and looking at my pieces as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them.

So, temporarily or for keeps, I’m outtie. Keep on doing what you do. Peace.

ok but what if (aka aubren does a PSA about art theft)

Alright, so, I’m a little behind on this journalism assignment. I think it was the assignment for last week? Maybe two weeks ago? Oh jeez, I can’t remember. But for those of you fearing how this will affect my grade, never fear! As long as I post it before the grading period is up I think I should be okay.

Anyway, this week (technically last week, or two weeks ago) the assignment was to write a “what if” post. So I present to you, this question: What if people stopped stealing art?

I’m not sure how aware of this my (few) readers are, but stealing art on the Internet is something that happens far too often and often goes without punishment or consequences. Stealing art isn’t physically taking the artwork and running away with it, like some bad guys in an old movie who break into an art museum to cart off the priceless pieces; instead, it’s taking the art of another artist and claiming it’s your own. Now obviously, that’s more than a little problematic. You’re taking credit for all the hard work, creativity, and love that went into a piece someone might be very proud of, and that’s not cool at all. Not only does it hurt the true artist, but it also hinders the thief, because instead of trying to learn and get better at something, they’re putting in very little effort and taking the credit from the more deserving artist.

Nowadays, with social media and the Internet both playing such a significant role in our lives and the world around us, art theft is easier than ever. It can be as innocent as posting a piece on your account without crediting the artist, or as malicious as actively seeking out pieces of art (usually from one specific artist) and passing them off as your own original work. It’s a problem that, due to its widespread scale and misleading nature, is hard to effectively police and deal with. So again, I ask the question, what if people stopped stealing art?

The original artists would get the credit that they deserve on pieces they worked very hard on. The would-be thieves would be able to work and develop their art skills in a productive way, instead of just stealing from someone else. The issue would disappear, and the community of internet artists would have a significant decrease in drama because of it.

So PSA, guys: Don’t steal art!!! Trust me, it’s not worth it. And if someone isn’t willing to put in the time and effort to actually learn how to do something, then they don’t deserve to be praised for it.

(drumroll please) guest post!!!

This week, a little something special to share with the fifteen or so of you who follow my blog (bless you for that). A dear artist friend of mine agreed to write a guest post for me. And of course, as this is an art blog, they made some art to go along with it.

This person’s art is quite possibly some of my favorite of all time (and not just because I’m biased). Their technical skills are excellent, especially seeing as they’re only in high school, just like me, and their creativity is utterly boundless. Every piece of theirs that I’ve seen is interesting and unique, and I’m so glad I get to share some of it with you. It is my pleasure to introduce all of you to the incredibly talented, infallibly brilliant, remarkably creative Ace! I’ll let them take it away now.


Snapchat-882949729

The Schwarzschild radius (sometimes historically referred to as the gravitational radius) is the radius of a sphere such that, if all the mass of an object were to be compressed within that sphere, the escape velocity from the surface of the sphere would equal the speed of light.

Hi! So, I’m sure you’re wondering what you’re doing here- You’re drifting through a fragile concept of reality then suddenly, boom! A mildly intimidating figure in a suit. If you’re scared, then you should be! If not, then your celestial perception of pride may be getting the best of you. Here in our little, billion years long story, you’re going to meet plenty of these antagonistic beings. You being the reader of course, the one who’s perception of time can be easily skewed by the location of your planet. Of course, assuming you’re human. You are human, aren’t you? Well, no matter, back to the figure you just encountered.  If you’re still somehow managing to read this, then you must not be close enough, and I politely suggest you step back if you would like to continue your adventures. But, if you hear silent whispers and the pulling of your organs to a flattened, near circular shape… then I don’t even know how I could have felt your destroyed, mangled energy’s presence! Here, everything comes to an end, even the biggest, brightest bodies- actually, the bigger they are the more violent they go out. Perhaps you could relate to that, human? Stubbornness to go down, the concept of “if I go down, I’m taking you with me”. You see, when a star is big enough, there’s a point that when it collapses nothing can get back out. Not necessarily a black hole, but the calm before the storm. The point at which it all falls apart, when light, hope can’t escape the confines of his grip. Even the black holes fear the violent reactions and tightening, the tearing of time, space and light, the pain, the silent screams, that it takes to get there. It’s something that’s once experienced, you never want to feel again. I understand your mind, a simple fragile conscious may not understand in astronomical terms. Rather, Schwarzkopf is “the point at which a person collapses and is emotionally broken in an angry, aggressive state”. Make sense? Good. Similar to his creation, you don’t know when it’s coming, for a theoretical point can only be predicted. But, in contrast of a Black Hole, there are no soft spoken words leading up to static, instead it’s a violent reaction of elements and atoms, all working against each other. We do not fear what we know is there, what to avoid, it is the unknown that frightens us. Ironic, isn’t it? Existing as a celestial being afraid of the unknown? You would expect us to be comforted by the darkness. I’m sure you understand, human, that even water screams when you boil it.

i write sometimes too (but it’s not my favorite)

This week, in response to an assignment from my journalism teacher for a 500 word “free post” about anything I’d like, I present to you a short story of my own creation, featuring an illustration also done by my own hand. I haven’t dusted off my writer’s hat in a long, LONG time (we’re talking like eighth grade here, ew), so not sure how this will go. Either way, hope you enjoy!


story illustration

The Madame lived alone in an ancient house atop the hill overlooking the small village. Although surely grand some time ago, it now lay crumbling and covered in vines, swallowed up by the once carefully tended garden, alone and abandoned. The Madame had been beautiful once, the people in the village would tell you, seated at the bar of the local tavern, drink in hand. Hair like an actress straight out of a film reel, red lips dripping with cigarette smoke and sex appeal, swaying hips that caught the gaze and carried the imagination of single and married men alike. It’s a damn shame she married that rich bastard up the hill, a red-eyed old man in a woolen cap would sigh, taking a solemn sip of his drink. She always did look sharper ‘n a snake in those cute little dresses.

In those days, with her husband’s wealth and influence in the little town, the Madame lived a charmed life; a never ending waltz of galas, teas, charity benefits, balls. She was the very picture of a social butterfly, fluttering animatedly from politician to tycoon, a knowing touch here, a winning smile there, sucking up their attention like her own sweet nectar. The parties at the house on the hill were the talk of the town back then, and the lights in the windows would stay lit long into the early hours of the morning when the guests would file out into the newly minted light like waning specters, dressed in wrinkled chiffon and crushed taffeta.

The earlier years of her marriage to the affluent young baron of business produced three daughters, each prettier and sweeter than the last. Lily, the eldest, with her mother’s delicate complexion and fluttering fair lashes; Violet, the middle child, who possessed the same sensual pout and insolent, flashing eyes; and Rose, little Rose, whose sweet, open face and sun-kissed curls so resembled those of her mother. You could never meet kinder girls, an older woman in a hand-knit sweater made of thick, steel gray yarn would murmur, bony, arthritic hands trembling. So kind, and so lovely.

And then came the accident. A terrible shame, terrible shame, the shuffled whispers would come, the quiet shaking of elderly heads. Three young flowers dressed in black, their mother behind them with her hands on their shoulders, elegant and composed in her grief. A coffin lowered into the ground to the solemn mumbled prayers of a priest, the entire village in attendance, clinging to their coats and shifting from foot to foot in uncomfortable, heavy silence as the final rites are performed. Three flowers and their mother step into their shiny black car, crawling up the hill like an insect and disappearing within the trees. Three flowers and their mother, disappearing into the house on the hill.

There were many rumors after that. The Madame, overcome with grief for her husband and unable to take care of three young children, sent her daughters to separate boarding schools to be brought up there as she herself quickly became a recluse. Or perhaps she and the daughters moved out of the house under the dark veil of night, free of curious, gossiping village eyes, leaving the house on the hill to crumple in on itself under the careless watch of some addlepated caretaker. And then there were rumors of a darker kind: the Madame took to the occult, attempting to conjure up the ghost of her husband, dragging the daughters into her coven; she poisoned all of them, including herself, and the bodies have never been discovered; they haunt the house to this day. The tavern would fall silent, people staring into their drinks, each imagining the fate of those kind, lovely girls and their beautiful mother.

If you happened to be brave enough to step foot into the house on the hill — any villager would be quick to advise against it; nothing good can come from the faded memories in that house, the Madame would be displeased to have her privacy intruded — your feet would first catch in the undergrowth. Plants everywhere. Ivy overtaking the skeleton of the emaciated grand staircase and spilling to the crumbling floor, mingling with crumpled food wrappers and weeds. Mold on the walls, licking at the wallpaper, peeling and faded with an indiscernible pattern coated in grime. Animals have made their home here, their droppings scattered in the remains of the entrance hall, and the beam of a flashlight falls frequently upon the flicker of eyes that quickly wink and scuttle away. The main staircase is impossible to climb without the possibility of serious injury, and the next option is the doorway to the dining room, shards of a shattered chandelier sprinkling fractures of light across the walls and dirt-encrusted floor. This room is just as messy and overtaken by the elements as the last. So is the next, and the next after that, and the feelings of foreboding and fear would begin to recede from anyone who had made it so far, reassured that there is nothing left of the house and its inhabitants save memories and dirty curios of the past decomposing underfoot.

However, if you have particularly sharp eyesight, something might jump out to you before you turn to go. Another door, cracked slightly, tucked behind the partially collapsed ceiling of the sitting room and easy to pass over if you aren’t looking for it. Step carefully over the mixture of house remnants and plant matter, slip through the door. There’s something slightly off about this room, despite it being just as dilapidated as the others. And then the smell would hit you. Rancid, thick, inescapable; it sticks in your nostrils, so strong you could taste it. Death.

The source of the stench: three large flowerpots in the center of the room, kept immaculately clean, the floor around them carefully dusted and clear of the filth that covers everything else. If your stomach is strong enough for you to be able to, you might step forward, feeling a sense of utter dread in the depths of your being. Upon closer inspection, the flowerpots have been lovingly labeled with red paint that is scratched but still legible, in effeminate, flowery print. From left to right the pots read LILY, VIOLET, ROSE. If you were still undeterred by the now overwhelming urge to turn immediately and run as far away from the house as you could, you might step closer. Then you would see it. Mingled with the dark soil in the top of the pots, locks of sun-kissed curls, shining dimly in the light.

That’s when you would run.

 

oops i did it again

maya fish

Okay, I know, it’s another character from Ace Attorney. Will I never shut up about/stop drawing these games? The answer is no. I will not. Never. But just for fun, I put her in an outfit she doesn’t usually wear, one I came up with myself. It’s loosely based off a sea slug. Fun stuff!

i’m basically a trash can

cuties fff

Wow! I’m actually posting ART on my ART BLOG! Who knew??!?!??!!?

Anyway, here’s something I spent way too long on instead of doing things that I could have been doing instead that would have been way more productive. These are a few more characters from Ace Attorney. As far as I know they’ve never actually met in canon, but I like to think that if they did they’d get along pretty darn swell.

an aspiring artist’s alphabet

This is technically an art blog, yes, but for some reason it’s starting to magically morph into a place for me to give myself advice and for people to occasionally look at my inane personal reminders. So for this week’s assignment: an A-Z list post! That’s right, folks, twenty six whole pieces of advice/words having to do with being an insecure high school student with a passion for drawing. I should just stop calling this blog an art blog, honestly. It’s more of a “window into the life and inner workings of Aubren Kubicki” blog.

Ability – Forget about it. You don’t need to have any kind of “creative ability” to be an artist. You just need a brain, a body, and something to make art with.

Balance – This refers to not only balance as a principle of art, which can be used to give your artworks more cohesiveness and aesthetic appeal, but also to your time and just your life in general. Don’t let your art eat up all of your spare time. On the other hand, don’t let other activities get in the way of you doing your art. A healthy balance is the ideal.

Creativity – Don’t you dare tell me you’re not creative. If you want to be an artist, chances are you’ve got loads of this, even if you tell yourself otherwise. You’ve got more of a capacity for creativity than you know.

Do it. – Cut the excuses, cut the whining, and just do it. It’s so much harder to start something than it is to finish it. Trust me, once you have your artwork started, you won’t be able to stop.

Emphasis – If you really want to draw your viewer’s eye to one part of your art, you’re gonna use emphasis. This can be done in many different ways: use a color that pops off the piece, create a composition with the part you want to emphasize in the center, etc. This one is a legit piece of advice. I learned it in my art classes. Professional artists actually use this. It’s not just me pretending I know what I’m talking about, I swear.

Friends – Build up a community of artist friends. Focus on backing each other up with constructive criticism and helpful insight, not tearing each other down with envy and insults. Just because you love the way a friend of yours might do art doesn’t mean they’re better than you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everyone’s got a unique style that suits them.

Gratitude – Learn to accept compliments graciously  (because people will undoubtedly compliment you on whatever you’ve done). Don’t reply with “oh, it’s not that great, I really messed up here.” Reply with a simple “thank you” and a smile. This applies not only to art, but to life in general. Accepting compliments is an important skill to have.

Hardworking – Just like any other job in life, if you’re going to be an artist and you’re going to be a good artist, you have to be willing to work at it. If you give up immediately, you’re not going to get any better at whatever it is you want to be really good at.

Inspiration – Like I said in one of my previous posts, it’s okay to take inspiration from other artists and from the world around you. It’s not stealing if you’re putting your own unique spin on it. Personally, much of my inspiration for my artworks has come from artists that I greatly admire – some are even my friends! See letter F, y’all.

JUST DO IT. – Okay, this is kind of lazy, because it basically stands for the same thing as what I put for letter D, just with another word at the beginning. But I can’t resist the opportunity to insert a reference to a meme, let’s be real.

Kill the competition. – Don’t actually do this. This is a joke. I repeat: do not kill people just because some dumb girl on a dumb blog told you to. You will cause irreplaceable damage to a lot of things and ultimately will end up in jail. Plus I don’t want to be considered responsible for inspiring manslaughter.

Listen – To your peers, to your teachers, to your friends, to experts, to people who do art for a living. Absorb all the information you can from people who know what they’re talking about.

Markers – I have to devote a letter to one of my favorite art supplies of all time: Copic markers. They are my babies and I love them. They are also very, very expensive. Sigh.

NO ESCAPE – Once you’re in the art pit, you’re stuck in the art pit. Welcome to hell. Also I couldn’t think of anything else to put for N.

Observation – Draw! From! Life! Seriously. Draw your teacher in math class on your notes when you’re supposed to be paying attention. Draw the new shoes you just got that you’re super excited about. Draw your pet. Draw your siblings. Draw, draw, draw, draw, draw from life.

Pencil – From an essential writing utensil to an artist’s favorite tool, pencils have always got your back. Shoutout to all the pencils I’ve lost, broken, and given away to irresponsible classmates over the years. You’re the reason I’m sitting here today.

Questions – Ask them. Again, advice that applies to life in general. If you want to know more about something, ask someone who knows a lot about that thing. This should pretty much be common knowledge, but I still have to remind myself to do it sometimes.

Road blocks – Just as writer’s block is a thing, so is artist’s block. And it sucks.

Sketch – You all know what a sketch is, I hope. But don’t just sketch. Scribble, scratch, mold, melt, print, squish, fold, cut, press, mash, stain. Use those hands. Those are artist hands now.

Teach – Just as you should listen to others, don’t be afraid to tell them things you’ve learned too. Even if they might already know it, your advice is still worth sharing.

Ugly – Make things that are ugly. Maybe they just turn out ugly, or maybe you make them ugly on purpose. Regardless, sometimes ugly art is one of the best kinds. It will always make a statement, plus give you even more experience to either change it so it’s not ugly anymore, or change it so it’s even uglier, depending on which you prefer.

Variety – Pretty sure I’ve also said this before, but don’t limit yourself to only certain art styles or mediums or even just poses or objects that you’re drawing. Do everything! You might find something you really love.

Worth – Even if your art doesn’t sell for millions of dollars, it’s still worth something. It’s an expression of you, your creativity and who you are, and that makes it worth a lot in my book.

X – What the heck am I supposed to do for X???? X is a hard letter. We’re skipping X.

Yarp – Yarp.

Zeal – Put a lot of passion into what you do!!! If you love it, chances are so will other people.

So I got a little lazy here at the end, but that’s okay. Also, apologies if I sound like a broken record. I promise I’ll start posting more art on here and fewer mindless ramblings of spouted wisdom that’s really just nonsense. Still, thank you to those of you who even bother reading my posts! It means a lot to me that there’s someone out there who will listen to the journalism class assignment spoutings of a seventeen year old.

 

 

 

reusing work from other classes to get A’s: the true life story of aubren kubicki

So for once I’m going to be featuring someone else’s art, not my own! However I do not actually know this artist, so if you’re reading this for some reason, Emily Carroll, hi! Once more for good measure: this is not my artwork. Please don’t sue me.

Anyway, this week’s blog assignment was a review of some kind related to the topic of our blogs. Initially I thought I could maybe review different art supplies, but then I remembered that 1) I don’t trust my experience with art supplies enough to give a thorough, accurate review and 2) art supplies are expensive and I am remarkably broke. Instead, I decided to take a piece by one of my favorite artist/illustrators, Emily Carroll, and analyze it! Which I totally didn’t already do in my IB art class as part of the IB comparative study requirements. (Hint: I definitely did.)

The piece is titled Brave New World, and is by the aforementioned Emily Carroll. You can find it on her website here!

Image result for emily carroll brave new world

Here’s the piece pristine and untouched by my inexperienced analytical hand.

Displaying Formal Analysis of Brave New World.jpg

And here’s the slide from my comparative study where I attempted to really dig in and Analyze That Art!

But for real, guys, I’m a high school student with no prior experience to art analysis. Who knows if what I wrote was right, or if it was just crap I whipped up out of the recesses of my brain in an attempt to pass my IB art class. Either way, it’s a review of sorts, right? Miss Lewis, please give me an A.

i had to do an interview bc this blog is for a journalism class, after all

So in a rare break from the kind of content I usually post, this week we’ve got an interview! It’s actually really late because the person I initially wanted to interview never responded to my emails… not gonna name names, but they work at Adams as an art teacher. :/

Anyway, instead of the interview I initially planned, I decided to get the next best thing. I asked a friend of mine who’s also a budding artist in my IB Visual Art class a couple questions about their experiences as a student and artist. They’re a really awesome person and thanks to them for agreeing to do this interview! Hope y’all enjoy (y’all referring to the five of you that even actually look at my stuff. bless you.)!


How many art classes have you taken in your lifetime? Which has been your favorite? Why?

I’ve been taking art classes since I started school, so, about 13, my favorite probably being my IB Visual Arts class here at Adams. I really, really enjoy being able to let my creativity take me wherever I want with my art. It’s a lot more free than being given the same assignment as the rest of your classmates.

What got you interested in art in the first place?

I guess I’ve always been interested in art. It kind of runs in the family, because my grandmother and great-grandmother were both artists as well.

What is your favorite medium to work in? Least favorite? Why?

My favorite medium is probably just standard pen and pencil. I like drawing and sketching on my free time, and it’s what I’m most comfortable with. I’d have to say my least favorite is probably any type of digital media (Photoshop, Paint Tool SAI, etc.) because I feel I’m bad at it. I’m still learning, but the results of my previous experiments with the media kind of discourage me to continue.

Who are some artists you really admire or are inspired by?

I think my greatest inspiration has come from most of my peers. There’s a huge number of artists twisting the entire meaning of art in this generation, and they inspire me every day. I’m inspired by a lot of lesser-known young artists on the internet stylistically, but Frida Kahlo has always inspired me, not so much in my art, but in my life. She was a bold, free spirit, and I aspire to be as carefree as she was.

How do you plan on incorporating art into your future (i.e. majoring in art, doing it as a hobby, etc.)?

If you count writing as art, I want it to be a large part of my future. I’d love to write collections of poetry and publish them in the future. I don’t plan on creating visual art as anything more than a hobby, but I definitely hope I still find time for it in the future.

How would you define art?

I would define art as anything creative that is created by means of expressing oneself, but I think the definition of art varies from person to person. Art, like beauty, and a lot of other things in life, is subjective, and I’m in no place to officiate what is art and what is not art.

What has been your biggest artistic success? What about your biggest failure?

Honestly, I don’t really evaluate my art as a success or a failure. If I am happy with the result of what I create, then that’s great, and if I’m not satisfied with the end product, then that gives me more room to grow and learn. I don’t want to “grade” my art as successful or failed. I suppose, if I’m creating art of someone, my goal is to make them feel just as beautiful as I see them. I’d like to think I’ve done that with a few of my recent projects centered around body positivity, and I’m really happy about that.

How do you feel about the art program at Adams?

I think the art program at Adams is wonderful. The entry-level art classes can be the first step in a young artist discovering what path they want to take artistically. I do, however, have some complaints about the IB Visual Arts program, but those aren’t the fault of Adams staff or administration. It’s very restrictive sometimes, and it forces you to “grade” your art. As I said earlier, I try to avoid rating my art as good or bad entirely, so this is dissatisfying to me.

If you could give another student artist some advice about doing art, what would it be?

Do whatever you want. Art isn’t (or shouldn’t be, at least) restrictive. Be free. No idea is a bad idea. Let yourself create what you feel needs exposure in the world, without worry of judgement.

 

 

16 things to do and keep in mind if you want to draw but don’t know where to start (or, aubren preaches at you about life lessons that also just happen to apply to art)

Okay, let me preface this with a warning: I am not a professional artist. I am a high school student who knows very little about the outside world and what it’s like to do art all day, every day, as more than just a hobby. Therefore, take my advice with a grain of salt. However, I am more than familiar with feeling lost and stuck or wishing I were better at something and hating myself for not being good enough. So here’s fifteen things I remind myself on a daily basis when I’m drawing.

  1. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. I cannot stress this enough, kids. If you constantly tell yourself that you aren’t good enough to do something, you’ll never be free to let yourself grow and flourish in that field. You’ll never know all the potential you’ve got stored up inside you to do something great. I will admit, this is one I still struggle with, but it’s very important to remember.
  2. Don’t compare your art to others’. It’s okay to look at other people’s artwork and admire it, or to draw inspiration from things you enjoy about their pieces. What’s not okay is to look at someone’s art and think, Oh my god, they’re so much better than me. I should just give up now. That kind of mentality will lead you into a dark, depressing pit from which it’s difficult to accomplish anything, much less even get started. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that everyone is different and that you’re still learning, and pick up your pencil again.
  3. It’s okay to use references! It’s nothing to be ashamed of! Seriously, especially if you’re just starting out, drawing references can be your best friend. However, I would also recommend you
  4. Draw from real life. Nothing beats the kind of experience you gather from drawing what you see. Even if you’re not a fan of more realistic styles, it’s still incredibly useful for learning how to equate real-life physics and dimensions into your art, which will grant it a much more cohesive and effortless feel.
  5. Draw as much as possible. Someone out there somewhere said that in order to become incredibly good at something, you have to do it for 10,000 hours. Not in a row, though (that would be insane). So in my opinion, every little sketch and stray doodle on the corner of your math homework goes towards those 10,000 hours. Carry a little sketchbook and pencil with you so if you see a particularly adorable dog, or an interestingly-dressed subway goer, or a piece of architecture that particularly strikes your fancy, you can pull out your supplies and scribble away.
  6. Don’t be afraid to mess up. If you spend twenty minutes and you just can’t get that shoe or finger or nostril just right, move on. Don’t linger on it. Your artwork doesn’t have to be perfect, just as the thing you’re drawing probably isn’t perfect. Everything has its imperfections.
  7. Draw fast. Draw slow. Draw small. Draw big. The more experience you have with different ways of drawing, the better. Get out of your comfort zone! You might find that you like one way of drawing more than you ever could have thought.
  8. Stealing is okay, as long as it isn’t direct plagiarism. No, I’m not talking about physically stealing things. That still isn’t okay. But if you see something you like in another person’s artwork, something that inspires you and piques your creativity, then don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your own work. That’s part of how I’ve developed my own unique “style” over the years I’ve been drawing, and it’s still constantly evolving. There’s a great book about this that I highly recommend called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It’s a short, easy read with lots of great advice on how to be an artist — and not just a fine artist, but any kind of creative human.
  9. Everybody has their off days. Some days things just aren’t going to work. You’ll try to put pencil to paper and you’ll come up short, which can be ridiculously frustrating. This happens to pretty much every artist I’ve ever met. And if you’re an artist who never has off days, then holy crap are you lucky. Please email me and tell me your secrets.
  10. Draw for you. I think this generally goes for most things, but if you’re not doing something because you want to be doing it, because you enjoy it, then you’re not doing the right thing and should stop doing that thing immediately. Drawing shouldn’t have to feel like a chore to you. It’s a realm of infinite possibilities that spans the length of your imagination. If you can imagine something, you can draw it. So draw what you want, how you want, when you want. If it makes you happy to draw something, then draw it.
  11. People suck sometimes. Don’t listen to them. Part of doing art is capturing something that you want to share, then sharing it with others in the hopes that they’ll love it as much as you do. Sometimes they don’t love it, and that’s fine, but sometimes they’re rude about it. Some people just like to be rude. They’re not people worth paying attention to. But on the other hand,
  12. Constructive criticism is your friend! Know how to take it graciously. I am not the best at this. Being a naturally anxious person who worries way too much what other people think of me and the things I happen to produce, I tend to get carried away and confuse helpful criticism with a vicious attack on my abilities as an artist. This isn’t the right attitude to have. Constructive criticism and peer evaluation are meant to help you get better as an artist, not break down your self-confidence. That being said, it’s good to know the difference between the two, because like I said earlier, people just suck sometimes and like being rude to be rude.
  13. Don’t be judgemental. It’s easy to look at a piece that you’ve done and see only the negatives, not the things you did well. But instead of seeing them as mistakes and flaws, look at them as chances for improvement. Don’t think Ugh, I really botched those arms. I’m a terrible artist. [Insert name of admirable artist] wouldn’t have done that. Instead, think Hmm, those arms don’t look quite right. What about them is off? What could I have done to draw them differently? How could I change them to make them appear more well-proportioned? Hoo boy do I struggle with this one. It’s hard to do, but trust me, it’s important.
  14. Work in lots of different mediums. Experiment. Explore. Don’t feel like you have to just stick to a pencil and paper. There are so many outlets of creativity that you’re missing out on by staying with what you know.
  15. Talk to other artists. Share work. Exchange advice. Do art trades. Listen to what they have to say. Instead of seeing them as competitors, see them as teachers. Learn from them, befriend them, enjoy them. You don’t have to see the world as a competition and other artists as your enemies. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.
  16. Enjoy what you’re doing. Have fun! Art is amazing, artists are amazing, and you are amazing. Love yourself, and love what you do.