Friday, July 31, 2015

Last Day: Corzo Presentations & Entrepreneurship

Yesterday was my last day of internship and Machele was invited to attend the presentations of the selected few from the Corzo Entrepreneur bootcamp so I got to tag along! The bootcamp is a 5 week long course with only six accepted applicants. At the end of the run, the applicants present their idea/product for a chance to be given $10,000 that they can use to go forward with their idea.

Sitting in and listening to the presenters was such a wonderful opportunity. At times I felt like it was Shark Tank. I definitely wanted to watch the shows after I got home. The applicants had 4-5 minutes to present and was followed with 5 minutes of Q&A's from judges. It was helpful to learn from their presentations, like what should and shouldn't be done or how critical the judges could be. 

We had to leave before judges could come back with their decision on who they would award the ten grand to (if anyone at all, there was always that option.) On the drive back, Machele and I talked about what we haven't touched on regarding entrepreneurship, the difficulties of it, what would've helped starting up, etc. I think I decided then and there that I wanted to apply for the Corzo bootcamp myself, so I think that will be what I'll do next summer! I just have to come up with a great idea. But I'm pretty confident that with what I've learned from the ID program and from Machele, it will be no problem to get in.

Thanks for following me on my internship.


Week #6: Supper SHOW "I want the raw feeling"

Photo taken by Carlos Avenando
Finally getting into the Ice Box theater for the first time was so exciting. The professional lighting and music really added to the space. It was absolutely mesmerizing. There was also a video showing of the performance at Independence Mall on the second night of the live show. In order to make the performance seem live on video, a crew came in to record the performance during a dress rehearsal. This added tons of energy. My responsibilities besides being Silvana'a assistant were to help with tickets, do the music cues, set props, and to hand out food to the audience at the end of the piece.
Photo taken by Jennifer Baker

Each show started off with the audience waiting in the gallery space where there were portraits and stories of "People on the Move". The dance piece was choreographed around and influenced by these stories. It was helpful for the audience to get a bit of a background on the subject of immigration before walking into such a powerful performance. Then, the audience was asked for their name and I.D. as they entered the space. Some were even asked to get their pictures taken. This also helped to set the tone for the piece. It was interesting to watch the audience enter as some were separated from the people that they had intended on sitting with.

Little did the audience know, the piece had really begun from the moment that they walked into the gallery and started reading the stories. The dancing was so powerful that some audience members even cried. And when the dancing seemed to be over, the piece still wasn't over yet. The audience was called to tables to have "Supper" with the cast. Silvana even debated having an applause because the piece was not supposed to come to an end. The piece represents issues that are alive and ongoing in our world. Something that carries this much weight isn't just applauded and forgotten; it stays with you and brings up conversations of change.

I am honored to have been a part of this project with Cardell Dance Theater.

Week #4+5: Supper Rehearsals “Look for the accident”

I’m noticing more and more how the movement and body language comes from stories of families breaking a part. There is a lot of moving with spirals and moving from the spine. I feel like all of the dancers have this clarity to fall back on while simultaneously being asked to communicate a story through their movement.  Silvana reinforced the kind of quality of movement that she was looking for by instructing the dancers to warm with an improvisation exercise. The exercise had a set intention of two body parts moving in two different directions. While doing the improvisation exercise, Silvana said “look for the accident”.  Later, in rehearsal she also said, “it doesn’t look like you’re connecting to each other, it looks like you’re stretching yourselves”. This meant that the dancers were focusing more on their individual body movement than the theme of the piece. As soon as Silvana gave that statement, the dancers turned their focus to the intention of the piece, which is about supporting each other.  It’s important for me to learn how to give necessary and clear corrections to dancers in the future when I am creating my own piece. Something else that I observed was that while the dancers where dancing separate from each other, it did not make as much of an impact as when they all came together and mover together. Silvana noticed this too and instructed the dancers to move closer together during one section. The difference seemed like a bunch of small bodies versus one big body. This also helped the dancers to be more connected. 

I am very inspired to make my own work after working with Silvana and her dance company. Watching the process was extremely influential to me as an artist. I’ve learned how to choreograph in the past, but I haven’t learned how to speak to dancers or how to affectively communicate a vision to both an audience and the dancers/artists that I am working with.  Now I have a better understanding of how to make my vision come to life. Most importantly, I now have the confidence to do so. I wouldn’t call Silvana my boss or someone who I was working for, but more of a teacher. I was constantly learning from her. She told her dancers, “You don’t have to act, that’s when it doesn’t work”. This is something that I will remember to tell dancers that I am working with. The natural way that the dancers acted while performing was compelling. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Playing Around with Car Tint

After looking for some car tint, Machele ordered a roll for another product that was in the making. It came in the mail and we were surprised-- both of us never really worked with car tint so we were confused to see that it didn't have a backing that we could peel off like expected. We looked online for help but there were so many different instructions and they were all confusing! Car tint solution? Getting it wet? We decided to just jump straight in.

Machele was wiping the glass we were working on with some wet wipes and then also wiped the small piece of car tint we cut out. I don't remember how but the backing came loose and we could peel it off! There was no way we could've seen it, the sheet practically looks like one layer!

Well that was good progress. Slightly encouraging. We did some more researching and made our own car tint solution out of soap and water. We tried to apply some test strips onto mirror. Our application method was to lay the car tint onto a piece of acrylic, remove the backing, and then flip the acrylic onto the mirror-- the car tint would adhere to the mirror after we lifted the acrylic.

Not bad, not bad. It looked alright. But we wouldn't really know how the process would change when we switched to the big piece, right? We were working with a 16x20 mirror, a design that came from a piece Machele had in Art Unleashed. So we moved on. I cut around a template I had done on Adobe Illustrator onto the car tint. Lots of complications, but I eventually figured out the best method to do this after several tries. We're new at this!

So the design is all cut out. But what's the design that I'm talking about? You'll see. It was time to put the car tint on the mirror. Nervous. We did it though. And....

Awesome!! There were a lot of beginner mistakes that are visible in person but for a first test, it wasn't too bad! Could've been worse. But eventually after a couple more tests, we found the best method to apply car tint (involving lots of water and a squeegee.)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chelsea Manhattan

Ryan and I met up in Chelsea to show me Kremer Pigments Inc. , a store for painters. They had materials and ingredients for mediums I have never even heard of. He bought a glass muller for me to try out. 

Then we walked a few blocks and he showed me one of his galleries. We chilled there for a lil and then stopped in a few more galleries before heading back to his studio in Brooklyn. 

These are pictures from one of my favorite exhibits we checked out that day. At the Driscoll Babcock Gallery, a group exhibition called Secret Identities: Superheroes and Selfhood. 

I Got Checked :o


     A few weeks ago I instructed my first group, unexpectedly and fairly solo. The group was a family of 4, 2 daughters, 1 son, and the mother. The oldest child was 14. I’m going to preface this post by honestly saying that I generally don’t like to teach people. I think it’s just because sometimes I genuinely lack a certain patience for certain things. Teaching can be a fast process or it could be a slow one, some people just pick up things faster than others and are more independent. So, in short, my perfect student would be someone who takes to the task very easily and is confident in their abilities. 

     Now, as I’ve mentioned before, Abbie has a huge heart and she loves to help people, so she gives out vouchers for free or reduced sessions to affiliate programs for them to give to their low income or disabled patients/ participants. So this family called the studio and they wanted to know if they could still use an old voucher for a free session that they received from a partnering program. Luckily for them, we only had one other student in the studio so we had more than enough space for them- of course Abbie said yes! When they arrived they an odd uneasy expression on their faces and I could tell that they were extremely skeptical, they didn’t know what they had gotten themselves into haha. We all introduced ourselves and used name tags so that no one seemed like a stranger (this goes a long way and really makes the students more comfortable asking questions and conversing with you).

{This was the type of bowl they created but this
particular one didn't come from that session}
     Quickly they settled in and began to warm up to us. We began to show them a few sample projects that they could get done in the time that they had and they all decided on making bowls with tree imprints inside them. This sort of bowl is super easy to make and has a really pretty outcome once fired and glazed! At last, we broke out the clay and Abbie left me to it! Again, they all had a strange expression on their faces as if I had whipped out a Raxacoricofallapatorians (Dr. Who fans anyone?)! They sat staring at the clay with apprehension, anticipation, and amazement, which completely bewildered me. To me it was just clay, a lump of mud that I had become overly familiar with. To them it was a mushy mass, that somehow shape-shifts into an art piece. Immediately I was forced to recall whether or not I had reacted that way when clay was first presented to me haha! As I was dividing they clay they just sat there and so finally I said excitedly, “You can touch it! Grab it, get used to it!” The last thing I would want is for someone to be scared to manipulate the clay or have fun with it. I wanted them to dive in! Interestingly enough, in that moment it dawned on me that I was their instructor, I was in a position of authority so they would wait for instruction. As I mentioned, I don’t teach often, so this was something I had to keep reminding myself of. 
     They grabbed the clay and we got started! I showed them all how to wedge the clay to get all of the air pockets out of it (if there’s air pockets in the clay it can explode when it’s being fired and all the hard work would be for nothing). This somehow became a mini competition between 2 of the children and the mother, I guess a little game of “Who Can Get Their Air Bubbles Out the Fastest” never hurt anyone…This did lead to a minor issue as one of the children finished wedging about 6 minutes before the others. This left him sitting and waiting until the next everyone was ready to move on to the next step. I had to make a decision to either make him wait for the others, or allow him to move on, I let him move on (asking a 8 year old to have too much patience is difficult O.O). The next step was rolling the clay out flat so that we could place it into the mold of the bowl. Once they all had their flat slabs of clay, they went outside to to pick leaves/ branches off the trees so they could make the print in the clay. After they made the prints, they pressed the clay into the molds, and finished decorating by painting (applying underglazes to the clay). 

     When it came to the decoration of the pieces, I discovered that the 14 y/o and her mom had a slight issues with thinking their work was acceptable or that it was “good enough”. They lacked a confidence and they didn’t trust themselves. They each would ask questions like “what do you think about this?”, “does this look nice?”, “am I doing this right?”. While internally I was annoyed by this sort of behavior from the two oldest in the group, I never let that show and gave them positive affirmation. A few times I would reply with “Well do you like it, do you think it’s nice?” to try to get them to see that their personal happiness with their pieces matter more than what I think. At one point Abbie to the 14 y/o that her bowl was beautiful and she responded with “don’t just tell me what you think I want to hear!” (in a respectful tone with a slight sassiness. Not enough to cause an issue). 

     Overall I think they had a great family experience. To be able to experience something new as a family and bod over it is special. They all said that they plan to use their bowls and so I hope that every time they do, they remember the fun studio and the time that they spent with each other. Hopefully they get another chance to work with clay and create things that they enjoy, whether it’s at Say It With Clay or somewhere else. I’m happy that I got to share my knowledge and be a part of their growth. I think I made a positive impact. And even though this group wasn’t “disabled”, the studio definitely gave them a place to escape some problems or tensions that they have in their everyday life. The mom didn’t want to leave lolz!

     As a personal reflection, this experience gave me to the opportunity to examine my privilege (or what I perceive as a privilege). Throughout my entire life I have carried myself as a very confident person that is “capable of anything”. When faced with a new challenge or task I attack it with the mindset that it will get done and it will be absolutely amazing because I did it. I’m not completely sure where this positive personal agency began, but I definitely recognize that it has been with me for as long as I remember. I rarely find that I feel defeated and that I “can’t”. I also rarely find someone else that doesn’t enjoy what I do or what I produce; if I do I take their criticism with an open mind and find ways to incorporate it positively  instead of harping on the negative feelings and ideas. I think at the core, this is why teaching can be tiring and uninteresting to me. As I described above, not everyone has this attitude and I don’t think that it’s something that people build up overnight. Sticking through the rough and uncertain times with a student can be daunting and it may make you want to just shake the self-assurance into them, but I recognize the great reward in the end. I’m grateful that I got the chance to check my privilege.

Until the next post,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Meeting more People

Ryan took me to meet "the mad scientist" he's this old timer in Brooklyn who makes and sells paint. He is good at what he does and knows a lot about trends in art. He sells to many big time artists in NY, they love his paint because its top quality. His shop is sorta on the D.L. and refuses to go corporate. Ryan buys massive amounts of dry pigment at a time from him plus he hooks him up on prices. The mad scientist rigged an electric sander that i use to make the paint. He took apart the motor, slowed it down,attached a piece of sand blasted glass to it, and transformed it into an electric muller. That lil guy can mull the paint in 1/2 the time it would take me without it.

Ryan's studio is in this factory building of sorts. The top floor has space you can rent out. While I was cleaning up I met another artist, Adam Helms. He showed me his studio and some of his work, we had a smoke n talked bout art n what not. I loved his work so asked him a lot about his process and source material. The amount of artists in NY continue to amaze me. They are everywhere!

Learning How to Make Paint

Ryan introduced me to the process of making oil paint. 
I have been very eager to learn how because its not something 
they teach in school anymore. The benefit of making your own 
is that you can make it to your exact preference. It also is a lot 
cheaper especially if you want to use colors that are out of the 
ordinary and extremely pricey to buy pre made like metallic 
and neon oil paints. 

It tests my patience, 

it takes a long time to grind the dry pigment into the binder and
is VERY messy, but learning the elements the different colors 
means I can make all types of paint: 
acrylic, watercolor, vinyl, oil sticks.....
learning the different qualities of the mediums that pigment 
binds to allows the opportunity to create hybrids of mediums. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Skyler's Week #4

Lots of exciting things happened in my 4th week with Monika! I continued some of my work on my wax ring but we eventually decided it would be best for me to start a new project - in gold! I had never worked with gold before but for those of you who do not know, it is a very easy material to work with. Typically I like to work in copper, brass or silver. These metals are inexpensive in comparison to gold, which is why they are suitable for a poor art student, but they do have their downfalls. Base metals or silver tend to firescale easily and they also are more difficult to solder. Gold on the other hand does not firescale and is easy to solder. So I was very excited experience this new material.
I talked with Monika at length about then different types of gold. She explained that 24K gold is 100% pure gold and any other amount, is just a percentage of 24. For example, 18K gold (which is 18/24) is 75% gold and 25% alloyed metal. This kind of gold is most typically used in fine jewelry making because it has the highest gold content without being too soft.
I thought about what I could make in gold and I decided if I was going to make my very first gold ring, I wanted to give it to my mom for her birthday that is coming up in August. So Monika agreed that would be a great idea and we then looked at stones I could set. She gave me an option of different Sapphires (which is my birthstone) and I picked out a beautiful pink one because that is my mom's favorite color.
Once I had all my material, I got to work creating the ring band and bezel. I was a little worried about working in gold because making a mistake in gold definitely costs more than making that same mistake in copper. Everything was going smoothly and it was very interesting to see all the skills I knew being used on a much more valuable material. The only setback I had was partially melting the bezel during soldering. This definitely bummed me out but Monika was very kind about it & encouraged me to make another. Currently My ring is ready for the stone to set and I'm excited to go back next week to put the final touches on my ring for my mom!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Local Vs. Overseas

So after the cases I 3D modeled came back from Shapeways, Machele and I moved on to contacting potential manufacturers! It was decided that we'd go with machine milled for one case and precision stamped for another. With that in mind, I looked at manufacturers both locally and overseas that would be able to do one or the other.

Locally, I found this to be di-fi-cult. Googling for it isn't exactly the most convenient thing ever and when you do find someone, their requirements are usually not obtainable for you (15k pieces minimum?! We only want 150-200 pieces......) Doing it overseas though was so much more ridiculously easier. I used Alibaba to search for manufacturers and so many popped up and it was all in one place. No having to navigate through websites and hunt through links to figure stuff out. This experience completely changed how I viewed the process of taking an idea you have and then finding someone to make it. The people overseas are friendly and willing to try your idea out. Despite a slight language barrier, communication with them was simple. They were also fast. Send an email to them and you can expect one back by night or the next morning which isn't always the case locally.

We found a handful of people that wanted to work with us and received quotes from them after a few days of communication where both parties asked questions and technical drawings/CAD files were given.

Contact Lists + Playing with cardboard

In between projects I would sometimes compile a contacts list. The crazy thing is that some people would pay good money for a good contacts list. After looking at one that was sent to us, I understand why. 41 pages of pure businesses! These are people you can reach out to when you want to network or sell your products to. And these lists keep (almost) forever. I think the huge list I was looking at was made several years back and it's interesting enough to see how some websites are dead, living, stuck in 2013, or doing VERY successfully. You can make your list from other resources as well. Resources can be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. To compile our own contacts list, I got to venture onto Instagram, where it is super easy to target a specific audience and check out a bunch of websites. Lots of neat competitive markets! What's more interesting is when you run into alumni work! It's almost like a rabbit hole.

Asides from putting together lists, I also worked to prototype something for one of Machele's product. Her product is a shelf. When displaying it for sale, books sit in it but people often mistake the books to be for sale instead of the shelf. Using post-its, paper, cardboard, and other scrap, we came up with quick prototypes of a paper replica that could sit in the shelf and be shipped along with the shelf's packaging. We didn't get to finish this small project though because.. the 3D prints for the jewelry line came from Shapeways! Going through a process was our biggest priority so we soon went back to work on the jewelry line.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Portraits of People on the Move- Gallery Set Up

One of my favorite days assisting Jennifer on the Portraits of People on the Move project was the first day we went to Crane Arts to set up the gallery space. This day was crazy busy since the performance was only a few days later. The first thing we did was unroll the giant prints of the panels and hang them in our pre-decided order, mostly based on location variety and occupation. Our method for hanging these huge prints (which came out beautifully, printed by Ben on really nice parachute paper) was for Jennifer to measure the wall and put in nails while Elise from Mural Arts and I measured and attached the hooks onto the prints. It was really awesome being able to see what I had put together on my tiny computer screen so large and in a physical form.

Once the panels were up, Elise and I got to work taking the printed book pages and arranging them into five portfolio books. Since each book had over 80 pages, it was a large task to tackle. Luckily we got into a rhythm and this assembly went pretty smoothly. These books were also really cool to see in a physical form, especially because I had never put a book together before, let alone of that size.

After we had assembled the books, I saw that Jennifer was sewing one of the props for the Supper, People on the Move performance. I knew we had a lot left to do (and I also really enjoy sewing) so I took over while she went to work on other parts of the project. This was a fun task for me to do since it had been awhile since I sewed any large projects. When I was finished, I had sewn together the layers and lace for the 20 foot table cloth used at the opening of the performance. It came out really nice and looked awesome under the lights during the dance.

One of the final tasks of the day was setting up the lights in the gallery. We both decided that if we didn’t do it, no one else would probably have the time to. Jennifer went to find a really big ladder while I went into one of the Crane Arts’ storage rooms to find their lights and hanging equipment. Unfortunately this didn’t appear to be super organized and most of the bulbs were burnt out. One of the reasons this was such a struggle, was because most of what did work in the storage room was a weird mixture of floodlights and spot lights. There was also a huge variety in the warm/cool tones that really showed through in the white spaces on the prints. Another issue was that since this gallery area was where people would be while waiting for Supper, People on the Move, we couldn’t leave any corners too too dark though we wanted to get enough light on the works. Through a lot of trial and error (and a lot of ladder moving) we finally arranged the lights to make the area look really nice.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Applying Learned Skills To My Internship

For the first few days of my summer fellows internship, we jumped straight into making CAD models. Machele needed cases to cover the edges of her jewelry as to prevent chipping. She had several concepts in mind and my first task was to transfer them onto CAD drawings. This took several days and a couple attempts at troubleshooting. What I've learned through this was especially that if something doesn't work, try it a different way. There are always more than one ways to do things. One might take longer than the other but as long as it gets done and you figure out the easy way eventually, it's all okay!

I am so, so glad I was able to pick up 3D modeling during my first year of ID. Since I'm still new to the process of making 3D models it was both a challenge and a learning process, but I did learn a lot!

We went with Shapesways to get these cases prototyped and 3D-printed. The first batch went very well and only needed minor adjustments to the inner dimensions. It's such an awesome feeling to look at something that you made digitally and then finally be able to hold a physical model of it in your hands! Not to mention that it's even more thrilling when it all works out and isn't a flop. 

Here's an Instagram pic Machele took!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summary of 6/13, 6/18, 6/22, 6/25, 6/26, 6/27

Saturday, June 13th.

    Michele has been having some problems with an order she made with a major art supply company here in Philly this past week. She picked up the order today and when I came in today I found that there were still more problems. They didn’t package the wood panels that she ordered professionally or even safely, so now she has to send them back. That’s something I have to look forward to as a working artist..whoo.. BUT the other panels that she ordered came as well and they were in fine condition so I got to learn how to stain them. I stained half of them and then Gacced them all as well as sanded them all.

Thursday, June 18th.

Today when I came in I finished up the remaining coats of Gauc on the small wood panels. Once they were finished, Michele taught me how to tape up the edges and the back the way she likes them. The tape protects the edges and the back of the panels, keeping them clean and fresh from paint.

After I finished taping up the edges of all 13 of the wood panels, Michele had me start on another project. I was to stain this previous wood piece that she had made. So I used an eraser to clean up any scuffmarks on the wood, taped up the ones that had stripes of paint and paper and got to work staining! I didn’t get through all the pieces of wood and the task took the rest of the day.

Monday, June 22.

Staining, staining and more staining! Today was spent staining as much of the wood pieces from Michele’s piece as possible. I ran out of stain towards the end of the day so I spent the remaining half hour cleaning up and cleaning out her brushes.

Thursday, June 25th.

Today Michele picked me up form my apartment so we could swing by Lowes to pick up some things that we needed like stain, brown paper, tape, and some paint. Michele also got come keys made for me to get into the studio by myself because tomorrow she wasn’t going to be able to get into the studio until later. After that we headed over to the studio. I continued staining the wood pieces for this installation.

Friday, June 26th

Today I had to come in earlier by myself so I got right to work finishing up the last wood pieces that needed to be stain. After I finished that, I got a start on the work that needed to be done for another installation she is doing using paints sticks. So I had to sort through the bins of them and separate the different kind of paint sticks into piles. That work ended up taking the rest of the day.

Saturday, June 27th

When I came in today I spent the majority of the time finishing sorting through the paint sticks and then packing them back into the appropriate bins. After I finish all that, I pulled the tape off the wood pieces that I have been spending the last few weeks staining to see how they all came out. I also started to Gauc a new wood panel Michele had gotten as well as a few of the wood pieces for the installation. We aren’t sure how the Gauc will look on the wood piece so we only did a few to see how it takes to the stained wood pieces.