one woman's view into a world of creativity

Archive for the ‘Urban’ Category

Landfill Harmonic

I think this video speaks for itself.


Star Wars Orchestra Flashmob

I don’t often feature music on my blog.  In fact, this may be my first music post. (Note to self, feature more music!)  This hasn’t been intentional.  I just tend to be drawn (haha see what I did there?) to the visual fine arts more than those of performing arts.  Let it be known that I consider music just as much art as the stuff that goes on canvas.  My schema of art encompasses a wide range of hobbies and activities, from the more traditional things like music and drama, to less traditional things like carpentry and cooking.

But I seem to be running on tangents and dancing around the subject.  The point of this post is to share a fantastic Star Wars Orchestra Flash Mob.  That’s right.  I said orchestra.  The only flash mobs I’ve seen before are those that involve dancing and singing.  So this was a refreshing new perspective.  To watch this amazing feat of seemingly random improvised design, click this link or the one above.

According to Urban Dictionary, a flashmob is “when a large group of people suddenly come together and perform some sort of action, which draws an audience very quickly.  After they perform the stunt, the group of people quickly disperse.”

My favorite part about flash mobs is how it makes everyone hurrying and scurrying around slow down, stop, and admire something beautiful.  It’s a very intrusive art form, but a very pleasant one.  People generally seem very welcome to the seemingly improvised performance.  It brings them laughter and smiles.  Any form of art which makes a busy society slow down and appreciate something creative is a form of art which I applaud.  So take a moment of your time to go watch and listen to the Star Wars Flashmob.

…and oh yeah, may the Force be with you.

The Welder

Here’s another project I neglected to post this summer.  I was commissioned to do some artwork to hang on the door of a local repair shop.  After some discussion I settled on the image of a hunched-over welder lit with eerie light by the sparks of his welding arc.  I painted the image with acrylic paint and enamels on a large sheet of plexiglass.  It took me a long time to complete it, but I’m quite satisfied with the end result.

The Welder

The Welder

The Welder

Monkey Graffiti

A while back I spotted some spectacular graffiti on the side of a train.  Two separate cars featured massive ape faces rendered with surprising realism.  I wanted to stop and take a picture but decided against it, and regretted it ever since.

Yesterday I was driving through the same area and spotted another car with monkey graffiti.  It’s a different design, but undoubtedly by the same graffiti artist.  This time I made a point to stop and take photos of it.

UPDATE: 08/24/2011
I have since made it a goal of mine to chronicle the different monkey graffiti I encounter on this particular set of tracks, and I’ve photographed several since.  These graffiti are definitely a step above the amateur scribbles all too common on the sides of train cars, and I think the clear effort put into them makes them worthy of being called art.

Sidewalk Art Festival

Today started International Week off at C of I, beginning with a soccer tournament, a sidewalk chalk competition, and a fair.  As an act of support for my friend who organized the sidewalk art festival, as well as general interest, I joined the competition!  I worked for about two and a half hours in spectacular weather!  It couldn’t have been better.  In fact, it was so sunny I got a sunburn. (Unfortunately it later began to sprinkle a little bit in the evening hours.)




I joined several other students in creating fantastic chalk creations either for the competition or just for fun.  You could compete individually or in teams, with categories including original piece, reproduction of a masterwork, or famous characters.  One student did a lovely Van Gogh reproduction.  Another created an original, a massive globe observed by spectral eyes, with white feathers gently falling down.


I chose to do a Barn Owl.  I began with the intent to make it very realistic, but when faced with mostly bright and colorful chalks, I changed my tune.  I’m really glad I did.  Instead I created an owl of a spectrum of colors, inspiring the title Aurora Borea-owl-is.  I worked mostly with white and blue tones, but there are yellow, magenta, violet, teal, pink, and terra cotta tones mixed in.  The final product really has a fantastic energy to it that reinforces the chalk medium. 

I was also pleasantly surprised by an unexpected degree of depth.  I made the feet a bit larger than I intended, but it makes the drawing pop forward, like the owl really is swooping talons-first toward you.  It’s certainly not the 3D chalk art of some experts, but it has a nice illusionistic feel to it.  It was also fun to walk around the piece and experience the distortion from different angles.  Depending on where you stood, it felt like one wing or the other was closer to you.

I’m sad to acknowledge that these wonderful sidewalk art pieces won’t last.  They face a multisided threat of rain, student feet and nearby sprinklers for the grass.  I guess it’s part of the medium you have to accept and come to terms with.  At least they will live on in my photos.

Latte Art

Biospheres by Vaughn Bell

Village Green by Vaughn Bell

Village Green by Vaughn Bell

In March I visited the Boise Art Museum (BAM) as part of an essay response for my modern art course.  I had the option to respond to one of two shows: the Lightpaintings of Stephen Knapp (briefly blogged about here), or the collection of works in the show Critical Messages: Contemporary Northwest Artists on the Environment.  I chose the latter.  Among the many incredible pieces I responded to, the biospheres of Vaughn Bell’s Village Green especially struck me.  I wanted to share a clip from my composition that illustrates how I felt:

The next installation to attract my eye was Village Green, by Vaughn Bell, Jim Andersen, and Dean Wentworth.  Village Green consists of two acrylic biospheres, though I was under the impression that more have been installed in other contexts.  These clear acrylic structures, shaped like greenhouses, hang from the ceiling and contain mini landscapes.  The base of each biosphere houses a portal through which visitors may place their head, immersing themselves in the lush environment.  Viewing the biospheres from the outside, I was struck by a sense of separateness.  The acrylic walls isolated the biospheres, objectifying them.  I was exterior, and the biospheres seemed small, sanitized, and almost artificial.  But as I rose into the biosphere, I was struck by the immediacy and intimacy of the environment.  The air was warm, humid, and scented richly of earth.  Some of the plants tickled my face and brushed my hair as I looked around.  I even spotted a few tiny insects crawling nearby.   The outside influences faded away, muffled in the insulated, private space.  I felt comfortable, safe, and welcomed in the natural atmosphere.  In contrast, stepping out of the biosphere, the museum entryway was cold stone and echoing walls, desensitized and urban.  According to Bell, “Many people long for the smells of nature and softness of greenery while living amidst concrete and diesel fumes.  The… Personal Home Biosphere [is] the answer for anyone who feels the ill effects of urban living.”  Village Green was particularly appealing to me because I was allowed to interact with it.  Instead of the hands-off approach of the other pieces, I was able to experience an active sensory feast and internalize her message of discovering a “newfound intimacy with the land.” 

I happen to love houseplants and tending to their soft green growth, so I loved the biospheres.  They seemed to comforting.  I wish I had one  (a “personal home biosphere”) in my dorm, or in my house.  In fact, I was so fascinated with the installation that I investigated the artist further, noting some of her other intriguing projects.  Turns out the biospheres have been designed to be mobile, taken with the viewer almost like an astronaut’s helmet.

Portable Personal Biosphere by Vaughn Bell

Portability and mobility of nature are themes Bell has explored repeatedly.  Her website includes pictures of shopping cart gardens, shrub-fronted smocks, gardens on wheels with leashes, and shrub-tipped walking sticks.  Although somewhat unconventional and sometimes absurd, the idea of never having to leave the comfort nature while in an urban environment is an admirable one.


Turns out Bell has also hosted biosphere adoptions, giving out mini biospheres to willing caretakers who sign a committment form.  I sure wish Bell would come out my direction and host an adoption.  I love these little biospheres.  Sadly I doubt this will be happening any time soon, so I’ll have to content myself with my already overgrown collection of houseplants and perhaps dream of my own terrarium.

All photos borrowed from Vaughn Bell’s website.  The ideas and images are the sole property of the artist, and I make no claim on them.  Please visit her website and explore her wonderful work for yourself.
The essay paragraph was taken from a composition written by me, and thus is my property.  Please do not copy or plagiarise the writing.
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