Saturday, April 28, 2012

Guest Post Saturday: Edition Two

     This is the second edition of Guest Post Saturday. If you're interested in submitting a post, please go here to find out everything you need to know and then send an email to Without further ado, I bring you Sissi's guest post! (I know, you were all waiting for it. I was excited to.)

    Hi, hellooooo! I've been mentioned on this blog several times, and I might say that it's a pleasure to be here with you all. I'd like to introduce myself: my name is Sissi, I am Rachel's best friend and sister; I will be writing for you tonight.
   Again, it is a pleasure.
   As you all have heard from your lovely hostess Rachel, art has always been, and always will be, an important part of my life. Now, if it isn't influential to you, that is not a bad thing-- not everybody enjoys art as much as the next guy (or girl.) Perhaps you have something in your own life that is very important to you (please comment with it, I would love to discuss it with you!!) It is then that I ask you, Readers-- do people ask you why?
   First some background information. I am a high school AP 2D art student. I'm required to have a full portfolio by the end of the year, complete with 12 pieces, 8 pieces, and a so called progression to be evaluated at the end of the course. I am required to write a summary of my art for every section that is critiqued. And every piece in my portfolio is required to be backed up with a why.
   Don't get me wrong, I love seeing how a painting, a drawing, a sculpture, or anything takes on a completely new meaning once you know the painting's, the drawing's, the sculpture's, the anything's "why." An emotional or ethical background can give any piece of work layers and layers of depth, and I appreciate the effort and thought that someone put into his or her work. I admire it, honestly; I'm a student, I'm still learning-- I can't flesh out a feeling like these other artists can (a little hard work can get you everywhere, though.)
   However, is it so wrong that I think a little more emphasis should be placed on the how? I speak from experience: some techniques are hard to master. The technical abilities of a student are not always appreciated as they should be. A wonderfully executed piece of art will often leave the judges thinking, "It's nice, but... Where's the why?" And nothing irks me more than that; people get so worked up about the why that they can't bring themselves to fully acknowledge the how. During my experiences, I have witnessed many pieces receiving scores that they do not deserve. Whether the score should have been higher or lower, I always find myself thinking, "If Painting X got x amount of points, why did Painting Y get y amount of points?" whereas Painting X was a piece that was well planned and executed, and Painting Y was a mediocre piece with a meaning.
   If you're sitting there at your desk, Readers, thinking, "Well, this girl must be biased. She must have gotten low points on a work she's done-- there's no way that this can be credible," then you've got another thing coming. I've been on both ends of the boat.
   On April 13th, 2012, I participated in the program Visual Arts Scholastic Event, or VASE for short. I entered two works: a stylized self portrait done in Prismacolor markers and an acrylic painting depicting the 2011 Japanese disasters. I was not prepared for VASE. Both pieces that I entered were works that I had completed the year before as a freshman in an Art II class. Neither pieces were, in my opinion, adequate, and it was obvious that I was nerve racked (as I couldn't back out; not only was it an assignment, it was an opportunity to qualify for a Letterman.) Ask Rachel about it sometime-- I was devastated the night before, absolutely broken.
   By morning, I had accepted that I would not get the highest scores possible (fours) and that I would not get a Letterman, and I accepted that that was fine-- I could wait another year. I was calm, and I was ready to stand before the judges and explain my mediocre art while they silently tore me to shreds on their papers. I knew the love was there in those works, but the technique was dull, boring, messy.
  So that's what I did. I stood in the room, alone with a judge and myself. The first piece that was judged was "Characterize," the self portrait depicting myself. It was a piece showing the influence of other artists and other people on myself and on my art. It was a piece about how they shaped the person that I am today. It was a piece about me, and it was very, very important to me, even if it was kind of crappy. And that's exactly what I told them.
   The second piece to be judged was a piece I called, "Ascension." This one was the Japanese inspired, Wassily Kandinksky influenced, acrylic painting. It depicted the hardships overcome by the Japanese people by way of ascension, not necessarily to heaven or enlightenment but simply to a better place. It was heavy on symbolism and on color theory.
   It was, in my honest opinion, the worst of the two. Why did I enter it? Because the other piece I had actually completed particularly for Vase didn't have a why, according to my art teacher. It had everything else going for it: depth, shading, foreground, background, mid ground, focal point, etc. etc. It had everything but a why.

   That morning, on April 13th, 2012, I received the scores of four and four on both of my pieces. I qualified for a Letterman, and I got two 110's in my grade book. I honestly think that I don't deserve any of it. Those pieces were lacking, in my opinion, in the area that mattered the most: the art. Anyone can crap out a meaning to anything if they try hard enough, but not everybody can create a work of art. I believe that, at the most, those two pieces barely deserved a three. Don't get me wrong, I guess; I'm happy to have that recognition, but somehow, it just doesn't feel right. Especially when you sit and you watch as someone else's work gets a three because their why was lacking.

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