Thursday, January 30, 2014

Help be part of a movement!

Indonesia: Bali!

On the website called Magic Seaweed
It explains the effects Plastic debris has on their oceans. The Governor of Bali, named Mangku Pastika, told local surfers that he would ban the manufacture, distribution and use of plastic bags on Bali if one million signatures were gained.
If you are interested in this, you may sign the petition Here

Although, I personally believe that Banning plastic bags completely is a bit extreme, I do think its the beginning of a new mindset and outlook.  

What I also found interesting, is when you google "Bali Beaches" you are directed to amazing white pristine beaches, like the picture below:
It looks surreal... Like a true paradise.
But when you google: "Bali beaches plastic" the results are quite drastic in comparison. Take a look:

Here are some pictures I borrowed from the website, Magic Seaweed.

Be part of the solution!

"Untitled" Plastic Sculpture

The Theme for this project was: "Time, Material and the Everyday"
We were allowed to choose materials that could be: Found objects, hardware, mass-priduced objects or any other media as needed (film, video, sound, photography, any we could think of that would be necessary to complete this project).
The assignment was how "Modernity is defined by the rationalization and standardization of the manufacturing process. As products of modernity we have become a society of consumers. Go into any "big-box store" and you will find large cases of bargain goods to purchase at a reduced rate. Rarely do we walk into a store and realize that the way aisles are planned out and displayed are done deliberately to please the eye and seduce us into purchasing these items we originally didn't intend to buy. As artists we can use the strategy of accumulation and repetition to investigate formal experience and/ or to investigate consumer ideology."
The assignment was quite simple. We had to use at least 1,000 of the same item. 
Questions we had to keep in mind:
-How does this piece touch the world? does it sit on the floor? hang from the ceiling? Hover in mid air?
-Where does this work belong? in a gallery? prison? Grandma's Backyard? Outer space?
-What kind of materials are available to you? what do those material mean?
How do you best connnect the material you have chosen? Adhesives or mechanical connection? Do your objects balance on one another?
-Is the connection between your 1,000+ objects formal or conceptual? Do all objects look the same? Are they all the same color? Do they all start with the letter Z?
-How does your viewer experience the work? is your work confrontational or passive?
-Does your work last forever or only for a brief moment?
I haven't named this piece, yet. I believe it should be well thought of and something clever; rather than title it without any true significance or meaning behind it. The feedback I received on this piece was very positive and interesting. 
Some of my fellow classmates knew immediately the ocean was involved. They also like the idea that a political aspect of this sculpture was noticeable. Most didn't see it as political at all, but rather as a true piece of art. Some mentioned the movement of the piece was alive, and could feel the ocean moving through the piece. The exposed chicken wire wasn't bothersome to most, and to those it did said it was because it resembled a "net"
My Professor, Ms. Elliott thought this piece was successful in the fact that it was clever enough to be broad in its meaning. "The more you look at it, the more you can realize the impact and our use of plastic has on the ocean."
She also mentioned that because it is a "pretty" piece, maybe people wouldn't be able to "feel bad" about the plastic that consumed and has become a sea fan. 
I was truly pleased with the feedback and critiques. I was able to see what worked and what needs improvement. This piece took me well over 20 hours. I can honestly say, that with the time period I was given the piece turned out great! I am very happy with the results....and luckily IT STANDS ON ITS OWN! Which was something I feared, while creating the piece. I'm also glad no one viewed this as "activist art" because my goal isn't to PREACH about change, its to spread awareness, in a positive manner, and let people know that this occurring phenomenon is NOT a DOOMED one, and we CAN change it by simply viewing plastic with value rather than useless. 

Plastic is an amazing creating, we just need a solution to control and modify the amount and our use of it....
That's it in a nutshell. 

Hope you enjoy!
Jan. 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Painter who uses Plastic!

 Gerhard Richter
 There's a documentary, on Netflix, of the artist named Gerhard Richter. The longer I watched the movie, the more I admired him. His ability to play, see, and work with colors, is just as fascinating as the way he prepares the space for his exhibition. I also deeply respect his meticulous approach in producing his art. During the film, Gerhard Richter explains that painting under observation is the worst thing to do, “worst than being in a hospital”. Although my skills and expertise in painting are incomparable to those of Gerhard Richter, I can relate to this statement. The feeling one gets when being watched is as if you were completely exposed. 

     When the question “what were you thinking, while you were making this painting?” is asked to the artist, Gerhard Richter is at a loss of words to answer. He describes that to explain a painting in words can only be done with a limited choice. Painting in itself is a completely different form of communicating your thoughts as a painter. You don't know where or how the painting will turn out, you just feel and know it. I have done quite a few of paintings now, yet, it wasn't until recently I discovered what it meant to finish a piece. I agree with Gerhard Richter when he describes his painting as “fun for the moment”, meaning they may look good now, for a couple of seconds, minutes, or even for a day. But then you take a look at them later on, and know they still have a way to go to be completely “mature”. Each painting may be done by the same technique, but their process is uniquely applied to each, leaving one-of-a-kind artworks. 

     I'd like to believe Gerhard Richter and I have many similarities. From various range of styles, to admiration in other media, and techniques, I engross and can relate to the artists' mindset. The idea that, for a couple of years, Richter only did paintings of the color grey is thought-provoking. To someone who may not understand art, may describe this avant-garde approach as “dense” and cliché. But when you observe each canvas separately, or compare them to each other, the now dried paint reveals a distinct story. It reminds me of the idea that no two created paintings, even when the same color is being used, will produce the same result. It furthermore demonstrates that emotions and feelings overpower the outcome of a hand-made product, such as a painting. 

          Gerhard Richter's work is something I had never witnessed before. The artists I have learned and seen work of, usually have techniques that is quite opposed to Richter's. Although he is very precise in how he works and what he expects his paintings to look like, Richter doesn't truly control the paint he puts on canvas. By using a “squeegee”, a sort of plastic palette knife that various in sizes, disconnect him from the paint in some aspects. He may place the paint, and specific color(s) on it with careful details, but the way the paint forms and plays is truly due to the plastic and canvas relationship. Gerhard Richter can just observe and 'feel' where it will take him. 

      What I find the most incredible in Gerhard Richter's approach, is knowing he started his carrer with surrealism. The transformation between the two styles are quite compelling. Although most of his work now is viewed as abstract, there is a sense of surrealism to them. Images and landscapes begin to form from each painting. I believe that because the paintings are so abstract, reflecting a unique observation and perception on the image strictly differs by its viewer. He described two paintings towards the beginning of the film, where one was more “fun” than the other, but I couldn't help but disagree with him. Gerhard Richter's work reminded me of the saying “once a painting is hung for others to view, it no longer belongs to the painter.” 

Monday, January 20, 2014

New Camera& a trip to the Landfill

Everyone I have been talking to, meeting, and getting advice from, told me I needed to:
-Invest in a good camera
-Add more pictures to my blog
-Take more of my own pictures!!

So...What did I do?
I got myself a SONY NEX6. It's a beauty.
To test it out, I decided to go to a landfill. After doing some research, I discovered there are quite a few of them located around Tampa; there's about 10 of them. In order to find them, it depends on the name you use to look them up.
-Trash Dump
-Waste Solution
-Waste Disposal

The closest one I found was one located about 5KM. When I got there, I was confronted by Felix, the "Black guy who watches"(this is how he introduced himself to me, very sweet gentlemen), that the land was private property and we were not allowed to go passed the gates.

I am not going to lie to you, I tried convincing him that this was for a project, and a good cause; I was even able to get the owner, George Coniglio's cell number, to ask his permission, but in the end I was told the property was closed off, had been sold to the government and is currently under construction.

So I took pictures of its surrounding instead. And to be honest, what I discovered and the pictures I was able to capture were beyond what I had imagined....

These are unedited, if you were wondering. 

Take a look:

I admit it, I'm no photographer. But for a first timer, and a test run with my new camera...
I think I did alright. No?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

An Academic Award Winning Documentary: Wasteland

Vik Muniz
    For those with a Netflix account and think you have seen it all, add Wasteland to your Need-to-Watch List. It's free!

Words cannot describe how amazing artist Vik Muniz. 
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1961. At a young age, he was shot in the leg after trying to break up a fight. He received compensation for the injuries and chose to use the money to fund a trip to New York City. He ended up working there until the late 1980's. He started his career as a sculpture, and later on developed a passion towards photography. 

"...Vik has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold, witty and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history. His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide. His solo show at MAM in Rio de Janeiro was second only to Picasso in attendance records; it was here that Vik first exhibited his “Pictures of Garbage Series” in Brazil."
-Waste Land Movie
The documentary Waste Land was filmed for over three years. The film follows artist, Vik Muniz, in his journey of returning back to his native country, Brazil, to visit the World's largest landfill located on the outer part of Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Gramacho. Once there, he begins photographing "catadores"- Recyclable Material Collectors. He tells each Catadores he photographs, all proceeds made from these work of art will be there's to keep. The beauty of this film is within each individuals, their story, and their view of the world. Vik Muniz not only became a part of their world, he helped them and created a film that is simply poetic and magical. 

Valter: [talking about the importance of recycling] People sometimes say "But one single can?" One single can is of great importance. Because 99 is not 100, and that single one will make the difference. 

Vik Muniz: I'd rather want everything and have nothing, than have everything and want nothing. Because at least when you want something your life has a meaning: it's worthwhile. From the moment you think you have everything, you have to search for meaning in other things. I spent half my life wanting everything and having nothing; and now I have everything and I don't want anything.    

If, after reading this, you still have doubts on whether or not you wish to view this film....take a peek of the trailer:

How did you enjoy the documentary? What did you get out of it?
Does the artist's work resonate with any important cultural concerns in today's society?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Interview with MSLK

My first victim.... I mean Interviewee!

I called Marc S Levitt from the MSLK Design Agency after seeing their recent plastic intervention project.

For those who do not know about MSLK, I highly recommend visiting their webpage (link is below)

Our conversation was short but informative!
Mark expressed he agreed with what Plastic Continents entails and wished to speak more about what my goals were about.

To be continued...

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Goals


because this is a new year, things are going to move very quickly. 

I need to get Plastic Continents going, and moving.
I will be interviewing 10 people by then end of February.
I have prepared some questions for these individuals, and will post each interview on the blog.
The people I will be interviewing are the following(order is not relevant):
-Kevin Costner
-Lady Gaga
-BP Headquarters
-Nalco Holding Company- Corexit oil
-Waste Management Headquarters

It's a pretty big List.
It's going to be a very busy two months.

A New Year, New Ideas

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday and New Year!

I've had this idea for some time now and have decided to share it with you.

It's a machine I have not yet named, but for now we can call it: R4C (Recycle for Coupons)

Basically its a vending machine that would accept plastic bottles and plastic bags, or any other plastic object; it would then crush/compact it; weigh the weight of the compact plastic; and would then print coupons or a card with an equivalent credit for that store.

Each store could program their own R4C. The coupons could also be associated with Groupon, or site like it.

You could maybe also have an option for a reward/point system. And could accumulate points to then receive some sort of reward. Recycling should be not only fun, but also have some sort of recompense towards the individual who is helping make a difference.

Those who live on the streets could also have an incentive in earning points for food, clothes, etc...
They earn 5-10 cents for each can they bring in, plastic bottles or bags should also have some sort of value.

By giving it a value, people would think twice about discarding it.
I'm telling you. I think this is the Future!