Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Paper Craft II: The Papering

Here is the result of a bit of research:
watercolor paper that I want to use
"Stretching" method
Additional tips/resources

Given how much extra time it would take to yield the "extra" parts for my project (and the hectic schedule for the FabLab), I'm going to try cutting the larger pieces by hand. As of now, the few pieces of paper I've tested my painting "technique" on have turned out perfectly.

I bought the paint at Target- not particularly cheap, but I figured the glossy coat from the can would mean the material would be less abrasive on the paper. I got three shades: a pale pink, a bright orange, and a nice in-between shade of coral. The two sheets of practice paper I got from the lab were the thinnner of the two we were offered to work with (apparently that was the only kind of scrap they were willing to offer).  I used the "stretching" method and used paper tape for the edges, with my middle coral shade going first, then the lighter/stronger colors on either end.

I'm pleased with the result. The texture is very smooth and, well, glossy. I'm worried about how this will mean when the time comes to cut on the machine- here's to hoping the extra layers of paint won't be an issue in terms of added thickness.

Week 5

This past week, we were introduced to our main 3D modeling program, MeshMixer. Our upcoming assignment will be to focus on creating in this program. More open lab hours are imminent, so I'll try to take this opportunity to work on our two chimeras (our next project).

Things have been getting hectic as lab hours are being scheduled for the papercraft project. My file has since been processed, and I await the final results of the cut. My initial test papers are a success and I'm currently working on treating the larger, thicker paper for my project (hopefully it will cut well).

In other news, I have recieved my vinyl cut from Thomas this past Thursday, so I can now share a comparison of the file/ the actual result.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Response to Bruce Sterling's "An Essay on the New Aesthetic"

Before I start, I'd like to establish early on the intentions of Bruce Sterling's article. He does not so passionately hate the New Aesthetic movement, as the some-20-odd paragraphs of his argument would have you believe. Rather, the display at the SXAesthetic panel awed him, but also raised some concern in terms of defining the movement with (the idea of) "seeing like computers." 

After browsing the hyperlinked websites I determined what the New Aesthetic was for myself. I have never experienced or seen anything of this genre before. While I definitely get a sense of Sterling's loathed "robot-vision," I also see something very captivating, but unappealing and dystopian at the same time. Procedurally generated images, snippets from articles about advances in technology, computer errors, and generally a strong anti-aesthetic. Looking at New Aesthetic works communicates a lot of anxiety to me about technology and its balance with the social world. Art created by a computer seems very detached and abstract, and I think it's through this abstraction that people are trying to start a conversation about this same uneasiness technology creates in the social sphere. 

Sterling's disdain for the art comes from the lack of aesthetic. I can understand this- a lot of this work isn't great to look at, or at least a good sample from the blogs don't give you much to work with. He compares it to the failed "aero-futurism" movement of the 1930s; aerial views aren't very interesting on their own, so it only makes sense that the fad came and died very quickly with little notice. "Robots" are not capable of generating aesthetically pleasing work. It is through this forced, romanticized perception that computers desire to create independently that Sterling feels the genre fails. "Robots" can not generate aura, and relying on cutesy-rhetoric of "seeing art through a robot's eyes" could doom the genre.

While starting off with a quote from renowned hipster Walter Benjamin puts a bad taste in my mouth, I can agree with Sterling to some extent. I do think he's being a little too critical of the genre for it's appeal to more light-hearted "cutesy" aesthetics. (In a way, he seems too hard to please. Work that looks like it was generated by a computer "lacks aura" and is visually boring, but art created in a way to make those computer-touches more appealing is also shallow and artificial. What do you want?) But I also think he's discrediting the power a lack of aesthetic can create. If anything, the feeling of discomfort communicates the dichotomy of machines integrating into our tangible space. This isn't just in the "cutesy-8-bit" sense he despises either. I think even work that's pure procedural cacophony carries the same spirit.

Part of me can't help but feel that Sterling is trying to not like this genre. A lot of his article discusses how he finds a lot of recurring elements in the genre to be overrated. His distaste for render ghosts, glitches, and pixel art seem pretty contrarian. The fact that he thinks a shallow fascination with glorifying these elements dominates the genre confirms this for me. Honestly, it feels like he's taking the piss out of everything. I can understand the annoyance with people perceiving the works shallow-ly, and the novelty of "seeing things through a computer's eyes," but don't let that annoyance define the genre for you. I don't sticking to these "aesthetics" are hurting the genre. 

For the most part, I agree that new artists coming into the genre with the idea of romanticizing technology's role in art so is a concern. However, Sterling's tone puts me off the article itself.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Week 4

This was a pretty slow and short week. I worked on my design for the vinyl decal project, then printed/cut it out. This was much more of a laborious task than I thought it would be. Lesson of the week: do not rely on the "trace image" function for any of your designs. You're gonna have a bad time. I though it was going to be so simple to just sketch and develop everything in Photoshop then transfer it all later, but it wasn't.

Here is the finished product:

(As you can see, the excess of dots made the machine pretty stab-happy. It cut through the paper a couple of times.)

In other news, more progress is being made on the big project. More on that to come in the next week. Tomorrow I buy paint and supplies!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Debrief: Week 3

First thing' first: I completed my first print on the CNC machine!

There were a few blank spots and "skips," which are most likely from me not looking too closely at my lines in the vector. Overall, not bad.

We also had a very steamy discussion in class about Walter Benjamin, who is absolutely a hipster.

Most of my work following this has been sketching/research for our next big project. I've shared my concepts for it in the last blog post. Definitely sticking with the "flower mobile," though I'm not certain if I want it to be a mobile or not. I'll need to look into materials- it looks like I'll need a thicker paper to get that ombre look I want. Most likely ~300gsm, if the machine can handle cutting it. If not, I've researched "stretching" techniques to make sure my thinner paper won't warp when I apply the paint to it. I'll also need to invest in some fishing line to hang all the pieces up, and a good variety of paint colors for decoration.

I'm also starting on designs for our sticker decals, to be uploaded at a later date. That's all for this week!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Paper Craft

My first three concepts for this project tackle three different approaches I had in mind: the first relies very little on the "drawing" aspect of the project. The third relies heavily on it. The second is more half-and-half. Of the three, I found the first the most feasible (and interesting). I decided to explore it further.

I thought that the initial sketch with this design seems a little too uninspired, so I tried adding some elements to it. At this point it feels very ornamental and intricate. I think about implementing color into my design, which I definitely an element I want to keep. I'm not sure what palette I'm working with yet. I try refining the idea a little more in the next sketch, where I decide all the extra animal cutouts were just unnecessary "fluff."

I like the idea of making it into a sort of mobile, that way you get the impression of movement walking around the piece. Outside of the construction of the piece, I'm worried about how I'm going to apply color. Maybe spray paint? I'll have to ask.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Project 1 Sketches

 (This post is coming late due to some troubleshooting issues- issues with the campus WiFi rejecting my file uploads and me saving sketches as the wrong file type.)

I have three main ideas in mind for my illustration: the first being something fun and simple (the hamburger), the second something more "artsy" and interesting (though more complicated), and the third something more true to my personal art.

My main concern is that some of these designs may be too complex to get printed out in a reasonable time. Additionally, some of the designs may work better in my head than exacted on a machine with no variation in line quality. To help ease my mind, I tried drawing the two I felt would be more successful/timely. 

As I suspected, I probably will go for the simple hamburger sketch. I'm not happy with how the left sketch turned out, and I think putting more work on the right will yield something that'll look right and be more "doable." I can always add more detail once I get the basic shapes down. I'll need to talk to Thomas about which designs will work better in the end, but I think I'm making the right choices for this project so far.