A week from today I’m moving from my apartment into a house closer to campus with 3 other roommates. I’ve lived in this apartment for two years now, so I’ve managed to accumulate quite a plethora of junk, and lose things amidst the mess. As soon as I started going through rooms, drawers, and dressers I started finding things that fit into one of these categories: no idea how it got there or why/for what purpose, things I saved for some reason and can’t remember why, things I thought I lost/forgot I had, and things that are simply weird.

Here’s the list as of right now, in chronological order of when I found them. As I still have a lot of packing and cleaning to do, I’ll keep updating this post with new and exciting objects.

-burnt out light bulb (being saved for…?)
-Nader/Gonzalez ’08 sticker
-roll of dead 35mm film
-Spiderman coloring book
-light bulb in a sock
-snowman headband (the snowmen stick up like antennae…and have scarves)
-post it note that only says “BAD”
-6 marbles in a paper bag
-crayola animal sticker and coloring book
-saxophone mouthpiece
-Easter decoration: a chick that poops out jelly beans when you push it.
-job applications for Hobby Lobby and Cord Camera that were never turned in.
-picture of me and Brian Urlacher
-quill and ink
-spider ring
-post it with a quote from an old friend, “The subconcious is nothing but vagrancy.”
-post it from when Obama was elected that says “The white house is getting a bikini wax…no more Bush!”
-tennis ball (I do not play tennis, nor do I have a dog)
-3D glasses with bright yellow frames
-2 knee-high argyle socks, paired together but one is forest green and pink, the other is lime green and blue (found under the bed)
-List of quotes from my very eccentric, openly gay, extremely honest liberal professor “James Franco might be my two favorite words”; “This will last about 6 or 7 minutes…which is about right for you guys.”;  re: a gay student: “All he cares about is getting ahead in life…no pun intended”; “So…bigger is better.” ; “That’s deep ass.”
-folder labeled “Indiana University Application.” I wonder if I got in!!
-Small wicker pumpkin basket, given to me by professor mentioned above when he was cleaning out his office.


I just started reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac earlier this afternoon, and within the first hour of reading I came upon a beautiful passage, that I soon realized was actually a famous quote I had heard many times before in passing. I find this passage inspiring and worth remembering.

“They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'”

I am not too far in the book yet, but I’m already itching to read more, and to become totally absorbed in the story that has already grabbed my complete attention and has already begun to inspire me in terms of life, art, and writing.

12:25am, May 23

The following constitutes the initial 5 seconds of my interaction with the Marsh cashier, as I was doing my grocery shopping after midnight.

Marsh cashier: I’m certifiable.
Me: Aren’t we all?

When I read this typed out it seems a little odd and almost scary, but in the moment, it was quite spectacular. I’m glad we’re all a little crazy. It’s the little things like this that inspire me to make art and write and say what I want people to hear; life is far from normal, and I sure as hell like it that way. Imagine how bored we would be otherwise.

I had to share my source of inspiration for the night. Summer blog posts to come…soon. I hope.

So, here I sit in the midst of the busiest few weeks I’ve ever experienced in college. Finals are approaching next week; this week is called “Dead Week,” since everything is supposed to be quiet, full of study, etc. Wrong. I have had projects, papers, and a final exam this week, along with finishing up photos and video that I shot for my Little 500 internship, and starting training for a new job. 

Yes, I have a new job. No more dealing with beginning photography students leaving trays of chemicals on the floor of the darkroom! Lab monitor Danielle is gone. I am now working at the Indiana Daily Student  (IDS) newspaper, doing mainly ad design and also working on larger projects and campaigns. I’ve only had 2 days of training so far, but I can tell that I will have a great time working there.

The worst of my finals are mostly over. I only have one exam left (although it is huge), and the rest of my work consists of a design project and multiple final book projects for my book structures class. It’s possible that I will be up until 4am making books every night this weekend, but I truly don’t mind doing it. I just hope that I don’t end up with a mediocre project since these are somewhat last minute.

I’m really excited about the first project I have planned for the summer, which is to photograph all of my projects that aren’t already in some digital form. This includes all of the books I have made/will make this semester, of which there are 10 or more. I feel like I haven’t photographed anything for myself in a very, very long time, so this will be a nice bit of artistic therapy. I do have a full list of summer goals written out already, and I’m eager to start them all! They mostly revolve around design, revamping my website, making books, etc., but I also plan to go through clothes and everything else I own, looking for donations for Goodwill. There is definitely too much clutter in my life…which is probably the reason for my personal preference for minimalist design. See, that psychology minor didn’t go to waste.

18. Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.
(From the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, by Bruce Mau)

I officially became a vegetarian about two years ago; I say “officially,” because my whole life, even as a child, I’ve never been much of a meat-eater. The concept of meat had always made me uncomfortable, and the only way I could eat it was to forget what it was, and the sight and smell of raw meat always made me nauseous. At restaurants I almost always chose a vegetarian meal and I basically refused to eat chicken (for some reason it was the one type of meat that I absolutely couldn’t stand…I still can’t watch my roommates cook it). My first year at college was basically meat-free; I couldn’t bring myself to eat the meat in the food courts on a daily basis, and after that year I couldn’t force myself anymore. It got to a point where I became nauseous after one bite, it was as if my body was physically rejecting it. And bam! I became a vegetarian.

So my original reason for becoming vegetarian was a general dislike of meat, and the concept of eating something that was once alive. As I’ve learned more about the mistreatment of domesticated animals, and the environmental consequences of producing meat, my motivation for being vegetarian has grown to incorporate moral and environmental reasons.

Within the past few years the environmental concerns regarding meat-consumption have been discussed more and more, but it has been hard for me to find information that an average person can understand; many articles I find on the subject talk about chemicals and processes that, as a normal person, I don’t totally comprehend. Today I came across an article that does exactly what I’ve been looking for. It is straightforward, and anyone can understand what it’s trying to say. It’s also the most convincing article I read for vegetarianism as a way to lessen environmental impact. I’ll let it speak for itself.

The article even links to another article about the ADA’s recommendations for a vegetarian diet! As I’m trying to become more and more environmentally-friendly every day, I look for new ways to inspire others to do the same; my vegetarianism is one of the things I’m most passionate about, and because it’s healthy and eco-friendly, it’s something I can teach to others. My carnivorous roommate has even started to eat tofu and other meat-replacements, whereas a year ago she said she “could never eat tofu…ew.”

I’ve been trying to eat one vegan meal each day, because cheese, milk, and other dairy products still do affect the environment. I don’t think I’ll ever be totally vegan, but when I do buy dairy I do my best to make sure it’s from organic farms, where the cows are grass-fed, and not given antibiotics. It’s not too hard to do and I urge others to give it a try.

Choose veggies!

Between now and the end of the Spring semester I have an incredible amount of work to do on school and personal projects, so I figured I might as well document their progress. Here are some of the projects that will prevent me from sleeping for the next 6-7 weeks.

The T(ea) Book
        One of the projects due in 6 weeks for my Book Structures class is a partner project, where each pair comes up with their own book concept and design. My partner, Sara, and I, discovered a shared passion for tea, and are making a tea book. This book will contain tea-related imagery (my strength) and will be printed on fabric (Sara’s strength); the pages will be held together with a length of ribbon with a printed quote. The inside of the book will contain famous quotes about tea paired with the imagery. The box will be a canvas or muslin covered slipcase with a lid, similar to a tea box. We will likely stain the muslin…with tea! Because we our book is so simple, we had trouble coming up with a title, but then landed on the simply typographic letter “T.” It will reflect the simplicity of the pages containing text.

The Word Book
         For the same Book Structures class I mentioned above, we need to complete a final book project on our own. I’ve been having a lot of trouble coming up with ideas, and this particular idea is still a very tentative one. I have favorite words in the way that I have favorite songs; I hear or see them and I’m comforted, I laugh, or am prompted to think. The book idea I’m proposing will be an entire alphabet of my favorite words; my favorite word for each of the 26 letters. The page containing the word will have pronunciation, origin, definition and whatever other information I feel like including. I may also pair the words with sketches, imagery, or illustrations, although the book will be very typographic in nature.

        I have no ideas yet for the cover or binding style, but I might want it to look something like a dictionary (although I don’t want to use leather!) This proposal is still very tentative, and I may change the plan at the last minute like I usually do.

       My favorite word starting with “N” is nostalgia, and the letter “O” is onomatopoeia. Pinning down my favorite words for each letter will be incredibly fun….which is why I might stick with the idea; it will be entertaining!

Green Production Posters
     For my Production Graphic Design class, we have a poster assignment in which we need to conceptualize, research, and design a series of 3 informational posters on some part of production. I decided to incorporate another area of interest of mine, sustainability, and will be going through the steps the designer can take to be more eco-friendly in 3 areas: Prepress/Design, Onpress/Printing, and Post-Production. I’m the only one of my classmates researching this topic, and I’m even more excited about it since more businesses and individuals are now striving to be “green,” and the topic is becoming more prominent in everyday life, including the life of a designer.

     I have about half of my research done and am still in the sketching process. I’m still not sure about imagery/illustration, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon enough.
     Rough thumbnails:

Music Business Cards
     I’m in the process of making music business cards for my Dad, to promote him as a musician for small events, rather than for just executive purposes. These cards will be very simple but dynamic, and clearly emphasize music. I’m still in the sketching process, but I’ll start working on them more as my school projects near completion.
      A few sketches:

And of course, my portfolio website is an ongoing project, although it hasn’t seen any changes in quite some time, especially because I now think it’s boring, want to revamp my logo and my entire website design.

Starting shortly, I’ll be taking on some small design projects for friends that will help them out while helping me build my portfolio.I’m also applying for an internship with Blue Line Style for Little 500. If I get the position, I’ll be one of the photographers documenting the events surrounding Little 500 and the races themselves. I have a meeting on Tuesday to learn more about the internship, so I hope it goes well!

Earlier this month, Indiana University’s Counseling and Psychological Services sponsored “Celebrate Your Body Week,” an annual event consisting of activities that promote positive body image and educate students about the dangers of eating disorders and over-exercise. Students were invited to submit work related to the event for a gallery. Unfortunately, I was too busy to get my idea realized and printed before the deadline date, but it did inspire me to address this issue through art. I created this triptych to show the extremes of an eating disorder in a straightforward, simple way, without incorporating a person.

I have unfortunately witnessed the destructive nature of eating disorders in friends and peers from high school until now. I have heard many women (and men) my age become visibly distressed over the pressures of being thin in today’s society. We have all felt these same pressures at some point, but it is truly tragic to see them take over the human mind and transform negative thoughts into self-destructive behavior. It is painful to watch a friend chew gum for lunch, and eat a few crackers for dinner, but it’s nothing compared to the pain felt by those with the disorder. It is important to raise awareness for eating disorders, and educate people about their dangerous consequences so that we can combat the causes.

Advertisements depicting unrealistic Photoshopped bodies on actual healthy and beautiful women are certainly not helping the problem (see link below). Nor are the general requirements for editorial and fashion modeling, which are (according to my internet research), between 5’8″-6’0″ in height and 90-120 lbs. Those are nearing Barbie’s unnatural and slightly emaciated proportions, and create unrealistic ideals for young women, not to mention the low self-esteem women feel when they see these magazines and wonder why they can’t look the same way.

A huge mistake by Ralph Lauren’s advertisers shows the odd desire for disproportionaly skeletal women in the fashion world: http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2009/10/ralph-lauren-photoshop-filippa-anorexiea-eating-disorder-bulimina.html

Campaigns for real beauty and fashion shows incorporating more “plus size” models are starting to appear, and I can only hope that they continue to push the emphasis towards a healthy body, rather than one that is unnaturally thin. V Magazine is starting to help, by showing that women larger than a size 4 are just as beautiful.

This is an issue that I will continue to follow, and I will do my best to use my photography and art to propel modern society’s image of the ideal body away from where it currently resides and towards something more realistic, and less dangerous. I urge others to do the same.

Because I am lacking in photographic inspiration, and can’t think of anything new to shoot, I’m going to play with old images. I love monochromatic images; black and white will never go out of style…but sometimes I want something more. I recently discovered the beauty of duotone images. Duotone refers to a halftone reproduction of an image, where one color is superimposed over another. When one of these tones is black (as in grayscale/black & white imagery) and one tone is a specific color, you can get some really fantastic subtle effects. I’ll manipulate one of my images for the sake of comparison:

Here is the original monochromatic photo        

This is an obvious duotone photograph, where the superimposed color is an red-orange (specifically PANTONE 166 C) I rarely see duotones with this intense of a bright color…it seems more common to use extreme colors when they are cooler tones, like the example below.

So…yep that’s blue (PANTONE 2915 C to be exact). Pretty extreme for a portrait, but it can be really dynamic for cold landscapes and the like. Now, for subtlety.
Now this one also has a blue tone (PANTONE 544 C), but it is a lot more subtle. It just gives the image a cool feel, rather than screaming HEY LOOK I’M BLUE. Anyway…I like it. There are places where it can really enhance a photo in a quiet way.

This effect is perhaps my favorite. The superimposed color is a light beige/brown, called PANTONE 5835 C. It is a subtle warmth added to the photo. Not immediately noticeable or bothersome, but it adds a nice effect to the portrait.
You might think you see this all the time, with sepia and hue-adjusted photos, but it is a different effect. Hue adjustments change all the tones of the photo (shadows, midtones, highlights) to reflect that color. A duotone is a combination of two tones, that create a more natural effect. The highlights generally remain white, and the darkest shadows stay more or less black. Hue adjustments and sepia of course have their place in photography and digital manipulation, but I am a huge duotone advocate. It works within an image rather than overlaying an obvious effect on top of it. 
So, if you’re wondering how to do this:
1. Open an image in Photoshop
2. Change the color mode to grayscale, to make the Duotone option available  (Image>Mode>Grayscale)
3. Change the color mode to duotone (Image>Mode>Duotone)
4. A box will pop up where you will choose your color
5. In the “Type” box, change the selection from Monotone to Duotone (Yes, there are other options there…you can do Tritone and Quadtone too!)
6. Click on the white box for Ink 2, and choose your color. (You can change your color options under the “Book” tab. I stick to PANTONE Solid Coated, because it is a common system used among professional printers)
7. Press OK, and you have yourself a fancy Duotone image! You can always go back and change your color in the .psd file, by getting back to the Duotone menu.

In the box that comes up after clicking on “Duotone,” you’ll see a small box next to your ink selections with a diagonal line through it. If you click on it, you can adjust the curve of a particular tone. If you know how to use the Curves adjustment, you might want to try this out. You can adjust specifically where you would like to see the most color (midtones, highlights, etc) with this feature. It gives you a lot more control over the use of color in your image.

Three cheers for duotone!! Hopefully I’ll have some NEW images up soon that showcase this technique in all its glory.

Since I’m always talking about how much I dislike pencils, I figured I should explain why. I guess it’s not that I dislike them, I just think that pens are 2000% better for certain things, where pencils are normally used. I am a strict ink advocate. I only voluntarily use pencils for marking measurements and where I’m doing actual representational drawing (which is rare anyway). The rest of my drawing/sketching/writing is done with pen. And because I love lists oh so much…. this is why pencils suck:

1. Pencils aren’t permanent. Yes, I understand, the whole point of pencils is to erase your mistakes. But I don’t think we should be doing that. “Learn from your mistakes,” is a very common philosophy, which I think most people agree to be true. Shouldn’t this apply to art and design as well? When I’m sketching out an idea, I don’t try to make it perfect. If I make a mistake, I try again. Keeping screw-ups in my sketchbook shows me what doesn’t work in a particular design, and on occasion the mess-ups can turn into a final design element (ex: a rounded corner that was supposed to be sharp).

2. Ink is quicker. When I try to sketch with pencils, it takes me forever, because I get caught up in shading, detail and shadows. Pens generally have one line width and weight. With a pencil, by the time I make everything perfect and pretty, I’ve lost the idea. Pens allow me to ignore the detail and just get a rough idea on paper, ignoring the small mistakes and focusing on the big picture (literally).

3. Ink is bold. With pens and other permanent mediums, you get bright, bold colors. I think that it’s easier to see what colors work in your design when you have the extreme versions.  Color can be adjusted later, so the easiest way to immediately choose what might work is to have the quick, yet bold color right in your sketch. With colored pencils, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the choices, and blending of color. My favorite colored pens to sketch with are the Staedtler triplus Fineliner (http://twitpic.com/11a9uw). They have a wonderful line, great colors, and are very fun to sketch with. I’ve also incorporated them into the final product of mixed media art pieces.

4. Pens are more aesthetically pleasing. Writing in ink is definitely more beautiful than writing with pencil. Ink can create smooth lines, and fantastic letterforms. The typography geek in me gets so excited to see how certain letters looks with different types of ink…in pencil they are just boring.

5. The flow of a pen somehow makes it easier to get my ideas onto a page. This might be more of a personal preference, but I find it easier in every possible way to get words and images onto a piece of paper with ink rather than a pencil. I’m not sure how exactly to explain this preference, but that’s just how I roll.

Think in ink!

In posting that last thing about my 365 project, I realized that it’s almost February and my New Year’s Resolutions exist only in my head. This is quite strange, because I usually write everything down either on post-its, in a planner, journal, or in one of my various notebooks that comes with me everywhere. My horrible short term memory and unbelievable lack of organization of thoughts requires this. So, before I forget them completely, I might as well list them here on the internets, where I can’t forget or accidentally recycle them. It’s a long list, but I’m confident that I can do, or start, most of them. Not in order of importance…

1. Run/workout often (cliche resolution, so it had to be first)
2. Meditate daily
3. Start doing yoga
4. Finish my portfolio website (almost done with this one!)
5. Build up the fashion photography/portraiture parts of my portfolio
6. Blog regularly
7. Be more involved in social media/increase online presence (twitter, flickr, blog, deviantart, etc)
8. Keep playing guitar (just started learning before the new year)
9. Get into the world of animation and film (keep making my stop-motion videos)
9.5 Become more comfortable in Flash and Adobe Premiere Pro
10. Lessen my carbon footprint, and encourage others to be more environmentally friendly
11. Travel somewhere over 6 hours away from Bloomington, IN
12. Read more nonfiction, especially topics regarding religion, art, philosophy, and the environment
13. Give myself personal design projects, mock clients, and deadlines to strengthen my portfolio and design process

There’s the basic list. I’m sure I’ll end up adding a few as I remember them, but even if not, it looks like I have a productive year ahead of me….I hope.