Can-can

“How could I have not known?” are the words that continued to bounce around my thought process while walking through Brookfield Place. The poster and signs all congratulated the organization for their 25th year of the competition. “But how?” I thought to myself, wondering how something to exceptional and amazing could be so close to me in proximity yet so far away in reality since I hadn’t known of its existence. How was it that I only stumbled upon something of such grandeur only a few months ago? I enjoyed every second that I spent there, allowing every dynamic to dance around my thoughts. But I couldn’t help but think about all the years I wasted; the years I didn’t get to see the exhibit in reality. Regardless of how much I wish or beg, I will never be able to get those years back; the only thing I can do is enjoy the current exhibit and its potential for future years.

Brookfield Place

According to the Canstruction Nation Headquarters website, Canstruction began in 1992 by a woman named Cheri Melillo as a collaborative idea with her fellow colleagues. Together, they created an idea to bridge the gap between architects, engineers, and contractors. Each of these professions are connected but don’t really interact with each other; they just coexist in the vast world of design and construction. Melillo saw a problem with the lack of interaction but, also, saw a solution to make the worlds collide and begin to form a better and more comfortable relationship with one another. Canstruction officially made its debut in 1992, taking place in Denver, CO and Seattle, WA before the New York chapter opened on November 13, 1993.

the Canstruction Poster

Canstruction is a competition in which groups of architects, engineers, and contractors (licenced, students, and graduates, alike) build structures completely out of canned goods. Yes, those old fruit cocktails and tuna fish cans in back of your pantry are turned into art. Maybe more enjoyable than the taste, these sculptures stand in the space for a limited time; displayed for everyone’s amusement. After the awards are given and the competition runs its course, the cans are then donated to a local food drive; in our case it all goes to City Harvest. Twenty-five years after the competition’s conception, Canstruction has grown into a massive organization, its compassion spreading to over two hundred cities all over the world and donating about fifty million pounds of food.

Canstruction Sculpture

“We CAN Coexist” by RAND Engineering & Architecture, DPC

Canstruction Sculpture

“Beauty and the Feast” by Gannett Fleming

Canstruction Sculpture

“Fearless in the Face of Hunger” by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Canstruction Sculpture

“Out of the Tunnel, In CANsit” by Thornton Tomasetti

This year marks the tenth year of the exhibit’s location at Brookfield Place. Twenty-six different groups entered their own renditions of can sculptures and they were dispersed around the property; weaved in between the commerce and lobbies, inciting droves of people to surround these structures. The creativity stunned me so thoroughly, that I don’t think I could pick a favorite. Each structure was unique and had its own respective qualities that I found favorable.

Canstruction Sculpture

“Heart to Heart” by Dattner Architects

Canstruction Sculpture

“PAC-CAN” by Perkins Eastman/DREAM

a Canstruction Sculpture of a pretzel

“Tying the Knot” by NV5

Canstruction Sculpture

“Game of Buildings – Winter Is Coming, Feed the Hungry” by Metropolis Group, Inc.

Although Melillo wasn’t able to see the growth of her organization since her tragic passing in 2009, I guarantee that she would be proud to know how much her work has induced the design and construction worlds to continue mingling with one another.

Canstruction Sculptures

Main floor for CANstructures

Who knew that a simple can had the ability to connect people at such a grand scale…

Romance While Feminist

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Romantic comedies are my go-to movies. For the longest time, 27 Dresses played in the background while I dealt with menial tasks and humdrum days. I am a complete sucker for formulaic meet-cutes and/or hate-to-love plotlines. But as time progresses, the common thread of phony-independent women starts to rise from the woodwork. All the tropes become obvious and I begin to feel hypocritical or even dirty for being such a fan.

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Love and romance is such an age-old mind boggler that it’s quite easy to turn to oversimplified scripts of what love should look and feel like. Of course, judging from my perpetual single-dom and fear of pretty much all serious emotion, I haven’t quite figured it out.

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But I believe that hope is not lost. Here is what I do know:

Self-esteem and self-love is key!

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Falling in love with someone else while you aren’t quite as loving to yourself is detrimental. A partner can help you grow and be your best self. But, if you go into a serious relationship without figuring yourself out first, it creates significant damage  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

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You become reliant on the validation of your partner and you become lost and self-loathing when they aren’t around. You may be solid as a unit, but what happens when you are left alone to your own devices?

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If you don’t love yourself first and be solid in your own worth as a human being, you can become a swallowed up and withered version of yourself, regardless of how gracious your partner is.

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I believe if I were ever to fall in love, it would be when I am sure of myself. I was born into this life alone as my own individual and I will leave this Earth as such. It’s a decidedly grim outlook, but it does teach me one thing:

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No matter how amazing my rom com meet-cute will be, I will always need to be the master of my own destiny. My future partner shouldn’t never complete me. Instead, we should supplement one another and bring out each other’s best sides.

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I may have a love affair with rom coms, but the important thing is that I learn to I learn to fall in love with the safety and security of my true worth.

Fall in love responsibly!

All artwork by Pebbles.

 

 

#WhyIWrite

Funds were always tight while I was growing up, so to entertain ourselves we didn’t have the new and hottest toys on the market. While everyone raved about PlayStation and Xbox, we were perfectly happy with vintage 1990’s Super Nintendo (still is my favorite of all gaming systems). While other kids were obsessed with cable television shows, we were completely fine with Z100 and a deck of cards, singing the most current jams while making our own stories before falling into never ending abysses of laughter. As I grew older, times grew harder as well. I became more protective of sharing my feelings and my only escape was writing. Even though I was absolutely terrible at writing, I kept practicing; reading different styles of writing to help me find my own. The more I wrote, the better I got; eagerly crafting my own style and ultimately finding my own voice. If only for a small moment I could go somewhere else, entranced and tangled in my own plots and analyses, my time and effort would all be worth it.

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez

Now, I hope that I can somehow be that escape to others like how my favorite authors were to me. That for a moment… a mere second… all your worries fade to the background and you can just be in the present. If words has the power to change someone’s emotion or overall perspective on a situation, what else could they possibly do?

Virtues from Motherhood: Life Mimics Art

When we’re born we come into this world pure, pristine and untainted by the world’s harshness, each of us a clean and untouched piece of marble. We all age though, and as we age we begin to lose pieces of ourselves, and our marble becomes chipped as life begins to carve away at us. Like all art however, the artist’s hands are what makes the masterpiece.

In life the artists are the people who we choose to let into our lives and give pieces of ourselves to. But if they don’t share the same vision we do for ourselves they will only damage the marble, leaving scars and cracks along the way rather than adding beauty and light.

It is too easy to allow the wrong artists to touch us; it is too easy to let a spoken word run wild ahead of a broken promise. Still though our marble is beautiful, with so many untouched corners. Even in the worst lighting the right artist will see beauty; let those people into your life. Let the people who see you in your worst lighting, and still add beauty to your masterpiece, stay. As heavy as marble may be, we have to pick up and move from those who only cause damage; those who damage us do not deserve us. Damage is not what artists do.

Union Square Park

When I was around the age of six, I picked out my very first favorite place in Manhattan. It was the first time that I can recall myself creating an instinctual memory of a place; that I knew how to get there from home and what it was called. It wasn’t so much of the architecture that made me like the space so greatly, it was this feeling of the surroundings; like everyone was important and we were all connected. Bias of race, gender, or culture played an inferior role in this particular environment; in fact, New Yorker’s differences were highly embraced and even emphasized. To my young mind the place was my own version of kid-heaven; pets, books, music, diverse cuisine, and other shops were all within walking distance from each other; it was fun, challenging, and I always went home with something new. Although I would loudly and quickly state that my architectural taste has gotten more refined from my childhood, somehow I always find myself in my old favorite spot, Union Square.

The origin of the name, “Union Square”, comes from the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811. Which was a very detailed plan of the roads, streets, and avenues of Manhattan that we still use today. The plan was completed with the help of John Randel, a surveyor, who joined the project in June of 1808 and worked on the development for the next thirteen years. Throughout the years of observation, the creators of this plan coined the name by explaining the intersection of Broadway and Fourth Avenue (previously known as Bloomingdale Road and Bowery Road) which creates an irregular square that no one wanted to build upon so it was decided to make the space a public park. The area was then utilized for social assemblies and trading. The space was formerly called “Potter’s Field” and was later changed to better fit the social aspect of the area; making a union between both roads and people.

The Union Square Park that we know of, officially opened on July 19, 1839; the roads paved, paths created for foot traffic, and the landscape planted to suit the people.

By the 1870’s the Ladies’ Mile shopping district began to form which was a term to describe the long strip of commerce, art, and theater that lined the streets from Union Square Park to Madison Square Park that is on 23rd street (which I mentioned in a past post for the Flatiron Building that resides juxtaposed the Park).

Throughout history Union Square became a meeting space for people to voice their opinion; whether it be in the form of a speech, protest, or gathering. This is the place that people met with each other to show support and respect. In 1861 about two hundred-fifty thousand people gathered on the Square to show their respect after the fall of Fort Sumter (notable Civil War sea fort); this would be the largest gathering of its time. This aesthetic didn’t depart from New York approach. After 9/11, New Yorkers gathered here in response to the crisis; it showed a large caliber of support and condolences; for some time, it was known as a grieving area.

As I walk through Union Square Park now, I still feel the same vibe that I fell in love with as a child. Music, dance, and other artistic performances taking place on the regular; almost as if something is always happening and if you don’t experience it, you are destined to feel an acute absence of what could have been seen, felt, and cherished.

Morphous by Lionel Smit. A South African sculptor who got his piece to be displayed in Union Square from June 13, 2016 to April 30, 2017.

This Sculpture was made with bronze like the Statue of Liberty.

The First Home of the Whitney Museum of American Art

 

The concept of the Whitney Museum was birthed by a woman by the name of Gertrude Vanderbilt, aunt and adoptive mother of Gloria Vanderbilt who is the mother of Anderson Cooper. She was born into fame on January 9, 1875. With her lavish life, she financially wanted for nothing. But as she grew, she fell in love for the first time; with art. She loved sculptures and began to make her own. But a woman sculpting three-dimensional human figures was a radical concept in that era. Regardless of popular conception she studied at the Art Students League of New York, which was a prominent school for artists, in order to further develop her sculptural technique.

She married her Husband, Harry Whitney, on August 25, 1896. She was only 21 years old at the time. She wanted to marry someone that came from a wealthy family since that was the only way she would be certain that her spouse was not only in the relationship for her money. Harry Whitney was a descendant to Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin. He was also a lawyer, horse-breeder, and heir to his family’s estate. The Whitney’s eventually had three children, biologically, within their time together until he unfortunately died in 1930; he was only 58 years old.

In 1914 the Whitney’s bought a studio which now resides in Greenwich Village. She, along with other artists, worked on their art and lived within those walls. The Rowhouses were built in the year of 1838 and then renovated into one big studio/residence by Auguste L. Noel. They commissioned him to merge three town-homes into one, giving respective spaces to each artist. In 1918 they also commissioned Robert Winthrop Chanler to redesign the interior of the building. He was responsible for a very artistic approach to a studio that had stained glass adorning the windows, a fireplace that was blazoned with bronze wispy flames that crept 20 feet up the wall touching the ceiling which was filled with mystical characters. It was a part of the Greenwich Village Historic District which was established in 1969 and it was later acknowledged as a National Historical Landmark in 1992 which ultimately saved it from being demolished.

The Whitney Museum moved four times in the concept’s lifetime, consecutively outgrowing itself. Tune in next week to see the next home that housed this beautiful and innovative idea of Art.

The ceiling in one of the studios. One can see deer and other creatures in this photograph.

A fireplace sculpted to resemble fire. The twirls and fury of the flames creep all the way up the chimney and extinguishes onto the ceiling.

The art selection is from the later works of artist, Wilbur Niewald.

The Edible Artform

representation of a pendulum by way of macarons

Image by: Matteo Stucchi

Baking is an artform, one that is never truly appreciated. The truth is that art is so subjective in that it can take place through many havens such as buildings, music, and paintings. But I find that the most talented of masterpieces are those that are edible and perhaps I am biased in the fact that I want to be a pastry chef. Still, to create the best desserts takes dedication, precision, and intricacy. It all begins with the simplest of ingredients such as sugar, flour, eggs and other items that are incorporated in such a way that it creates the delicate, rich, and delicious desserts. Pastry involves a certain elocution that culinary does not necessarily have in which you must follow every single instruction in the recipe in order to create the best product whereas in the culinary world, there is always room for adjustments and the addition of originality in terms of flavor concepts.

representation of construction workers placing pie dough on a pie

Image by: Matteo Stucchi

If even a single measurement or the temperature of the oven is incorrect, the entire baked item will be ruined. The pastry world is complex in that it requires a lot of patience and articulation to successfully create the most complicated desserts. The techniques that are often utilized convey the true talent that is paired with this artform. For instance, the technique of tempering is used when trying to incorporate eggs into a hot liquid usually milk. Tempering must be used in order to prevent the eggs from curdling or becoming scrambled into the liquid. Instead of adding the eggs all at once which will quickly cook the eggs, the hot liquid is slowly adding into the egg mixture in small portions to gradually incorporated the heat into the eggs so it won’t cook them when the egg mixture is heated enough the egg mixture is then added fully into the hot liquids to finish the cooking process. This is just one of the many techniques that is constantly used in the pastry world to make custards, pastry cream, pudding, or Crème Anglaise which is used as an ice cream base.

representation of a snow hill by way of meringues

Image by: Matteo Stucchi

Matteo Stucchi, a pastry chef from Sulbiate, Italy who is currently working at a catering company, enjoys making beautifully designed art with the addition of delicious pastries. He creates miniature worlds that are constructed with pastries as well as the use of toys to allow these worlds to look like a realistic scene. His goal is to show that food itself is artistic and should be viewed in that way. He feels that when food is suggested as being an art, it is only in culinary practices not confectionary so he is utilizing his Instagram platform to convey that pastries can be artistic as well just as anything else in the confectionary world.

Academic Self-Discovery: Forensic Artist

There are many careers out there that allow an individual to use their talents to make a difference. If one were interested in art as well as in law enforcement, becoming a forensic sketch artist might be a satisfying occupation. Being a forensic artist is a career that combines both artistic creativity and helps protect citizens. People in this line of work have often been portrayed on television as helping to find criminals based on the descriptions they’re given and are also seen by their work to find missing people on the news.

Forensic artist usually do their work by hand, however if they have to show age progression they can use computer graphic programs. Their skills are not only put to use to find suspects, missing or unidentifiable people. Forensic artist also prepare reports, exhibits and displays for court proceedings. They can “enhance or alter surveillance photographs as they interview informants, asking them to choose from examples of noses, eyes, mouths, foreheads and chins.” People in this field are required to collect a variety of features that can hopefully match what is being described. They must also be able to ask the right questions in order to get the best descriptions. This process can be challenging due to limited information or trial and error, as they update their work to correspond to eyewitness reports.

Someone who wishes to go into this career will have to recieve an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Having an internship and doing art workshops can help future forensic artists gain the experience employers will look for. Finally, to become a forensic artist, an art certification through the International Association for Identification (IAI) will be needed. To obtain an IAI certification, candidates should have two years of criminal sketching experience, be supported by a law enforcement agency, have a professional portfolio and pass a written exam.

Finding a career choice that best fits your passion and talents is out there.

Forensic Artist

Dia: Beacon

Beacon, New York is one of my favorite places in the country. It’s a little town that quietly lives within the array of mountains that surround the Hudson River. It’s filled with nice artistic pieces, good-tasting food and great people. The Dia: Beacon art museum is a gallery that is home to some of the best contemporary art that dates back to  the 1960s and 1970s. None of the art here is traditional, they all physically use space and light as  subjects of creativity. The architecture of the building and lighting of the rooms are just as important as the artworks themselves, it’s what makes the work unique. For any readers who want to take a trip to Beacon and visit this museum, just take the Metro-North train from Grand Central Terminal up to Beacon, New York. It’s an hour and a half train ride. A round-trip ticket is just over $30, a Dia ticket is $15 ($12 for students), and the experience is priceless.

cars parked on a town street

A street view from Beacon, NY.

silver circles and squares on a hardwood floor

“The Equal Area Series” by Walter De Maria

 

a glowing light stick in an empty room corner

 

 

Glowing light sculpture made of circles in an empty room corner

The two light sculptures are untitled works from an artist named Dan Flavin.

Is the Digital Age Killing Art or Enhancing it?

Art is a something that evokes a feeling. This can be true for someone who views art as paintings and someone who views art as a choreographed ballet. Throughout centuries, people have used art for a variety of situations: to share their feelings; to release stress; to state facts; to show history; to tell stores; to cause controversy; to make a living, etc. However, with the change of the times, was a change of the methods to make art. People went from drawing on an easel to copying-and-pasting on an app, and even to allowing the computer to draw for them entirely. The creativity of today seems to lack a great tangible feel.

Since the dawn of the ages there have been some form of art, not including architecture. You can see that with Ancient Egyptian’s Hieroglyphics and other “cave men” drawings. Since then, there has been a progression based on materials available and change in knowledge.

I wanted to know what people thought of the change. I decided to go around and ask a few people what they thought on the subject.

VIDEO RESPONSES

I asked some students What is Art? Here are their responses:

Credit: Cody, Eije, Al, Mike

Answer from a professional: Prof. Libby Clarke, Department of Communication Design, Co-Advisor of the Printmaking Club

I asked students Has Technology Damaged Art? Here are the responses:

Answer from a professional: Prof. Libby Clarke, Department of Communication Design, Co-Advisor of the Printmaking Club

*BACKGROUND: I have been drawing all my life, starting with pencil drawings, water colors, and coloring books (as most people). I started to progress, of course, as I got into middle school, having tried a variety of mediums like mosaics, charcoal, color pencil, and painting. By time I got to High School I was enrolled in advanced art/drawing and painting. I also held a leadership position in Art Club, doing activities in the neighborhood like Holiday Window Painting. Although I originally wanted to go into Graphic Design, however, once in college for Computer Engineering, I only took Art History and African Art & Architecture with no creation what so ever. Outside of school I started creating on faces and bodies as a makeup artist and became more technical savvy. I began creating websites, blogs, editing photos, and using photoshop. The most I drew was doodles on my school work. Today I am getting back to my roots while still using my technical skills. I have found my happy place :). I am excited to have found the Printing Making Club, using hands on art methods, which meets Thursdays at 12:45 in N 1119 or N 1104. I am also in the process of designing a poster using photoshop and my original art drawings for the City Tech’s Production “Fallen Sparrow,” showing April 1st at 7pm and April 2nd at 1 pm in the Atrium Television Studio.

To me, Art is in so many forms, music, performance, and visual creations. I believe it has damaged some art but has created a platform and a place to enhance art for the new and old generation. I do feel people need to come back to the basics and learn to use their bodies for expression.

QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Do you believe the digital age have took the definition of art away from its original meaning? |  Have new age technology made people less hands on? |Are you an artist, if so how have the times changed you?