For my analysis of two professional artists' portfolios, I went with Cindy Baran and Nomi Chi. Shortly I will explain how and why I found or picked them, and how their work makes me feel.
Cindy Baran is a local MKE painter relocated back to Wisconsin after over 25 years of business career and studies at Watkins College of Art & Design in Nashville, TN. In her artist statement, Baran notes that "bold colors" and "composition" are things that draw her into the creative process of art making. She deeply believes that the body and mind know what they urge for, and she but listens to that "voice" with guidance. She mainly focuses on abstract, bold, vibrancy in her work, with occasional figure painting and landscaping. I won't lie, I never heard of her before and I really had to dig deep to hind any local artists of Milwaukee, especially works of those that I felt something or anything after looking at them. I also won't lie that I am not a fan of minimalism in art specifically and just overall do not really understand the idea of abstract art. As a designer, I am always looking for a purpose, but in art, there is not always a need for a defined purpose besides maybe, to make the viewer think or feel. After taking a look at some of her abstract pieces, I realized that some I enjoyed looking at better than the others. For example, Solar Storm, Breaking Free, or Stormy Seas. While I still see no purpose to these paintings besides "looking pretty," I see a point to why one would create them. Baran made then she followed the inner voice telling her to use certain colors or lay a stroke one way over the other; and in a way, she was fully connected to her own self while creating these works. I, on the other hand, fancied them more over others because of my color-pairing biases and my inner voice telling me that I just like something about the way the strokes are heavier on the left compared to the right. To me abstract art like hers has no meaning, but some pieces are pleasing to look at, and dare I say... designed well, layout of the composition -wise. Solar Storm and Breaking Free to be appeared as just visions one gets when they close their eyes and try to imagine unique combinations of abstract painterly stokes on canvas, and patterns they make. Which is not a bad thing. Stormy Seas I cannot judge as clearly because I saw the name and now cannot un-see the title in the actual painting itself, which I think is more of a bad thing. I almost want to say that having no titles on abstract pieces makes me like them more, and analyze them more, and try to feel. Overall, besides the art, the website is fairly simple and pretty easy to navigate. It is awkward that the HOME page is second on the side-bar menu, I feel like it should be first or just last at all. I do think going simple or minimalistic with the website is the best way to go while dealing with such color and "thought" heavy paintings. But it is not to say that I don't wish there was more "oomph" to it. A pop of color here and there to better connect to the love of bold color palettes and vibrancy. I feel like Artist Statement page is a little awkward, since it's essentially a mix of brief biography and actual artist statement. Better way to treat it would've been to make it an "About" page with an artist statement paragraph, or just separate the two. While it is pretty simple to navigate, it still could use more organization and tiding up of pages to make more sense of such division of topics per page.
Nomi Chi is an illustrator and tattoo-artist form Vancouver, Canada. They are most passionate about stylized illustration, even in their tattoo work. Most of their work deals with emotive drama and exploration of "power relations and ontological distinctions" between the individual and the environment. The work typically illustrates female or feminine figures, feminism and femininity, nature, and animal forms with hints of fantastical and surreal. Examples of both types being: an illustration nature, nature and a private-commissioned tattoo. They also from time to time dabble in 3D installations featuring the same topics of interests. I also enjoy nature illustrations and stylizing feminine figures, which is what my sketchbooks typically filled with. They are often showcasing naked bodies, which I also like to do. Overall grotesque, but tasteful style is very familiar to me, and exactly what got me attracted to their work. But they also include simplicity and minimalism in their art at times, which I struggle to do with my sketches (and sometimes design) because it feels too empty and incomplete when it's my art. I am also very interested int heir tattoo works, as they do carry out their unique, illustrative, but "ugly pretty" style into tattooing. Their portfolio is styled similar to Baran's, which is also why I picked them. But it's much cleaner and organized, with difference in type size and caps versus capitalization. The spacing between personal information and galleries also makes it clearer and easier for people to navigate. But I do still wish they added a pop of color, or maybe an illustrative logo mark along with their name, something to make the title of the portfolio more person than simply a name.
Notes on Tod Mrozinski: here!
Article: Headless Woman Mural Stirs Controversy, Molly Snyder in OnMilwaukee
Article: 5 Things to Know About the New Huge [MKE Mural], Sarah Hauer, MKE Journal Sentinel
I am still not all sure about my research, but first thing that came to my mind is the new Third Ward mural of an older woman sitting down with her rough hands being the focus, and her face/head/neck absent from the work as they go off the building. I first saw it a few weeks ago when I was out mentoring new MIAD students. It striked me because of how larger than life it is, and how painterly is for something done on a cement wall. Murals are impressive as it is on photos, but such huge murals are most impactful when encountered in real life with one's own eyes. I didn't really think of the meaning behind it and why it represents what it does at first.
When I looked for this particular work on the sites given, I was lucky enough to find some information. And the fact that it brought controversy around it, which I wouldn't have guessed. I learned that it was done by a German urban artist, Andres Von Chrzanowski (known as CASE or CASE Maclaim), who likes to push boundaries. It's titled The Unsung Hero, 2019. As the artist explains, the mural represents women labor workers dyed the hosiery at the Phoenix Hosiery building that used to be the building on which the mural is painted on. As well as a tribute to all other working women out there. Von Chrzanowski likes to focus on the hands in his works, as can be seen in other pieces throughout the world.
But the public took it the wrong because of the absence of the head/face. Some criticism he faced over that implies that those women workers are "forgettable" and "disposable". However, Von Chrzanowski wanted to celebrate the working women and the concept for mural was loosely based on of the Phoenix Hosiery own ads. But along with criticism, Lisa Malmorowski, an artist and and the director of brand and store development for Outpost Natural Foods, stated that even she personally doesn't feel honored by this mural, she is a strong believer in art waking up controversy and the ability to make people happy, as well as uncomfortable.
Quick introduction to get it out of the way.. I am (currently) a senior student finishing my major study in Communication Design. I had a minor, Book Art, but I had to drop it for an Art Direction design elective, which was more important to my future career than having a minor. That's not to say that I did not learn anything useful from half of my completed minor study. I know many different types of book binding all by hand, which goes together with design courses when I have to create a portfolio, any type of design book, or a process book, and etc. It's very important knowledge that I do not regret spending time learning.
In design, I am most passionate about packaging, branding identity, and pattern design. While the first two directions of design I always knew I enjoyed more, pattern design was an experimental design elective I took my second year of college. After that semester course, my newly-baked love for pattern design was born and I began to utilize eve the basic techniques of pattern-making in my other design courses; best example being my Typography specimen book. Design includes a lot of writing and researching, which can be evry tedious but something everyone has to learn to get used to. I am not a writer at all, if I get started talking about something I understand and feel connected to, I can end up writing a decent piece. Otherwise, I am more of a reader. I don't dislike writing, I think it's a great wat to express thoughts and sometimes an easier way to express feelings and emotions over speaking up. I am very neutral towards it, no hate or love. Some types of writings can also be interpretated differently based on a person reading it, much like fine art.
I am not entirely sure what I want to write about yet. But as I was looking over several local new sites, I decided to find some kind of article dealing with a new, larger than life, mural I saw in the Third Ward a few weeks ago when I was mentoring upcoming students. I did find one small piece of informational on it, and after reading it, the context of the mural made so much more sense. After taking a Street Art/Graffiti Art History course, I got more interested in public art around me and started to notice more and more street art commissions appearing around places I visit. I will be interested to see/hear what other people might be exploring and writing about to get a better sense of what I can do, and to get inspired by others to write.