Archive by Author

heart-felt portraits :)

16 Dec

Five Faves

15 Dec

First five things that come to mind when I think back to class:

1. Ali’s favorite artist (the dessert obsessed guy) – everyone loves desserts!  i will definitely want to use him as a reference in the future.  Also, your last lesson was so great!  Thanks Ali!

2. Roxanna’s Italian food workshop – Roxie inspired me to do a food workshop with her Julia Child impression!  Even though I don’t normally cook very much, I had to, in order to prepare for my workshop.  And while I was doing it, I really did understand what Roxanna was talking about when she said she finds peace and creativity through cooking.  I enjoyed the small steps during the whole thing–how the food looks, the therapeutic effect of chopping and cutting, etc.  Thanks Roxanna!  For the classroom, I could think of so many different ways food can be incorporated–the role of food in culture, manners of eating in different cultures just to name a couple.

3. Jasmine’s favorite artist (the Japanese pop artist) – I used to have a slight obsession with Japanese culture a couple years ago, and I don’t know why I stopped, because it’s so interesting and there are so many ways to engage students in the art classroom through it.  I really appreciate Japanese aesthetics–traditional and contemporary.  Thanks for bringing it back for me, Jas!

4. Carolyn’s hip hop artist – I think I remember this especially because it was kind of unexpected to have Carolyn share about hip hop 🙂  Hip Hop activism is a good way to be relevant to kids but also in a positive way.  I think it could be a really good conversation to have about what messages are sent through mainstream hip hop and how music can be overturned and reinvented.

5. Drea’s rooftop garden project with students – it was cool to see the development of the project and i especially liked looking through the binder with the kids’ poems of themselves as a part of nature.  just to see the different stages/results of a real project was pretty inspirational!


workshop fun

14 Nov

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Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Co.

20 Oct

House SH

principal use : house
structure : R.C.
structure site area : 40.85sqm
total floor area : 86.97sqm
building site : Tokyo 

“Intimacy; I want to create intimacy between architecture and people. We live in an environment surrounded by buildings and walls. To accept this fact and to live with it with a positive attitude, I feel that ‘intimacy’ becomes the only factor and the solution.

The hollow embraces; softy and gently, like a kangaroo’s pouch. It embraces the light from the top and glows in the early morning, in the midst of the day. The reflected light enters each room with varied expressions giving characters to each space. Sitting in it and lying in it, the dwellers hopefully form an affectionate relationship with the hollow, like exchanging bodily conversations. This is the ‘intimacy’ I hope to create between architecture and people.”

Gallery Sakuranoki

principal use : gallery
structure : timber
structure site area : 268.47sqm
total floor area : 148.55sqm
building site : Nagano
completion date : 2007.04

“We wanted to design a gallery that allows the visitors to fall in love with the paintings. ‘Falling in love’ in this instance means; to feel a special bond with them, to empathise with them, and to feel the need to be with them.

I found that usually in a gallery, the paintings are hung in a bland white cubic box. In order to create an environment for intimacy between the viewer and the object, where the viewer is able to face the paintings one by one, we’ve divided the gallery into small continuous rooms. However, many rooms meant many walls taking up a lot of floor space. We’ve resolved this problem by repetitive wall structure using laminated timber, and reduced the wall depth down to 3cm. When the walls as thin as 3cm, the visitors no longer have the feeling of going into each rooms but more like passing through a curtain or shoji screens.”

Bird Park Apt (Dancing trees, singing birds)

principal use : housing
structure: partially steel
structure site area : 770.22sqm
total floor area : 684.86sqm
building site : Tokyo
structure design: Structural Design Office Oak Inc.
contractor: Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd.

“Located in Ebisu, Tokyo, Bird Park is an apartment where people and birds can live in total harmony. We believe that the pleasure of living with nature can be communicated through architecture, and by living face to face with nature can raise the awareness of sustainable living in each individual. Architecture is usually seen to be concerned only with humans, but by expanding the target to plants and animals, we thought it could familiarise more people to architecture. It is an apartment sympathetic to both human and to the environment.

The site is located in the very central district of Tokyo surrounded by trees over 20m high. We felt that such greenery was a precious asset to a crowded city like Tokyo, and wanted to preserve this forest – to build with it rather than to build on it.

We began the process by measuring the shape and the location of each and every tree with a laser pointer and created a three dimensional computer model from the collected information. Then we consulted a tree doctor and discussed how we could build without damaging the roots.

The ‘huts’ were constructed according to the location of the branches, leaving enough room for the trees to sway in the case of tropical rainstorm. Towards the top of the building, we located small birdhouses echoing the shapes of the ‘huts’.

Living with the forest; to be able to smell the flowers, to hear the leaves blowing in the wind, and to be able to listen to the birds sing. Bird Park became a place where people and nature can form a close and intimate relationship with each other, and by forming such relationship, I hope to enhance the quality of life in each individual.”

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James Chen-Feng Kao

6 Oct

Artist Statement
I am interested in cartoon abstraction and suggested narratives, and I place characters and the audience within a complex interactive environment.  I create graphic cartoon-style characters and draw them with ink strokes inspired by Chinese calligraphy.  These hybrid characters are placed into drawings with certain positions alongside photo-transferred realistic elements to suggest conceptual stories that do not progress.  I also have created character sculptures that are placed in suggestive formations or painted with abstract patterns.  The drawings and sculptures form character-world glimpses that interact with the audience and are reflections of my self-perceived identity as a constant stranger/outsider.

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Traditional Chinese calligraphy is a discipline and art form that dates back to Ancient China (more than 1000 years BC).  Calligraphy has evolved over time and adapted by other East Asian countries.  You can see examples of ancient characters that have evolved in this video:

I takes time and dedication to become an accomplished calligrapher.  Some train for years!  Calligraphy may LOOK easy, but Paul Cavanagh from Australia will tell you that it’s not.  “His first inglorious attempt was something that looked like it came from a kindergarten.”  Even according to Chen Xiang, a Chinese calligraphy teacher who believes calligraphy should be accessible to anyone, it still takes a dedicated 30 hours to become a decent calligrapher.  If you want to learn some basics about calligraphy, go here.

James Chen-Feng Kao‘s work is interesting because he takes a discipline that has gone from pictures to symbols/words and he brings it back to pictures again, this time in cartoon abstractions and sometimes narratives.

Ye Genyou and Andre Kneib also have their own takes on calligraphy, if you’re interested.

Some Lesson Ideas for students???
1.  Create your own cartoon narrative in calligraphy style.

2.  Create your own word bank using symbols in a calligraphy style.  For example: watch this for the evolution of the word “lonely.” (0:00-1:51)

3. Create a conceptual scene incorporating calligraphy and photo-realistic images.

4. ?

Do you have any thoughts/contributions/ideas??