Thursday, February 24, 2011

Writing Advice

In my public relations classes I've learned that writing is the most important thing. Without well-written work, you can't sufficiently communicate ideas to your audience.

However, it's hard to get started, right? We sort of hit that initial wall because we haven't sorted out our brain yet. My media writing teacher recently introduced my class to a little exercise popularized by author, Natalie Goldberg. Before drafting your piece and tackling it blindly, do a free-write (similar to an exercise I posted in a previous post).

Instead of staring at your keyboard and the type cursor taunting you over and over again, take out a regular old piece of paper and the writing utensil of your choice. Do a free-write for as long as you can: usually 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. In this case, though, write down all that you wish to accomplish in your paper. What ideas are you trying to communicate? Obstacles? Whatever comes to mind. Don't be afraid to stray off topic. It's a way to be aware and collect your thoughts.
Your raw "stream of consciousness" flowing from the tip of your pen, if you will.

Another piece of advice is to write daily. We've heard it a million times before: Practice makes perfect.
Last semester, I didn't have many assignments that required writing. This semester- I feel like it's all I do! But as the weeks go by, I've noticed that it's not so 'painful' anymore.

A fun and useful site I StumbledUpon last night is

simple. you’ll see one word at the top of the following screen.
you have sixty seconds to write about it.
click ‘go’ and the page will load with the cursor in place.
don’t think. just write.
It's kind of startling because the timer starts as soon as the page loads, so be ready!

Here's what I composed for "bench":

I suggest trying it out and see what you can come up with. It's fascinating to read what others have come up with too!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Conrad Roset

From his latest series Cosas Intimas

Roset is a 27 year old Spaniard illustrator studying at the School of Design in Barcelona. 
View his blog here or visit his homepage to see more resources.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where do you find inspiration?

More like- where does inspiration find you?

For the last few weeks I have been swamped with papers and midterms. Unfortunately, the chance to get my artistic juices flowing has been null. I have numerous canvases in my closet and under my bed is a neglected crate of paint. But it’s not only because I’ve been so busy lately- I was just as busy last semester.

I just haven’t had any inspiration!

That is until yesterday: It came to me during some much needed retail therapy (shortly after a PR research exam).
A pair of earrings? Yes, I agree. This source of motivation is so random, but it hit me instantly to the point where I took out my phone to take a picture. (Hopefully I didn't come off too creepy). I was attracted to the primary colors and the burst of circles- the earrings were simply lovely. 

I'm not sure if this muse will be of any significant product, but it reminded me of my virtuosity and ignited my desire to create.

If you are under pressure to generate a piece of work- whether it be a painting or paper, then you probably don't have the nonchalance to let inspiration come to you. So you must find it yourself. 

The mall is full of many sources: window displays, fabrics,  a diverse array of people (we all love people watching), and print ads, to name a few. You can hang out in bookstores or your local coffee shop. 

"Headphones Girl"by ~Gh30 on deviantart

Maybe music is your muse. Have you ever put your headphones on, closed your eyes, and let your imagination run wild? Try it sometimes. It's amazing where our mind can take us when listening to different types of songs. 

Inspiration might not come to you right away. It could be hiding in your environment or streaming in the depths of your mind. 
Just relax. You'll find it!

Experience the Mysterious.

New York University’s Bronfman Center Gallery- Einstein on Witherspoon Street: Expressions for Social Justice
 "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
 -Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pressure Release

If you’re like me, procrastination and late hours are too familiar during exam season. Tunnel vision sets in and before I know it, I’m watching the sunrise. I’m strange though. I’ve found that my most creative writing or ideas stem from late night cramming. (Most likely from sleep-deprivation-induced delirium.)

Whether you consider yourself a creative person or not, try something different this semester: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the information that you’ve been staring at for what seems like forever, then stop.

Take a break. Walk around the library (or wherever you are) for a little bit, and come back to your workspace. Pull out a sheet of blank paper and your favorite pen and have at it! (No computer screens)

Here's what to do:
Free-write for as long as you can, shoot for 3-5 solid minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write about. Just write! Maybe it's about how badly you can't wait for the semester to be over, or maybe you're thinking about the material you don't quite understand, or (realistically) you're thinking about how much time you've wasted looking at Facebook! But just write. Whatever comes to mind. It’s a good way to purge all the stress and pressure that you’ve accumulated during your cram session. If you’re really feeling creative, start a doodle and see what you come up with. Who knows? It could be the beginning to your next project! It’s a good way to release energy or any bottled up emotions that you might be feeling.

Now that you’ve cleared your head, you can continue on with a little less on your shoulders and more room in your brain to retain the key information.

It’s important to remember in stressful times that all your time and effort will be well worth it in the end. As long as you follow up and do your best. Just imagine that feeling of relief & satisfaction when everything is said and done.

“For anyone struggling out there just remember that diamonds are made under pressure.”
Good luck on exams! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Luiza Vizoli is a great way to discover up-and-coming artists and find great handmade items. Think of Etsy like the eBay for all things handmade- minus the auction.

I’m an Etsy member and I love checking out the “Art” section of the website. You can find anything from quick doodles to amazing works of art.

One of my favorite artists that I’ve discovered is Luiza Vizoli (username: LUIZAVIZOLI) - a European native, who’s now living in Minnesota.

Here is one of my favorite works from her:
"Seasons Serenade"

Her description reads:

Medium: oil,acrylic,varnish on gallery-wrapped cotton canvas(staples are on back, not on sides).The sides are painted.
Support: wooden stretcher bars.”

Vizoli has a common theme to her artwork. Most portray abstract plant life but you can find various abstract geometrics as well. I admire her style and her use of color. I also find her composition interesting in that she uses all of her workspace. There rarely is a focal point. She always paints the canvas colorfully vibrant and full of life.
"Wild Flowers"

Vizoli has had great success on Etsy and I hope to see more of her in the future. 
I can see myself adorning my future home with some of her pieces.

I really suggest checking her shop page here and also checking out what else has to offer. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gallery Granted

Earlier this week, I moseyed down to the Monongalia Arts Center hoping to talk to the director there. Unfortunately, she was not in. A helpful young man named Anthony spoke with me and told me the gallery is always looking for help and that he’d send along my message. He also gave me the executive director, Ro Brooks’, business card.

After speaking with Anthony, I entered the exhibit and was blown away by the artwork on display. The room was well lit and large painted canvases dressed the walls. There were also various sculptures in between paintings and in the middle of the room. In one corner there was a display for ceramics. I felt very serene being in the gallery. 

I took this picture on my phone to share my experience:

View from the ceramics corner
Upon further exploration I discovered a room for performances and an art studio/classroom. There was also an upstairs but there were no exhibits on display at the time.

I emailed Ro Brooks as soon as I got home and was fortunate enough to hear back from her the next morning. I was thrilled by the quick response! She said she'd be more than happy to have me work with the MAC this semester. I have an appointment to meet with her early next week.

I'm really excited for this opportunity because it combines two things that I am passionate about and it's something new that I have never done before.

I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of the semester.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's Next?

In my public relations writing class, one of our main assignments is to find a client and do their p.r.
But my professor mentioned that we need to keep in mind an organization that maybe doesn't get the attention they deserve. Someone who needs help.

This idea overwhelms me. I'm still getting into the groove of public relations. I just took the intro course last semester and now I'm in all of the upper-level classes at once. Find a client and do their p.r.?
---I feel like a kid in a swimming pool without her floats.

Then I realized, I don't even know anything about the "art scene" here at WVU or in this great city of Morgantown. I'm aware that there's a lot of history and culture, but I walk past it everyday. I've always been curious but I've never ventured out to explore. 

Just by a single Google search alone, I found that there are at least ten locations in Morgantown that exhibit local artists, including galleries, salons, restaurants, tattoo parlors and of course WVU's Creative Arts Center (The CAC).

Amazing. NOW I'm excited! 

I came across the Monongalia Arts Center's website.

(Sidenote: this is at the bottom of High Street. How did I never encounter this before? apologies, Morgantown, apologies.)

The site reads, The MAC is "Morgantown's Home for Arts and Culture Since 1978". After reading the history of the organization and browsing past exhibits, I came upon the "Donate" tab. I learned that this institution is in need for some serious funding. 

"Fix MAC's radiators," "General Operations Donation, and "One month of warmth in the winter," were a just few choices to Add to Cart right there on the page. 

This is just one possibility, but I really like this idea! This gallery is a hidden gem of Morgantown and deserves more attention. I'm hoping that they're willing to work with me as my client. I'd love to help promote The MAC and local artists.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Figure it out.

Right? That's what we're told to do before we even graduate high school. 

Well. Now I'm a senior in college and I still haven't figured it out yet. 

In the past 12 months I've gone from a business major to a public relations major, with enough sociology and spanish credits to almost fulfill two minors. 

In the midst of changing lanes on my academic career path, and friends exiting onto the real world, I felt lost and confused. I felt a void. Yet, there was a burst of energy that needed to be released. But I didn't know how. 

So I picked up a paintbrush.

Once I started, I couldn't stop. Besides art electives in high school, I barely knew what I was doing. My vision and direction changed half a dozen times. I painted and pasted different media.
It took a while but I hurled out everything I was feeling on the canvas. 

Taking a step back after it was complete and hung up on my apartment's wall, I literally said out loud:

"Really? Did I do that?"

Art has entered my life in a strange way. If I'm not creating, I'm exploring. 
Just to be clear, I'm no "fine arts expert," but I like stumbling upon different artists, of the past and now, and appreciating their work.

This is just the beginning.

I don't know if I've found my way...yet. In a sense, I still feel lost and undirected, but at least I'm enjoying it.
As a student in public relations, I hope I can tie the two together to learn what the art industry entails behind the painting.