For this marking period's artist study, I chose Langdon Graves (recommended to me by Mr. Guyer). She is "a girl from Virginia who lives in Brooklyn" and is interested in deconstruction, identification, and mystery. Her work is very technical and bold with touches of feminine delicacy. She often alludes to ancient philosophers and cultural beliefs as well as the relationship between science and religion.
I have a small collection of rough draft poster that I have created. For many of them I tried to focus on one particular piece of hers and focus on her interest in mystery (she has very little information about herself on her website which I thought was pretty fitting: "Langdon Graves is a girl from Virginia who lives in Brooklyn"). However, those did not work well for me... so instead I combined my favorite aspects of her work into one: technically strong and dynamic drawings, mysterious, pink (of course), and stripes. I originally intended to use the quote from her website, but I later found it unappealing. I instead chose the words "deconstruct and reimage" because it summarizes her process and philosophy. I don't hate my finished product, but I certainly don't love it.
Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese born artist and writer. She was born in March of 1929, making her 83 years old (coolest old lady ever). She is often cited as the most famous Japanese modern artist. Art movements which she has been involved with include: Pop art, feminist art, and minimalism. Her work has influenced famous artists such has Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Marc Jacobs, Claes Oldenburg, Donald Judd, and Aya Takano. Her career took off in the 60's when she traveled to the United States to study, where she work alongside many pop artist like Andy Warhol before traveling back to Japan in 1973.
Visually, her work is very simple (flat, single color backgrounds with dots of varying sizes on 3D surfaces - typically installations), but once you learn her history the work shows a much more complex meaning. Her work as a whole reflects her personal struggles with her mental health and how she coped with it. In fact, she creates most of her artwork in a psychiatric hospital which she admitted herself to in 1977. Her work is all about immersing her audience into her mind - to make them see as she does (she suffers from hallucinations). However, despite the very deep and rather depressing meaning behind her work she manages to make it very playful. For example, "The Obliteration room" at the Gallery of Modern Art (one of her more recent works), provides colorful stickers to the visitors and encourages them to go wild with it in the boring white room. Kusama loves when people interact with and enjoy her work - she values their opinions greatly.
English speakers have a very difficult time discussing her work and understanding it because Kusama speaks mostly Japanese and much of the poetic value is lost in translation.

Camilla d'Errico is a Canadian born comic book illustrator, painter, and visual artist.  She is among the group of female artist (which include Audrey Kawasaki and Amy Sol) who paint beautiful young girls in the "Pop Surealism" category. The popularity of her work is highly attributed to the success of the internet. Most of her fans, including myself, found her work through various art websites such as devaintART and Tumblr.
From a early age her interests included Saturday morning cartoons, comics, manga, and doodling fantasy elements in her textbooks. Early influences when she attributes to her current style. With her work on Helmetgirls, d'Errico expanded upon the concept of headgear to include animals of all kinds, intertwining and juxtaposing her stylized, fantasy girls with lifelike animals. Her girls are unusually stunning, doe-eyed and magnificently colorful female characters.
D'Errico's work has had a big influence on me and my desire to continue art. This is because at the time which I discovered her art (around 7th grade) I believed that only abstract or hyper realistic artists were "good artists", but she disproved this with her success as an anime influenced artist.

Faked - Winter of 2013

> Reflection:

New Techniques:
The techniques I used were very similar to what I did for my last piece:  paint, draw with pencil, spray with fixative, and paint over. However, I did use a projector to trace the basic outline of the hands, because I was having a very difficult time free handing the image. Also, rather than using a lot of white on the hands like before, I made it much more subtle so that the hands would fade into the background more. 
Peer Reaction:
No peer reaction yet. I have yet to have my group critique due to sickness and a snow-day. However, the people who have gotten a glimpse of it as I've toted it between classes have given me positive feedback.
Self Reflection:
I'm very happy with the outcome. I feel like it is more technically skilled than my last piece while still maintaining the aesthetic and meaning. It was also alot less stressful for some reason, which is always nice. However, if there was one thing I would change it would be the amount of pencil showing through - I should have painted on a few extra layers of pink paint before.
I plan on continuing with this concept and aesthetic. I've already grown attached to it which I think is because, in the words of my sister, "it's so me".
Overall Concept:
In the third grade my parents took me to the optometrist after realizing I was struggling in school. Since then, my glasses have been part of my identity... even after I began wearing corrective contact lenses.
My glasses were my safety blanket. Even now I can't stand being without them. I feel vulnerable and exposed, as if everyone is staring me down, picking out all my imperfections. These insecurities are what led me to invest in nonprescription glasses to replace the glasses which was forced to retire.
My glasses have soothed my insecurities and enabled my self-doubt. They have hidden me while emphasizing my problem.
"Not Again" - winter of 2013

> Reflection

> New Techniques:
Because this is a recreation of one of my 10 works // 2 weeks pieces the technique I used is very similar to the one I used for that. However, because the canvas was much bigger and the level of quality I wanted was higher I used 2 different techniques. First, I painted the entire blank canvas with paint which, once dry, I drew the hands on with pencil. Secondly, I sprayed the canvas with several layers of fixative so the pencil would not smudge once painted over. 
> Peer Reaction:
Many of my peers liked this work and saw it as a reflection of my personality (bashful & feminine). I was encouraged to continue with this style (red, white, and pink color scheme, blush, black lines for contrast, and images of hands) as it is very versatile. My peers all had pretty different interpretations of my work - many thought it had to do with self harm and cutting.
> Reflection:
Overall, I'm pleased with how my work turned out (Although, at times this piece was incredibly frustrating to work on). I really want to continue with this style, which I plan on doing with my next 1 work // 2 weeks piece.
> Overall Concept:
When I began this project I didn't really have a concept in mind - the image just resonated with me. But once I was done I realized there was a pretty big connection to my personality and insecurities (which have had a very large impact on my life in the past).

> Reflection

>  New Techniques: 
I worked smaller in these pieces than my last - a least half the size. I tried to play with more mediums, including hot glue. I pulled inspiration from artists I've admired for this project - the dotted lines were something I wanted to experiment with after seeing an illustrator on tumblr (who is know for her soft and whimsical use of color and line) use them in her work - a technique which I thought I could use to my advantage as I use soft and opaque colors which would contrast well with the stiff solid lines.
> Peer Reaction:
Overall, people thought this work was reflective of me - the soft and girly colors with a slightly weird edge to it. People also said that they liked the blush which I apply to certain features (hands, shoulders, elbows, nose, cheeks  etc.) - it's become iconic for me. The favorite piece of the class was the "pink hands" picture - which my peers encouraged me to recreate this piece for my "1 work // 2 weeks" project, but with a square canvas.
> Reflection:
I think this work is a lot more diverse than my last 10 works. At first I really disliked what I was making - I was trying too hard; however, once I relaxed I found that I really liked my last three pieces (as shown above on the right). This really helped steer me in the direction I want to go with my art this year which I am super excited about.
> Overall Concept:

My intention was to use this project as a chance to experiment (which it was), although, once I got into my work I realized it was reflective of my personality - feminine, shy, and a little weird. It still incorporates aspects of my last project - including color scheme (pink, pink, & more pink) and focus on the body - but feels more cohesive due to the fact that I have 3 finished pieces that are clearly related to one another.


> New Techniques:
I experimented with texture and color in order to achieve different interpretations of skin and weakness. For the two pieces on the right I utilized different layer techniques with newspaper in order to give them dimension as well as layering of colors to establish a creepy sense of realism.
> Peer Reaction:
Many of my peers preferred the two pieces on the left, especially the second one which many dubbed "the magical alien lady" or "bubble lady". Many also commented on how "creepy" the two pieces on the right are. I'm not sure how I feel about that. 
I was a bit discouraged over the comments I received  considering my favorite pieces were the two on the right - which only one person named as their favorite. So... I decided to be a bit rebellious and based my next 10 works on the ones I liked - experimenting with texture and the use of my favorite color, pink. However, that did not work so well for me so I reconsidered the comments given to me and incorporated the sweeter & more delicate aspects of this project into my next set, while still holding onto the creepiness I grew fond of. I still continued with my themes of weakness and overall color scheme - lots and lots of pink. 
> Reflection:
I find the first and third works to be the most successful - they best reflect the sense of vulnerability I was going for and general aesthetic I want to have in my work. I would like to continue with the overall concepts that I experimented with during this project.
> Overall Concept:
I used this project mainly to experiment, but I was definitely inspired by different interpretations of skin and weakness/fear, as well as femininity.

Mixed media on mat board-tracing paper, tissue paper, newspaper, acrylic paint, & colored pencils
Varying dimensions ( 5”x13” / 13”x14” / 8”x10”)

   For me - and many others - the overall takes priority over the details. Rarely do we find time to stop and “sniff the flowers”. Such things fade into the background of our high paced lives.
   My work attempts to capture those fading moments and details - simple forms, shapes, and emotions that we easily glance over and find “unassuming”. However, rather than glorifying them I maintain their nature with both opaque and transparent medium as well as simple lines and colors - keeping the unassuming unassuming.

> Intelligence

- I personally feel like I missed the mark for this project. I struggled with a direction for my work so there are a lot of inconsistencies between the three pieces. I tried my best to make work that had a somewhat cohesive subject matter and concept, but I think overall I there is a lot that could be tightened up and improved. This project for me was more of an experiment than anything else – one of the many steps I have to take to “zero in” on the direction I want to take artistically.

> Investment  

- I’ll be honest - my project was a bit of a last minute scramble. I did wait until the last few weeks to actually create the work itself; however I had been brainstorming experimental ideas all summer (some of which I like and would really love to experiment with this year). Unfortunately, none of the ideas I had were “doable” with my time constraint, so, yes, I did go with the least technically complicated idea. I did, however, put all my effort into those last few weeks to create those three pieces by spending every free moment I had working.
But, this work by no means compares to what I’ve done in the past – I know I can pull off better work than this, even with something so experimental. I will admit it was a mix of fear and pure teenage procrastination that held me back from doing my best work on this project. Thankfully, I think I’ve gotten that fear and summer laziness out of my system and  I’m making it my goal to make the best work I can this year – something I will truly be proud of and be willing to flaunt.

> Difficulty

- Fear. More than anything, that’s what holds me back. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m a big girl who can do stuff on her own and I think this project was a helpful reminder of that. I need to let go of that fear and learn to be more comfortable with experimentation, because I honestly think this project helped steer me in a direction I want to go with my art. There are a lot of elements I want to explore and capture with my artwork – work that really embodies my personality and reflects my views - like soft, feminine colors and subjects that are detail oriented yet honest with a strong viewpoint as well as texture and emotion/psychology.

> Self Assessment

- I’m a bit torn over what grade I would give myself if I were the teacher – I thought my work was “meh” but I give what I learned by doing this project two thumbs up. So… I suppose that translates to a “B- /C” for me and an “A+” for Mr. Guyer (cheesy, I know).
I know I can do a lot more than this and I want to do more – and while I feel this work was “meh” I think it was a necessary step I needed to take to find my artistic path.
I made these 3 pieces over the summer as part of a "30 day Monster Girl Challenge". I, of course, only completed the first 3 days, but I none the less think this was a good art exercise. It got me working my creative muscles again, because not only did I get to indulge in fantasy monster characters, but also in character designs. I also got to play some more with my tablet and practice my digital coloring skills.
Areas I need to work on include skin and clothing. My character's skin has no depth to it (with the exception of my 3rd drawing) which looks out of place with my detailed shading in the more textured areas like the fur and feathers. Based off my current technique, the clothing also lacks a lot of depth - it looks way too flat and awkward. This is unfortunately very visible in my 3rd drawing, because I used the same technique for the leaf-hair as the clothing which makes it stand out super awkwardly against the dimensional red body.
Aspects I like: Overall design of all 3 characters and the variety of body types and features (something I always make sure to include). Harpy's pose and feathers. Centaur's fur. The coloring on the slime girl's body (opacity, depth, etc.).
Original sketches: harpy / centaur / slime girl