Saturday, January 8, 2011


When I first walked through the doors of CVA on that first day I thought I had a solid image of what art was. I believed it was something that someone put lots of time and consideration into, that it was a something that would be preserved in history forever. But after taking Orientation to Art and Design I am beginning to question my beliefs. Art can be something as simple as someone taking a can of paint and dumping it on a wall and giving it a title.

I have always believed that art does not have to be beautiful, it can be highly offensive to some but speak to others. I personally love finding beauty in odd and ugly places.

I still have not made up my mind as to the career path I want to take but I believe that I will be leaning towards animation. I love 2D animation and it has been a huge influence in my life. I was raised with Disney and I know that the values of those movies has shaped who I am today and I want children of the next generation to be able to experience what I did. I want to create beautiful works of art that children and adults will watch in wonder, and forget that what they are seeing is drawn, just because it is that amazing. I want to create characters who will be remembered for years because of there personalities and the great adventures they go on.

I hope to one day accomplish my goals and further my skills and knowledge in art.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


At the MIA I wanted to find statues that showed different posses.

I picked a statue of Shiva Nataraja (top left), because the Hindu deity is shown doing different mudras and is dancing on a baby. The movement is very graceful. The symbolism of Shiva dancing on the baby is known as riding ones self from ignorance.

I chose a statue of an Egyptian (top right). It is shown in a strong stance taking a step forward. This style of portraying Egyptians is from the time of the Old Kingdom.

The last statue I chose is of a Buddha. He is sitting in a lotus pose. The Buddha is showing different mudras with his hands. The statue portrays peacefulness.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Manifesto -defending art

Most people I know think of art as a class you have to take. It's their idea of measuring up the talents of people against each other to tell the majority they can't draw. It's negative. "Oh, I can't draw." "Yeah, those artsy people.. they're freaks." A small town offers quite of a bit of criticism towards the arts. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what makes people go one way or the other, but whether I like it or not, Zimmerman is more willing to publish another article about a hockey win and how proud they are of Paul Martin because he's from Elk River and he's our hero and blah. Blah. Blah.

To be honest, I don't give a rip about the seriousness of sports. I personally believe that they should be played in the spirit of teaching to act as a team and a way to have fun, but it makes me uncomfortable when others put such a bedazzled blue ribbon on someone who can run faster or jump higher than someone else. That is my opinion. I know that offends a lot of the people I love and most of the people I've grown up with, but baby, I just don't give a damn.

Of course, someone gets to then ask me why art is so important. If I'm such a hater of the value our country puts on sports, what makes art so deserving? Well, first of all, I enjoy art. Some people don't, that's fine. Going to an art college isn't for everyone. What irks me is how many people don't understand how broad art is. They don't have to be "good" at art, or be talented at drawing. A lot of artists don't draw well, and it takes a lot longer than a few seconds to draw more than a stick person. I swear, all my math teachers constantly talked about their poor drawing skills. That rolled my eyes several times.

I like to think about art. Having parents who are interested in art made me see how much art there really is in the world (a heck of a lot). I can draw better than my dog can but that's not a prerequisite to loving art. My boyfriend can't crank out anything a snooty art teacher would call "talented" but he loves art museums and appreciates the way something is presented. He has less knowledge than a student at CVA and yet is aware of art in life. He knows it's not some forced class you take in high school. It's kind of like math- I hated it in school but sometimes catch myself admiring it in life outside of the classroom. You don't have to be Leonardo DaVinci to like a subject.

So art is everywhere. I can't just say that and get away with it. Some people need to realize that it's in their house. I do consider architecture art, and I'm pretty darn sure someone designed that house. There's probably carpet somewhere in there. A designer chose that specific pattern of ugly white burber, your parents or the previous homeowners chose it for a reason, and you walk across it every morning to grab another disgusting room-temperature Pop Tart before texting me back and saying "lol so hows ur artsy fartsy school goin". Then you wipe the brown sugar flavored crumbs on a Victoria's Secret PINK T-shirt without knowing that your makeshift napkin was actually designed and carefully considered before being released and sold as part of a collection in the gigantic world of fashion. That's right, art is right on your body. You like name brands but insist art is stupid. Hmm.

Art is on the billboards along the highway. It's what made your pickup truck "more ballin" than Jason's, yes it is partly the way things simply look. If it weren't for the progression and ever-changing ideas of art, everything would be for efficiency alone. And whether you like it or not, you judge things by the way they look. 

There's that kind of art, visual. Then there's "the arts." I do consider writing an art. It's about creating, which is why music and performance is also what I consider art. I think art is something that's created, and also for a reason. Viewers, listeners, and readers are constantly trying to figure out the purpose of the art they have before them. As stated in one of my earlier posts, it's not always about the reason. It's the fact that someone did make it and what it makes you feel. 

I think art is very human. My favorite shows emotion but is interpretable, which is why I'm such a photography nerd. Art has concepts. It requires you to use your brain. Music is a good example of the attraction we have to this. Humans love specific arrangements of sounds. What makes Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune convey such a contrasting mood compared to something with a different beat, rhythm, and melody? That's not vital to our survival as animals; it is as thriving beings. Art isn't your basic food and water, but it's not something we don't need. A lot of people just don't get it that they come across every kind of art in a single day and never see it in the eyes of someone who devotes their life to exploring it, someone we'd call an artist. It's shocking to most to find out that you don't need to be talented with a pencil or paintbrush to be an artist. You need to be aware of yours and others' creativity. 

Ashley Overholser



Before she retired, my mother was the head of the marketing department at Econar GeoSystems. She was a workaholic like my father, and because of that, knew all the fonts and type styles you could find. There wasn't a brochure, billboard, commercial, or item with the company's name that she didn't look over. She always told me how important it was to use a maximum of three fonts, and the impact each had. For example, someone who knows little about graphic arts will still look at an advertisement and judge it if it looks unprofessional. There are looks that marketing strives for. Fonts are incredibly important to companies because advertising involves a lot of psychology. And yes, fonts are psychological.

How can they be? My communications professor at my old college told me that it was proven students who write papers in a serif font get a higher grade. (She probably didn't let this influence her giving me a C, because I definitely typed with Times New Roman.) But it's interesting because if you see something written in Arial compared to Georgia, yeah, the serif font looks more intelligent. That's probably because most textbooks and reference books are written with serif fonts. 

The film Helvetica appealed to me because of my background knowledge in the power of fonts and my interest in the history of everyday things we never stop to think about. Helvetica. One font, but suddenly you realize that it really is everywhere. And it's not like it's the only font to ever use; it's more the effect it had in the history of advertising and style. 

Like the film mentioned, posters before Helvetica were messy and confusing and full of exclamation points! Super Duper! Let's capitalize Random words while We're at It! Italicize it, too. Make it BOLD because we want customers who are masculine. It's too much. With a font like Helvetica, things are cleaner and easier to understand. This is who we are. This is what we have. Anyone in advertising knows that a company needs to grab someone's attention and make their point known in a few seconds. The most effective slogans are the shortest. Think of a few that you know and you'll see what I mean.

When it comes down to it all, I enjoyed Helvetica. Sure, it was a little long and I might've fallen asleep on the floor, but I'm blaming that on sleep deprivation. The history of mundane, everyday things like fonts is necessary in my opinion. Shouldn't artists and designers be aware of the importance of the things they handle? You don't have to love it. It's just good to know why that particular thing works. 

Ashley Overholser


I'm really behind in posts, but I'm just going to dive in and type as fast as my fingers will carry me after a day on my piano. I have my radio on and everything that could distract me has been exhausted, so here goes. Hopefully this is the last extremely last-minute homework I ever do.

What seems like a long time ago, we visited the Midway Contemporary Art gallery. Walking in, I didn't expect much and didn't see much at first. I had little opinion of contemporary art before coming to CVA, and next to no knowledge of it. When looking at a piece while in junior, senior high school or as an elementary ed major, I saw a mess of something uninteresting. I knew I didn't understand it, but I made the mistake of judging contemporary art as a whole. I didn't like it, and that's all I cared to bother with anything that wasn't pretty. Sure, there was that sneaking suspicion that there's more to it, but it didn't matter at the time.

So I followed my classmates and looked around. There was a platform. Ok. Two tall columns... Two screens, and noise. That bored me already. And did it have to be so dark? I tsk'd inside my head.

I focused more on my classmates' reactions instead; I'm easily amused by social interaction and the way people act, so when nothing else interests me, I stand back and watch what happens. It's lucky for my sliver of an opinion of contemporary art that I did. They were walking everywhere and all over the platform, talking about each bit and why it was created. I realized how inquisitive some were about this boring assembly of industrial parts, something I previously wanted nothing to do with. That made me curious, too, and I saw the puzzle that contemporary art can be. Challenge accepted.

At first glance, the art showed a couple things. Because the museum was so small, we were confined to one room and forced to look, truly inspect, every aspect of the art. I was forced to understand it, even if it couldn't come right away. Contemporary art showed itself to be a type of art that doesn't have to be pretty. It's more conceptual than anything else, and didn't I appreciate conceptual art with my love of photography already? The more we searched for an answer, the more pieces of the puzzle we found and it got more challenging. Another piece was discovered and it threw off everyone's theories. Starting over, we'd excitedly offer ideas that the artist was trying to convey. In the end, no one guessed "correctly," but it's the process of forcing oneself to see the art and using the viewer's perspective and own creativity to understand it more than what it appears to be at first glance. Contemporary art makes you think. It pulls you in and says, "get out of your stupid, pretty little bubble and think about something different for once." Well, ok. It's actually really fun.

Ashley Overholser


Through this first semester at CVA I have looked at art differently. Before, if I would have see a blue painted canvas I would have gone insane, because I wouldn't have considered it art. Now when I see that blue canvas, I can understand why it is. There is always meaning behind a piece of artwork. If it means a lot to that artist who made it to it just being a little secret between friends. When I look at art now, I always want to know why that artist made it. What was their story behind it? I have to take in consideration of what their life was like, where they came from, and what they experienced. I feel that a piece of artwork is a lot like a book. If it you can't understand it, then it gets translated. If it has blanks, then fill in the missing spaces. If it's empty, then make up your own story.

After taking OAD I view art has it having some kind of meaning behind it.