Thursday, April 23, 2020

Being an Artist at Duke - Rebecca

             To be completely honest, my high school self might be a bit sad at the lack of art classes I’ve taken in college. My own high school wasn’t too big on art. Heck, there wasn’t even a club for it (if there was, then I wasn’t aware of it. That’s how small the art scene was there). I was fortunate that I had other means of learning art. I knew coming to Duke that I wanted to continue with art and even get an art minor, maybe even a major. And yet, I really didn’t start until the second semester of sophomore year. I feel like this calls for a trip down memory lane. I was so excited to take the introductory drawing class, but every time I tried to register for it there was never any space. I tried three times before giving up on it. Honestly, I was considering giving up on even trying to take an art class at that point. Luckily, hope prevailed. I was fortunate enough to be able to enroll in Figure Drawing and this is really where my collegiate art career began.
              I personally only had experience with graphite and acrylic before coming to Duke. After just five semesters of taking art classes, I’ve really been able to expand my horizons and learn new skills: from improving at figure drawing to learning how to screenprint. These are all things that high school me would never have imagined myself knowing. Who knew that I could make a jellyfish out of plastic cutlery, while inhaling delectable burning hot glue fumes? (In all actuality, I was really impressed with myself). Also, who knew printmaking could be so dangerous (luckily, the cut on my thumb has healed)? Despite all of the injuries, I haven’t had this much fun doing art ever. In fact, I think I’ve kind of fallen in love with the art making process again. Although, I still have a lot to learn, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to experiment.
              Unfortunately, one thing that seemed lacking to me, other than class size and number of class offerings, was the art community. In all actuality, I really only have a few friends who are just as interested in art as I am. Because of that, there wasn’t a lot of motivation to continue doing art outside of the classroom. Maybe this was just because of my introvertedness or just me not searching in the right places. But in the end, I think I’ve found my place. I’ve found great professors who really encourage creativity and not just completing an assignment for a grade. I’ve also found different art mediums to experiment in. I’ve learned that the only boundaries in art are those that I put on myself. I look forward to the future and to any future art endeavors I might attempt. The only thing I regret now is not taking more art classes. See you later, Duke. It was a fun ride.

On Being an Artist at Duke

Duke is an incredibly stressful and different atmosphere than I've ever dealt with before. I had no intention of pursuing art in college because, although generic and expected of students in higher education, I am a pre-med Neuro major who hopes to attend medical school. Nevertheless, here I am in an art class and hoping to pursue art further. Originally, art was just something I was good at and could be used as a hobby or a destress every once and a while. After attending an art school, it became more of a career prospect and future; however, I switched back to a normal high school, and very quickly my goals for the future realigned. That said, like most students who end up at Duke, I am very passionate about my goals and the future. The reason why I took an art class during my first year of college is that I was fed up with the atmosphere surrounding me at Duke that pressured me into a cookie-cutter mold of what every student had to do in order to attend medical school. 

My life has always been untraditional and when I arrived at Duke, I had no intention of making it traditional. My first week at Duke was spent doing a pre-orientation program centered around the arts, and I now am involved in many organizations on campus that support the arts. I have come to realize that art will not be a future for me, with good reason. I use art as an escape from the expectations and severe pressure on students at Duke. If I was to pursue art in an educational manner like any other field of study, it would quickly become weighed down with the rules of higher education. This is why, at Duke, I have become heavily involved in the arts, but only extracurricularly. 

I have found that being an artist at Duke is fairly rare in comparison to my peers and likewise the community surrounding arts at Duke is fairly limited. Furthermore, the support given to the artistic communities on campus is way less than communities centered around STEM. I believe this is not entirely the fault of Duke, but more of a fault in the way the educational system is structured in the United States. It is based around money, and children are told from a very young age to become something that 1) makes a lot of money and 2) holds a lot of power (think lawyer, doctor, president, etc.). Nevertheless, I have found my niche in the student body at Duke. I realize that I do not attend an art school and should not expect the Duke community or administration to emphasize the arts; however, I hope that in my time here, I can pass on an appreciation for the arts and support the artistic community at Duke to help change the system from one of tunnel-visioned futures to one that supports peoples' desires and passions. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

On Being an Artist at Duke - Bree

Art is my biggest passion that I've never made time for.

At my dad's house there are tons of sketchbooks I've completely filled through the years. My most productive time was from 10-15ish when I actively made and sell jewelry and art online. Those efforts enabled me to put a down payment on my first car, and then I started to work to pay it off. The time to create fell off between work, school, sports, and hanging with friends. The only time I could find was forcing myself to always be taking some art class at my high school, an hour of everyday that I could devote entirely to what I loved doing.

I was an economics major and premed. As you can imagine, there was no time at all for art the first year and a half of my college career. Art was a very rare hobby of mine, and what had been a huge part of my identity became something I rarely talked about. Only my roommates really knew that I had any artistic interest at all. When I realized that economics wasn't as interesting to me as I thought it would be and has no bearing on my plans for the future, I decided that the best thing to do for myself would be to switch my major, once again forcing myself to make the time for something I deeply enjoy.

Since then, it's become a part of me again. I still rarely do any art for pleasure, but at least I am doing something every week to fulfill assignments and what not. In my experience, the culture at Duke doesn't really permit spending any spare time on hobbies like art. I used to check out art books from Lilly weekly, look through them, feel so inspired to create, to then never find the time to do so.

There's definitely a bit of a stigma to it, too. The thing about taking a drawing class is that there is no shortcut. You can't not put the time in to a final piece and expect it to look how you planned, whereas you can probably bullshit an essay or find the answers to a problem set online. So, when it's a Tuesday night and I know I have to set aside some time to finish up a drawing for Wednesday, some people don't take it as seriously as if I had an exam the next day. To quote my boyfriend's four-year-old brother, "I don't have to be quiet around you when you are drawing because you aren't doing real work like Faris and Rami."

Beyond the culture, though, I am grateful that Duke has given me the flexibility to get an art degree (which is not something I ever would've dreamt of growing up) along with some science degrees and the chance to become a doctor. The artist-half of me is free to roam without guilt. Now, I can outwardly say I spend a large amount of my time creating. Not only do my roommates know about my passion, but so do my friends, their friends, their friends' families. I've asked friends to model for me, had intimate conversations with them about their identity, and given them finished products that I am proud to have made. Maybe finding your foot as an artist at Duke is just something that takes time, or maybe I was lucky to eventually find myself in the position I am. Regardless, it is certainly worth trying.

On Being an Artist at Duke - Lauren

The atmosphere at Duke is intimidating, to say the least. It seems like everyone has their entire lives and careers planned out; they're either pre-med, or pre-law, or going into finance, or engineering, or one of the many other pre-professional paths offered. Sometimes I don't know where exactly I fit into this equation. I use art as my solace.

Duke is by no means an artsy school. Like I said before, most students are so focused on their pre-professional paths, they hardly have any time to breathe, much less make art. I've succumbed to this many times, especially during the first semester of freshman year. Making art often felt like it was optional, or not as important as other things, like studying or joining your tenth club. One of the reasons why I took this class was because I wanted to prevent myself from falling victim to this mindset. Personally, I make the most art when I have deadlines; I make art when I have someone or something telling me I need to make art. This probably isn't very sustainable, and I'm working towards being an artist on my own time, on my own terms. For now, though, it'll do.

I feel most like an artist when I'm at Smith Warehouse. I don't know what it is about the building that makes me feel so inspired, but it does. I love the fact that it's quiet and serene, but you just know there are so many cool things happening within it. I particularly love our studio space. It reminds me of my high school art studio, which brings back a lot of happy art-related memories.

Being an artist at Duke definitely doesn't come easy. It's not easy to embrace the arts when the culture you're surrounded by is suffocatingly pre-professional. It's something I'm consciously working on, though. Art makes me happy, and why shouldn't I do something that makes me happy? Why shouldn't we all do what makes us happy? I think we need to have some sort of shift in our culture. We need to find a way for people to be able to make both pre-professional aspirations and their hobbies priorities. We shouldn't have to choose. I can be pre-law or pre-med or into finance AND an artist. It doesn't have to be a one or the other situation.

I suppose if I had to sum up my experience as being an artist at Duke, it would be my late night walk home from Smith Warehouse, on Monday nights after figure drawing. I will remember those walks back to East Campus as being some of the most calming, peaceful experiences of my freshman year. I never would've had them if it weren't for the arts. For that, I am grateful.

On being an Artist at Duke

Being an artist for me is always personal. I never anticipate a time in my life when I would be called an artist but have given this title to myself any time I want to. Having an artistic life at Duke means a lot. To create, to contribute, and to enjoy.
With a cup of coffee with a list of songs, I can just submerge in my drawings or paintings, or sculptures. I remembered the last winter when I looked out from the window, I saw a branch of burning leaves glowing in the dust. I picked up my paper and pastel and caught this second of sensation with my energy. It happens a lot to me. Roaming on the streets, sometimes I intentionally turned my mind off from work and study and let it stray with my sights. When it catches sometime, it will remind me the next time I have my pencil and paper. I think I am just stealing some time to make something permanent, on canvas or paper or clay or films.
Duke is a huge community. Even without large number of art students, you can always feel art involvement in any corner of our campus. I remembered my amazement at the graffiti tunnel from my first visit, and variety of workshops in Arts Annex. Then I joined the Duu Visarts, and that comes my time to contribute. I don’t think there are just those official ways to make contribution. Bring appreciation in art, talking to friends and professors about your fantasy and creativity, you never know when those ideas will be spark in art.
       Finally, to enjoy is the key to be an artist. This does not require any education or practice in art. Opening up your heart and let in any sound or color from concerts, museums, galleries. Try to accept the conflicting thoughts and learn why to say that and how to say that through artistic language. It is funny that there is no official definition of art. That means if you do something to an extreme, that thing becomes art. It also means that if you like something, however normal it is, it can become art, since it then embeds a special meaning.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Hunt Street

Just finished this piece and wanted to share with you all! It ended up being about 29 different drawings of different sizes, collaged together. I would probably keep messing with it a bit longer but it's the 21st tomorrow so... here it is!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

April 15 Update - Bree

I still haven't formalized my last drawing. I would like for it to be closely tied with financial pressure and the stipend check; most people I know spent the check on rent, utilities, and food for the month of April and are at a loss of what to do when next month rolls around. I have a couple of ideas for how to portray this; one with someone physically trying to stretch the piece of paper check while their responsibilities loom in the background.

As far as the rest goes, the plan is:

1. the one of my dad, which is a current WIP below

2. the couple from the rooftop in SF

3. my grandma peeking through her screen door

4. one about mental health in the current time, which I'm just now realizing I never really discussed on here. It's going to be a self-portrait of me sleeping during my zoom lectures with my video/audio off. I have switched to a sleep schedule of 7am-2pm and often throw on my mandatory lectures in the background and rest during them.

5. the idea above

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Mo- Update 4/15

I've decided to focus on one piece this week in order to get a sense of the unifying themes I want to are across my five drawings. After some though over my sketches the past few weeks, I want to continue focusing on touch and messaging in my drawings. As of now, I decided to name the set "PSA" (public service announcement) to represent all the health and safety announcement's we've received throughout the pandemic this past month. Each drawing will link a PSA to actions we would have normally taken before COVID-19 to show how it has changed our behaviors. 

I think the sketch above is a "trial piece", but I'm not entirely sure and need an opinion on filling the space above. Should I just upscale the sketch, fill in the space with a charcoal gradient, or add something else above? I've also added a cropped picture before that focuses more on the drawing. Otherwise, I like the sketch, because it focuses on touch and faces while subtly dropping a message we have received about avoiding contact with ourselves. I also added the charcoal gradient, because I feel like this has been a time of "darkness" and confusion in a sense (especially with mixed messaging), but we are bound to emerge into the light as we receive more clarity and go through this experience. 

Update for April 15th

I'm a big fan of working on teams. I've done virtually nothing in my life as the sole contributor, I've always worked with formal or social teams to do things. In the process of getting more into drawing, I've developed a team here in Durham. Holly and her team at the ArtPost art supply store, the librarians and stacks at Lilly Library, the drawing class, and a host of friends and family have been instrumental in developing my style for the term and in helping in the editing of every piece I've made. In COVID-19 isolation, I'm cut off from that team. I'm not a fan.

I've made a series of sketches now combining 19th century impressionist hand sketches where the faces are replaced by people I've had Zoom video conferences with in isolation. Normally, I would've worked with that team to push the project forward. With input from others, I would surely move this project to a better level. I don't know how--which is my problem--but I'm confident that it would.

It has been interesting to review hundreds of impressionist sketches from tens of artists to get a better understanding of the style. Of course, Lautrec, my perennial favorite, made that list, but so did some new finds (for me anyway) like James Tissot and Alfred Sisley. In the end, I chose drawings to imitate that carry the nostalgia of impressionist art along with some of the elegance. A sea captain. A relaxed fat man playing the violin. A man standing in a braided fez hat. A man in full riding gear on a horse depicted by a single whispy line. I've drawn similar sketches, then blocked out the faces and replaced them with the zoom screens. The faces in the screens are all people I've been interacting with on video chat during this quarantine: professors, friends, and classmates. The combination is both quaint and jarring. Kind of like being in quarantine. They are also fun to look at because they are such nostalgic topics filled with all the movement or mood of notebook sketches.

I'm looking forward to completing the series. In serial, they will be a set of sketches that pretty well reflect my experience during this crisis.

4/15 update - Rebecca


These first two pieces are a set and are my take of being Asian during this pandemic. I drew them to mirror each other on purpose. I wanted it so that the two pieces faced each other and showed both the side where I wanted to cover myself up (first picture) and the Asian American side that wanted to be free and not fear to be judged by others. I tried drawing the hands so that they looked as if they were touching the mirror, but also to give off the feeling of “stay away”. The eyes in the first drawing are there to represent judging stares, while the flowers in the second drawing are simply there to help express her Asian-ness (if that makes sense).

In the third drawing, I wanted to draw a representation of what many people feel now – drowning in fake news and all the chaos ensuing. I’ve even written phrases some people have said in response to this pandemic that’s quite underwhelming.

 With this fourth drawing, I took a more abstract approach. It might be hard to see, but this is actually a graduation tassel. I wanted to do it with charcoal to convey “lost memories”. I’m a senior and I’m missing graduation this year (understandably). It’s still a bit sad knowing that I’ll be missing some great memories with many of my friends that I’ve made here. I guess I just wanted to pay homage to that feeling.

I haven’t quite finished the last of the five pieces (and I also wanted to do another smaller piece). However, all I really have to do left is to color in the sky similar to how I explained it in my previous blog post. I plan to finish this pretty soon. But again, this piece is depicting how the world continues, while I sit in bed losing track of time. These days, it’s hard to tell what day it is, but in a blink of an eye, it’s now the end of the semester. (If possible, I’ll try to edit this blog post when I finish the piece).

Update on April 15 - Hillman

Greetings. Hope everyone is doing well.
I have been thinking about my subject for the five drawings. It turns out a lot of my focus was on the change in balance between the natural word and human life. Therefore, I would devote this project to mainly depicting absurd impact from inevitable change to some animals. 

To open up my topic, I want to relate an artificial world with the subject I am going into. This illustration I draw inspired from Isabelle in Animal Crossing would function as a bridge between leisure hours with the cruel reality others are going through. Moreover, Isabelle in the game takes up the role of city governor. Songs, flags, urban planning are all executed through Isabelle’s suggestion. Thus, for those who are familiar with the game, it would be spontaneous to relate such a positive image with political leaders who are making the right decisions, spreading love, energy and hope. In this drawing, I also applied some warm light in contrast to cooler background, in order to give a heroic atmosphere to elevate this particular moment. My next images would be pet forced to wear masks, so this image of a masked Isabelle will guide my audience from a purely artificial setup to reality. 
For the rest of the drawings, I will first have pets on mask, then mice in college dorm (probably also wearing masks), wild life on the streets, and finally, a closing piece that draws previous elements together.

Lauren - 4/15

Hey guys! Hope everyone is doing well.

I've finished one drawing (the one I showed last week) and have done the contour drawings for the next two. I'm struggling a bit to find motivation. I had to wait for some more graphite pencils to arrive after I finished the first drawing, and I've kind have lost my drive, if that makes sense.

I'm working on getting it back, though! I've been trying to dedicate time in the mornings and at night just for drawing, no distractions, so I'm sure that will help.

I'm thinking of using prisma color markers for the background, and maybe sticking to words that relate to the epidemic. If anyone has any suggestions for words that have meaning to them during this time please let me know!

Update: found some late night motivation (currently 2am - drank way too much coffee today) and I've done another drawing. Last picture.

Charlie 4/15 Update

three of the panels have their underlying drawings for the most part done. waiting to do the pen text on top until i finish the other two. I'm planning on making the drawings not as detailed as some of the previous drawings i did so there will hopefully be more of an emphasis on the text as well. I may play with the fire a bit more on the spare sheets of paper to see if i can get the effect I want or try to do something with wax. going to explore that in the next few days.

Joyce Zhou 4/15/2020

For this week I was able to finish a couple of the drawings, and I'm working on the last two. The three finished pieces are below:

This image is my extreme interpretation on how coughing spreads the coronavirus. I wanted to display the disease as a sort of eldritch horror, but I wish I had picked something more virus-like than eyes. I just wanted to play up the deadliness of the disease, and how I feel when I see people coughing at this point when I'm in the outside world.

This image was inspired when I went to go shopping for my family and was surrounded by potentially a whole lot of disease. My county now has around 3,500 cases, but the population isn't all that high to begin with. I think New Haven is reaching the peak for this disease, so going outside, even with a mask on, seems like a pretty big risk. Hence the floating skeletons (coronavirus), but I feel as though I made their hair too pretty.

For this image I just really wanted to let all of my complaints out. I tried to create a graffiti wall, and all the words on there are things that I've thought about during quarantine. I have stats on how many people are infected right now, complaints about my 2020 graduation, the toilet paper shortage, etc. To make sure that the theme of otherworldly horror remained in my drawings, the person in my picture might literally be walking to her death. 
This last piece is just how I feel in quarantine. I also have piles and piles of work to compete, so I'm feeling a little more down than usual. I'm trying to display a general feeling of isolation and being trapped by trying to make the ceiling really low and the windows boarded up. 

I have an idea of the last drawing which is a elderly man inside while the reaper stands right outside his window. This was inspired by the worry I feel for my parents, for my grandparents, who are at such a huge risk whenever they go outside. 

Morgan's drawing updates April 15th

I hope everyone is doing well. The weeks have been up and down for me, but a lot of good has come out of them, and some unexpected community and chances to do new things. I have one completed drawing so far. I'm a bit proud of this piece simply because I hate the time that goes into any form of semi-realism. This is not photo-realistic but I conveyed what I wanted to while working on techniques that I haven't practiced in a long time. I explained this piece in my first blog on this assignment; the woman outside represents a disparity between the people continuing work and school and the death that is
around us. This is the only piece I have completely finished at this point.
My last piece idea is pretty straightforward. While looking through news of the coronavirus I found that littering masks and gloves has become a huge problem in some areas. This piece shows a mask lying abandoned on the ground in some sort of populated area while distant figures walk around. It kind of resembles my empty Italian streets drawing (not finished) with the perspective and the mood, but shows a very different subject matter. 

Gloria Kim - April 15th Update

So, I actually had a tornado come through at 7 am on Monday morning. Our property and my family are completely safe, but we were out of power the entire day so I lost a day I meant to spend on these pieces. With my other classes finishing up, I'm able to focus more on these pieces and should be able to finish without feeling rushed.

This is terrible, but right as I'm typing my update, I feel the impulse to scrap my current progress and redo in a different style and medium. My final pieces so far are done in my classic mediums of charcoal, but something keeps nagging me to redo in ink and marker...I have enough paper to do it, so I may redo this piece and compare to see which I like better and proceed from there. I feel like I have to try this out or I will regret it.

I'm sure many of y'all can relate, but I really hate showing my drawings until the very final result. I think when I am finished, I will update this blog post, but the other two are in the "ugly phase" of drawing and they are hideous at the moment. There is one that is essentially done with an hour or two of refining that I would like to show,

This one is last week's "paranoia," or I might just rename to "don't touch your face!" There are some anatomical issues I want to work out, and I'm trying to figure out how to make the neon handprint pop out. I thought colored pencil will work, but I think it's not effective with this tone of paper. I'm possibly looking into using actual paint instead, but this is also why I wanted to switch to ink and marker since the marker can pop.

This project has taken a lot of roadblocks and direction changes, but I want this to be something I'm proud of and happy with, so I'll do what it takes to get that result.

Kevin Boyd - 4/15 Update

After some thought and quick sketches, I realized that having multiple pieces themed around different specific aspects of this pandemic was a little cliche and expected. Personally, I have been in my house for a month and a half now and the biggest emotions I feel are loneliness and isolation. On my previous update, I explained that my second piece would be themed around isolation, but I have now decided to base all 5 pieces on this concept. I don't have images to upload yet, but the 5 pieces are all B&W figures in dynamic poses to exemplify the idea of loneliness. I feel that this will create a more cohesive series and create an oxymoron in that each piece may represent solitude but the pieces together show a group struggle.

Overall, I spent a lot of the semester trying different methods or drawing whether it be photorealism, pen & ink, colored pencil, surrealism, etc. but after all of the experimentation, I have really solidified my preferred medium. Although seemingly basic, I have found that dynamic, strong, photorealistic graphite drawings are my strong suit. I particularly enjoy drawing the human form and trying to create a smooth muscle tone with only pencil shading. This may be traditional, but the way I began drawing was with graphite portraits so it is fitting that I have come full circle in my preferred subjects and medium.

Thank you to everyone's critiques and support throughout the semester. I hope everyone is safe and tries to remain as sane as possible through these crazy times.

Annie Kornack - 4/15 Updates

This week I was able to crack down and *complete* four out of my five drawings ("*complete*" because I will mostly likely continue to tweak and polish them up). Each drawing is different -- as seen below I used the same materials (paint, translucent base, and black pens/markers) but I wanted each to stand alone. I've felt throughout this quarantine that my mood changes daily, hourly, and even by the minute - so through each piece I've tried to showcase those differing emotions by giving them each their own unique twist.

Here are the four I have completed thus far:
The first showcases the thought I blogged about earlier -- how quarantine in the beginning was monotonous yet comforting but through tragic events and continued news updates everything seemed to get out of control -- hence the loops getting darker and more hectic.
The second, is a scene of Duke graduates by the chapel; however, I chose to overlay this normally celebratory event with paint that gave it a rough and wispy effect. The Chapel was faded out by white paint -- making it a distant memory for so many seniors who had to leave Duke before saying goodbye. The graduation caps in the air are also overlaid with paint, creating a rain effect and making the air somber.
The third, I chose to draw the "White House Coronavirus Task  Force" surrounded by text updates in the number of US coronavirus cases. I chose to use dark blue paint and a knife to scratch out the exponentially increasing case numbers surrounding this "task force" - a comment on how certain members of this task force are responding to the crisis.
Lastly, I chose to draw empty NYC streets and overlay it with the Cat's Cradle poem I discussed last week. I chose to use black labels instead of white because I liked this bold contrast with the pastel background.

For my last drawing I am going to draw closed stores I passed while on a recent outing through Hyde Park with my dad and then use paint to highlight the emptiness of these shops. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

5 Drawings:

Hi all,
Hope everyone is safe, healthy, well, and making due as best they can within these strange circumstances we are all in.
Sorry I haven't posted sooner. I have been in touch with Bill but wanted to make sure I posted here too. I am still attempting to finish up the project I had been working on with the collaged drawings of the construction site. Hopefully I'll have that finished by the 21st. That said I have also done the 5 drawings related to the present moment we are in. I have an ongoing series of drawings I've been working on for a few months in which I pull text from my text communications with the people in my life and then I pair them with images. Bill suggested it might be a good idea to continue this project within the context of COVID19. Initially I felt reluctant but then I started and now I can't stop so I guess he was right! Anyway, here are my five drawings for that (I know they're not due yet but I thought I'd go ahead and post them since I haven't posted anything before now) and if I have the other piece finished in time I'll post it on here too.
Also, I am giving an Artist Talk this Thursday for Duke Arts. I'm currently at home 24/7 with my 7-year-old twins and I have never given an artist talk remotely so I have no idea what it will be like and I'm a bit nervous! If any of you are interested in tuning in it would be nice to see some familiar faces! Attaching the details on that below just in case anyone wants them!
All my best,


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mo- 4/8 Updates

For this week's updates, I wanted to focus a bit more on messaging in thoughts. In particular, I was thinking about my personal various topics that are being discussed throughout this pandemic and the how that has influenced my thoughts and actions. 

In this drawing above, I was thinking about the terms I've frequently searched throughout the past few weeks. COVID-19 has dominated the news and social media, so I find myself frequently searching various topics to keep myself informed. For instance,  I've searched there term "nytimes coronavirus map" everyday and tracked changes throughout the states and different countries. It's become a habit and I find this type of searching comforting in this current state of uncertainty. 

One of the biggest pieces of news that has been on my mind the past few days is the CDC's messaging about how talking and breathing also spread the virus. This comes along with the recommendation that people should now wear when going outside, but all I could think about when I first saw this news was a literal lost of speech and breathe. How will this limit our voluntary interactions and basic functions with our mouthes? Or will a face mask become the solution to this issue? I also drew two version to see if the my message conveys more in the whole face or part of the face. 

April 8th Update - Gloria Kim

It took me two weeks to get over my art block, but I've finally figured out how I want to portray my feelings and experiences. I think I'll keep double exposure technique in mind, but I think that will not be the main theme.
What I mostly want to portray is 1) interconnectedness and 2) barriers. It's sort of paradoxical, but that's exactly the essence of how things have been. I have two serious sketches done, and the general ideas for all five pieces now.

First piece: "Separate but connected." This piece is all about social distancing. These hands aren't touching and are quite spaced out from each other, yet you feel that they are interconnected through the strings that they are wound around by. The strings represent the digital connections we all use to keep in touch during these times. I want to stylize the string a way to weave in common motifs of social media, but I'm worried it ruin the elegance of the piece. That's the one part of it I need to think about, but aside from that, this is how the final piece will look and I could start on this soon.

Second piece: "overshadowed." This is a revision of the crude double exposure sketch I had last week. I also want to make my pieces more personal, so my reference is a friend I've known since middle school who's Chinese. I plan to actually draw the portrait as normal, but I'm going to cut out a clear sheet (like a sheet protector?) and write the "VIRUS" in sharpie all over it. It's going to be be like a layer you can lift up from the physical piece to see the normal portrait. My intention with this is that Asian-Americans are currently experiencing these blanket labels of the coronavirus. We are more than that. Lift up that label and you will find that we are people, and we share the same fears over the uncertain future.

I have decided upon the topics my remaining three pieces will be.
Piece 3: "what could have been." This is to express my extreme disappointment I've felt when my Mayo Clinic fellowship was cancelled due to COVID-19. My senior friends have had their post-grad jobs rescinded as well. It's lamentations over what this summer could and should have been. I'm looking to include some motifs of wet lab research experience I would have had with a juxtaposition to me being at home this summer now.
Piece 4: "fragments." Dedicated to the losses I mentioned last week. The loss in my daily structure, of our student community with the two Duke students, and the S.O. I parted ways with. Each of these were a part of who I am, and I feel like COVID-19 has stolen those fragments of myself that I wanted to keep. Hoping to be a self-portrait of myself with a surrealist take.
Piece 5: "paranoia." I found some portraits that used neon paint and handprints on the subject's face. I'm looking to use those as references to talk about the paranoia over how easily germs and the Virus can spread, especially since I saw a video two days ago where a nurse used green paint to show how easily germs can spread even with gloves. It'll also be irony against the advice "don't touch your face."

All five of these pieces address different aspects of my COVID-19 experience, but I hope to incorporate that string throughout all of them so they're still connected as a theme.

Kevin Boyd - April 8th Update

For the second of the five pieces, I want to play with the idea of isolation. I did not have as much time as I had hoped to work on sketches this week, but I luckily had an idea in mind already. The picture attached shows two thumbnail sketches of a woman figure in the fetal position or curled up. Both are very similar in that they would be B&W, most likely with graphite, with a negative space background meant to further convey the loneliness and isolation of the protagonists. This piece will most likely employ dynamic and strong shading to contrast the black and white.

Thanks :)

April 8 Update - Bree

So, this week I sketched out three of the ideas I had previously in a bit more detail and decided to drop a couple of ideas/am working on other ideas.

Here are the first responder ones. I like the concept of the first one still, but it isn't clear to the viewer what exactly is going on here. The figures could be anyone with the lack of detail, although I was working in a size about half the paper I would use in the final piece so maybe I'd be able to render them more clearly there. I also don't know if it really matters that the viewer can't tell because I certainly can, and that's probably fine. That being said, I think the second sketch is probably the clearer one to go with. With that one, I would theoretically do the whole thing in the pink/dark blue that I usually do, but maybe use a different color to highlight the details that are unique to these circumstances.

Also, now that I see the papers we will be working on, I decided to flip this vertically to make the scene as big as I am able, making the figures as small as I am able. Again, I don't think I'll be able to show them in the detail I would have liked and the viewer won't quite be able to understand what's going on down there.  I think I might do the entire environment in the pink (with more detail and stronger lines than is shown here) and leave the little guys in the dark blue if I can't come up with a better idea.

I'm still deciding which of the window drawings to do.

For the fourth drawing, my little sister is considered an essential worker. She's 17 and works at a sub shop. She is super grateful to still be employed, but lately she has been getting actively criticized by customers about hygiene and customer service. Some woman made her take off her gloves several times and wash her hands in front of her the other day. She used some impolite language in the process of doing so. I get the frustration and concern, but my sister is ultimately a child working at a sub shop and is doing the best she can. She isn't there to serve as an outlet for people's frustration. I've heard similar stories from retail workers. Her boss recently bought them all branded bandanas to wear over their faces, so I might do an image of her working the cash register in her gloves/bandana with several people yelling at her over the counter.

I don't have any ideas for the fifth, yet.

April 8th update

I am still trying to explore new possibilities for my final drawings. Recently when I ended my quarantine days and went home, I heard of lots of touching stories brought by the virus. The first is the amazement about the adaptability of nature. Pictures of seals roaming in Singapore, swans and dolphins in Venice, wild animals invading empty streets caught my attention. Even though some photos were then testified as fake, they brought up a reflective point of view on how human is changing the world.
Another shocking news I saw these days is about the condition in Chinese college dorms. Like us, most students left their belongings in their rooms before they are allowed to return to campus. Three months passed and when some RAs went back, they found molds and bugs taken place. Some rats even made home in quilts. Yes, this another picture of nature returned.
Recently a game called Animal Crossing went wild. When people could no longer visit their friends, they could do so in this game and enjoy every piece of its serenity. One feature of its mechanism is a variety of emotion and postures. I built a scenario of some who mock at real-world situation but set self apart and indulge in illusionary pleasure.

Settled on a new theme

I've settled on a theme for documenting the virus. I'm going to make a series of portrait sketches each of which is an impressionist work copied with the video-conference face of people I've interacted with. I aim to play on perceptions viewers of a video conference hold of the unshown surroundings on the other side. I also want to communicate the fantasies that climb out of boredom.

My attempt to show the virus as gross, intimidating texture was interesting to me. I like the result, but it doesn't reflect what this pandemic has been like in my life since the first few days when I made that piece. What started as great fear about the great monster virus has transitioned to the malaise at the boredom of pseudo-isolation. That boredom is certainly less fearful, but no less dark. Boredom is because of the isolation of avoiding a virus suffocating my family to death. But boredom is also less scary. When we are bored we either focus our minds or they wander to more emotionally safe places. That to me has been the sketches of the impressionist movement. Whimsical sketches of happy times with dark undertones. Lautrec sketches a fat man in a suit topped by a silly fez, but the man is pouting and alone. Van Gogh paints beautiful bright sunflowers, but they're all dead; he actually paints wilted leaves and dry seed heads. This combination of ultramodern video conference people surrounded by fantasies seems like an apt description of my life during the pandemic. However privileged that is, it is true.

This series is a return to some other recent portraits I have done. I'll continue in the use of mark-making but use it as a means of shading instead of texturizing. I'm looking forward to seeing 6 or 10 of these sketches that speak to my time in social distancing.

4/8 Update - Charlie

I've decided to go forward with my idea of the bat holding the globe as the main part of my drawings. I've combined the pages together to make it a larger drawing, and am playing with ideas of how to make them more standalone pieces as well that combine to form the full piece. I am still deciding how to individualize each panel. I tried burning the bottom of a page to see if that would work underneath the globe to represent the chaos in the world, but it was impossible to control the flame and get it how I wanted to look. Other ideas I have are making the panels a timeline from the first case to today -- month to month with some of the most shocking articles written over the drawing of the bird/globe. 

Image is of the larger drawing as it currently stands. 

Joyce Zhou - 4/8/2020

For my pieces, I decided against drawing what I had planned last week - which was the contrast in locations, such as NYC, before and after the affect of the coronavirus. The sketches I drew didn't have the impact that the virus is causing, so I went for a more personal focus.

For this drawing, I was inspired when I went out to go shopping for my family. It's not only dangerous going outside, but when you get home your clothes could've been infected as well. It was a really scary thought, especially since I was so worried about infecting my parents.

This drawing was inspired by a movie I had watched a couple weeks ago, which had scenes that explicitly displayed how far a virus could spread with a cough. It's not clear as I want it to be (I think it could be interpreted as either coughing or inhaling...) but it's a concept that I'd like to explore.

I drew this image since I have loved ones who are definitely well over 50, and it's so dangerous for them to go outside now. It's so easy for people to get infected too, and the corona virus is such a huge threat.

For the rest of my drawings, I think I'd like to draw more fantastical/exaggerated situations from the perspective of other people (such as doctors/cashiers/quarantined individuals).

Morgan's Drawing Updates

Here are some continuations of ideas from my last blog post and some new ideas for pieces.
My third piece idea comes from the abstraction I had in the previous post about losing time. In this sketch, a defined hand reaches out to grab an old pocketwatch while some more shadowy and undefined hands grab around it. I'm thinking that I could either keep the back hands blurred and the front hand not, or I could make all the hands really gnarled and old and a bit grotesque, because if I'm going to use hands in a piece I want that piece to stand out: my high school art teacher often said hands are overused and cliche in art. This piece is a representation of all the time that I know a lot of people and even me feel like they are losing. A lot of my senior friends talk about how they feel that their time was stolen from them because of COVID-19. I think the idea of lost time could apply to many groups of people here.

My next piece idea is not really representative as much as it is an observational piece. In this sketch, we see the abandoned streets of Italy. The sky is dark and cloudy and the perspective is a bit harsher with the buildings sharply going into the edges of the page. I am thinking of making it more illustrative and adding some animals into the street, but I haven't yet decided. I don't generally do landscapes because I think that replication of photos can get boring, but this is major history happening in front of us and I would like to draw it. 

Annie Kornack - 4/8 Updates

I was hoping on having at least one drawing done by now, but this past week I haven't been in the mindset to dive as deeply into my thoughts and feelings on coronavirus. However, I have started on three ideas that I'm excited to continue working on this week. 

The first relates to the last drawing I discussed in my previous post: working on how to use patterns to show how certain events have caused blips in the once comforting mundaneness of quarantine. So far I created a colorful background using a palette, which I hoped to next draw a pattern on. The left is my sketch from last week and the right is where I have gotten so far. 

Secondly, I wanted to work on a sketch of students graduating next to the Duke Chapel. So far I have sketched the students in a stylized manner. Next I hope to finish drawing the students and Chapel and then overlay the drawing with paint to make the scene seem like a dream.
Lastly, I have been reading a lot and stumbled upon my favorite book from high school: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. There's one poem from the book that has always been my favorite and I realized how applicable it could be to right now -- living in a tense/sad time and telling ourselves lies/dreaming in hopes of creating a personal "paradise." I printed out the poem using a label maker and I'm thinking about drawing a deserted cityscape behind the poem and then overlaying it with transparent paint to make the image hazy.