Germany has snow?!

Haha! Well we actually got snow here a few weeks back but it is still snowing on and off, combined with some rain. I don't think it can officially be called winter without snow so I am more than happy that it is snowing.

I really hope it keeps up, even though it does mess up the trains and stuff there... which wouldn't be so good considering today is when I start a trip around a few parts of Europe for 12 days. Hmm. Well hopefully there is no delays on anything.

I'll be sure to post all the great discoveries that I come across on this little journey when I get back. Keep an eye out for it.

Till then, happy New Year to everyone!


where do you get your power?

The eve of Christmas Eve, away from home without the family this year. Strange feeling.

Started reading "Sophie's World" today. Got through the first couple of chapters and I am hooked. Reading about philosophy is beyond entertaining. Talk about getting the brain turning. There is so much in the world that most people don't think about, how many of the people in the world take everything for granted. All I have to say is don't take anything for granted, things will pass by faster than you think. Find some wonder in the world (from Sophie's World). Read the book if you get the chance, too.


[ art update ]

Here are a few sketches I did on a couple train rides. I find it so meditative to sit on a train and look out the window watching the world fly by. Even at night when all you can see is an island of light emerging from the complete darkness of the night at each train stop, it seems surreal in a way. I can sit and listen to the people surrounding me talking about this and that (in German, of course), see them get on and off at the stations and disappear back into their world and life. This probably doesn't make too much sense but that is why I find train rides so enjoyable.

yes, i do realize i spelled "avoidance" wrong. i have always
been a horrible speller. thank god for spell check.. haha

Next is my newest print. Nothing too fancy compared to the last two, but I'm still working on my technique. The one I was hammering out on Friday, which I sadly couldn't finish on account of the school closing for the night, was turning out a great and had a slightly different feel to it. I'm going to be pushing a few elements here and there as more of these come out. By the way this one if a red beet for all who were wondering.

.. And then of course, there are my new face sketches. My style is progressing slowly but surely. I need to keep sketching one of these a day so as to show a true transformation in my illustrative look. This is such a great project to work on, I don't know if my excitement will end.




I joined the rest of the International students on a trip to Goslar on Saturday, which is located in the Hartz Mts. We went there to go take a tour of the old ore mines there and to visit the very well known, touristy, expensive, but seemingly magical Christmas Market going on there (in Germany I think there is a Christmas Market in almost every village no matter how small it is).

The first thing we had to do was catch our train to get to Goslar, the thing was the train was packed before it even pulled into the Hildesheim Hopbahnhauf. All 25 of us crammed into whatever cars we could get into and we all stood (or sat) in the aisle for the 50 minute train ride. What a great time that was. I knew that it wouldn't be much different for the ride back.

The mine at Goslar was a fantastic adventure to see all the depths that these people traveled to just to get some chunks of ore here and there. It was a very eerie place to be but a breathtaking sight all at once. Once done with the mine exploration everyone was starving for some good Christmas Market food, along with a delicious side of gl├╝hwein (a spiced hot wine special for the holiday season). It was an unbelievable Christmas Market but it was so packed with people, tourists and residents alike that it became very overwhelming. Plus everything at the market was quite expensive compared to other markets that I have been to.

Overall it was a fun adventure even if it came with freezing cold hands and feet and a few packed train rides. They definitely know how to celebrate Christmas over here.


faces passing by

So here we are again. Posting some more face sketches. I decided that I wanted to do a more official archive of this little project that I set for myself so I went out, picked up a sketchbook and started up fresh. Here are the three I have so far. Keep an eye out for more soon.
[[ once again comments and critiques are welcome ]]



Here is some work that I have been printing off in my Siebdruck (screen printing) class. Our theme to work with is the agriculture of Hildesheim. I am working with the abbreviation of Hildesheim, the HI and the agricultural products that Hildesheim produces mixing them together in a typographical manner (so no, I am not saying "hi" with all of these prints).

I will throw up the outlines I'm working on for my next couple of compositions. I'm hoping to keep developing as I move from piece to piece so the viewers can slowly see how each once becomes more and more organic than the other.

Check them out and let me know some thoughts. Criticism is welcomed from all!

first print (experimenting a little) in the end it was a horrible print because of all the
things i messed up on, but it was a learning process for me for the latter pieces

first final print in the series, background got a little too dark and distracting

definitely my favorite so far. the onion. sadly i messed up on most of the
prints of this one and these are the only two that really turned out well.
thought i would mess around with different background color. preference?

^ proof prints in screen printing can be so beautiful.
hoping to do something with these compositions later v

p.s. please excuse the bad lighting in the photos. they were taken in my
room which doesn't have much of a light in the first place. i will be taking
more professional quality photos later toward the end of the semester.


what was i doing again...?

There is only so much time that a person can spend somewhere new until it loses its wonder. About two weeks back I could hardly bring myself to take my camera out of my backpack because I couldn't see anything that really seemed interesting. I couldn't find the motivation to take any bit of homework seriously. Even my small travel sketch journal that I carry with me everywhere hardly left the confines of my jacket's breast pocket. The real tough part about all of this was I was completely aware that I was beginning to see Hildesheim, Germany as another Menomonie, Wisconsin (one of the most boring towns I have stayed in).

All of the international students here were experiencing the same exact feelings I was. We had all fallen into a life of day-to-day routine within the confines of our German city, no longer enjoying the small details that interested us so much when we arrived.

In one of my earlier posts I had talked all about how change was the fuel that stoked my motivational and inspirational fire. Falling into a routine is the exact opposite of that change that I desired so much. Only, I know how easy it is to fall within a comfortable routine and I know even more how hard it is to break such a routine. I talked about this to almost every one of the International students here and I couldn't find my way out of it.

Motivation = 0%
Inspiration = 1%
Wasted Energy... yeah, the other 99%

Then, I started to think that maybe it wasn't simply that I was falling into a routine, it was that besides the change there was nothing else to motivate me. The pressure of the two week deadlines of the Design projects at Stout were no longer a factor on my mind. The design students here are given all the time in the world to finish the projects that are given over the semester. For someone who has become so adapt to a ticking clock pushing the productivity forward this system is very hard to get used to, me being this 'someone.'

So I forced myself to stay concentrated all weekend getting projects back on track and figuring out how this semester is going to work. I also started looking into places that I am going to travel to over this and next semester (all of which will be kept a surprise until I finish my traveling to said places).

I also talked to Anna, a girl I work with in the Cafe here, and she said that it is better to get into the habit of motivating yourself to do something because then you know that you can do it alone. 'It is only you who can tell you what to do.' I love that and I think that is what really got me going. So look out, I will be going crazy here pretty soon with everything I am going to be doing.

Sorry about the big gaps between the posts lately, I will be sure to keep all the updates coming more often.


inspiration beyond inspiration

Here in Germany there is no shortage of American art being represented. I recently went to an opening exhibition of the artist named James Turrell who strictly works with light and the way the eye and mind perceive it. In Germany and especially in Hildesheim at the HAWK people are very interested in Lighting Design. What is Lighting Design you ask? I was asking myself the same question. Lighting Design here is using light in ways that it is most efficient to light a space, or create a sense of emotion/feeling by using only lighting within a specified space. The HAWK is the only university in Europe that actually has a program specified only for Lighting Design and a few of the students organized this trip to Wolfsburg for the exhibition.

James Turrell

When we got to this exhibition is was so packed with people we could hardly move around in the lobby of the Wolfsburg Kunst Museum. We were given a short introduction in German of what the whole James Turrell Wolfsburg Project involved and why it was so special. Then we were released into the gallery where there were process pieces of his previous and present work.

Once we got to his main installation we had to wait in a line because there was so many people trying to get into this room. I would see people walking out and looking around in amazement, completely taken aback by what they had seen. I couldn't understand how this piece of work could be so completely mesmerizing to everyone who saw it. Then I got my turn to enter this room...

Everyone had to put little foot booties on so that all the shoes wouldn't ruin the white surface inside. The room was filled with this amazing magenta-violet-blue light that was constantly changing. I could hardly see a single corner of this huge space. And as I walked down this ramp that spanned from the entrance there was a wall in front of me that I could walk up to but wasn't allowed to go too close to. The wall looked like a huge screen with some kind of back lighting to it that made it glow with this unbelievable intensity. But I then found out that the reason no one was allowed to walk closer to this wall was because it was not a wall at all. The wall that was perceived to be only a meter away from me was actually 8 meters away from me and the edge where the wall and the floor met was actually a 130cm drop down into this other section of the room! It's impossible to describe this piece to get the full effect of it. I then walked out of the room and the rest of the museum seemed to be lit by these bright green lights and I realized that it was because my eyes became so adapt to the magenta color within the huge room that natural light became green.

James Turrell's Wolfsberg Project 2009 in Wolfsburg, Germany

All I can say is that I have never been so moved by a piece of art in my life. There was something about this work that seemed so tangent and real that it sparked emotion within every person who saw it. Unbelievable.

James Turrell has also done work for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis which some of the readers here might have seen before. Check out some more of James' work and be inspired. It is amazing how simple light can be used as a medium to inspire some complex and engaging ideas.

Sky Pesher by James Turrell created for the Walker Art Center in 2005


new post for you

Hello all,

This is just a post to get me back into the groove of doing an entry every week. I missed getting something up on here the last week and a half and I feel like its about due that I threw everyone something to read.

So I have just been rocking out to music, going to classes and thinking about (but not actually putting into practice) learning German, which is no good. Classes are getting good. I am really starting to get some interesting ideas going for some projects happening here. For example, I have my screen printing project that is open for us to do anything we want! The catch is the theme is around Agriculture in Hildesheim, anything from the products produced, the machinery used, the people who eat the food; anything. So I decided that I am going to do this very obscure idea that revolves around the network of distribution of everything within Hildesheim's agricultural system. Its really hard to explain at this point in the process but I think that it will be a very nice final piece.

As for my side projects, they are coming along slowly but surely. I do bits and pieces when I have the free time out of class. Ideas just keep pouring out of my head for thing that I would like to do next. I really have a short attention span when I comes to long term projects. This is actually something that I realized while I have been over here working on my German and BIG semester long projects: if I am working on something and I begin to get distracted while working on it, I think I need to move to the next thing because it is a sign that I have lost interest in what I'm doing at that moment. If I keep working on something and lose more and more interest in it, I really start to slow down throughout the entire process. This type of working may slow me down on getting one project done quickly but I think that it will improve my ability to balance and work with multiple projects (which is something that I am always doing).

Alright so that is enough on that whole thing. I need to get a picture thrown in here for everyone to check out. This is something that really inspires me a lot; a completely out of focus shot from my little point-and-shoot. I believe what makes it so beautiful is that it is a very abstracted shot, it looks as though there are only two or three colors that make up the composition and that the whole thing is built simply out of line and shape. It is of the main Bahnhof here in Hildesheim.

get lost in it


just a taste

Alright, I am showing one of the projects I have assigned to myself for over this year in German. I am going to be drawing the faces of those I meet along the great adventure and working with expressions of the characters and line quality and drawing style to represent the personality of each person. It will be an interesting process and I believe I will develop some interesting techniques throughout the whole thing, plus it will be way too much fun (I am a nerd of art).

These first few faces (from left to right, top to bottom) are of a Russian exchange student studying with me, a German girl who is a product designer and a tutor for some of the Spanish exchange students here, and of Jen (the one who helped me adapt to life in Germany).

As of now these are only sketches. I'm looking to develop them into a more finalized form with some color later on.

I'm really excited to do this project!! Keep an eye out for more updates on my sketches.


random happenings

Yesterday I was in my Metal 1 class and it was quite interesting. I introduced myself to the class in German and the professor was quite taken aback; very funny. I sat in this class for almost 5 hours listening to nothing but German. All the explanations of the machines we will be using, the dangers of each and the reasons we will use them... all in German: the language that I hardly know anything about. But of course I stayed attentive to what the professor was saying and tried my hardest to catch any little piece of information (luckily I have a good friend in that class who is German so I can get an overview of everything form her later).

I really have to go around the school facilities here and take some pictures because they blow the Stout facilities to pieces. The design buildings here may be small and a little bit old but at least they are inspiring. The hallways are filled with color and there are great areas for the students to lounge, talk and have a cup of coffee in between classes. Plus the labs are fantastic! So many machines in the metals lab were placed on giant log pedestals (yes, a log of wood). But all the machines are top notch and very safe and the rooms are very comfortable to work in, which is a good thing considering you sit in an average class for about 5 hours. This is really the biggest thing I have to complain about in terms of Stout's design program: get more inspiring work facilities for the design students if you want them to be inspired to work on projects. I think I'm going to make a big effort when I go back to Stout to persuading the people in charge to change a few things around design building to make a more work friendly environment for students who are in there 24/7 (and I know there are a lot of them). Like I said, I'll have some pictures up soon of the HAWK buildings.

This has nothing to do with anything I wrote about, but it is quite inspiring. I thought I would share this because it is something that is a corner stone for a project I am working in my own time. Enjoy!


get going

I love bikes way too much

I finally went to my first possible class today. The semester has started to roll and the time is going to be thrown right by my head... oh, boy. I'm thoroughly excited, though. I'm going to be surrounded by people who do things with a much different aesthetics than the people I usually hang out with in the States. I'm looking to gain some sort of individuality and originality within my design work and concept. Keep an eye out on my deviantart page (www.solitaryspade.deviantart.com) because I'm hoping to be updating that pretty frequently here but my first job is to clean some of my old stuff out of that profile.

If you're wondering about the picture of the bike, it is the free one that I was given when I first arrived. It may not be apparent right away from the picture but it is the biggest rusty, piece of junk I have ever witnessed a bike to be... but I really got attached to it within the past couple of days. The bike had so much character and history in each of its nasty, squeaky ball-bearings that it made me proud to ride it. But the I found out that it actually belonged to someone so I had to return it to the International Office and get a new one, one that actually fits my tall frame. The only problem is that I need to replace both tires and tubes on it so I have a little bit of work ahead. I literally just dropped my thoughts of the first bike I received and I was ready to make the bike my own.

All of this made me realize how quickly human attachment for someone can change so quickly to something else. A love of the way I live at home in the States but notice how quickly I have fallen in love with the lifestyle over here. Of course I don't work and make money to live off of here but I still love everything about Germany!

Sometimes the old has to be let go so that one can fully experience and enjoy the new, and maybe even find something, somewhere or someone else to love. I'm just making the bike all my own.



Alright, so I finally figured out how to get the scanner/printer working in my room so now everyone follow my thoughts through my sketches and not just through my words (considering I'm much better at expressing myself in the former).

Here is a quick excerpt form my little travel book. Read, view, and enjoy!


before the semester begins

Haven't posted anything for about a week so there are a few things that I really want to get out.

First of:
I love Germany!! I'm already starting up my fifth week over here and the time just keeps flying by faster and faster each day. The most ridiculous part about this whole thing is that the semester hasn't even started yet. Its really going to be interesting to see where the time goes and how fast (or slow) it changes me, if at all.

Next update:
There is a great number of people over here who remind me exactly of friends/family back at home. It is a very strange thing to realize when I'm talking to someone new and I make the connection... actually, its a little eerie. The part I wonder about is whether these people are literally German/European clones of the people back at home or if it is all in my subconscious mind; some part of me trying to cope with being away from home, bring forth familiarities so as to seem closer to home. I have been thinking about that whole thing for a while and I can't come up with an answer... haha! Another thing I realize is what will happen after I go home after 11 months here? Will I then compare my friends at home to all the people I get to know here? Oh boy, its going to an interesting experience.

On a completely different note:
I have so many personal projects planned out for myself, just to keep busy over the semester (considering the projects are a little more laid back here depending on how you time-manage). I have one planned out that is going to take me all year to work on, just a little 'piece' everyday. I think once I get down the process the final work is going to turn out pretty well. My brain is just constantly cooking up new ideas every hour and its beginning to drive me nuts because I can only do so much!!

A thing I'm really going to have to start looking at while I'm here is what my real passion is in this whole Graphic Design thing. Seeing as Graphic Design is such a broad term, meaning anything from web design to simple publication and typographical layout. But I do seem so find most of my enjoyment in Illustration... So I'm starting to feel that I need to figure out someway to incorporate that into my work because solely working on the computer all day long drives me insane. I'm pretty sure I haven't found that nitch in the whole field of design yet but it should come along soon enough. I have to start stepping outside of my box and pushing myself to new areas, it's the only way I'll end up stumbling upon what I want.

I'm pretty sure anyone reading this is saying to themselves, "Well yeah, of course you need to step outside your box." Its just something that has always been tough for me to do. I remember during my second semester last year I had my Mid-Program Review and one of the greatest design professors I know told me that I am obviously a person with natural talent BUT that means that I am most likely very comfortable with the level I'm at and what I can do. So I need to realize that the only way I'll be able to excel is to do things I'm not comfortable with, and to fail at some things and to get back up and try again, and to discover and expand. It was the one thing that really brought back some of my motivation and inspiration. I have been applying what he told me to my entire life over here, actually. I am doing things that I wouldn't normally do, being someone I wouldn't normally be, not in a bad or crazy way, but in a way that I can discover things about myself.

OK, I think I've ranted enough for one entry.
Keep life interesting, people! Step outside the box and find something new in the world.
v Cool Guy v


philosophy beyond my understanding

So, I'm over here with one of my good friends from Stout, Jake, and we both have the same views of the world and art and whatnot but when I talk to Jake I realize that he is far more in depth with everything that is going on. We can start talking about any subject from the great world of Japanese animation to the ways our country works and it always ends up coming down to Jake getting into this long and deep tangent of his perspective of things and it evolves into this sort of philosophical explanation of things far greater than what we were originally talking about. He actually gets so into it that it becomes impossible to get a work in edge-wise, but at the same time I become so interested in not necessarily just what Jake is saying, but more how he's saying it and how much of his mind he's starts to speak with no censorship.

I know it is really starting to sound like I'm rambling on and on about nothing but this has a point, I promise.

Every time I listen to Jake go on talking about this and rambling about that I think about what my philosophy is. How do I see this world? What standards or guidelines do I live my day-to-day life through? Is there any way I could possible describe such a philosophy to anyone if I was able to figure it out? All of this really got sparked when I started to read this book all about the basics of philosophy throughout history. Every one of the big questions that so may great thinkers filled their days with trying to figure out the true and absolute answers to, all inspired me to think deeper about the things around me. I don't know if I could explain such a philosophy that compels me to live out life everyday. I only know certain guidelines that keep my head on straight and help me cope with the world. One word comes to mind, "Optimism." Everything that happens to me throughout the day I constantly try to keep my mind on the positive outcome of each situation.

I was really debating with myself whether to tell everyone about this or not but I figure it's really something that has given me an interesting view on some things and it relates to this whole optimistic thing I'm getting into, so here it goes:

I was out swimming with some of my German friends during the evening of about the third day here in Germany. I was going to swim out with them to the middle of the lake to a buoy and then swim back. The dumb part about this whole thing was that I was still experiencing some of the jet lag and my diet had changed pretty dramatically within those first couple of days.

So as I approached the middle of Lake Hohnsen I began to feel pretty tired and I turned back toward the shore. As I swam I started to get really dizzy and disoriented. I stopped to look around and see if I could get to a closer shore but I was the same distance from the nearest sides so all I could do was try to conserve my energy and back stoke toward the main shore. The only thing on my mind was that I was stuck in the middle of this lake with no one who could possibly help me and I had a big chance that I might drown. But my mind didn't keep on that thought for long, I needed to be motivated to make it and I just had to keep looking up at the sky thinking of how beautiful the day was and how excited I was to be in Germany to learn a whole new perspective of design.

After what seemed like an hour of swimming I finally made it back and I could hardly breath, but I made it and that's all that mattered. I'm pretty sure it was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I got through all of that only because I didn't think about the shitty things going on right then, all the bad outcomes that could have happened.

I'm not sure if thinking about only the good things is really something that helps me in every situation because at times I choose to be ignorant of issues that are going on, not just for me but for everyone. I don't want to waste my time in life feeling depressed or hating all the crappy things that go on everyday.

I'm not sure if this whole entry had much of a point to it and I'm not saying that everyone should just forget about the serious issues that are going on around us (considering that's one of my downfalls). I'm only saying there are a lot of people in the world who get so caught up in the depressing things and they forget that something good always comes out of every situation.

I went all over the place with this one but I was just saying exactly what I was thinking, which can get kind of messy and disorganized. As the great Walt Whitman wrote, "Always keep your face toward the sun, and shadows will fall behind you."
Remember it and love it.
~ Complete awesomeness ~


sprechen sie... englisch? maybe not

Yesterday I returned from my great trip to Koeln, which is one of the larger cities in Germany. I saw the main downtown area, the Dom of Koeln (spectacular piece of architecture), and the old town as well *check out the pics on flickr soon*. I was only there for a short time so I didn't get too much time to explore everything, but all the same it was a lot of fun. I also got to meet some friends of my good friend, Jen. We stayed at their place while staying in Koeln and they showed us all these sites. But what I thought was so awesome was that I got to experience someone use German in a way that was very comical. His name was Thomas and he would make goofy voices and would switch between German and English (which I have been informed is considered Denglish) and it was completely hilarious. It seems strange that I'm so interested in this fact, I mean obviously people who speak English aren't the only ones who try to clownish it's just that I have never seen or heard anyone do it in a different language before.
And now I think I'm rambling... haha

Yesterday, I made my final move into my apartment and out of Jen's hair. I really didn't realize how much I relied on her for my survival around here. She translated everything for me, knew where everything was, and was a great person to hang out with and get my mind off of my longing for home. Sadly the reality of the abroad experience hit me hard. I'm going to be studying German as much as I can on my own time, it's the only way I'll be able to make it. It really give me a whole new perspective on things. There are so many people in Germany and around the world that learn English as a second language that most Americans expect everyone to understand them. When I think about that whole concept it's completely absurd, if I am the visitor in this country I should be able to speak and understand at least the basic parts of German. So, the German lessons shall begin tomorrow for me (self taught lessons, that is).

A goal of mine while on this whole adventure is to be accepted as an American who can respect the German culture that everyone lives by. Plus, I can't stand being lost in translation anymore. Look out Germany, I'm going to be speaking your language!



I found out something very interesting about myself, something that I am a complete idiot for not figuring out earlier. Change is the key, the fuel that keeps me inspired.

The main entrance to the design facility building where I will be studying.
Over my last semester I noticed that my inspiration and motivation were disappearing faster than I could hope to replace them. The cause wasn't that the year was coming to a close, it wasn't that I was getting distracted by friends or relationships, and it had nothing to do with the level of classes that I was in. When I look back at the whole thing it was because of my mundane and seemingly boring routine that I followed every day; the same environment and atmosphere that I surrounded myself with.

Now that I have come to this completely new country, surrounded by things that seem so unfamiliar and strange, I find that my mind is being stimulated to the point where I feel energized and excited for the next something to happen. As I ride my bike around this city I'm constantly looking up at all the buildings, seeing all the signs and advertisements and design work, and looking at all the culture amongst the people here and my brain is always trying to keep up, trying to grasp everything that is going on around me. I've started doing things that I never really did while I was back in the States. I've started to write in little journals that I bring along with me everywhere I go (thanks for the idea, Alex), I've begun to take photographs of everything that I find an interest in no matter how small, and I've started to make a regularity of my reading habits. I never have been much of a reader, in fact I only finished one book this entire summer, but now I've started reading at least an hour each day since arriving here in Hildesheim. I'm also reading these very off-beat things such as the basic teachings of the great philosophers in history and interesting papers on large psychological studies. This is all triggering parts of my mind that I never really worked on because I never seemed to find the time or need to think out off-topic things like that.

Amongst these changes comes the biggest one: being immersed into the German language. I have not been taught anything about this language yet so it's something I am constantly trying to grasp as the people here talk around me. When two individuals are engaged in a conversation I try to concentrate on all the little details that are going on such as the tone of voice between each of them, the facial expressions that are made and the hand gestures and eye movements. These little parts are tools to help me decipher what is being talked about and I begin to understand what is happening within the conversation.
This is how they park on all the streets around here,
halfway on the sidewalk... interesting and strange.

This little critter kicks major butt.
This is just some of the heavy change that has been happening to me and it's lead to some great concepts and ideas for art and design projects. I also feel more attentive of my surroundings and more motivated to do a number of things throughout my day. This whole thing comes down to me embracing change in my life. I need to start changing my routine more often. I have to get lost when heading to a familiar location only to find a new route to my destination. I have to paint my walls different colors and move furniture more often. I need to meet new people and talk about complete unknown topics just to get my brain working. Change is never been something I have been afraid of but it is something that I've never completely engaged.
Speaking of changing the color of the walls in my room, for some reason I've really
been into purple right now and, what do you know, my new room has a large purple wall.

Where creativity will take over. Hopefully over this semester some cool concepts
can be turned out while sitting at this wonderful drafting table.
Change is nothing but a new way of seeing the world and an ever changing world is what everyone searches for. Bringing about the change is what becomes the challenge. I find the only thing I can ask myself each day I wake up here is: What next?


just go with the flow

Alright, so my flight out of Toronto was my first Int'l flight and it was on a huge B-777. I really played the "Dumb American Tourist" for that one while I was boarding. First off, I got on and threw my carry-on up in a compartment but it wouldn't fit all the way in. I figured it wouldn't be a huge deal because they would just shove it in and close the door on the compartment. Instead I was called out by one of the flight attendants and told to find a different spot for my stuff. After doing that I sat down and realized that someone next to me was confused why I was there because she was sure that her and her granddaughters had the entire center row. So I had to check my boarding pass and of course I sat in the wrong seat. Real nice... With all the blood rushing to my face because of the embarrassment and stupidity I finally got into my proper seat and prepared for the long flight.

It wasn't such a bad flight even if it was about six and a half hours. I just ended up reading a large chunk of my book and enjoyed some of the free personal music and movies. I did take a break from my in flight activities to watch as the horizon turned into nothing more than a line dividing the last bit of light in the sky from the dark, solid mass of the earth below. It became dark much faster than a normal day because the plane was flying eastward. Before I knew it, I could see nothing but black out of the window. Pitch black. The darkness of the night only lasted for about 3 hours or so because the plane met the sun on its way back up.

Once in Frankfurt Int'l Airport I was relieved/excited/anxious. I stepped off the plane and suddenly felt only one thing... confusion. Frankfurt's Int'l Airport is HUGE, and let me tell you, that's an understatement. I got my final boarding pass and was told that I had to travel over 3km to reach my gate all the way at the end of the Lufthansa facilities. The really funny part was the security just let through customs without any questions being asked and without any searches. It was actually kind of weird and I don't know why they simply had me skip through the line but I was't complaining. While walking along to terminal A I had to pass through this long underground tunnel with moving pathways all the way to the end (see picture below). It was an amazing sight. Then I came across these really interesting facilities that were basically smoke booths. These glass cubes had sliding doors to allow a smoker to enter the small space to light up a cigarette within the airport as to not break the rules of no smoking in the terminals... It was as though these people were being put on display while they enjoyed the full effect of their precious lung-blackening smoke that filled the glass enclosure. I didn't take any pictures because I'm sure none of them would have appreciated (no matter how interesting the notion of having these things around the airport was to me).

This is the Frankfurt Int'l Airport underground tunnel to terminal A. Cool stuff.

From Frankfurt I took a flight that was no longer than 45 minutes in the air to Hannover. I chose a window seat to view every detail below. It was far beyond beautiful, these little villages that were so tightly nit into neat straight-edge shapes. I could see all the red from all the traditional ceramic roofing used on every home and business complex. The extensive number of fussbal (soccer) fields spread throughout villages large and small. I was more than ready to land. Once off the plane it was an amazing feeling to be done with flying and to see that my baggage had made the whole journey safely with me. My good friend who lives in Hildesheim and is very soon due to graduate was waiting for me outside the baggage claim area and I was ecstatic to see her because I wouldn't have made too far without her guide.

Let me tell you one thing, exchanging the American dollar into euros is complete crap. I felt like I was robbed!! The exchange rate there is 1:1.60... it was horrible watching all of that cash disappearing like that. Horrible... but that just makes me much more conscious of the money I have to live off of while I'm over here. Me and Jen had small talk while on the hour long train ride to Hildesheim while I watched out the window in amazement and she enjoyed my reaction to this foreign land.

This is the ridiculous face I make when I am super tired. Pretty dang scary, wouldn't you say?


little change in plans

So I don't know what to think about the start of my great adventure. Ha! Basically I had a delayed flight out of MPLS and I couldn't catch my connecting flight from Toronto to London. So I've been spending some time here in Toronto, prepping for the flight out later today.

But I guess I can't complain, I mean this is what an adventure is all about: doing something completely unexpected and spontaneous. Basically things I'm not really known to do in an average day. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't do anything spontaneous at all. I'm a damn boring person let alone artist. The realization of this just makes me that much more excited to be on this journey because I'm hoping to find something in myself that I've never really explored before (no matter how cheesy it sounds) that's one of the main reasons I'm doing this whole thing. Plus, don't tell me that no one has felt the need to get lost for the chance to find something, not knowing exactly what, just something. Yes, that makes complete sense.

My trip will be starting back up at 17:30 19.8.09 when I fly out to Frankfurt, Germany instead of my previous flight to London, England. I must admit that I was pretty excited to see one of the worlds largest international airports even if I would have been racing through it to catch my following flight. Hopefully I'll get a chance to explore London a bit more once I start getting trips planned out, who knows.

That's all I have for now.

- Oh! On a completely different note: go see 500 Days of Summer. It is a fantastic movie with a great twist on the romantic comedy genre (I know people will be rolling their eyes at that one). It's really a work of art in the way it was written and directed, the cast is perfection (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and the soundtrack kicks major butt. Some old and new age British punk rock and ambiance tracks really push it home. Well, that's it for my completely random movie review. Ha ha!

- auf wiedersehen -

i didn't know that could really happen...

I couldn't help but post this for all the design and type nerds out there. It's just way too funny to see this scene played out (because everyone has imagined the scenario in their heads at some point in time)

- enjoy -


wow... that's the key

I've been reading this very interesting book that has helped me to rethink the way I approach my studies as a Graphic Designer. The book is titled How to be a Graphic Designer without losing your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy, and its an extremely excellent source for keeping everything in check as a designer.

This chapter that I am in now is working around the subject of what it takes to be a Graphic Designer in the modern world and how to keep afloat and be successful. It may sound extremely obvious, but as a designer we are not only expected to know how to use photoshop, make grid layouts, and print fabulous color calibrated publications; we are also expected to know a great deal of the past, current, and future culture that our society is influenced by. Being a graphic designer takes knowledge of politics, entertainment, business, technology, literature, and many more diverse categories.

When it all comes down to it, this is so true. This past semester I felt like I had the hardest time doing some of my projects for my studio design courses, and I tried so may things to break down the wall that was holding me back. But looking at it again, I realize that all I did was look up artist upon artist, websites of beautiful colors and layouts, imagery that almost overloaded my mind to the point where the only thing I could think about was other peoples design work. In doing this I isolated myself from the aspects in my life that, I now realize, I took for granted; looking at the world around me and being interested in other things other than typography and digital painting. There was a world of inspiration that I wasn't taking advantage of and in the end it was tough to make it past that.

Another thing is that its so hard to find inspiration in something that I don't understand the meaning to. Such as how a painting is done so beautifully with perfect, living brushstrokes and seamlessly flawless color. But if I can't find an artist statement for that piece or there is not enough of an emotions trigger for me to be able to create my own story behind the painting then it becomes less tangible in my eyes. The painting becomes nothing more than something to look at on the wall, which in turn becomes much less of an influence on me as an artist and designer.

There is also looking at the this cultural knowledge as being ammunition for conversation among clients and fellow designers. People in these positions want to know that they aren't talking with someone completely ignorant of the world around them; they want to talk with someone who knows how to observe and pay attention to detail.

This brings me to the final thing in this chapter of the book that struck me hard: Life for a designer is not about doing research, life and all the experiences that a designer goes through IS research, which means we are constantly learning new things. Every news article read, every new band discovered and enjoyed, and every conversation had with a friend; its all ammunition for a designers library of sparking inspiration. Saving an endless stock pile of scraps until the perfect time comes along when a creative can throw together a collage that has meaning behind each piece used.

Like I said, this is all basic knowledge to anyone in the design field but at times, like what happened to me, we can forget that and get lost in the sea of visual eye candy, completely loosing track of finding something meaningful. Keep an interest in the world, design is not the center of everything we know (no matter how much we wish it was).


Where have you been all my life?!

Over the past few weeks I had been in a huge rut. I would wake up in the morning, write down everything I had to get done for the day, do the class thing, and return to my dusty dorm room completely worn out and unmotivated to do anything. I am usually the kind of person who works to the point where it's almost sickening for people to think about but that's because I have very high expectations for myself.

I started to realize that I was falling victim to something I couldn't quite figure out the solution to. {it drives me crazy when I can get stuff like that worked out}

But today was the day I found out the reason why I've been a little off basically this whole semester and it all came to me when I had my mid-program review today. Now I know I'm going to sound like an egotistical douche for saying this but I was in desperate need of appreciation for the work I was doing. I had studios last semester with some really fun people who have become extremely good friends of mine and we would work on projects together and give each other feedback and really try to motivate one another. That's what I've been missing.

The professors walked into my mid-program, which I had to almost run to get to on time, and they really gave me some amazing comments. One of the professors considered a piece I did to be one of the best he's seen this year. The one professor that I actually had for a class (Andy DuCett) stayed behind after the review and talked to me one-on-one about some huge strengths that I had as a designer, from good communication to amazing work motivation. It not only make me feel good but it really made me re-discover some of the reasons why I'm in this major, why I want to be a designer. It is what makes me the person I am. I love to to meet new people, I have an amazing work ethic, and I constantly desire the chance the learn something new everyday.

But I'm also in this field because I have a very extroverted personality. I get my energy from the praise I receive from my peers and other people around me, I love the recognition for the hard work that I am wired to do.

Motivation needs fuel to keep burning. All of us as artist, students, human beings need recognition that what we are putting our time and effort into is worth something.

Give your friend a pat on the back and tell them that they are doing a great job!!

Stay on top of your game everyone!!


Well that was nice...

Today I watched the movie Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and it was a wonderfully hilarious and fun movie with an amazing soundtrack.

The story was really great: a couple kids who love music find themselves to be meant for each other through the events that take place over one night of venue hopping. I found something else to be very interesting completely beside the storyline: the characters in this movie are so into their music that they completely dedicate their lives to it, loosing track of other things happening around them. In a way it seems to be an aspect of ignorance but as I thought about it I could see that it was their passion to listen to music, watch these bands through all hours of the night and to just loose themselves in it.

I may be the last one to realize this but I see now that I don't really care about biology all that much; I don't see why I should force myself to pick up a guitar when in the back of mind I know I don't have the time to play it; I don't know why I have to try and do everything perfect. I am an artist who loves creating visual pieces of work that speak to everyone who look at it. Art is my passion and that's all that should really matter (beside my family and friends), and in a way I think that would help me to truly find my place in the world of art and design.

I am an artist and that is what everyone should see when they look at me. It's not shameful to say that I don't know about something because I was to busy creating a beautiful painting to find time to read the headlines for a day or so. Ha!

Now that I've ranted on and on about my nerdy art life, please check out Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist when it comes out on dvd. Definitely worth it, great laughs and a fun romance that will make you want to search for 'your song.' Hahaha!

So Here I Am

Would you look at this, I'm actually setting aside time to start up a new blog and throw up an entry. Hopefully going to make this into a nice little habit of mine. Reflection is just so good for the soul :)

I'm on somewhat of a self improvement binge right now. I just can't stand how I look around the web and find all these great blog entries that can be considered just as much of an art as a painting on a wall. Even after reading some of them I haven't even attempted to try to do anything remotely like it. Looking into the mind of an artist, a writer, or even just an average joe reviewing what he did over the day is so interesting. Plus what's the point of going through life without really thinking about what went on, seeing something that you never noticed before and understanding how it effected your life...

Well now I'm just starting to sound like a wannabe Confucius talking about all this random crap.

Maybe I'll hear from some regulars over time as I keep updating stuff
if not... meh. S'all good. Haha!