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.