Two weekends ago I went on a retreat with my fraternity, Alpha Rho Chi, to Hocking Hills–it’s about a two and a half hour drive to get there from Cincinnati.
It was there where about 30 of my fellow brothers and I spent the weekend in a cozy (actually pretty large) cabin in the woods and bonded over food, hiking, bonfires, and dancing.
Here’s one of my favorite images from the trip; a nice panorama of the view from Old Man’s Cave:
The trail was amazingly icy; none of us were super prepared for the hike. We saw a couple with spike boots (I have no idea what the proper nomenclature for those are), but on the bright side we were all in pants and sweaters and coats.
It was really nice to get away for a weekend. No wifi, limited/no cellular service really allowed us to distance from our present school worries and focus on having fun and really enjoy each other’s company. Retreat is a great time for older members to bond with the younger members, as well as enjoying time with those who’ve they’ve been with for a while. Myself included, there were a lot of seniors on this trip and knowing that this was one of the last times we were all going to be together in such a relatively “carefree” atmosphere was really special. Not that people need to go to the middle of the woods to connect, but it definitely helps. So, I urge everyone to take a step back and feel some gratitude for the people in their lives, and as a side quest, maybe take some time to explore the nature around them.
Although I wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting until it warmed up a bit!
This is something I created for Japan Day in Central Park 2014, an event made “to build bridges of cultural understanding between the people of Japan and the U.S., show the local Japanese community’s appreciation toward their home city, New York and to facilitate stronger grassroots connections within the local Japanese community.”
When submitting we were also required to make a 500-ish word statement, so:
My submission for the Japan Day Art Contest stems from a daydream I had of the cities of New York and Tokyo coming together to be one. I imagined myself walking past The Reservoir in Central Park in the spring-time with the warm sun on my shoulders, looking towards the New York skyline and then being able to see Mount Fuji. I have seen many different skylines of various cities, and although some may have notable architectural features, many look similar to the undiscerning eye. Japan’s skyline, however, is backdropped by the majestic mountain and similar to many others before me, I wanted to depict the well-known cultural symbol in my own work.
Although my piece was completely made on a digital platform, I used the same skills as I would drawing on paper, in addition to some techniques not applicable to a physical format. I referenced various traditional Japanese landscape paintings during the early stages, I looked at and admired the strong line-work complemented with simple colorings. Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous views of Edo is a collection I looked to often when working on this piece. I wanted to emulate some of the techniques I saw in traditional Japanese art, but I also wanted to avoid merely copying the style. I challenged myself to blend an organic form of illustration with hard geometric forms in order to create a synthesized piece, similar to my synthesized daydream-city. I used irregular triangles to shape parts of the ground, including Mount Fuji in the background. Regular hexagons were used to abstract the water and sky while a mix of rectangles and squares were used for the city skyline. In contrast with the geometric shapes, I used more painterly techniques when illustrating the trees. I wanted to give life to the environment by giving the impression of wind rustling through the cherry blossoms.
The blend of organic and geometric came with the heading of this piece, the “Japan Day” origami-inspired text which floats in the sky. I have always found the art of folding paper to be beautiful, and it was my intent to give respect to the tradition in creating this text. I first began by creating the letters with paper first and then recreating it with vectors. I also sought out patterns that I felt would complement the rest of the piece, but kept the color range in the red hues in reference to Japan’s strong connection with the color.
So, realizing that in several months it is a high possibility that I will not be living at home and quite possible that I will be living in another state I decided that I should start documenting my home so I may really be able to appreciate what I enjoy now that much more before moving on to my next large adventure.
I’m currently in my final semester of undergrad, and I’ve so far been accepted to two grad schools: University of Oregon and Rhode Island School of Design.
They are both actually pretty high up on my list, RISD maybe a bit more because I have family in CT and the idea of attending an art school where I know/feel like I will have many opportunities for interdisciplinary study sounds really awesome. They have their grad day March 17th, so I’ll be attending that (and updating you guys) on how it goes. UO has theirs April 11th and I am planning to go, but I need to find a relatively cheaper flight.
I’ve never been to Portland, or that far west for that matter. I’m already really excited (and a little anxious) thinking about it!
So you guys can expect some more sketches over the next several weeks of things that I see everyday/most days. I’m excited for this series, and I hope you guys enjoy it!
Also, if any of you guys know anything about Providence, RI or Portland, OR please share your thoughts 🙂 I’m going off Portlandia now, so…I’m sure I’m super well informed. (Kidding. Seriously. A little.)
I got into grad schools, whaaaaat?
Also I’ll be posting my submission to Japan Day in NYC here soon, so you can see the finished product!