The Victorian/Gothic/Rennaisance Adventure Time set
By Marianne Khalil (right) and I (left)
The Victorian/Gothic/Rennaisance Adventure Time set
By Marianne Khalil (right) and I (left)
This is the first full body piece I’ve ever done to this extent. I’ve learned a lot from this and it’s developed a lot since I’ve first started. I was literally working with humanoid blobs with ambiguous facial features at first. Marianne sort of tigermomed me into continuing this piece, though, resulting in a year of on and off reworking, redrawing, and sometimes a holistic redoing of the entire piece. I’m very grateful to have a friend like this, though. A friend who can take you out of making humanoid blobs is pretty much worth his/her weight in unicorn blood.
RISD Foundations Class: Spatial Design with Ken Horii
Assignment: Create a modular unit that, when used in groups of at least 6, can create three different chair like configurations. This project continues for roughly six weeks, thus requiring your preliminary modular unit to be further developed 6 times. Something like that. It becomes a blur after a few sleepless nights. With each development, you must create at least six copies of each after a certain point.
Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of all of my prototypes, and I reused a lot of the previous ones to develop the next ones. However, I can tell you that this modular unit went through a lot of different transformations. It was once a square with three different levels falling from it. At another point it was hollow and small. Then, it became larger, but in its hollow state it could not support any weight. Thus, an accordion was introduced. With this addition, came an opportunity for portability via compression. It was able to fold down to half its size, with the accordion-like parts being able to be compressed and packed in with flaps and tabs. However, it was impractical as it took far too long to make, costed too much, gave way to error to easily, and was not worth it for the fact that its compressed form did not actually give way to more configurations, but became a burden given its weight when compressed into a denser form. And so, the accordion remained for support, but in a permanent open state. In said state, a single modular unit supports at least 200 pounds.
The final connections relied on nesting and tabs, with even the large to and bottoms square surfaces being able to disconnect from their slots and become larger tabs themselves, thus being sandwiched between another large slot and the accordion-like center. The tension and friction of this connection was particularly strong and thus made things like full backrests and two person couches possible. Although tedious, i wanted these tabs and slots so i would have as many possibilities for connections as possible so that I could explore the form itself when I went to configure my chairs.
Thus, we are brought to the use of ratios. There was also a lot of play with ratios here. Every measurement was either in whole, third, or half units so that things would fit well both functionally and aesthetically when configured into a chair.
Also, I put a lot of blood and love into this so hording was inevitable.
Photo Credits: Sara Dunn, Olivia Stephens, Caitlin Walker.
chimichonga3 asked: Hi i'm in high school and i'm just thinking about being in your position right now and it just seems like something seemingly impossible to achieve. Personally i'm just curious on how it happened, basically when did it all start and how did you develop the skills you have today?
TLDR; I had, like, no friends. Or at least none that demanded my presence frequently.
I started drawing when my brother took violin lessons from a woman who wanted absolute silence when she taught. I was about three at the time. I wasn’t aloud to sneeze or talk to my mother, so my mom gave me paper to whisper stories into her ear to write down and then I’d draw pictures to go with them and/or some miscellaneous Powerpuff Girls and Sailor Moon illustrations on the side.
But that’s not the important part.
There is something beautiful about being stuck in your bedroom for almost your entire life. Before I go on I should probably clarify something: I use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe my affections for gnarly spiders, eldrich deep sea creatures, and boys—things that can appear terrifying and even malicious at times from the surface but upon further inspection are intricate tapestries of being that only resulted in such a striking first impression after decades of manifestation and development. Something that upon deeper understanding puts in you a position of peace and satisfaction.
The beauty of being stuck in my bedroom for a majority of my life was that I always had to find something to do and something to love. Not someone, but something. Making a regular connection with people was a difficult due to my lack of public appearances so I relied on the excitement of particular activities and things to keep me going. Also, because my connections often resulted only in weak acquaintances, people were not a very reliable constant source of contentment. I learned to see my solitude as space instead of an empty void and developed a sense of creativity and individuality in it. My social life almost exclusively existed during school hours near the end of middle school and high school and that was just enough to keep me from feeling lonely and just enough to pin down a few solid friends and lots of acquaintances that I was always happy to be around. But because of the lack of people to really “distract” me from my passions, my drive to follow ambitions and dreams became quite strong and manageable.
As you can imagine, I read a lot of Emmerson to sweeten my view of such solitude. I also drew a lot of pictures and wrote a lot of terrible poems and stories to push out the loneliness that crept in. However, my reasons for drawing became something else entirely with high school. I was lucky enough to go to a high school that was full of opportunities. If there was something I really wanted to do, I learned that with some persistence, I could find people to help me do it. I didn’t have much of an artist community to inspire me and thrill me with their own work, but I was also lucky enough to go to a school where all the teachers were enablers to some kind of passion, whether it was biking, writing grand epic poems on a regular basis, or starting a music gig. People knew of my interests in illustration and started asking me to make posters for the music department and the theater department. I developed a sense of graphic design here. This grew to me being asked to do posters, advertisement packages, and logos for smaller corporations, bands, not-for-profit organizations, and other performance-type productions in other states on occasion. Thus, graphic design became my way of building a social life in a very obscure way, creatively connecting and collaborating with people, and giving myself little thrills to live for.
Everyone says that these things get your name out. I’m still not entirely sure if that’s true at all, but it certainly helped to build a nice portfolio in the end. The most important thing about pursuing a a career is anything is finding connections. What people often forget is that finding connections means talking to people, not just doing things for other people, because you can’t rely on your clients to tell other people how great you were to work with just because you made something cool for them.
In addition to all of this, I had little professional training. I learned to fall in love my work but I had little technical skill. Thus, to sharpen my skills I went to Gage Academy to study Fine Arts and RISD’s pre-college program to study as a Graphic Design major for a summer. These two things alone skyrocketed my skill level, so I’d highly recommend things like this. I wish I had done it more, but I guess that’s why I’m going to RISD for college.
But I will end this with a little thing that one of my favorite artists, Sam Spratt, wrote, which kept me going:
"You’re an artist and you feel boxed in?
You can do a lot with a box, don’t throw it away just yet.”
There are seldom pieces where I’ll actually go back years later and still find myself extremely happy with their final form. However, the following pieces below are just that.
I wrote a score for a theatrical production of Night of the Living Dead in my junior year in high school and these are some songs (I wrote 12 songs total.) There are some other artistic endeavors of which I am still proud of and I want to continue sharing with you here.
The Cooper Theme - Melanie Chang
CONTEXT: This piece was made to go under Hellen and Harry Cooper arguing in the basement. The two argue over Harry’s stubborn issue with pride as he refuses to cooperate with the other characters to reinforce the rest of the house. He has made his decision to stay in the basement as he believes it is the safest place (which actually turns out to be true in the end…) and insists on keeping the rest of his family down there.
[Now that I have the CD of the soundtracks I wrote for Night of the Living Dead, I’ll be posting some of them here. One day at a time…because tumblr only lets me do one a day…bleh.]
The Cooper Requiem - Melanie Chang
CONTEXT: After the final zombie fight, everyone is killed except for Ben. In the midst of this, Karen, the 10(?) year old child of Harry and Hellen Cooper who had been bitten by a zombie by the time we meet the family, finally takes her full form as a zombie and kills her mother. Ben finally takes to the cellar and the song begins to play as he slams the door, letting the zombies finally take Barbara, a delusional woman he had been protected throughout the play. (Zombies ate her brother in the beginning of the story and she remained that way ever since.) The lights go down as he settles down in a corner holding his gun in silence.
Sung in the voice of the frightened and sickly Karen Cooper who is now dead by the time the song plays, the song was intended to set a solemn tone of grief and loss. It represents how human innocence fades away with the terrors of death and that the fear has swallowed each of the characters into its animalistic darkness (which also happens to be infested with zombies.) It is based off the Cooper Theme, the song that went under her parents arguing, therefore suggesting that the death of all the characters is related to selfish disagreement like Harry’s in his argument with his wife.
In this song, however, the voice of little Karen Cooper is just me singing with my throat trying desperately to sound like I’m 6 years younger than I actually am…Gordon Baker, the man who helped me record and produce all these songs, took my voice and then slid the pitch up a few steps and added some reverb and some echo. He’s such a wizard :)
This piece is played in complete darkness.
Distortion Transition- Melanie Chang
CONTEXT: this was just a transitional piece from scene where they finally get the TV working into intermission.
This piece samples songs from Mars Argo as well as backwards versions of my songs and a few other noises we fit in there.