Sunday, November 25, 2012

Introduction to Fine Art in the Real World

The reason I'm in medical illustration is because I've always loved making art.  What I don't like is things I don't understand and the gallery art world has always been a box of unknown.  Becoming simply an artist seemed too abstract to go directly towards.  Finding my way to medical illustration has been due to my stubbornness.  I don't want to give up the dream of being an artist and I don't want to give up the dream of becoming a doctor.  Medical illustration should be a perfect fit, but it is lacking the joy of being purely an artist or purely a scientist.  It gets muddied and sloppy, I can't put my finger on exactly why but it has to do with the inability to immerse yourself completely in anything because you have to know so many things.

The gallery I visited:

Seeing a gallery being shown by the owner explaining each artists' process, reasoning, and meaning behind their work takes a little out of the dreaded gallery world mystery.  What I am lacking in fine art that I've gotten from medical illustration is working small rather than huge.  Most things I do art between 24x18 inches and 8.5x11 inches.  I would love to figure out a way to incorporate the skills I've gained from medical illustration into fine art.  Having both a name as an illustrator and a fine artist is something I aspire to have.  I cannot spend my days whittling away at the perfect artery drawing, I need big, bold sweeps of color.  I need emotion in my drawing and painting. 

I love their "Art in Spaces" section on the Moberg website.  I could imagine myself working for large corporations, hospitals, and universities creating commissioned art for a specific place.  I love the idea of touching that many people through my art.  Being able to display something in such a public setting, becoming part of the space itself is very cool.

KAREN STROHBEEN & BILL LUCHSINGER

Nancy Lindsay

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Song-day - 11/18 If Not For You

Sometimes I write songs from pure fantasy.  There are a lot of things I haven't personally experienced, but because of media of every sort being a majority of my everyday life there are many experiences you feel like you've had, but haven't.  If Not For You is about two people having a friendship about to turn into something more, but it's so fragile and new it feels like it could break at any second.

I am very into loyalty.  Loyalty to the extreme, so my favorite line in this song is, "good things come to those who wait, and I promise you: I'll never go away."  These two people deserve love because they've had each others backs in friendship and no matter what happens in a romantic relationship, will keep having each others backs.  I think that it's a beautiful idea that love is long and lasting event.

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Extreme Couponing - Living the Dream

While I was preparing to move to Chicago I began getting nervous.  I worry.  A lot.  So I needed a distraction to keep my mind from making up horrible scenarios that would never happen.  I began watching TLC's Extreme Couponing in marathon sessions.  With a Google search I discovered the many websites catering to those who would like to try out Extreme Couponing where I then found "freebies."  Turns out, I kind of suck at real couponing: I'm impatient and I buy mostly produce and never in bulk.  But what I can do is fill out my address to send me free stuff!

The website I use most often is: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/freebies/.  They list freebies you can get with stacking coupons as well as online deals where companies will mail you free stuff.  Now let me tell this "free stuff" is often free but lacking in the "stuff" department.  I signed up to get a free sample of Taylor Swift's perfume, there was an image of a cute little bottle that I thought I would get.  Supposedly an "exclusive" offer.  4-6 weeks later I got a scratch and sniff postcard!  I would get a better deal driving to the mall and spraying the sample perfume on me!

The Taylor Swift perfume is on the far right.

A deal I would suggest for those in Chicago where there are Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins places everywhere is signing up for the "birthday club" on the Baskin Robbins website.  They email you a buy on get one free coupon at the beginning of every month and a freebie coupon on your bday month.  You can get two legit cones for $2.49.

Another free sample I would suggest is Nescafe Memento instant coffee samples.  Sign up here.  They are fun, pretty tasty, and you're actually saving some money.  You can see the little cardboard packet it comes in in the photo above.

I've gotten lotion, tea, coffee, laundry detergent, a really weird candy bar, diapers, fish oil pills, a giant bottle of Glade air freshener, chocolate, and a photo collage.  The weird candy I got is called "Big Hunk" and I naively assumed it would be a delicious chocolate bar.  Instead it was a like a weird chewy caramel Air Head (do you know what candy I'm taking about) with nuts in it.  I ate it anyway.  Free tastes so good!


So this pretty much has nothing to do with medical illustration.  I was hoping extreme couponing would help me save money as a grad student but it instead has just become an amusing story.  And I get a lot of weird mail, which can be fun.  Maybe someday I'll truly live the dream and get my groceries for free.  For now, I'll just get tiny packets of face wash and lotion in the mail and laugh about it.

Other weird free stuff I've gotten.

This stuff was actually good!

Check out the awesome free diapers, just in case there is ever a baby in need around me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Song-day 11/11 - Monster

This song is a ball of emotions.  When I wrote it, I truly felt like a monster hurting people left and right while I was just trying to care for them.  After time has passed, and I can see the situation from a distance I sing it more as an attack rather than a victim.

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about the situation that lead to write this song and how angry I felt that someone was able to push me to feeling like such a horrible, hateful person when I innocent.  When someone hates you so much for something you cannot control, it leaves you powerless and questioning of your own worth.  It's disgustingly unfair.  Though I had a lot of drafts in my head of what I would like to say to the person that made me feel like a selfish monster, I condensed it to one sentence:

Your misery was not and is not a viable excuse to be cruel to others.


Anatomy, Figure Drawing, and Social Issues

Figure drawing is the measuring stick of drawing abilities (at least it has been in my experience).  Is figure drawing my favorite thing to do?  Not really, but its importance for my portfolio keeps me trying.  Having Gross Anatomy as a vital part of my BVIS experience thus far, it has affected how I go about drawing the figure.  Of course I always knew the body is made of bone and muscle, but after seeing the attachments, how it all fits together, figure drawing is more like a puzzle than random foggy shapes.


Though this is not the best figure sketch I've ever done, it's the first time I've been aware of what all the bulges and shadows were there for.  The body is organic yet mechanical.  For me, it's easy to get too organic and "mushy" that the moving part don't seemed hinged enough.  Now, I think I will have an easier go with the attachment points of the arms and legs.  Making the whole body flow together instead of areas just blurred out by shadow so I don't have to deal with them.

Something that still has me scratching my head is the translation of what I see and what I know.  Because of course, a person is going to have a certain set of muscles but variations are so extreme.  If I see a shadow somewhere but logic says it should be a couple inches to the right, what is correct?  When is a person's body their own and when is it a science lesson?  I tend to lean towards their body is their own and exactly how I see it, no matter what muscle should or shouldn't be there.  

People use "science" too often to get out of social issues.  Science is a social issue.  It is not black and white, the human mind creates what is standard, that doesn't mean it is so.  It is not a place where there is no discrimination.  It is a place where a great amount of discrimination is created.  The dissector used in our Gross Anatomy class used the male body as the standard.  Honestly, in all my biology classes the male body seems to be the standard.  There are more illustrations done using the male form, the information about the male body comes first, and usually a female description is written in a way that is connected to how it is different than the male body.  

There is also no mention of intersex people.  What is being taught to future health professionals leaves no mention of how the body can find a middle ground between male and female.  This has nothing to do with the outward appearance which can also be extremely ambiguous, which is an entirely different issue being ignored.  People will rely on scientific knowledge that creates an untrue dichotomy.  We are learning what "correct" people have anatomically.  Subconsciously, only seeing the "averages" of humanity will create fear upon having a patient outside the norms.  Outside the norms in healthcare usually means the person is "sick" and needs to be "fixed."  Healthcare professionals will want to change perfectly healthy people with different anatomical attributes because they were never taught that what's outside of their textbook can be okay.  Seeing these issues, I will dedicate myself and my knowledge to helping people in minority groups have healthcare they deserve.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Song-day 11/4 - Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Well hello!  I wrote Chocolate Covered Strawberries when I was 14 or so.  I ate a chocolate covered strawberry on a Saturday morning, went down to the basement picked up my guitar and created this.  I remember the strawberry being extra delicious and feeling like I'd gotten away with something for eating it for breakfast.  This song tries to capture the feeling of optimism and being young that I felt that morning.  I still really enjoy playing it now, and sometimes I think this is a much better song than most of what I write now.  Enjoy!


Advice for Applying To Medical Illustration Grad School

Applying to grad school is an endurance event.  My entire senior year was dedicated to preparation for portfolio and application materials such as resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.  What I was lucky to have was a friend who applied the year before me and could answer all my many questions as well as friends that were also applying to the exact same schools.  Having that camaraderie made what could have been a torturous experience a... learning experience, ha.

For all of those out there who aren't in a medical illustration undergrad program, and you're going through the application process alone, I hope this makes the process a little easier.  For those in a medical illustration undergrad program, application is still confusing as heck, so this is for everyone.

The top two things that can get you into a program:

1) Portfolio

If your portfolio kicks ass, I am 99% any med. ill. graduate program will overlook almost all other weaknesses in an application.  Spend the most time perfecting your portfolio, if you are running out of time, do not cut corners here.  The tricky part is how do you know if your portfolio kicks ass?  I have to say, I do not have a formula.

Here are a couple tips:

-Quality over quantity:  I had a wide breadth of artwork, but I didn't have the "wow" piece I needed.  I would work on making one piece so incredibly fantastic you want to cry than trying every technique possible.  As long as none of the pieces you bring tank, the interviewers will remember the fantastic one and pretty much forget the rest.

-Know your portfolio:  Many of the questions asked for my Georgia interview related specifically to my art: "what's your favorite, why? What shows your artistic style the best?"  There were also easy questions such as "when did you make this" "what was your process."  These things are easy to forget over time or you never really thought about them from the beginning.  I suggest taking a quality photo of each piece you complete as you complete it and write down a few notes.  Date made, dimensions of the piece, what class you made it in, what references you used, your process, etc.  Also, make a few pieces outside of class.  I'm not sure why, but during interviews I was always asked if I had made a piece in or out of class and "in class" was not as good as "outside of class."

2) Contact the program before application

If the heads of the program already know a little bit about you, it takes a lot of pressure off your interview being both your first and last impression.  I'd send a quick email asking a pertinent question about the program as well as if they would mind critiquing one of your pieces.  I know for sure that Hopkins people are very willing to help go through your portfolio and critique it ahead of time.  I can't guarantee that but that's what they told me.  I think just getting an email out to ask a question gets your name out there.  Every little bit of advantage helps.

So there are a lot of other steps to the process of application, but I wanted to get a few tips out there.  Be proactive and stay on top of the application schedule, you are bound for success if you do those things.  Make sure to check if the programs websites are accurate, I know some are out of date.  That's a good time to email the program with a question.  And feel free to comment/email me a question.  I know I barely scratched the surface of the process.  Good luck!