Wk2-Dorm Room Death

This week’s art activity is to create a Landscape with a Corpse inspired by Kaoru. Izima Kaoru is a photographer who likes to take pictures of scenes of death with a little fashion in them. The models in his photographs wear expensive designer clothes while the context of the photo shows how they died. So my task for this week is to photograph my own death scene.

I roped in my younger brother David to help me with this and together we brainstormed ways people die for this project over lunch. We decided to go with death by drug overdose. I recently read an article on a suicide by an overdose that really suck with me and intrigued me in a way. Death is a very mysterious and rattling thing. Suicide is also a very unsettling and serious thing and I am in no way condoning it. I am doing this simply for art purposes for my class.

I decided we would have the photo shoot in my dorm room. We gathered some props like prescription pills, a water bottle, and a fashion magazine. It took a few tries to get the lighting and the poses right but here is how the photos turned out.

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In the wide image, you can see a normal college dorm room and on the left you can see a girl (me) in bed that looks like she’s asleep. However, if you look at the close up version, you can quickly figure out by the context of the photo and the other things that are in it that the girl is dead. There is a nearly empty prescription pill bottle on the desk along side of a half empty water bottle, a fashion magazine and a laptop with with pictures of models on them. These pictures tell a story of a girl that maybe suffered from self-esteem issues, bullying  or body dysmorphia and at one point it became too much to bear. Or maybe she had extensive amounts of homework from her fashion class that the stress was too much to handle. Who knows?

I chose to add a filter to these photographs to make them look more gloomy and fit in with the subject of death. My dorm room has too many bright colors that I felt didn’t go well with it. Overall, this was a very interesting experience. Though, I sincerely hope I won’t really die this way. David laughed at me while he took my pictures saying I looked awkward and it was really hard to keep a straight face. Thanks for letting me borrow your pills David :).

“Death must be so beautiful.To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” – Oscar Wilde

Wk 1-Classmate Conversation-Tayler Martin & Miguel Cabada

On the very first day of class I met both Tayler Martin and Miguel Cabada. This is my classmate conversation I had with them. I know we are only supposed to do one but Tayler and I noticed Miguel wasn’t talking to anyone so we included him as well. Since it was the first day and no one really knew what the heck we were doing it was a little awkward. There was a bit of awkward silence and I could tell we were all scrambling in our heads to think of questions to ask each other and not be weird. So this is what I found out about Tayler and Miguel.

Tayler Martin is a freshman and is enjoying her first year at CSULB. She was wearing all black. She also wore a black beanie, a cool nose ring and mega long eyelashes. Before we had our conversation, Prof. Zucman was asking about people’s majors in the class and we found out that Tayler was the only Nursing major in the class. She also told me she was from Long Beach so she doesn’t have a far commute to school which is nice. What I thought was really interesting was that she was home schooled before coming to CSULB. She briefly shared what that was like saying that she met with an adviser once a week that would give her packets of homework to complete each week. When I asked if she ever got bored being at home she said she did so she got a job to keep her self busy otherwise she would’ve gone crazy. Now that she started her second semester at Long Beach she is thinking about joining some clubs to get involved and make friends. Lucky for her, Week of Welcome is next week!

Miguel Cabada is also a freshman at CSULB. He is a Computer Engineering major and is from Bell Gardens. He was also looking to get involved on campus and was thinking about joining a fraternity. Miguel looked incredibly comfy in his black windbreaker and pants. I guess one thing we all had in common that was that we were wearing black from head to toe. Miguel, along with Tayler and I were still a bit a confused on the layout of this art class so we mainly talked about that. We asked each other if we had made out Word Press sites or Slack accounts yet which Tayler only had done. Miguel and I were slacking. After talking a for about 5 minutes Tayler took a photo of the three of us which was a little weird because we barely knew each other. We also exchanged contact information so Tayler could send Miguel and I the photo for our post  (Above: Miguel left, Me center, Tayler right). And just like that we completed our first awkward classmate conversation! Yay! Can’t wait to meet the rest of the class!

Wk1-Art Experience-Plaster Casting

So today I did my first art project for my art class ART 110 Intro To The Visual Arts at California State University, Long Beach. The activity was to make a plaster casting of our hand or foot. I chose to do my hand.

Unfortunately, I am not able to go to Seal Beach tomorrow to do the project with my professor and classmates, so instead I just did the project at home with the help of my younger sister Nathalie. We don’t live very close to a beach so we improvised. Luckily, we have a playground in our backyard that has plenty of sand for us to use so that way we didn’t have to go all the way to a beach to do the project.

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Lovely little playground at my house.

The first thing was did was go to Home Depot to buy the Plaster of Paris box. It wasn’t too expensive. It cost $6.98. Well actually $7.52 with taxes to be exact. We also got the five gallon stir stick from the paint area, which were complimentary. All the other supplies that we needed we had at home (bucket, metal shovel, paint brush).

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Plaster of Paris box from Home Depot.

I didn’t know how this project was going to go down exactly so we tried this two different ways. We took another bucket and filled it with wet sand about half way then, I had my sister stick her hand in while I filled the rest of the bucket with wet sand and packed it in (Nathalie was my test dummy LOL).

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My sister Nathalie with her hand in the sand.

She slowly took her hand out to leave a mold, and then mixed the box of plaster with cold water in my other bucket. Instructions stated, two parts plaster, one part water. The mix should typically have of the same consistency of pancake mix but not as sticky and more watery, if that makes sense. Then I just took the pancake plaster mix and slowly poured it in Nathalie’s mold.

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Hand mold filled with plaster.

We still had a ton of plaster left over and I don’t like to be wasteful so we tried it a few more times. The second time, I just dug a hole in the sand and stuck my own hand in it to make my mold and filled it with plaster. My sister wanted to do it again so she made another hole in the sand for her hand and filled that one to with plaster too. The instructions from my professor say to let the plaster set for about half an hour. But, after all this art making and digging in the sand we developed quite an appetite. So we went inside to make mini burgers. While we prepared the meat, cut up the veggies and put some fries in the oven, my dad was firing up the grill. The mini burgers and fries tasted like heaven after all that hard work.

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Mini burgers 🙂

Through the haze of our food comas we almost forgot about our plaster castings setting in the sand! They had been sitting there for about 2 hours so they had to be ready. We carefully dug them out hoping they wouldn’t break. To my surprise, mine came out pretty nice with all five fingers still attached. You could clearly see it was a hand. I couldn’t say the same for my sister though…Unfortunately for Nathalie, the two castings she made looked like the hands of a zombie from the show The Walking Dead. The fingers all blended together and some were awkwardly large and some really short. I couldn’t stop laughing. Neither could our mom. She said they looked like something out of a scary movie. I’d show you a picture of them but I don’t want to give you nightmares. So here’s a picture of mine instead.

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Me with my plaster casting of my hand.

Overall, I really enjoyed doing this activity and having the opportunity to laugh at my sister. In the future, I would like to try this activity at an actually beach since the sand there is finer and would probably make my casting look better.