Also, shout out to this homie right here.

Also, shout out to this homie right here.

He’s dead now, but he was beautiful. *bows head in moment of silence*


This is a Reflection Post About my Self Portrait

This is my self portrait:


These are the steps of how it came to be:

I first started out with this blank canvas:Image

then used charcoal to cover the canvas…Image

…until it was completely black like this:Image

…and had it set up at a station like this:Image

I was told to start at the shiniest part of my nose:Image

…then work my way down to the mouth:ImageImageImage

I was instructed that I was outlining my lips, which I wasn’t supposed to do. (In my defense, I thought my lips had an outline of its own- which is true, but I was going about it the wrong way. So I redid it, and it came out like this):Image

…which is so much better. At this point I was a little behind, so in one night I did the rest of my face:Image

added some eyebrows:


then a beauty mark between my eyes and my nose:Image

…then I noticed that something was off; I was told that my eyelids didn’t start where my pupils ended in my portrait, which made me look more surprised than normal; I made the outline around my eyes a bit darker. Once that was done, this was my final result (along with some minor touch-ups/shadowing/darkening/outlining/etc):


These are the issues I had/observations I had made during/after the making of my self-portrait:

  1. I had difficulty creating forms instead of outlines, as I was instructed to do. Somehow, the forms and shapes that I had made did make recognizable objects (once I stopped doubting myself) especially when creating the shadows around my face. It had definitely just looked like nothing up close when creating it, but it turned out great once I stepped back and looked at the larger picture.
  2. My top priority/concern with this project was successfully making my portrait actually look like me, if nothing else. Forget proportion or scaling; my way of determining whether my work was a success was if I could have someone else see the resemblance between the image and I. Asha had said it better than I ever could in class; it’s not like the chair project where there’s more than one kind of chair, so you could still get away with not drawing a chair exactly what it looks like and one would know that it is a chair. That doesn’t work with self-portraits; either it looks like you or it doesn’t. There isn’t another you walking around for you to justify that it does resemble you. And a person should know their own face by now. So there is sort of no excuse :/
  3. Speaking of which, I showed my parents? The very two people who birthed me? A portion of my portrait? And they said they couldn’t see the resemblance?! Which is so insulting on the highest level since they would be the ones to know my face the most, SINCE THEY CREATED IT; plus it just felt like they didn’t believe in my work. 😦 However, I showed my friends, and they said the resemblance was striking? So.
  4. Drawing the eye was the hardest part for me; the proportions were killing me. And it’s so strange because I had measured my proportions the way I was taught to, but somehow my eye still looks bigger than it should be; I don’t know, you tell me. Plus, making sure that both eyes were more or less the same size drove me crazy.
  5. Working with charcoal was messy, but satisfying. It felt good seeing the physical effect of my efforts on my hands.
  6. Proportion was bad, but not terrible. I think, if anything, this was relatively the easiest project in which proportion was used. Which is weird, given how the structures I’ve used before were perfectly proportional, so it should be easier, right? Or maybe because my face my face isn’t proportional I had wiggle room or leeway to mess up and not have it be too noticeable or terrible…?
  7. While actually working on the portrait, I thought about how my portrait would have came out if I had started with my eyes; I’m not sure. Would it have been off a bit? Now I’m thinking about how the scaling would have been if I had drawn my eyes first- better or worse?
  8. Starting with a dark canvas and adding light to it was sort of hard, especially when it came to shadowing; the shadowing was done in reverse I guess- starting with the shadow and making everything else lighter…?
  9. It was so hard getting a reliable opinion on my work to see if it resembles me because something about the photo version of it was a bit off or distorted.
  10. Coming in at night to work on the portrait was so much more fun than working in the day; the lighting was better, thus the shadowing was more defined. Plus I’m just a night person.
  11. I didn’t realize till later on that I was by accident using both my light and the light of the person next to me, which kind of alters how the shadowing looked. So from that point on, I only used my own because the effects were more striking.
  12. I’m glad I didn’t incorporate my glasses into the portrait even though I had used it in the making of the portrait. I feel as though my eyes were a salient part of my face, and putting glasses over them would’ve taken away from most of my face. Plus the thought of adding glasses over my already huge eyes would have been such a hassle, and it probably wouldn’t have looked right. It was hard also trying to scale my eye with only one eye open especially since I’m near-sighted. Most of what I had completed was done by chance and prayer, haha.
  13. Overall, I am really proud of myself and how it came out, especially the details in my lips,eyes, and the shadowing.

This is what I had learned from the class overall:

  1. Seeing things from different perspectives, whether it be from part to the whole (and vice versa) or something in relation to another.
  2. Having confidence in myself
  3. To appreciate more subtle things than I used to

And here are some other portraits- the “Honorable Mentions”:


it was funny to see how everyone’s natural facial expression in their portrait compared to their actual one; I personally believe my portrait looks more kind and approachable than my actual appearance.Image

I really like her use of detail in the above portrait; I personally believe hers looks the most realistic.Image

I also liked the detailing in this portrait, with the shadowing and use of lighting. Something about this portrait’s lighting looks like it’s the reflection of water of some sort…? I can’t explain it, but it’s a cool effect.


Finally, I’ll compare my portrait to a selfie I took the other day:

sp 13 20212_10200523791633067_516951284_n


..eeeh. Sort of animated. I cheated myself on the eyebrows and got lazy, haha. Eyes are exaggerated, definitely, but I can’t tell if they’re supposed to be like that…?


  1. How are established systems supported, subverted and /or redirected in Muniz project?

    • I’m not sure of what this question is asking
    • Does classicism count as an established system? I feel like it was evident before the project, but afterwards? I guess it was sort of broken, since it redefined what could be considered art.
  2. Describe Muniz’ project

    • Muniz created art out of recyclable of garbage using the pickers of the landfill as his subjects for the portraits.
  3. Who are the groups involved?

    •  catadores work in a co-operative founded and led by Sebastião Carlos Dos Santos, the ACAMJG, or Association of Pickers of Jardim Gramacho
    • the other group is Vic Muniz and his team
  4. What does Muniz bring to these groups?

    • Vic brought external attention and internal significance to the pickers of the landfill. Because of the art he created with the items in their landfill, he created a new aspect of contemporary art which brought a social message to those who knew nothing of the Wasteland before this. As a result, Vic created pride for the catadores who saw their jobs as nothing more than a way to generate money, and thus survive.
  5. Do you see problems with the project?

    • It was mentioned in the video that after participating in the project, several of the catadores did not want to return to the landfill to work- which could be a good and bad thing. If all catadores had found a world outside of the landfill, what would become of the landfill itself, and who would take care of it?
    • I’m not sure of which project this question is referring to: the landfill or the portraits. The only visible problem to me is the self-degradation or classicism.
  6. What are long term implications?

    • ACAMJG have definitely been placed on the map, and will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
    • Their lives have improved by being a part of the project; with the money they earned, many were able to afford to go after and accomplish their dreams.
  7. Other things I wanted to mention:

    • There was a lot of irony demonstrated throughout the documentary:
      • In one of the first of Vic’s projects mentioned, the children of the plantation workers, I like how Vic made the portrait about children of those who worked in plantation workers, but had all of the sweetness sucked out of their own actual lives.
      • Vic’s main companion in the project, I believe, had compared the bustling of the landmine to that of the stock exchange which is funny in its imagery as both are two completely different ends of the same economical spectrum- one being higher class and respectable, and the other being the opposite. But the way in which both function are kind of the same.
      • Some of the pickers were so filled with dignity and pride to be called a catador, which no one working outside of the landfill would assume to expect; except there was a bit of awkward classicism in that even though the pickers are aware that to the outside outside world, their work is considered low-class and dirty, but given their life circumstances, they really had no choice. With that said, however, they still looked down upon prostitutes whom may have endured the same hardships but had chosen a different route. You would think that they could at least empathize with those of the same struggle, but I guess not. How can you be at the bottom and judge those not so much lower than you? I guess that’s classism.
    • When Vic had heard one of the pickers say that the presence of cameras was due to them filming for “Animal Planet”, I chuckled, but then realized that there were no animals? Was he/she referring to themselves? Was it a joke?
    • Can we talk about how beautiful Brazilians are? Not relevant but wow. All that mixing of cultures and people, especially Tiao. So beautiful in more ways that one. *crying*

This is a Post about my Graphical Thinking Project

Part I: The Preparation

Let’s start off with the end result, following by how I got there:

GT final result

So first, I had randomly chosen the words tough and tender. At first, I had wanted to change it, but decided not to because it must have been fate, and I don’t mess with fate so.

Second, we had to create lists of concrete/ things that remind us of said words. Our assignment was to create five pages worth of thumbnails for each word. I did tender first; here’s how it came out:

tender #1tender #2Imagetender #4Image

Tough was harder to do:


I’ll be honest: I had no idea what direction tough was going, apparently.I think for the first few, I was going for things that reminded me of toughness, such as animals and criminals, but it more in a literal sense so it didn’t work. For the very last row, I had gotten some direction from the professor, and from then on, tough evolved from those above to these:


Then, I had to choose which thumbnails would represent tender and tough. For tough, I had chosen the spiral-like figure at the bottom.

Next, I had to choose an actual representation for tough and tender. I was having a rough week and had completely forgotten about this portion of the project, but for its impromptu-ness, it didn’t come out so bad. So these were the options that I had chosen for tender:

actual tender 2actual tender 1

(Mind you, both pictures were taken on an iPhone the day before the project was due; considering that, I think these came out so well. Also, shout out the the faculty member who let me take the picture of raw meat- how cool is that? So supportive!) I went with the rain drop because it evoked a more pleasant tenderness than the raw meat could (i.e., the raindrop that’s sort of in a heart shape, the red color that symbolizes love, the mirroring of my tender abstract) although the raw meat would have been a great option (seeing as though raw meat is the definition of tender, literally) but it wasn’t as… welcoming as the raindrop does. Plus the quality of that picture- woo!

Once I had chose the abstract and literal versions of both words, I had to enlarge them 5′ x 5′, cut and paste it onto a white background, then a final black background.

Part II: The Critique

So this is the critique about the final result:

1. What are the distinct unifying formal qualities?

  • tender

    1. defined drops in literal and abstract
    2. rain on leaf gives off a “gentle” touch
    3. shapes composed of lines
    4. circular shape in literal and abstract
    5. floating has perception of softness, like clouds
    6. “small, but mighty” blob
    7. small scale gives perception of disappearing eventually
    8. leaves in literal picture signify mother nature (at least the soft side)
  • tough

    1. lines
    2. shapes
    3. nails and tools signify toughness when using construction apparatus
    4. dark to light shade used in abstract version
    5. circular shape

2. How does the materiality of the subject relate to the literal form? Describe what you can see.

  • tender

    1. the use of metal and sharp tools really helps gives a tough aspect to it
  • tough

    1. the use of a leaf, drops of water, and the color red gives the picture a soft, nurturing look.

3. How does the combination of these two qualities create meaning? Do the materials chosen convey a particular function or sensibility?

  • tender

    1. the toughness and the centrality is what makes the whole picture
  • tough

    1. the use of nature and the color basically conveys tender

4. What’d you learn? What’s the point of the project? What’s the connect of visual thinking?

  • I learned about applying the elements of art to create a larger message, since usually it’s done the other way around- you make a piece, then find the elements within it.
  • visual thinking is about taking small components apart and seeing how they relate to each other to make a whole.

5. What’d you like about the project that you didn’t do? How does it connect to your project? What’s the overall connecting theme?

  • I liked the connecting social message to the animal itself.
  • Just like with my project, you had to take apart the smaller components to see how they coincide together as a whole.

6. What are two projects that you weren’t involved with that are particularly successful?

  • the ones that especially caught my eye not only had a social message but related the message to the animal itself. One was about the environmental hazards of not recycling that can affect sea animals; the animal that the student had chosen tended to live in the sea, and could easily be affected by the issue that she was trying to advocate. Her entire animal was composed of the very things that could kill it- non-recyclable items:

ap 1apd1

  • The other was about lung cancer, and the student had chosen a bird to send that message. The student used all natural products, which I think juxtaposes well with the first animal, and solidifies her message of cleaning the same air in which birds fly.

ap 2ap d2

  • I think that makes the message even stronger and makes a more valid point than using just any animal. I believe that’s what makes it successful.

7. If you had another week, how would you change your project?

  • I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for time management, but for reasons that I don’t feel like explaining, these two weeks wouldn’t have changed any other way since some predicaments were out of my control. I think the pandemonium of the project is what made it, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

8. What’s visual analysis (in your own words)?

  • Part I: your initial reaction/thoughts/basic instincts about the art
  • Part II: your after- thoughts of seeing the art
  • Part III: how Parts I and II come together to make said art

9. Additional Comments

  • There was something so visually appealing about those graphical thinking with lots of color used; it looked so good against the black background. Here’s what I mean:

GT other 1


the one above in particular not only has vibrant colors but also movement so that my eyes are engaged and goes everywhere around the photo. And these get honorable mentions:

GT other 2GT other 3

  • Tender was so hard to convey in abstract form, mostly because it’s a texture-based (???) word, and so simple. It’s hard to make such a simple and tangible word abstractly while still effectively sending its message. I had mentioned that I felt as though I had cheated myself when I created my final result, but judging from the picture, no one would’ve known the struggle behind trying to come up with that concept.
  • From this project I definitely learned about myself- my patience, my endurance, my tolerance, and my performance while working under pressure.

Reflection about Commentary on my Graphical Thinking Project

Here’s a couple of questions 3  other students in my class answered as critique of my graphical thinking boxes:

  • Does person have 100 sketches?

    1. No, she doesn’t
    2. No, she does not. Tender-50  Tough-26
    3. No, tender 50  tough 26

My comment: I had trouble finding abstract images for tough. Tough was tough; which is weird, because I had though it’d be the easier one to do.

  • What marks best define each term and why?

    1. Sharpie, pen (black), pencil. 
      • Pencil best defines tender because it’s a light shade
      • Maybe sharpie best defines tough because it’s bold and permanent.
    2. For tender, pencil because it is light and gives a soft and non-aggressive look. For tough, I would use marker because it makes a bold statement.
    3. For tender, thin lines and pencil works best.

My comment: I knew all this already, haha. Nice reinforcement.

  • Which compositions best define each term and how?

    1. The composition where the sharpie surrounds the lightly shaded because it’s like the bold overcomes the light (tender).
      • The composition where the big arrow overcomes the small ball because it resembles bullying.
    2. Tender: Pg #2, #5- Looks soft, mushy, and squishy; the shape gives it its texture- PERFECT.
      • Tough: Pg #2, #10- Horns give your image roughness, testosterone, toughness, and masculinity by the unrefined edges [and] the size.
    3. Tender: #1, #2- it looks soft, squished and tight
      • Tough: #1, #2- the shapes are rigid, strong, and reminds me of tough.

My comment: I’m not sure what student #3 is referring to, but for the selections of the other two, I was surprised by student #2’s response. She had chosen the ones I thought least about. I agree with student #1.

  • Anything else you wanted to contribute

    1. Need more drawings! 🙂
    2. Play around with your size on the horn and keep it unrefined- don’t make your lines smooth.
    3. Use sharpie and make thick, strong lines for tough.

My comment: I’m not sure if I can use the horns in this project since it may go against the “using identifiable cultural symbols rule” I’ll ask about it though.

This is a Critique Post About My Box

1. What did you like about this assignment?

  • I enjoyed the freedom of being able to design my box however I wanted. It was fun to challenge myself creatively
  • The feeling of satisfaction was the box was done- seeing how all the chaos came together to make a final, solid piece.

2. What frustrated you about this assignment?

  • In class I had mentioned how permanency was an issue for me- how once  your decision has been made, your actions were irreversible, especially when it came to gluing down my pieces.
  • Finding a pattern that no one else had used frustrated me. I’ll be honest here-I hated the thought of having my design be very similar to someone else’s.
  • Using the straight-edge was a little irritating but not too much.
  • Making sure my box was proportionate and as close to the real one as possible was a little hectic.

3. How is this visual art?

  • It’s that part of perception where the little pieces come together to make a larger, whole, sensible piece. I’m sure there’s a word for this concept.

4. What did you learn from this assignment?

  • To…not give up. To make it to the end, because sometimes the journey there is problematic, but the end result is usually okay.

5. Additional Comments:

So these are all the other boxes in order of how everyone drew it, angle to angle:

all boxes 1 all boxes 2 all boxes 3

And these were the other boxes that I found especially interesting. The shading in this first one is pretty cool:

other boxes 1

I like the way the pattern looks like animal prints in this one (it’s very fitting to the person who made it):

other boxes 2

I like the incorporation of numbers in this one:

other boxes 3

this person had the same idea as mine (sadly), but I think it came out way better in comparison:

other boxes 4