Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ryan Harper Material Rhetoric

I always thought about how you present yourself in front of others by the things you wear and how it affects how they think of you. I never really defined it as “Material Rhetoric”. The things you wear do say something about you. Your personal style is almost like your personal art. Your personal style is a way to express who you are to others without having to actually speak any words. Even if you don’t know it, you are speaking loudly with the things you wear. Others take into account the things you wear in an attempt to form judgments and understandings of people. I know I do look at things someone else wears, not to pass judgment but to get a better understanding of the person standing in front of me. You can ask the questions; “Is he/she a hipster?” “Is he/she into fashion?” “Does he/she work in a professional setting?” See how the things we wear can raise questions in others’ minds and help them understand us before even speaking to us.

  Beyoncé for instance, she wears these revealing outfits on stage and high heels. Some would think that she just wants to look fashionable, which would also be true. However, her stage outfits represent a woman in charge. Beyoncé often says that she wants to look like she’s in control while she’s on stage. If she wore less revealing things would it probably change her image? Take Beyoncé off stage. Beyoncé always say how her stage persona and who she really is are completely different. She says off stage she’s a lot more reserve, and she’s known she being private and a bit more shy when she’s not on stage. However, when people met her they expect this “diva attitude” because of the way she is on stage. So what if Beyoncé wore the things she wears on stage in everyday life? What if she wore the clothes she wears in everyday life on stage?  See how the things we wear can raise questions in others’ minds and help them understand us before even speaking to us.

                I would define my “material rhetoric” as very understated. It’s kind of hard for me to ear things that would reveal too much of the person I am because I’m the kind of person who actually likes a person to be unsure of me until they meet me. I think the way I dress is vibrant. I like for a person to feel as if they can approach me if they wanted to. I think I do show personality in my material rhetoric, not so much to where people feel as if they know me, but just enough to where others want to know me. Actually the other day I wore a rosary necklace. In my mind I was wearing it because I thought it was just a fashionable thing to wear. However, when others see me wearing the piece they thought I actually did rosary and that I was catholic. I hadn’t analyzed it in the moment, but they piece was actually speaking to other people. The piece was saying something about me even though I didn’t know it.

-          Ryan Harper

My shoe game off the chainn

Material Rhetoric is defined as the clothes or items you wear that represent you. I often tried to appear stylish but as laid back as possible. My style is normally a T-shirt and some khaki shorts with a pair of black vans. I seem stylish by today’s standard but I also try to dress laid back. If you were to ask me what I’d normally wear it would be a shirt and a pair of basketball shorts followed by some “slip on” shoes.  What that combination says about me is that I’m kind of chill, much laid back person. When I have to dress nice, I like to wear a shirt and skinny tie with a blazer or sports jacket and Khakis.  This dressing combination shows that I am serious about why I’m there and I’m dressed to impress. How you dress is how people prejudge you.
                My closet is full of t-shirts, shorts and jeans. I have a lot of plain tees from H&M which two of them are black, one white, and one red. I also have two Nike shirts. Both shirts are slogan shirts which one says “Prepare to dominate” and the other is a “Team USA” shirt representing the US team in the London Olympics right now. I also have a jean jacket/shirt from Levi’s in which I normally wear with either jeans or shorts. I also have a lot of crewnecks representing different colleges around the country. I have a Mizzou, Harvard, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Kentucky crewnecks sitting in my closet. These shirts and crewnecks are considered in style and I like to stay looking nice for the ladies.
                Some of the jeans in my closest are from express, aeropostle, true religion and other brands. I really have like 20 pairs of jeans. I always have my favorite pair though which are my aeropostle jeans because of the color. They pretty much go with anything and they’re so nice. I also have three pairs of Khaki shorts. They are designed by Union Bay. I have the regular khaki colored shorts, gray shorts, and a really big pair of brown shorts. Last time I counted I had thirty pair of basketball shorts. YES THIRTY PAIRS OF BASKETBALL SHORTS. Most people don’t believe me when I say that and wonder why I have so many. My thing is you can never have too many pairs of shorts.

                My shoe game is off the chain. Yes I know I rhymed and no I’m not a rapper.  I have one pair of black vans but am hoping to get another pair before school starts. I have 9 pairs of Jordan brand shoes in my closet. I have 3 pairs of Nike and I also own a pair of Addidas flips flops. I even have the Nike Elite socks but I only wear those to play basketball. When I go out I like too look as nice as possible and everything in my closest suggest that.

Katlin Strzelecki

                Being art students, living in the biggest city in the Midwest, the term material rhetoric isn’t one we’d normally use but it’s one we live, breathe and absorb everyday into the fabric of our being. Coming here, I was terrified it would be like high school where I was seen as the weird girl who listened to devil worshiping music and was constantly taking photos of everything and anything. It was my greatest fear to not be accepted for the person I am here in Chicago. The concept of being understood by others is so vast that I would never expect anyone to be able to after just meeting me, but it’s when people can’t embrace the idea that different doesn’t mean defective.
                By looking at me, you can tell I have a style that differs from the norm. When I was 13, I went to my first show with some older friends. They were my best friends and they were playing one of the opening sets for the first August Burns Red CD release show at the Myspace Café in Warren, Michigan. Thinking back, I can remember how the culture that this music created for this group of people was incredible. I was sucked in immediately and although I’ve had different turns in style and taste in music, metal has always been the core of how I dress and presented myself.
                Wearing name brands or having the perfect hair has never been my main concern. To be completely honest, I’ve just always wanted to be honest with others about the person I am. As I said, it terrifies me to think that people will detest me because of a difference in appearance, tastes or interests. But that’s human nature to be afraid, yet interested in the unknown. From that first show at the Myspace Café and on, I went from wearing Hollister and Abercrombie to band shirts and bandanas. I found myself wrapped in the culture and when I was 14, I got my first facial piercing; my right nostril.
                Soon following my first nose piercing, my mom allowed me to get my septum, then my industrial. I turned 19 years old this year on May 20th and since that first piercing 5 years ago, I’ve had over 17 different parts of my body pierced and I’m nowhere near stopping.  A year ago, I got my first tattoos, one behind each ear. They’re a treble and a base clef, to represent the 11 year I spent dedicated to choral performance and voice lessons along with the 3 years I spent writing music with friends in bands of my own.
                I come off as a completely different person than a huge majority of the people I meet would ever expect. Talking to Evan after class one day, he admitted that he thought I was a lesbian at first when he met me in class. Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a lesbian, I’m not one and I thought it was hilarious because he thought that purely based on seeing I had tattoos. All 8 of the art work I have so far on my body mean something very important to me. Art is what you make of it, and my tattoos are part of what makes me who I am. Someday I will be just as old and wrinkly as everyone else, but I will have the most interesting way of explaining my life and the story it’s told by the tattoos that will cover me.
                In the lecture from Brendan Riley yesterday about zombies, he ended the presentation with a few closing points, one of which being “be thought about the things you love”. That was one of the most captivating things I’ve heard in my life because it’s how I truly try to live my life but I’d never thought of it that way. The way I stay thoughtful about the things I love is through my tattoos, my photos and my tastes. Everyone is different, even if you’re identical down to your DNA, our minds are the most potent weapons we will ever have. We love the things we do without any rhyme or reason, it’s just purely because we are who we are and no one should ever force us to change that.

Material Rhetoric

Material Rhetoric is almost like your judging someone by the way they appear. It could either be a good thing or not good at all. Most people will spend their life trying to find ways to dress that will defined them or so fit it. People crave to be unique in different but in all of us doing so, are we different?

During our first lecture doctor Ames taught us about material rhetoric and what it says  about you. One thing that stuck with me is when you said “what is this dude talking about? Is this dude even a dude?” well she was dressed in a button up dress shirt and bow tie with dress pants as if a “boy” would dress, and I think it defined her as she enjoys being herself and isn’t your typical girlie girl and is comfortable in her skin.
Well yes but we are also all alike without realizing it. I don’t like to label myself as anything which is kind of what the blog question is asking, but if I were I’d have to say I’m just me. I wear what I want and sometimes I mix different styles of clothing. My style is classic vintage shirts with preppy shorts; I know most people are thinking, yeah right? But that is how I define myself; I think I dress nicely so I hope other people think so to. The vintage shirts say he’s got style and that I know what I like and a personable person to be able to wear whatever I want and not care what others think. By preppy shorts I mean they are normally bright colored or kaki style shorts, I think since its bright and warm colors it says that I am a warm person who you could go to with your problems and would always be there for someone.

I have four piercings, one on my right lobe, two on my left lobe, and one of my right cartilage. Piercings are a strong way to define someone, I think it symbolized that you’re a little fearless and that you’re willing to be more of a risk taker. It says that I don’t care what people think because most boys wouldn’t have all of those piercings on their ears.  I think each piercing has a different meaning because every time you get another piercing, it gives a whole new meaning and purpose. I think that my piercings define me as different as most boys or people. And that it shows that I am a risk taker and have no fear to be able to get the piercings and walk around in them.

I’m always stretching, dancing, or tapping with my feet; by this you can tell I’m obsessed with dance. My math teacher senior year called my “tappy” because it’s all I would do with my feet. It says that I am a dancer and that I am thinking of something that I love 24/7.

Art: Film

   Flashing lights, rolling tape, and writing scripts. That’s what defines my art. Being able to create a character and watch it come to life on camera is the best feeling. Film is there for people to take risks and to display on film what people are afraid of to do in real life. It opens up endless ways to make your ideas be heard. Anybody can hold a camera and press record; you need to have passion in what you are doing to make something simple as that come across extraordinary on the screen. My job is screenwriting. The brains behind a film, it is what gives the actors their characters…literally. I am passionate about what I do. During high school, and all while I was trying to find myself. I found film. I never got a big role in my class, because most people didn’t acknowledge the technical part of what film is. The people who actually make it happen all they see are the stars. I wrote a script for my classes mini movie “Exposed.” It was about a high school full of teens and they all have a secret within their cliques, and then in the end they are eventually exposed. I know, it wasn’t like a full on script for Steven Spielberg’s but it was good for a 15 year old girl in high school. Even though I never got credit for writing the script for the movie I took a lot of knowledge and experience from that, but next time I won’t be writing for a little high school production class movie I’ll be writing for my own.


Since the beginning of mankind, we often judge people based on their looks. The way they dress, the way they wear their hair, and the way they speak. At times we won’t even personally know someone before we pass judgment on them. The vibe you get from someone may be positive or negative, either way you tend to notice someone’s exterior before anything. But isn’t that ultimately what we want? For people to make some sort of assumption about us? If we didn’t want people to assume something about us we wouldn’t dress the way we dress or carry ourselves. We often use the phrase “don’t judge me” in today’s society because it is believed we don’t “judge” people like we used to based on their dialect or the color of their skin. In my opinion we judge people more now than ever. But is that such a bad thing? We choose to dress a certain way because it lets people get a little taste of our personalities.
            I would like to think of my material rhetoric as something that is constantly evolving. I don’t like to conform to the way society would necessary want me to as a young adult. I’m not the skinniest girl in town, but that’s okay with me. One thing that makes me unique is that I’m so different than the typical “theater kid.” I have piercings, and directors are often surprised when they see my wardrobe. There it goes again—the judgment of a typical theater kid. When directors told me that I wasn’t the typical theater I figured it was the way I dressed. I would look around a room in an audition, and every girl would be wearing a long pencil skirt and a plain shirt, and there I was in a black dress that only Wednesday Adams would wear and bright red hair. Needless to say I got the role that I wanted, which was the villain.
In theater, we are often constantly defining our material rhetoric of the characters we play. In every play there is an antagonist, and a protagonist. They each dress a certain way. The hero of a story is often dressed in brighter, happier colors. For a male, maybe it’s just a white t-shirt in jeans. And for a female lead depending on if they’re the villain or hero of course, may wear something short and sweet or dark and flowy. Society makes us think that darker clothing makes a certain negative statement. The way the characters dress tells a lot about their material rhetoric as their own being. We can connect our material rhetoric through our characters which makes an excellent connection. In every single production I had been in, I had been casted as a villain. After wondering why I never got to be a hero, I realized that that I would probably always be casted as the villain. I’m tall, my voice isn’t the squeakiest, and I have dark features. Being casted as these roles is ultimately me being “judged” by directors.
My inspiration!
            Overall, I choose to dress the way I dress because each of my clothing pieces remind me of someone or something. Whether it’s a celebrity who I ADORE, or it could be something that I have experienced. Dressing the way I do is almost like a never ending art project. It’s so fun to play around with your hair and experiment with how we look to the way we feel. I would like to think that all of my outfits say “Hey this is me, nice to meet you!”


                Everyone has their way of material rhetoric. My way I define myself is of course through clothes and food. Fashion itself tells a lot about one person. I don’t have a have a specific style trend besides comfy chic. I like the basic, jeans and a t-shirt. I’m obsessed with color. I love bright colors like corals, green well more of a sage green; I love the yellow hues and orange. I love to wear color because it’s who I am. It makes me happy even on a cloudy day. Color is cheerful, color is fun and I think everyone should wear it. This summer season I have been only buying orange and deep plum color. I live in legging and vans and toms in the fall. Vans are more of a skater known style, which I not, but there shoes are simple and a must have. The Toms brand flats are the best thing because it’s an easy shoe and very casual, you can also wear them with anything.  One thing I do notice is one color I don’t know wear- black. That’s not my color. It makes me sad, that’s one color I don’t think is a color, but I do own a black blazer which is adorable. Now I’m becoming in to more jewelry, I love a statement necklace but I only wear jewelry in the fall because it’s too hot for a heavy necklace walking 5 blocks every day. I’m not obsessed with fashion; however I would love to attend the Oscars of fashion-the Met gala in New York.  It’s the who’s who of the Hollywood elite. You definitely have to be somebody who is on Anne WIntor fashion eye. Every year they have different theme and this year theme was one of the legendary designer Alexander McQueen.  I know one year I’m be interview the celebrities on the red carpet, or better yet, I’ll be walking the red carpet with my dream designer-Oscar de La Renta. Now that would be fabulous.

                Benson, from the book lost boys of Sudan, is eager to wear clothes and would love to own a pair since he is tired of being naked. Rest to sure that if had a style he would own the brand Vans. He would love fashion. I sense he would be a little fashionista.


The material rhetoric that I wear I think speaks volumes about which how I because I like to think dress exceptionally well. To me my finest material are my Cartier sunglasses, and my Rolex watch.

                The reason why I like to wear my Rolex watch is because it is a symbol to me, that time is money and that in order to be at the spot I want to be, I need to be on time. My Rolex was a gift to me by my father for an eighth grade graduation present. When I asked him could I get a presidential one, he just laughed at me, and said “The next is on you”. This has always been in my head since he said it. It makes me strive for more every time I look at it. When I came to Chicago my mom told me I couldn’t wear it and made me put on another watch. She was fearful that someone might just to conduct harm to my body for it.  Now I don’t even where the watch because it just doesn’t bring the same value and meaning as my Rolex. It’s not the brand name that speaks to me it’s about the lesson my father gave me with the watch that matters to me.

                My Cartier sunglasses as well were left at home, which I think was a good choice until I get use to the city and know my way around. But there is something about looking through the lens of my glasses that I just see a whole new world and way of life. Its sounds corny even to me but it’s just me being honest. I love my glasses, and in Detroit it is like the thing to have, but also unsafe which why I don’t really wear them when I’m in the city. Because you have to know the surroundings you’re in before you put on materialistic things.   

Me and clothing

My clothing has one word that’s black for as long as I known the color, fascinate me. It’s where all mysterious things come and go. Without it no fear could be set on the normal man, who later learns of the word confusion. The color is like symbol of me not knowing where I’m going but I know in the opposite side I’ll find the beacon of light. At times the band shirts describe who I am. Like my nirvana t-shirt tells one I am open for ideas. BFMV (Bullet for My Valentine) shirt tells you I like foreign music I’m not scared to try it.   

I wear my blue shoes that present how calm I am and how easy going I am. Shorts I wear can depict that I am relaxed kind of guy. The way I dress is unusual or normal for some people it all depends who one talks to. The life my clothing brings can be sad or confused. I don’t really know yet but it takes time to figure out these things. My hair is always messy that describes my rebellious years. There are times when I have to wear dress clothes I don’t really fancy that type of clothing but its only on special occasions that I have to wear these clothes it really makes me feel uncomfortable to be wearing them, but I have to make sacrifices for the ones I care for.

 To connect to the lecture of yesterday I really felt that how he demonstrated the zombie topic wasn’t how someone who truly loves zombie things could express himself. His clothing didn’t really show any interest as one who would wear a zombie t-shirt. But we all have our way of telling who we are. Ones it takes longer than others while some express themselves as fast as a bullet going through a zombies head. Yes I know kind of failed to make a zombie joke.    
post 6 art?

You can’t just define art. Of course there is a definition stating that art is skill produced by imagination and creativity. That’s the way the people define it the as I like to call them the right thinkers.  Art is a way of expression it’s that escape to a land in which is your own. The pictures in one’s head and the emotional impact that it gives into the air. There is an endless detail into what art truly is and what it means I don’t think you can truly define art. Every piece painting made came from a specific person and to try to define the work is like trying to define the artist. The Google definition doesn’t lie. It is a skill created through imagination and creativity but there’s more to it than Google can process.

                The thought of trying to explain how art is defined is harder than it looks. The frustration that I get when I’m asked to define something that has no words to it. One of my favorite artists is Margaret kilgallen.  She is known for her bird’s trees and women. When you look at her art you are quickly memorized by the pop out color and the boldness that she presents. She really tries to grab your attention and when you are directed to her a message is being told. To me art is never explainable ever. The thing is that I’d rather have people come up with their own interpretation to the work that I make because it gives them a chance to be able to think and try to figure out the scheme behind my ideas. They make up their own story. Even though it is my passion there are no words to explain on what I think art is. Not because I don’t try or don’t care. It’s because every day I think of something new to say and think about it. One day I’m thinking one thing the next day is a whole different story.

Day 6: define art

How do you define art? Well dictionary definition on dictionary.com is, “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance”. I think that this is so very true. I think it has to do with what we do in everyday life. I think this definition has more depth than one would see. Art isn’t just a pencil on paper, but rather a way to show the world the inner beauty of their mind. Many people can and will argue that art does not have a meaning. It’s easy to see that it does, people define it every day.

 Art can include the way we dress, the colors, the style, the textures. It can include our everyday hobbies and activities; skating (all types), dancing, painting, drawing, music, even the way we keep our hair. Any way we find to express ourselves is art. I myself dress a certain way. I express myself through my art and through skating . It releases me from the bounds of life, its feels as though i might fly away. Skating is another one of my forms of art. It beautiful to see how smooth and wavy someone can be. There are different styles of skating as well. Theres steeze, stiff, smooth, and clean. its interesting because everyones style is different.

Art is in the world around us. In nature we have different colored trees and leaves, the way someone would mow their lawn. In Chicago, all the parks and buildings, all designed by artists. It’s amazing to think of how beautiful our world is, how much each and every one of use, express ourselves every day.

My book is a perfect example of expression. The book “The Poured Fire on Us From the Sky”, in its self could be art. These three boys wrote about their life and all the hard ships that they went through. They expressed their feelings and their emotions so well throughout the book. They go really deep into detail about every single event. It’s amazing to see what they came from and how well they depicted their home.

I feel as though art does have a definition. I think as people, as humans, we give it meaning every day. We show that it does have definition in our lives.

What is art?

Funky and Psychedelic Abstract Art Painting in Watercolor                  To me, art is just doing something you love doing. Art can be as simple as your favorite hobby. Weather its singing, dancing, playing guitar or like Mark in Lost in Place, you can be doing tiquando. As long as you are doing something that comes from your heart and doing it honestly, that is art. If you’re making something for profit, or to look cool or just for fame, that is not art. There is no passion in money. Sometimes, you might see a painting and just think what is this? I could have drawn this when I was in 4th grade. This happens because, once again, we all don’t not see everything the same. In fact, no one sees anything like you do because you’re the only you. It takes a good artist to be able to sway people into viewing art that he/she made.

              What is art? No one can really tell you what art is, because we see all art differently. I might look at a cloud and say it’s a snake. Someone else might say it’s a lighthouse. Another person will see it differently, because we all view things differently. That’s why I think you cannot really tell someone what art is. You can explain that art is a painting or sculpture or a song made by a creative person.  According to Dictionary.com, “art is the quality, production or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance”. This really just means something that has good or unique quality that is appealing to an audience.
                   I am very privileged and happy to be coming to a school with such artists. Everywhere you look; there are dancers, actors, directors, writers, musicians and designers. All of these students are blooming and budding with these talents and creative skills. I am coming here with an open mind, wanting to evolve my mind and experience all the art the students here have to offer.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 5 Blog

Going through life you will have great and awful memories; my most prized memory of my entire life would be the 2011 Southern Region Oireachtas. Southern Region is fourteen states in the southern part of America including Mexico, and Oireachtas is the Irish word for Regionals.  The event took place in Orlando Florida the first weekend of December. Besides the fact of being in the warm sun tanning during a winter season, I placed third in my competition out of one hundred and thirteen dancers. Getting third means that I have qualified for the Irish dance World Championships in Belfast Ireland 2012, and for the Irish dance North American Championships in Chicago 2012. All of the hard work I put into wanting to be a world qualifier paid off, and the feelings were amazing. Just like how all of my hard work in the Bridge Program to get into Columbia will pay off in the end.

Getting to an Oireachtas is more complicated than just showing up to dance. You have to go through five levels before you can even qualify for a major dance competition. Being at the highest possible level an Irish dancer can be the pressure is on to be one of the best dancers at your regionals. How regionals works is your split by age and gender, so in 2011, I was the boys under 17 competitions. You dance two dances which are a hard shoe (tap sound), and a soft shoe (no sound). Then half of you competition will get a recall which means you places, the other half is sent home with nothing. Being in the recall you will dance a third hard shoe dance which will make your final scores for awards.

Remembering the weekend as it were yesterday, arriving on a Thursday night, before the first day of dancing. We would practice our solos and teams every night, as a different age’s would dance every day. My big day was Sunday, and I have never been more confident then that particular day. I start my day at 7am to check into my stage as my competition will be ready to start at 8. Being the most anxious to dance, I warmed up and stretched like crazy not able to sit still. Finally it was time for our first dance, Not always my best round but I pulled through and was pleased with out I danced.  Next we moved on the our second round which my former dancer sat in the front row giving me a nasty glare. I thought to myself well if he’s waiting for me to fail it’s time to perform, and that’s exactly what I did as I won the soft shoe round. Waiting for the recalls is one of the worst moments you will have because you are more anxious than ever, always being a on the recall I was not too nervous about them. The third round was almost perfect except one tiny rhythm which cost me from winning the third round by getting second.  Having three different judges for each round is refreshing because if you had the same three who don’t like you, it would end bad.

Being the oldest age group on Sunday, my awards were the last presented which is a killer waiting to know did I qualify or not. Its time for my results and the first thing that happens is they go in numerical order to call out the world qualifiers and to step on stage. Standing there with nine of my best girl friends shaking in nerves of whether or not I could qualify for a fourth time. They got to 100, as my numbering being 104, I’m freaking out when they say 103 because I know mines next.  When they say 104 I run instantly on stage to join my fellow world qualifiers yet again. Waiting for the top 55 results is driving me crazy as it takes forever, finally top 15 and  I’m still in the game. Top ten and  I’m still in the game, Top five and  I’m still in the game, Finally top three and it’s the most nerve racking because I really wanted to win. I got third place but was still more thrilled then ever being as highly ranked in such a hard competition.

All of my hard work paid off in the end because it’s such a great feeling to accomplish so much and knowing that you really worked for it. Being in the bridge program is no walk in the park, we have a lot of hard work to stay in the program and pass it. Knowing that I will put my all into all of my work and try as hard as I can. When I do hopefully pass this program, the feeling will be amazing and completely worth every second of all the hard work.

Paradise "Annie"

Most of us can remember a specific memory of childhood that we keep close to our hearts. When I think back to my most prized memory, it occurred just this year. As I have stated in my first blog post, high school didn’t come easily. After four years of dealing with my high school it was all coming to an end, and it felt great that I was finally leaving. During the last few weeks of April, I was overwhelmed with rehearsal, Improv classes, and a series of clubs after school. I was even unable to sleep because I had a huge show coming up and I had gotten my dream role of Miss Hannigan in Annie.  I had four major solo songs, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to bear the shame if I had choked.
The night before the show the only thing I kept thinking about was how proud of myself I was. All the nights of perfecting my high notes in “Easy Street” would all pay off. I made my way to Portage Theater in the morning confident that I wouldn’t choke, and if I did I realized I wouldn’t care. The show would go on regardless. After the show I was thrilled to realize that I indeed didn’t mess up. I knew my performance wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty darn proud of it. My family had been so eager to see all the work I had put into this play. I realized they had always been there for me. It meant a lot that my dad came to see me even though I knew how much he hated musicals. In Take the Cannoli, Sarah Vowell likes to mention how she knew her father always hated her band performances. She then realized, and I quote that “love , especially the parent kind, requires the heartwarming sacrifice that can only accompany fake enthusiasm.” Even if I knew how much he dreading coming, I knew he would be proud of me.
During our trip to the cultural museum, I had come across an exhibit that had hit home to me for a few reasons. The exhibit “Paradise: Lost” was a series of artwork that was inspired by the jungles of Brazil. There was a specific piece that had caught my eye, and reminded me of my most prized memory. It was a portrait of a mountain view. It wasn’t just an ordinary mountain, it had the prettiest view I had ever seen. It had reminded me of Annie because in Daddy Warbucks’ office (Rich man who adopted Annie) we had put up a picture of a mountain with a spectacular view. I had looked at that painting every time I said the line, “The things I could do with 500,000 dollars…” I had thought about that line while observing the piece. It made me think of how truly beautiful the world is and all the places I want to see, most of all Brazil to see my family. I realized it would be expensive, (relating to my line) to travel to Brazil and any other place but you can’t buy pure happiness. I realized that I, Sommer Rodriguez could do PLENTY of things with 500,000 dollars. We all could. But the feeling of being on stage, or being with my family is priceless.


When I was seven my dad called my brother and I over. He pulled out a plain piece of navy blue paper and a simple white Crayola color pencil. I thought that he was going to do a simple doodle I was so wrong. In a matter of seconds before my eyes he drew an entire forest with a cabin and snow as if it were literally falling onto the page. That’s my most prized memory.

As kids we develop an endless burst of creativity.  Growing up I felt lucky knowing that creativity grew up with me instead of growing out of me. Most of the time when I do my designs I don’t even think about it I always get these random visions in my head that will stay there until I get them onto paper. There is never a time when I could actually sit down and not think of something to draw. Even when I am doodling there is always a message and a meaning to what I am portraying. Everything I draw portrays me it shows who I am as a person and what I like, what I believe in. if you look at any artist whether a painter or a dancer, musician they all have a certain hook to them. I like to look at taggers when I think about it. You see the art work everywhere you go but nobody stops to see certain details to them. They all have a signature it’s always the same and it belongs only to them. As artist we all have a certain signature that we add in every piece that we deliver.  

 I definitely think that time is no match to what you create. "Every line you make every color you add it’s never perfect. You can go over it a thousand times but it will never be perfect. Maybe from far away they may seem okay but until you look closely you can see the mistakes and I think that’s beautiful" -margaret kilgallen. A lot of kids go to school to learn how to draw I was self-taught and so is my whole family. I went once to an art class I remember clearly the experience was so claustrophobic. I hated that feeling of restraint and not being able to paint what I feel rather making something that was presentable.  I hear kids saying they want to grow up and make money and be famous and all these things. Even if you get to that point there is never a certainty that you will still be in love with your passion. Once it hits mainstream and starts dabbling all over you have to be required to meet the demands of not only you anymore but everyone around you. You may create something that took you eight days to make and if they don’t like it then its whatever. I’m not saying that I don’t want to be out there where everyone can enjoy the things I create. I admit even myself one day may end up in that same place but it’s how you focus and try to keep yourself so you won’t lose yourself. I don’t know what time will bring but I do know that this memory will always bring me back when I need to come back.

Stop Waisting Time

“It’s not about how much time you put into your art, it’s about how much art you put into your time”

           I define this in numerous ways; but if I had to portray it as one meaning I would say that life is about creating yourself, and doing what you love without any hesitation. The art world is in every industry you can think of, an artist is every human being, whether or not one is creative or artistic; we all represent a form of individuality, and that is simply what art is. Isn’t it? We wake up every morning and have a room that we have personally decorated or arranged which shows the basics in our unique styles. When we pick out our clothes for the day, we’re telling the world how we are feeling. Every little thing from making your bed to putting on your shoes represents art in a form we never really think about.

 So how come we are constantly told that the harder you work the better you’ll be? Because it’s true; the more you do something the stronger you’ll become in whatever it is you’re working at. But the problem is that we are so stressed and worried on our precious time, that we no longer can enjoy doing what we love when we’re put on a time frame. As a dancer, I am always told to go home and practice even after a five hour rehearsal because the more time I put into it the better I’ll be. But is that really how I interpret it? Dancing is my passion, so it shouldn’t matter on the amount of hours I have of rehearsal, or how many times a week I practice; what shows my desire and commitment to dance is how much I grow each week from putting dance into my life and doing what I love as much as possible. Whenever I am at a convention or competition, I can always point the ones who would rather be shopping than in class with these phenomenal, inspirational, beyond incredible choreographers, just by their determination to having been just the first ones to go and get the combination over with. They live their life with their “passion” being work, and thinking that practice makes perfect; these types of people portray a sense of perfectionism in their dancing, even when it’s just supposed to be fun and being yourself. They’re putting their time into what they consider art; I feel as if the more dancing I do without needing to be perfect, outshines most dancers by having true passion in what I create. I guess we all have different approaches towards everything we do in life, but what matters most is making yourself stronger through your art and not through working at it, but by doing it without holding back. When you question your own art style, you’re spending time on the thing that you should love.

So if everything is art, how come school and work are so hard to not put “time” into? I can understand why we all dislike school and work; because it’s simply something none of us love doing. But the more it takes up our “time” the more enhanced we become at it whether we reflect that or not in what we do with it. At the end of the day; your art and your style is always going to be your own—it just shouldn’t matter about what the clock says, it’s about doing what keeps you on your feet and knowing it’s what you love.


My prized memory would be the times I played soccer across the street from my house everyday it would be the same thing. Go to school after words come back home finish my homework, then go outside and play soccer.  I would do this till the age of 16 since I moved away from my neighborhood. Most of the kids from my block were older than me some were from the ages of sixteen and older. I was the ten year old kid they would choose as the defense even though I was a chubby little kid I could run. I would chase them for the ball determined to catch them off guard sweep the ball away.

  At times it was difficult since I had to be tough since most of the older kids beamed the ball right at me. Trying to score but I would always block since it was my job as the defense to not let the ball pass me at any means necessary. After words would go home with bruises take a painful shower since the water would drip onto my body like little knives. But knowing we won that day was what mattered.   I had this crazy passion for soccer as a kid always dreaming that I would be next Lionel Messi but I stopped that dream after my freshmen year be on the soccer team.

But it’s different with bridge I am truly determined to make it to this school with all my guts. I feel that my passion for gaming will get me through bridge and into the school year. During my junior year I came to visit the game department in which motivated me to strive for it come to Columbia.  I loved how all the games they had in display were for play and had their own unique way of showing the audience what they liked. Bridge in a way is just a level in a game that has to be passed and I will pass it if it takes everything I got. Sarah Vowell connects to me in the way that she also dreams that she wanted to accomplish like when she wanted to go to the Chelsea Hotel since a famous writers, singer and artists visited their and unique things happened there. Well for me it’s Columbia I want to come here for its amazing game department. Irreplaceable teachers and classes that can make a student become someone big in the gaming world.

Time into Art?? or Art into Time??

“It’s not about how much time you put into your art.  It’s about how much art you put into your time.”

                This means to me that it really does not matter how much time you spend on doing or making your art because no matter how much time you put into making or doing your art it can still be not as good as it would be if you were more into what your art is going to look like or be like. With worrying about the time of when your art is going to be or how long its going to take to do your art will possibly mess up your art. You could only be working on your art for ten minutes but because you were worried about how your art is going to turn out and not how long it might take you, your art at that time could possibly be the best art you have done.  I also think when you put in your head that it’s going to take this long to do my art then it’s really going to or even longer, then now you’re upset that it didn’t really work out as planned. When it’s something that you really like then I don’t think that you should really put a time on your art because it’s something you love so however long it takes you, it’s just going to take you that long. You could be working on one piece of art while also working on another and with you working on two pieces of art you might have the thought of putting them together, then that will take you even longer than what you expected. But because you were more into your art and not the time you now have a bigger and better idea and bigger piece of art. 

For example me and my best friend were working on a project in school and didn’t want to just have short videos but only had a certain amount of time. So we started our project and was so into it that we actually lost track of the time but didn’t hear anything from our teacher saying that we need to wrap it up. So as we’re filming our video we’re getting all the angles that we wanted and making sure the sound and white balance was perfect because we wanted to have the best film out of our class. So when we were done we went back in and made edits to the video and it turned out to be the best video done in the last two years of my teachers teaching. I think it turned out that way because me and my best friend got lost in what we love and put all of our art into our time instead of worrying about the time and how long we were going to take on it or how much more time we had and rushed it and our teacher understood that and was very pleased at the end.

Memories!...How many off us have them?!

Memories are the best thing to have. It’s a good reflection on what happened or where you’ve been. Memories are a good to share with your friends and laugh at those good times. One of my best memories is with my best friend. It was a bad summer thunderstorm and the power went out at my house. We ate all the food in the refrigerator so it wouldn’t go bad. I haven’t eaten that much food in my life! The first thing we ate was ice cream-rocky road with cookie dough! My favorite! After we demolish the ice cream, we decided to have a bbq. Yes, in the lovely pouring rain but we had a deck so it actually all worked out. I don’t know how we managed fire and lighter fluid. I’m shocked that we didn’t burn down the house! And of course- as well all know that I didn’t do any cooking! I was just waiting on finish product. She did a pretty good job! We even had enough to give to our neighbors’.  On our lovely random bbq night we had ice cream, chicken, pork chops and even lamb! I was full for two days straight. When the power came back on, we just left the lights off and continue our best friend night ending with a s’mores and a bon fire.

In the book I’m reading- They Poured Fire on Us From The Sky-the kids are walking days on days without eating. I don’t understand how they did that. Walking in the hot desert, for hours, with no shelter. Every time I read the book and what they are going through, it makes me hungry just thinking how hungry they were. I personally couldn’t do it. I could now just eat a random fishbone.

On the first day of bridge, Ames Hawkins, had plenty of memories on how and why she got started in her field that she love. As she says; if it feels like work then it’s not her passion. And that is what I understand and words to live by.

Katlin Strzelecki

                When I was applying to Columbia, the main concern I had about being accepted was not only my graduating GPA from high school (which was 1.78) but also my essay. I finally figured it out after visiting the SAIC Museum. As I had gone through the different exhibits inside of the museum, I was seeing pieces of art work that were hundreds of years old. These were pieces of history frozen in time, put on display and valued at unimaginable amounts of money. I was in awe seeing the paintings and photographs of artists whose work I have admired my whole life. All I could think the entire time was “I wonder if these artists had known then how much we value their art work now, if their art would have turned out differently?”
                One of the reasons I’d probably never want to become a professional painter, is because I’m so thorough and critical with my own paintings. I always feel like something is missing, something could be better or that it’s just been a waste altogether. Because of this I will spend huge amounts of time over several months perfecting and tweaking at the painting until finally I give up and move on. It makes me wonder if the amazing artists who are deceased and their paintings hanging in museums now went through the same struggles with their art.          
                After getting back from my trip to Chicago, some of my friends wanted to take me to do a shoot with them in Detroit. We went to one of the hundreds of abandoned buildings and found our way up to a higher floor with an amazing view. The view wasn’t of the city though; it was the inside of the vacant buildings walls. There were countless murals covering the hollow buildings concrete. From the outside you would never say that this was any kind of place for artwork, but in its own way it was the most fascinating museum I’d ever see. Not because the paintings were valued at ridiculous amounts or because of what historical fact was written on the non-existent plaque next to it, but because the room echoed the passion of these unrecognized artists more than any exhibit I’ve ever been to has.
                That was the moment I realized that I needed to take photos for my life to ever be fulfilled. I needed the chance for people to see the world I did. And it didn’t matter to me anymore how much profit my future held for me in dollar signs. Standing in that lonely Detroit hobo-hotel I realized that the true artists in life were not the ones who paid for huge studio spaces to sell their art work at expensive gallery shows. I realized that it was the people who would spend their time painting with cheap spray paint in abandoned buildings in one of the worst cities in America, where no one would ever see it. They didn’t leave a biography or a business card, they only left their art; hoping that someone would see it, like I did, and feel the things they felt and appreciate their art work, even if it was unrecognized.
                I truly believe the best example is graffiti artists. These are people who are going to spend huge amounts of time and their own money on pieces of art work that they know will probably just be covered over the next day.  This doesn’t drive them to go out and tell people either, it drives them to go out and make an even more incredible piece the next day. Banksy is my biggest inspiration as an artist, not because I’m a graffiti artist or am striving to be one, but because he holds the true concept of being an artist so close that it has completely embodied and defined him. And that makes his art better than priceless, because it is free.             

The Night Before Christmas

      I remember being 8 years old on Christmas Eve. In this little apartment on the south side of Chicago, it was all my mom could afford at the time. With my little sister asleep along with my mom and dad, I was sitting on the couch eager. A bright, poorly decorated, Christmas tree that I put up all by myself stood tall in the middle of my living room. I waited for this day, this was around the time when I still liked waking up in the middle of the night to open presents, now a days I wait until I wake up out of my slumber to open gifts. But, then again there was nothing to be eager about, because all I get now is socks, and pajamas. But, back to me sitting on the couch. I made a promise to myself that I was going to stay up the whole night until 12:00 o clock on the dot so I could open my presents. A few hours went by, and I was getting restless. From the boring old 80s shows I was watching on TV and from the lack of sleep. But, I was determined.

        Within a flash it was light outside, screams from my little sister, and the aroma of pancakes flooded the air. “I FELL ASLEEP!!!” I screamed so loud it felt like the whole house took a pause. I was no longer excited about the myriad of presents I had waiting for me to open under the Christmas tree; I was disappointed that I failed at accomplishing what I promised myself. This situation reminded me of the character in my book, Mark. The difference is that he accomplished his goal. When he saw something he went for and he was determined while doing it, of course he had a few bumps in the road, but that didn’t stop him. I on the other hand saw it, went for it, and failed but that little situation paved the way for many opportunities’ to prove to myself that I can do it. But, with a little cry and a talk from my parents I continued to enjoy the rest of my Christmas day.