Saturday, February 3, 2018


     This piece originated from throwing ideas around with my best friend, where I said "presidents" and she said "drag. The conceptual idea behind this was that a chimera is a mashup of different entities, yes, but they also mashup that which is traditional and nontraditional, a combination that can sometimes make people uncomfortable. I decided that the hybridization of our US presidents and Rupaul's drag queens would make some uncomfortable. To create this piece, I photoshopped together a painting of Abe with a drag queen's dress, and make them a separate layer to put over the Empire magazine template. I made the template mostly transparent, and layered everything over a copy of the emancipation proclamation, in which I turned down the opacity so it kept the emphasis on Abe. 

     For this piece, my conceptual idea was around the same. However, this time, I wanted there to be a more subtle vibe, something that people could look at and not immediately place as being different, or a chimera. For this, I used a painting of George Washington and cut him out from the rest, and I did the same with the bottom of the dress. Then, I found a Time magazine template and erased the entire background to only leave the logo. I added the constitution to George's hand where his sword used to be, and I adjusted the transparency on an old flag with only 13 stars to add to the background, but I ultimately decided to just incorporate the stripes.

     This piece was the emphasis of the three, having a mostly white background. The concept behind this was to really nail the magazine feel, and I found a transparent Vogue cover to do that. I had a lot of trouble cutting out Teddy because the background was so similar in color to his coat, so I eventually cut out parts and merged all the layers to come up with his body. I also cut out another drag queen, counting on the exposed leg to contrast comedically with his stern face and fist, reinforcing the idea of non traditionalism relating to chimeras. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Photomontage Work

For the photomontage, I've chosen to reimagine famous presidents, specifically George Washington, Abe Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, as drag queens on magazine covers. As the description implies, chimeras and hybrids are meant to intimidate and make one uncomfortable. With the amount of patriotism and nationalism most Americans feel, regardless of politics, I would venture that seeing a well-respected president in drag, something that is not often quite as respected for one reason or another, would be somewhat unsettling and uncomfortable for the viewer, creating the feeling of being a hybrid while the actual photo itself is a sort of chimera, collaging together bodies and text. These are some of the images I am using.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Darkroom to Digital

Gabriella Gong
Professor Asmuth
Intro to Digital Studio
January 18, 2018
Darkroom to Digital
The most obvious difference between darkroom photography and digital process is that one is strictly physical and one is strictly digital. In Philip Gefter’s essay “Icons as Fact, Fiction, and Metaphor,” the implication is that photography is widely regarded as truth, as it’s the closest we can get to actually being in a place or time without, in fact, being in that place or time. However, Gefter’s entire essay goes on to debate the importance of truth in photography, an argument that relates to the divide between darkroom photography. Just as Gefter wonders if a photo being arranged or set up somehow dilutes its truthfulness, many often view the digital process as a more diluted, and more untruthful, version of the darkroom.
People are often fascinated by being fooled, and they go to Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums and magic shows to prove it. However, most would not appreciate the idea that we like to be fooled by photographs, too. Rather, we want the full truth from them. The connotation with the digital process is that manipulation and alteration are made that much easier by simple technology, from Photoshop to Instagram filters.  What people fail to realize is that as they edit their photos, just slightly, to put the best version of it they possibly can forward, they are using the digital process, the same one that so many think of as less authentic.
The common misconception is that people did not edit their photos in the darkroom, and that they were the purest form of a moment that it could be. However, darkrooms were for more than just developing photos. People cut, arranged, and manipulated photos there, just as they do now. This shows that the assumptions regarding the drastic differences in the truthfulness of photos are entirely incorrect, as photography has always been about making a good composition. On the other hand, do we want a good composition, or do we want unadulterated and unfiltered truth in our photographs?
The actual changes between the darkroom and the digital process is simply in the execution. The darkroom took expansive amounts of time for developing and editing; digital processes can take seconds to do simple tasks. The digital process also offers much more flexibility and ability to be edited within a single photo, accessing technology that simply did not exist in the era of the darkrooms. With the touch of a button, the click of a mouse, there are an unlimited amount of combinations that we can use to edit our photos to match our vision, and to portray what we want them to.

The darkroom and the digital process are different, yes, but the two are undoubtedly intertwined as separate means of giving us the same outcome: a photograph that we enjoy and appreciate. The debate over truthfulness is a separate one than that of the difference between the darkroom and the digital process. There is no doubt that the two were, and are, both used to edit a photo, and people like Gefter will always wonder whether that detracts from the authenticity of a photo or not.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Photomontage Ideas

 My ideas for the photomontage formal project derived directly from reading the description of the project, especially the part regarding "the perfect human specimen" and "bio-tech." Two ideas immediately come to mind. First, I think of stem cell research, and how that is a blend of different biological elements that is highly controversial, similar to the chimeras and hybrids. Second, and perhaps more conceptually interesting, I think of Frankenstein. This leads me to recall an art project done for AP art a few years ago, in which a student took classic book covers with male protagonists and gender bent them, producing prints with an all-female cast. The idea of hybrids, chimeras, and monsters makes me want to take books regarding monsters, either figuratively or literally, and splice them together, making a composition that is almost right, almost whole, but that gives the viewer just enough pause to realize that the original book has been cut and pasted and put together with others like it.


New Media Inclusivity and Exclusivity

Alex Gong
Professor Asmuth
Intro to Digital Studio
January 15, 2018
New Media Inclusivity and Exclusivity
The term “new media” describes art which cannot be constrained by traditional methods, such as painting or pencil. Moreover, new media has evolved, just as technology evolves, and it relies heavily on the internet as a platform to spread information, much like magazines or newspapers did prior to the invention of the internet. New media is both inclusive and exclusive of the traditional art forms in a few different ways. While new media still requires the imagination and creativity of traditional media, it tends to ignore the standards of using media and methods that are often regarded as more refined.
Becoming a professional in new media, like traditional media, requires extensive training and education, such as a Master’s degree in the subject. However, unlike traditional media, new media thrives on being mobile in a sense, and much of it exists on the internet. This is a way for new media to travel quickly and effectively. However, it also shows the exclusivity of new media concerning the traditional media; there are no physical elements. There is, largely, a digital element to new media, one that brings new concerns and complications, such as how to preserve it. When new media is so rapidly changing, it is an ever-evolving challenge to save works of art, a task that is much simpler and more straightforward when it comes to traditional media. Moreover, new media excludes the physicality of traditional media. There are no canvasses or drawing boards, and new media just cannot encapsulate the same corporeal quality that traditional media can. New media excludes the physicality, trading it for mobility and accessibility.
New media, however, is entirely inclusive traditional media in the idea of worldwide movements. Traditional media has long been involved in historical movements, and it often portrays such events, like art showing the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille, or art advocating for women’s rights. However, new media also correlates strongly to modern movements, and it is more easily distributed and more widely received. New media also can more easily access foreign cultures and customs and ideas than traditional media, again due to its expansive reach and easy access. Artists can easily discover new cultures and ideas, and then incorporate them into their work, something that decidedly excludes traditional media and its slightly narrower reach.

Though new media has been scrutinised for being less pristine than traditional media, it has distinct advantages. Ever-evolving technology allows for constant artistic innovation, more so than with traditional media, and although new media excludes the physical nature of traditional media, it heavily incorporates the traditional media’s element of worldliness.