Sunday, October 22, 2017

Quatrain #40: Quadragesimus

It's easy to call this number forty, but one of the cardinal rules of the Quatrain Project is that the use of cardinal numbers are only part of any title. So, in the search for an appropriate linguistic identifier, I found that the ordinal number fortieth, in Webster's Dictionary, has this exquisite Latin word starting with letter Q, that translates precisely to mean fortieth: Quadragesimus. So what better way is there to mark this quantitative milestone of the Quatrain Project's life than with a bit of literary and visual redundancy?
I am deeply grateful to Pearl Street Studios in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for hosting the Quatrain Project at the October 2017 First Friday Event. I was asked produce a quatrain on the spot that evening by my host, and I have to admit it that it was rather intimidating to fathom the possibility of doing so. In the trinity of art production, which I'll loosely identify as Creation, Community, & Presentation, one doesn't typically think about creating new work during their opening [presentation phase] because they are two completely different creative processes and mindsets, let alone the idea of having the right tools on hand. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist the challenge, so here's the result I produced while in the presentation mindset, and twisting the creative process into reverse flow.
For me, this quatrain turns out being a major sign post in the long journey of this project. It's numerical value is perfectly suited to offer connection to the project's identity, it's riven with multiplicity, it reveals process and viewer interaction, and summarizes the idea that it takes thousands of images to produce the few that we end up showing the world. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quatrain #39: Smoking Semiotics

Visual literacy skills are inarguably a basic life skill to intelligently navigate and make informed decisions in a hyper-real digital age. Because what’s typically discovered in the process of understanding visual art is that it’s multi-dimensional, as it involves references to history, semiotics, and psychology, let alone it being a product and reflection of time and place.


I hope to produce a book featuring this project someday.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Quatrain #38: Finding Clarity

Over two decades of teaching has offered me anecdotal evidence that a great percentage of people do not critically think, nor do they possess adequate vocabulary to converse about visual art. The zeitgeist of science, technology, engineering, and math prevailing as the subjects that meet standards of success in most school systems is something that I want to help shift. I’m attempting to brighten awareness and bring value to visual literacy so the many forms of traditional and digital media arts are included as markers of social success. As German Bauhaus teacher Laszlo Moholy-Nagy prophetically noted in the early 20th Century, “the illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen.”

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Quatrain #37: Red, White, & Black

Teaching gradually became a natural extension, an overarching ethos, and an inherent objective of the quatrain project as each arrangement seeks to question one’s visual literacy skills — the core topic of my M.A. thesis. Any visual art requires a viewer to deconstruct, reconstruct, and interpret to determine meaning, and I frequently wonder about the people that don’t know how to see, decipher, and understand it. Can they understand the logos and pathos of a quatrain?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Quatrain #36: Line Wrangler

An original rule of the Quatrain Project was to post one quatrain per week for sixteen weeks. Over subsequent years the quatrain project took on a life of its own, and now there are close to forty that align with its original set of rules. Shortly after the first set of sixteen were completed, I realized that this was not just about producing a new body of work. I was also indirectly teaching some aspects of my creative process and visual literacy. The lines of seeing, thinking, and teaching are brought together to form a new whole. Visual poetry.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Quatrain #35: Transitionary Areas

The Quatrain Project is at six years now!

September 2011 represents a pivotal confluence of the post-modern and digital eras that inspired and enabled my intuition to capture visual vernacular, found objects, and lyrical quotidian moments. It was several years after the completion of a Master of Arts degree when I began to create these four-image constructions, called quatrains. My workflow requires sorting through thousands of images in post-production and selecting specific compositions to create fusions of semiotics and symbols that convey ideas and metaphors. What's next?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quatrain #34: Quadrivium

Literally, a place where four roads meet. A quadrivium is also defined as being a course that was offered at medieval universities in which students learned the four mathematical arts: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.

In virtually any photography course rudimentary forms of math are used to calculate exposure values with geometric sequences and fractions; composition & design strategies are routinely studied which are riven with simple principles of geometry; and the study of various forms of light reveal its spectral color properties, in addition to practicing observations of astronomic objects — the sun & moon are popular favorites. In regard to the music aspect, well that’s a form of poetry, so let’s equate that to the expression of all of these technical things that manifest in the visual poetry of photographs. To get to my point, a photography course easily meets and exceeds the definition of a quadrivium: interdisciplinary practices. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quatrain #33: Échelle Européenne

After taking a three-week tour to Europe recently, the perceptions brought home are multi-layered, and intricate. But most of all, what I think about is scale. I've been to big cities before, with big buildings, big spaces, and yes, sprawl as far as the eye can see, studded dense with urban constructs. There is something however that makes me blink and do a double take in Europe, and that's about the size of some the architectural specimens visible there. Even on 21st-century terms, those folks who designed and hewed were thinking big. No, strike that… I meant colossal. It is sublime to not only stand amongst these wonders, but to think of being part of the human family they have sung to for hundreds and in some cases, even a couple thousand years.