Tag Archives: Artist

IT’S ALIVE — at Peabody Essex Museum!


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Happy Monday everyone!  Fall is still in the air and Thanksgiving is just around the corner (just TEN days!).  Halloween may already be over with, but the spookiness still lingers on around the Witch city of Salem.

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Even before the hasty Halloween month of October, the Peabody Essex Museum opened up their own horror themed exhibit since August.  The exhibit is titled ‘It’s Alive!’, featuring Kirk Hammett’s collection of horror and sci-fi movie posters (metal fans would know Kirk as lead guitarist for Metallica since 1983!).  Kirk Hammett has been working on his movie poster collection for decades and his various posters became one of many exhibits for the Peabody Essex Museum.  His horror and sci-fi movie poster collection were an essential source of inspiration that fueled his own musical creativity.

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I got to check out this exhibit yesterday and was blown away by some of these colorful posters.  Some posters I recognized from watching the films while others were completely new titles to me.  Nevertheless, it was quite an entertaining event to check out.  Here were the overall highlights from yesterday’s adventure:

Horrifyingly Amazing Posters

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First thing that caught my attention were the posters.  Various movie posters were hung around the walls of the exhibit.  The collection history starts around the 1920s and ends within the 80s.  While there weren’t many modern films featured, there were still some notable titles and themes I enjoy.

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One common horror theme I noticed were monsters, especially vampires.  Dracula was a huge hit in the movies, spurring what would be the start of vampire movies throughout the decades.  Vampires were especially a huge hit in the Hollywood creative pool from the 1990s-2000s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, anyone?).

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Another common horror theme I passed through was zombies.  Zombies had its roots from Haitian folklore and the voodoo religion.  They have been a popular type of monster for horror films (even before The Walking Dead invaded AMC on Sunday nights).  Even as time goes on, these lifeless creatures still make their ways into TV series and movies each year.

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Other than Dracula and zombies, Frankenstein also made an appearance for the event.  Frankenstein was originally written by Mary Shelley back in 1818 and he has been adapted into many works of film.  He even got his own bride in the film Bride of Frankenstein on 1935.

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As I wandered more into the exhibit, more horrific monsters hid around every corner.  Some looked really creepy in the posters while others just seemed silly.  Even still, it was intriguing to see how films were made back in day.  Many of these films existed way before I was even born, so we’ve definitely come a long way with that Hollywood magic.

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My personal favorite posters were from the films within the 60 and 70s.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the infamous poster for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? I remembered Ryan Murphy’s Feud: Bette and Joan back in the winter and the poster immediately took me back to that series (you can learn more about their tumultuous story here).

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Cruising just a few steps over and the poster for The Exorcist was hanging up.  The Exorcist was released on December 26th, 1973 and became an instant cult classic.  It’s widely regarded as one of the scariest horror films of all time (FYI, people literally passed out after watching the film in theaters!).

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Across from that were the posters for Star Wars and Aliens.  These movies were more sci-fi films, but they made significant breakthroughs in the film industry.  Aliens took horror sci-fi to a new level with the monsters in space (their marketing stunt with the egg was genius!).  Star Wars was one of many films that took over the box offices many times.  Decades later and Star Wars still remains popular to this day!

Scary-Good Background Info

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Adjacent to the posters were some tidbits about the films themselves.  Some just featured the title of the film and when it was made while others provided some juicy story about the artist behind the work.  I really learned a lot info just from reading some of the cards.

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The tidbit that really got me thinking was about the various color scheme.  On the title card for Dracula’s Daughter, Karoly Grosz explained how black and yellow that is used boldly will stand out anywhere at any time.  Yellow reflects light on a sunny day while black absorbs it, making it a powerful contrast.  Many movie posters featured yellow and black in their color scheme, which really made the artwork stand out in your eyes.

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Being a PR pro myself, I understand how important color scheme is when it comes to design.  Utilizing a good color scheme is crucial for captivating your audience.  Use the wrong type of colors and your audience will be turned off by the promotional work.

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A lot of these posters utilized important design tactics to the very fullest.  Many of them featured lots of yellow and black to draw out that contrast.

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Reading these tidbits really added some flair to these artworks.  It’s always great to read about the grand history behind the designing of these posters.  Props to the artists for creating such masterful designs!

Bizarre Guitar Art

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One of the main focal points of the exhibit were the colorful guitars.  Being a huge fan of horror movies, Kirk Hammett fueled his passion by designing his guitars with pop culture flare.  Design tactics from posters like Nosferatu and Dracula were utilized to create these colorful sleeves.

These guitar sleeves looked absolutely incredible!  I loved the detail that was put into rearranging the content from the movie poster onto the parts of the guitar.  It was one of the interesting features of the exhibit other than the posters themselves.

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That’s it for my adventures at the ‘It’s Alive!’ exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum!  The movie posters, tidbits, and colorful guitar pieces were all incredible to look at.  It’s been a long while since I have been into a museum and I was glad to finally check out this entertaining exhibit.  Who knows where my next adventure will be.

Will it be another museum?  Another philosophical walk in nature?  A conference?  Stay tuned on this blog to see what will happen next!

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MakeSandcastlesNotWar Visits the Revere Beach International Sandcastle Festival!


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After a few days of heat wave hell, the weather finally got cooler around Boston.  It’s nice enough to go out and not scorching hot that we rush indoors from the sun.  Some days do get a bit cold around the beaches here in New England (which I don’t mind at all!), so those can be a blessing in disguise in the summer.  This is also the season where the beaches get PACKED with lots of people.  One beach nearby my area, Revere Beach, was busy with their annual sandcastle festival.

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The Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival brings sculptors from all across the nation to compete with their best work of art.  Sculptors use a mix of special sand, water, and various tools used to carve their masterpiece.  It’s all about carving a work of art using all of the tools (even your mind!) at your disposal.

I decided to check out the sandcastle festival last night during my first day off from work.  Here were some of my favorite sandcastle ideas from the beach:

Sandcastle #1: Oceans Apart/Inside My Heart

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This was the first creation that caught my eye quick.  It’s amazing how the flow of ocean water circulates over the figure of a woman looking straight ahead.  The way she wraps herself with the water makes it seem as though she is one with the sea.  What’s even more amazing is the small hole dug out through the wave so you can see the ocean water.  Having that interactivity makes the artwork that much cooler.  Props to Sue McGrew for her creative work!

Sandcastle #2: Whisper In the Dark

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As a dedication piece towards H.P. Lovecraft, Dmitry Klimenko sculpted this brilliant piece titled Whisper in the Dark.  This design showcases a human male being seeped into some sea monster, transforming into the very beast himself.  He dove feet first into the monster’s head and now he’s being sucked up even further.  It’s a cool sculptor with a creepy theme in mind (props to the reference from H.P. Lovecraft!).

Sandcastle #3: Who Are You

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Walking further down the line and I come across another animal-themed idea.  A Griffith sits down, nodding its beak onto the boy’s head.  Both the boy and Griffith stare hard, noticing how each is different from one another.  It definitely suits what Susanne Ruseler made when she titled it Who Are You?  Another cool animal figure here at Revere Beach!

Sandcastle #4: In Justice We Trust

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Roaming around a bit further and I find a political-themed work titled In Justice We Trust.  One side of the wall features a female judge holding a tipped scale with a bandage covering her eyes.  Within the other side features four small males pushing against the side of the wall.  It looks as though the four figures are pushing away from blind justice.  The political imagery really works here, especially with the wall holding up both figures.  You can thank Andrius Petkus for sculpting this piece.

Sandcastle #5: Remembering Self

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Moving down a bit further and I come across this peaceful, psychedelic sculptor.  The piece features a Buddhist entangled around a decorative aurora.  This Buddhist is sleeping peacefully and keeping mindful of his surroundings.  Morgan Rudluff came from Santa Cruz to carve out this mind-altering work of art.  It’ll definitely keep me mindful of how beautiful this beach is!

Sandcastle #6: Soul Evolution

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Coming in at first prize was Soul Evolution by Pavel Mylnikov.  This beautiful design depicts two angels near each other.  One angel reaches with his head up while the other kneels down in despair.  It’s a beautiful piece that symbolizes the two angels as pain and love.  Mylnikov definitely gets first place for this creative work!

Sandcastle #7: Look Up

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Last but not least we have the sculptor titled Look Up by Marianne van den Broek.  This sculptor features a woman gracefully looking high up at the sky.  She looks as though she is about to get up for a second and reach further up.  It’s really interesting how she looks like she is getting up to for a better view.  While the idea does seem obvious, it definitely makes for a cool idea.

These were some of my favorite sandcastle designs from the event.  It’s always great to see such talented sand sculptors create intriguing designs on Revere Beach.  Here’s to seeing some awesome sandcastles last night!

A Sunset/Silhouette Discovery at Point of Pines


After finishing a piece for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, it’s always great to unwind for a bit from work.  There are times where you just need to get far away from your laptop to explore the things around you.  You can be inspired of an idea just by going about your day.  This post was constructed with this idea in mind.

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You see this picture right here?  That right there is Point of Pines, a mere few blocks away from my apartment.  The sun was just setting, casting shadows that were reflected onto the wet sands of the beach.  A blast of yellow light brightened the area and set the course for sundown.  What followed next was something that couldn’t be explained through words.

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As the sun lowered deeper, silhouettes started forming from where I was standing.  These structures weren’t buildings anymore because they were now basic outlines.  It was then that I started seeing rectangles and triangles morphing together within one big cube/rectangle.  What looked complex before now became simple shaped structures in a matter of hours.

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The sun moved farther down and the dark blue sky was moving slowly up within the atmosphere.  From the top of the buildings, the sky turned into a golden yellow-orange color that blanketed the surrounding area of Boston.  Within my left side, the sky was darkening into a pinkish-orange hue that covered Nahant area.  Boston continued to turn a golden yellow-orange color because the sun was not ready to leave just yet.  Further out to Winthrop were more silhouettes of buildings surrounded by the sea.

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A few minutes later and the sky transformed itself to a myriad of colors.  Hues of pink, yellow, orange, green, and blue were laying upon themselves within the atmosphere.  It was then that I saw what natural art truly was.  Not art created by human beings, but art crafted by nature.  This was TRULY a jaw-dropping visual I was grateful to look at.

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I continued roaming around to see that a reddish-orange hue started to sprout up behind the John Hancock building.  The reddish-orange hue blanketed the top of the silhouetted buildings, rising higher each minute.  A blast of yellow reflected on the sand, brightening the activity happening on the water.  At one point, the wet sand and sweeping sea started mixing itself into similar colors.

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To the right of my direction was a silhouette of surrounding trees.  By looking at the object from the right perspective, you can see these trees connecting to form a certain shape.  A circle formed in the bottom left with a line extending to the right, only to come down in the end.  I was astonished to find something so extraordinary in this hustling city on the beach.

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It was then that I wandered more through the beach as the sun was setting.  More silhouettes were created as the sky was darkening into a dark blue hue.  Night was slowly creeping in, but the sun still peaked from underneath the skyscrapers and towers.  Reflections of towers painted themselves on the wet sands, which made me want to enter this upside-down reality being created.

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When looking down at the sand, the midnight blue hue crept its way in.  Street lights started brightening up the walkways.  That reddish-orange hue was vanishing from my sight, seeping away only to come back the next day.  It was time to say, “so long!” to the sun and start walking back to my apartment for the evening.

This was an INCREDIBLE experience I had watching the sun setting on the beach.  I walked outside to discover how nature forms art right from our very eyes.  Any self-respecting artist/graphic designer needs to understand how colors form around us.  From the sky to the patches of dirt on your feet, you are surrounded by a myriad of colors bursting everywhere.  It isn’t something you discover through media, but rather through what you see within your surroundings.

If you want to truly understand how colors work, you have to look closely at nature’s designs.  I recommend all artists/graphic designers to take a hike to a place of solitude where you can pay close attention to your surroundings.  Something simple like taking a stroll through the beach is enough to generate ideas.  Wherever you decide to go, it’s important to pay close attention the natural world you live in.  You could come to a point where reality and fiction wrap itself together to form a whole new world in itself.

 

Massachusetts Independent Comic Expo (MICE)


Cambridge is one of many Boston neighborhoods that is fun to roam around.  With interesting landmarks like Harvard University and the Cambridge Galleria, Cambridge will make for a great day trip in the city.  Famous speakers pop into Harvard University to discuss a topic that is relevant to the world today.  Other famous universities around Cambridge include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge College, and Lesly University.

Lesley University is a private university that specializes in art and design.  Thousands of students flock to Lesley to show off their artistic skill to their professors.  Whether it is piecing together short stories or painting new pictures, artists from all across the country apply to Lesley University to become an amazing artist.  There are special panel events that students can attend to gain some insight from other well-known artists in the area.  This past weekend, I went into Lesley University to attend MICE.

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MICE, or the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, is an expo celebrating comic book designs from independent creators.  This was the 7th annual event that took place on October 29th-30th at Lesley University.  It was produced by the Boston Comic Arts Foundation, aiming to introduce local readers of all ages to the variety of art and storytelling in independent comics.  There were two levels filled with exhibitors showing off their masterpieces.  Upon entering the exhibits, I have seen some of the most spectacular work ever on comic books, posters, stickers, and other materials.

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Some of the work was so impressive that I just had to stop and chat with them for a bit.  Upon entering the first area, I noticed a big colorful poster that had the movie title Showgirls on the bottom of the design.  That was what drew me to talk with Chris, the comic book designer from Brooklyn.  I mentioned that I really enjoyed viewing the colorful poster and the comic version of The Room.  He mentioned that his love for bad movies inspired him to create an animated comic out of the cult films that flopped in the box office.  Another unique thing I noticed was that all of his business cards featured a tarot-card like design on the back of each card.  This was a really cool idea and praised him to continue making more works of art like this.

Earlier in the same area, I noticed a book showing Peanuts-like drawings in a comic strip design.  While it didn’t feature Charlie Brown or Snoopy, the drawings drew me into that similar environment.  When talking to the comic artist/illustrator Jesse, he mentioned that he was influenced by Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip when creating Year ‘Round Days.  I really liked where he got his inspirations from and was impressed by how familiar the art work was.  It was a cool comic-strip showcasing his lifetime experiences with interesting stories in each page.

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Another exhibit table showed a colorful design of Kirby and his friends, which prompted me to talk to designer Madeline.  It was then that I told her that I really liked the drawing of the Kirby gang and she told me that she really loved Kirby after playing Kirby 64: The Crystal ShardsKirby 64: The Crystal Shards was actually one of my favorite games for the N64 and was pleased to see how that game inspired her!  Other works included a drawing of Rini from Sailor Moon and No-Face from Spirited Away.  Madeline really did a great job drawing the familiar characters and utilizing colors to make them pop out good.  I thanked her for discussing her artwork with me and moved on to check out other areas.

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In another room, I noticed small cards on one of the exhibit tables.  All of the cards were referring to popular characters from cult films/TV shows.  Some of the characters I recognized were Wolverine, The Incredible Hulk, Freddie Krueger, Batman, Jason Voorhees, and other popular figures.  What was unique about the cards were that each character was transformed into fairy creatures.  I spoke with the conart creator Jay about how amazing they were and he showed me a few comics he works on as well.  His fairy creatures were very well done, with each character showing off their flair in the card.

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I was just heading into another room of the exhibit and I noticed some mini comics that were sketched using pencils.  The title was Feeling Worthless? and it featured self-help tip for people suffering from mental health issues.  I spoke with the creator, LB Lee, on how interesting his idea was as a comic.  This was an interesting concept that is entertaining and could give people a purpose to not feel so worthless sometimes.  His idea was amazing and I praised him to continue doing more work like this around Boston.

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Overall this was an amazing comic book expo to attend this past weekend.  I don’t read a lot of comic books in my spare time, but it was interesting to see lots of artists gathering together to show off their finished works of art on display.  The event was free for everyone and you could spend HOURS looking through all of the work people made for the event.  While my specialty belongs with writing, I did learn some things while being in a big room with artists.

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Whether you’re a writer or animator, artists gather together to create something meaningful in their lives.  Being an artist doesn’t mean that you can pick up a pen and draw a picture of pig; it means looking deep down with yourself as how you see the pig being drawn.  Maybe the pig is colored blue or maybe his snout has monster-like features that make him a mutant.  Whatever creative idea you come up with, it was designed from your imagination.

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As the writer of MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I know that I can’t just write a short summary of American Horror Story.  I have to juice up the story with interesting detail, crafting the story to be something relatable to all audiences.  This writing tip applies to many instances when I write about television, movies, music, fashion, cannabis, social media, and other categories.  Anybody can say they are able to read and write, but it takes LOTS of work to write something truly amazing from your creative perspective.  After attending the MICE event, I definitely took away some interesting tips that will shape MakeSandcastlesNotWar to become a better blog in the near future.

 

Painting Under the Influence at Breakaway


As an artist, my craft revolves around writing about news within the entertainment industry.  My technique involves putting the PR spin during the last few paragraphs of my work.  This PR spin involves utilizing a concept in marketing, advertising, or other fields of communications to best describe why the idea works or why it was a flop.  Gathering all of the information to craft my masterpieces is the easy part, but the real work happens in the end when I am taking my audiences back to the big picture.

Searching for ideas isn’t all that hard, but it can be tedious when I am looking for something different to write about.  There are times when I am forced to back away from the digital world only to discover an incredible topic come flying into me.  It’s always good to step back from writing a bit to try a new hobby that you are interested.  That is why last night I went into Breakaway in Danvers to try my hands on painting for Painting Under the Influence.

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Painting Under the Influence is an event where a group of people come together with their choice of beer or wine to paint a picture.  Each painter is provided with their own brushes, cup of water, painting palette, easel board, and apron.  The painters follow with the artist instructor to paint the same pictures using various colors on their palette.  There are a few 8-10 minute breaks once in a while to grab another drink, use the restroom, or chat with your friends, or update your painting before the next part of the session.  At the end, participants gather together for group photos to show off their finished masterpieces.

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Last night’s Painting Under the Influence event occurred at Breakaway on 225 Newbury Street in Danvers.  The donations for the event would go towards funding Salem State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America for their trip to the PRSSA National Conference.  Public Relations Student Society of America is a nationwide club for students who are passionate about public relations.  The Painting Under the Influence event was created by Chapter President Nikki Vergakes and Chapter Vice President Dominque Resendes. Every year members of PRSSA gather together to attend the national conference, a yearly event where PR students learn more about their career field.  This year’s national conference will take place in Indianapolis on October 21st-25th and the theme is about the ‘Crossroads of Public Relations’.

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Attending the Painting Under the Influence was a lot of fun.  As a former member of PRSSA, I felt obligated to help my fellow members attend this year’s conference that is taking place a few weeks.  PRSSA was a great club I enjoyed being a part of during my years at Salem State University.  I attended the meetings to make new friends, gain more insights into the world of public relations, networked with guest speakers, and went to national conferences as well.  During my years at PRSSA, I have gained so much more knowledge about public relations and I became more enthusiastic about the kind of work I could do for a career.

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As for the paint night event itself, I had a blast painting with my old friends!  Two things I learned after the event: I’m no Picasso and that pumpkin-spiced beer goes well with painting a picture.  I attended my first Painting Under the Influence event last summer at British Beer Company when I was still in PRSSA.  It felt good to take a small break from writing to do another artistic craft that I don’t do that often.

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Painting the picture made me realize how we are all artists in this world, one way or another.  Whether it is writing blog posts or painting pictures or making music, we land on some art form that we passionate about.  Once we discover our art form, we work hard to create our unique designs we want to show off to the world.  Not all of us are writers, which is ok because it is a skill that comes with years of practice and hard work.  Anyone can put a pencil onto paper to write letters, but it takes a long while to re-arrange those letters to create a real masterpiece.  With that in mind, I think I’ll stick to writing more blog posts for MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

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