Art From Afar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For this assignment I decided to go in a different direction in regards to where that artwork is from! I have chosen to share the art work the represents the story of Ramakien, and Thai epic that was influenced by the Indian epic of Ramayana, a story of good versus evil that is a deep part of Thai culture. This art is found in Thailands’ most famous temple, Wat Phra Kaeo, “Temple of the Emerald Buddha.” This wall consists of 178 colorful murals that was hand painted in this sacred place during the late 18th century.  This masterpiece was made with oil paint, gold leaves and on a slighty textured surface. The story of Ramakien is one of ancient times of old Thailand and old Sri Lanka. The main characters are Rama, the good king in green also said to be Buddha reborn in another life, Sita his wife and daughter of the enemy, Hanuman, the great white monkey, son of the wind god and the evil Tosakan, ruler of Longka (Sri Lanka) who was said to be born of demons with ten necks, heads and arms. Through honor, self control and patience Rama was able to defeat his enemy and stay married to Sita and reign over their province. I reccoment looking up the Thai epic if you are interested, it’s a little difficult to summarize. This story is so deeply rooted to the values and morals of Thai culture it was brought back to life with these murals after many of the versions were lost during war in the late 1700’s. I had to opportunity to recently visit this temple and walked through its entirety, it is defiantly a sight to see! The detail that was put into this art was incredible, there was no area of empty space, from the beautiful temples in gold to the details in the background of landscape, the sight was breathtaking. When we studied the Sistine chapel and Michelangelo’s ceiling I was reminded of this mural and I think that this was kind of the same idea just with a different culture. I provided just a few murals because it was so big but feel free to look at more on this website it is a 12 minute video of just paintings and the temple:


1.     How long do you think this took to complete?

2.     Do you feel like this art relates to anything you have seen before?

3.     What is your favorite part about these murals?

 Leslie Minichiello


Art or Vandalism


When you hear about spray paint you automatically you think graffiti, yes most people do but there are artist that can create a great work of art manipulating the paint as it is still wet. I was instantly intrigued at one of the stories on how this form of art first came to life. Back in the 1980’s in Mexico City, Ruben “sadot” Fernandez painted in front of his studio as an experiment. He later moved to “La Zona Rosa” and began attracting more people. Other people followed in his footsteps with aerosol spray paint art. I love that he experimented first to see the reaction and his experiment was a success and it is still around today. The paintings that these artists do to someone like me that knew nothing about the process my fist thought is there is no way this is going to be a good piece and to my surprise it is amazing. There is technique to it they can use several tools like spatula, newspaper, cardboards, pencils even fire etc all to create the detail. They start off with lighter spray paints and move on to darker. They seem to just spray the surface they are painting on but their technique is just that natural to them. They have to be precise and if they mess up they need to start all over, they have different layers and textures in one piece. I think spray paint art is amazing when it is art. On the contrary spray painting can be also be vandalism, destruction of property, now that I don’t particularly care for. In different parts of the city we can all see graffiti or “tagging” in slang, most of it is done with bad intensions. They take what is an absolute amazing art and turn it around and make it a nightmare for the persons/business property they are vandalizing.

Do you consider spray painting an art or vandalism?

Have you ever seen a person spray paint an art piece in front of you

Is there a piece that you were amazed by?



Maria Benitez

Pure Art

Voorwold Pic

I’m fascinated by how art can affect people and by how every person is different in what moves them and inspires them. I think everyone has been moved by some piece of artwork that spoke to them or caused them to look inside themself. It may have been the colors or the type of medium used, or the subject or subject matter depicted, or the simplicity or the complexity of a piece that drew some usually buried feeling from within us. But there is something about using only what nature gives you in its purest form to create that speaks to me on some basic, internal level.

 Earth Art or Land Art is art in which the landscape and the work of art are inextricably connected. Both the canvas and medium are the earth and nature. While there are more famous contemporary Land Artists, Dietmar Voorwold is my favorite. Here’s a great sampling of his work.

I’ve been moved to emotion by many pieces of art, but what I feel when I see Dietmar Voorwold’s land art creations is pure AWE. Not awe because of the amount of work or time it took to create the piece or some unattainable skill possessed by the artist; but awe in its duplicity. My brain can’t comprehend how something can be so beautiful, simple and pure and yet so complex at the same time.  Dietmar Voorwold’s work is childlike in its simplicity of materials and its canvas but at the same time it can be as complex as a calculus algorithm. He seems to also have the eye for and gift of photography that can capture his Land Art at the perfect moment of light

I can see why Dietmar Voorwold’s work and vision could involve Art Therapy for children.  One spring, I showed my students some video of some Land Art creations and then took them on a walk as Dietmar Voorwold described it “the perfect stage and canvas…” It was amazing to see their eyes light up just by finding a leaf or a rock or a berry because they saw it’s potential. Everything they found in nature, they saw as a gift left just for them to be used for their own creative expression.  The hardest part for me with this “art project” was walking away from their creations. We took pictures and then walked away. There was something sad and freeing at the same time to just walk away. Interestingly, though, the kids didn’t have a hard time walking away. But there was definitely a feeling of reverence for their work in knowing it was ephemeral.

  • When you hear the word ART, what is your first thought?
  • In your opinion does creating artwork that is meant to be ephemeral or temporary lessen its value or beauty?
  • As a child or an adult, did you create works of art from nature?

Here’s a great video of Dietmar Voorwold’s work.

A few other Land Artists that create unbelievably works of Art:

Patrick Dougherty

Andy Goldsworthy

Sherry Eubanks


Truck Art

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What do you normally expect a truck in North America to look like? Mostly white with the name and logo of the company they are owned by. The most colorful truck I have seen in America so far is the Jewel Osco truck that has the pictures of the produce on it. In contrast to American trucks, trucks in Pakistan are extremely fancy, very well decorated and painted with all the colors you can imagine. Its not like all trucks in Pakistan are fancy only the trucks that are used to transport crops and farming products are like that. The owners of these trucks are usually poor. Their monthly income is approximately $200 with which they have to feed the family and pay their bills but still manage to decorate their trucks. The pictures above show the differences between the appearances of the trucks in America and Pakistan.

Truck Art can fall into many categories; Street Art, Moving Art and Jingle art. I love street art, it is usually very colorful, funny and has a message from the artist that depicts his/her beliefs. Trucks are the best way for poor people to share their ideas and beliefs in Pakistan. It is like a social networking site. They just don’t randomly paint or decorate their trucks. Their trucks show their personal, political and religious view. They paint poetry for their wife, mom or even for public in general. The poetry sometimes is very funny. I used to purposely drive slow just to read the poetry on the trucks, it is so entertaining. They also paint pictures of their children, political leaders or favorite actors or actresses, holy Kabah and holy mosque etc.

This is a line from a poem written on a truck: “Haaran ahista bajain kaum so rahi hai”

Translation: Don’t honk, the nation is sleeping.

The owner of this truck was probably tired of the political instability and the reaction of the people towards the unfair treatment by some unfair leaders. This was intended to sound funy but it has a serious message for the people in Pakistan, which is wake up and fight for your rights. Some people could also take it as revolutionizing.

I chose “Truck Art” for three main reasons. The most important one is, I never let go a chance to show how wonderful Pakistan is and how creative the people are. Second, one thing that I really appreciate about art is the way people can express their feelings, views, thoughts, and beliefs using their own unique way. Third, I love street art, I enjoy seeing all these colorful vehicles and reading funny and sometimes inspirational quotes on them.

  • Should the drivers paint their trucks with such a low income? Would you consider it waste of money?
  • What do you feel about sharing your personal views that openly?
  • Do you think poetry on the Trucks or on street art in general could have revolutionizing affects on the population?

Mahnoor Cheema

Poetic Cosmos of the Breath

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I came across a single picture of this installation while scrolling aimlessly through my Tumblr feed having no idea what it was. I merely thought it was a picture of a metallic structure that must have been photo shopped in some way or another. I clicked on the image to enlarge the picture and was completely blown out of the water. There was unfortunately no name of the installation or artist attached to the image so I began my frantic research purely out of curiosity. “What is this?” “Where is this?” “Can I go see this?” were all questions that immediately came to mind. I started typing in things like “huge metallic structure” “inflatable reflective foil” and eventually was brought to a link on Vimeo, which finally put an end to my search. This link however caused my amazement to flourish even more and now I was truly in awe of this work. The clip was a short 3-minute film of a large piece of foil like material being inflated into a breathtaking solar dome. I had finally found what I had been looking for and I am incredibly excited to share Poetic Cosmos of The Breath, an installation by Tomas Sarcaceno with all of you.

Poetic Cosmos of The Breath (2007) was an experimental piece done by artist Tomas Sarcaceno. The Argentinian artist has been creating these cloudlike installations for several years and continues to push concepts of gravity and our previous perceptions of architecture towards new heights. The piece I chose to share with you, “Poetic Cosmos of The Breath” was apart of ‘The Arts Catalyst’s’ 2nd International Artists Air show, where viewers started to crowd the experimental solar dome at dawn while Sarcaceno and his team proceeded to fill the reflective foil with air throughout the day; this gave viewers a chance to walk through the installation and actually inhabit the space.

Being both an architect as well as an artist, Sarcaceno has been fascinated by the idea of a floating city; this fascination has been the sole inspiration of his past installations as well as this one. The Poetic Cosmos of The Breath is made of giant, reflective, circular foil harnessed to the ground by sand bags on all sides. The initial release of the inflatable structure was done at sunrise to allow the sun to reflect off of the piece as both rose higher in the sky.

Here is the link to the short film showcasing the installation and its inflation at sunrise. So incredibly beautiful!

My questions for you are:

  • How do you feel about the idea of a floating city?
  • Do you consider installations such as this one to draw a more emotional response than a painting or drawing?
  • What did you think of the relation between sunrise and the inflation of the radiant foil?

Bailey Van Horne

Seeing Art Differently? Look at that Chicken Bus!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Guatemala, old school buses from the U.S. are repurposed as the main form of public transportation in rural areas. Often times, live animals are accompanying the passengers in their travels; this is why they are referred to as “chicken buses”.

When we were talking about street art in class, I was reminded of how awestruck I was as a visitor to Guatemala to see these brightly colored buses travelling through the mountains. Unlike street art, which is temporary, these buses are painstakingly painted so that their colors will last for decades. Sure, in the United States we see lots of colorful advertising on our city buses in the states, but that is different. These were painted for the sole purpose of decoration. That is ART!
Here is a link that takes you to Paul Guyer’s acrylic rendition of the explosion of color on an old school bus.  I think that Paul Guyer does a great job in his painting of capturing the feeling of these buses.
Keep in mind I am not talking about graffiti here, these buses are elaborately and skillfully painted in primary and secondary colors that are very noticeable because of their intensity and saturation. The contrast between the colors used is very pronounced which seems to make the bus jump out at you (advance) and implies movement. The contrast of the brightly painted school bus against the neutral browns and greens of the landscape make the buses even more noticeable. If color is used to evoke emotions, then the full range of human emotions are riding through Guatemala on the side of an old school bus. Many times the bus has a name as if it has taken on a life it’s own.
Born and raised in the Midwest my eyes had never seen this type of Art. My colleagues who live in Guatemala didn’t even notice the buses, whereas I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Funny how your culture shapes your impression of what is Art. I was seeing this art differently than they were. This was the first time I had ever seen school buses painted this way; it struck me as ironic that you can still see that they are school buses and the artist does not try to cover that up at all.
I wondered:

  • Is this a single person who paints the bus, or is it a group project with many people contributing?
  • Did the artist(s) who painted the bus get fame and recognition for their work? Or were they anonymous?
  • What do they use as an inspiration? I couldn’t help to think that the colors probably had some significance beyond the visual impact (Mayan culture is prevalent in Guatemala and the use of colors may signify different villages, etc. ) .

My experience with the school buses showed me that Art is all around us. We just need to try to see it!

Cathie Schoenecker

La Femme Gris

La Femme Gris 1

So this past April I went to Paris to run a marathon and visit some family. Some of you may have seen pictures from the streets of Paris; there is artwork in just about everything. There are also many grand water fountains in some of the bigger square around Paris. I had stopped in an area known as Le Fountaine Saint-Michel which gained fame during the French Revolution.  As I walked around taking in the sights and sounds I happened upon a drinking fountain that looked out of the ordinary.

The odd shape was the first thing that caught my eye and the grating at the base gave away the fact that it was a drinking fountain but not an ordinary one. The curves at the base swept up toward the spout and the curves above the spout were all parallel to the ground, so at first glance I thought it was a corkscrew type of shape. The color is flat grey and closely matches the ground. As I went around the fountain, the actual outline appeared, it was a woman with a spout of water coming from her extended hand. As the outline sweeps around it transforms from what looks to be a woman just standing in a square people watching, to someone offering every passerby a fresh drink of water. The lines around the top are the portrait of a face which seems to be looking back and forth at the people walking around and meeting, taking pictures, or just sightseeing. I know nothing about the artist and I wish I had taken a picture of the other profile so that I could show the shape change more completely.

The thing I liked the most was, that in a city brimming with classical forms of art and a famous fountain just across the street this modern piece seemed stand out even though it blended in with the surrounding sidewalk. It offered up a drink to all without question as to who they are, where they are from, what their beliefs or politics are, what their gender or age is, as Paris is full of tourist from all over the world. I know nothing of the artist nor have I seen any pieces in class that are similar to this one. There was nothing about this piece that I did not like but, there was a trash bin just a few meters away from it that did distract the eye, but that is typical of Paris.

La Femme Gris 2

blog                         blog2


  • Why the color grey?
  • Is the way the spout rises up from the main body a symbol of offering.
  • Why just a 90 degree rotation?

John Lopez