Tag: uo digital arts

Rick Silva

Rick Silva | Photo by Dave Braithwaite

Portland’s Digital Arts Program Brings Rick Silva, Winter 2014

The Digital Arts program in Portland at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts is a unique option for students who elect to spend a fifth year refining the genre and their BFA work.  The program gives students an opportunity to connect to the thriving arts scene in Oregon’s largest and most cosmopolitan metropolis and sets the stage for continued connections, exposure, and integration into an arts and culture environment with a global reputation.


Each term, the program invites a faculty member from Eugene or a guest instructor based in Portland to conduct the Portland group of students with a specific curriculum encompassing study and instruction, experience and lecture. For winter 2014, Rick Silva joined the Portland faculty and enlightened the students through a term’s worth of artistic endeavor.


In the world of digital art, Silva holds a place that is new and vividly ground-breaking.  He is internationally lauded for his work with the computer screen, his gifs and phenomenal 3-D animations—work that leaves the viewer clamoring for more in a thirsty visually captivating and compelling way.  To view Silva’s work is really to have both your intelligence and your cerebral capacity simultaneously provoked.  A glance will never do. His work commands a deep, lingering stare—what you see, is not necessarily what you get as images morph, change and play with stills given electronic life by imposed motion and the brilliance of metronome-like regulated repetition.  It is a fantastic world Silva creates and it is only by viewing some of his work, that you will get an idea of what was meant when he was called “a recognized pioneer in new Media Art.”


I had an opportunity to interview Silva this winter and he was good enough to provide responses to questions via email.  What follows are his responses to a few select questions about his time in Portland and the experience teaching in the Digital Arts program here.


Here is a quick bio to provide some background context:

Rick Silva’s animations, videos, websites, performances, and video games explore landscape, remix and glitch. In his recent project enpleinair.org he is taking his laptop into the wild and creating 3D animations in response to the immediate terrain and elements.

Silva’s art has shown in exhibitions and festivals worldwide, including Transmediale (Germany), Futuresonic (U.K.), and Sonar (Spain). His research has been supported through grants and commissions from places such as Rhizome and The Whitney Museum of American Art. He has performed live multimedia works in London at E:VENT Gallery, Tokyo at The Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, and throughout North America including the Software Cinema Festival in Houston Texas. Media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and the CBS Evening News have all featured his art. Recently, the author of the bookTransmission Arts: Artists and Airwaves regarded him as “a recognized pioneer in New Media Art.”

Silva received his MFA from the University of Colorado in 2007. He has previously taught at the University of Georgia and the Alberta College of Art + Design. [Source]



SP:  How has teaching the Digital Arts program this term effected your work?


RS:  One of the two classes I’m teaching this term is a Web Art class. Web Art, or Internet Art, is a scene I’ve been active in for about a decade now. I often teach Internet Art as a small section in other digital art studio classes, but I haven’t had the chance to plan an entire course around it. Student’s lives are often so intertwined with the internet, but very few knew about how artists have used the web as a medium in the last 20 years.


It was a great opportunity to rewind to early 90s Internet Art, to touch on some of today’s varied approaches, and to share some of my own history in the scene as well.  Thinking about that class, and the history of Web Art, is working itself into some of my new projects that are web based.


SP:  Please comment on working in Portland and with the students in the Portland program…what opportunities are here for them?


RS:  The 5th year Portland BFA option is a really unique opportunity for our UO Digital Art undergrads, and it has been good for me to experience it first hand as a professor here this term.


Students have close access to the whole Portland art, music, film, and design communities. They get a whole school year to work intensely on their creative practice, and to get weekly, even daily, feedback on their work from their peers, faculty, and community.


Students also have access to some cutting edge equipment like Formlab printers, Oculus Rifts, sound booths, laser cutters, and more. Having a big final show at The White Box gallery [space] is an awesome opportunity as well.

Rick Silva on far left with a student in the Digital Arts Program in Portland | Photo by Dave Braithwaite

SP:  How have the reviews with the Portland community reviewers contributed to the students’ practice and development of their work and ideas?


RS:  They become important markers of progress for the students as the year unfolds. The reviews make the students accountable to an audience outside of our classroom.


SP:  You have had an exhibition open during this term at the PSU Anzen gallery:  was that recent work?  And was it influenced at all by your being in Portland?  Has Portland contributed at all to your professional practice?  Are there opportunities here that you have been impressed with or have contributed to your work?


RS:  Yes, that was recent work. The exhibition at PSU was done in collaboration with an artist run space I’m a member of called Ditch Projects.  When Ditch Projects has a members show we don’t usually credit each person’s work, so often each of us takes the opportunity to step outside our styles and try something new.


My work is often situated outdoors, and I hardly ever work with text in my videos, so I used this exhibition opportunity to make a 3D animation that has a a very white gallery scene with rotating white pedestals, and digitally spray painted text that spins around and reveals itself on a loop once a minute.


This work was not really influenced by Portland, more just the parameters and theme of the exhibition. I do often think about place or displacement in my art, and sometimes that comes after I’ve lived or visited somewhere, I’m sure something Portland-esque will find its way into a future project.


SP:  What have been some of the highlights of the term in your program for this group of students?


RS:  One highlight was an assignment I gave in the Web Art class, where students were asked to create real world objects influenced by internet technology or culture. One student created physical “pop ups” and put them on all the other student’s projects. It was interesting how as we walked around and talked about all the projects one by one, and everyone just ignored the added “pop ups,” exactly how we ignore ads on the internet in real life.

SP: Who have you brought in as guest artists or speakers?


RS:  This term we’ve had Jeremy Rotsztain, a local digital artist that focuses on touch interface / software art. Jordan Tate, an artist and professor from Cincinnati. And Krystal South, a Portland artist/writer/designer.


SP:  Have you done anything specific to being in Portland—taking or talking to the students about what is here and how they can integrate or be involved with the artistic community?


RS:  Yes, on my course calendars I list as many Portland art/design happenings that I can find, and urge them to engage with the local scene.


In discussions, I bring up a lot of Portland artists, designers, galleries, and institutions as examples. It’s great to point to art that is happening in the city right this moment, for example the PSU Ditch Projects show, or the 2014 Portland Biennial.

SP:  Any comments you can add about your work (current) directions you are going in, influences you have in your work, or new ideas you are exploring?


RS:  I’ve been thinking a lot about bird migration patterns this term. I saw this link from a Portland news station the other day that really resonated with me. It talks about these migrating birds that are being digitally mapped by weather radars during the night.


I’m thinking that will for sure end up in a new project somehow.

Rick Silva on far left with students in the Digital Arts Program in Portland | Photo by Dave Braithwaite

Thank you, Rick Silva!

Many thanks to student Dave Braithwaite for the images used in this post.

Damien Gilley Joins University of Oregon in Portland A&AA Digital Arts Program | Winter 2013

Between the Lines…. with Damien Gilley

Damien Gilley | Image Courtesy of Oregon Arts Commission | Sabina Samiee

For those of us lucky enough to have encountered a visual arts, design or creativity-based education somewhere in our past, at one point, we, invariably, were exposed to the fundamentals of formal analysis—an effort to analyze formal aspects of a work of art by dissecting the artist’s efforts into elements and principles.  It is a concept and a process that usually begins at the beginning:  with a discussion of composition and the use of the simple line.

A line.  It has the uncanny ability to take us from one place to another.  It leads, we follow.  It can be many things:  thick, thin, horizontal, vertical, short, tall, diagonal. However, it is anything but basic.  This extending mark or lingering stroke, stretching into space without much width to speak of, is the fundamental mark in all works of art.  It defines, it divides, it embellishes, it conquers:  it shows us the way.  It can flow like a Rodin sketch, strut across a wheatfield with van Gogh precision, it can soar into the heights of a cathedral or flee into oblivion; it can provoke us Rising Down in a Mehretu.  It is a shape that defies shape, a force not purely found in nature (a place that seems to have realized the value of mass and substance), and a definition of all things both real and imagined.

Into this linear exploration of the possibility of contour, comes Damien Gilley armed sometimes with only his ubiquitous roll of masking tape.  Perhaps best described in his own words, Gilley is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, Oregon.  And he makes use of the line.  Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  Hardly.  Take a look.

Damien Gilley. Detourism masking tape and airbrush Tetem Kunstruimte, Enschede, Netherlands

His biography tells us his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Tetem Kunstruimte (Enschede, Netherlands), EastWestProject (Berlin, DE), Las Vegas Art Museum, Arthouse (Austin), the Art Museum of South Texas (Corpus Christi), and in Portland at Rocksbox, Linfield College, Wieden+Kennedy, the American Institute of Architects, the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and the Portland 2010 Biennial, among others.  Creating work with a global acceptance, Gilley is finding his method embraced by varying public and private entities.

His work has been reviewed by Artforum.com, the Oregonian, Willamette Week, Portland Mercury, Las Vegas Review Journal, the Austin Chronicle, drainmag.com, and was included recently in New American Paintings.

He has received multiple grants including a Project Grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. He will have a solo exhibition in May at Suyama Space in Seattle, WA, and was awarded a residency at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Summer 2013.  Lauded by state art agencies, he even got top-billing on the Oregon Arts Commission’s Facebook page—his work gracing the longitudinal and coveted cover image.

This winter term 2013 at the University of Oregon in Portland School of Architecture and Allied Arts, Damien Gilley joined us as an adjunct instructor for the Digital Arts Program.  He is leading the pack of voracious fifth year BFA Digital Arts students in more ways than one: ambitiously planning student exhibitions in our White Stag Light Commons space, inviting special guest presentations and critiques to interact with his students, and planning future review sessions.  He has taken to our space like a well-seasoned regular, utilizing the Output Room and radiating out his special brand of digitalesque-handmade work.  And that is a key part of his intrigue—that unification of the digital with the hand-done.  It might seem mystifying and slightly oxymoronic but it works in a very avant-garde, technology-based Portland-cum-DIY way.  This year, in particular, his presence seems somewhat unstoppable.  Get off a plane at the Portland International Airport, and winding your way through Concourse A, you get to pass Gilley’s latest in-the-public-eye installation. It is large and mesmerizing–blue masking tape spanning, reaching, breaching, transporting us away little by adhesive little.  It is Gilley in his element—taking us places using technology and masking tape– and all we have to do is stand and stare and visually wander.  Even when the tape begins to dry, the sticky-stuff harden and peel off the wall, Gilley delightfully accepts this as all part of the process–“that’s what happens,” he cheerfully insists, “that makes it handmade.”  His philosophy on this merging of true high-tech and lowly rolls of hardware-store tape truly provides the cohesive core the medium (tape) might lack.

Damien Gilley’s new exhibit ‘Skywalker’, located along Concourse A, is a masterpiece crafted entirely from masking tape. Image from Port of Portland Facebook page.

I asked Gilley to tell me about his practice, his process and his experience (or the experience he hopes to have here at the UO in Portland).  And while I was fascinated by his recent installation at the Portland International Airport and the idea of masking tape (still absolutely captivated by the idea of masking tape….), this was to be a chance to let Gilley enlighten our left brain | right brain balance and give us a glimpse of how he is able to use a line in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

Gilley says,

My practice finds its home in a fine art context, creating installations and large-scale drawings in situ that challenge a viewer’s rational understanding of space. I use digital design programs to sketch and plan these experiential projects, ranging from Illustrator to Google SketchUp, which I utilized first as a  graphic designer in Los Angeles a decade ago. Now I use these tools to produce work that references digital languages, but are ultimately executed by hand in materials that step away from digital processes, like masking tape for instance.

Cashmere Fatigue vinyl and airbrush East/West Project, Berlin, Germany

Regarding his work with the Digital Arts’ students:

I am excited to develop dialog with the students about the hybrid nature of art making today, especially in the context of a digital/physical relationship. I think it is critical as artists to continue to question processes of making and develop lateral thinking strategies that explore new methods of understanding our world. The students do not need to invent completely new processes necessarily, but instead find a personal relationship to their investigations of our contemporary, digital society. This leads to a variety of complex projects that explore unique approaches to making and alternative exhibition possibilities.

Being an artist who identifies with both traditional media and digital processes, I love the opportunity to contribute my conceptual interests in the field to the AAA dialogue. I feel programs that saturate themselves in the current digital reality have the most potential of new programs today, really digesting the contemporary landscape in a complex way that investigates visual, cultural, virtual, and interactive phenomena.

And what we have to look forward to this term:

The students will create new work for a midway exhibition in February in addition to the development of their thesis culmination in May. Throughout the term various artists will come share their work, in particular artists who traverse both contemporary art and design practices. These will be valuable interactions with active exhibiting artists. It is a great opportunity for intimate discussion and conversation about how to exhibit locally and nationally, what digital processes do for artwork today, and how the art and design worlds correlate.

Look at more of Gilley’s work here, Damien Gilley and Saatchi.

Read a Willamette Week review.

Look at the Merriam Webster Dictionary and Dictionary.com definition of LINE.

[Thanks, Damien! for the interview…  -ss]

Portland Digital Arts BFA Fall 2012 | SECONDS Exhibit and Fall 2012 Final Review

Portland Innovation Continues:  “We are getting our ‘SECONDS’”

Xige Xia | Bubbles

This fall, Portland was not a place where one could easily escape plenty, sweet indulgence, and the realization that our city has been set a place at the global table of greatness.  Adding to this sense of lauded fame and fortune, Portland may be this year’s hippest culinary capital (could Bon Appetit dare to be wrong?) as the surfeit of exotically-spiced tastes and smells wafting from food carts, cooler-than-thou cafes, and sensorily delicious foodie destinations were met head-on by FEAST, a Bon Appetite | Portland Monthly extravaganza of, quite simply, food, books about food, demonstrations about food, and introductions to people who eat, sleep, live, and breathe for food.  For a week or so, interested Portlanders experienced copious amounts of palatte-pleasing, self-gratification in what was already a food-centric, help-yourself-to-more situation.  Somewhat reminiscent of a Bruegel Peasant Wedding while leaning precariously towards a Land of the Cockaigne, FEAST revelers sampled, tasted, and sampled again.  Afterall, there was plenty and it seemed to be all about more:  the ability to have and to have again.

Continuing within this latitude of celebration, Portland is also, of course, home to the infamous art walk evenings on First Thursday. . . .and, in more recent times, Last Thursday (Northeast Portland), First Friday (East Portland), and Last Friday (north of Portland) when the city cooperatively divides itself (presumably so sectors of the town can be enjoyed on different evenings), galleries throw open their doors, and the metropolis is invited to revel in creativity and goodness.  We certainly love our Firsts, but invariably they lead to seconds:  yes, the wanting of more whether it is art, culture or food.  There is little doubt that good experiences and exceptional adventures based on infusing the senses usually leave us desiring both more of the same and more of something completely different, otherwise known as having options.  Which brings us to another idea, every second is an opportunity to get something slightly different, pun intended.

Sarah Chan

Into this environment of availability and both having and wanting more came this year’s group of Portland-based, fifth-year BFA Digital Arts students.  As the students worked toward their first exhibit at the White Stag, things heated-up to a new level when they rolled out their November show, SECONDS, debuting to the public on First Thursday, November 1. 2012.  With an exhibit title that reached into the connotation-larder of food availability and more, the eight students concocted a multi-course exhibit that went on display in the 4R Corridor Gallery of the White Stag.  It was a spicy mingling of the culturally-observant and inquiringly thoughtful, technologically-inquisitive work served up family-style with the long and lean gallery space presenting the work in concentrated servings, open and inviting to all.

Xige Xia | Cultural Noodle at SECONDS

[See images of the SECONDS show here, FACEBOOK UO AAA.]

While relationships to Portland’s foodie culture and international acknowledgment should not be solely cited as contributing to the work produced, the autumn months of living, studying, and just being in Portland presented the students with an environment that was at once accepting and encouraging of their artistic explorations.  In fact, as Digital Arts student Taylor Engel commented,

“I think we are all enjoying the Portland “vibe” and working in the city. Although I don’t think SECONDS was directly related to the city of Portland, I do think Portland is the kind of city that promotes creativity, inspiration, and a healthy competition for artists and designers. I lived in Portland when I was a kid and later moved just outside Portland. When i was younger I would always talk about moving away, (mostly because of the weather) but now I see Portland as a great place to start my career…..I think the more you learn the more you want to learn. Moving from Eugene to Portland has rekindled my desire to learn more about art and really delve myself into the local art community. We’re all sort of getting our “seconds” when it comes to continuing our education into the BFA here in Portland.”


Taylor Engel

Even if the students’ Portland initiation was, or was not, in any way effected by the advent of FEAST, a metropolitan affection for food, culture, and art appreciation, and the plethora of options, the environs certainly contributed to an overall background context.  It is intriguing to note student Max Crist’s comment, “Seconds, to me, means having more of something, whether that be art or food or life!”  And, adding to this sentiment, student Corina Conzaleiz mentioned, “we decided on the name “SECONDS” as a form of expanding the possibilities….a serving of seconds in relation to art by the hope of leaving the viewer wanting more.”

An exploration and recognition of the student work is best done through images of that work which you can browse though in this post (and in the Facebook image album, Digital Arts Students in Portland | SECONDS).  Wandering the Corridor Gallery space during the SECONDS exhibit, and subsequently attending the final reviews of the students’ work bring new meaning and relevance to their work (final reviews were held at the White Stag Block, November 30, 2012).  It is this first-hand experience of the newly created pieces that provides the initial sense of interest and captivation.  Watching and listening to how thoughts evolve and images change brought a sense of wanting more, of wanting SECONDS, to see and discover how these eight individuals have and will work through their philosophies, uncover and realize ways to capture meaning.  Karen Munro, final reviewer guest (Head, University of Oregon Portland Library and Learning Commons) commented on this observable progression in the student work, “I’ve seen some students’ work progress amazingly from their first term to the end of the year.  Their ideas get more complex, and their expression of them gets more sophisticated, or changes formcompletely.  It’s really cool to see.”

Chihung Liao

Turning to the students’ work both visually and critically, we can observe and educate ourselves to the individual cultural perspectives they seek to present.  SECONDS, if anything, was a show and final review that let the artists explore their chosen genre and let us “learn a lot from hearing [the students] discuss their ideas and strategies….the one thing they all have in common is that they’re pushing the boundaries of their chosen form.” [Karen Munro]

Xige Xia

One student who challenged the constraints of cultural context, is Xige Xia and her piece, Bubbles (Mixed Material | Installation).  Bubbles was described by guest reviewer, Nancy Cheng (Architecture Portland Program Director and Associate Professor, University of Oregon) as: “[addressing] the complex issues about the changing character of Chinese cultural heritage in playful engaging ways.  In choosing to address what is close to her heart, she is able to bring attention to an issue with global resonance.”

Xige Xia with Nancy Cheng and Ying Tan

Xige Xia describing her own theory, shines a brilliant light illuminating her cultural background while clarifying her own personal and emotional connection:

China, as an old civilization, has developed a very diverse culture with an immense number of ethnic groups. While the Hans are the majority group, there are basically another fifty-five distinct ethnic groups.


Through the modernization and economic growth, people in many different ethnic groups are gradually abandoning their traditional lifestyles, leaving no one to carry on the old ways, such as arts, crafts, music, and customs. The charming tradition and the age-old cultural traits have been gradually passing into silence; the diversity and originality of the Chinese culture is extremely vulnerable and fragile right now. Some unique culture elements have already become distinct.


In this installation, I incorporated my inspirations from the Chinese minority groups’ cultural treasures ranging from costume patterns, vintage musical instruments to disappearing language and so on. Through my artwork, I truly want to express my wishes for these crystals of our ancestors’ wisdom to not only survive but to pass on and carry forward.


Corina Conzaleiz

Being raised in a Mexican culture, Corina Conzaleiz explains that she chose to respond to the idea of SECONDS by providing images that “relate to folkloric superstitions that have been passed on from generations to generations with the idea that every second is an opportunity for someone to tell a slightly different version of the superstition making it their own.”  Remember, every second is an opportunity to get something slightly different.

Reviewers view work by Corina Conzaleiz

She continues, explaining the content of her work:

I was exposed to many superstitions that my grandparents still believe are effective today. My grandmothers had these beliefs on doing certain things to relieve babies from hiccups, an evil eye, or being born with a deformity.


As a young girl I watched my grandmothers place a small piece of red thread on a baby’s forehead to relieve them from hiccups. This was quite common, I found myself searching for a red shirt to pull a piece of thread from whenever my baby sister had the hiccups. We would lick our finger and lightly press the thread against the baby’s forehead.


There is also the belief of the evil eye. Whenever a person looks at a baby and finds them to be extremely cute, it supposedly causes nausea,fever, or crying fits and these symptoms are thought to be a result of the evil eye. In order to cure the child my grandmothers would rub an egg around the baby’s body, crack the egg in a glass of water and analyze the texture of the egg to determine whether the baby was suffering from the evil eye.


Another superstition is to avoid the lunar eclipse during pregnancy. If you are exposed to a lunar eclipse at any time during pregnancy, your child will be born with some sort of deformity. In order to protect your child during pregnancy from a lunar eclipse, a woman can also wear a safety pin on the inside of their waistband.


I recently had a conversation with my new roommate, who happens to come from a Mexican culture as well and we hit the topic of old superstitions. To my surprise she understood a lot of the ones I grew up with. I became extremely interested in the topic as I never thought of them as superstitions before. I decided on a project that would bring awareness to these superstitions that all seem to cure or relieve a baby. I digitally illustrated three different images of babies and used physical objects to place on the printed images depending on the superstition.

Craig Hickman photographs work by Corina Conzaleiz

Students Sarah Chan and Koji Matsumoto explored their interests using different forms of digital media.  Matsumoto explains he “embraced the title SECONDS very literally, and [he] planned to title [his] project ‘Lossy’ alluding to the term defining the type of digital photograph that loses definition the more it is saved | copied | shared.”

Koji Matsumoto

Matsumoto continues,

My work is an attempted demonstration of how the culture of digital photography has developed. Photography has become so casual, cheap and simple, that any camera can store thousands of pictures at a time and each photograph I intended to act as referential memory.  However, unlike human memory, which can develop and change over time, the photograph is never going to be any more than what it is at its moment of creation; it will only lose clarity.  When traveling through Germany last summer I found myself, like everyone, taking hundreds of pictures of the sights, and not necessarily experiencing each moment.  Now the memories are limited to rectangular forms whose surroundings are unknown, and nothing new can be discovered within them.  The camera, therefore, limits memory instead of accurately depicting it.

Koji Matsumoto receives comments from Herman D'Hooge

When asked to discuss her work, Sarah Chan offered the following,

…. the spectacle is the most glaring superficial manifestation of mass media. Idealized lives, carefully constructed narratives of film, television, and literature, the presentation and function of our commodities, these are all subject to the influence of the spectacle.  It’s a critique of contemporary consumer culture. We are so mesmerized by the spectacle of our society that objects, locations, images have become emotionally charged. They have become our link to the people around us. We live for objects and images because we do not know of any other way to live.

How can small stories and the mirco-narratives of ordinary life compete with the spectacle? Is it not inherently influenced by mass culture? The discovering the spaces in between reality and fiction are the only ways we can find grace from the influence of the spectacle. The fleeting moments, the minor events, inspired instances of play are occurrences that can foster new ways of seeing only if one takes the time to examine them. I like to think of them as spectacles of the trivial. Capturing and interpreting this idea through visual media, how can the nature of passing events the change our idea of visual representation? Can they exist as a spectacle or does is very qualities negate its transformation?


Work by Sarah Chan viewed by Colin Ives

Addressing the culturality of music and the importance he feels music brings to one’s life, Karl Turner, and his exploration of music contains personal trusims that provide us clues to this artist’s motivation:

Music, to me, is one of the most important aspects of life. It is consistently seen in cultures all over the world and it is one of the most diverse art forms in existence.

Through my artwork I aim to utilize various aspects of music to help facilitate an active participation and acknowledgement in the viewer (listener) to the musical world around them. Through things like lyrical content exploration, non-traditional sound creation and visual appropriation I hope to turn passive viewers (listeners) into active participants in the world of music.

Karl Turner
Karl Turner

One sentiment prevalent with this group is the feeling of “hope” that Turner describes in his artist reflection.  It is this sense of a “hope” to influence, understand, form, and contribute to a global conversation that saturates this group’s genuine, yet freshly idealistic interpretations.

Reviewer looks at work by Taylor Engel

Perhaps no one kindles this sense of hope and moving forward in socially relevant and humanitarian ways to the extent of Taylor Engel. Engel’s project turns attention to feminism, female power, and equality.  Growing up in a world where liberalism, equality and the right’s of women have experienced significant progress, Engel still senses she wants more….can we say, seconds?  A larger helping?  An opportunity for greater results, more options, and a position of increased power and prestige.

Taylor Engel

She says,

I am interested in ideas of feminism, female power, and equality. I want to explore these ideas using a narrative about a powerful woman. Women tend to be praised for going after more “masculine” pursuits and interests so I wanted the woman in my story to have a position a man would more traditionally do. When thinking of powerful positions in society I came to the idea of a serial killer. Serial killers instill in people a sense of fear, respect, and titillation; they populate our favorite fictional crime TV and books while also having a real world presence as well as the vast majority of serial killers being male. Another way to make my character powerful is to make her not human. She is spirit-like and is not bound to a specific form. She is often associated with smoke or vapors and can move without restrictions. She wanders the earth acting as requital to those who have been wronged almost as sort of anti-hero. She identifies bad people by their recognition of her. She can only be seen and has influence over bad people.

Max Crist

The work of the Digital Arts students spans the culturally revelant, the personally emotive, the fascination with technology and change, and even, with student Max Crist, merges into how these concepts delve into the commercial world and fuel an interest in street culture figuring out ways to incorporate daily pursuits, such as bridging to the practicality of making a living.

Max Crist

Crist’s SECONDS come as meaning “more of something”, food, art, or life.  And in his own words, he describes his ethos:

I’m fascinated by personal expressions of everyday social interaction. The body of my work consists of anecdotes of social and pop cultural representations. These are things I see or experience. Often I translate these in nostalgic and comedic ways. I enjoy irony and humor in art. Ultimately I want to achieve a dream of being a professional designer and possibly driving my own brand and business. I believe that my determination will drive me to refine my personal artistic expression and style. I want to understand how to market and brand my ideas into a formal career and future artistic direction and I will challenge myself constantly as failure leads to great insights. If nothing else, please know that I am committed to working hard to achieve my goals of becoming a designer.

Max Crist with Herman D'Hooge

The fall term work of the Digital Arts students leaves one feeling a desire for more. When we like something or are interested, we always seem to want . . . . .seconds:   more of the same, or more, but of something different yet related, grounded in prior experience. And as Conzaleiz points out, the concept of having access to seconds is one where as both observant audience and exploratory sampler, we receive a form of expanding the possibilities of what is available. As viewers we want to see the students’ ideas progress, and get increasingly complex, or even be pared down to the very simple, after all, sometimes less is more.

Work by Chihung Liao

The students are currently on winter break.  But when they return in 2013, refreshed and ready to begin again, we will look forward to the experiences, the sights, sounds, textures, and culturally relevant observations they will serve us.  As we patiently watch their oeuvre unfold and develop, and their curiosity for more and thirst for understanding forge ahead, we anticipate helping ourselves to seconds, relishing in the opportunity to see more, learn more, feel more.  The work created during the fall 2012 term gave a glimpse of what’s in store.  Reminded of that Dickinsonian waif, who having tasted nourishment and sustainance, once said, “Please, sir, I want some more.”  Perhaps, Oliver Twist-like, we do, indeed, want more.

Chihung Liao
Reviewers with Chihung Liao
Jennifer Wall and John Park at the Digital Arts fall 2012 Final Review

Fall 2012 Digital Arts Instructor:  Ying Tan

Incoming Winter 2013 Digital Arts Instructor:  Damien Gilley

Students in the Digital Arts Program in Portland are Sarah Chan, Taylor Engel, Max Crist, Koji Matsumoto, Chihung Liao, Karl Turner, Corina Conzaleiz, Xige Xia

Special thanks to guest reviewers:  Colin Ives, Liz Bayan, Mack McFarland, Karen Munro, Michael Bray, Jim Fletcher, Mariana Tres, Eric Dayton, Craig Hickman, Dan Graland, Jacob O’Brien, Dave Anolik, Rick Silva, Colin Williams, Dom Cardoso, Herman D’Hooge, Ty Warren, Damien Gilley, Jason Sturgill, Paula Rebsom, Michael Salter, Bryson Hansen, Tomas Valladares, Jennifer Wall, John Park, Sara Huston, John Leahy, Ying Tan, Nancy Cheng, Cory Burnett, Jade Gonzales

Post and photos Sabina Samiee