Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: May 11, 2012
My online storefront can be found at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale
Purchase “Window Journey” at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale/item/window-journey-993344
Purchase “Color Glow Wall” at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale/item/color-glow-wall-559200
Purchase “Under the Waves” at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale/item/under-the-waves-762290
Purchase “Self Portrait: All at Once” at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale/item/self-portrait-all-at-once-224089
Purchase “Color Grayscale” at: https://www.wepay.com/stores/art-sale/item/color-grayscale-452950
Descriptions for each artwork can be provided upon request (and might be mentioned later within a separate blog post).
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: May 11, 2012
According to The Huffington Post article, Seller Offers Gun Range Targets Meant to Resemble Trayvon Martin by Gene Demby, the “… hood-clad figure holding an iced tea and a bag of Skittles [was] meant to look like Trayvon Martin” (source). That same article goes on to quote from another news source that the seller boasted that, “I sold out in two days” (source). Stories like this make me stop and ponder. Are the only people getting rich quick off of artistic expressions savvy bigot propagandists? After all, not only was I not successful in reaching my KickStarter goal to create a full tunnel mural instead of a partial one along with the funding I needed to produce a documentary, but I have had no luck in selling any of my politically inspired t-shirt designs. I thought surely I’d have some luck with a treading cause, like the 2010 Deep-Water Horizon gulf oil [leak] dubbed as a “spill” which inspired my t-shirt design “Oiled.” I ended up not having any luck at all selling that.
I often wonder if this has something to do with the stratification such causes attract, like often either being more progressive or more conservative. Whereas the more conservative the cause, the more funding it seems to obtain. This is not to say rich progressives are to blame, but rather I offer this thought as a moment for progressives to look in the mirror. A moment to acknowledge that while progressives may be more humble regarding income, we certainly possess the power of numbers in our increasing persuasiveness (as long as religion is not involved). So instead of just voting politically, people should harness the power of voting with their wallet on the type of world they wish to promote. We do currently live in a consumer driven society after all. One dollar from many is worth more than a lump sum from one rich individual, and until that is realized there will be more opportunists than actual agents of change.
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: May 11, 2012
This is the second mural I have done in one of the Free Expression Tunnels at Appalachian State University (ASU). It is a part of an ongoing art series that addresses the rape culture on the campus of ASU. While my KickStarter was not successful, in that I did not received enough pledges to reach my minimum goal and therefore received none of the money at all, I did however previously receive $50 from my WePay campaign effort. Later I obtained donated buckets of paint from an anonymous faculty member. The reason for their anonymity is not exactly due to humility, but out of fearfulness due to what has recently transpired with fellow ASU faculty member, Jammie Price. With the little bit I was able to gather to support my efforts, I created the mural just in time during the weekend before finals — overnight Sunday, into Monday morning. As of today final exams for this semester are finally over for everyone, but the ever increasing and intertwining controversies stemming from ASU’s administrative failures continue to mount.
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: April 23, 2012
My birth month this year is steadily producing pleasant surprises for me, which is more than welcomed considering the setbacks I’ve been facing as of late. I have plenty to update people about regarding the current art series I’ve committed myself to, but have been swamped as of late. From creating a WePay campaign to signing up with KickStarter for the first time, the effort in gaining funding is a lot of work. Then there’s the ongoing research used to guide my visual language, my personal struggles with backlash, and my actual student life. Plus keeping up with all the new developments about the case that the art series sprung from, which means I need to write a follow-up blog post soon. Eventually, the next art piece in this series will ideally come together prior to the final exam week here at Appalachian State University (ASU). My number one problem is funding, and with not much time to get it.
Most of all I need funding for my project since I’m basically a broke student. So I set up a WePay campaign. I thought it would be as easy as when I had fundraised to do volunteer work with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Comfort Working Group in New York City, or when I went to Occupy Asheville as a citizen journalist to cover their eviction live. Maybe it was because I had more time to advertise for those past efforts, but it seems Women’s issues are much more difficult to get financial support for right now. I notice this mostly through my WePay campaign efforts, especially after having an opportunity to grace the homepage of The Art of Dismantling along with being interviewed.
In anticipation of troublesome roadblocks as a newbie to KickStarter, I attempted to get a head start through my WePay account instead. After almost an entire month of frustration KickStarter approved my entry. KickStarter is useful since they supplement somewhat for my lack of talent in self-promotion. Just looking at the results from my WePay campaign, anyone can tell I’m a lost cause at gaining financial support. Ironically my design services in the past have benefited clients, but I guess that’s because it’s natural for me to promote others than it is for me to sell myself. Unless you’re in the area and can donate the actual materials need (like some paint), I hope you make a pledge towards funding my project. There are plenty of rewards offered to each donor level. If anything, at least spread my KickStarter efforts by sharing my KickStarter video. Thanks!
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: April 21, 2012
While I have my personal preferences to color, as a graphic designer I incorporate the use of color psychology to persuade my audience. When experimenting about four years ago with my favorite color scheme, I began to notice that it was becoming usefully popular outside of historical references. At the time I was enthusiastic about the color scheme becoming receptive and acceptable among the mainstream. That enthusiasm may have been premature. The problem is that popularized causes, especially by influential non-governmental organizations (NGOs), have abused their assumed integrity while making use of a red, black, and white color scheme. I fear that the color scheme consisting of red, black, and white will no longer be influential let alone attention grabbing.
Invisible Children used the red, black, and white color scheme on many of their recent Kony 2012 posters based off their logo design, which was a very successful design despite it being a horrible cause. After the bandwagon effect started to wear off many people around the USA admitted their error of superficially supporting a trending cause. However, there remains a strong association of the red, black, and white color scheme to the Kony 2012 campaign. I figured this was only temporary, so I thought I’d take full advantage of the surge in interest while it lasted by using it in my Stop and END mural. Before I could even finish my first painted word “STOP”, people passing by continually asked, “Is this for the Kony thing?” of which I answered, “No.” Teasing people’s curiosity was exactly the behavior I was hoping to induce while in the process of creating that specific artwork. I was painting outside late into the night so I needed people to not be instantly offended, yet I also needed them to stick around to accompany me for safety reasons. All of which worked well to my advantage during the process, and still cultivated the results I intended when the art piece was finished.
Though many people here at Appalachian State University during that time happened to be easily manipulated by such design language, it also triggered the opposite effect among the small percentage that engage in a dualistic counter-culture lifestyle. Unfortunately, people who often take an unsubstantiated position as shallow reactionaries are caught in the same web of social conditioning that color psychology plays a critical role in. How else would Hot Topic make its profit (which also uses red, black, and white as its color scheme by the way)? Anything that falls short of clear satire using such a color scheme invited instant skepticism. Unlike the Kony 2012 supporters who more than often stopped to talk to me before the artwork was completed, the majority of people who walked by that opposed the Kony 2012 campaign verbally expressed disapproval to their peers with the preconceived notion that the art was for the Kony 2012 campaign. Of course the closer to completion my artwork became, the more I got the reactions I had intended on in regards to my completed work.
My worry is that there might be a psychological aftermath of emotional fallout among the U.S. public, after disappointment regarding unethical causes like Kony 2012 that propagated itself through methods of groupthink. When a familiar color combination is tied to negative experiences people quickly learn how to tune out, or at worse those negative associations trigger a high dose of skepticism based on assumptions. I may have thought this to be just a passing fad, if it were not for the mounting use of such a color scheme among other equally superficial cause campaigns. To further complicate the U.S. public’s vulnerable mental state, the Stop Bashir campaign is just as sketchy as the Kony 2012 campaign and is using the red, black, and white color scheme too. Where was the support for stopping the genocide in Sudan during the June 4th 2011 protest held in Washington D.C. (and even before that)? Then there is the scrutiny over the female genital mutilation cake performance at the MOMA in Stockholm, Sweden created by Makode Aj Linde. Obviously it is clear that the use of red, black, and white as a color scheme among high profile political causes void of integrity is essentially going to render my previously favorite activist color scheme utterly useless, at least until the U.S. public has a lapse in memory.
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: April 15, 2012
Yesterday I attended the Student Art League IRON POUR!! at Appalachian State University (ASU). I wasn’t able to splurge on an iron face mold like I wanted to, because what little money I currently have is going towards school supplies for my painting class. If not that, then food. Which luckily the ASU Student Art League also decided to sell delicious food for a dollar at this event! So I bought two Boca Original Vegan Burgers and Lay’s Potato Chips for a total of just two dollars. There was also homemade vegetarian burgers, beef patty burgers, pork burgers, and hotdogs being served off the grill.
Not only did I get a cheap meal that day, but I supported a really awesome club too. While I was unable to afford purchasing an iron mold, I got to at least observe the fun of an Iron Pour event. Here are some photographs I took while I was there:
It was a lovely sunny spring day, filled with hot molten iron and grilled food.
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: April 14, 2012
Just when I thought computers brought the latest developments in graphic design, I found there’s still room for inventing new printing techniques. I heard about the new printing technique called Latexgraphy, while attending an artist’s lecture and their exhibit. Latexgraphy was invented and perfected by Priscilla Romero Cubero. This technique uses latex molds that replicate skin texture, which is then used to produce two-dimensional prints. It’s similar to woodblock printing, but in this case ink is placed onto a latex mold instead of a slab of wood. My best description of it would be to imagine an image of a skin graft, stretched out like a flattened map of the world.
With the aid of Priscilla Cubero’s technique, a print of real life skin can be scanned into a computer. The crevices that are transfered like a negative photograph can then be used to precisely replicate a three-dimensional object with such texture. Latexgraphy is literally a two-dimensional map of real life skin. Which is why I think this interesting printing technique will improve humanoid robotics, and lifecasting. Just think, a humanoid robot with actual lifelike texturized skin!
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: April 2, 2012
This past Thursday I attended an exhibition, lecture, and reception given by the painter Laura Buxton. The exhibition focused on the Yugoslav Civil War during the Nineteen Nineties, and consisted of paintings along with sepia ink drawings. Other than the oil on board In Mourning Self Portrait of the Artist by Laura Buxton in 1995, there were no other people purposefully featured in any of the artworks on display. A reason for the absence of people was to capture the aftermath of war within Ruined Landscapes. My understanding was that utterly destroyed architectural structures alone could move an audience to understand the long-term costs of war.
I think Laura Buxton captured the historic architectural significance of loss. With crumbling architecture frozen in time by her hand, a person could feel the sorrow of human achievement being forsaken. Particularly, in the sepia on paper piece On the Boulevard: The Front Line East Mostar by Laura Buxton in 1994 showed that sorrow well. I also felt that Laura Buxton deeply expressed the psychological effect that loss had on the local communities still living among the ruins. The depicted perspective depth expressed in many of the sepia ink drawings was especially moving, as one could look through various distances within that moment of a building’s collapse. The best example of capturing such a moment can be seen in the oil on board painting of the Razvitak Department Store East Mostar 1994 by Laura Buxton. Depicting such a perspective is what Laura Buxton does best, as seen in some of her less politicized paintings.
Most of the artwork featured in this exhibition was created during the ceasefire under the Washington Agreement. My mother was deployed to aid the efforts of dismantling landmines in Bosnia, after the Dayton Agreement had been signed. I briefly lived in Durham, North Carolina for one year, prior to my mother leaving the United States. During my seventh grade year, I experienced a literal Black and White racial mentality among my peers. In addition I experienced varying forms of segregation for the first time in my life. It wasn’t until I returned to North Carolina to attend high school that I learned that the segregation was caused by racialized politics of the school redistricting. However, even the current Wake County schools of North Carolina would appear more culturally accepting than the starkly segregated schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina today.
Back when I was in seventh grade, I was taught how to use the Bulletin Board System (BBS) on the school’s library computers, so I could stay in touch if my mother got deployed during that school year. My mother ended up being deployed after I had finished my seventh grade year, so I ended up staying with my mother’s eldest sister in Lubbock, Texas during my eighth grade year. Regardless of being taught how to use a BBS, my mother and I communicated through snail mail and by phone. One day my mother sent me a photograph of herself in her United States military uniform standing by two civilian children. That picture made me want to further distance myself, because I didn’t understand why adults would willingly destroy the childhoods of their children within the crossfire of their hate.
It was very confusing to me as a young teenager that people of the same race, but different cultural ethnicity and religion, would not just hate each other but slaughter each other. If killing each other wasn’t enough, various factions strived to demoralize the other by attacking monuments deemed culturally significant. Things I still take for granted here in the United States. If a civil war was to ever break out again in the United States, I would expect monuments to remain untouched due to their shared historic cultural significance. Laura Buxton sorrowfully depicted to me that people who share the same national monuments would willing destroy such historical structures out of spite. An example of such spite can be seen in the sepia on paper Tito Most East Mostar 1994 by Laura Buxton, which depicted the destruction of the Mostar Bridge. During the lecture Laura Buxton gave, it was good to hear that the Mostar Bridge has recently been restored.
Instead of the mass graves, that I came accustomed to seeing on the international news segments about the Yugoslav Civil War while growing up, the art presented within this exhibition gave a very useful perspective. The viewer looking at Laura Buxton’s art, for a brief moment could fill the shoes of someone who witnessed the firsthand destruction of their everyday life. That kind of perspective would have been much more useful to me as a middle school student back then, than the bombardment of grotesque pictures of unearthed evidence of genocide. While conveying genocide to an international audience is very important to do, it was different for me as a young American during that time. Even today with the recent evidence of U.S. troops committing the same acts upon Iraq monuments, the media rarely tells the stories of our shared histories we as a global community have in common. Evidently what we have in common collectively is not enough for humanity to survive; so people must seek to celebrate our diversity instead of excluding ourselves.
Briant S. Davis
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: March 25, 2012
This art piece sought to challenge Rape Culture as a whole, but most of all focused on breaking the silence within Appalachian State University (ASU). I picked the phrases, “Stop [t]he Silence” and “END RAPE CULTURE” so that accountability could begin to be established through an engagement promoting awareness within the ASU community. To stress the idea of accountability, I repeated a single word throughout the background. My goal was to get people talking about the sexual assault case(s), while encouraging people to begin the process of ending Rape Culture.
I wanted this piece to start conversations about what silence means to each individual viewing this work within the context of Rape Culture. However, there are various meanings I wanted to express for myself to include within the idea of stopping the silence. Stop the silence phrase was linked to the message of ending Rape Culture, because silence is a key factor that continues to perpetuate Rape Culture. The purpose of picking the second phrase of, “END RAPE CULTURE” was to generate awareness on what Rape Culture is, and for people who have not defined Rape Culture for themselves to start thinking about what it is and how to end it.
To emphasise the two main phrases, I chose to add two additional words that were repeated within the background. The word, “speak” was repeated on the wall associated with stopping the silence, while the word, “NAME” was repeated on the wall associated with ending Rape Culture. Using such words were deliberate. I wanted people to begin to think about what it means to break the silence Rape Culture creates. I also wanted people to begin to think about what it means to hold either a person(s), organization(s), and/or institution(s) accountable. With such a message, I wanted to empower people with the possibility that they can end Rape Culture.
Inspiration to only use words came from:
My research in understanding how to approach this piece included:
Posted by: Amiris J. Brown on: March 18, 2012
Appalachian State University (ASU) has essentially forced rape culture onto student-athletes, and I wanted to express that within my design. It is my opinion that ASU has created an injustice through its allowance of a serial gang rapist to return to an otherwise upstanding team. The actions taken by ASU thus far have served to further condone and promote rape culture by insisting fellow football players harbor and cooperate with a rapist. This is a psychologically harmful example to set, especially when, “… a disproportionate number of gang rapes are being committed by … young male athletes”. The last time ASU failed to take a strong stance against rape, it started an epidemic of team-gang-rapes committed by ASU football players — which eventually had to be remedied by the National Organization for Women (NOW). Thus, my design is an educational tool that seeks to spread awareness, by its act of cultivating openly insightful debate about accountability.
The subject of accountability is at the rotting core of rape culture. Dr. Claire Walsh of the University of Florida’s sexual-assault recovery program explained about two decades ago that, “[w]hen we’re talking about athletic teams and gang rape, we see how, time after time, the entire community comes to the support of the team. Athletes are very important in the fabric of a campus or town. They keep alumni interested, and produce money for the community.” When ASU acts in such a way it creates, “… a culture that values a game over basic bodily integrity and physical health; it’s a culture that values that game over education, even at an institution of higher learning.” In summery ASU is not only promoting rape culture, but the pure exploitation of its student-athletes.
Disgustingly, ASU would go so far as to silence student-athletes who wish to distance themselves from such criminal and immoral behavior, by threatening student-athletes with a breach of their sports contract with the university if they spoke out publicly. This is what institutionalized silence looks like! Student-athletes are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and this is a violation of said amendment. I commend those student-athletes who wish to speak out against these atrocities, for they demonstrate a deep understanding of, “[w]hat athletes do reflects on our society – and influences others”. I hope such student-athletes educate themselves on their Civil Rights, and call upon the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to defend their Free Speech.
While the act of silence is a key factor in promoting rape culture, so too is the act of belittling such violence. To make an accusation that posing a critical question about and to ASU is the equivalent of making a slanderous statement, is not only a fallacy but is an act of belittling the violence that has been committed. It is a scapegoating tactic that implies victim-blaming indirectly, while directly attacking Free Speech carried by any messenger of transparency. For clarification purposes, this piece of art is no different than the Watauga Democrat reporting that, “… one [of the two serial gang rapists are] currently listed on the 2012 roster of the ASU football team”. This artwork I have created has done nothing more than display the team that is publicly listed on the online ASU football roster. ASU’s action of placing a serial gang rapist back onto the team is what has implicated the ASU football team, not the reports stating facts and not artwork that displays only the facts available at the time of its creation and dissemination.
The most disturbing fact that remains, is that ASU has yet to reveal the serial gang rapist that is reported to be back on the football team. When rape culture is perpetuated it only serves to further reinforce the psychological response of not reporting rape among accomplices, witnesses, and survivors because, “[o]f course people are going to cover for him, or look the other way, or make small changes so that they can feel better but don’t actually go to law enforcement, which might threaten the game”. These actions not only make the entire football team suspect to the public, but compromises student safety while simultaneously tarnishing the reputation of ASU sports overall. In contrast, my artwork on this subject seeks to ask a question, not make an insinuating statement of implication based on association.
My process in creating this design was the following:
With this artwork I wanted to address the rape culture that envelops ASU. It needed to get a reaction that would spark thought, so that it could cultivate a deeper and wider discussion about rape culture on the ASU campus. I chose the “one liner” that I did, because it was a question to the audience, and not a statement or accusation of associated blame. Specifically, such a question was picked because it would stir and engage my audience in radical feminist theory regarding issues of rape. Most of all, I needed this artwork to be a conversation starter, in order to cultivate a dialog that has repeatedly been ignored and silenced. The conversation I have attempted to frame is that of holding those who support rape culture accountable.
My approach to the design was most influenced by the Kony 2012 campaign poster design style. While I didn’t receive any one-to-two word slogan submission suggestions, I did successfully pick a slogan that expressed a question. I picked such a slogan precisely because it was short, catchy, and to the point like Kony 2012. Just as the iconic poster of Kony 2012 demands accountability, so too does my design. While Kony 2012 asks why developed nations within the western world aren’t aware of Joseph Kony, my design asks a question about our awareness of rape culture on this campus. This piece specifically demands that those responsible for the team stand up to stop rape.
My hope is that this piece will serve its purpose in ending rape culture. One example of rape culture is that no one at this time has revealed the actual serial gang rapist(s), yet the survivors have been publicly identified. Such shortsighted actions often stem from and further promote mentalities of victim-blaming and revictimization of all survivors. Though this is highly upsetting, I took this opportunity to focus on the culture that perpetuates rape rather than the actual individual(s) that committed the horrendous act(s) of rape. A second example of rape culture is that ASU mishandled the case, then promptly allowed one of the serial gang rapists back onto the football team for the 2012-2013 season. According to the Watauga Democrat, “[The Appalachian State] University Conduct Board found [the two serial gang rapists] responsible for sex offenses in a September 2011 event”, yet due to the incompetence of the ASU administration to properly handle the Board hearing, “… one [of the two serial gang rapists are] currently listed on the 2012 roster of the ASU football team.” Like any artist, I welcome critiques of all my works. Before critiquing this specific artwork, all I ask is that you be educated on rape culture and how it intersects with the oppression of athletes. Finally, a personal question I have is where is the “… rape awareness trainings for all current students and for incoming and transferring students”? I sure didn’t get such training upon transferring into ASU. It seems ASU didn’t take the lessons of the past to heart, and are dooming themselves to repeating it in rhyme.