Self Assessments


FALL TRIMESTER Midterm assessment

      Half of the first trimester has already past and it feels like it is still the first week of school. I have progressed faster through my classes than I thought possible. I am already working on my second artwork in advanced sculpture, a realistic representation of a pangolin constructed from wire and plaster craft. The pangolin’s structure is built similar to the way in which I constructed my first sculpture, a two-foot tall freestanding water bird made completely out of wire. The next sculpture I will be working on, an abstract representation of a pangolin, will probably follow the same theme with wire, although I plan on incorporating cast resin items into the abstract piece. Simultaneously, I am starting the setup for my annual Christmas light display. Programming both for the lighting and video elements has been under way for a few months now. With less than six weeks until the opening night, there is a lot to still accomplish in a relatively short period of time. The lighting design for the play is also well on its way and is set to be completed within a week, with hang and aim followed by tech rehearsals soon after. At the rate I am progressing, I think the majority of my C.A.P. plan may be completed before the end of the second trimester, although that is not a bad thing, it might allow me to add on even more projects. With a full load of eight classes, not including T.A. in physics or the lab in my biology class, I am keeping myself very busy, although I do try to find small amounts of free time to enjoy my artwork and sleep here and there.  

Fall TRimester Assessment

      During this fall trimester, a large amount of my goals and projects have been accomplished and many pieces of work are in the midst of being finished. There are also a number of projects that I wanted to begin work on but never got the chance to. However, I must say that I have been able to pull everything together quite well, especially when considering my class load and the projects I take on. 

      Much of this term has been focused on wire and silicon molding. The first sculpture of the term was a large, freestanding water bird. This was not only the largest wire only sculpture that I had made to date but it is also one of very few sculptures I have done that is almost only wire, with no skin covering the internal skeleton. This method of only completing the underlying structures of sculptures seems to be a trend with my work that is becoming more and more apparent. I continued the trend with a giant pangolin turned Godzilla wire sculpture that used metal springs as a sort of skin. This rhythmic flow that presents itself in the wire springs is not something I had experimented with before. The springs not only gave the sculpture an abstract feel but also a very energetic look, almost as if it was going to come to life and jump at you. 

       Casting and plaster have also played a large roll in my artwork this trimester. I constructed a pangolin where each individual scale was incased in plaster and placed onto the body in large sheets; a very time consuming process. Casting was also used for the two projects that I have worked on at home that are in the midst of being completed; a chess set and a cubism wall piece. Rather than use latex or plaster molds as I have done in the past, I decided to learn how to use silicon molds this trimester. After completing my first mold, I do not believe I can ever go back to latex or plaster molds. Silicon molds allow me to cast most pieces in a single mold, rather than creating multi part molds with plaster or waiting days to create a layered latex mold. Did I mention silicon molds are fast? Well, from start to finish, a mold takes approximately five hours to be completed, much faster than any technique I have attempted in the past. This process of creating molds has allowed me to mold chess pieces without using two part molds for each piece, a much needed time saver. Learning a new molding technique was a risk, I knew that there was a chance it would not work or a chance that it could destroy the piece I was molding if done incorrectly. Luckily, there were no problems with the molds and I have learned a new technique in the process. 

      In both the Crucible and my Christmas light show, I have implemented new techniques that I had not been able to use before. Using many window gobos, no general LED fixtures for color, gradual color shifts throughout the scene to indicate a change in time, and using the stairs as part of the stage, rather just entrances and exists are just some of the ways the Crucible has been very different from previous shows. For my Christmas light show, I am focusing more on the fine details this year such as the exact video clips used for each song, the organization of controllers and cables throughout the yard, the tasteful addition of pyrotechnics and moving heads, and the color and movement “themes” for each song. I believe that this will help the show stand out from previous years and give each song a very specific look that conveys feeling of the music. 

      During the next trimester, I know that I will be taking at least two if not three University of Hartford classes and will be focusing on projects just as large as the ones this trimester, if not larger. Next trimester, I need to remind myself to take a break every once in a while instead of going full speed with every project. That being said, I am still striving to product the best, most elaborate work that I can both in sculpture and in lighting design.

Winter Trimester assessment

1.     The achievement I am proudest of in my work this year to date is the lighting design for Pippin. The lighting design for Pippin takes the top spot on my list not only because I am so happy with the way the show turned out, but also because in comparison to other projects which I finished in the past year, Pippin forced me take and apply the skills which I have learned through I purposely watched the show as many times as I was able to and listened to the soundtrack over and over to get a feel for what the show was trying to convey emotionally to the audience and how the lighting could help convey that message. Each song had a slightly different color pallet and texturing while keeping with the blue and pink overall color scheme of the show. I purposely used three separate front light colors: no color straw, medium bastard amber, and tipton blue, to create different environments as the show changed settings. The use of top light allowed for coloring of the stage to help convey the mood. The large amount of lighting instruments used also gave me creative freedom that I would otherwise not have had in the Watkinson theater.  Two Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO fixtures in addition to the four JB Lighting Sparx 7 fixtures, which were used for top color, allowed for texturing and specials throughout the show, drawing attention to specific parts of the stage. The use of cooler color temperatures also allowed for the light to feel more un-natural and slightly magical.

2.     When I feel stuck, I have found it helps to take a break from what I am doing and focus on something else. More often than not, I tend to procrastinate and wait until the last possible minute to complete an assignment. While I do enjoy working under pressure, if multiple assignments pile up on a single day, I find it best to work on small portion of one assignment and then move onto a different assignment. This helps me to keep actively working instead of sitting on a particular assignment for a long period of time and working at a slower pace on the assignment. Spreading out the work, even if it only over a ten-hour period of time, also helps me catch errors in my work when going back and looking over it, something that might fall through the cracks if I sit and grind out an assignment.

3.     I’m drawn to work by Isamu Noguchi because of the way he blends modern and organic sculptures to create usable works such as the Noguchi table. Noguchi’s pieces span between naturalistic, organic, flowing pieces to sharp and sleek modern pieces. I am currently in the process of creating a sculpture that is inspired by Noguchi’s sculpture sphere section which was originally made from marble.

4.     The biggest stumbling block I face in my work right now is finishing all the projects I have started. Over the past two or so months I have started a metal sculpture, a resin casting, painting techniques for my resin casting, and renderings for close to half a dozen shows. I planned to have all of these projects completed by the end of the trimester but some projects needed more time and others fell by the wayside as I started different, sometimes bigger projects. I am aiming to have these projects done by the end of March so during the last trimester I can allocate all my time to new work.

5.     Right now, I’m curious about modern sculptures. My current two projects are revolving around the work by Isamu Noguchi, a sculptor in the 1900s whose work primarily focused on the surrealism, abstract expression, and bio-morphism movements.

6.     A time I’ve broken “the rules” in my art form, and it has turned out well, is by choosing to use unfiltered lights from the moving head spot fixtures in Pippin. The vast majority of lights used in Pippin were halogen fixtures with a color temperature around 3200k. The LED and discharge lamp fixtures used had a color temperature closer to 7700k, which is a much cooler white light. Normally, color filters would be used to blend the higher color temperature lights in with the lower color temperature ones. However, I decided to use no filters on the two Alpha Spot QWO fixtures mounted in the catwalk when used for specials. This created white spots which had a significantly different color than the general lights. This color temperature was also used on the two follow-spots. Using a contrasting color temperature helped to draw focus to specific actors on stage, especially when large amounts of characters were in a small area. The cooler temperature also blended well with the blue top light that was used in many scenes, creating a magical or mysterious feel.

7.     At the end of this year, I’d like to have completed my metal cityscape that I have been planning on building for close to two years now. Every time I begin planning the project or allocating time for it something else comes up. I would also like to finish my resin chess set which is mid-way through being completed.

8.     One discovery I’ve made about my own working patterns this year is when I begin a project, the initial design of the plan for the project tends to be completely different by the time the piece is finished. This is because I enjoy creating in the moment, rather than working strictly to a plan. In some instances, sticking to a plan is the more effective and best way to approach a project. Other times I have found it better to go into a project with no plan and figure it out as I go along. Often times this leads me to create more organic and strange pieces compared to artworks which have significant planning involved.

9.     The most fun or pleasure I’ve gotten from my work this year was when I was designing the lights for Pippin. Designing lights to go perfectly to music is something I have been doing for a long time. However, combining that with theater in a musical was a first time for me. The design and planning phase of the lighting for Pippin took well over a month, with the lighting plot changing after almost every rehearsal. Even after sitting through as many rehearsals as I possibly could, there were still some parts of the show that I was not sure how they would turn out. I ended up being able to bring in almost every piece of hardware that I needed to execute my design perfectly. We did run into a few problems along the way that couldn’t be fixed quickly. With between fifty and one hundred hours of hang, aim, and cue needed to make the show happen, Pippin was without a doubt an absolute pleasure to work on. Even the torch and the fire pit came out just as planned, even if they did take weeks to make.

10.  Something I should try to keep in mind is I don’t need to complete every piece of work to perfection. I spend an extremely long time getting the smallest of details right when I am the only one who will probably notice. In some instances this is worthwhile but in other instances the end result is so minutely different that even I would not be able to tell the difference if I wasn’t the one who made the artwork.

1. The CAP diploma means that students have assembled a considerable body of work in a variety of styles in their chosen disciplines:  a group of monologues and roles as an actor; solo, duet, and group dances; a portfolio of written work or visual art, etc.
Example of growth in this area: I have assembled dozens of sculptures and have done lighting design for countless concerts and plays while in the CAP diploma program. Over the past trimester alone, I have finished two sculptures, finished two set pieces for use in Pippin, begun work on three more sculptures, and provided lighting design for a fair amount of shows while also working on the design for six more currently.
2. CAP graduates have developed considerable self-discipline, so that an internal drive to pursue the art is strongly in place and supported with skills of creative goal-setting, organization, resourcefulness, and follow-through.
Example of growth in this area: I have been able to execute large and complicated projects that in some cases take months of planning and many revisions without issue. Rather than taking on projects just to get them done, I purposely choose projects which I enjoy and love doing. Many times these projects involve a large commitment but that only allows me to dive deeper into the creative process.
3. CAP graduates have a broad acquaintance with the significant innovators, artists, and schools in their chosen art forms, at least at the level of recognition vocabulary if not active experiential connection.
Example of growth in this area:
4. CAP graduates know that creating new work is generally a two-phase process—invention and revision—and have developed strategies and skills in each phase.  This includes the ability to critique their own work in service of improving it.
Example of growth in this area: Every design, whether it is for lighting or sculpture, always goes through multiple design phases by the time it is completed. When creating my first pangolin in the fall, I originally planned for the scales to be made and attached individually to a wire-only skeleton. By the time the sculpture had been complete, the scales were in rows of between two and ten that were attached to a plaster and wire structure. Likewise, the design for Pippin also had many versions. The original design changed as I viewed more of the show and as I began to plan the hanging and aiming of the various fixtures chosen and worked through the logistical problems.
5. CAP graduates can articulate the intentions behind a given piece of their own work and explain why particular choices have been made in executing it.
Example of growth in this area: Whether it be the way a color evokes emotion or the choice in casting materials for a project, I try to make meaningful decisions in my work regarding the use of different mediums or techniques.
6. CAP graduates recognize that they are part of a community of artists and have the skills, interests, and awareness necessary to participate actively in dialogue with artists from other disciplines about their work.
Example of growth in this area:
7. CAP graduates have experience in active collaboration with artists from other disciplines in creating original work that crosses disciplinary boundaries.
Example of growth in this area: Every show that I work on involves working with others who work in different disciplines. Sometimes these individuals are costume designers, sound engineering, laser technicians, creative directors, or musicians, but, without cross-disciplinary work, none of the shows I work on would be possible.
8. CAP graduates have developed considerable skill in self-presentation before an audience, and considerable polish in the presentation of portfolios, programs, resumes, and other paper or online indicators of professionalism.
Example of growth in this area: Having a company based around my work as a lighting designer places all my work in front of the public. For each show that I provide lights for there are audience members, friends, family, or even prospective clients viewing the show. This forces me to be in a professional manner at all times and to put forward my best work whenever possible. 
Which CAP Exit Skills do you need to work on most?
I need to work on gaining better knowledge of other disciplines so that I am able to have a more educated conversation with individuals in such disciplines. I also need to work on gaining more knowledge of specific people in the disciplines I work in. I am very well versed in the vocabulary and works associated with my fields of work but specific names tend to escape me.