Project and Research Plan

First Things First I’m Surrealist

I feel like my heart is going to explode. In all of my time at Plymouth State University I have never had a chance to exhibit my artwork that I am so passionate about. I am very excited to announce that I have secured a wall in Lamson Library to showcase my artwork. My exhibit will be installed during the last week of November and will be on view for two weeks in the months of November and December! I plan to feature some of my best paintings and mixed media works that I have worked on throughout my time here at Plymouth State University. Another exciting aspect of my exhibition is that my fellow, IDS capstone classmate Kayleigh Maria will be collaborating with me to creative market for my exhibition. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and I am curious to see how she will get the word out about my exhibit, whether it’s in the form of posters or social media or both, I’m positive she’ll do a great job!

My Artwork (Please message me if you would like to use this image.) I plan to add more panels to this watercolor/pen surrealist painting.

This project is immensely important to me because it gives me the opportunity to finally showcase my artwork that I’ve put so much passion and imagination into during my time at Plymouth State University. I feel like this is a great chance to expressive myself and put together a unique collection of my artwork. I also like the idea of collaborating with Kayleigh, since I have never participated in a gallery show, I need all the support and help I can get. I believe this collaboration process will create new ideas and broaden my perspectives on how I should showcase my work. I want to create an atmosphere that reflects the personality of my artwork and Kayleigh is willing to work with me to make this happen! I feel like this exhibition will help me meet artists and other individuals that are interested in the style of artwork that I create. With Kayleigh marketing this show, I may find potential job opportunities and my work may find

My Artwork (Please message me if you would like to use this image). Just a quick sketchbook doodle that I am hoping to incorporate into a bigger piece.

a way out into the world. This exhibit is a great way for me to show my artistic style and creativity, I really hope that students, faculty and family enjoy my artwork. My goal is to help people find inspiration in my field rather it’s through showcasing artwork or talking about my artistic processes. This exhibit will give me the confidence boost I need in order to continue getting my artwork out into the community.

I can not explain how excited I am to have this opportunity! I have always wanted to showcase my artwork in some way to the Plymouth community and inspiring artists as well. I am grateful that Kayleigh is collaborating with me to produce this exhibition and help express my unique artistic style. My goals as an Interdisciplinary Studies, Expressive Arts major is to influence others through creating artwork. I love when individuals come up with new ideas through looking at my artwork and reading my statements about my pieces. I feel like art is a great way to express your emotions, ideas, how you feel about certain issues, relieve stress and unleash your imagination.

 

Timeline (Subject to possible changes and flexibility)

Come up with an engaging title for my exhibition by October 10th.

Goal: To work on 1-2 pieces of artwork per week for nine consecutive weeks up until installation date.

Preorder/obtain all materials required for framing/matting/title letters by mid November.

Collaborate with Kayleigh to have all the handouts/posters printed and posted around campus/downtown Plymouth by mid November. Also have Kayleigh market the exhibition on social media such as the PSU Instagram page and PSU Facebook page, this can be an ongoing process up until the exhibition opening.

Complete and edit all artists statements/bio by the last week of November.

Complete a reaction sheet for my exhibition. I will leave this on a small table along with pens and a drop box for viewers to write what they think about the overall exhibition experience. This will be completed by the installation date.

Installation Date- The last week of November. This is when I will have framed and matted all my pieces, I will have arranged them creatively and successfully installed them on the felt wall in Lamson Library. I will set up the table with the review papers/pens/dropbox. Kayleigh and I will figure out where to put the refreshments and what music system/playlist we will use for the reception.

Exhibition Reception/Opening- Lamson Library (felt wall) December 4th at 5pm (IDS intro and capstone students and faculty please come!) There will be refreshments!

Publication to my Eport by December 12th (I will also keep a separate page for this project where I will document my progress and experience creating this exhibition).

 

Artistic Relief

My Artwork (message me if you would like to use this image). Seashell palette knife painting.

I am not sure how more relaxed you can get; sitting in the comfort of your safe haven, soft music playing in the background, painting a picture from your imagination. I find that the process of creating art is a way to relief stress and cope with different emotions that you are feeling. Sometimes verbal communication can feel difficult and forced, while artwork has the ability to “speak” for you. Within my research paper I will be discussing the effect of art therapy, music therapy and a couple different types of therapy on various eating disorder clients. The eating disorders that I will be focusing on are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. I will include facts/statistics, interesting case studies and quotes that I find benefit my research paper. Lastly I will include my personal experience with using art therapy to help me overcome an eating disorder that I struggled with throughout middle school.

This research topic is very engaging to me because of my personal experience and my desire to learn more about the effects of various types of therapies on different types of eating disorders. Throughout my time here at Plymouth State University I have taken various classes in psychology and art. I find the psychological mindset of individuals with eating disorders very fascinating and I want to learn about their thought processes while going through different types of therapy. On the other hand, I have a strong passion towards creating art and I wonder if that process helps individuals with eating disorders display their emotions and struggles. This research paper includes both disciplines within my major, art and psychology. I am keen to learn about this topic because it will benefit me in my future work with art therapy clients.

I feel like by the end of this research paper I will have gained insight on how art therapy, music therapy and other types of therapy effect individuals with eating disorders. As of now, the only insight I have is my own struggle with an eating disorder and my experience with art therapy. I want to know what kind of mindsets different individuals with eating disorders have and how they overcome their struggles through various types of therapy. I want to know the different types of art they create depending on what emotion they’re feeling. Collecting this information will benefit me in the future because my goal as an Interdisciplinary Studies Expressive Arts major is to inspire individuals through creating art. I desire to learn new perspectives on art therapy methods and learn about different artistic processes (creating art in different mediums) to help heal future art therapy clients.

 

Timeline

Come up with an engaging title, this can be an ongoing process until December 10th.

Collect library resources such as books and Journals by October 10th.

Collect website articles and journal articles online by October 24th.

Write notes on sources, this is an ongoing process until I have a considerable amount of information. This information includes; facts/statistics about eating disorders, art therapy, music therapy and other types of therapy, history, content/methodology (basically the effect of art therapy, music therapy and other types of therapy on various eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.), case studies and quotes that I find interesting and my personal experience with an eating disorder and using art therapy to heal.

Begin to type research paper by November 7th.

Insert hyperlinks, this can be an ongoing process depending on the rate I discover web sources.

Find images for my research paper by December 5th.

Send research paper into the Writing Center by December 6th.

Edit final draft of research paper and complete work cited page by December 10th.

Post research paper to Eport by December 12th.

Art Therapy Research & Project Ideas

I guess the reason I am procrastinating on this post so much is because I am having a difficult time narrowing down ideas. I’m not sure if I’m being indecisive or just not researching creatively but on a broad scale, there are so many different ideas and concepts involving art therapy. I feel like the problem with narrowing down research topics is the fact that I actually want to have a lot of information accessible for my paper. Not just “on the surface” facts, those are great but I also want deeper understandings of the topic, I want creative outlooks. During my web browsing for topic ideas I began by first separating the two disciplines, art and psychology. Well, the thing is, I realized I found more interesting topic ideas when I researched the two disciplines as a whole.

Atomische * Tom Giebel
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
https://flic.kr/p/aRS5gt

My first research topic idea is, how does art therapy effect eating disorder clients? I find this topic really interesting because I have some personal experience. I am intrigued to learn more about how art therapy effects clients with different eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. I also wonder about the success rate of art therapy on eating disorder clients. I believe one of the major issues regarding this topic is the fact that everyone is different and one method of creating art may be more beneficial to one client than another client.

My second research topic idea is basically art therapy versus music therapy? Ive always been curious about music therapy and the effect it has on an individual. I know for me, I personal love listening to music and discovering how each song effects my emotions. Or the other way around, a lot of the time the music genre I listen to is based on how I am feeling in that present moment. One of the major issues that I’ve asked myself when picking out this topic, is should I try to find out if one therapy is better than the other? Or should I just compare and contrast the two different types of therapy?

My third research topic idea is considered a “wicked problem” within the art therapy spectrum. What is the cross-cultural issues concerning art therapy? I feel like one of the biggest problems with art therapy is how “radical” it may be compared to other traditional methods of therapy. However, growing up in this day and age, everything is changing in a somewhat rapid fashion. Therefore, new forms of therapy are bound to be discovered in the future generations. Also, the question of, does art therapy have the same meaning in one culture in comparison to another culture? All of this is really fascinating to me!

My fourth research topic idea is, are there more benefits to art therapy than other traditional therapy practices? Even though, I have experience and knowledge about art therapy, I’m curious to learn about the benefits and outcomes

thinkpublic
(CC BY-ND 2.0)
https://flic.kr/p/5CT3oV

of other traditional therapy. One of the major problems that I have with this topic is the very broad world of traditional therapy. I feel like I would definitely have to narrow traditional therapy down to one form of traditional therapy.

My fifth research topic idea is the success rate of art therapy. I would love to read about how art therapy went for different clients, I want their opinions and their personal stories. I want to know how clients choose art therapy over other therapy practices.

For my applied project, I am very biased to say that I’ll most likely create a small exhibition in a gallery space. I will continue this watercolor surrealist painting that I have started last semester in my Advanced Drawing Class. Currently, I am still working on securing a space in the Lamson Library. My exhibition will likely be open late this fall and will possibly continue into early winter. I will also include a review sheet in my exhibition, therefore, individuals can comment and write about any questions they have on the exhibition. Some other ideas I had for my applied project included; drawing/painting my emotions at the end of each week for the rest of the semester (basically how I was feeling that particular week), put together an art journal (at the moment I am honestly not entirely sure what to include in this art journal) and the last idea I came up with is to create an Art Therapy website (not a word press site). One of the major problems I have come across when brainstorming for my applied project is what to include in these things I come up with. For example, what do I put in my Art Therapy website? Should I put information about art therapy? Or should my website be advertising my own art therapy practice? These are the questions that I will be considering when picking out what I want to do for my applied project.

Interdisciplinary, Technology and Learning

Essentially, interdisciplinary, technology and learning are all connected in many ways. Interdisciplinary values are very important in this traditional world of education. It is very important for students to have a wide variety of disciplines to pick from. Students should have the opportunity to major in a couple different disciplines if they choose, rather than just one. Interdisciplinary is important in grade school education as well because how children are being taught may be the future of new educational models. Within this new technological age, we should be using technology in education in beneficial ways. In the short documentary about future learning, technology should be used in education where students are active and engaged. I feel like this is very important because I remember when I was in grade school and we would just write the times tables over and over with pencil and pa

per. This to me was not engaging and with all the new technological advancements, there are so many more options on how to effectively teach children. I was reading this article about a month ago about a music professor combining art and video. She talked about project collaborations making animations, music videos, etc. This article showed me the importance of integrating different disciplines by coming up with fun projects for students to work with. I also found that by making these art video productions, students who may have more experience in either art or video/photography may educate each other on those two different disciplines.

My final painting for my advanced painting course at PSU.

I will define interdisciplinary as your own personalized program of the things that you are passionate about. Having the knowledge of different disciplines broadens your perspectives and it also may be easier to solve problems with the knowledge of multiple disciplines. I feel like technology and learning fall under one definition because since technology is used every day in learning then that makes technology an essential tool in education. The effective use of technology has the power to help students learn more efficiently. In the video, they talk about the current education model and in some ways, that it’s not working because of students lack of motivation. Well, the big question is, “how do we get students to become motivated?” If students just sit in a classroom all day, recite things and take tests, they are not getting anything out of their education because they’re probably not enjoying themselves. Like the professor said in the video, “No one’s going to teach anyone how to shot a gun or ride a horse.” These are things that some students may be more interested in doing than sitting in a classroom reciting things. I fully agree that if the content is supposed to be fascinating than that should be reflected in the learning.

How children are taught is the future of our education. The thing that I feel like a lot of society doesn’t get it that children can teach themselves anything, even with the lack of a teacher. Children are smart and sometimes it’s a great idea to have children learn concepts on their own. At the school that I transferred from, I visited a Montessori kindergarten and I felt like they had a lot of interdisciplinary concepts. The teaching was taught in the mindset of “play,” there were a bunch of different toys, books, educational material all around the room and for half of the morning all the students would play with different things and then they would go outside to play. I feel like this learning is beneficial to students of kindergarten age because they have freedom and access to different educational disciplines at a young age. With more of this different type of education, I feel like students will have more knowledge of different things and apply this to future education.

I really hope that the future of education motivates students to do what they want to do and not what society wants them to do. I liked the quote in the video about how people in society are becoming “photocopies of each other.” Well, I hope that is not the future of our education. People all have individual interests and things that set them apart. Even if you’re doing something different from society, then that is 100% okay. I hope that the future of education contains concepts that students look forward too. Education should be fun and beneficial to you!

Discovering the Missing Part of my Education 🎨✏️📚

Honestly, a couple months after transferring to Plymouth State University, I knew I was struggling. This struggle wasn’t a type of “surface struggle,” it was the type of struggle that made me cringe when I would think about which direction my life was going. I was so conflicted about what I was doing at this college and how I was going to accomplish my goals. At first, I declared a Studio Art Major without realizing the consequences of my actions; I wasn’t going to graduate on time, I was taking sophomore level art courses as a senior and I wasn’t fortunate enough to earn enough money to go to school for an extra two years. These were the thoughts of my overthinking that spanned a good three semesters. Well luckily, I had a life changing long talk with my Studio Art Advisor who spoke to me about the Interdisciplinary Program. I was amazed, I remember I was so excited to hear about a program in which you could control your education and create your own major. In that moment, the thoughts of my struggle were replaced with future

Unititled
Flickr Arturo Espinosa https://www.flickr.com/photos/espinosa_rosique

images of taking the classes that I wanted to take, graduating on time and having a major that will benefit many career opportunities. When I first started thinking about how my Intro to Interdisciplinary class would be my first thought was, “refreshing.” That the class would open new education perspectives for me. I believed that I would learn new things about other student’s majors too. The best understanding that I personally gained from taking the Intro to Interdisciplinary course is the fact that I turned my education around for the better. Now, I have a more positive mindset in the direction of my education and I am fully confident that I can accomplish the goals of my IDS Program.

Before the Intro to Interdisciplinary Course I wasn’t exactly sure what “interdisciplinary” meant. I kind of had a basic idea that it meant combining different educational disciplines but I didn’t fully understand the meaning until it was explained throughout the course. Through the duration of the Intro to Interdisciplinary course I learned so much more than I thought I would. I gained understandings of what it was like to combine different disciplines through reading student’s blog posts, I learned about student’s passions and how they incorporated them within their major. Honestly to me, your passions are very important and I feel like if you aren’t committed and are unhappy with your education than it doesn’t make it genuine. I believe that IDS Programs are a good explanation of genuine education, because you integrate your passions to create your dream education. Presently, that is how I would define “interdisciplinary.”

With all the information that I have learned in the Intro to Interdisciplinary course I find it difficult to narrow it down to four concepts. The four concepts that I managed to choose are; the term “epistemology,” the cluster approach, networking/blogging and critical versus instrumental thinking. When I was introduced to the term, “epistemology,” I knew it was going to be an important part to understanding my program. According to the dictionary, epistemology is a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge. Well, my program is Expressive Arts and I guess the epistemology of the discipline of art would be that art uses the process of creating through different mediums (painting, printmaking, ceramics, etc.) to give meaning to a piece of art work. This is universally relatable because usually behind an artist’s work is a personal idea, concept, perspective or story. For example, when I created this piece a while ago, I was struggling with an eating disorder and I wanted to spread awareness. So I created a drawing that shows 25 pictures of the life of a girl with anorexia.

Eating Disorder
My Artwork (Please Do Not Take This Picture)

This piece of artwork is very important to me because there is a lot of personal meaning behind it. I just feel like this term has a lot of relevance to Expressive Arts because the important part of helping a client through art is the creative/emotional process that they experience.  As for the next concept, the cluster approach is an important part of the future of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University. When I read the article about the cluster approach I felt very proud of the IDS Program. I believe that it’s very important for students to integrate their learning with multiple disciplines. I feel like when you’re narrowed down to one major, you really don’t experience what other interesting disciplines have to offer. Through this cluster approach students will gain an openness to explore, create and discover. One of the quotes that I liked in the article was, we need that “holistic and synergistic change.” Even though the changes may require a different mindset , it’s always a great idea to be open to new perspectives. One of the biggest skills that I have acquired throughout this course is learning how to manage a WordPress blog and multiple social media sites. Before this course I didn’t really had a personal blog aside from my Tumblr blog that I made freshman year of high school. I find social media fascinating and I feel like it’s easy for me to keep up with all the social media apps/websites that I have on my phone and laptop. I have posted the link to my Word Press blog on a few of my social media sites because I would like to get my voice and artwork “out there.” I honestly think it is a great idea to maintain an Interdisciplinary Twitter account because social media helps you to connect with people who have the same interests as you and that can also lead to career opportunities. The last concept that I felt was beneficial to my IDS program is realizing the

(CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)
The Shopping Sherpa
https://flic.kr/p/6diy6S

differences between critical and instrumental thinking. When we did an exercise with these terms in class, I wasn’t sure what category Expressive Arts would be put into. When I did a little research on the two concepts I realized that Expressive Arts could be in both categories. Expressive Arts requires critical thinking because there are multiple ways to help clients and there are multiple solutions. For example, a client may not find that painting is helping them so they may try another medium to experiment with. As for the psychological side of Expressive Arts, I believe that there is a stopping point. When a patient begins to cope with whatever they’re dealing with, to an extent you have to be able to let them grow/thrive by themselves. I am not saying that you have to cut off contact with them completely, I am saying that Expressive Arts can be a very personal journey in understanding yourself.

Like I said about the cluster approach, I feel like this approach will bring enormous success to Plymouth State and other Universities as well. I remember during class time my Intro to Interdisciplinary professor told us that Interdisciplinary Degrees were becoming more popular within Universities. The Interdisciplinary approach is very important to me because it gives me hope for my future. I guess I can say that my overall goal for the future is being able to support myself doing something I am passionate

Final Painting for Advanced Painting
My Artwork (Message me if you would like to use this image)

about. With my Interdisciplinary degree in Expressive Arts I will likely be creating art and helping/inspiring people through artistic processes. I feel very accomplished that I am walking at graduation this Spring and receiving my degree after the Fall Semester. My hope for after receiving my degree is to consider graduate school and further my art therapy education. I am also not a follower in any form, I am proud that I have broken away from a more traditional education and decided to embrace a refreshing change. I feel incredibly excited about where my Interdisciplinary future is taking me!

As you can probably tell, I am very passionate about artwork so here are some links to a couple amazing painters that have inspired me, Vladimir Kush, Betsy Walton, Jim Warren and of course Georgia O’Keeffe.

Surrealism and the Philosophy of Death

Problem Solving, Surrealist Style

My favorite course this semester is Advanced Drawing with Mike Hefferman. Up until this semester, I didn’t have a course in which you created your own drawing based solely on what you want to draw. In the beginning of the semester I had a difficult time trying to figure out what I was going to create. My process consisted of looking up artists and different mediums of artwork. I love to draw, collage, paint, print make and other various mediums however, there were just too many questions to answer (What do I draw? Should I draw realistically? Abstract? How do I make this drawing personal to me?)

            After about two weeks of picking out surrealist books from the library and sketching out ideas I finally felt like I was getting somewhere. I had been sketching the idea of a tuba with Venus fly trap vines wrapping around it and crystals coming out of the top. I honestly am not sure how I came to this idea but I wrote down lists of things that did not go together. From there I experimented with different mediums, at first I thought pastel and ink pen would work the best on a large piece of pastel paper. Well, I quickly found out that the one drawing was taking me an incredible amount of time and eventually I decided to switch to a smaller piece of watercolor paper and switch out the pastel with watercolor. I found that this method worked more efficiently and I had a lot more fun mixing the watercolors. From the one tuba drawing, I created seven more paintings that go along with it. I describe the theme of my paintings, nature versus technology. My ultimate hope is to have all ten watercolor paintings completed and hung up somewhere on campus.

This Advanced Drawing course definitely has interdisciplinary aspects. This course has taught me how to manage my time effectively, since a majority of the artwork is done outside of class. I did a lot of problem solving and creating art is not like a math equation, there is no concrete correct way to figure it out. There are many approaches, mediums, ideas and what I liked most about this course is the ability to have freedom. I feel like when I have the chance to create my own artwork without any guidelines, my creativity level increases, which also expands my imagination.

Philosophy of Death

When I came to the conclusion that I had to take a past and present direction course I wasn’t sure which one to take. Just by reading the description of the course, Death and Dying, it sounded interesting to me because I never really have taken time to think about death. I also saw that the course was a philosophy course and I wanted to challenge myself because I find philosophy (especially the readings) to be difficult at times.

I guess my initial thought about death is the feeling of fear. I wonder if it will be painful when your whole body shuts down, or maybe it depends on the way you die. I think it’s scary to think about the concept of your body shutting down but your conscious stays active. Sometimes I wonder if your conscious travels when you’re dreaming and then I think about where your conscious would go when you die. I think it’s a complicated concept that also doesn’t have a concrete answer. I think about where you go after you die, I think about having to take that last breath, does your soul leave your body or are you trapped in your body for all of eternity. The scary part of all that is you will never know until you die.

One of the books that we had to read for the course was, Death and Dying by Anne Kubler-Ross. I believe that after reading the book, I definitely have a better understanding of other people’s perceptions of death. I feel like everyone perceives/goes through the stages of death in different ways. To be honest I feel like I would go through all the stages at the same time. If I know I am close to dying and am not ready to die, I feel like I would panic and feel multiple stages at once. For example, if I died from a disease or something of that sort I don’t think I would be accepting to death because there is just so much that I want to accomplish in my life. If I die from old age and I know that I have lived a fulfilling life than I think I will be more accepting.

This Death and Dying course has opened my perceptions of death. I am always open to learn new things and I am glad that I am taking this course because I have understandings of other student’s opinions.

“Life itself can be led as a work of art” (Elliot Eisner)

I honestly had a difficult time trying to find an Interdisciplinary journal article that I was interested in reading. I believe it’s due to the fact that databases are so boring to look at! For one, I rarely come across a database article that has visuals, most of them have an abstract and a couple long paragraphs of text. Secondly, a lot of the titles are not engaging to me, I just feel like when you’re searching for an interesting article, the title should reflect it.


Anyways, enough of my rambling because I actually did find a pretty awesome journal article! This article is called, “Video Inspired the Radio Star” and the article is written by Robin Giebelhausen. Robin is an assistant professor of music education and specializes in both elementary and secondary general music at the University of New Mexico. Her research interests include secondary general music, music technology, gender issues in music and music composition pedagogy. She is inspired by Elliot Eisner (who I have quoted in the title), he has taught her that “art is constantly finding new venues and spaces to exist within.” I feel passionate about this quote and the one in the title because it is true, art is all around you, you don’t necessarily have to look for it because it’s already there.
Basically her article is about how Interdisciplinary Arts Education in music often has connective lines with drama, dance and visual arts. I believe that teamwork is an important essential skill to have throughout life’s experience. Having student work in teams to produce mixed media will definitely enhance a students ability to collaborate more efficiently with others. While they are creating this video, the students are also gaining new skills because one student may know more about music production, while another student may know more about fine arts.

She explains five projects that link music to video in order to create media arts and music interdisciplinary connections. She describes media arts as photography, video and video games. Robin quotes, “media arts, specifically video, can also be a powerful discipline to connect to music.” I feel like this quote resonates with me because music can create all these different types of emotions and I think it’s really creative when somebody makes a music video to enhance the emotions, whether its through a story or a more abstract way. The five projects that she explained are; Remade Movie Trailer, Stop Animation, Silent Film, Draw My Life and Music Video. I have heard of all of these methods to production however I have only completed two of them. One time in sixth grade my friends and I made a music video to one of Fergie’s songs (yeah, were not going to talk about that!). During junior year of high school I made a stop motion animation using construction paper cutouts and iMovie. I feel like through this experience creating this video has taught me many things. For one, I am glad that I got a basic understanding of how to use a really nice camera, video editing, as well as photo editing (Photoshop and Illustrator). Secondly, I learned to work efficiently with my team members because it was a group project. I believe all of the five projects are effective ways to combine music, art and video.

I feel strongly about this journal article as a fellow interdisciplinarian because I believe that it’s important to integrate different disciplines to create multidisciplinary programs. It can be beneficial for students to learn about all different kinds of skills and information. I wish there was an art program that combined studio arts, graphic design and art history as general electives!

 

Video Inspired the Radio Star. By: Giebelhausen, Robin, General Music Today, 10483713, Jan2017, Vol. 30, Issue 2

Academic Search Premier

Interdisciplinary Success Story: Book Illustration

Eric Carle

I consider the developmental process of creating successful book illustrations as interdisciplinary. I was reading this article by Hana Hladikova about the process of successful children book illustration and I have found it to be an interesting process. First of all, when you’re creating text and illustrations you have to be attuned to the age of your audience and what vocabulary/visuals they can comprehend. Therefore, maybe the illustrator will have to do research or talk with teachers that are around children of that age range daily. Then the illustrator will have a better insight on what those children can understand. Picture books can also entertain people who can’t read, their power to inspire is vast!

Multidisciplinary work is also important in this process because in some situations, there is a writer and an illustrator working together to create a picture book. They have to collaborate on what picture would go best with the text or maybe even the other way around. Successful children’s books have the ability to help children learn new vocabulary and important lessons, as well as contributing to children’s imaginations. Honestly, with all the new technology and electronic reading devices, I believe that children’s books are a valuable thing to have. I know as a kid I have learned a lot through reading and looking at pictures. One of my favorite book illustrators as a kid was Jan Brett (this is a Pinterest page of some of her unique illustrations).

The cover design of a children’s book is one of the most important marketing tools that publishing industries use to gain business. The market is very competitive. This process is interdisciplinary because the illustrator has to collaborate with an art directors. This is very important because art directors can provide an educated opinion on the artwork. Art directors are useful because they have a different set of experience when it comes to viewing art and they look at it from a different perspective than the illustrator.

Creating a children’s picture book is a long process that involves many people in different fields working together as a team. Lots of children’s picture books are highly successful and children learn many valuable things from them.

 

Art is a Discipline

My program is called, “Expressive Arts” and the disciplines within art therapy are art and psychology. I choose art as my discipline, in a sense I believe that art can be largely defined. In an epistemological definition I would say art uses the process of creating through different mediums (painting, ceramics, etc.) to give meaning to a piece of artwork. I believe that universally, when people create art there usually is a meaning behind the masterpiece. Creating art can come from your imagination, it can be based off a story and the best thing about art is that anybody can create it, regardless of their skill level. Art can be categorized as multidisciplinary because there are many different types of a CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use No attribution required.rt mediums such as painting, ceramics, drawing, sculpture, etc.

Every artist is different, everyones interests are different. Artists content of their artwork can be based on their designs and skill level. I really enjoy surrealist art and I have been influenced mostly by Salvador Dali and David Wiesner. Recently I was trying to come up with ideas for a surrealist drawing/watercolor painting and I remembered a book I read when I was a child. However, the only thing I remember about the book was the illustrations, I remember that the plot was about a cloud factory. I did some research and now I realize that the book is called, “Sector 7” and the author/illustrator is David Wiesner.

My artwork! Still in progress!

The reason why I transferred to Plymouth State University is because I heard that the art department had a good reputation. Now that I have taken a number of art classes at PSU I can definitely vouch for that. How would I describe art classes? (Laughs stressfully) Well…depending on the class, most art classes are about two and a half hours long and very intensive. For example, I am taking an Advanced Painting course, don’t get me wrong, the course content is great, the class is just time consuming and the work is demanding. Currently, we are working on a painting inspired by a mother goose rhyme. I choose the rhyme, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, the rhyme is based on the figure known as “Bloody Mary.” So I did a painting of a bloody mary drink in a sort of collage style with some silver bells, flowers and a bible (Bloody Mary was killed by Protestants). However, despite all the work, who should be complaining if you get to paint the entire class?! Another class that I am taking is Advanced Drawing, I enjoy that class because it is self-guided and we get to design our own drawings. I figured out that I work better when I just begin to draw something that I picture in my head and then continue from there. One thing that I could live without in the art world is critiques. Now I know they can be helpful but most of all they can be BORING. There is always that one person who does not know how to take criticism constructively and gets really defensive. However, most of the artists I’ve encountered have given me some very helpful pointers during critiques, I just wish the critiques were shorter.

If you would like to read about artists, art history, artwork or anything to do with art, there are some pretty awesome journals out there! Here are just a couple that I found fascinating, Oxford Art Journal, College Art Association and Academic Journals. If you are interested in art organizations, her are a couple that I would recommend, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts and Regional Arts Association.

Art is Therapy

The program I have created is called, “Expressive Arts.” Essentially, expressive arts, in a broader term, is labeled “Art Therapy.” I am combining art, psychology, and writing courses to create this successful program. I transferred to Plymouth State University from College of the Atlantic at the beginning of my junior year. At that time, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to major in. I transferred with 45 credits in various subjects and, when I declared my Studio Art Major, most of those transferred courses only counted as electives. Honestly, I was very disappointed that I had taken all those great courses at College of the Atlantic and only a couple of them counted towards the Studio Art Major. Throughout my college years, I have also had a difficult time in tying myself down to one major. I enjoy a lot of different subjects. Therefore, when I found out about the Interdisciplinary Studies Major, I was overjoyed because I had the chance to integrate some of my transfer courses with my Plymouth State University courses to create a program that is valuable to my education. The reason why the Studio Art Major, or in general, any major offered at Plymouth State University will never satisfy my needs, is because my interest for other subjects besides art is very important to me. I strongly believe that this will impact my success in the future. I am much more interested in pursuing an Interdisciplinary Studies Major and have three focuses, rather than pursuing a Studio Art Major and

Colorful Tree (Oil Pastel)

have only one focus.

Within my contract, I have included a variety of amazing art, psychology, and writing classes that I have taken at College of the Atlantic and Plymouth State University. There are even a couple classes that I still plan to take at Plymouth State University. For my art courses, I have included Introduction to Art and Design because demonstrating the basic concepts of art, perspective, color theory, and understanding how to give constructive critiques, is an essential skill. It is also an integral part of learning how to express yourself, your ideas, and your style. I have included Art Foundations 2D Design because of the importance for an artist to help a client successfully view their artwork in beneficial way. This is an important concept for an expressive artist because clients are going to be creating their artwork and you want them to create visuals that are not bothersome to them. I have included Art Foundations Drawing Line and Language because it is very important that clients investigate, visualize, and create their own ideas through sketching, drawing, or using any medium that allows for them to represent themselves. I have included Art Foundations Digital Media because this generation always seems to be connected to some type of social media, and I believe that it’s useful to learn about the emerging trends in new media technology, and how those trends effect the artistic world. I believe that after graduate school, when I begin my art therapy practice, I will use social media to generate an audience. I will most likely create a website in where I will need the knowledge to create an ascetically pleasing website. Painting Theory and Process has taught me a lot about color and mark making. Through my experience, painting is very therapeutic and it is also a great way to

Charcoal Still Life            

relieve stress. Relieving stress through creating art can come in many different forms. It can serve as a distraction (even if it’s just for a couple of minutes), it has the ability to create a sense of relief, creating art can help clients express fears and through displaying these fears comes a sense of empowerment. I have included Painting Personal Themes because this course has helped my personal growth as an artist. As a soft-spoken individual, I rarely feel comfortable giving feedback during critiques because I am fearful that my opinion might not agree with the artist. However, since the class size is so small (there are four of us), I have been giving constructive feedback, and that has led me to work better with other artists. I put Advanced Drawing in my contract because the course is essentially self-guided. You are required to come up with your own project ideas and to communicate with your classmates. Effective communication is an important skill. I included Foundations of Sculpture: Representing the Body because in this society the image of the body is distorted. I believe that the “body” can be represented in many ways without an outline. It will be helpful to understand representations of the body, when interpreting future client’s artwork. For my last art class, I have included The Art of Sustainability. This course will help me find a better understanding on how sustainability can be a form of art. This is important because this course integrates science and art.

 

 

 

For my psychology courses, I have included Child Development, because I will be working with children of all age levels. This course gave me fantastic insight on the different theorists and the different styles of childhood growth. I taught a kindergarten art class and a sixth-grade art class at Mount Desert High School in Bar Harbor, Maine. Through that experience, I have gained an incredible amount of insight on how one age range behaves versus a whole different age range. I have included Personality and Social Development because the course explains the importance of the emotional, cognitive, social and behavioral development of human beings. I found this course to be beneficial in understanding basic social development, personality disorders, and educational theories. I have included Abnormal Psychology because this course will give me a better understanding of what the causes and methods of treatments are for neurosis, psychosis, personality disorde

Seashell Palette Knife Painting

rs, addictions, and psychophysiological problems. The last psychology course that I have included is Adolescent Psychology because it is essential to understand the physical, emotion and social development between puberty and adulthood. During the time of adolescence, many changes are occurring, this includes relations with parents and peers, which can be helpful to understand.

For my writing courses, I have included Starting Your Own Novel because being able to expressive yourself through writing is an important aspect of expressive arts. Being able to write a story that you came up with yourself involves self-expression, creativity, personal experience, courage, and imagination. These attributes are what art therapists are trying to bring out in clients. The second course that I have included is Creative Writing because I know through experience that being able to communicate your story/ideas and collaborate with others, is important when giving feedback and helpful criticism. You want your clients to have a sense that you care about their well-being, ideas, and thoughts.

My program is interdisciplinary because I am integrating three different disciplines to create my Expressive Arts Major. I am combining art, psychology and writing courses because they have helped me in many different incredible ways. They have led me to self-express, find creativity, and inspiration. They have helped me to understand how the human mind and emotions work. They have given me a better understanding on how to communicate and collaborate more efficiently with others. My expressive arts program will benefit me immensely in the future. The program will prepare me for Graduate School. Proceeding Graduate School, I will be prepared to help clients resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings. By doing this, it will help clients reduce stress, improve self-esteem and awareness, through creative processes and artistic expression.

Interview with Dr. Ann McClellan, English Department Chair

For my interview, I had the great fortune of speaking with Dr. Ann McClellan, she is the English Department Chair and an enthusiastic Sherlock Holmes fan. When I first started thinking about professors to interview, I wasn’t sure who to interview because I was a previous studio art major, so therefore I didn’t know a ton of professors outside the art department. I talked with a couple of students in the Interdisciplinary Office and one of them suggested Dr. Ann McClellan because of her interest in blogging.

Her office is in the Ellen Reed House and as of that day, I had never stepped foot in the Ellen Reed House. Her office is decorated with Sherlock Holmes figurines and soft music is playing from her laptop. The first question I asked her was “what do you teach?” Ann replied with, “I teach a lot of things. My actual training and research is on 19th and 20th century British Literature. I also teach a survey course and Introduction to the English Major course. I teach a course on Global Literature, I’ve taught courses on Critical Theory, I teach classes on Digital Literature, I teach classes on film (movie adaptation). I also do research on Sherlock Holmes fan fiction.” I was impressed with the number of different classes that Ann has taught.

The second question that I asked was “what did you study in Grad School?” Ann went to grad school at the University of Cincinnati. Ann took a lot of classes in British Literature and she has a graduate certificate in women’s studies. She also took courses on feminist scholars, women writers and interdisciplinary women’s studies. Ann took graduate courses in British Culture/History, she was very interested in the relationship of British Culture/History and what literature comes out and how literature comments, critiques and shapes history.

The third question I proposed was, “what are you working on now?” Ann replied, “I just finished a draft of a book on the TV show Sherlock. Fan fiction and world building is something that gets discussed often in video game studies and fantasy literature. I’m talking about how the Sherlock TV show creates an identifiable world that’s a literary cannon for fan fiction writers and how they use different genres to comment upon the world and to challenge and reinscribe elements in the world. I’m also working on a talk right now on why Americans love TV shows and movies about British Butlers, so I’ll be doing that in April!”

The fourth question I asked was “how do you work with scholars outside of your field?” Ann told me that, often the best opportunities are through conferences. In academic conferences, she shares her work with others and she’s had great scholars/international scholars, some of who she’s found shared interests with. So then they would propose a shared panel and travel. She also does reviews for a couple of journals on fan studies and the history of intellectual culture. She describes how that gets her relationships with other editors and reviewers. She also uses the social media site, Twitter to communicate with others and let people know that she likes their work.

The fifth question I gave Ann was, “how do you work with non-academics in your professional life (non-students)?” Ann replied,” I give talks to the New Hampshire Humanities Council, I’m doing a new one about Americans and British Servants. I work with local libraries too. I’m able to talk to local people about research, conceptual ideas and popular culture, I find that amazing! I think it’s the best way to talk to people in the public about higher education. There’s a British Culture Club at the Plymouth Reginal High School that drinks tea and watches British Television. So, they’ve had me come in and talk about Sherlock Holmes.” I found this fascinating!

The sixth question I asked was about interdisciplinary work and if she did any interdisciplinary work. Ann told me that’s what all English Majors do essentially. She said that when she went to undergraduate college, she was taught traditionally by mostly examining literary text. She said that she was taught cultural history, however, not anything about the author. I was also surprised when Ann told me that English is a new major, it was created in the 1920s. When Ann got to grad school, everyone was interested in interdisciplinary studies. Ann said,” with the work I’m doing now, I have to know about media studies, how to analyze film, I have to be able to talk about television, I have to know some psychology and audience analysis. Everyone does something interdisciplinary in different ways.” I definitely agree with that statement!

The seventh question was, “what courses should students who are majoring in your department take outside of that department?” Ann replied enthusiastically, “technology courses! It would be great if students could combine their critical analysis, research skills, writing voice and speaking with technology, I really push that. Take that general education class Web Expressions, it gives a broad overview of basic web technologies. Also, any kind of art history courses because visual literacy is important. There’s a new class about communications, social media that will be beneficial to take. We’re just starting to talk about skills based classes about four to eight weeks, two credit classes based around blogging and marketing.” I hope that they have these classes in the future years.

My eight question was, “do you think that interdisciplinary programs should be offered at all colleges?” Ann’s face lit up as she said, “absolutely! I would be surprised if they wouldn’t be. Ours is unique and very intensive, I think it expects a lot out of a very young person. I think it requires a huge level of maturity, self-reflection and vision. I think it’s ideal but also challenging because you get people who like traditional curriculum. I think what this university is doing is trying to make more traditional majors have interdisciplinary aspects.” I believe that this is true because if you have a traditional major than you really don’t get that much experience with other subjects besides the general education classes that you are required to take. I also wish I knew what I was going to major in my freshman year of college, I wish I had started school at Plymouth State University (I’m a transfer student) and immediately began the interdisciplinary major. Like Ann commented, “our Interdisciplinary program is quite intensive,” especially if you are starting it senior year!

My ninth question was, “what do you think are the benefits of having an interdisciplinary major?” Ann replied with, “I think you are forced (chuckles) and encouraged to learn different things, ways to approach problems and problem solving. I think that makes you in many ways more adapt to change, more agile, better with working with clients and you’ll be able to approach things from multiple perspectives.” I definitely agree with these benefits.

My tenth question was, “what do you like most about blogging? Any website you prefer to use?” Ann has a personal Word Press Blog, however, it’s on Plymouth’s server and it’s limiting. She hasn’t migrated it off Plymouth’s server yet. She has a class blog for her British Literature II class in where they publish all their work and projects. Ann confesses that sometimes finding the time to blog can be difficult, she says that you have to have the motivation to blog. She also created a department blog which is also a Word Press Blog.

The last question I proposed was more for my personal interest, “is there any advice you’d like to share about starting a successful blog?” Ann laughed and replied, “Yes I have a lot! The challenge for you is that everyone’s blogging now, so you have to think who your audience is and why they should read your blog. My friend’s sister who is a knitter, has a blog about knitting. She’s witty, funny and snarky, that’s what people like about her. I think we often forget the important role of audience. It would be good to look at popular blogs and figure out who is the audience, what makes them stand out, successful, how do they write to audiences, who are their sponsors. The biggest thing is how do you differentiate yourself. How often do you need to blog so you don’t overwhelm people? You could also podcast too, like how do you reach people. Podcasting is more popular now because it is more portable for people.”

I believe that Dr. Ann McClellan gave me an incredible amount of information and inspiration to start a successful lifestyle blog. I really liked Ann’s views on Interdisciplinary Studies and the importance of integrating traditional college majors with interdisciplinary aspects.