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From Creative Bloq: Japanese Art Created Entirely from Microsoft Excel

by | Posted May 29th, 2013

Yes, you read that title correctly. Japanese artist Tatsuo Hourichi creates beautiful Japanese masterpieces using Microsoft Excel’s AutoShape feature. Creative Bloq featured him on their website; Hourichi “believes that Microsoft Excel is an excellent tool, and that quality art needn’t require complicated and expensive software.” For those who are like myself and think Microsoft Office software is the bane of your existence, maybe we should reconsider what can be done with a seemingly simple computer program. You never know what you can create! 

From Brain Pickings: How to Master Productivity and a “Creative Routine”

by | Posted May 28th, 2013

As writers, designers, and thinkers, we often wonder about the creative process of famous writers, designers, and thinkers. We often try to fine tune our own creative process or figure out better ways we can work and write and create. Brain Pickings recently featured a new book on their website titled, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Edited by Behance’s 99U editor-in-chief Jocelyn Glei, Manage Your Day-to-Day “features contributions from twenty of today’s most celebrated thinkers and doers.” Whether it’s advice, quotes, or general thinking processes, this book explores features of creativity, including break creative blocks, stop procrastination, and “[defy] the demons of perfectionism.”

The Art of Science

by | Posted May 7th, 2013

Poetry is brought to life through a myriad of ways: spoken word, dance, performance, etc., but has recently been unexpectedly mixed with robotics. While it might not sound like these two subjects would go hand in hand, educator Sue Mellon has found it to be a rewarding combination.


Image via Mind/Shift

The dioramas are the student-made visual representations of the poetry. Due to the help of the robotics, lights will flash and colors change when a student says a certain word in the poem (for example, saying “water” triggers a blue color in the diorama to deepen). Working on a physical project based on poems helps the students connect with, and understand more deeply, the poetry they are studying.

To me, it also says that perhaps these categories aren’t as separate as they seem. Often, we mark a separation between things like “science and math” vs. “the arts.” What is so intriguing about robotic poetry, then, is that it’s not only innovatively teaching students how to connect with words, but it also shows us that we shouldn’t make such a distinction between the “categories,” since there is inherently art in science, and science in art.

Read the full article from Mind/Shift here

From Open Culture: How the 808 Drum Machine Changed Music

by | Posted May 3rd, 2013

Open Culture recently delved into the history of the Roland TR-808 rhythm machine, or the 808 Drum Machine. Released in late 1980, many musicians did not like it at first as the sound was too synthetic and did not sound like any natural noise you could create yourself. Some described it as, “so bad it was good,” and despite its artificiality, its noises began popping up in records such as 1982’s “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Nelson George, author and director of the short film, All Hail the Beat, explains that “the 808 has remained a vital element in much of the pop music since the 1980’s, in genres like hip hop, techno, and house.” Drum machines since the creation of the 808 have mimicked the features of this first one, and it has subsequently changed the tune of pop music.

All Hail The Beat | Nelson George from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

From Publishing Perspectives: Shock and Outrage Expressed By Amazon Acquiring Goodreads

by | Posted May 2nd, 2013

Some tweets and reactions to the Amazon/Goodreads merger.

Last month, Amazon announced that it had acquired Goodreads, a social networking site where both readers and authors can join to review and recommend books. Following the announcement, many fans on Twitter were not very pleased by the upcoming merger. Publishing Perspectives highlighted some of the wittier and more vocal tweets. Many joked about the price of ads increasing, banning authors from reviewing any books, and whether Amazon would not target readers based on the previous reviews of books readers have written.

In the press release announcing the partnership, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content said, “Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books, and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world.” Only time will tell whether readers and authors will warm up to this merger and how it will be used by both in the long run.

When Graphic Typography Mixes with Baroque Pop Music

by | Posted May 1st, 2013

There is almost nothing better than finding something new and innovative in the way of creating art. I’m always fascinated when I see a music video that has a creative concept to it, yet appears to be relatively simple. Husbands’ new video from their single, “Dream,” is another example of that; although, the making of it was more complicated than it looks.

Created by French visionary duo, Cauboyz (made up of photographer Bertrand Jamot and graphic designer Philippe Tytgat), they created a concept for “Dream” that “fools viewers into thinking the flashing retro typographies are done digitally.” Upon closer inspection, this is not the case. In the “Making of / Husbands – “Dream”” video, we see that in order to create the effect of digital typographies, Cauboyz assembled light-up boxes in a wooden frame with “each box connected to a control panel with switches assigned to each phrase or word in the song.”

What I found amazing about this is I see digitally typographic lyric videos all the time, but I enjoyed watching this video the most, especially after I learned that it was, in fact, not digitally created.

Previous videos created by the Cauboyz include “Set You Free” by The Black Keys where the words appear on a revolving can, and AgesandAges, “No Nostalgia” where the words to the song appear on a green background written in white chalk.

Source: The Creators Project


Husbands – “Dream” from Cauboyz on Vimeo.

From Brain Pickings: Presenting The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook

by | Posted April 30th, 2013

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

Ever wonder what some of your favorite artists’ and writers’ favorite recipes are? Look no further than The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook, “a lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings.” Brain Pickings recently wrote a review on the 1961 published book, featuring “220 recipes and 30 courses by 55 painters, 61 novelists, 15 sculptors, and 19 poets.” Some artists featured include John Keats, Harper Lee, and Anna Tolstoy, daughter of famed writer, Leo Tolstoy. Several artists take creative liberty with their recipes, but the end result is something any artist and writer can enjoy.

From The Artist’s and Writer’s Cookbook

From First Job to Dream Job

by | Posted April 29th, 2013

I started at MSU in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities in 2008. So, a couple of things here: The fall of 2008 was the beginning of the Great Recession, and of all things to invest in during turbulent economic times, I’d chosen a program that elicited a chorus of truly unoriginal jokes about job prospects wherever I went.

Junior year I found a second home in the Professional Writing program. And while the economy had seen some recovery, the doubters’ chorus had just become louder in its refrain: I would graduate and go live in my parents’ basement.

I had an entirely different set of plans, though. Plan A was still to immediately find a great job that would rocket me to stardom. If that didn’t work out by the end of my lease, plan B was to crash with family on Lake Charlevoix while continuing my job search. I have the greatest parents in the world, but moving into their basement was somewhere around plan X.

My job search prior to graduation was largely unsuccessful. I had little time, my portfolio wasn’t done, and I was trying to plan for my future in a field that only fills vacancies in the present. But following my graduation ceremony, I started making progress. I cast a wide net, searching a number of job sites, reaching out to my network, and researching the companies where I’d be happy to work for free (but looking for opportunities to be paid). Nine applications, three interviews and two offers later I’d accepted a job as the Visual Communication Coordinator at Adrian College.

Relocating to the small town that is Adrian, Michigan was never something I’d considered. However, I would have moved to Antarctica to be titled a Visual Communications Coordinator and to be given the opportunity to work in higher education marketing, so relocate I did. When I applied, when I was interviewed, and when I was hired, I felt really prepared to do the work I’d been hired for. There were a few quite practical things I wasn’t prepared for, though.

  1. I underestimated how hard it would be to move somewhere I’d never been, away from everyone I’d ever known. While I’d do it again tomorrow, I wish I’d better appreciated the support system I was leaving behind and the work it was going to take to forge new relationships.
  2. As many internship and work experiences as I accumulated over my four years at MSU, I did not yet have a grasp on workplace politics. Nor did I understand that navigating social aspects of my workplace would be a frustrating and unwritten responsibility of my job.
  3. Not everyone I encountered would have the same appreciation and respect for great communication that I’d assumed it demanded. (more…)