Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Campus Exterior Views

I need a passing grade in all my classes and a B or better in art, and my other classes are easier, so I am devoting a lot of time to art. It is nice because I can see my work improving, but it is sad because I never feel like doing other art. Well, sometimes I do. Anyway, our next homework (there is one due each thurs and they are meant to take 4+ hours)is any tonal media on white or grey paper, and we are supposed to choose an urban or interior scene and use 2 point linear perspective. There are a few choices:
1. use an unexpected combination of light/shadow
2. intentionally deny and contradict western mathematical perspective with shifting, distorted, and compressed points of view
3. create a surrealist drawing using some real, observable setting, using perspective.

One part of the assignment page struck me as strange: "Views on campus are okay but try for the unusual vantage to move more into your own interpretation and away from the "picturesque" or predictable campus view." I don't know why this annoyed me so much. Our motto is the same as the whole UC, but our tagline is "creating knowledge. In a spectacular setting. For over 40 years." There are some very typical buildings on campus, but a lot of buildings are just fantastic. And maybe she is tired of looking at picturesque things but I really like them.

Our campus is just very beautiful. Very, very. We have loads of foot bridges, some more utilitarian and some more graceful. When I took Contemporary Architecture for art history, we learned lots about our college buildings, and about college buildings in general. A lot of very good architects get to design somewhat freely for college dorms, lecture halls, and libraries. I don't remember the whole reason but part of it is to draw students, and also if a building turns out badly it is not like a shopping center where everyone will avoid it, students will still go to the library. My college, Kresge, was designed by Charles Willard Moore (he did the Haas building at Berkeley as well) and it is a little ugly because it is not really to human scale, but it is still nice.

I think I have worked out why the prompt bothers me. We are ranked 76th in the US academically (it depends which guide you use)(some departments are higher, but not the art department AFAIK) but I am sure our campus is in the top 10. I have only been to about 10 colleges, and they mostly have some nice stuff there, but ours is just really good. We have thousands of acres of redwoods, and a view of the pacific ocean. We have (as I mentioned) more than a dozen foot bridges spanning the tops of hills. Each residential college has a different architectural style. We have fountains, and concrete fortresses, and a very small number of bronze statues. There are miles and miles of trails. There are student created huts, hand painted murals, hand painted campers in the camper park, trees of all sorts... It is really nice. Almost everywhere manages the Monterey Bay view because we're on such a steep hill. We have a Village of portables down a hole, in the Quarry. We have an emerald glass tower on Science Hill. We have a squat shingled tower by college 8. (nothing is allowed to break the treeline but there are a lot of 2 and 3 story towers) We have deer, a sustainable Farm, caves, totem poles, and a tiny herd of glossy black cows. The old lime refinery buildings, made of stone, are visible just passed the entry kiosk. We have 2 (that I know of) outdoor stages. Here are a few (18) pictures that are just nice. Not surreal, not distorted, but I love them.

bike shed at Oakes
bikes at College 8
Camper Park Entrance
View from Oakes Field
View from stage at Oakes field
Some interesting pipes at Oakes
Oakes footbridge
Engineering 2
Central Kiosk
Ugliest footbridge; connects Family Student Housing and College 8
View of footpath, footbridge, and bike path converging
Barn Theater

Arboretum Greenhouse
Some building that has chimneys
some building I saw
same building
Porter Construction

Pretty much the worst picture of Kresge ever. It looked good on my tiny camera screen.

If you are wondering why these are somewhat poor photographs, it is because:
1. I just have a regular person camera, not a DSLRWhoa camera.
2. I have never taken a photography class, read a photography book,* or anything.
3. Sometimes there were trees in the way of where I wanted to stand for a good angle
4. It was the gorgeousest day this year, and the sun was in my eyes.
Here I am trying to hold them open.

*Right when I wrote that I realized as a child I did indeed have a book that came with a film camera, called My First Camera. It used illustrations of anthropomorphic stuffed bears to demonstrate important photographic concepts. I think it was two color printing, red and black. It included tips about where to stand relative to shadows which I have entirely forgotten, tips about how far to stand from your subjects which I have disregarded, and tips about how to point the camera right at what you are photographing and not put your fingers in front of the lens and which have served me well.

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