About lthissen

I'm an aspiring creative strategist and avid cook and gardener. Currently I'm studying advertising at the University of Oregon. My interests include DIY projects, recycled products, steampunk, and reading.

15. Eco Arts: Recycled Sculptures

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”
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Recycle sculptures, they’re ecofriendly, beautiful, promote recycling, and innovative. They are works of art that include anything and everything that can be reused. This can range from old soda cans to eWaste. They also take what most would consider junk or trash and turn it into gorgeous sculptures of art.
metal dragonBird SculptureGiant-steampunk-dragon-sculpture-5
Eco arts combines art and recycling to create something more and help reduce carbon footprints on the planet. For more information on recycling, Recycle Now is a great website for everything recyclable. They also created this neat little video on the making of recycled sculptures.

Recycled sculptures show the consciousness of the artist and the time, focus, and hard work that has gone into a piece. Sculptures truly capture the essence and skill of patience an artist; they’re also just plain cool.
can sculpture dragon Recycled Fish SculptureDog Sculptures Frog Sculpture

Yearly events such as the Recycled Sculpture Show are held for artists where they can display their best of the best and all their talents. Than there is Recyclart; a website solely on creating a portfolio of recycled art to inspire and brainstorm sustainable creativity. I highly recommend checking out the website to get the creative juices flowing. Below are some pictures of the featured art.
gator bottles Fish Sculpture Shoe Sculpture
So how can you start? Gather everyday materials and visualize the different things you could make out of it. I like to look how I can turn things into dragons or animals with random materials. You can also check out Pinterest for ideas or websites that will give you a basic start to creating crafts and than go from there. Whatever you decide to do, it’s fun, innovative, and environmentally friendly.

14.Comics on the Internet

While I am finishing my undergraduate at the UO, I stumbled upon a class called comparative comics (the UO now offers a full major in comic book study). One of our studies in this class was to look at post-colonialism in the forms of comics (think Hergé’s TinTin and Joe Sacco’s Palestine). We also had to relate the comics we read with our own personal connection. Honestly, I don’t read many comics, but what I do read is mostly online.

tintin Sacco's Palestine

Comics are usually books consisting of colored or black and white panels, some forms of speech, and usually a caption here or there. Online, the game changes. Comics on the internet (aka webcomics) can range from your regular style of physical comics or it can be so much more. It also allows those who would shy away from buying comics in person for risk of looking uncool, to partake (though this notion has been changing recently). Take a look at Tiny Kitten Teeth, Doctor Cat, or VG Cats; both are widely different in terms of context and art, yet they offer a same sense of style in terms of structure.

Homestuck

My favorite comic in the entire world is an online comic written by Andrew Hussie entitled Homestuck. No I’m not going to tell you about Homestuck other than it is about a whole bunch of time shenanigans with aliens and post-apocalyptic earth children and you should give it a read. The end.

Homestuck panel

The webcomic itself still isn’t done, but it’s not what Homestuck is about that makes it fascinatingly brilliant, but how it is made and used. Homestuck is comprised of multiple pages (6239 pages so far) that usually consist of a one page picture or gif and some text describing either what is going on in the panel or speech of characters talking. Than there are pages that Hussie has incorporated with original music, flash videos, and short interactive games (don’t click if you don’t want to spoil the comic). One of the videos from the comic was actually hosted offsite on Newgrounds and when released, the amount of traffic from comic fans crashed the Newgrounds’ site. It also raised over 2 millions dollars on Kickstarter for a video game version of the comic.This webcomic implements everything that is original content-music and art-from still panels to interactive flash videos. It utilizes the internet and is the first to do it well (though arguably Argon Zark! was the first).

argon zark

Webcomics have been around since 1985, they’re not new. But with the way the internet is being shaped and re-thought about, the medium is slowly being reformed. Typical webcomics are your normal print comics but available online, but now artists are utilizing technology’s tools to re-imagine the comic online. This also means a broader and wider range of audience who can now read comics from all over the world. Furthermore the availability of comics now means more diversity of what is out there. From the young to the old, comics just got a little bit more trendy.

13. My Little Ponies is for Little Girls

Spike
Well sorta.

Image My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic is an animated children’s television show, produced by Hasbro, about Ponies, and, well, magic and friendship (go figure). Hasbro picked Lauren Faust as the creative director and executive producer for the show. Faust looked to challenge the already existing My Little Pony line by creating more in-depth characters and adventurous settings, incorporating Hasbro’s suggestions for E/I (“educational and informational”) content and marketing of the toy line.

ImageThe show is innocent enough and mesmerizingly cute. Yes, I admit to watching the show, I really enjoy Faust’s animation style and some of the character designs and songs are very well done. I mostly enjoy the villains they create; Queen Chrysalis (pictured left) being my favorite so far. So call me a brony if you’d like but I honestly like what the show does, even if the older fan base has gotten a negative representation.

The show is about six female ponies showing their strong feminist capabilities of solving problems, going on adventures, being friends, and fighting evil. It’s a great show for the target market (my four year old cousin loved watching this with me) and for those who want to reminisce about a remake of a show they used to watch when they were younger. Furthermore it’s a show that combines cute animated ponies without a huge love interest (aka-completely innocent).

The show has created a large cult following and has created one of the largest global fanbase and cultural phenomenons. From it people have made fanart, created conventions solely on the show, daily blog posts, fan forums, and fan fiction (all of which range from the innocent to what the hell did I just look at). Furthermore the show has also taken pop culture references such as Dr.Who, fan suggestions (Derpy), and other cultural icons that have appeared in the show.
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Than I found about their spinoff series:

All I can say is WHY?
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Why would you do this Hasbro? Your fans want cute little pones going on adventures and singing songs; not teen drama! If you wanted to try and grasp an older audience, news flash, you already have. Plus the idea making humanized ponies (aka furries) and setting them in a high school setting, goes against everything the show has ever done or stood for. And the animation style? I thought this “trailer” was a fan-made video. I have honestly seen better art, well, from the fans.

MLP Equestria Girls PosterI expect people to have mixed feelings about this. Mostly I think this is Hasbro trying to bastardized the series to make profit. The only thing I know is I’m glad this isn’t going to be the main series focal point and that it is only a spin-off film (though rumors are told that it was originally a spin-off series). I’m not telling you to not see it, but I most likely will not be seeing it (let’s just go with I definitely won’t be paying for it).

12. Iphones that are Eyephones?

The more and more technology is developed, the more it seems augmented reality is where our future is headed. Google just announced a new product that combines eye wear with augmented reality and will be available to the public by the end of the year.

Google Glass

Google Glass is a wearable eye band with a head mounted display (HMD) that is currently being developed by Google in their Project Glass research and development to mass market wearable eye computers. Think iPhone meets glasses. This device will allow you to do almost anything a smartphone already does, except it will be completely hands free and for the low, low price of $1500 (note my sarcasm) you could have tested the device for yourself. But fret not, Google has said the consumer version of the product will be under the $1500 price tag and be readily available by the holiday season 2013.

The controversy surrounding the product now, is the concern of privacy of the consumer. Congress has issued this letter to Google questioning the privacy of users who will eventually  use and purchase the product, and man do they have some valid questions.
1. How will Glass not be like WiSpy?
2. How will Google proactively protect non-users who get ogled?
3. Is Google building in product lifecycle guidelines?
4. Will Glass use facial recognition?
5. Under what circumstances does Google refuse requests from Glass that invade the privacy of others?
6. Is Google tweaking its privacy policy to reflect the sensory and processing capabilities of Google Glass? If not, why not?
7. What device-specific information is Google collecting from Glass?
8. Is Google collecting data about the user without the user’s knowledge?
9. To what extent was privacy considered when approving the first app for Google Glass, rolled out by the New York Times?
10. Is Glass storing data on the device itself? (Naked Security)

Besides these very valid security questions I have questions of my own? Such as:
1. Will the glasses only recognize one user’s voice? And if not, what’s preventing anyone from running up to me while using the glasses and telling my glasses to search for Horse Genitals?
2. What is to prevent marketers from designing ads that are interactive with the glasses? For example, If I walk past a Starbucks with my Google Glass, what’s to stop them from making an advertisement pop up while I walk by?
3. Is my information going to be uploaded to major data sites and become available to marketers?
4. Can others see what I am searching for or looking up?
5. If you can record anything while wearing them, that means potential users can take video of literally anything. If you think that’s cool, think again…men’s bathrooms, throwing up, recording people doing embarrassing things in public, etc.?
6. If someone already wears glasses, like myself, how are the Google Glass going to function with them or can I only use Glass without my glasses (which is bad since I’m near-sighted)?

Yet despite all the privacy issues and concerns of my own, I really want a pair. They’re neat, innovative, and Google is really taking a chance here in producing these. Now, let’s talk about that price tag.

11.Brands in the Hot Seat: A&F

Abercrombie Sign
There has been some recent activity with the brand Abercrombie & Fitch. Call it good, call it bad, but CEO Mike Jeffries says he’s sticking to his ideals regarding the brand and who should be wearing it.

mike-jeffries-ceo-abercrombie-fitch

According to Jeffries, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Basically Jeffries says if you’re not cool, you can’t wear his shit. Ouch! Regardless of his brand being exclusionary, the fact remains that he is so against a certain body type he is not only propagandizing an image of what beauty is, he is reinforcing this negative image towards young women and men. Furthermore the brand is reflected through Jeffries’ viewpoints, and thus A&F becomes the bully in high school who kicks the smaller or bigger kids around saying their fat, ugly, or uncool.

From a brand perspective, it’s fine to be exclusionary and only target a specific audience. But going around publicly crying that only attractive people to buy your product is not how you set your brand in a positive light. A&F isn’t the first to implement exclusionary tactics, other luxury style brands have been doing the same for years. Yet, the difference between A&F and say, Tiffany’s, is Tiffany & Co. only advertises to a high luxury upper class but still has jewelry that is available to everyone. A&F, says we aren’t even going to bother making our product available to everyone and we also don’t want unattractive people buying our brand. If this doesn’t come as a huge warning sign to A&F, I don’t know what will.

To make matters worse (not better), Jeffries’ issued an apology over the controversial remarks with a half-assed attempt.

Jeffries Apology

It was a P.R. move gone wrong and reminded me of another failed attempt to apologize to consumers.

To say the least, people had, had enough. Greg Karber decided he wanted to do something and made a video to protest the brand’s fault. In a move called “Fitch the Homeless,” Karber goes around and donates A&F clothes to the homeless. Brilliant! Hopefully A&F has seen this and is planning on doing something, who knows if it is good or not. The only downside to Karber’s thesis is the way he represents the homeless in his video-painting them as the epitome of “uncool.” But his heart is in the right place by looking at who really needs clothes.

10.Urban Gardening: Putting the Sustainable back into Community

Full GardenGardening is a passion of mine. Unfortunately living in an apartment doesn’t really permit for a whole lot. But I do have a small balcony that I have turned into my potted plant paradise.
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Most of the plants I grow are edible. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and herbs, litter my balcony among the catnip and flowers that reside in my balcony garden. It’s something I love to do in my down time as a relaxing sort of hobby. It yields my very own delicious fruits, vegetables, and herbs that I use in my cooking. Plus, there is something very rewarding about eating the food that you grew-and talk about organic.

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Sustainable gardens have been around forever. I got into it because of my grandmother and others are quickly following this popular trend. Urban gardens have recently become a popular trend in the U.S.

Fruit Activists

In Del Aire, Ca. fruit activists, Fallen Fruit, has planted the state’s first public fruit park. The group grew the trees as part of an art movement and a way to provide accessible fresh fruit for locals.

In Fort Wayne, Ind. a local charitable organization-A Better Fort-is helping the community by planting fresh produce in downtown Fort Wayne. Their goal is to teach the community how to plant and harvest urban gardens, a sustainable effort. Their idea is to grow urban gardens to help flourish the community and help put a stop to poverty, hunger, and provide healthier food.

In Seattle, Wa. Beacon Food Forest dreams of creating an urban edible forest located in Seattle’s Jefferson Park. “A Food Forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible tress, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.” Their goal “is to design, plant and grow and edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food, and rehabilitate [the] local ecosystem.” (Beacon Food Forest)
Beacon Food Forest1 Beacon Food Forest2 Beacon Food Forest3

Urban sustainable gardens are amazing. Not only does it help flourish a community, it also teaches younger generations how to live sustainably and keep gardening alive. It provides public access to healthy food and keeps alive the notion of community. While this is something I can see happening easily in small towns, I question whether or not this gardening subculture can take on big towns or cities-that’s why I commend the Beacon Food Forrest and their efforts. The real question though is the impact this can have for the future and whether or not people care enough to keep it going.

9. Photography for the Creatives

Zoo13

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I like to title this one, “Derek, Don’t Eat That.”

I like to think of myself as an amateur photographer. Mostly I love taking pictures of my cat, animals, and scenery. Most of the pictures I take aren’t very well done. But every now and then I surprise myself and take some beautiful pictures. You can view some more of my work on my portfolio; mind you, it’s still a work in progress. What I like about photography is how it is accessible by everyone. Anyone can take a photo of anything at anytime and it’s relatively cheap to do. Some people are amazing at their work and help me to inspire my creativity; others I just love looking at their photos.

Rebekkagudleifs1
Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir
is one of my favorite artists. She lives in Iceland where the scenery is vast and beautiful. Her photographs of the countryside are my favorites. She also dabbles in surrealist art and knitting sweaters.sweater0145scenery0112

Her work is truly amazing and inspiring. If you’re looking for something to inspire you, try her website.

David Pawlan3David Pawlan is another upcoming photographer. His work is really something. He’s an ametuer photographer who does some amazing stuff with scenery, people, and camera exposures.

David Pawlan2 David Pawlan 1