Monday, July 28, 2014

Lisa Golightly: The dreamy photograph with acrylic paints.

The first time I knew Lisa Golightly was from a pin from Pinterest. The painting was so dreamy with pink, light blue, shell color.It looked so opaque but transparent at the same time. Lisa Golightly is a portland based artist.

Further details:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fumi Koike: When Illustration can bring you cosiness and happiness.

A Japan based illustrator, Fumi Koike, is one of my favorite Japanese artist. Her book, Dogs and Mornings, gives me such a cosy feeling of life. All her illustrations are unfussy with plain background but really artistic. Eggs for breakfast, the wooden desk, and warm sweater all remind me of appreciating the wonderful days in life.

Further details:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 10: Watercolor Food Illustration

Summer fruit illustration

Sushi illustration

Dessert illustration

Recently, I've been searching for the style of my watercolor painting. It has been hard and frustrating. Every famous artist has his own style and people will fall in love with their artworks even most of the paintings don't make any sense to most people. Wondering why it is happening, because professional painter can paint really well but still they are just ordinary painters, however, all the greatest artists in the world are famous for the usual sight on the objects. How you can paint or draw doesn't really matter but what you can paint is the significant matter.

On the other hand, me, can only draw some food illustration. Feel helpless.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to Perform the Quick Pitch to Investors in the First Three Mins

I'm pretty sure that there are tons of pitch deck advice out there for startups and you can download the deck template from the successful startups and the founders. Having interned for Tech Wildcatters, one of the Forbes top 10 startup accelerator, and watching amount of the pitch of startups, I summed up couple of tricks and tips for the early-staged startup companies who want to raise money.

So Health Wildcatters hosted a Quick Pitch event for its new class of 2014, and people from health startup community got together and watched twenty four startup applicants pitch yesterday. The process was that every investor rated the performance of each pitch and decided whether to invest to the company. I was sitting among the investors and carefully watching how each pitch affected the decision-making process of the investors. Here are some interesting facts.

  • A Great Presenter. 
I cannot say how important it is any more, even most of startups have already realized it. During Health Wildcatters Quick Pitch Day, 80% of the startups couldn't speak up when they were pitching. It was such a pity that seeing investors checked the not going to invest box just because they couldn't hear clearly about the product and service. Some founders presented with the cheat sheet and kept looking at it, and it just made the presentation so dry and unconvincing. Imagine how investor would react after watching twenty presentations. Also the timing is so critical. each team had exact three minutes and half of them failed to showcase their products within that period of time. Even they had the chance to approach the investors during the happy hour, the objective of a good first impression was just uncompleted. I found that the presentation provided by the convincing and sincere speakers was more likely to be rated higher. It doesn't matter that how great product you have if you cannot give a great elevator speech.

  • Market Opportunity
Are there any customers going to buy your product? The startup nowadays is becoming not so much as creative as four year ago. A lot people dive in the technology area and try to develop something that already exists in the market. Even there is a slight difference, the customers are not going buy something they think that it is not as useful as the one they are using. Mobile applications and websites are still two popular markets where startups are interested in because of the low initial cost. When the investors listen to the pitch, most of them are willing to know whether there is problem in your current market and what solution you are going to use. Despite you are in a competitive market, would you do something different from your competitors to win your customers? Though people say you just need an idea to build a startup, most startups are not revolutionary enough to raise money just by throwing an idea out. Investors are looking for the professional business plan, even nobody wants to admit it.

  • Financials 
Have you ever wondered that how all these startup established there market value? Almost every startup can worth roughly a hundred million at least and the projected revenue can be even three times higher than the current year. I don't think the investors really care about the numbers that the companies made up because they know how much each company is going to worth. Investors care about the liability of the company, the total expense, the numbers of customers and the fundings that the startup is going to need. From my observation during the Quick Pitch, half of the companies didn't even talk about their financials or just briefly talked a bit. If investors cannot see the return of their money, it's so unlikely for startups to raise money.

  • Great Products
I believe that the product that you're going to sell is the most important thing that every startup should be considering. Don't just copy the other's. Startup is not an unreachable word any more and some people who do the startup are just for flipping their business and make money from it. There is nothing wrong about making money, but if you know how to build a sustainable business and devote to changing people's lives, you are going to succeed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Does Art Need No Subject Matter Than Itself?

Kazimir Malevich: "White on white" 1917
The Cubism, Surrealism and Futurism Exhibitions are ongoing at Museum of Modern Art in New York. Most of the paintings at fourth floor were there year and half ago, and even The Starry Night by Van Gogh is still there, I feel nothing special. Last year I didn't pay attention of the Constructivism which normally addresses really simple lines and colors. Kazimir Malevich's White on White really catches tourists' eyes and I'm wondering how they understand the painting by staring at the over-abstract painting or the completely black board. Seriously, how do normal people react while looking at the painting with one vertical brushstroke on?

The Constructivists declared that art must be free from the subject matter other than itself. Malevich was good at geometric abstraction so called Suprematist Composition. I guess the world in his eyes is so uncomplicated that only geometry and basic colors can stand for the living things. I fully respect the different genres of art but would rather admire the artworks that I at least understand the message the painter was trying to deliver.

The Dance, Henri Matisse
The Young Ladies of Avignon, Pablo Picasso

Speaking of the abstract painting, Moma also is having The Young Ladies of Avignon by Pablo Picasso. To be more accurate, he is known for founding the Cubist movement. The way he treated the space creates a three-dimensional atmosphere that gives people enough room to imagine and contemplate. Same as the Dance by Henri Matisse, the painting with less detail and intense color addresses the feeling of emotional liberation and Hedonism. Those are the artworks that I could understand by reading the captions. Instead, the ones by Malevich are unable to be understood on beholder's eye. If art needs to subject matter than itself, then the whole point of art should be none. Even the none could be the meaning to certain degree, the purpose of being enjoyed by the majority has been failed. The art market cannot be treated as the retail market where people buy in the fast pace. The appreciation of art derives from the pleasure of looking at it. When the beauty has lost, the point of appreciating is lost too. Admittedly, the definition of beauty has its own diversity and cannot be forced. However, the development of art would have vanished if the majority didn't show the interests. None of the famous artists would succeed unless their works has been recognized by the majority.

The visit to Moma was just fine, because some of the exhibitions were nothing but another world where only people with emotional sickness live. A World of Its Own: Photographic Practice in the Studio. All the photographs were black and white films. Some were just the randomly taken pictures that now are being hung in the museum just because of the historian reason. One of the photographer said that he was an artist so everything he did in the studio should be art. That just totally doesn't make any sense.

I still insist that the great artwork should be perceived for the sake of human beings.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Selling Point of Each Artist: The Jeff Koons Retrospective and Pommes Frites

Pommes Frites isn't a ordinary fries that you could eat in NYC, but a special shop where you could have Belgian fries with 30 different kinds of sauces. The fries are super fat and crispy and the sauces are rich and interesting. I had a regular one with roasted garlic mayo and Vietnamese pineapple mayo on. My fries have been wrapped with paper cone that has New York drawing on. After tasting the fries, I realized that Pommes Frites doesn't sell authentic Belgian fries or double cooked and gluten free frites, but sell the taste of the extraordinary sauces. Think about it, there are millions of shops and restaurants selling fries but there are few shops selling fries with a variety of sauces. And the names of the sauces, Pesto Mayo, Pomegranate Teriyaki Mayo, Dill Lemon Sauce, Bordeaux Wine Mayo, are just so intriguing that you cannot resist to try them out. That's the selling point of Pommes Frites.

Yesterday, I went to watch the Jeff Koons Retrospective at Whitney Museum, which has been considered as the most controversial and expensive American artist of the past three and half decades. Jeff Koons is well known for reproductions of banal objects such as ballon animals, vacuums, plastic flowers...

The Ballon Puppy 

At the first glimpse, the superficies made me feel empty. The visitors were contemplating in front of the giant ballon puppy produced in stainless steel and I was so curious about what they were thinking with the dog. Koons' sculptures and paintings looked new and shine. The plastic texture misled me into a unrealistic space where everything could be float and hang. When you see one of those massive retrospective, it overwhelms you with its size and presence.

The Inflatable Flower

I kept thinking that why he became so successful in New York. After comparing to the exhibitions I've seen at Met, I found that Jeff Koons is doing something quite unordinary. The traditional living artists are just focused on their painting techniques or art itself, so they couldn't make a lot money from it as far as there aren't people appreciate their arts as they do. On the other hand, Jeff Koons starts from the impossible objects and uses his perfectionism. I barely could find the single seam that showed how the piece has been made. The money he spent on creating them must be enormous. That's why he can charge six to seven figure of his artworks other than any artists.

The Cake, 1999
I guess both frites and balloon puppy are not necessarily needed in daily life but why do people love to talk about it, go visit it and even buy it? That the uniqueness draws people's attentions will connect them with the thought of feeling special.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Can we explain the meaning behind a street photograph taken 50 years ago: Thoughts of Garry Winogrand's exhibition at the Met

Trying to step into a room showing black and white photographs, I didn't know I was going to Garry Winogrand's exhibition. The staff told me I was going to the wrong way and the entry was somewhere else.

I barely know the great street photographer. Robert Capa, Henri Bression and Vivian MaierI barely know the great street photographer. Robert Capa, Henri Bression and Vivian Maier are my top three. Street photography has been obsoleted nowadays since Kodak wasn't doing so well and film is an essence of street photography. Nonetheless, the story behind every street photograph has a very interesting interpretation when you actually gaze at one. Winogrand's photo gave me the same feeling that I am inclined to know more about the people in the picture. He was born in New York and has been widely considered as the greatest photographer in the twentieth century.

The famous shot by Garry Winogrand
Coney Island, New York, 1952

When my audio explained one of his photo, Coney Island, I didn't feel the same way. It said that the photo addressed the sexuality between the male and the female and captured the madness of the Mad Men Era. Are we able to understand the photograph taken a long long time ago? The book, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, brought up a idea that the things seen by people are mystification of what they really are.

"An image is sight which has been recreated or reproduced. It is an appearance, or a set of appearances, which has been detached from the place and time in which it first made its appearance and preserved - for a few moments or a few centuries. For photographs are not, as is often assumed, a mechanical record. Every time we look at a photograph, we are aware, however, slightly, of the photographer selecting that sight from an infinity of other possible sights. The photographer's way of seeing is reflected in his choice of subject Our perception or appreciation of an image depends also upon our own way of seeing."

The way the photographer saw will going to be different from the way we see it, according to John Berger's opinion. We may never be going to understand the true meaning behind the photograph even if we fully understood the story of the photographer. The moment captured by the photographer has been already detached from the moment that was happening on the site. The interpretation made by other people (us) is recreating the recreated moment of the photographer, which is added by our own experience and stories. Therefore, technically, the audio didn't stress Winogrand's idea correctly. 

Just like when I take a picture of the stranger, I don't think about it too much. Maybe the next day, I find a different trigger of why I took it. It doesn't really matter why I took it because the act of taking picture is far more fulfilling than recalling the meaning behind it or editing it.

New York, 1969
Radio City, 1961
New York, 1969
I guess there wasn't an right entry to get into the exhibition. The effort of trying to get in was already the mystification.

For more Garry Winogrand's information, please see National Gallery of Art