Art & Design

My America

Since I’m a huge art history nerd, I thought, why not have a week where I talk about my favorite art history masterpieces? This week, I’ll be talking about art pieces that can be found at The Art Institute of Chicago (the house of dreams).

The first piece I’ll be writing about is Marc Chagall’s America Windows, ca. 1977.  Back story: Chagall came to Chicago, seven years prior to making his art piece, to install one of his other completed works titled, The Four Seasons. Due to the amazing feedback the people of Chicago had, he wanted to create a piece that would celebrate the wonderful progression and independence of America.

When Chagall came back with his finished masterpiece, he came back with six panels of pure beauty. Chagall never put a label on the type of art his artwork was, but to me, it’s a fusion of Cubism, Surrealism, and Fauvism; that’s what makes this piece so special. Additionally, the deep indigo background along with other colors presented, could captivate any audience. Other thing to look for would be figures that are crafted into the panels: people playing instruments, floating guitars and fiddles, dove, olive branch, Statue of Liberty, etc. Each panel has a significant meaning and I’ll post a link below of a great summary of just that. Seeing America Window in person has been one of the best experiences at a museum and it’s a must see every time I visit The Art Institute of Chicago.

From the Art Institute of Chicago’s website, it states, “The resulting six-panel work celebrates the country as a place of cultural and religious freedom, detailing the arts of music, painting, literature, theater, and dance. Because of his admiration for Chicago and its strong commitment to public art during the 1960s and 1970s, Chagall chose to dedicate the work to Mayor Richard J. Daley, a great supporter of public art projects.” Chagall gave this gift to the city of Chicago, but after evaluating this particular gift, America Window has become a gift to me. With everything going on lately, it could easily discourage anyone in believing in the future of America and it’s people. When I look at this masterpiece, I see hope.

Knowing that this art piece represents the beauty of America’s culture, freedom and art influences, that is the America I choose to see and believe in.  I see it everyday with the people I surround myself with; people who are kind, loving, hard-working, strong and filled with dreams. For that, I am truly blessed to know them and I hope I meet more people who exude those qualities. Just like America Window, I still believe this is what America represents. Except now, we just have to look a little bit closer.

-Michelle

 

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For more information on America Window, feel free to check out these links:

http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/Chagall

https://blogs.colum.edu/reviewing-the-arts/2014/04/07/visual-art-the-america-windows-1977-marc-chagall-art-institute-of-chicago/

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Daily Life

What Has Been Your Favorite Christmas Gift of All Time?

That is the question I ask often. Whether it’s on a date or at work, I ask this question to the person I want to get to know better. Oddly enough, I get a better idea of who the person is. In that one question, I start to know a bit about their interests, taste, style, and which person/people gave him or her the gift. Additionally, it’s a question that isn’t intimidating at all, so I feel like when the answer is given, it’s completely genuine. Since I did ask the question, I thought it would only be appropriate if I answered it for you guys. Maybe you’ll get to know me better.

I was ten years old and probably the cutest, most chubby and excited kid on Christmas morning. I got up pretty early because of the obvious: presents that have been taunting me for weeks would finally be opened. Once my sister and my parents got up, we started the gift giving process in the living room. Fast forward to a few presents later, my mom passes me the iconic Build-A-Bear Workshop blue and white carrier/house box. I opened the sides of the box to reveal the most cuddly, adorable, black and white penguin. She had blue eyes, yellow beak and feet, a red bow in her few strands of hair fuzz on the top of her head, christmas pajamas, and slippers. At the bottom of the box, there was her “birth certificate” and it read, “Penelope Martinez”. I didn’t choose the name, but when I looked at her, it was perfect. The gift was perfect! It was the gift I dreamt about and wanted the most. That moment was pure bliss and unforgettable and I owe it to my mom for always making my Christmases the best.

You’re probably wondering if I still have Penelope around the house. Sadly, I don’t. I thought keeping Penelope safe in a box with my other keepsakes in my basement was the best idea. About seven to eight years ago, she was damaged in a flood. *insert broken heart and teddy bear tears

Looking back, it’s was pretty awesome to have that one toy you connect with. It really makes childhood memories easier to remember, besides having photographs and home videos on VHS (the millennial fossil).

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and feel free to comment your favorite Christmas gift(s). How fun would that be?!

Until next time,

Michelle

 

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Art & Design

Back to Work!

On this cold and blustery day in the city, I’ll be writing about my current pride and joy: my Etsy shop. It’s called The Gift of Giving Co. and it’s a shop my sister and I created that (at the time) sold Holiday handmade ornaments, napkin rings, and designed wrapping paper sheets. Now that the Holiday season is over, we’ll be focusing on creating items/prints for weddings and baby showers. Not only do we sell items that we love to make, but some percentage of our profits goes to charity. We believe in the “it’s better to give than to receive” motto, which was one of the things that inspired the name for our shop.

It all started a few months after we both graduated from Columbia College Chicago. Since I’m a graphic designer and she’s an illustrator, it seemed natural and expected to go into business together. Honestly, it’s been the best, tiring and most expensive thing we’ve ever done; but completely worth it. There’s no one else I would rather work with and to craft products that make people smile is the best part of it all (sappy moment). Fast forward to today: hands filled with graphite. Literally been sketching and drafting for the majority of the day, but I’m happy to say we’ve come up with products that we’re excited to create.

Glad I had the chance to write about the shop, but it’s time for me to focus and work on digital sketches. I like to digital sketch because it allows me to look at colors (obviously Pantone) that I want to incorporate in the products. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner too. Haha!

Until next time,

Michelle

P.S- If you’re new at Adobe Illustrator and want to use Pantone colors in your illustrations, follow these steps:

  1. Once you have your document, click on the bottom arrow next to the color box on the top left of your screen.
  2. Then you click on the tiny image to the right top side of the box that looks like a bulleted list with a down arrow.
  3. Scroll down to “Open Swatch Library”, then select “Color Books”
  4. Once you do that, there are various Pantone options to use. I usually use “PANTONE + Solid Uncoated” for print purposes, but feel free to do the research on Pantone Color Books.

 

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Uncategorized

Promises for 2018

As I sit here with my black velvet dress and drink Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider, (in a fancy glass, of course) it’s crazy to think how fast the year went by. 2017 was a year of rollercoaster emotions, milestones, friendships, new hopes and dreams. This year, I want to make a list of promises I would like to maintain not only for 2018, but promises I would like to carry with me for a very long time.

In 2018, I promise…

  • to never give up on myself or the people I love when life gets tough
  • to encourage others to follow dreams that seem out of reach
  • to speak up for the voiceless
  • to give, give, give, give, give
  • to find at least one good quality in individuals I don’t really care for
  • to believe that doors open and close for a reason
  • to dive into life without knowing where I’ll fall
  • to value great friendships
  • to appreciate family and all that they do
  • to enjoy the little things
  • to allow and trust in God to guide me into my purpose

 

I hope 2018 brings a multitude of blessings, joy and love.

Best,

Michelle

 

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