Art vs. Artist

By: Parker Rowen

Image taken from: Shepherd, Jack. “Artist Paints Himself Painting Himself Painting Himself Painting Himself.” Medium, Sharks and Spades, 5 Aug. 2020, https://medium.com/sharks-and-spades/artist-paints-himself-painting-himself-painting-himself-painting-himself-ed11017d25fc.

“Should art be separated from it’s artist?” is a questions that has come up in recent times. This has begun to re-emerge, with Hollywood being shown to have more and more morally questionable people to be within the industry than was once known, or believed. This is an important question to answer, it brings in a question of morality, and whether it is moral to consume art made by an artist who has committed something heinous.

When researching for a paper, or some kind of formal piece, you always question the source of the information, whether it’s reliable, if it is to be trusted, or provides something which before was unseen. Art should be viewed in the same manner. When you see a piece of art, it is paramount that the artist and their intentions get discussed.

If you look at the works of someone such as Vincent Van Gough, you’ll see how it paints a picture of Van Gough’s life, and view of the world. Without this art as context, we wouldn’t have nearly as much of a view into the world of Van Gough.

Good art is often reflective of it’s artist. It is hard to put passion into something without that thing becoming part of you, and vice versa. Art is meant to be passionate, so naturally it would show the person you are to the world. 

To separate the art from the artist would be akin to stealing the sun from the sky. The artist defines their work, and sets up their themes, they are the ones to decide what their art should mean. It often reflects an opinion, or sends a message in which the artist believes in. While this opinion may not necessarily be harmful, it should be a truthful one, and help paint a picture of what the artist is like, and whether it is someone to look up to.

In capitalism, the phrase “speak with your wallet” is a common, and very true one. People have a monetary value attached to everything, and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve success in that regard. So, by this logic, when you buy something you are supporting it. Generally, art has been sold at a price, helping to support the artist living, and to encourage more of that type of art. When you buy a piece of art, you are supporting the artist, and encouraging them to continue behaving the way in which they are.

A piece of art is crucial in learning about an artist, therefore, the artist must be crucial to understanding the art. To separate the art from the artist opens a blank space in the context, and message of the art. With this assessment in mind, I feel that to consume art, such as buying a painting, or CD, made by someone who has committed a reprehensible act is immoral and something to be avoided, because supporting that art also supports the negative behavior in which they have practiced.

Teens and reading

By: Marcus Lund

How long has it been since you’ve wanted to read a book? Not for English class, but for fun? For some kids, it’s been a while.

Firstly, let’s look at the numbers. According to an NAEP survey, 13 year olds who read 30 minutes or more every night, not for homework, dropped 4% from 2017 to 2019. The number officially dropped under 50%. For high schoolers, the numbers are even more daunting. Only 20% of kids report reading a newspaper, magazine, or a book daily, whereas 80% of them reported going on some sort of social media.

This is a problem. With declining numbers in daily reading, a predictable result is becoming more and more obvious: kids are getting worse at it. With reading lessening, so are reading scores. This is a nationwide phenomenon, and a disappointment to many parents. Experts say that reading, even if it’s a book like ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ or ‘Captain Underpants’, is incredibly vital to teenage brain development.

Why are teens reading less? The problem resides in something vital to teenage existence: our phones. Teens average 9 hours of entertainment media use, and pre-teens average 6. This time takes away from less passive entertainment, like reading. But I find it hard to blame the average teenager. I personally enjoy some forms of social media and talking to my friends more than I do reading a book, and this is a nationwide opinion that’s widely agreed upon.

Screens also affect the brain more negatively than reading, with frequent screen use resulting in poorer literacy skills and less ability to use expressive language. Conversely, teens who read more scored higher on cognitive tests.

Reading is good for you, which probably isn’t a surprise. What is a surprise is the amount that teens are skipping out on it. Personally, I know that I’m going to start reading more. Will you?

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A poet’s language

By: Parker Rowen           

Image taken from: “Ideas about Poetry.” Ideas About, https://www.ted.com/topics/poetry.

Language is something that many people take for granted. Language has spent hundreds of years evolving, becoming a complex system for us to describe our world. Words have spent hundreds of years becoming more specific and accurate toward what we experience, with language a medium for these observations.

The communication of ideas is an essential part of human growth, without our peers we would not be able accomplish feats which once seemed impossible.

Language and its specificity create a new medium for an artist, that being poetry. Poetry exists to show the view of the world through an artist’s perspective. Poetry is a medium in which you use linguistic specificity in order to express an emotion, or world view to another. Language makes poetry special.

Paintings aren’t something everyone makes, drawing isn’t either, but everyone uses language to communicate, by default; other art forms create a disconnect in that sense. People can understand poetry much easier than paintings or drawings, because language is something everyone uses.

To be accessible isn’t the point of art, though. Some art can be challenging, others not so much. The use of language is interesting, because as specific as language is, and can be, there are words with double, or more than one meaning. This can give poetry some more challenge, adding to the layers in which an artist can give to their art. 

Poetry uses language, and its uniqueness to create something which expresses an artists’ vision in a relatable, and simplistic way. Using language techniques to create different environments is one way in which the poet expresses their world. Techniques like alliteration, visualization, and metaphors make the poetry feel natural, like things you would naturally come to through the use of these techniques within your own life.

Poetry creates a unique art form, which creates more relatabilty compared to others. Poetry has plenty of variations of phrases, making things more descriptive or accurate to the poet’s vision.

The truth of art

By: Parker Rowen

Van Gough (1889)

What is art? What makes something artistic? What makes someone an artist?

Art is about truth; it is about the truth of a representation of a vision of someone who has a passion, and inspiration. This comes from their emotions, be it love, hate, happiness, or depression. Art must come from a place of real emotions, or it will feel disingenuous, and oftentimes fails at conveying anything, or making anyone else feel emotions. 

If your art isn’t truthful, people will never relate to it. Oftentimes, art which comes from different sources, such as greed, or begrudging acceptance, fall flat. Art must show the good, and the bad, not necessarily at once, for that is the truth of the world, and that is what people relate to. Connecting your world to that of others is key in art; one might argue it is the goal of art. To properly communicate these ideals and feelings, you must have a vision, and medium to express said vision.

To have a vision, means to have an emotion, or message so grand it can’t stay contained within your mind, and must be made reality. Art comes from having a vision. This type of vision can only be expressed through an artist’s point of view. Your vision must be a real one, you can’t argue for something you don’t believe in. Your vision must come from your emotions, and aspirations, your goals, and what is important to you. 

A piece of art is composed of a message, or an emotion, which an artist is trying to convey. Art comes from your personal truth, to try to convey false emotions, makes the art disingenuous, and uninteresting.

The truth about art is that it is about making people relate, or understand your perspective, and the world in which you live. The truth about art is it is a medium for expressing truth, pain, happiness, and the world at large; to be an artist is to express the truth of the world, and it’s flaws, and to create a vision of which will connect your truth to the truth of others.

The benefits of reading

By: Mary Koch & Ella Sutherland

Reading is important. Although it may not be as fun as watching a movie or TV show, it’s much better for your mind and body.

Reading is an easy way to wind down, especially after a stressful day. Just reading for a few minutes everyday is proven to be more effective than an entire yoga session. Having something to take our minds off the day can be beneficial in getting a good night’s sleep. Unlike your phone or the TV, a book can help you relax before bed which is always important.

Reading helps to strengthen overall brain function and increase memory. Scientists found that it can lower beta-amyloid, which is a brain protein connected Alzheimer’s, by keeping the mind ready and active. When you read your brain is becoming more creative and more imaginative. If you need to remember something it is easier to do if you read it aloud.

Your brain needs to stay active, and reading is a good way to do that. You don’t need to be reading non fiction or a textbook either; it’s best if you read something that interests you, so you’ll pay attention and maybe learn something. Reading helps with memorization, vocabulary, and communication skills. Those are all important skills not only in school, but in life when you’re applying for jobs or trying to get promotions.

If you have trouble focusing on everyday tasks or hard ones, reading can improve your focus and concentration skills. When you read something that you are interested in it forces you to really think about what you are reading and therefore helps you focus more. If you continue reading everyday, or as much as you can, I believe that your concentration levels will increase by a lot.

Mental health and mental illness can even be affected by reading habits. It’s become so common that it has a name, bibliotherapy, and bibliotherapists will give books they think will help especially with things like grief, anxiety, and depression. Fiction books are often used because when people can relate to the characters it’s easier to connect with them and understand your own feelings. Depression can make people feel alone, and reading can give people an outlet, and it can make people feel like they have a safe place.

Reading can improve your writing skills as well. If you read different styles of writing you will be more open to trying different writing techniques. If you start reading and you pay more attention to the author’s writing style, then it will help you find your own writing style.

Reading can also help in medical recovery. It can alleviate stress while your body is trying to repair itself. For example heart attack patients have found reading poetry beneficial during their recovery.

Reading can help people empathize with each other by showing situations and how they make people feel. It also exposes people to more emotions they might not see or feel in everyday life which is something that not everyone has access to.

When asking other students how they felt about reading most responses were positive. One 9th grader said, “I think it helps people understand new topics and expand their imaginations.”

Another student said, “It can distract you from reality which is a nice change.”

Reading is a great resource for school too. Being able to find a book when you want to learn about something is a great skill, and you’ll likely learn more than you would by looking up answers on Google.

Next time you have some free time before you turn on the TV, try picking up a book. You might be surprised at how fun and interesting reading can be.

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Plato’s foundation

Image taken from: “File:David – the Death of Socrates.jpg.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Aug. 2016, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Socrates#/media/File:David_-_The_Death_of_Socrates.jpg

By: Parker Rowen

I recently read 5 dialogues from the Greek philosopher Plato. The dialogues of “Euthyphro”, “Apology”, “Crito”, “Meno”, and “Phaedo”, are some of his writings where he recites the teachings of Socrates’ through a series of conversations between Socrates and various other Athenian residents, in which Socrates establishes a very clear, and critical pattern of thinking. 

During your time in school you may have heard of, and participated in, a “Socratic Seminar” during which you were asked a question that you and the other students were directed to discuss and dissect what the question was asking, and what it meant. Socrates was the one to invent (or at least popularize) this style of thinking, hence the name “Socratic”.

This type of question and answer based discussion has become essential in our courts. If you have ever watched a show, or movie about lawyers or court cases, you have probably heard of the term “cross examination”, which is when the person on the stand is asked questions by a prosecutor in an attempt to pick apart their story and dismiss or disprove it. Socrates is the foundation for this. 

This leads into Socrates’ influence on the courts, and debates in general with the concept of “burden of proof”, which in law means that the accuser (in criminal cases the prosecutor, and in civil the plaintiff) must lay objective truths both parties agree upon, by providing evidence to establish such.

Socrates’ style of questioning and discussing has had a major impact on our courts, changing the way we argue and discuss evidence in a trial. Before Socrates, as you can see in “Apology”, there was not much room for disputing evidence. Before Socrates, one would approach the courts as an accuser, displaying their accusations to a jury. Then, the defendant would approach the court, and the same jury with their reasons as to why they are innocent.

Before Socrates, many did not have proper debate skills, and so couldn’t prove they were or weren’t being wrongfully accused, and often pleaded using their family or health as a means of defense. 

Socrates’ showed the people a better way to argue, and that the better defense is to break down what they are truly saying and dispute it with evidence through question and answer based responses. During Socrates’ trial, early in “Apology”, it was made very clear that Socrates was not a popular resident of Athens, one might even call him somewhat of an outcast, but despite this he was able to get 140 of the 500 present in the jury, along with 5 out of the 10 judges, to vote against giving him the death penalty, by breaking down his accusers accusations of “corrupting the youth”, and proving that it was a falsehood. 

Although it didn’t work out for Socrates, his teachings have helped shape our court systems, and many of these teachings have been used to help prove the innocence and guilt of so many. Through Socrates’ teachings, Plato was able to help establish a foundation for our justice system.

Recommended reading: Five Dialogs Second Edition (Hacket, 2002)

Echira Oda is the creator of the number one bestselling manga in history

By: Mohamed Ahmed

Echiro Oda is the creator of the number one best selling manga in history. He is in the top 15 best selling authors of all time. That means Oda has only had his work outsold by fewer people than the number of your toes and fingers. He is also the best selling Japanese writer of all time.

What legendary series could make one man so prolific in history you might ask? The name of the series that has generated billions of dollars in revenue, has had over ten movies based on it, and managed to dominate the manga sales chart for over a entire decade is the franchise: ‘One Piece’. 

Echira Oda was born in the 1970s, January 5th, 1975, to be exact, in Kumamoto, Japan. Ever since he was only four years old he resolved to become a manga artist in order to avoid getting a real job. Little did he know that he was going to have a permanent impact on this world and that his name would forever be remembered. 

He was influenced by Akira Toriyama. The TV show, ‘Vicky the Viking’, sparked his interest in pirates, while Akira Toriyama the creator of the ‘Dragon Ball’ franchise, sparked his interest in anime.

He was only 17 when he submitted his work ‘WANTED’ and received an award. That’s how he was able to get a job at the weekly ‘Shonen Jump’, a manga magazine, as an assistant to an assistant for a couple of series.

When he was 19, he won an award, and even was in an article about the hottest up and coming young mangakas. From there he went on to outsell other series and climb vigorously to the top of the list outselling incredibly big names like ‘Death Note’, ‘Naruto’, and ‘bleach’.

‘One Piece’ was not dethroned for over ten years, until recently when ‘Demon Slayer’ took the top spot for one year, breaking the streak but not the legend.

He is currently still writing ‘One Piece’ to this day, and has managed to stay humble as well as stay out of a career ruining scandal, like many other mangakas, for two decades. 

10 lesser-known young adult book recommendations

By: Bijou Kruszka

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.istockphoto.com
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Have you ever been looking for something to read, but you can only find recommendations for ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent’? They’re fine books, but most have read them already. If you want something fresh to read, try these novels.

1. ‘Renegades

In this series, by Marissa Meyer, who you may recognize as the author of ‘The Lunar Chronicles’, Nova Artino infiltrates a superhero team to try and get revenge for her parents’ death. But when she bonds with Adrian Everhart, the son of the main superheroes, Nova doubts her beliefs. The series has a diverse cast of characters and interesting ideas about right versus wrong.

2. ‘We Are The Ants

‘We Are The Ants’ is a beautifully tragic novel about Henry Denton, a high-schooler with a terrible life, who gets abducted by aliens. In one particular abduction, the aliens allow him to save Earth by pressing a button. He’s determined to not press the button, but when he returns to Earth, he meets Diego, whose positivity and love make Henry wonder whether he should destroy the planet or not. Henry is cynical as a narrator, which is rather refreshing for a YA book. Also, for a book as sci-fi as it is, it is incredibly real, and most readers could probably connect with Henry in one way or another.

3. ‘Nevermoor: The Trials Of Morrigan Crow

If you’re looking for another fantastical world on the level of ‘Harry Potter’, without having to think about the problematic views of the author, I wholeheartedly recommend the ‘Morrigan Crow’ series. The first book follows Morrigan Crow, a young girl cursed to die on her 11th birthday. When she is rescued from death by Jupiter North, he takes her to the magical realm of Nevermoor, a world filled with magic and interesting characters. To stay in Nevermoor, Morrigan must participate in the trials to enter the Wundrous society. The world of Nevermoor is very immersive and creative, and the dynamic between Morrigan and any other characters she meets is great.

4. ‘Aru Shah and the End of Time’

If you miss ‘Percy Jackson’, with its modern takes on mythology, and its genuinely good comedy, then look no further than ‘Aru Shah’. This series recently ended in January, and it’s fantastic. Aru Shah, in an effort to impress some kids at school, accidentally incites the end of the world. To fix her mistake, she must team up with Mini, a timid girl with extensive and disturbing knowledge of medical things, and Boo, a sarcastic pigeon. Hijinks ensue. This book does it all — incorporates Indian mythology into modern situations, has pop culture references abound, and a cast of well-developed characters.

5. ‘The Line Tender

Words cannot describe how much I love ‘The Line Tender’. The book begins with Lucy and her best friend, Fred, creating a scientific journal about sharks for extra credit in their science class. When a beached shark suddenly disappears, it looks like the book will be turning into a light-hearted mystery, but then the story takes a hard turn away from that. When Lucy experiences a huge loss, the novel turns into a painting of grief and how to deal with it. The book is tragic, but also beautiful. Plus, the author lives in Minneapolis, so reading this, you’re supporting a local author.

6. ‘Welcome to Night Vale

Both fans, and non-fans, of the hit podcast of the same name can find something to like in this novel. Single mom Diane Crayton and antique shop owner Jackie Fierro work together to solve the mystery of the enigmatic man in the tan jacket, whose face no one can seem to remember. The magical and mysterious town of Night Vale is a cool setting, and you won’t see the end coming.

7. ‘Legendborn

‘Legendborn’ follows Bree, an African-American college student grieving the recent death of her mother, who discovers a secret society called the Legendborn, made up of descendants of members of the round table. When she joins their ranks, she sees the bigotry behind the Legendborn. With an epic battle on the horizon, Bree has to decide whether to fight with them or take them down. Though heavy with exposition, the representation in this novel is abundant, and the main character is more likable than most.

8. ‘Skulduggery Pleasant

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ is about a teen girl named Stephanie as she teams up with a talking skeleton named Skulduggery Pleasant to solve her uncle’s murder. The magical setting of this world is original, and the character of Skulduggery Pleasant, though odd in concept, is a very likeable protagonist.

9. ‘The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Also based on a podcast, ‘The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel’ is creative and works really well in a novel form. Mars Patel’s friend is missing, and nobody seems to care. He is determined to find her, and finds out disturbing things about his idol along the way. The cast of protagonists are all very distinct and likable, and the end has a huge plot twist that you won’t see coming.

10. ‘Star-Crossed

‘Star-Crossed’ is about a girl named Mattie who auditions for a small part in her school’s production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In a turn of events, Mattie has to play Romeo. To top it all off, Gemma, the cute new girl is playing Juliet. This book has an adorable romance and it has discussions about bisexuality that I haven’t seen in other novels.

This concludes my list. Happy reading!

The future of architecture

By: Grace Helmke

The human race has long been graced with creatives in all fields. We have been subject to artists who have shaped our culture without us even knowing. Architecture is one the least acknowledged fields of art, yet it contributes a great deal to the society in which we exist.

Architecture is the physical representation of a society. It reflects how we see the world, and how we see ourselves. That being said, what does the future hold for architecture? How will society shape our physical world into a reflection of our newfound values? 

  1. Smart cities 

Technology has become an important part of the lives of practically everyone in society. It’s part of our everyday lives. Smartphones are the keys to city life, providing information on any topic you could think of. It allows us information on healthcare services, access to transit, traffic, restaurants, and even provides safety measures and alerts. According to McKinsey & Company, smart-city strategies are about “Using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.”

Creating architecture built around the idea of increased technological use would significantly impact all aspects of society. Citizens would fight crime, and improve public safety, make daily commutes faster if smart-mobility infrastructure is created, deliver a cleaner and more sustainable environment through electric and more sustainable applications. 

  1. Vertical cities 

As our world’s population continues to rise, we will have to accommodate for the increase in the need for living spaces. Currently, over 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This figure is expected to increase to 66% by 2050. Land will become scarce, especially if we continue to build out, instead of up. Creating vertical cities will not only provide a society that’s community based, but would expedite the goal of smart cities. 

  1. Bioarchitecture

Bioarchitecture is the blending of the art of architecture with biomimetics. It incorporates natural shapes to provide a structure that is essentially bioinspired, and eco-friendly. The architecture would mimic its surroundings to provide less of an intrusive existence.

This idea isn’t necessarily new. Ancient Greeks and Romans mimicked nature in their architecture. They incorporated leaf motifs into their structures. Frank Lloyd Wright was a pioneer in the bio architectural movement. He continuously pursued the idea of blurring the lines between his buildings and their landscapes. Even so, this movement will continue to increase as our society places a higher value on our own individual impact on the environment.

  1. Parametric architecture 

This type of architecture involves complex design and unique varieties of structures. It is characterized by free-from architectural concepts with sweeping lines, curves, and irregular shapes. This style presents as very futuristic. It rejects symmetry and uniformity, and instead creates works of art that vary in shapes, textures, and sizes. 

The future will indeed place a higher value on creativity and expression. This form of architecture will produce a work of art which can be doubled as living, working, and recreational spaces. It will produce a society free from the concepts of uniformity. 

  1. Space housing

Technological advancement in the field of aeronautics is happening at a rapid pace. We are closer and closer to achieving commercial space travel. And when the day comes that individuals may be able to travel to space for extremely low prices, an industry will likely emerge on other planets. Hotels and homes capable of housing humans in outer space and on other planets will develop. At first, these habitats will likely be inflatable. Bigelow Aerospace, a company in Nevada that specializes in space technology, has begun to produce these alternative housing solutions.

  1. Accessibility in architecture 

Hopefully, the future holds a greater opportunity for inclusivity. We do not currently have a society that’s built for all forms of life. One major issue for many disabled people is lack of adequate and accessible designs in public architecture. As we progress to become more aware of issues facing all walks of life, we will begin to develop ways in which everyone is benefited. 

Our future holds incredible opportunities for advancement. We may just become a society based upon inclusion, awareness, and desire for good. Our incredible architectural artists and talented technicians will no doubt help us to create a better world where our actions will be for the betterment of all. 

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Why is ‘The Boxcar Children’ (original book) the best children book

By: Ayane Jarso

Image taken from: Goodreads

‘The Boxcar Children’ is a wonderful book that I think is a must read for children everywhere. It tells a story about four children who recently became orphans; they create a home for themselves in the forest and live in an abandoned boxcar in secret. They fend for themselves, cook, clean, and their eldest brother goes into town for work so they have money to live off of.

You might be wondering why they didn’t try reaching out to any other family after their parents died, and they became orphans. Well, the only family member they ever heard of was their grandfather but they got the impression that he was a cruel man because he never gave them a visit.

I believe that this is one of the best children books out there because of the descriptive imagery. Reading this book I truly felt like I was there with the characters. I felt their nervousness anytime they were close to getting caught.

The author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, gives such good descriptive detail to every part of the book. The children sit down for dinner every single night and go over their days while eating their supper. It feels as if I’m on the sidelines listening to their conversation. That’s something Gertrude did really well, it doesn’t feel like a story when you read it, and as a child I felt like I was a part of the adventure which was incredible for a very imaginative young child.

Most of the book takes place out in nature, and according to Wikipedia, ‘The Boxcar Children’ was published in 1924, meaning there wasn’t much technology in the story. I think it helps remind kids that there is a whole world outside of screens and that it can be really enjoyable.