Posted in Homepage, Steven's Newest Posts

Cosmic Union

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This is a manipulation I made out of pure imagination. When I make my art, I sometimes end up using transparent images that I never expected to become something else in the final product, and it turns out great in my eyes. I took the original photo of this woman and added a photo of a spacial sky with blue stars, a transparent image of black smoke, and a transparent image of a phoenix shaped outline. I used the space photo and changed its filter to the “Lighten” option for it to blend in with her, took the black smoke and used to to define her jaw, and used the phoenix outline, eraser the whole thing except the right wing, and positioned it on her left eye to give off that cosmic makeup illusion. I made this because I wanted to see what unlikely photos would create when united into one final piece.

 

These are the three images I just described. I enjoyed creating this photo because I am big on Unity and how different backgrounds cultures, and ways of life can come together to make a beautiful single entity. So doing this was, in a way, a representation of that idea. Three different photos come together to make a beautiful woman with cosmic make up, just like different people come together to make one new culture/idea/way of life. Also, the trident on the corner of the final piece is my personal symbol. I only place it on my photos if I actually made it. If it’s sharing someone else’s art, the symbol will not appear, and I’ll give credit to the artist.

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Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts, Homepage

Finding Balance: The Faun, the Shadow, and the Song

Whether we are chasing our dreams, running from our past, or looking for our futures, we are in constant movement through the unknown moments of life. Time is relative; it can ostensibly move quickly and make a day feel like an hour, or it can seemingly move slowly and make an hour feel like a day. With the semester coming to an end, time seems to be moving rather hurriedly along as we try to finalize our assignments and begin looking forward to a few weeks of relaxation before the new semester starts.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” always reminds me of the bustle that occurs at the end of the fall semester, with final exams and papers, and the excitement of the upcoming holidays surrounding our Decembers. The poem begins with the mention of a Faun leading the speaker through the woods by stating, “out of the mid-wood’s twilight / into the meadow’s dawn, / ivory limbed and brown-eyed, / flashes my Faun!” The imagery in these lines allows the reader to picture the speaker’s journey through the forest. The mention of the Faun is symbolic of a lost traveler seeking their path through life. The speaker then continues by stating, “he skips through the copses singing, / and his shadow dances along, / and I know not which I should follow, / shadows or song!” In these lines, the shadows and the songs can be perceived as a metaphor for distractions through life; will you follow the shadow and find the light leading to the fulfillment of your dreams, or will you become distracted by the temptation of fun and freedom contained in music. The speaker concludes by stating, “O Hunter, snare me his shadow! / O Nightingale, catch me his strain! / Else moonstruck with music and madness / I track him in vain!” If you allow yourself to be diverted by the music, you may lose your direction.

Oscar Wilde’s poem “In the Forest” conveys that balance is important. If you are constantly chasing after a shadow in order to stay on the path to your future, you will miss out of the fun aspects of life. Similarly, if you always allow yourself to be diverted by the music while forgetting to follow the path, you will become lost in the darkness of the forest. In order to succeed, one needs to find the balance between following the road to success and taking the time to relax and have fun. As this semester comes to an end, we are busy trying to find our way out of the forest, but in just a couple of weeks, we will be enjoying the holidays and some much needed time off.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage, Kat's Newest Posts

Eet: Today’s a Bad Day (And That’s Okay)

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #7

It’s like forgetting
The words to your favorite song

How could someone forget the words to their favorite song? All those hours of practicing the words and getting the rhythm down seem to have gone to waste because now you’re sitting in your car, the radio is actually playing your favorite song on an oldies station and as soon as the singer begins you freeze. We’re human and it is inevitable as humans to err, but another thing about us humans, we love to try and be perfect. Probably because of pressure from our parents, friends, teachers, or society. We’ve got to have flawless skin, perfect white smiles, and carry all the knowledge our fragile heads can possibly bear. We are sometimes made to feel like making mistakes will completely obliterate all of our progress, but that’s not true. On days when things aren’t going your way, whether you’re running late on a heinously delayed subway train or you forgot that today was your exam that you happened to not study for or like Regina sings, you forget the words to your favorite song, all we can do is two things: cope and hope.

As I usually preface with all the bands and artists I talk about here in my blog, Regina Spektor is one of my favorite musicians. She’s an angel. Her voice is so gentle and pure, she can play the piano nicely, and her lyrics are either unsettlingly eerie or silly or really beautiful. It’s hard not to fall under the spell of her music. Far is my favorite album from her and although there are other tracks on this album that I like more, I felt like this one really related to the way I feel today. I woke up this morning exhausted from small hours of sleep throughout the week, late night outings, night classes, and exercise. My little sister was my alarm this morning. She always reminds me to wake up at 7 AM to feed my cat, Mishu, if I don’t wake up on my own. I can barely keep my eyes open. I go to the kitchen, see that the litter box has crap in it, so I clean it out accidentally spilling some litter on the already litter covered floor. My little sister who woke me up is snapping at my other littler sister and I try to intervene and then she snaps at me. I grumpily disengage and go back to sleep. Well, I try to and then my mother comes into the room to nag me about how my side of the room is a hot mess. Which is true, but I pretend to be asleep even though I know she knows I’m awake. I just want to disappear. I want this day to be over and it’s only just begun. It’s these little things that crack away our sanity and test our ability to handle high stress and not so ideal situations that sometimes (most of the time in my case) we put ourselves in. Sometimes the darkness almost wins and like Regina sings, “You spent half of your life/Trying to fall behind/You’re using your headphones/To drown out your mind.” We have to find the thing that brings us to a place of calm or at least escapism to deal with all these things that come tumbling down on us. Sometimes we just have to exit.

Right now, I’m on my way to work and I’m one of the lucky ones who actually like their job, co-workers, and boss. But not all of my friends and family are as lucky as I am. Some people are working two or three jobs and sometimes even one terrible, overwhelming job is enough to put you in an emotional grave. It’s the season of fall and that means you can try to avoid from falling down, but like the leaves in this autumn, you will succumb to a bad day, as will everyone around you. It just happens. The best we can do is find that one thing or person that calms us and hope for the day to end kindly. Trudge on my college mates, we can make it through this bad day.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

I Kill Giants: Fighting Your Demons

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #11

If you asked me what my favorite comic is I’d probably say a tie between Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga or Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class. Two of the best (if not the best) comics out there on the shelves for both their writing and their art. But if you asked me what my favorite graphic novel is I would kinda cheat (because technically it is a comic as well) and say I Kill Giants. So it’s technically a comic and I was gifted all six single issues by my cousin/best friend (Best. Gift. Ever.) but when I first discovered it it was at the Midtown Comics in Grand Central. My original first semester block buddy and I were perusing the graphic novels and he pulled out I Kill Giants. He then proceeded to give a short but enticing description of the story. He pretty much sold me the book in that very moment because I took it out of his hands and said, “I’m getting this”. I did get it that day and it was a decision I would never grow to regret.

Joe Kelly and JM Ken Niimura really built a masterpiece together when they wrote and drew I Kill Giants. Kelly writes character dialogue effortlessly and the clever metaphors he’s written into the story for Niimura to portray through his art are so well thought out. But by far Kelly’s greatest accomplishment in this book is the creation of Barbara, our main biting, bunny-eared female protagonist. If Barbara was a vegetable she would be an onion because she is written with so many layers (ogres have layers and so do girls). She’s the kind of character who will be brazenly rude and insult her gym teacher’s sexuality in front of the entire class but she’s also the kind of character who will resort to self-harm to unhealthily cope with her problems. She puts up a strong girl facade and even as resilient as she really is, Kelly doesn’t let us be completely fooled by her sharp-tongue and rough exterior, he let’s us see her at her most vulnerable. Niimura’s art really compliments Kelly’s writing style. Niimura has an original style that finds a happy medium between a manga-style and a comic-style that’s so whimsical and loose. It’s crazy how a couple of lines can speak volumes. I really feel the emotions in the pages in both the words and the art.

Throughout the book Barbara is constantly battling these giants that only she can see and it’s never explicitly said whether or not they’re real or imaginary, *SPOILERS AHEAD* but if you read between the lines you figure out that what she’s really battling is her demons. Barbara, like me, has depression due to her problems at home. Her mother is cripplingly ill and eventually passes away. Barbara copes with this by “killing giants” but what she’s really doing is trying to fight the waves of depression from drowning her. I’ve personally and luckily have never experienced the death of a loved one, but this story gives me the strength to know that it’s possible to live through it. It won’t be easy, but it is something that can be healed over time and although the fight with depression never ends, there are things and people and a life worth living for.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

Posted in Homepage, Steven's Newest Posts

Primarina: The Soloist Pokemon

 

These photo edits are of my favorite pokemon, Primarina (the Soloist pokemon). Empoleon is also my favorite for a variety of reasons, but Primarina beat it by a mile because of how much I relater to this siren. I took the original photos from my game Pokemon Ultra Moon, and exported the photos to my phone, where I added transparent images of water to make the photo look more beautiful and dramatic. I added a filter, and my personal symbol to finish the photos. Its concept based on a Hawaiian Sea Lion, and a mermaid, which goes well with it’s water (the aquatic animal half) and fairy (the mythical creature half) typing. I made these edits of Primarina because it’s eye candy for me, first and foremost. I also made it because I instantly fell in love with this pokemon’s design at first sight, as well as its info. It’s by far the one I relate to the most, and it’s because first: It SINGS! Its info says that it’s singing voice is it’s main weapon, as it uses it to create bubbles that explode upon touch, and other kinds to move around depending on what song it sings. I relate to this because I also sing, even though it doesn’t allow me to control water at my own leisure (insert multiple laugh emojis here). The second reason I relate the most to this pokemon is that it has a caring nature, as do I. Primarina tends to put others before itself, while being positively selfish in caring for its pride and joy (its singing voice). I relate to this because though I tend to put others before myself, I still put myself as priority when it comes to things like identity and self-care. Third, I saw it’s Z-Move called Oceanic Operetta (it’s basically a super powered version of it’s signature move Sparkling Aria), which involved it singing  in a single tone, creating a gigantic water sphere. As Primarina begins to sing, its ponytail bounded by pearl lets loose and flows freely. It then moves the sphere towards the opponent and hovers it over them. When my character lifts both of his arms as if he’s an orchestra conductor, Primarina sings at a higher tone, the sphere drops onto the opponent, and a massive explosion occurs. As the residual water rains down on Primarina, it takes a bow on it’s tail (which it also uses as feet to stand upright) before lying back down into its mermaid position. So that visually appealing move along with it’s theatrical theme is relatable to me because I have a theatrical side where I like to put on a performance (yet I prefer not to do so in front of a large audience). And lastly, Primarina can be either male or female and the appearance is still the same. Given that I am a man that wears feminine clothing as well as masculine clothing, this pokemon fits perfectly to my tastes, and even a part of my personality.