I knew going into this project that I wanted to try and create a map of a social network, based on Nicholas Christakis’ Ted Talk entitled “The hidden influence of social networks.” I decided to have a set 12 circles representing people for my map and to show the connections between people I would have them be different colors and then the circles of the same color would be connected. After some consideration of using a RGB color wheel, I decided to use a traditional red-yellow-blue color wheel for my colors because it seemed more natural, and I thought a user would be able to see what was happening with the colors more easily. The most difficult part of this project was to get the pressing of the “a” and “s” keys to complicate and simplify the system. I had to figure out how to get the colors to change at the press of the key while simultaneously having the previous circle not show up and the lines continue to change. I had difficulty having the circles change color randomly while also having the draw and undraw line functions work correctly in conjunction with the button press. To simplify and complicate are the main two rules of the system, and they are also the ones that the user can interact with. The other rule is to connect, which is done through the lines that connect the people of the same colors in the system. This part of writing my system was easier than I anticipated because I formed a loop that would find the color of each circle and draw a line to all other circles of the same color. The removal of the lines with each complication and change of the system was slightly more complicated but I set the lines so that they were a much higher stroke weight and were the color of the background when performing the undraw function. I based the decision of what colors to make the backgrounds based on the reading I did by Josef Albers about the relation of colors to each other. When colors are placed on top of one another they react in such a way where sometimes one color can take away from the other, making the other color look different than it should based on the actual color value. I chose to make the “error” screen the same red of the red from my list of colors. I refer to this as the “error” screen because when the system has that color for the background the system cannot be simplified anymore. All of the circles on the error screen are also red, directly showing that the group of people cannot be simplified any more because they are all represented by the same color. With the white pattern on top of the background color, I wanted to see how the colors of the people interacted with the color of the background when the white pattern was in between. For the “error” screen, the red circles seem to look darker than the background, and I think that the circles in contrast with the white lines cause this effect. I had a similar thought process for choosing the yellow for the other background. I would normally never use the color yellow that I picked because it’s too bright for the type of color palette I prefer. I chose this because I thought it would perhaps make the somewhat more subdued colors of the people look even more soft and also perhaps darker. This worked out somewhat, although the colors with yellow tints became somewhat more difficult to see or tell the difference between. I think also the background yellow looks more green-tinted in relation with the colors of the people. I really enjoyed doing this project because this idea of the human social network is one that I think about often and have thought about since I first watched this Ted Talk two years ago. I am really intrigued by the idea of the idea of being influenced by people who are far away from me in terms of social connections, plus I really like seeing human relationships mapped out. Independent of this project I have considered drawing the relationships in my house as a map multiple times this semester. Making this piece has really been wonderful and I really enjoyed seeing this concept I’ve thought so much about come to life. I’m planning on researching force directed graphs so that I can possibly continue to make other pieces like this that are more complicated in the future.
To start this project off, I looked through the works of Josef and Anni Albers because I love the way that both of them use colors that are somewhat muted yet also rich. I used the digital color meter to get different RGB values from different pieces and saved some of my favorites for later reference. I originally thought I would do something inspired by to Josef Albers’ squares series by having my background grid be completely squares, with some squares larger and in different colors, to see how the two colors paired together. After trying this, however, I thought the larger squares would look better as circles. While looking at their paintings, I found one by a contemporary, Carmen Herrera, that inspired me to have the moving triangles on the sides of the wallpaper. I had the triangles pointing different directions and moving opposite directions based on the painting. To further oppose the vertical motion of the triangles, I wanted circles to bounce horizontally across the screen, and then because I had been trying to utilize white space and different opacities, I decided to have the circle be comprised of two arcs that were slightly separated. The canvas was looking pretty dark at this point, so I wanted to have a central, light figure that was rotating. I decided on a square to go against the circles in the background and the bouncing circles, and I wanted a light purple to go with the dark purple background and to further lighten from the background squares. Once I had reached this point, I felt that the background of the photo had kind of become detached from the rest of the piece, so I added ellipses in a different shade of yellow to make the entire thing more cohesive and also make the background pattern pop more with the interaction between the pink and purple with the yellow, creating the final product.
I knew at the beginning that I wanted to have my collage be about this new headspace I feel that I’m in right now. After a serious car accident in January that forced me to take a semester off, and now that I’m back in New York after spending so much time immobile in Texas, I feel that my feeling about being in New York is different, and I think that when I explain my car accident to my friends I tend to have a somewhat lighthearted or even humorous slant to not bring the mood down. I wanted a car to be at the center of this, and so initially I cut out a photo of a silver Prius in Photoshop, because that was the car we were hit in. Then, I took photos that I had saved from my Snapchat since the beginning of the year as well as downloading the photo of the wheelchair and the woman using the walker from the internet. I played around with where I wanted to place these,and eventually placed them into what ended up feeling like nodules around the center car, moving some pieces that I felt were important to be in motion, like the car, the woman using the walker, and the statue from the library. After my conference with Angela, I realized how I had separated all of the elements, and wanted to increase the size of individual pieces and change colors to make the collage make the viewer feel the dichotomy between the violence of the car crash with the familiarity of the art pieces from on campus, Mr. Softee, and the snow (none of which I can access while home in Texas). I initially enlarged my face in the corner. After some more photo editing where I changed the colors and edited some of the photos, I think that the piece came together in its cohesion. I also repeated the photo that says “Cliffs of Depression” in the background to add to the business and make it feel more connected to the rest of the piece. I decided to name this collage anti-violence, which is also one of the text blocks in the collage, because that was a term I put in a poem I wrote, and I think that it really represents the third space I’m trying to evoke. While this violent car crash and broken leg did happen to me and are on my mind, I’m also still living in a world of art and sweet things, which makes for a strange mental state. I think that I could still improve this collage by making the pieces from the library more clear in what they are to a person looking at the piece who has not been to Sarah Lawrence or someone who doesn’t remember the pieces of art in the library. I also think that while I tried to clear up the colors and use that to make the piece more cohesive, I think I fell short in that regard. Overall though, I am proud of how this piece turned out.
Before I put anything down on the page or in Atom, I knew that I wanted to have a basic face for my self portrait, and (since color is very intriguing and important to me) I wanted to have three color schemes — one from a photo of my choice and two photos from my two best friends (one photo for each of them). I wanted to do this both because of my love of art and because of my closeness with my friends. I didn’t feel that a self-portrait that only had colors I had chosen would be representative of myself, and I thought that if the color scheme changed with different forms of the face, it could show how I feel different and fill different roles with my friends. Before I decided these color schemes, I drew a basic sketch in my sketchbook. This sketch looks pretty creepy in my book, but I loosely followed it for the beginning of my code. I got four colors from the photo I chose, and used those colors for the first iteration of the face. After a discussion with one of my housemates, I decided to give the nose more dimension by basing it off of the noses of Animal Crossing characters (which is fitting, because it is one of my favorite video games). She also encouraged me to add eyebrows and make them one of the focal points of the face. I was unsure about whether the hearts would be too much for the face, so I held off while I took the photos my friends sent me, drew four colors from each of them. I had some difficulty with the clicking mechanism to change the photos, but I made it work by setting it so that when a counter for each click went above 2 (the number with which the final color was indexed to), the cycle would start over so the colors would return to my original color scheme. I toyed around with the idea of hair, but decided that I liked a cleaner look better. However, I did decide to add another vertex to the eyebrows so that they would look more like my own and seem somewhat more realistic and also add the heart cheeks at low opacity. Eventually, this resulted in my final self portrait (the three different forms of which are shown below).