Don’t You Want to be Famous?

It seems today that everyone is infatuated with fame. Everyone wants to be famous. Fame is glamorized, it is flaunted, and with things like reality TV and YouTube that make it so easy to get your 15 minutes of fame it seems that anyone can be famous. But what is fame? The definition of fame found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is simply “public estimation” and “popular acclaim” those referring to a person reputation and renown. Being famous on the other hand is defined as being “widely known” or “honored for achievement.” So what is the difference? Is there a difference? I would say there is. In this blog I will be discussing to very different individuals in an approach to show the difference between having fame and being famous. The first person that I will be discussing is Rebecca Black, a young girl who has fame, but is not famous. Most people would probably not be able to identify her from this picture alone. In fact, most people probably don’t even know who she is. On the other hand, there is a small percentage of the population that will be able to tell you exactly who she is and why they know her.Rebecca released this music (if you call it that) video on the internet and it went viral.  

Click to watch video

She was the talk of the nation for about 2-3 days; a week at the most before she faded away. Over the duration of time that the craze created by this video lasted everyone was talking about her. Her fame was short lived though as her video became old news and people lost interest in her. That is an example of fame. The next person that I want to talk about is rapper Christopher Wallace. Christopher was better known by his many stage names which included Biggie Smalls, The Notorious B.I.G., and simply “Biggie.” The image seen here is a painting of Biggie by artist Timothy Teruo Watters entitled “Ready to Die.” (To view his full collection of artwork click here.) This is a person that is famous. Even in death Biggie is still one of the most popular rappers known. He is consistently listed as one of the top five rappers of all-time. Even people who don’t listen to rap will probably be able to tell you who Biggie Smalls is. It is this type of fame, that which breaks barriers and reaches across nations, cultures, and races that truly makes someone famous. When this type of fame is achieved a person’s memory and their story will live on long after they have met death.

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Religion as a Conceptual Framework

 

For this project we were given instructions to capture 3 photographs that explored religion from 3 different perspectives. Those perspectives were:

Affirmative:  An image that affirms religion as a positive social convention that leads to the betterment of humanity and eventual spiritual salvation.

Critical:  An image that critiques religion from a social or political point-of-view. This image should depict religion as a cultural construction that may lead to the social or political marginalization of a person or a group of people.

Neutral:   An image that depicts a religious subject without affirming or critiquing religion.This image should be a mere representation of religion that does not convey your own personal insights or religious ideologies. This image may need to be more “spiritual” as opposed to “religious.”

Based on the criteria, I have taken the following photographs to represent the 3 perspectives.

Here we see a man kneeling and praying in front of the altar. I chose this picture as an image that affirms religion as a positive social convention that leads to the betterment of humanity because I the prayer as something that symbolizes an individual’s realization of a higher power and something that reveals their inner want to become a better person. Why do people pray? To ask for forgiveness, guidance, and give thanks among other things. All of these, to me, show that religion is something that makes people want to grow spiritually and become better people.

These next two pictures are made to be viewed as a composite photo. From one view we see an offering plate with money in it. Upon closer examination we see that the offering plate not only has money in it, but also a paper that has some words written on it labeling the type of offering that it is. Because of the position of the paper we can only see a portion of the entire label which reads “…volent fund.” This is where the critique comes in; as most people know the label normally reads “benevolent fund.” I chose to remove the first four letters to allow for the possibility of a “malevolent fund.” I did this because we all know that the church is a place where the money is given out of good faith and because you’re supposed to give ten percent to God, but so many times we have leaders of the church that use these funds as their own personal bank and take from them to fund their personal lives. The critique is aimed at those who misuse the funds of the church for their own personal gain.

The last picture that I took was simply of a bottle of water. I decided to use water as a neutral image of religion because it is something that most people see as an everyday common item. Spiritually water symbolizes purity, life, and restoration. Water is the origin of all life. When people get baptized the water is said to wash away their sins and make them a new person in God. Before God created the earth it was said to be chaos, described as a dark raging sea. All of these things make water something more than what it is commonly seen as, a unlimited resource at our disposal.

When I originally planned this picture it was to be of a crystal clear expensive glass holding water. I decided against that because I wanted to take it a step further, photograph something that is sold and bought, something that is used to gain wealth although water is so abundant in our natural environment. I think the content in this form offers more of an intellectual challenge to viewers and gives them more to think about.

The Vehicle

In Duchamp’s “Apropos of ‘Readymades’” he talks about the art that he fashioned from objects that he had or bought and made small changes to them. He called this type of art “readymades.” This art was special because it was as much about the art as the short sentence he created to go with it. The sentence was meant to take the mind of the viewer on a journey of thought and consideration. Toward something that originally had not been conveyed by the piece of art itself.  In Duchamp’s “The Creative Act” he gives some more theories about art. He talks about the artist being the medium through which art is created, but the viewer being the one who gives meaning to the art. This is an interesting idea because while there are many people out there who create art, none of them matter until a viewer of the art accepts it as impressive or meaningful.

Since we have been studying Duchamp, our first project was to create an assisted readymade of our own. We were to make it of one object that we clearly altered in a minor fashion, make something that could be reproduced by someone else, and something with a meaning that could not be realized upon first glance.

My assisted readymade is entitled: The Vehicle.

Upon first glance this readymade will be taken for what it is, a basketball. But to so many people it is much more than that. I called this art “The Vehicle” based on my life experiences and those experiences of others. Like I said before, to many people this is just a basketball, something used for entertainment. To others this object represents everything that they want and a way to achieve it. When I call this a “vehicle” I am referring to the ability of this object to take people out of their environments and give them a better life. It is a metaphorical vehicle of success. I don’t mean that this will make everyone rich; I mean that it will give them a chance to succeed where others did not. For many this will be their only option for attending college. This offers financial stability to people who come from nothing.

When most people look at this they only see it for what it is, when I look at it I see it for what it offers.

The Take-Off

Hello, and welcome to my blog “TheArtofLife23.” My name is Taylor Williams and I will be your captain for the duration of this trip. I am a senior at Holy Cross College located in Notre Dame, IN. I am pursuing a major in Communications and a minor in Marketing. I have a passion for sports, music, and the combination of the two.  So how did I happen to find myself in a Visual Literacy course? With a need for extra credits, a little persuasion from a friend of mine, and a growing love for all things considered art I decided that this would be as good a place for me as any. I like the challenge that art presents the viewer of pondering its real meaning and decoding hidden messages. In any one piece of art there might be hundreds of emotions, or thoughts that the artist couldn’t put into words so instead they incorporated them into their work. Now by no means am I an expert analyst of art. I actually very little experience, other than amusing my own personal opinions and a course in persuasion, but I do enjoying considering what might have been.

Then there is this blog. Again something that is completely new to me, but something that I find rather exciting. To me it is an opportunity to display my thoughts and feelings. A chance to promote or negate objects through a medium that gives numerous others access to my opinions. If anything, this blog project has made me more excited about the course and given me something to look forward to. I enjoy interactive assignments, and one where I am able to address my own topics is especially appealing to me.

This course is already presenting me with multiple new experiences and I look forward to broadening my abilities throughout the duration of this course. Hopefully all of you will stick with me through this trip and enjoy the ride.

Until next time…Peace!