I had a friend who once said to me “I didn’t know stuff like that actually happened.” By “stuff like that,” she was referring to people who were not financially stable, kids who had to couch surf or get food from a local pantry or soup kitchen.
Now, I live in a town just outside of Boston, we are known as the “poor town” by our rival towns like the Lexington’s, Wellesley's, Belmont’s, and Winchester’s of the state...a.k.a. the rich preppy kids who all lived in big single family houses not duplexes. Their towns don’t have projects. My friend mentioned above happens to live on the town border in a lovely single family by the lake, her father works most days but not all and her mother has not worked in years. She and her sister come home 3/7 days to a new piece of clothing on their bed. Their closets are filled with pieces that still have their price tags on.
In my friends charmed world, she has overlooked all of the homeless people holding signs at intersections and sleeping in doorways in Harvard Square, where we have spent many a day wandering.
Sadly, this mindset is one that a majority of Americans have. It is such a misconception that because we reside in a first-world country that there are no problems like those that third-world countries face. Thus, in America, there is no hunger, there is no homelessness, there are no problems.
“564,708 people in the U.S. are homeless.”*
Charleston, SC took a stand to raise awareness for homelessness in their city. The town hall hosted almost 200 plywood cutouts of humans (200+ others were scattered throughout the city.)
The cutouts represented the number of homeless people that were in Charleston at the time, most of them unseen.
This art project is unique because most people and local governments included would find homelessness easier to ignore than address. This is not how it should be. We, just the United States, have enough money to end all of world poverty so we could at least put some of our resources towards helping aid.
I am looking into more ways that we can draw attention to this issue through peaceful projects that get people to think. I also would like to create empathy, maybe people would be more willing to help if they knew how it felt to not have a roof over their heads.
To me, it is a no-brainer, every body deserves shelter, it is a basic necessity.
*"2016's Shocking Homelessness Statistics." Social Solutions. N.p., 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
Beauty standards are forever changing. In the medieval times, people wanted to be pale and overweight as it reflected that you did not have to be outside doing manual labor. In the 1950’s the hourglass figure was every female's ideal body type, courtesy of Marilyn Monroe. Today we are realizing that our obsessions with being the skinniest girl in the room has lead to an era of dangerous body images and poor mental health which brings us to what I believe is the future of beautiful; strong.
Body positivity is a huge trend right now, there is no “perfect” body because every body is perfect. However, with cities like London which is hitting some of its peak obesity rates, the idea of every body is a perfect one might complicate things. By 2020 it is predicted that half of London’s population will be obese.
It is hypocritical to tell somebody who is overweight that their body is perfect yet know that their health is suffering. The solution to this issue can be found in the beauty norms of the near future which will encourage people to be in shape.
With obesity and suicide numbers on the rise, it is time that we consider healthy as beautiful.
Heathy may not mean that your body looks like a supermodels that being said, healthy means fit and fit means strong. The female image of strength is portrayed by olympic athletes (think Simone Biles and Lindsey Vonn), modern day superheroes (think Katniss), and the everyday woman who works a 9-5 but still has time to go to soulcycle and prepare instagram worthy meals that feature avocado toast.
While this image does still constitute as being on the skinnier side, strong means muscle too. It is acceptable and even applauded for a woman to have arm definition and a six pack. You lift more than the guy you’re seeing? That’s badass. You do crossfit? That’s badass. You work your ass off and sweat? That’s badass.
Luckily, fashion also seems to have caught on to this trend. Fitbit and other personal activity trackers are all the rage of late with everybody trying to outstep their friends and themselves. These trackers usually come in the form of a wristband that has multiple color options which you can interchange to match your outfits.
Companies such as Nike and Athos have started manufacturing clothes with fitness trackers built into them. The tracker connects to an app on your phone so your every movement can be tracked by the clothes pressed to your body or the shoes on your feet.
This new wave of athletic fashion/athleisure will hopefully popularize the trend of strong being beautiful. The way we view beauty should influence the way we as humans act so if strong and healthy are “in” then maybe that means we can push obesity out.
All art is valuable.
Yes, this is true in a sense however, your 4 year old son’s finger painting on your refrigerator is slightly different than the Watteau hanging in the Louvre. I apologize that your child is not as great as the greatest artists that have lived. This does not take away from how special their work may be to you but famous, historic artists pieces are special to the world.
As an antique chairs worth increases over time, so does a paintings. That being said, mainly paintings by well-known artists such as Monet, Picasso, Pollock etc. are the ones that hold great value. Part of this is because works of art from the 1600’s are literal pieces of history. In such pieces, one can find the type of paints used during that time period based on pigments and markings. The pyramids are treasured because they were built years ago without modern technology. The paintings of the Renaissance time period did not use the same techniques because technology is advancing.
I believe that both modern art like Banksy and older art like The Mona Lisa are valuable. Though, they are valuable for different reasons, from a strictly academic viewpoint since I am not able to tell if a piece is sentimentally valuable to another person or not.
A piece such as Raphael's Portrait of Young Man is valuable due to it’s age. Like fine wines and cheeses, art gets more expensive with age. It is like a freeze frame into a specific time period. The paintings may represent the clothing and style, the jobs and architecture, the hierarchy of the times. On the other hand, a contemporary piece of art such as a Banksy piece is also incredibly valuable. A Banksy represents now and what is popular currently. Banksy is also a special example because their work is usually satirical/social activist pieces so they can be huge influencers to the public or statement pieces in general.
There are a few factors that impact the value of an art piece. Age is a huge one that I do not think will ever change. Social trends can alter the value of a piece. Abstract and very contemporary pieces are pretty “in” right now and thus their value may be perceived as higher than if a modern artist made a cubism piece. Pop culture trends and age are good predictors of the value of a work of art.
It is possible that one day your child's work may be worth millions but for right now, young adult pieces are not very “in.”
Sustainability is a word that has become growingly common in headlines and conversations. It refers to the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” In simpler terms, sustainability is making products that are environmentally friendly while being economically beneficial and are made in an ethically correct manner.
It is hard to state which of those three major components (listed in the above paragraph) is the most important. Of course, I want my products to come from ethical production and that's a basic human importance but honestly, I think that environmentally beneficial is the most important. This could be because of how prevalent going green and “saving our world” are pretty popular topics right now.
If we could reach a point where a majority of the clothes purchased world-wide came from old clothing or recyclable goods then that would be amazing. However, it is hard to achieve sustainability in the large-scale (major companies) working world. This is because there are many changes that usually occur such as the initial changes that may have to be made during production...things like fabric. It is also a financial risk, who is to say that your customers will still buy from you if you have to increase your prices because the quality of your goods are higher? Advertising has to happen, programs such as H&M’s are a great example of the start of the sustainability revolution.
Sadly, there is a downside to the movement towards fashion (and all products in general) becoming sustainable and that is known as green-washing. This is when a company promotes their products as “green” when in reality they have more likely found a loophole in the term. An example of this is Comcast who created an “Ecobill” which is an online bill, thus claiming that using less paper is better yet their direct marketing and advertising still uses tons of paper/paper products.
Greenwashing is an especially tricky situation when paired with fashion. The biggest question being, can the world of fast fashion truly be sustainable? Sustainable products usually take time to produce and release which is problematic when the fashion industry is pumping out new trends weekly. Thus, it is expected by consumers that new products be available and accessible at a fast rate. Using more sustainable fabrics might be a step in the right direct but it is only one of the first steps in the marathon that is sustainable fashion.
It is December in London and people are rushing around buying last minute Christmas gifts. It is 1952. In the coming weeks over 10,000 people will die. This event will be known as The Great London Smog and will affect at least 100,000 aside from those who died. London was dark.
Though they did not know it at the time, London was experiencing one of the first large scale results of air pollution. However, London was accustomed to fog so people did not pay it much attention. Many people died from the direct effects of the smog while others would die later of respiratory complications caused by the polluted air during the event.
Today, London is still struggling with air pollution as are lots of other major cities globally. Emissions from cars and factories have polluted our air to the point that people in some Asian cities such as Beijing, wear face masks while outside. Visibility levels are decreasing while number of cases of asthma are increasing.
Particulate matter (PM) is one of the five major pollutants. PM has been showing up more frequently inside of people's brains and lungs. This may have something to do with the fact that PM 2.5 is biologically dangerous to humans. PM is measured on a scale from 10-1, 2.5 being the point in which it turns harmful. Though PM in general is harmful and aids in air pollution, PM 2.5 is small enough to seep into skin and make it’s way to the bloodstream. Particulate matter affects the human body in a multitude of ways from cancer to heart attacks to cognitive disabilities in children.
At this point, we can not undo the effects of PM or remove it from our bodies but we can work towards cleaner air so that future generations can live healthier lives. This has to be a world effort which starts with countries divising individual plans such as the United States’ Clean Air Act and New Zealand's plans to meet the PM 10 standards.
Our world is facing major issues with air pollution and it is time that we do something about it. The Great London Smog should have changed how we viewed air pollution yet it just sits as another sad story in the history of our existence. If there is no change, our entire existence will be just another sad story.
-A large variety of incomes...Some of the most wealthily in the nation live just blocks away from some of the most impoverished
-Upper East side v. The Bronx
-Income can change everything about a persons life
-Personal chefs v. soup kitchen
-Impacts health and healthcare options
-Areas/burrows that have large amounts of poverty have less to put towards education
-One of the top private schools in the country is across the street from a dilapidated public school where those of low status may attend
-The more money, the better the education
-There is a racial factor as well...more non-white people go to the lower quality schools
Social Class Inequality
-Goes hand-in-hand with economic inequality
-socialites, celebrities, illegal immigrants, homeless all in one area
-Many who fall into a lower category of social class are black or non-white
-The 1%, the top of all classes and the lowest of classes may go to the same coffee shop (doubtful but possible)
-clothing can reflect social class
Classical music is to fine art as rap music is to graffiti.
As a radio station who plays Mozart would not feature 50 cent, a museum who displays Monet would not have a piece by Claw on their walls. Museums are places where world renowned artists who have dedicated their lives to the craft have their work on display. I have been going to art museums since I was a little kid yet I have never seen a piece of graffiti in one.
Even the contemporary museums do not seem to feature graffiti. Maybe this is an artist based choice, as a point of graffiti is that it is self expression and the streets are the museum where people can see the work for free. There are two main things that drive graffiti and they are either passion or release. Sometimes beautiful things are born from sadness, anger, pain and hurt and I believe that this can be the case with graffiti.
Graffiti is probably one of the most controversial art forms. Though I believe that it requires skill and talent, not all graffiti is art. If you go around a city with a spray can or a pen and tag your name on everything you pass, that is ot art. I do not need to see your scribbles on the mailbox, wall, and door that are in a six foot range. Also, what does that accomplish? That type of tag is not art, it is a petty way of saying “look at me i’m here, give me attention.”
That being said, not every tag is like that. Some tags are beautiful and amazing and you can easily turn a tag into a full blown art statement. The graffiti artist, Saber, is a great example of this. He uses his tag as the base for his pieces but they are large and colorful, half of the time you cannot even make out the tag because it is so hidden amongst the colors and patterns. He puts insane amounts of time, effort, and paint (which translates to money) into his work.
Another famous, if not the most famous, graffiti artist is Banksy. I have been really into banksy for a long time now. Half of the draw is the mystery behind the artist who is still unknown (so I will use they/their/them when speaking of Banksy). Their pieces are not just art but satirical criticisms and political/social activism. I also favor his style which is more stencil pieces than freehand, stereotypical “comic-like” graffiti. I absolutely love stencilling and stencil work, I think they is so much effort that goes into a piece that it just adds to its value.
I do not think that there is a great distinction between graffiti and street art. I would say that on a technical level, graffiti is made with strictly aerosol paints and pens while street art can use other forms of paint and painting. I do believe though, that the distinction lies between graffiti vandalism and graffiti art. Anything that is done with negative intentions, random tagging, aggressive/crude, or done without thought are vandalism. Graffiti art which is for sure a form of street art, usually involves planning and a lot of effort into making it something that people can look at and relate to. It is not just marking your territory.