A few quick thoughts for a new year…

50's style heroine shrieking and surrounded by a sea of Social Media icons
image: dimosiografia.com

Social Media

When I’m not busy arguing how critical Instagram is for an art career, I’m often wanting to swear off Social Media or talking about how horrible Facebook is.

Surfing YouTube today I came across a TEDx talk about the waste of Social Media. The millennial computer scientist speaker argued that Social Media is low value and careers are built on more specialized, high-value work.

He’s right. Sort of.

But building a large enough following also becomes a high-value activity.

My Social Media use is already pretty low. And you do have to get your work in front of people in some way. IDK. Maybe less Social Media in 2019 would be good.

Can you do less Social Media than I’m already doing/not doing?

screen cap of the television series "God Friended Me".

Television

I’ve watched plenty of television in my lifetime. I swore off it some years back and haven’t had television in my home for a long time now.

As my mom gets older, I’m spending more days there. And this tends to involve a lot of television. To the extent that television-watching-turned-nap-time lets me catch up on sleep I’m deprived of, maybe this isn’t so bad. Still, I just kind of hate consuming television. And it kind of sucks that TV is unintentionally back in my life.

Screen Capture of YouTube channel Camera Conspiracies
Camera Conspiracies

YouTube

The Internet can be a lot better than television. It can also be about the same. YouTube is a world of resources. But the information quality of YouTube can slide into entertainment content. Not a bad thing. But without really noticing, I find myself spending more time than I’d like consuming content that is entertaining more than informing.

It’s a slippery slope.

And with Internet products like YouTube, the slope is engineered to capture as much of your (my) time as possible.

Audrey Resella at the white board in room Psy-150 at Long Beach State University.
Audrey Resella telling (inventing) the story of a collaborative mural between visiting artist Lizzie Green and the students of Art 110.

In the Classroom

Art 110: Introduction to the Visual Arts

Art 110

A very good semester!

Film Students

This semester there were a lot of Film Students in Art 110. About 45 out of 125. They brought a lot of interest and energy. For the 1st time ever ("ever" = 13 years, 2005-2018) there were students who wanted to sit in the front of the class.

Active Learning

Over these 13 years my teaching has evolved from lectures to active learning. Visiting with student artists, creating art projects, and so on. The "Classmate Conversations" of yore are gone, instead I’ve used some class time, especially in the 1st few weeks for meetups and interactions.

A Quarter in a Semester

For most of my 13 years at The Beach I’ve taught semester courses. In Fall 2017 I decided that this was too long in the Millennial age. That even if students loved a class, it got old. So I carved a Quarter out of our semester: 3 weeks of Intro, 10 weeks of the Main Course, and 3 weeks of Wrap Up, featuring optional EC Presentations, Guest Speakers, and so on.

I’ve tried this 3 times now: Fall 17, Spring 18 & Fall 18. I think it’s worked pretty well.

For some time students have done 3 blog posts/week. It stayed that way for Fall 17, but in student evaluations I noticed a number of students saying things like "good class, but 3 posts/week is too much work", so for the past year, Spring 18 & Fall 18, I’ve cut it down to 2 posts/week for 10 weeks. Plus a final Art & (my) Life paper.

Welcome to The Beach

Since my TEDxCSULB 2017 talk, Burn the University Catalog, I’ve been thinking more and more about student engagement and student empowerment. This semester we used the 1st 3 weeks to:

  1. Introduce Art Ideas (Abstraction & Representation, Aesthetics & Beauty, Performance & Authenticity, etc)
  2. Meet Classmates
  3. Learn about Opportunities & Resources at The Beach

Part 3 was accomplished with a number of visiting speakers:

  1. Communicate – Dominic & Natalie / 22 West Media
  2. Study Abroad – Kandis Pagoda
  3. Internships – Rosa Trujillo
  4. Negotiate – Glenn
  5. Teach – Dr. J.
  6. ePortfolios – we didn’t have a speaker, but everyone made one!
  7. Art/Life – Lizzie Green

Next time I’d also invite someone from CAPS (Counseling & Psychological Services)

The students seemed to appreciate this "map" of campus resources and said that they really didn’t hear about these things anywhere else. I might repeat all this next Fall, but for Spring I have 2 different ideas:

Photography Workshop

A lot of students are interested in photography, and many use it at least on platforms like Instagram & Snapchat. Unlike Painting or Drawing which are multi-year things to master, I think you could give students a brief-but-meaningful photographic vocabulary in a few weeks. I’d like to try using the "A" section of the Spring ’18 class for this.

3-10-3 > 4-8-4?

Some students have complained that even 10 weeks of visiting the SOA Galleries is too much. After 3 pretty successful semesters of the 3-10-3 format, perhaps I should give 4-8-4 a try?

I <3 Whiteboards!

A somewhat accidental innovation this semester was that I tried to use as little data projector as possible, and to emphasize using the classroom whiteboard. We were lucky to be in Psy-150 which has a fantastic, expansive whiteboard. Next term we’re in MM-100 which isn’t quite as ideal.

I’ve liked Freemind over Powerpoint for its interactivity, but I think it’s too fussy. And it’s still a lecture. This term I tried to use the whiteboard which can make things feel a bit more alive. Also, I tried to not be the only person writing on the whiteboard. Many days I tried to come up with a reason for students to come up and write a word or idea, or mark a point on a scale, so that the whiteboard got students out of their seats and interacting with ideas.

Collage of the students from both sections of Art 490 for Fall 2018.
Art 490, Fall 2018

Art 490: Artist’s Websites

This was my 3rd semester teaching 2 sections of Art 490. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that this is not a class in choosing or even working with web platforms. That’s the easy part!

The hard part is helping students really focus on what their goals are and organizing portfolios that speak clearly and directly to Curators, Clients, HR Directors, and others who can help them achieve those goals.

Glenn Zucman pouring tea for Elisa Perez at NBC Seafood in New Taipei, CA
Having Dim Sum with Elisa Perez at NBC Seafood in New Taipei, CA

In the World

It’s so easy to get busy with things and not make time to meetup with people. I suppose this is as close to a "resolution" as this post gets: in 2019 I hope to be more deliberate about having lunch with more people. Both long-time friends and new acquaintances.

(since I became a disciple of Dr. Rhonda Patrick half a year ago, I’ve been doing Time Restricted Eating (TRE) and not so many late Dinners)

a group of people with food, blankets, guitars, and other materials huddle in the entrance to a storefront on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena on New Year's Eve. Some of them play guitars.
9:13 pm, New Year’s Eve, Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA

Street Photography

I had a great Street Photography experience in 2018.

What happens in 2019?

More of the same?

Or do my goals or approach change?

photo of several photo books on a table
image: AdoramaPix

Books

I’d like to make a couple of photography books:

2018

I hope to pick about 36 images (3/month) from my street work in 2018 and print a book.

Tea with Aunt Sheila

We had a few Tea with Aunt Sheila meetups in 2018. We rode the Metro Gold Line from Atlantic Station to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. Chado Tea Room is directly across the street. I’d like to put together a book for mom featuring the people and times we had in 2018.

Photo of a TDC Vivid projector with a Sylvania CLS-CLG 300 watt lamp box next to it.

Dad’s Slides

Straight Trays

Dad has 169 numbered trays. And maybe 2 dozen other trays.

Dad’s TDC Vivid projector for straight slide trays still works mostly fine. (the rubber friction wheel on the lens focus has lost a lot of resiliance and could use some renewing). The last bulb dad bought for it, a CLS/CLG 300 watt/120 volt, 25 hour lamp, cost him 2 dollars and 31 cents at Fedco.

Well, Fedco does’t exist anymore. And apparently, neither does the CLS/CLG. I looked online and found them selling for between $50 and $100 per lamp!

Carousel Trays

Dad has xx Carousel trays.

Dad’s carousel projector recently died. There’s an online repair kit that’s either easy or hard to use depending on which review you read. There are some used Carousel projectors on Ebay for around $200, which might be a simpler option.

8mm Movies

Dad’s movie projector is also dead. But I think he only has 4 reels of assembled clips, and mom transferred them to DVD a while back, so I don’t think we need that projector. I’m planning to edit these into small video clips and upload them to YouTube.

screen capture of the website "Bernie Singles.com"

Dating

Oopsy!

I sort of forgot to date in 2018.

I’ll report back if I do better in 2019.

But no apps on my phone. I think a desktop site is better. Doing lots of swiping right or left just feels so far from anything meaningful.

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