Carissa's Art

Accordion book, relief printing

Critical Issues in the Arts, pages 7 - 13

Critical Issues in the Arts, pages 0 - 6

Some highlights from sketchbooks in the South Pacific

Tagged: art

Second half of unicorn calendar I made for my roommate after first year of college

First half of unicorn calendar I made for my roommate after first year of college

(credit for unicorn inspiration goes to

Tagged: unicornartcalendercartoon

Chalkboard art, collaboration between me and a friend

Chalkboard art, collaboration between me and a friend

Seasons: Sculpture project

Methods of Observation and Understanding: final Advanced Painting and Drawing project, exploring visual systems and conventions

Project prompt:

Project # 3 –visualsystems and conventions- Emphasis on mediated experience- a somewhat-more-post-modern approach

Our perception of the world has always been influenced by (and some would argue determined by) organizational constructs- languages and systems that we use to describe experience.

From the human genome to the forces determining planetary motion to permutations of binary code that make computers possible, we are increasingly made aware of the degree to which our reality is structured by systems.

As intuitive as art making can be, any creation of form requires an adherence to certain conventions- modes of organizing the visual and tactile world to make it make sense.

Develop an artwork or a series of pieces selecting a system, inventing one, or combining or juxtaposing several systems as the basis for a work of art.

What constitutes a “system” for the sake of this project? Almost anything- from particular painting traditions to computer pixilation to geologic maps.  The focus here is to consciously apply an awareness of the way information is structured to a work of art.


One way to generate ideas for this project is to use the library as a (re)source:

The library is a repository of information and information systems and can provide a valuable starting point for this project.

To begin the process, wander around the library without a clear agenda. You don’t need to start with a completely blank slate (Possible type of entering thoughts- I’ve always liked [quilt patterns] [the drawings in Babar books] [nomadic architecture] [the periodic table] [baseball statistics]. I wonder how I might incorporate that into a painting/drawing.) but be open to surprise discoveries.

Collect “research” material. Take notes, make studies and sketches, check out books, photocopy interesting images/articles/etc., all the while asking yourself what attracts you to the source materials and how you might use/transform/juxtapose them.


The web has transformed the way we see, access, and process imagery. Seek out visual systems via the internet and use these as source material for artwork that will be produced largely by your own hand.

Whichever approach you choose, bring your culled material and initial ideas to a group crit we will conduct early in the process.  Develop an artwork based on your research and the ideas generated in the critique.

Think of this project as a way to keep the process of painting fresh, and to get outside yourself by culling imagery from found sources. Think about how information is structured and how meaning develops.  Consider the relation between appropriation and invention, and the relation between accident (the images you stumble upon) and purposefulness (how you use, combine, and contextualize your sources).

The emphasis here should be on content, as opposed to form, but it is impossible to completely separate the two. Of course, the focus on painting as an ongoing process is still important.