"Metamorphosis" shows that beauty is not only skin deep

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February is often considered the month of love and an important part of that is remembering to love yourself. Lucille Ball once said, “love yourself first and everything else will fall into line.” Society has set very strict standards of beauty. We see it every day in magazines and on television and it is those pervasive standards that shift our own views. Sometimes, however, there will be an article or a video that offer hope for change. Beauty is not standard nor skin-deep, and there is one Chicago artist who shows that it is inner beauty that matters most.

Tim Arroyo is a Chicago-based artist who is bringing a new perspective of beauty to ArtStreet’s gallery this February. His exhibition “Metamorphosis” takes an interesting look at inner beauty by photographing people with infrared light. In his artist statement, Arroyo had this to say about the process:

I started the Inner Beauty project 5 years ago, after I had one of my digital cameras converted to only shoot infrared. I took note as to how the IR process affected skin by essentially removing pigment, concealing most lines and blemishes, and creating a smooth finish. The photos exhibited a unique quality unlike any digital manipulation of color, and the smooth finish omitted the need for retouching. I felt the need to use this technology in my portrait work to open up the possibilities of photographing those who had been unwilling to be photographed by my camera in the past, due to the fact that they were unhappy with their outer appearance, as most had compared themselves to a social definition of natural beauty.

In my opinion, the IR process sheds the outer appearance, to reveal the natural beauty from within. I set out not only to explore the technology, but also to create timeless portraiture. Each portrait is unique, and the light tones produced are reminiscent to a sculptor’s marble block. All of the portraits produced are similar in appearance regardless of natural pigment, which eliminates the lines of inequality, and is a further demonstration of the inherent beauty in everyone.

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I was lucky enough to see some of Tim Arroyo’s work in a Chicago gallery last year and it definitely left an impression. I’m so happy that ArtStreet has brought him to Ohio, but more than anything I’m happy it was for his Inner Beauty Project. While his work and other collections are stunning, this exhibition speaks to me personally. As someone who is self-conscious and often does not like having my picture taken, this collection of prints offers solidarity. I love the idea of using art to look past the flaws we see in the mirror daily. Arroyo allows his subjects to see themselves in a different light—literally. It breaks past age, race, size, and gender barriers to show who they are on a deeper level, because beauty is inherent in all people. It is an important concept and the programming ArtStreet has devised around this gallery show is unlike anything we’ve done in the past. From discussions focusing on how the media impacts self-image to workshops with famous drag queens, we’re pushing boundaries and beauty standards to a new and better level. For a full schedule of events, visit www.udayton.edu/artstreet.

Arroyo’s work has been exhibited nationally and has been featured in international photography and design magazines. “Metamorphosis” opens Tuesday February 18th with an opening reception from 5:30-7 in the ArtStreet Gallery (Studio D).

-Amanda

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Photographer Benjamin Zank, a 22-year old from New York, may just be one of the most promising artists of our generation. His work has clearly progressed over the years (as is evident by the hundreds of images in his flicker archives) and he has been able to create surrealist photos that rival works by Eugène Atget and Otto Umbehr. He uses many techniques both in-camera and post-production to create his distinctive look. One series I enjoyed was Suits. 

This photo, entitled “Bicycles,” show a layering of images to create one coherent piece. Many of his photos use perspective and smoke to achieve the finished surrealist effect. The majority of his photos are also of himself which is interesting because many photographers prefer to remain behind the camera, catching life as they see it but not as they are involved in it. Self-portraits are largely introspective and Zank’s work shows a great deal of thought within each composition.

Ben Zank seems to not mind taking risks for the perfect picture. Whether it be posing under a sheet of ice or stepping onto train tracks in front of an oncoming train, he does what it takes to achieve the shot. Stupid? Definitely. Worth it? Perhaps. The photos are as amazing as they are jarring, but it begs the question: can art go too far? Art is about pushing limits and societal norms, but should it be dangerous? I’ll leave that up to you.

For now, enjoy Zank’s flicker here: http://flic.kr/ps/FWBYJ

—Amanda

Photographer Benjamin Zank, a 22-year old from New York, may just be one of the most promising artists of our generation. His work has clearly progressed over the years (as is evident by the hundreds of images in his flicker archives) and he has been able to create surrealist photos that rival works by Eugène Atget and Otto Umbehr. He uses many techniques both in-camera and post-production to create his distinctive look. One series I enjoyed was Suits.

This photo, entitled “Bicycles,” show a layering of images to create one coherent piece. Many of his photos use perspective and smoke to achieve the finished surrealist effect. The majority of his photos are also of himself which is interesting because many photographers prefer to remain behind the camera, catching life as they see it but not as they are involved in it. Self-portraits are largely introspective and Zank’s work shows a great deal of thought within each composition.

Ben Zank seems to not mind taking risks for the perfect picture. Whether it be posing under a sheet of ice or stepping onto train tracks in front of an oncoming train, he does what it takes to achieve the shot. Stupid? Definitely. Worth it? Perhaps. The photos are as amazing as they are jarring, but it begs the question: can art go too far? Art is about pushing limits and societal norms, but should it be dangerous? I’ll leave that up to you.

For now, enjoy Zank’s flicker here: http://flic.kr/ps/FWBYJ

—Amanda

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"Torch Song Trilogy" Was Anything But A Drag

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(Pictured: Jamie Cordes, Philip Thomas Stock, and Jamison Stern. See more here)

I don’t even know how to sum up “Torch Song Trilogy”…but I suppose I’ll start at the beginning. Being an ArtStreet employee and resident keeps me fairly abreast of art events both on and off campus. About two weeks ago one of my closest friends and co-workers told me about a play ArtStreet’s Happenings was planning to see at The Loft Theatre. As a theatre lover, I blindly decided to sign up. I knew the very basics, it was three hours long and about a drag queen. That seems like enough to scare away many people, but I was only intrigued. I was, I admit, a bit worried as well. At three hours, the show had the potential to drag (no pun intended), but at no point did I lose focus in the play. The story and the acting drew me in from the first moment and left me in tears at the last.

“Torch Song Trilogy” was a story in three parts written by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Scott Stoney. Focusing around the life of Arnold, a drag queen in late 1970’s New York, the show opens with humor and wit. From the moment Arnold, played by Jamison Stern, began his monologue, I knew I was in for a spectacular show. I was amazed at the amount of emotion the characters were able to pour into their performances, especially when considering the length of the piece. The first act was all about free love and Arnold finding who he was in and out of relationships. He meets Ed, played by Jamie Cordes, in a gay night club and they quickly hit it off. The audience is able to see many different sides of Arnold in this act from his confident drag queen demeanor, to his vulnerability in love. His heart is invested and is broken.

The second act elaborates on the relationships in his life, specifically the ties that were so difficult to cut with Ed. Bringing the two men together, along with Arnold’s much younger love interest, Alan, and Ed’s girlfriend Laurel, the four characters spend time at the latter couple’s summer home. The tension was palpable as was the chemistry. Arnold figures our a lot about himself during this time. He realizes his fear of commitment comes from the fear of having his heart broken again but also due to lasting feelings for Ed. In the end, each couple remains together for better or worse.

The final act was definitely the most impactful. We see Arnold, now a middle aged man, still struggling with demons of the past. He lost the love of his life but gained a son. A troubled gay teen, working his way through the foster system, David lands with Arnold, not only to find a home and learn about love, but teach Arnold to love again. With the arrival of Arnold’s mother, the characters are forced to face the skeletons in their closet and come to terms with the past as well as find a hope for the future. Ed also resurfaces in this act and while the ending is relatively unresolved, I like to think he and Arnold find happiness with each other and become the family David deserves.


The show runs until February 16th. For show times and tickets, visit the Human Race Theatre Company’s website here.


XOXO,

Amanda

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Happenings braves the weather and heads to The Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton for TORCH SONG TRILOGY. #play #theatre #liveperformance #torchsongtrilogy #harveyfierstein #thelofttheatre #dayton #ohio #humanracetheatrecompany #ticket #program #playbill

Happenings braves the weather and heads to The Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton for TORCH SONG TRILOGY. #play #theatre #liveperformance #torchsongtrilogy #harveyfierstein #thelofttheatre #dayton #ohio #humanracetheatrecompany #ticket #program #playbill

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In honor of Black History Month, I thought I’d share a bit about my recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee and what I, along with a group of ArtStreet residents and staff members, learned while we were there. We went with a simple mission: find the music and the voices of Nashville. In a place nick-named “Music City,” this seemed like an easy task. While I will always be a fan of country music, this trip centered more around civil rights than hoe-downs. Immediately upon arrival, we made our way to the Country Music Hall of Fame to meet with Ali Tonn and Michael Grey to learn about the Night Train to Nashville exhibit the museum curated in 2004. Much to our surprise, they had arranged a panel of musicians to speak about their own experiences with the music business in Nashville. These artists are pictured above and included Mac Gayden (famous guitarist, composer, and lyricist who wrote the song “Everlasting Love”), and singers Jimmy Church and Frank Howard. These men were popular musicians in the 1940’s-1960’s and played alongside people like Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix. Howard and Church laughed at how Jimi had always been ahead of his time. They had worked with him, giving him some of his first gigs in Nashville, yet he struggled playing in a band, constantly wanting to experiment and find his own sound. As they spoke, it almost felt as if you were in the dark, smokey clubs hearing new genres being born. R&B is as much a part of Nashville as Funk is to Dayton or Motown to Detroit. The south in the 1960’s was still highly segregated, however, the music industry was leaps and bounds ahead. Studios, said Howard, were the first to integrate. White and black people alike would watch Night Train, a music program filmed in Nashville. Church and Howard were both featured artists on this show and you can see their performances here. The show lasted from 1964-1967 on WLAC Channel 5 in Nashville. Although it was not on the air for long, it served as a forerunner for programs such as Chicago’s “Soul Train.” WLAC began playing R&B over the air as early as 1946 on shows hosted by white DJs. This shows how early the racial barriers were being pushed in Nashville and how the city became a hub for R&B music.

While music venues and broadcasts were integrated, black artists still had trouble when passing through town. The downtown was just as you would picture a pre-civil rights era southern city. This is why we traveled to the Civil Rights Room to talk to Jennifer Quier. I admit, before this trip my knowledge about the Civil Rights movement was limited to what my history teachers have taught me over the years. And that is to say, it was lacking. Nashville, as I learned was a progressive town being held back by the prejudices of the times. Student-lead sit ins and peaceful marches resulted in a rare form of equality, not seen many places in the 1960’s. It was not an easy road, and many people—both black and white—were injured, jailed, and harassed for speaking their minds. It was most interesting to me, that the movement toward equality was lead by people my own age. Students from Fisk University rallied together to make a change. It is an inspiring and overwhelming idea that a small group of predominantly black teenagers and young adults could change laws and the lives of those around them. Quier was a fantastic storyteller, as she transported us back to the first day of school after Nashville began integrating. When I think of my first day of school, I think of how excited and nervous I was to be a “big kid” just like my sister. Thinking of how that feeling would have been crushed as I approached a mob of angry people is hard to even fathom. Fear and confusion are no way to approach learning. Instead, like the students at Fisk, you need to approach learning as a way to a better life. Educated masses changed Nashville and in turn, they educated others about peace and equality over ignorance and prejudice.

Fisk University houses the world’s largest collection of African-American art. We were able to tour the Carl Van Vechten Gallery and learn about some fantastic artists mainly from the 20th and 21st centuries. My favorites included Sam Middleton, Nelson Stevens, and Leon Hicks. Sarah Estes gave us a wonderful tour of the gallery and I was amazed when she told us that all of the art they have was donated, not bought. And, more often that not, it was donated by the artists themselves. Having such a small gallery space, only a fraction of their collection is shown at a time and it is open to the public. For more information, visit the website here.

We also had the amazing opportunity to meet with Alice Randall and her husband, who are both professors at Vanderbilt University, in their home. They discussed music and the history of Nashville, focusing heavily on the black experience during the 1950’s-1970’s. She said one thing that really stuck with me, it was that “soft Motown gave blacks humanity.” It was this shift that we discussed in depth. The move toward Motown and R&B shifted the status quo of the music industry and was one of the largest factors of integration within the business. It was overwhelming to hear from someone who was so knowledgeable about music. I wished we could have talked for so much longer. The colorful painting above is one that was hanging in her home. It is of the jazz singer and activist Nina Simone and is very reminiscent of Magritte’s “Son of Man” painting. The entire home was furnished with work by Nashville artists and many of the paintings tied together the musical history of the city with the African-American voices of the Civil Rights movement.

This was one of the most educational and enlightening trips I have ever taken. It was also one of the best weekends I’ve had in college. Every street corner is filled with the sounds of music, it is heaven for country fans. Nashville has a small town feel yet the nightlife of a major city. Honky-tonks line the streets and tourists pose with statues of Elvis and giant boots (guilty on both parts). Every bar has live music and fun crowds. It was a great departure from the house parties of college and I can safely say I will definitely be making a return trip. Nashville is a crazy town, not one I could live in, but one I definitely learned from. It is full of art, music, history, and most of all—life.

XO,

Amanda

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Why Live at ArtStreet?

Whats up!

Hope everybody’s thanksgiving breaks were great (I know I’m a little late).  Anyways, I figured I would dedicate this post to the reasons why I live at ArtStreet.  I have no intention of simply stating all the cool things that ArtStreet has to offer and expect you to miraculously decide that ArtStreet is for you.  Instead I want to focus on the real reasons that make this place pop.  That being said, lets dive into this.

Ok, now take a second and think of ArtStreet..

Good.

What did you see?  A few houses, the café, awesome cement ledges that are totally perfect for skateboarding, some blue cylinder looking structures?  Yeah, we have that.  However, there’s a lot more then just a trendy looking area in the south student neighborhood.  In fact, the real thing that makes ArtStreet special can’t be seen, it’s not tangible.  It’s an energy that flows in and out of the community that resides here and is derived from what ArtStreet represents.  Kinda like the Tree of Ewa in Avatar.

See, this is a place where creativity and self-expression flourish.  Encouraged, but not enforced, the dynamics behind ArtStreet are instilled in the residents and faculty each day they continue to live, work, and create here.  When I was 17, I took a tour of UD and can honestly say that ArtStreet was the main component that resulted in my attendance as a Flyer.  My freshman year I lived in Founders Hall (shout out to 2 south!!).  My sophomore year I was in Marianist Hall and when the time came to apply for Junior year housing, ArtStreet was the only choice for me.  I waited two years to fill out that application and I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  

In August of 2012, I moved in and didn’t really know what to expect.  Although I knew quite a bit about ArtStreet from working at Street Sounds Recording Studio, I soon realized that the concept of actually living there was actually foreign to me.  I think before I was a resident, I saw ArtStreet as a just a place, not a home.  Well now that outlook is gone and I see ArtStreet as something much bigger than what I ever thought it could be.

For me, ArtStreet is a representation of progression, community, and of course art.  It represents more than students at the University of Dayton.  In fact, ArtStreet is global.  Yeah I said it, GLOBAL.  No matter where you may come from, you can picture an ArtStreet if you really think about it.  Maybe it’s the local coffee shop in your city that offers great service and dope lattes, or your high school drama club, or a concert hall in Mumbai, India that provides free music lessons for children who have an interest in creating sound but can’t afford it.  ArtStreet represents that.  

The opportunities that come with your residence here are also amazing.  For example, this January, the ArtStreet family will be going to Nashville to see what really makes the city tick and learn about the rich history of music that lives there for just 85 dollars, pretty cool.  The best part about it is the fact that you don’t even have to be “artistic” in the sense that you may think.  I’m a communication and history major, my roommates’ degrees will read: computer engineering, industrial engineering, marketing and finance, and visual arts. Down the street we have a house full of engineering majors, and across the sidewalk there is a whole slew of students with other diverse majors and minors that add to the ArtStreet gene pool.

I love it here.  ArtStreet is a part of me.  I’ve made so many amazing friends and continue to sculpt the person that I am into a well-rounded individual with a greater appreciation for creativity and good vibrations.  We’re all a little off track and a little different in our own ways.  We are a community that has evolved into a family.  We have fun and we progress.  ArtStreet is who we are and we are ArtStreet.  I guess the purpose of me writing this is to foster a little curiosity in whoever may read it.  If you already live here, then you know what I’m talking about.  If your a freshman, sophomore, or a junior please think about applying to live here.  Step out of the norm and challenge yourself.  Take advantage of everything that this university has to offer and who knows, maybe you’ll begin to notice the other ArtStreets that live in this world…

ArtStreet recruitment video: http://youtu.be/-_dl-6jPhB0

-Zup

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The ArtStreet residents at 107 Lawnview worked with the homeless in the Dayton area as well as artists in the community in creating a mural that now fills the walkway of Garden Station. Garden Station is a community Garden and public art gallery near Dayton’s historic Oregon District. The six residents put in over one hundred combined hours into this house project from planning to implementation. They even hosted a fundraiser at ArtStreet Cafe in which they collected clothing as well as monetary donations. These were all given to a local men’s shelter which is experiencing unprecedented numbers this year.

This is a season of giving, so please look to those less fortunate and give what you can. If you don’t have money or material items to give, give your time to help someone who is down on their luck. If you were in their place, you know you would welcome a friendly face and a humanizing gesture. Many college students here at UD have dreams of the future. Big dreams of being a celebrity, doctor, or CEO. Some people right outside our UD bubble have dreams of a hot meal, warm coat, and a dry bed. Together we can make those dreams come true.

-Amanda

LATE NIGHT DEBATE

Check out this stop motion video to see what happens when you give graffiti artists an abandoned warehouse and an endless supply of paint. Some argue that graffiti is a plague on city streets, whereas I believe it is a viable art form and freedom of expression. As long as historic sights and monuments are not being harmed, who cares if a little color is added to a concrete wall? What’s your take on the debate? Either way, this is one of the coolest videos I’ve seen in a while and I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

-Amanda

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Art is transportable, unregulated, glamorous, arcane, beautiful, difficult. It is easier to store than oil, more esoteric than diamonds, more durable than political influence.
In this week’s issue, Nick Paumgarten profiles the art dealer David Zwirner, and explores the booming art market: http://nyr.kr/192XhaU (via newyorker)

Truer words were never spoken

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The Privileged Few (By: Bryan Bryk)

Last week I had the opportunity to see Peter Buffett in concert at the Victoria theatre in downtown Dayton. It was called a concert, but in reality it was a concert and conversation, which meant he would play a few songs intertwined with conversations he would have with the audience about things like his past, what he’s doing now, and the messages he is trying to convey through concerts like the one I was at.

I will admit, I didn’t think it was going to be that interesting. It seemed, based on what I had heard and read about him, that he was going to be a preachy tree-hugging kind of guy who would be pushing for a cleaner earth. I was slightly right in that sense, as he did play one song about saving plastic. But overall, he focused more on the idea of the individual, and the way he decided to live his life, in an effort to get us, as UD students, to become motivated to take initiative.

In case you were unaware, Peter Buffett is the son of Warren Buffett, a man who became incredibly rich and is world renowned for his wealth while still advocating for charities and global projects to make a better planet.

Now when he walked onto the stage, Peter Buffett told the audience that he was going to talk to us about how to become something, how to be successful in our own way, and how it can be very enjoyable and will lead to a happier life if you just try. He did acknowledge right away that he, as the son of a rich man, has very little room to actually talk about how to apply yourself to be successful, but through his discussions he focused on the idea of doing what will make you happy, regardless of how much money you may be making, because you will be happier in the long run than if you were making a ton of money in a job you might hate.

His message was well spoken and well conveyed through his story, but that’s looking at it on face value. Once I had gotten home from the concert and had some time to think about it, I questioned just how sincere a message like that can be coming from someone who was born into money.

He talked about how his father gave him $90,000 to spend however he saw fit, which he used to build up his career and reputation as a musician, which led to him getting many great job opportunities and eventually being paid enough to do the thing he loved to do, music, as a full-time job.

Here’s my problem: Of course he can tell us a story of how he worked his way up to where he is, he didn’t just use his father’s money to get by in life, and he can tell us how we should do the same, how we should choose to do something we love as a job and become successful that way, but how real is his story. He claims that he just submitted his music to people in Los Angeles and they recognized his talent and picked him up to work with them, but I question that. Now I might just be crazy, but I think the argument could be made that he wasn’t very talented, but when he sent in his tapes to people he wanted to work for, they recognized that he was Warren Buffett’s son, and thought, “Maybe if we give this guy a job, we can make some connections with his dad and the companies he works for in order to build up our company.”

Could Peter Buffett have told us that at is concert? Of course not, because then his message would have been invalid. But the point I’m trying to make is that this man’s message of doing what you want to do and not worry about becoming rich is almost killed once you look at where he comes from. See, it’s easy for someone like him to tell you not to worry about money because he never had to worry about money, and his parents let him become a musician because they figured if he failed they could always bail him out.

For us, as people who don’t come from rich parents, it’s much more difficult to follow that message, especially when our parents are looking at how much it costs to live today and are concerned about how we are going to get by in life. For example, I am a Theatre and Communication double major. I was originally going to just do theatre, but my mom was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough opportunities for me to survive, so I added Communication because there are many more opportunities in that field.

So what’s the point behind this? The point I want to make is that we need to recognize our situations in life before assuming that we can make it in this world by just doing something like music. We need assess our talent, our connections, and our financial situation. Maybe you are talented enough to just do theatre, or music, or art. Or maybe you aren’t the most talented, but you have connections with the right people who can get you to where you need to be in order to make a living. These are the things that must be considered when thinking about a career in the arts, or any job for that matter. Because not everyone can be the son of Warren Buffett.

If you are interested in contributing to OffBeat, click on “Submit Posts” above or email ArtStreet@udayton.edu.

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