Sunday, December 13, 2015

End of the Semester!

Hi Friends,

So it is the end of another semester of college, only 3 more semesters to go! It has been a little hectic, trying to get all my work done on time. Thankfully art major don't have finals like most other majors due, you just have all the projects due at the same time. Here are my final projects in all my studio classes. 

First up, figure illustration. 

The project was the create a drawing of something that was 75% non-human, and that could be anything, another animal, robot, goo, food. I chose an alien bug! This drawing is inspired by Octavia Butler's "Blood Child." Butler was one of the very few African-American women in science fiction. Her stories often include social criticism on issues of feminism and racial equality. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards and was a very cool lady all around. She describes her short story "Blood Child" as her "pregnant man story." It's very good, a little gory, but really interesting. I totally recommend it. 

Up Next: Printmaking.

This was my first linoleum print, and it was both wonderful and anxiety-inducing. The linoleum was a dream to carve, it was so soft and did everything I wanted it to; unlike wood, which just does whatever it feels like doing, it splinters, it's really though. . .

Unfortunately though, the more times I put it through the press the more it stretched out, it grew a couple of millimeters both length and width-wise.Even though this is a minuscule amount, it makes a difference on a print that depends on correct alignment. So each time I put a print through the press I got a different result, it was maddening. Usually I get 90% good prints and screw up the rest. This time I would consider that only 30% of them are good. Most of the rest aren't terrible, they are just so obviously out of alignment that I was ashamed of them. 

And look how many I had to print! 22 all together. Here's one that turned out pretty well.

It's a blood orange. Our theme this time was heart, so I thought about "heart" as the center of something, like the heart of a city, or an artichoke heart; and then blood because hearts pump blood! This one is not real deep, but it's pretty. 

Lastly: Sculpture! 

Let me tell you that metal work is not my thing. I can be in the wood shop all, sculpt with clay all day, but metal sculpture, yuck. I'm not sure if it was the uncomfortable gloves and head/ear/eye protection we had to wear, or the 50 lb saws and other tools I had to manipulate, or how unforgiving metal is, but it was not fun to make this tiny pill bottle. It looks good in the end, but I don't plan on doing this again anytime soon. 

So this one is a bit complex. It is a trophy both for myself and for modern medicine. I know that I cannot give it to modern medicine, since it's made up of a bunch of people, ideas, chemical compounds, equipment, etc., etc., but it's still a sort of ode to modern medicine, science-based medicine. The base represents the steps it took through years of trials and errors to get to where we are today: where broken bones can be healed, where many cancers can be cured, where half of children no longer get polio and die, and where I can get the medicine I need to (mostly) function like a human. 

I thought the bronze was appropriate not only because it's a nice, shiny material, but also because it was the more expensive option (the other one was aluminum); and we all know medicine can be expensive. Also, bronze in sporting events signifies 3rd place, gold is first, then silver, then bronze. This means that even though science-based medicine has made it this far, it's not perfect yet. Humanity has yet to eradicate many diseases, and maybe one day we could alter babies DNA in utero to take out the genes that cause Hemophilia or Down Syndrome. Maybe one day we could heal burns instantly. But we're not there yet. 

So that's my end of the semester wrap up. But don't think that just because school is over I will not be arting, I have a lot of things I want to do. Let's see how many I can get to when I'm not binge watching shows or baking gingerbread cookies. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Post

Very quick post today, I just wanted to share those last two print variations. My printmaking professor made class yesterday optional, since most people bail the day before Thanksgiving anyway. And once again I was the only one there! It was just me, the teaching assistant, and the professor. This happened last year too, just me and the teacher. Very awkward. 

Anyway, here's the 3rd version. I like the color on it's own, but I think it washes out the print a little. 

Here's the last one, and probably my favorite variation, aside from from the original one of course. I think it makes the topic of "Skin" more obvious. 

Last, I just want to show that my mom made a Pintrest project, and it actually worked! 

Apple pie roses. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Adventures in the Foundry and New Print

I'd like to announce that this last Tuesday, Nov. 17, I participated in my first real art show! "Real" here meaning one that I was not just in because my whole class was required to participate in it. Unfortunately, I did not take a single picture! Maybe because I was too distracted by the free snacks or maybe because I was too cold to think straight. I am still kicking myself for that. 

In other news, I've been creating a little trophy for myself, as part of a sculpture class, not because I'm that full of myself. The interesting part though is that we are metal casting! Using a found object we made a silicone mold which made a wax cast which made a sand mold which will make a bronze cast. Very simple, I know. 

This is the silicone mold, encased in plaster for stability. In it I poured liquid wax. An old tire is holding that mold together, such advanced technology. 

After using the wax casting to make a sand mold, we had to melt the wax out of the pour-cup, which is basically a funnel for the molten metal later. A bunch of us students went to do this without anyone supervising us and it was both hilarious and nerve wracking. 

This is the sand mold after it was fired in order to melt the rest of the wax off and strengthen the mold. It looks a bit weird right now but it's a pill bottle attached to the pour-cup. 

And finally! Pouring in molten metal into these thin molds. It was amazing to watch people handle a F 2000+ degree liquid. 

After the metal hardens and cools I will break off the mold with a hammer and clean up my piece with a sandblaster. I have a base ready for it too. Hopefully it will be finished by the end of next week!

Moving on to printmaking, I finished another set of prints. Here is the final product:

This print was a lot of fun to make and the end result is amazing! For this assignment we were supposed to purposefully break the rules of printmaking, which include having good registration (alignment), clean boarders, using printmaking paper, etc. People got really creative with this, printing on magazine pages or fabric, some are combining mediums by painting on their prints with watercolor. 

I decided to keep the idea of a print still, but mess with the borders and registration. When I explained my idea to my professor she was skeptical to say the least, and watched me print with worried look in her face. And today she she told me it was "fabulous"! It's so nice when things go my way. I'm so proud of this print. 

And since I only messed up a couple of prints of the 10 I originally made, I have 3 left over to experiment with. I'm going to try a couple of different colors and also try printing the background off registration. I will do that this Wednesday and try to post the pictures the same day. Here is one I had just enough time to do before class ended. 

I think the teal background works better than this faded yellow one, but it's still interesting. 

Bye for now!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On How Printmaking Has Taken Over My Life and Other Art Related Things

     I feel a bit like I'm in an episode of the X-files and time has stopped functioning as it usually does. I'm not sure how, but all of a sudden it was Halloween, and then all of a sudden we're halfway through November. These last few weeks have been a bit of blur. 

     However, I do have evidence to suggest time has passed as usual since I have been handed back tests, I have pictures on my phone with dates between Halloween and now, and I have produced some art. So maybe this is less of an X-files moment and more of an Adam Sandler in "Click" moment. 

     Let me start catching up by presenting the last relief print I made, "Major Tom." 

     I really dig this print. I am impressed with myself, especially because this was such a chaotic, weird process. As I mentioned before, this is called a "suicide" or "reduction" print, where you print as you carve and every carving is final, every inking is final, there's no going back. I started out with 9 prints, and barely had 5 left by the end. I ripped one, printed one upside-down, and added a black outline on a couple which turned out too terrible to show in public. I really wish I had more, but life is unfair, so I'll just have to treasure the few I have. 

     That print made me realize a couple of things about printmaking. First, that it's more about the process than the actual image. Second, that a lot of wiggle room is necessary with each idea, you can't create a print to look just a drawing you make (unless you're a printmaking god or something). And lastly that you should be really open minded, if all of a sudden a mistake leads to something better than your first idea, do it. 

     With these free-spirited ideas in mind, I thought for the next print I'd wing it a little. The theme for this one is "Skin," so I thought about how stretchy skin is, which made me think of other stretchy things like bubble gum, silly putty, and rubber bands. So I created an image that looks like those things being stretched. That's the idea, as for the colors, the background, the lines, I'm improvising it all as I go! I hope it goes well, so far I have only two colors and I already love it. 

     Here is a picture of the inking process and the giant ink mess I made; it took a long time to clean up. 

     I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with printmaking, the results are amazing and the inking/printing process is meditative in a weird way. Yet, actually carving the wood. . .I'm often tempted to trow the plywood across the room! And also, sometimes the press handle spins out of control and hits me when I try to grab it, I have broken several nails from this! Regardless, I'm really glad I'm in this class. 

     Anyway, on to non-print things! Here are pictures of me drawing with my toes, because it's art school and nothing is off limits. (Don't get me started on how last semester I went dumpster diving in order to create a "fun house" of trash. . .)

(At least it sort of resembles a human, yes?)

     My figure drawing professor hung up a bunch of my class' drawings, some done with hands, some with feet, and a few done by drawing with piece of charcoal taped to the end of a long stick. I had 7 pieces up! 

     They are a lot of fun to browse, regardless of the fact that they are mostly drawings of nude, old men (We need some ladies to pose for us!). Well, this post has become a bit long, so I'm going to stop here. However, I will try to write about once a week since there's always a new project in the works or new doodle in my sketchbooks. More pictures on my Instagram! 


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A bit of Madness

     Recently I have found myself flooded with many, many things to do and of course no time to do it all. I'm in the middle of midterms, I haven't been feeling very well, and the recent rainy weather makes me want to do little else than drink hot chocolate and watch re-runs of That 70's Show. I knew that keeping up with Inktober would be hard this time of year, and unfortunately I haven't. I have been making all this other art though, and now that things have calmed down a bit I intend to keep doing ink drawing (I have a bunch of ideas in my head!). 

     I feel a little disappointed in myself, but I have been working really hard on other projects. 

     This is a drawing that I thought I could turn in as my midterm for a draw-naked-people class I have. I went to a ballet class on campus (yes! they let guests sit in and watch!) and tried to get some inspiration. After hours of pencil shavings, ballet videos online, and some dancing of my own I came up with this. And I really like it, it was a total challenge, and I'm proud of it; however, my professor was having none of it. 

. . . He wants me to make figures that move and are dynamic (So, cartoons?) He says that I'm too logical and focus on anatomy too much. Art teachers, you can never please them.This is what I think I'm going to try now: 

     I still want to still show that frame-by-frame action, just with these sorts of figures.  Up next is my current relief print: 

     For this print we're doing what's called a "suicide technique." Such a great, cheerful name, I know! It's a single block used for all the colors; first the white is cut out, then the lightest color, second lightest, all the way to the darkest color. It is a little scary since there is no going back on this one, every cut, every inking, is final. I think it'll look great when it's done though. I'd like to think it's Sally Ride in there (even though the suit is wrong for her time). Also, pay no attention to the NASA logo I totally forgot to carve mirrored so that it'd be right on the print. 

     Finally, I'd like to share some clay sculptures I have done. 

     This is a flamenco dancer sculpture that I've been working on for weeks, in a very slow, very agonizing process. But she's done! Now she just needs a long ruffled dress. She will basically be a 3D representation of an illustration I made over the summer: 

     I hope I can do the bottom part of the dress in just a couple of weeks. After that, glazing is fairly simple. 

     Lastly, I leave you with a truly remarkable piece, the Kim Kardashian bust. 

     This one is really amusing for me because historically busts have been of rulers, military leaders, royalty, poets, philosophers (think Nefertiti, Augustus); people who really influenced society, history. And now we have Kim K.I have nothing against her, she's a human and deserves all human rights. But she's famous for being famous really, she isn't a singer, actress, writer, or political figure. Yet, why is she so popular, why do we know her name and not the name of other women who do their make up really well and have several siblings? Why has our culture become to interested in people just for their glamour? 

     Anyway, just some clay for thought. 

     Hope to write again soon! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Inktober 14 and 15

     Happy almost-the-weekend! 

     Although I don't always get around to creating a blog-post for every Inktober drawing, I always post them on my Instagram (@divasque). Anyway, here is yesterday's piece: 

     And here's another from the same drawing session. I was watching videos of circus performers, gymnasts and ballet dancers. I love the ways the human body can move, jump, and twist. 

     I find trapeze artists really amazing right now, for me it's scary enough to jump up to grab the monkey bars, I can't imagine doing it while 50 feet in the air, after someone flung me off, while a crowd stares and a million lights are shining in my face. Just, wow. 

     Here is today's drawing: 

     Guess I've just been into macabre stuff lately. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Inktober Day 13

     For today's inktober drawings I have something a bit different. 

     I've been in a bit of a funk, not quite feeling myself, so I decided to show that physically. It's not that I feel like a monster, or a mash up of all these incoherent, incongruous things. It's more like I have some stuff to heal from, some stuff to get over, and until then I'm a little emotionally vulnerable. Like a scar vulnerable to infection. 

Also, it's Halloween time and it seemed appropriate. 

Also, art history was very slow today and I had pens. . . 

Here's some other stuff I have been working on. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Inktober Day 12

     Lately I have been thinking about tragedy; probably because in one of my classes we've been talking about World War I. For just a hot second my professor mentioned something about the Germans sinking a civilian ship, and that just hit a soft spot in me. So, I came up with this: 

     I'm thinking about turning it into a relief print. We'll see if my printmaking professor approves it later this week. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Inktober Mash

     Happy Sunday! I admit I have not been fantastic at posting my inktober drawings, but I have been drawing. It has been a very busy and out-of-the-ordinary weekend. First of all, I won an award! And went to a ceremony where I received this award! 

     That's me, getting an award for highest academic achievement and awkwardly giving a handshake to dean of the School of Art. 

     I also went to a political rally this weekend, I had never been to one before and it was actually kind of fun. Of course no politician is perfect, but this one at least had a good act. 

     Back to the art, here are some drawings I've been doing. 

I'll be back tomorrow for sure. Inktober will not defeat me!
Also, there are some more pictures on my Instagram: divasque


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Inktober Day 8

     I've been learning about Expressionism at school, and I really like the idea behind it. It's all about embracing and exploiting our humanity, really digging into our emotions and representing those rather than reality. However, I don't think I could physically get myself to draw like Egon Schiele, but I did come up with these. 

Hopefully this weekend I can find the time to create more complex drawings, 'til then!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Inktober Cartoon

     Very quick post today, I had 3 back-to-back studios and barely managed to make this while one of my teachers wan't looking. 

(Read: humans in their infinite egotism) 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Inktober: Day 6

     Yes, I know this is only my second drawing, but technically it's still the sixth day of Inktober.

     For today I have a little caricature of the twins, Ernest and Roy (Roy is the one with spiky hair, Ernest has curly red hair). These guys are cartoons I made up over the summer. At the time I had been listening to some podcasts and reading articles about freak shows in the 1800's and 1900's. You know the type, where people with tattoos, an extra limb, or who are very tall or short would travel around to go in front of audiences to "perform." Some actually enjoyed it well enough and made some good money out of it while others were forced into the work since they could not find a regular job or were just shunned by society at large. So I created Ernest and Roy, thought about their personalities, hobbies, and just imagined their life story a little. They will be a reoccurring theme in my art and maybe one day I will tell their full story. 

     I was originally inspired by this photo: 

     However, I have since learned that it is a photo trick, and not actual Siamese twins. I was both disappointed and glad. Yet there are such twins in this in this world, currently the most popular are Abby and Brittany Hensel. They became famous through their show on the network TLC ( and seem pretty happy and adjusted even if life has a few more difficulties for them.

     I am totally fascinated by people with not-so-common bodies, extra limbs, super stretchy skin, conjoined twins, and the like. Not that I want to gawk at them, I'm simple intrigued at the way nature goes a little weird sometimes. 

     Perhaps this will a theme for Inktober? 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Inktober: I'm a bit late for the race.

     Today a friend of mine mentioned InkTober, something I had not yet heard about. It is a worldwide artistic challenge for artists with a few simple rules. 

1.) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it on your blog (or tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr, Pinterest or just pin it on your wall.)

3) Hashtag it with #inktober
4) Repeat  

     It was started by artist Jake Parker (Website: to inspire artists to challenge themselves and improve their skills. 

     I have never done an artistic challenge before, but now that I have this blog I figured it'd be a fantastic way to start out (and an excuse to get some supplies at the art store). This is going to be a little tough in the middle of midterms, but I'm determined. 

     Here is my first drawing for #inktober.

Til tomorrow! 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Welcome to my blog!

Hello everyone,

My name is Di Vasquez, I am a student at the University of Arizona, School of Fine arts. I'm starting this blog to document my journey as an artist and as human in this world. I am a Modernist in the sense that I think art can change the world, even if it's one person's world at a time. I will share my art, my thoughts on my art and other people's art, my inspirations, my hopes, my disappointments and share my life with the world. 

As far as my art goes, it's a bit all over the place, ranging form realistic renderings to cartoons, from illustrations for stories to sculptures of things I think look good. I'm still trying to figure it out. Nevertheless, I want to art to tell stories, I want it to be of things and themes we don't encounter in our everyday world. 

I hope we all enjoy it.