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Painting Anthropology

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Final Summary

Digital Story Title:
Painting Anthropology: An archaeological dig into the working mind of a painter.

Brief description:
This video is an attempt to establish a visual link between the artist and the viewer into the working mind of a studio painter.  The research for this project includes:

  • A three week documentary session in the studio of a working painter
  • Neurasthetics (art as an extension of the functions of the brain) in order to explain and understand the aesthetic experiences of how the artist formulates her synesthetic imagery.
  • Synesthesia is (the intercorrelation of the four modes of human consciousness: thought, intuition, emotion, and sensation) is explained throughout the video as it unfolds in the imagery.
  • Teaching methods in the new millennium
  • Art 21 Blog

Main goal(s):

The goal of this video is to show the viewer how the artist synesthetically creates imagery in her work by establishing metaphorical (a thought about a thought) links between earth objects (pods, leaves. seeds) and situations in the her life using color, sound, and visual imagery.

Intended Audience

My intended audience is colleagues, historians, art historians, and the general public, high school history students, middle school music students, art students and anyone interested in art and how it is made.

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Fair Use and the four factors

Below is the four factor fair test used by lawmakers in determining what is fair use.

Four Factor Fair Use Test

Another approach to determining fair use is what is commonly called “the four factor fair use test,” which offers guidelines in terms of the four questions below. If you want to know more about the four factor test, I suggest consulting the University of Texas’s site devoted to this topic, which offers far more detail than I provide here:

  • What is the character of the use? Non-profit, educational use is better (that is, less apt to raise legal red flags) than commercial use.
  • What is the nature of the work to be used? Factual, published material is better than imaginative, creative work.
  • How much of the work will you use? As obvious as this might sound, a small amount is better than more than a large amount.
  • If this kind of use were widespread, what effect would it have on the market for the original? The less your use of the material competes with or takes away from sales, the better.

What I was interested in finding out was how much of a song can I use in my digital story.  What I found is that I can use up to 10% of a song or 30 seconds. This suits me as I only wanted to record part of a riff from John Mayers “Heart Break Warfare” song.

I found this really cool resource for citing works…

Progression through the maze

What a ride.  I am designing this thing in my sleep but having a blast.  The technology issues are finally worked out.  After two weeks of struggling to install software on an under minded processor I gave in a got a new laptop as Adobe Premiere is too huge to run on old equipment.  The good news is that I finally got the software loaded and the 200 plus files I developed for this project over the past 6 weeks.  I ended up taking 75 small clips of the studio session.  Now all I have to do is figure out how to edit and cut out 99 percent.  This is always the tough part of the art process.  What do I leave out because I want to say everything.

The research for this project has been amazing.  It took me back to the roots of my graduate thesis 12 years ago and now my work seems to be coming full circle.  There is so much to report but I am happy to say that the research for this project actually is helping me to identify more clearly my dissertation research.

Category: W12: Final Project Progress  Comments off

So what is the story?  The question today is more what is the new software and how is going to get me where I want to go without too much interruption.  The site  ( that has the 70 latest Web 2.0 tools seems to be the most fitting for this question.

As a multimedia instructor, this site is very handy and yet frustrating because as always there is too much information and too much to choose from.  How  does one sort out all the fluff from the stuff that one needs to  get the job done?  Speaking of which, what is the job anymore?   There are so many sophisticated ways of producing special effects now that interactivity is redefined daily.   Where is the baby and who spilled the proverbial bath water.

All the selection and non stop development of tools is frustrating to someone who likes to keep things simple and uncomplicated.  Perhaps it is a sign of my generation or perhaps I am way tired of information overload.  This is one reason I do not teach software based courses anymore.  The amount of learning to learn the tools takes up too much time.

I only have one thing to say about educators who try and teach all this stuff…good luck because you  could be on line twenty four seven and never catch up to all that is going on and all that you need to know to teach or learn your craft.  It is comparable to a bowl of mercury.

Moore’s law is a great example of how everything is speeding up and doubling at the rate of every two years and is not expected to slow down until 2015.  Will we then be able to breathe a little and just operate with what we have?  The continuation of all this proliferation of software development in some ways mirrors our capitalistic thinking processes and in some ways mirrors our intellectual searching for newer and better and more improved.  But my question is when is Web 3.0 coming?

This question is a direct result of the conditioning I have been under over the past twenty years or so to be on the edge of technology.  However, today I am simply not buying into all the newness.  I utilize tools that have been standardized such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver.  I try not to make a fuss about their dashboard changes every two years.  I even do not buy the latest and greatest software versions anymore.  My money software program is officially five years old.  Who cares if the company is going out of business or that the software is being discontinued.

As for interactivity and storytelling I believe that concepts will repeat themselves eventually.  Just like in the art world where an artist appropriates from another artist.

Script: Painting Anthropology

Joan Giampa


Title Pane

Painting Anthropology: The Evolution of a Painting

Definition: Painting Anthropology is the archaeological dig into the subconscious mind of a painter. “Anthropology“, pronounced /ænθrɵˈpɒlədʒi/, is from the Greek ἄνθρωπος, anthrōpos, “human”, and -λογία, -logia, “discourse” or “study”.  And this film will study the evolution of a painting.

7.5 minutes of film showing in fast motion the development of a painting.

Narration: (voice over fast moving film)

An Image has come into my head, “Snake Pit”.  The image conjures up a family situation in which all the players are engaged in a sort of snake pit.  The image came first, however and the situation, “the snake pit” followed.  What is important is that the two ideas were separate and then became one.  Now the image has context and meaning to the artist.  The spectator would never know this part of the magic.

The object has taken on a life of its own.  The objects do represent ideas or events that are going on in my own life in a symbolic sort of way.  The process in which I paint them is still evolving.  There was a time when I labored over many layers of paint.  Now it seems I can get to what I want to say with less laboring and less feel better right now.

The object has taken on a life of its own.  The objects do represent ideas or events that are going on in my own life in a symbolic sort of way.  The process in which I paint them is still evolving.  There was a time when I labored over many layers of paint.  Now it seems I can get to what I want to say with less laboring and less feel better right now.

My name is Joan Marie Giampa and I am a contemporary artist/painter.  I grew up playing in the wooded areas of Northern Virginia along a stream called Difficult Run.  Difficult Run flows through Fairfax County, Virginia to Great Falls Park, on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Today I still live close by the stream where I find and collect the natural forms for my work called “Earth Objects”.

“Earth Objects” are small pods, acorns, and leaves etc… that I collect during walks on the W & O foot trail.

Three tulip tree twigs that are in a circular pattern in the middle of a large field of brown and white paint.  I can relate this image to an event in my life at present.  I usually will use the earth objects as players on a field of color that represent these current events in my life.  They act like actors on a stage and the stage is the ground of the painting itself.  The objects usually represent people in my life.

I will attempt to document how I process ideas during the working process.  I will attempt to show you during the process of painting precisely where my left brain steps out of the picture altogether and I enter into the right brain mode commonly know as the subconscious or nonverbal.  I like o call this mindset “the space between”.  That space I enter into which cannot be verbalized only felt and responded to.  “The space between” in not only a Dave Mathews song, but it is where I live most of the time.  It is where my spirit resides.  It is timeless and has not conscience.  It is void of worry and anxiety and it is sort of a creative cocoon.

I search for this space in my artistic process.  I call this process Image Archaeology.

This makes a great deal of sense to me.  In graduate school, I was using metaphor as a word that described my ideas because my paintings were more story-like.  And now the work focuses on one aspect of a story.  So in essence the part (the earth object i am painting) has a story of its own and can have multiple meanings.  One such object that I have been painting lately is the Yellow Poplar Tree Pod, Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly known as the American tulip tree, tulip poplar or yellow poplar, is the Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species Liriodendron genus and the tallest eastern hardwood.

Anthropology is important because it deals with the study of human, their existence, their culture and social organization. One of its branches is Archaeology which deals with the study of human material culture including artifacts and modern garbage.

I refer to myself as an “Image Archaeologist™.  And my personal iconography is based on the discovery of objects in nature in their native environment.  After finding an object, I take it home and digitize it with my camera.   I then manipulate the photo in a software program called Photoshop to uncover the objects underlying structure. The uncovering process is really a series of filters that I use in Photoshop to remove the objects “outer skin” and reveal its “skeleton”.  Once I feel I have the “skeleton”, I can then take the image to canvas.

I staple wet gessoed canvas onto my studio wall and project the image onto the canvas.  I then carve into the wet gessoed canvas with the butt of a paintbrush an imprint of the “image skeleton”.  I scrub into the surface ground with multiple layers of paint and rub paint into the grooves of the dried gesso surface.  Additional layers of paint are then brushed lightly over the beveled edges of the image to unearth the skeletal impression. More layers of paint are brushed on and wiped away as the image becomes the surface ground and the surface ground becomes the image. It is this process of digging into the canvas and discovering the object within the corporeal ground that makes it “Image Archaeology” ™.

The approach of incising, dusting, digging and other archaeological terms is still how I see that I approach the process of painting.  And then the objects on the surface of the picture plane somehow look as if they are etched and found in the surface.  I cannot explain why I do this, but it feels right.  At times it is a very physical process and that is what I like about it.  I love the physical act of painting and the way that colors can be brushed lightly over textured edges to create depth.  I sometimes feel like they are prints or imprints.  I named my process “image archaeology”, because I think of myself as an archaeologist who finds and image in the surface of a canvas and brings it into existence with all this work that resembles that of what archaeologists do.  In a sense, I am a working metaphor of an artist as archaeologist.

There is a constant searching for the middle ground–the space between the figure and the ground–through the application of paint and projected thoughts.  What remains behind or merges into existence is this exchange of energy between me and the picture plane that culminates into a work of art.

Category: W6: Final Project Topic  Tags:  Comments off
Painting Anthropology: The Evolution of a Painting

Category: W6: Final Project Topic  Comments off
Daily Paintings by Joan Marie Giampa

This was fun….

Category: W5: Animoto  Tags:  2 Comments

Historian Simon Schama writes a book called “Dead Certainties” about a ninteenth-century murder.  We know this book was controversial because Schama interpolates historical fact with fiction.  By using his imagination to embellish the facts of the case, we get a more colorful picture of the actual events.  But it leaves one with the desire to investigate the real from the surreal.  We get a meditation of sorts on the nature of history which makes this film interesting.  Schama must glean some kind of relief from the doldrums of  presenting historical fact in this way.  The fact that he colorizes the plot with his own interpretations makes the documentary more entertaining and more like a movie.  Historians should be frustrated by this subtle remix of fact and fiction because, content and context are both confused.  Overall I think he did a nice job of blending the genre of historical documentation with that of fiction.  How do we know that historical fact is in fact–correct anyway?  We can only base any historical evidence on what another human has recorded.  Is anything ever really accurate?

Preparing the Surface Ground for Painting

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