Breaking Dali

You might think the only commonality between Salvador Dalí and the hit TV show Breaking Bad would be the use of drugs – I mean, how else did Dalí come up with those psychedelic, surrealist works, right?

According to Dalí’s statement, “I don’t use drugs, I am drugs,” he wasn’t taking any kind of hallucinogens during his creative processes. The similarity then actually lies in the shared interest in Werner Heisenberg.

The use of Heisenberg’s name in Breaking Bad begins Walter White’s transition into the infamous drug tycoon that he becomes throughout the series. White’s chemistry background brings about this connection and interestingly enough, it’s Dalí’s own enthusiasm for science that attracted him to the Nobel prize-winning Heisenberg.

“I, who previously only admired Dalí, will now start to admire that Heisenberg who resembles me (Dalí).” As seemingly narcissistic and fame-oriented Dalí seemed, he had a large interest in psychology and natural sciences. It’s these interests and the understanding of the connection between the mind and physics (among other aspects of science) that allowed him to visualize and create such stunning surrealist works throughout his lifetime.

Though the life of Dalí was one of eccentricity and mystery, he has left an immeasurable impact on the art community and continues to inspire today. The concept that visual arts and scholastic theories or pursuits can come together as one is the kind of creative influence that’s helped guide and develop generations of artists.


We Didn’t Start the Fire

Portable kilns don’t exist (at least none that are very practical or well developed). While this might not affect you immediately, this can throw a wrench in the plans for anyone creating large scale ceramic or clay sculptures. Nina Hole was one of these artists, but she found an ingenious solution to this problem.

She fired the sculptures on location.

Her large sculptures are wrapped in a protective (and not flammable) cloth and fired for dozens of hours. The sculptures are then unwrapped during an unveiling and admired in all of their fire-molded glory.

Pao Hall at Purdue has been in the process of building Hole’s last fire sculpture for the past month. Nina Hole passed away in February, so this will be the final installation of her world renowned fire sculptures as well as a celebration of her life. Her creation will be fired for around 60 hours the days before and when it’s unwrapped Saturday, it’s sure to light up the night.

Students, faculty and community members are invited to attend the unveiling (details below). The sculpture will resemble a house in the end, a metaphor Hole equated to the body in many of her pieces. Her team has worked on the assembly throughout this process and encourages everyone to come watch, as this will be the last time we can see anything quite like it. Watching the unveiling makes these sculptures more than just a solid piece of art, but rather a performance in itself.

I briefly interviewed a fellow Purdue student, Brenna Allard, about her opinion of the new sculpture and her interest in attending the unveiling (audio below). After watching some of Hole’s process and a previous unveiling online, Allard was much more intrigued about the event this weekend.

I hope this encourages people to come and celebrate the life and work of Nina Hole as well as spread a deeper knowledge about the stories behind the art on campus.


Unveiling of Nina Hole’s final Fire Sculpture at Purdue


Saturday, April 16 at 8:30pm


Yu-Kong Pao Hall

552 W Wood St., West Lafayette IN



Beginning Painting

“Painting is self-discovery. Every artist paints what he is.”

Jackson Pollock

Pollock was right; life influences art in significant ways. The literal sense of this quote is also true, though, in art classes where you’re assigned to create a self portrait.

Beginning Painting (AD200) is one of those classes, which I happen to be taking this semester. Our instructor, Victoria Stetler, has taught us much about the different aspects of painting, including color theory, form and individual style. A good example of these concepts in action is the master study assignment in which we replicate portions of work by three artists, one that paints in a similar style and two that don’t.

Personally, I found it rather difficult to create a likeness (to my standards) for the two painters that have different styles than myself. The two were Renaissance artists, Titian and Leonardo Da Vinci, and the smoothness and precision was tiring (Check out my previous blog post that features my Leonardo replication). Thomas Eakins, on the other hand, I was excited to replicate and I found the composition a lot easier, with a wide variety of value and color change (below).

This class has increased my understanding not only of my own style and preferences, but also other styles, which I believe has in turn allowed me to grow as a painter. Therefore, I was excited to see how Stetler has become not only the artist she is today, but also successful instructor.

Stetler was a non-traditional student for most of her education, and did not originally intend on teaching, she says that came later. The passion she has for art is apparent in her excitement for her students to learn and master different areas of fine arts, some of which she shared in a brief interview with me (below).*

Besides self portraits and the master studies, our class is also completing a layered painting of a theme of our choice. Stetler showed us her layered painting in an earlier class to better explain the assignment. Her piece was focused on the role of women in combination with clothing, sewing and housework. The final piece depicts overlapping layers of stenciled female figures, outlines of and old fashioned ironing board, scissors and linear samples of directions from sewing books. The center of the piece is a detailed depiction of a piece of cloth hanging on a clothes line, which she painted from a still life. This artistic combination of different elements creates a unique theme and prominent message to its viewers.

(Video to be embedded as soon as approved)

The atmosphere of our class is rather relaxed, and since we’re allowed to listen to music many of us have headphones in while we paint – hence the silence in much of the next video.

(Video to be embedded as soon as approved)

* The videos are private until I get Stetler’s approval


Tattoo Mapping

Tattoos (like diamonds) are forever. But what if they weren’t?

Projection mapping artists Oskar and Gaspar collaborated with tattoo artists from Queen of Hearts Tattoos to make this a reality – at least for a night.

For the event, they projected the moving tattoo designs on human canvases, building on existing tattoos and creating new ones. The video below shows the tattoos in action, and no editing software was used after filming, so yes, it really looks that real. The process requires the subject to stand very still while the projected tattoo does its thing, but the quality and detail in the projections are incredible. The visuals projected on individuals remain true and aren’t distorted despite the curved surfaces of the human body.

While this experience doesn’t change things permanently, bloggers and techies are excited about what these developments have in store for future creative installations and designs. Below are some stills from the video, showcasing the projections at different parts of the mapping process.

Who knows, maybe you could be in the next collaboration with this new and advancing technology – keep creating!

Seeing Stars

We’re all familiar with star-filled skies from looking out at the night sky, whether it be from walking outside, camping or even through the window of an asylum.

That’s right, an asylum.

For Vincent Van Gogh, he saw The Starry Night through the window at a psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy in 1889 (below).

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

This and many of Van Gogh’s prominent works resulted from his voluntary stay at the St. Paul Mausole from 1889-1890. After a breakdown in 1888, when he infamously cut off his own ear, he was hospitalized on and off and suffered from delusions and hallucinations. Local townspeople even nicknamed him “fou roux” or the “redheaded madman.” He found acceptance and understanding with the staff and fellow patients at St. Paul Mausole, though, and he was encouraged to paint throughout his stay.

The Starry Night was an idea Van Gogh had outlined before his arrival at St. Paul’s, but he found that the view from his room at night would be the main landscape he would paint from. Much of the piece was from observation but he spent a majority of the time working on it in a small studio provided to him at the hospital, during daylight hours.

The above selection shows some of the work he also completed at the asylum, including portraits of staff and fellow patients, and irises from near the buildings. Large fields and gardens surround St. Paul’s, and Van Gogh had been interested in nature his whole life, so it’s fitting that much of his work resembled a combination of the two.

He may have only sold one of his pieces during his lifetime but I think he’d be pretty impressed with the mark he has left on the art world, even posthumously.


The Olympics may begin with a torch but you wouldn’t want to bring it around these Olympic-themed beauties.

Raya Sader Bujana specializes in paper art, almost a kind of sculpting if you will. She has a page on Etsy where she sells her handmade jewelry – yes, all made from paper (with layers of varnish to protect it) – with different themes. Her work began mostly as paper food products and has evolved to many different categories (below). She even encourages customers to submit new ideas for her to create.

Bujana has also created Olympic figures from this method (below).

▪Hey guys 🙋 Ann, from @allthingspaper has written an awesome article about my "Paper Olympics" series (link in profile) I just wanted to say how grateful I am for all the positive comments and feedback I've been receiving ❤ also a huge thank you to @instagrames and @colossal for sharing my work, I really couldn't be more grateful 😊 Happy Sunday guys! ▪ ▪Hola guapos 🙋 Ann de @allthingspaper ha escrito un artículo genial sobre mi último serie de Olimpiadas en papel (Link en mi perfil) Solo quería agradecer todos los comentarios y feedback positivo que he estado recibiendo ❤ También un gracias gigante a @instagrames y a @colossal por compartir mi trabajo, no podría estar más agradecida 😊 Feliz domingo chicos! ▪ Photo @leocroma #paperart #papersculpture

A post shared by Raya Sader Bujana. (@littlerayofsunflower) on

Each figure is cut from nearly 150 different pieces of paper to create a layered effect and in my opinion a topographical map-like surface. All of her work is very creative and uniquely configured, and clearly popular with many people as she’s been featured in many blogs and has a pretty strong following.

I hope this sparks some new and creative ideas to get you start creating!