Well, that’s it for us. We’re done. This specific group of web writers is breaking up. Some of us are graduating. Some of us are heading home. Some of us are taking jobs. Some of us are traveling abroad.
We had a blast, keeping our readers informed, entertained, chuckling, weeping, and generally interested. This playlist is for thoughtful contemplation of the past, possibly while walking slowly through a desolate town or perching yourself on a rail while staring unseeingly at a large body of water.
We hope you enjoyed this last academic year, and that you’ll return for a new set of writers, leaders, topics, beats, concepts, and emotions when we begin again.
From all of us here at The Pulse, so long.
For now, anyway.
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
American Pie – Don McLean
Every Time We Say Goodbye – Ray Charles
With or Without You – U2
Babylon – Angus and Julia Stone
Closing Time – Semisonic
Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver
So Long Goodbye – Sum 41
Float On – Modest Mouse
Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root
Pull My Heart Away – Jack Peñate
I Can’t Stay Here Anymore – Middle Brother
Long May You Run – Neil Young
End Of The Line – Traveling Wilburys
Never Let You Go – Jakaranda
You’ll Be In My Heart – Phil Collins
Goodbye to Love – The Carpenters
University of Oregon sophomore Amos Lachman hadn’t developed his appreciation for hip-hop music until he began listening to the Wu-Tang Clan as a youthfully curious middle school student. Soaking in the legendary New York-based hip-hop group’s inventive lyricism and collaborative style, Lachman discovered his passion for rapping early in life through inspirational songs such as “C.R.E.A.M,” “Protect Ya Neck,” and others by the Wu-Tang Clan. From that point forward, Lachman has devoted his spare time to crafting his own unique rap style and manifesting dreams of following his musical idol’s footsteps.
This past April, Lachman’s life came full circle when he took to the stage of Eugene, Oregon’s WOW Hall to perform an opening act for founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah. In that instant, Lachman transformed into his alter ego, the rapper Lachdown, and proceeded to provide his hometown crowd with a much-needed dose of hip-hop.
“It was a crazy turn of events,” says Lachman. “The first time I was taking rap seriously, I was listening to Wu-Tang Clan. Having the very first time that I’m performing rap seriously to be for somebody from Wu-Tang Clan . . .Yeah, that was pretty nuts.”
Growing up in Eugene, Lachman’s exposure to hip-hop culture was fairly limited. While most of his childhood peers had their iPods tuned to rock and pop, Lachman was jamming to old school rap. According to Lachman, Oregon’s second-largest city does not fall on the radar of established hip-hop scenes in America, which made it difficult for Lachman to immerse himself in the genre.
“Eugene has a pretty minimal rap scene, and what scene there is, isn’t really anything I’m trying to be a part of,” he says. “I’m trying to pave my own way, and if I can elevate Eugene to the top of the music map, that’d be sick, but I’m just trying to maximize what I can do in a town that doesn’t have a lot of rap listeners.”
Nonetheless, the South Eugene High School graduate still managed to satisfy his ears’ craving for beats and rhymes by exploring the Internet. Eventually, after absorbing the ins-and-outs of rap, Lachman was inspired to write his own lyrics.
“Rap is absolutely a useful medium to get out stuff that I wouldn’t talk about otherwise,” he says.
During his senior year of high school, Lachman joined forces with a few of his friends, including fellow hip-hop artist Ricardo Carrizales to form a Wu Tang Clan inspired rap group named “Krew and the Gang.” With the support of Carrizales’ production expertise, Lachman began experimenting with recording and editing tracks.
After graduating from SEHS, Lachman and Carrizales began drifting away from the original Krew and directed attention toward a new venture—Lachdown. By focusing on finely crafted lyricism and well-developed beat production, the collaborative project went on to release several hip-hop samples, until eventually the artists dropped their first demo, I Rap, earlier this year.
Humble may be an overstatement when describing the duo’s recording studio. Nothing more than a microphone a music stand, a maximum of one person can squeeze in the broom closet that these housemates turned into a makeshift vocal booth.
Lachman raps into the mic at his homemade studio. (Alisha Jucevic/Flux)
“It reminds us of the Harry Potter cupboard,” says Carrizales. “For being recorded in a broom closet, our music sounds pretty good.”
Although Lachman had performed at many house parties and small events in the past year, the musicians sought out a grander stage. Between creating new songs and experimenting with sounds, Lachman persistently contacted local venues asking for a chance to “spit on their stage.” Ultimately the diligence paid dividends when Lachman received a one-line email from a WOW Hall concert promoter in late-March. The email read, “You have been approved to open for Ghostface Killah.”
Lachman had finally booked the gig needed to propel the Eugene hip-hop project to relevance. In front of a packed crowd eager to witness a show performed by one of the nineties’ greatest rappers, Lachman’s childhood dream was realized as he riddled his lyrics into the microphone.
As Lachman delivered his WOW Hall premier performance, reveling in the satisfaction of opening for his hero, the local hip-hop star had a few special spectators listening from the audience.
The child of two University of Oregon professors, Lachman was pleased to realize his parents are among some of his biggest supporters. Such big fans, in fact, that they insisted on purchasing tickets to watch their son rap in his most memorable concert thus far.
“My parents are very supportive of my rap ambitions, surprisingly so for middle-aged professors,” Lachman says. “My mom is behind me 100 percent. She used to be the ‘band mom’ that would love to go to shows and lug around our equipment when I first picked up instruments. She definitely kept that enthusiasm as I switched genres and still listens to my music.”
Standing a few feet from his parents at the Ghostface Killah show, a couple of cameramen gathered footage of the up-and-coming hip-hop artist. If all goes according to plan, Lachman is slated to star in a reality show with the purpose of helping its subjects achieve their ambitions. The University of Oregon student is contractually obligated to not disclose information about his upcoming pop culture stint, but is excited and hopes the show will air within the next year.
Until then, Lachman plans to continue producing more tracks and will be working hard in the broom closet.
“Right now, I’m just trying to write as many songs as possible to get some material ready for my next mixtape,” says Lachman. “I’m hoping to take this summer as a time to really focus on locking down.”
Lachman raps inside of his closet-turned-studio. (Alisha Jucevic/Flux)
Daniel Snipes performs at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon. (Maygan Beckers/Flux)
Like many artists, Daniel Snipes was catapulted towards the next phase of his life when his love story reached an unhappy ending. However, the pain of his breakup with his long-time girlfriend eventually subsided into clarity. Feeling alone, yet surrounded by his biting insecurities, he picked up his guitar and focused on creating a unique sound. As his former relationship faded, Snipes found that his desire to explore his faith through making music was one love that could hold him together.
“It brought me to an even playing field to where I could analyze actually who I was,” Snipes says. “I was lower than I really have ever been in my entire life and I’m so glad that I had that because of what it did.”
Originally from the small southern town of Westminster, South Carolina, Snipes, twenty-five, made a leap of faith to pursue his music career in the Northwest. In 21 days, Snipes journeyed over 3,000 miles across the American south to California playing his music and eventually settling in Eugene, Oregon. As an acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter, Snipes expresses himself stylistically through a hybrid of jazz and rhythm and blues. The southern hints sprinkled throughout his dynamic sound provide a complimentary edge to its spiritual content. He plans to take his newfound musicianship and travel around the country, sharing his songs with anyone willing to listen.
“Most people in the South are raised in church,” Snipes says. “A lot of people that I’ve met [in Eugene] have not been raised in church at all I like that because they actually ask questions and it just falls upon deaf ears back home. t’s quite a different experience playing here.”
Daniel Snipes performs at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon. (Maygan Beckers/Flux)
Snipes’ songs employ the use of parable to disguise a deeper Christian message. In his song writing process, he says that his inspiration comes in the form of a gift from his strong connection with God and Christianity.
“I just apply structure to the gift—that’s really all I do,” Snipes says. “It’s not an audible thing like anyone is whispering to me, but it just comes and it’s there and I listen to it.”
His music proved to have a magnetizing effect when he first showcased his songs at his church in South Carolina. A man named Jack Connally heard Snipes play at the Tri-County Worship Center in Seneca, South Carolina and encouraged him to travel to Eugene.
“He’s just given lyrics by God to write a song,” says friend and travel companion Connally. “His purpose behind writing his music isn’t to be famous, but it’s just out of his love for music and the fact that he interprets things in a different way.”
Although he now channels his musical talents to convey a Christian message, Snipes’ old songs are of a very different nature. Back in South Carolina with his ex-girlfriend, Snipes was writing what he considers to be “distasteful music.” One song in particular, “Dirty Date,” he wrote entirely using sexual innuendo.
“It’s weird because it was totally reflecting my own lifestyle,” he says. “I found it so much more important to write songs that come from the bible because they actually have true power. They have weight and they have conviction as well, but you learn something at the same time.”
Daniel Snipes performs at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon. (Maygan Beckers/Flux)
Snipes can recognize the difference between a song that comes from his own experiences or when it’s filtered through his spirituality. His song “Where I’m From” is an upbeat musing on the many differences between the South and the Northwest, while “Satisfy” explores his Christian faith.
Yet not all of Snipes’ songs are so straight forward.
“Tempt Me” takes the listener through a soulful whirlwind of inner questions and longings for someone or something. “Love Drunkeness,” a song Snipes says many people think is about a drunken intimate evening is really about the dizzying experience of encountering an indescribable powerful entity. Drawing on many biblical stories for creative content, he’s able to express his own experiences and his relationship with God in a way that is relatable for members of all creeds.
“I write my music for anybody and anyone,” Snipes says. “It’s not for just people who believe in Jesus. I want to show hope through my songs.”
It’s apparent in Snipes’ music that he is heavily influenced by jazz. Upon first hearing Snipes play, Connally was intrigued by his inventive take on popular worship songs.
“I’ve never heard anyone really play those songs like that,” Connally says. “They were played in an original way—an intimate creative manner.”
To create his soulful sound, Snipes draws influence from Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole by playing jazz chords and using vocal techniques to emulate a Big Band feeling. When writing a song, he considers the big picture—where all the other instruments would be playing in the overall composition. While it’s only him and his acoustic guitar, he hopes to record an album using accompanying classical jazz instruments in the future.
But for Snipes, an undiscovered artist currently self-recording his music, it’s not about getting a record label, making a fortune, or becoming famous. In the next month, he plans to leave Eugene and take his songs to the streets of Portland and Seattle to perform for the public.
“I know that at the end of the day if I’m not doing this, if I’m not playing or writing music, I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do,” Snipes says. “My true desire is to do this, and I don’t care if I make any money off of it. I’m willing to pour everything I have into it.”
Snipes’ new-found love of sharing his faith through his unique musical talents has mended him from a broken past, guided him across the United States, and grounded him in a career that sustains him the way a romantic relationship failed to do. Now, standing at a crossroads between self-expression and financial success, Snipes must again consult his faith and ask, “Which way?”
Daniel Snipes performs at Cozmic Pizza in Eugene, Oregon. (Maygan Beckers/Flux)
Just past a small sign for “Wicklund Farm” in Springfield, Oregon, beyond acres of raw beauty and several plowed garden plots, the sun glistens against thirty-eight strings tightly bound within their chestnut frame. On a May afternoon, Noah Brenner brushes the instrument’s strings with soft swoops from his practiced hands. While the Celtic harp radiates a distinctive, romantic sound—but Brenner, twenty-six, is anything but the classic, “cookie cutter” harpist.
Argentine tango, comical tales of reluctant pirates, and upbeat Celtic tunes make regular appearances within his musical repertoire.
“This type of harp feels and sounds personal and present with you,” says Brenner, punctuating his point with hand gestures. “It’s there, it’s real, it’s with you.”
As a Tango instructor through the continuing education at Lane Community College, Brenner regularly breaks classical harp music stereotypes by blending an array of musical genres. And as a performer, harp instructor, sheet music editor, and engraver (a person who completes a special form of music notation), Brenner is as multi-faceted as he considers his harp.
The Celtic harp is an unusual breed of instrument, often confused with the larger and more common concert harp. The challenge with Celtic harp is the shortage of available music for learners and musicians.
“…You often have to write your own music,” says Brenner. “Depending on the piece, I’ll sometimes make additions or modifications so it’s not the same thing over and over again.”
The Colorado native moved to Eugene to study under adjunct instructor and harpist Laura Zaerr at the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon. As the first student to ever study Celtic harp performance at the University of Oregon, he is now one of the few active harp performers and teachers remaining in Eugene.
“Not only is [Brenner] highly gifted musically, but he also is an easy person to work with, bringing originality and thoughtfulness to his work,” says Zaerr.
Brenner was first introduced to the instrument after his mom bought a lap harp to learn on her own. While Brenner wanted to play the piano, he was told that a year’s commitment learning the lap harp would earn him piano lessons. After that first year, however, the harp won Brenner’s heart.
Brenner has since learned to play (though would not “claim to play”) the piano, viola, mandolin, clarinet, hammered dulcimer, and bits of guitar and bass.
“I was mostly self-taught on [the harp] for a long period of time,” says Brenner, who was featured in an article for a performance at age six. “The harp is just an interesting, bizarre, and beautiful instrument.”
After graduating in 2010, Brenner has kept busy with harp performances, music and dance instruction, and editing sheet music. He is a regular performer at the Scandinavian Festival in Junction City, Oregon, an event he’s played at since he first moved to Oregon.
From his genuine smile to his worn leather shoes, it’s apparent Brenner stays authentic for all audiences. “I’m just not going to apologize for what I do because what I do is why they keep having me back,” Brenner says.
When he was asked to play at the respected Big Sky Harp Festival in 2009, Brenner was beyond thrilled. The festival marked his big entrance into the harp community, as the event featured harpists he had admired for years (including former instructor Zaerr). There, Brenner was even able to teach a workshop on playing Tango on the harp.
“I really enjoy these concerts,” says Brenner, “And engaging an audience–taking them on a journey to show them the non-‘one-dimensionality’ of the harp.”
While he offers unique performances throughout the year (including weddings throughout the region), his current focus is training individuals in the community to play the Celtic harp. In addition to a weekly studio lesson that is open to all of his pupils, Brenner also offers private lessons for children and adults.
Noah Brenner. (Myray Reames/Flux)
Despite his evident passion, Brenner acknowledges that earning a living can be difficult, let alone entertaining several distinct career paths.
“I want to do these things because they are important, not because I need to make money” says Brenner, who lives on the Wicklund Farm property with five roommates.
Finding that balance, he explains, might be his next goal.
Although any one of his professions–the tango lessons, unique performances, engraving, or harp lessons–could become a full-time career, Brenner chose to do them all simultaneously.
“Performing, teaching, and engraving are very unified,” he explains. “They feel like I’m doing the very same thing from three different angles.”
As he plucks the strings of his harp, Brenner closes his eyes. In this moment, the music emanating from his fingers appears to be his only focus.
Everything changed when Josh Krute saw a certain piece of driftwood in Colorado.
At the time, Krute was scrambling in his search of his senior thesis topic. He was in Blue Mesa Reservoir when he found it—the driftwood that gave him a thesis and a new direction for his art.
“I was using the metaphor that in life, people are influenced by their surroundings and their environment, just like a piece of driftwood,” Krute says. “But it still holds true to its grain or itself. So that’s what my thesis kind of became—about identity and about self.”
Krute, now twenty-five, discovered printmaking in college, where he originally emphasized in painting. On its own, printmaking is a labored process. But when it’s a piece of wood that’s being printed, the challenge becomes different entirely.
The first step is finding a piece of wood that looks like it would have an interesting texture. Next, depending on its type and shape, Krute may have to build a form around it to hold it in place. He then shellacs the wood to help prevent its pores from clogging—clogged pores mean less registration (definition) on the printed paper. After shellacking, Krute inks the wood with a roller and then hand presses the paper onto the inked wood with a wooden spoon, a process that takes a couple hours. Finally, if all goes well, he removes the paper and lets it hang-dry for two weeks before preserving it.
Sound complicated? It is. Even Krute, who began printing pieces of wood in 2010, still struggles with it. The paper may rip part of the way through the process or he may finish a print only to discover that the ink is too saturated in many spots, thus blurring and obstructing the markings. It’s stressful, but it doesn’t deter him from wanting to continue creating this kind of art.
For Mary Hood, an associate professor at Arizona State University specializing in printmaking and digital technologies, the allure of printmaking will never fade, just as it won’t for Krute.
“We’re just scratching the surface,” Hood says. “It’s an exciting field to kind of keep an eye on because the pulse of printmaking is always beating. So [printmakers] are always looking for new ways to challenge themselves and challenge the medium and new ways to integrate a host of aesthetics into the processes.”
Regardless of how the digital age is shaping the practice, printmaking has always been about moments in space and time. Before photography, printmaking was a way to capture an image, and Krute continues to go back to this idea in the prints he creates.
“I think one of the most important things in my work for this series is that they’re kind of a representation of a moment of the piece of wood’s life or existence,” Krute says. “Printmaking for me kind of acts like a photo in that it captures a moment specifically in its existence.”
Capturing a piece of wood in a specific moment means it might have the swooping marks of a chainsaw, the smooth stroke of a wood miser, or the harsh cuts of a chisel. But it also means seeing the wood’s grain patterns and growth rings, the life it lived before people came along. The relationship between the two is important for Krute and key to understanding his art. Sure, the prints show interesting textures, but for those who understand it, it is so much more.
“It’s hard to hear people say, ‘Oh, that’s just a piece of wood that you printed. Anyone can do that.’ They don’t quite get the steps it takes to create something like that,” Krute says. “When you’ve worked with something for a long time, you automatically establish a relationship with it and you kind of nurture it. You take your time with it and it turns out to be something nice and worthwhile.”
Krute’s prints, which are displayed at the Urban Lumbar Co. gallery in Eugene, Oregon, have clearly been nurtured. The craftsmanship is apparent in all of his work, even in the frames, which were laboriously designed by Krute and made by hand.
With the release of his first series, Krute already has ideas for his next installment. He wants to continue printing wood, but might experiment with color or adding some of his own carvings into the design. While he isn’t quite sure where he’s going, he’s certain art will remain an important part of his life.
“In this day and age, the craftsmanship of art and how people communicate is really fast paced,” Krute says. “For me, doing these prints by hand and pulling them by hand, it’s really about giving back to the old days. I just really find the value of doing things by hand.”
It started with a piece of driftwood in Colorado. Three years later, Krute has found his niche and doesn’t look like he’ll be leaving it anytime soon.
With a bow in her hair and boots on her feet, Julie Cendejas rocks a style that is more “cute and fun than high fashion or sophisticated.” The recent business graduate loves anything girly or pink. Cendejas holds an admiration for Taylor Swift’s grown-up princess style (“I still want the purple dress she wore on her ‘Speak Now’ tour”), and thinks Birkenstocksare the worst thing to happen to fashion. For some tips on how to encompass a girly look, read on!
Where do you find inspiration?
I usually just browse my favorite clothing stores’ websites and look through their Instagram photos. It helps me think of outfit ideas. I visit Lilly Pulitzerand Anthropologieoften.
What do you think is more important: a good pair of shoes or a solid set of accessories?
Definitely a good pair of shoes. I hardly accessorize when it comes to jewelry and handbags. I am obsessed with boots. My favorite pair of boots is my pink Hunter rain boots. They are so perfect for Eugene!
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it consist of?
A bow, a pink dress, and sandals or cowboy boots. I love spring and summer outfits best because I love brightly colored dresses.
What item do you think every girl should have in her closet?
A Lilly Pulitzer dress! Every girl needs a brightly colored dress to make her feel beautiful for special occasions. I wore one for my 21st birthday and I had one for my graduation. They are so pretty I always feel so confident when I wear them.
Are there any items that you think are necessary to splurge on?
Jeans! A good pair of jeans is absolutely essential to flattering your figure. I used to work at American Eagle so I would usually only buy jeans from there. One day I decided to splurge on jeans. I bought a pair of AG jeans at Anthropologie and I will never buy American Eagle jeans again because AG jeans fit me perfectly.
Would you rather be over dressed or under dressed?
I would rather be overdressed. I think the way you dress is a representation of who you are. I think it goes hand-in-hand with preparation. I would rather be over prepared than underprepared for something. If you are overdressed it shows your dedication and effort.
London-based artist John Conway spends his time in many walks of life—prehistoric life, that is.
Conway focuses on two genres of art: “paleontological reconstruction and, well, everything else,” a combination which allows for breathtaking imaginative overlap.
“John’s art melds illustrative skill and a variety of approaches with scientific detail and imagination,” science writer Brian Switek, who specializes in evolution, paleontology, and natural history, told Flux in an interview.
The path to creating accurate representations of prehistoric flora and fauna is riddled with challenges—the biggest perhaps being the initial research.
“Things are particularly difficult for artists here, even the most scientifically minded of us,” Conway said. “Scientific literature simply isn’t written with the problems of artists in mind; the crucial information on the appearance of fossil animals and environments can be spread across hundreds of papers, and even then there are huge gaps.”
Reconstructing plant life is particularly difficult as a decent-sized painting might have dozens of species, and gathering information on each is a daunting task.
“I’ve been putting a lot of effort into this over the last couple of years, and I’m still nowhere near where I’d like to be,” he said.
Conway’s fascination with paleontology began during childhood. Sparked by Bob Baker’s book The Dinosaur Heresies, his love for dinosaurs quickly intertwined with his passion for art.
“Certainly by the time I was fifteen, I was very into painting—especially nineteenth century landscape painters, and some modernists, as well as the paleontological artists,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Conway to dive into his own paleo-art career. At seventeen, he went to work for a museum in his hometown of Canberra, Australia, where he painted life-sized murals behind the dinosaur skeletons. Six years later, it was time for bigger and better.
“I grew up in a very dull city,” he said. “I left [Canberra] at age 23, while halfway through a philosophy/biology degree, to take up a very glamorous job working in Hall Train Studios making pterosaurs and dinosaurs.”
Hall Train, located in Ontario, Canada, is one of the leaders in the design and creation of exhibit paleo-environments, which are featured in natural history museums, science centers, and theme parks around the world, as well as one of the world’s foremost suppliers of dinosaur animation for television.
Credit: John Conway
“A year later, I moved to London and have been freelancing successfully (and mostly unsuccessfully) ever since…the money is terrible” Conway said.
On occasion Conway is challenged with completely reconstructing animals from the fossils, up. To do this, he must first draw all of the individual bones and assemble the skeleton, then comes the challenge of reconstructing muscles and other soft tissue using relatives through phylogenetic bracketing.
“Greg Paul and, more recently, Scott Hartman have done an amazing job recreating dinosaur skeletons—I use those where available,” he said.
Conway’s non-paleo-art spans a vast variety of subjects, from alien life forms, to abstract representations of lyrics and mythologies, to beautifully obscure portraits of musical instruments.
“I’m very jealous of music and its apparently privileged connection to emotion in our brains. I have the rhythm of a drunken caffeinated turkey,” he said jokingly. “It has recently dawned on me that I will not live long enough to become a composer, an architect, a city planner, a singer-songwriter, an academic philosopher, a filmmaker, a paleontologist, a novelist, an engineer, a rock-star programmer, a shipbuilder, and a Lego-set designer.”
Though there is a distinct separation between Conway’s paleontological art and the rest, all of his work shares a similar aesthetic. He has an incredible ability to create life and motion is his computer-native art, much of which is still life recreation.
“He does far more than try to get the dinosaurs right: he gives them a kind of vitality that is sometimes lost in attempts where technical details trump the goal of trying to restore the animals as they once lived,” science writer Switek said. “People want to know what these animals looked like, and so it warms the cockles of my petrified heart to see John and other artists really do their homework while pushing the boundaries of what we can imagine about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals… Their work helps bring new science out to the public, and I am very thankful for that.”
Conway’s art has been featured worldwide, in countless blogs, publications, and in documentaries for National Geographic, BBC, and the Discovery Channel. Most exciting was the internet response to his book, All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals.
“In 2012 I decided to pursue a direct-to-people strategy of selling my work… All Yesterdays seemed like the most complete, and best suited of our various projects,” Conway said.
“It’s been amazingly well received critically and got heaps of coverage,” Conway said. “Though we are far from the only artists to produce the kinds of reconstructions you see in the book, I think it has come at just the right time, giving articulation and focus to what many of us have been feeling about paleontological reconstruction latterly.”
For Conway, paleontological art is about more than simply science communication.
“Honestly, such a goal would bore me. I think it should also have another goal, which has to do with enriching our lives through aesthetic experiences—shifting our feelings of the world,” he said
In her room that seems smaller than the size of Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, Ellie Howard manages to pull four different copies of her latest print from her print-making class titled “Victory” out from underneath her white iron-cast bed. Her long blonde-ash locks are pulled back into a messy ponytail and her fingers, stained with different colored paints, are dead giveaways as to what she had been doing for the past six hours. Her room is plastered with ripped-out pages from fashion magazines, an American flag fan, a flag from Sienna, Italy, small cut-outs of famous paintings, a billboard collage of colored ribbons, and photos. Her voice is calm, yet she has a spark of laughter that’s contagious. Cracking jokes left and right, she sits Indian style upon her floral-printed bedspread as she tells me of her passion for art.
I got the privilege of talking with Howard, a senior and artist majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Art History at the University of Oregon.
What inspires you the most?
“I don’t know how to narrow down what inspires me other than what strikes me at a moment. I was thinking of an instance that this happened to me the other day. In the EMU I saw this golden drinking fountain…. It had a plaque to commemorate somebody. [It was] in this weird stairwell that broke off and there was a brick wall with this golden drinking fountain. And I was like, ‘that’s the coolest thing ever.’ I felt like I wasn’t done thinking about it…. I really like flowers, I really like clothes and looking at what people are saying and doing.… It’s hard to narrow down. I have a lot of interests. I get a pull from all over.”
How long have you been making art?
“Since forever. I have one of those second memories like where you remember the incident, but you don’t remember anything else really. I was probably five-years-old and everybody was out playing on the playground. I was sitting alone drawing a picture of my family under a rainbow or something. In Kindergarten, when we had that sponge brush and we had all the different cut sponges. And we did the coolest thing ever… I was like ‘This. Is. Awesome!’ I think it sparked in Kindergarten.”
What’s your favorite medium?
“There’s so many types of ways to make things which I definitely learned in undergrad. Taking printmaking, which is something you don’t do too much in high school if you take art. I really liked printmaking, but it was really stressful. It’s cool to be able to make copies of stuff. I really, really like painting, but it’s a struggle sometimes. It’s hard to be original and find satisfaction in your own work when there’re a lot of other people like that. A lot of people make art. I like all different mediums.”
Which era of art would you go back to and why?
“Probably the late 1800’s in Paris and England because they had these great exhibitions and it was so romantic, the notion that everyone was going out to see what had been painted. It was more in the public eye, which is cool. That’s why people make things for other people to look at.”
Do you usually have an idea first and then create it or do you start off with a plank medium and work from there?
“It depends on the class. When I have a prompt, it’s kind of like going at it like a math equation or trying to think back to what I’ve thought about recently or what’s in my sketchbook or collage. If it’s a literary reference, I think about all my books or pick an image that is blank. You just fill in the blank with something that pertains to your interests. It’s almost easier coming up with something. The carrying out of it is the hard part because it never turns out exactly how you pictured; well, not never, just rarely.”
Ellie plans on graduating from the University of Oregon this Spring and moving back to her hometown of Lafayette, California where she will begin looking at internships abroad.
I spent my adolescence rocking black hair and wearing way too much eyeliner. I attended the rocker-filled Warped Tour five summers in a row, and I protested the radio like it was the number one cause of death in the world. For years, my walls were plastered with posters of bands no one else had ever heard of, and I reveled in the fact that I had some sort of musical superiority over others my age. I went through stages where I only listened to metal, punk, pop punk, or alternative—basically whatever was the most obscure to my peers at the time. Looking back I’m a bit embarrassed at my snobbery (and appearance! I like to show my sorority sisters the pictures for a laugh), but in the long run I have been left with a diverse repertoire of music and love for lesser-known artists that most of my friends have never heard of. These are the bands that made the most impact on me, the bands that I still listen to today.
The Dangerous Summer
It’s safe to say this is my favorite band. They always put on a fantastic live performance, and they have such a raw and beautiful sound I don’t see how anyone could dislike their music. They just released a new song called “Catholic Girls” that encapsulates the sound I admire, and I’m glad I can still call myself a fan years later.
City and Colour
Dallas Green has the voice of an angel and is one of the most talented lyricists I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. Before venturing on a solo-career full time, Green was the lead vocalist of post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. The band broke up in 2012 (and was the first band I ever saw live in April of 2007). Although City and Colour is opposite from Green’s previous work, the first time I heard “Sleeping Sickness,”I fell in love.
If I play their music and someone recognizes it, we are automatically best friends. “Alive with the Glory of Love”is probably my favorite song in existence, and their album …Is A Real Boy is one of my “top ten’s” (ten albums that have influenced my music taste/appreciation for music).
When I first left the realm of country and pop music, I found myself watching Fuse television and listening to a lot of Senses Fail. Playing “Buried a Lie” made me feel so hardcore when I was in middle school, and I still feel a little B.A. when I play them now.
I love a good female vocalist, but for me, the right one is hard to find. However, Sierra Kusterbeck blows me away every time I hear her sing. “Moments Between Sleep” was my anthem, and this song is worth some attention.
Drop-waists, berry lips, and embellished accessories; if only kitten heels were in fashion too. But it’s official—the ‘20s are back. With the recent release of The Great Gatsby, the beauty and fashion world has embraced all aspects of the generation, and this year’s trends reflect the recent fascination for the decade. From ‘20s haircuts to flapper fashion, Gatsby-inspired looks can be seen on both the runway and in stores. From red carpet to campus, these pieces can be used to create a classic look with a glamorous twist.
Shoppers can find ‘20s inspired items in almost any store catering young females this season. Drop-waist dresses, silk tops, and beaded details are all very popular. To avoid vintage over-kill, skip piling on multiple pieces that embody the trend all at once. The goal is to put together a fashionable outfit, not a costume. Instead, my advice is to choose one piece as a focal point and then to either pair it with basic pieces in neutral colors or pair with modern accessories to bring the past into the present.
As for makeup, there are a lot of ways to bring the ‘20s into everyday wear. Like clothing, I’m not a fan of all of the staples together at one time; I wouldn’t wear dark eyes with dark lips, nor is the popular thin, drawn-on eyebrows of the decade a look I would ever sport. Pairing something like MAC’s Lush Lifewith a more natural eye (matte, neutral eyes shadows with thin eyeliner and tons of mascara) would be a dramatic and appropriate interpretation of the time. A dark, smoldering eye with a nude lip is also another great alternative to ‘20s inspired beauty because kohl rimmed eyes were all the rage. Feeling more adventurous? Try out some hairstyles inspired by the decade! Short cuts, glamorous headbands, and most importantly finger waves, were a must. Thispost gives a good explanation of how to encompass the look.
It doesn’t matter if a girl identifies as a “Daisy” or a “Jordan,” bringing small touches from the past back into the present instantly revamps a girl’s style with a vintage twist. So embrace the 1920s and incorporate some old-fashioned glam into everyday wear–it is perfectly on-trend.