Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 52

SeeThroughaDifferentLens

Alookintomycreativity

AsIsitdownonaThursdayafternoontoworkonthispaper,mymindcanthelp
butwonder.Wonderfortheopportunityfacingme,inexactlyoneweekIwillbe
boardingaflighttotraveltoEuropefortheveryfirsttime.WithmeIwillbebriningmy
camera,theverytoolusedtogettothereinthefirstplace.Iwillbetravelingtoseemy
artwithinagalleryjustblocksfromthewhereworldrenouncedartistLeonardodaVinci
displayshiswork.ThisyearIaccomplishedagoalofshowingmyworkinan
internationalshow,IhadnoideaitwouldbeashowintheheartofParis,France.But
whatsurprisesothers,includingmyself,isthatIonlystartedtakingphotographsforthe
purposeofartinthisverysameyear.ItwasntthatIjustwokeuponemorningandhad
theabilitytocaptureandcreatebutratheraseriesofeventsthroughoutmylifethat
havesparkedcreativitywithinme.SowithalotonmymindaboutthistripIwantto
reflectonhowIgottowhereIamandwherethiscreativitycamefrom.
Ishouldstartofbytalkingaboutmyparentsandgrandparents,astheytoohave
beenblessedwithcreativetalentsthatwerebothpassedon,aswellastaughttome.
Bothofmygrandfatherswerepastorswhohadadeeploveforfindingunderstanding
throughfaith.Onegrandfatherinparticular,onmymotherside,wasalsoapreacher
andprofessionalpianoplayer.Hisabilitytocombinebothpreachingandmusicinorder
toconveycomplexmeaningswasastounding.Hiscreativeabilitytoexpressfeelingsand
emotionswasultimatelypassedontomymother.Shehadhismusicalability,andwas

abletopickupanyintermentandbecomefirstchairsomethingcollegefreshmenwere
notknownfordoing.Idohonestlybelieveifshewouldhavestuckwithmusicthatshe
wouldhavebeenremarkable.Herfriendswhodidstickwithmusic,arenowconductors
onBroadway.ButImgladshefollowedherheart,becauseshehadafonddesiretohelp
people,whichwouldultimatelyleadtotheadoptionofmysevensiblings.
Mydadssideofthefamilyhoweverarenotthemostcreativebunch.Theylive
inIllinoisandfitthestereotypicalrednecklifestyle.Butmyfatherwasdifferent,he
thoughtdifferentlythanthoseofhisbrotherandsisters.Ashissiblingsworkwiththeir
handsmydaddecidedtoworkwithhisheadandgoofftocollegetoreceivemajorsin
biology,chemistry,andphysics.Hewouldendupworkingforacomputercompanythat
dealswithstockmarkettrading.Thispositioninthetechnologyfieldwouldendup
makingamajordifferenceinmylifeintermsofthemediumofartIcreateinaswellas
howourfamilycametoaffordadoptingsevenchildren.
WhenIwasbornIhadlearningdisabilitiesinbothreadingandwriting.Tomake
mattersworse,myeyeworkedindecentlyofeachotherresultinginnodepth
perception.Ataveryyoungage,IknewIwasdifferent,asIwouldalwaysneedmore
helpthanthatoftheotherchildren.IfIwasluckyenoughtobeabletofocusonthe
wordsinfrontofme,mydisabilitywouldmakethemblurryandmeaninglessinmy
head.Mostofmymemoriesfromchildhoodweremeintherapytryingtolearntosee.
Thiswasverymuchablessingindisguise.Beingabletolookatthingsandseefine,

integratedetailsthatyouwereneverabletobefore,makeyouappreciatethebeauty
aroundus.Myvisionmighthavebeenresolvedbutmylearningdisabilitywillnevergo
away,anditsverymuchthereasonIpickedacreativecareer.Artdoesntrequireany
particularsetofskillsorlanguages.Eachandeverypersoncanexperienceandcreateart
regardlessofwhatsholdingthemback.ThisisverymuchthereasonIenjoyedartand
craftsduringelementaryschool,astherewasntanyrightorwronganswers.Noone
wasgoingtoputmeonthespotandmakemereadfromabookthatwouldultimately
causemetoembarrassmyselfandshoweveryonehowmuchofafailureIwassinceI
couldntdosomethingapparentlysoeasy.HoweverArtwasneverarequiredclassor
partofthecurriculumsountilhighschoolIdeeplymissedoutonthesubjectIdidnt
needextrahelpwith.
WhenIwasstillinelementaryschooltherewasthreemajoreventsthatwould
pushmeevenclosertowhereIamtoday.WhenIwaseightyearsoldIlearnedtoridea
unicycle.Itwassomethingsostrangebutittaughtmeafewlessonsandallowedmeto
travelthroughoutthecountry.Learningtorideaunicycletookmeabouttwomonths.
DuringthattimeIwouldspenddayslearninghowtogetontheunicycleandweeks
fallingbeforeevenmovinganinch.IlearnedmorethanjustridingaunicycleIlearned
thatfailureisultimatelytheprocesstosuccess,somethingkeytobeinganartistlaterin
life.Iwentontocompleteinanationalunicyclecompetition,sortoflikeaunicycle
Olympicsastherewereanumberofdifferentevents.OverallIrankedfourthoutofall

theeventsandgainedagreatconversationstarter

Myfatherhasworkedinthecomputerprogrammingindustryfor36yearswhich
introducedmetothedigitalworkveryearlyon.DuringelementaryschoolIveryreally
madefriendsandsomuchoftheactivitiesIpartookindidntinvolveotherpeople.Soat
theageoftwelvehavingbeenintroducedtothepowerofcomputersthroughmy
father,Idecidedtobuildmyown.Myfathergaveme$1500andletmecreate
somethingneitherofushaveevertried.Ultimatelybuildingthecomputerwasnotas
difficultandmanybelieve.Iwaschallengedwithcreatingasystemmorepowerfulthan
anythingIhadeverused.Atthisage,Iwasveryinterestedinthevideogamesthatmy
computercouldplaywhenotherscouldnot.Afterwatchingmyfatherprogramand
createwebsitesandtoolswithhisowncomputer,IstartedtowonderifIcouldcreate
somethingwithmine.Istartedlearningtocodeaswellascreategamesratherthanthe
websitesmyfatherwasbuilding.Bybeingcuriousandreadinguponthesubjectof
makingvideogamesIcameacrossmanyprogramsIusedtodayfromAdobesuchas
Photoshop.Theseapplicationscameeasybutmyabilitytocreateideasespecially
conceptualideaswouldntcomeuntilIwasincollege.
ThelastmajoreventduringelementaryschooliswhenItravelledtoChinato
adopttwonewtwinsisters.Thiswasmyfirsttimeleavingthecountryandexperiencing
adifferentculturefirsthand.Idistinctlyrememberhowallthebuildingsweredesigned
withsuchcraftsmanshipaswellasuniquevibrantcolorsIwasnotusedtoseeingbackin

thestates.Notonlywerethebuildingssocreativebutthestreetswerefilledwithartists
creatingpots,woodcarvings,andpaintings.Becauseoftheconversionratemyfamily
wasabletopurchaseanumberofworkswhichstillhangonthewallthroughoutmy
house.ThistripwouldultimatelythefirsttimeIgottousemyfirstdigitalcamera.I
unfortunatelydonthaveanyphotographsthatItookduringthetripbutthiswasthe
firsttimeIstartedcapturingbasicelementsofartsuchasline,shape,color,andtexture.
ItwouldntbeuntilhighschoolyearslaterthatIwouldpickupanothercameraand
create.

ThroughoutjuniorhighIneededalotofextrahelpduetomylearningdisability.
Ihadnochoiceofpickingelectiveclassesastheschoolforcedmetoenterspecial
educationcourses.TheonlytimeIwasallowedtobecreativeiswhenIwasathome
usingtheverysamecomputerIhadbuildafewyearsbefore.Itwasonlyinhighschool
whenIprovedtotheeducationboardthatIshouldnthavetotakethesespecial
educationclasses.ForthefirsttimeIhavethechoiceofwhichclassesIwantedtotake.I
triedtolookawayfromclassessuchasEnglishorscienceasthoseweretheveryclasses
Istruggledwith.Ifoundthreeclassesoneon3Dmodeling,anotherinPhotoshop,and
lastlyoneonphotography.IneachoftheseclassesIwasusingapplicationIhadbeen
introducedtoearlyoninlife.ForonceIwasnttheoneneedingthehelpbutratherthe
onetogotoforhelp.Neitherthe3DmodelingclassorPhotographyclasswouldrunby
actualartistssoIlearnedverylittleandinsomeregardsmademeshyawayfromsuch
creativemediums.HowevermyPhotoshopteacherwasanartistsandisverymuchthe
reasonImperusingacareerinart.HisnamewasChadMandersandforthefirsttimeI
hadsomeonewhowasverymuchchallengingmetothinkcreativity.Ihadagood
understandingoftheseprogramshoweverIwasntcreatinganythingmovingor
creative.ForalongtimeIwasalwaysthepersonpeoplewenttoforhelpinsuchclasses
butnowIwasreceivingpoorgradsinsomethingIthoughtIwassogoodat.Hepushed
metocreatemoreandmoreworkuntilonedayIwonanawardfromcongress.Hehad

10

takenoneofmyworksandentereditintoashowwithoutmyknowledge.Irevived
countlessremarksonmycreativitythatIstartedtowonderifthiswassomethingIwas
goingtodoforlife.TheweekIgraduatedhighschoolhegavemealetterexplainingthe
importanceofmecontinuingtoprosueartasacareer.ForthisveryreasonIwouldlook
forschoolswithmajorsinartanduntimelyendupatlorasCollege.

11

12

13

ComingintoLoras,IstillwasntsurewhatmediumofartIwantedtocreatein.
ButthecurriculumatLorasCollegeisverysimilartothatoftheBauhausinthatstudents
willreceiveinstructioninverymediumofartsoonceacoremediumischosentheartist
iswellversed.Ilearnedaboutpainting,drawing,sculpting,digitaldesign,animation,
andwebdesign.ItstartedofwiththebasicsofpaintingstaughtbyTomtheartistwho
createdmostoftheartthroughHoffmanhallandlibrary.Hehadanabilitytolookat
anypieceofartwecreatedandnowexactlywhichartisttostudywhoworkedina
similarfashion.ThoughmypaintingswerenotverygoodIlearnedalotwhenIcomes
controllinglightandcolor.AtthetimeIhadnoideahowimportanthislessonswere,
unfortunatelyheretiredthatverysameyearsomanyotherartstudentincludingmyself
haventhadthehonortolearnmorefromhim.Hisretirementalsocausedtheschoolto
reconsiderhavingartasamajor.MaybeitwasbecauseTomhadretiredormaybeis
wasthatartwasntmakingtheschoolenoughmoney.Iwasdeeplysaddenedbut
thankfulinthatIwillbethelastofthreepeoplegraduatingfromthisschoolwitha
majorinart.Somefirstyearstudentsweretoldtheywouldneedtolookelsewherein
ordertofinishouttheirmajororswitchmajorentirely.Iwasnowforcedtofinishboth
myjuniorandseniorartclassesinoneyearwhichresultedinbothwonderfulsuccess
andextremestress.IwantedtopushmyselfsohardthatIwouldcreateandaccomplish
greatnesstoprovetheimportanceofarttoourschool.

14

Mysophomoreyearwasoneofthemoststressfulandeyeopeningyearshereat
Loras.Forthefirsttimewestartedcreatingdigitalart,anareaIfeltmorecomfortable
with.IwouldsoonlearnthatIranintoasimilarproblemtowhichIexperiencedinhigh
school.IknewtheprogramsbutIhadahardtimecreatingmeaningorpurposewithin
mywork.MyprofessorSethMyerskeptpushingmeeachandeverydaytodomore.It
wasasifIcouldnevermakemyartprofessorshappyevenifIspentsleeplessnights
working.Duringmysophomoreyearonlytwoworksreceivedpositivefeedbackoutof
thehundredsIhadcreated.IultimatelybelievedIwasntcreativeasIoncethought,I
didntknowitatthetimebutthiswasntthemediumIwasmeanttocreate,
photographywas.ItwasduringChristmasmysophomoreyearthatIreceivedacamera.
ForthefirsttimesincetryingtocapturemyexperiencesinChinayearsagoIhadaccess
toacamera,anewmediumtowhichIhadntexplored.Ishouldalsopointoutthetwo
worksthatdidreceivepositivefeedbackareoflivingthingsandanintroductionto
portraitworkwhichIwouldendofdoingmyjunioryearandhavingsuccess.Thiswas
theyearmyfamilyalsoadoptedanotherchildfromchinawhichreintroducedalotof
culturalartiststraditionsduringmytriptochinayearsbefore.HoweverIwasolderand
understoodthesignificanceandimportance.

15

16

17

GoingintomyjunioryearIwasverynervousasthiswastheyearIhadtotake
myseniorartclassesaswelltakepartinaseniordefense.Thisdefenseisatwenty
minutepresentationofourartandpurpose.Noneoftheprofessorstalksuntilthevery
endwhenyoubasicallygetapassorfail.WithverylittlesuccessIwasntsureifIwould
beabletopassmydefense.OnceagainIhadclasseswithSethMyersbutthistime
insteadofcreatingdigitalartworkswewouldbeusingvideoasamediumtocreate.As
artstudentswedontdiveintovideoproductionunlessyoudoublemajorinmedia
studies.ItwasthisclasswhereIstartedtogaintractionandunderstandingforwhatI
wasmaking.SomuchsothatIdecidedtodovideoworkforweddingsandotherevents
togainexperience.IsomewhatconsideredifIpickedthewrongmajoraswhatIfellin
lovewithwassomethingmediastudiescouldhaveprovided.Thesadtruthaboutthis
successisthatitcamemostbecauseofdepression.Thisisunfortunateyes,howeverasI
felt,Icreated,whichwouldreflectinmywork.IwilladdtwovideoIcreatedbelow,I
shouldwarnyouthefirstvideohasabitofapsychoshowerscenevibe.Someofmy
otherworksthatIdeclinetosharewithothersareabitmoreviolentandwould
probablyresultinatriptotheconcealingcenter.Theprofessorenjoyedthemalotbut
otherslookinginsomeoftheworkswithoutpriorunderstandingorpurposeofthe
assignmentmightseesomethingverydifferent.Forexampleweweretryingtoshow
forceandcontroloversomething.Inoneofmypiecesaphonecordslowlywraps

18

aroundaperson(me)andeventuallyaroundtheirneck.Thispurposewastotellabout
thecontrolofmediabutothersmightseesomethinginregardstoselfharm.Idoenjoy
howeachpersoncanexperienceapieceandseeorfinddifferentmeaningswhichI
attempttoaccomplishthroughoutallmywork(maybenotinsuchadarkway).This
poweremotionalconnectiontotheworktookthemtothenextlevel.Aftertheendof
thefirstsemestermyjunioryearIintendedtotraveltoGreeceforaJtermclassbutwith
decisiontoremoveartasamajorIneededtostayoncampusandtakearequiredclass
needed.ThisclasswascalledcriticalanalysiswhereIcoulddecidethemediumIwanted
toworkin.IdecidedtoworkoncreatingvideopiecesthatIhadcreatedduringmyfirst
semesterasIwasstartingtohavealittlesuccess.
Theworkthatgoesintocreatingavideopiece,even30secondslongrequiresa
tremendousamountofworkandtime.SomuchtimethatIwasunsureifIwouldcreate
avideopieceeachandeverydayforawholemonth.SoIponderedtheideaof
capturingthesecompanionsandstoriesIwascreatinginmyvideopiecesinonesingle
frame,apicture.ThiswoulduntimelyleadmetowhatImcreatingtoday.DuringJterm
Ispend8to10hoursadaytakinghundredsofpicturessothatIcouldturninjustone
perfectpicturethenextday.Ihadnthadsomuchfunandcreativeflowbeforeinmy
lifeIknewinthatverymomentthatthisistrulywhatIwasmeanttodo.Outofthe
11000photosItookinthatsinglemonthabout25ofthemIactualitykeepandonly
about10ofthoseIshowpubliclyonmycurrentwebsite.Ishouldnoteallofthese

19

photographsweretakenontheLorascampusasmygoalwastocaptureitinaway
othersmightnothaveseenitbefore.IlearnedtoseeagainasIdidasachild,Ifound
texture,pattern,line,shape,andcolorthroughoutthiscampusthatsomanyofushave
overlooked.ThisJtermwasonlyafewshortweeksbuttheworkthatcameoutofitis
whatIwasgoingtouseinmythesisdefense.
MydefensewasgoingtobejudgedbytheprofessorWendyRomerooneofthe
mostdifficultprofessorsIhaveeverhad.IknewthatifIwasgoingtopassmy
defense/thesisIwasgoingtoneedtopresentmynewestworkinthemostprofessional
waypossible.DuringJtermshewastheprofessorjudgingmyworkeachandeveryday.I
knewthatsomeofmyworksheenjoyedasshehadreachedouttomeaboutpurchasing
aworkortwothatshesawduringclass.HoweverIcouldntdefendmyshorttimehere
asLorasinonlyafewshortpicturesthatshehadliked.Inanotherclasswecoulddecide
whatourprojectforthesemesterway.Idecidedtolearnwhatitmeanstobea
professionalartistsuchastheprocessofprintingarchivalprintsandmarketing
ourselves.TomeinordertobeanartistIwanttobeabletopresentprofessionalgrade
printsatartgalleriesthroughoutthelocalarea.IfIcouldpresentmyarttothepublic
andlearnthisvaluableskillIcouldapproachmythesisdefensewithmoreconfidenceas
wellasphysicalproofofmysuccessesatthisinstitution.HoweverwhenIexplainedthis
semesterlongprojectIdeatoSethheexplainedtomeIneededtothinkbiggeras
Dubuquewasnotthemostartistplacewithintheworld.AlongwiththishelpIapplied

20

foranumberofshowthroughouttheUnitedStates.IwaswellawarethatIwasanew
artistasIhadonlystartedcreatingphotographyjustamonthbeforethatIcouldget
rejectedbeeachandeveryone.MyProfessorSethMyerswaswellawareofthe
chancesofbeingrejectedashehasexperiencedthatsameprocess.Howeverhetoldme
thatIwouldonlyreceiveagradefortheprojectifIcouldmakeitintoashow,outsideof
Dubuque.WithabitafearIenteredeachandeveryshowIcouldfind,includingonin
Paris,FrancethatSethhadsentme.IhadnointentionofgettingintothatshowbutI
learnedthatwithouttryingwewouldneverknow.SimilarlytohowIlearnedtoridea
unicyclebytryingoverandoveragainIwouldeventuallybreakthroughandsucceed.As
youmighthaveguessedbasedofhowIstartedthispaperIdidindeedgetintothatParis
show.Alittlemoreinformationregardingthisshowisalltheworksarethesamesize,
whichisthereasonfortheshowbetitledASingleGrainofRice.Isendinthreeworks,a
selfportrait,apocketwatch,andaphotofromtheGrandCanyon.

21

22

23

24

ThiswasnttheonlyaccomplishmentIreceivedduringthatsemester.Iwas
askedbyanotherartstudentifIwantedtohaveagroupartexhibitionatthevisitation
complexatLorasCollege.Ihadjustlearnedaboutthebestprocessofprintingmyart
workaswellastheshowwouldrunduringwhenIhadmyseniordefense.Iacceptedthe
offerasnowIcouldprofessionalpresentmyartworkforthepeopleofDubuquebutat

25

thesametimeIhadagallerysetuptouseduringmydefense.Afterspendingovera
thousanddollarsprinting12ofmyworksIwasfinicallydrainedbutconfidentinthe
reward.WhenitwasmyturntodomyseniordefenseIwalkmyprofessorthroughmy
artgalleryexplainingeachworkanditsimportance.Itwasthelongesttwentyminutes
ofmylife,myentirecollegecareersummedupinsuchashorttime.EspeciallywhenI
wasdoingmyseniordefenseasajuniorwhenmanyotherstudentshadanotheryearto
prepare.IgotanAonmydefense,someseniorsdidntevenpasswhichwassadto
witness.Ipushedmyselfsothatwouldnthappen,anditdidnt.Ittookalotofworkto
overcomemydisabilitiesandtofindwheremytalentscouldbeusedbest.
Notallofmyphotographyrevolvesaroundcreatingart.Ienjoycapturinglife
whichiswhyIfrequentsportingeventsaswellasfundraisers.Icreatedenoughwork
capturinglifearoundLorasCollegethattheschoolhasnowstartedhiringmetoattend
eventssuchasthoseforalumni,sporting,andpublicspeakers.Muchoftheadvertising
theschooliscurrentlyrunningorwillrunusesmyphotographs.Oneofmyworksin
particularofHoffmanHallinterestedthemarketingdepartmentenoughthatweare
currentlyintalksaboutcommissioningmetodocumenttherestofthebuildings.ButI
dontonlytakepicturesinacommercialsinceforLorasIalsotakepictureforthe
MississippiRiverMuseumattheiryearlyIcefestival.OtherthingsIcaptureare
engagementphotos,seniorphotos,familyphotos,andproductphotography.Allof
thesearefunandcreativewayformetopracticemyloveofphotographyhoweverI

26

prefertocreateartastheprocessisawholelotmorerewarding.
SincelastsemesterIhaveheardbackfromafewothershowsthatIentered.I
willnowofficiallybepublishedthebookBestofPhotography2015.Manyshowssaid
nowhichIexpectedinthefirstplacebutitsthosefewthatsayyesthatmakeallthe
difference.Ihaveevensoldafewpiecestoprofessorsandstudentswhichisanamazing
feelingwhenyounoyourworkisbeinghunginotherpersonshomeoroffice.Thiswork
wasalsoprintedtolastforafewhundredyearswhichagreatfeelingknowingyouhad
createdsomethingthatwillbearoundwayafterImgone.Irecentlyupdatedmy
websitewhichisonelocationwhereIshowmyworkonline.Othersitesinclude
somethingknownas500pxandViewBugbothofwhichrecordartworkviewedandin
totalbetweenbothsitesmyworkhasbeenviewedbyover10000users.Someuserson
thesehaveleftgreatfeedbackonthesesiteswhichhavehelpedtocontinuetoimprove.
IcontinuetofindwaystoalwaysgetmyimageoutintothepublicasmuchasIcanin
hopesabuyercomesalongoranotherartistwhowantstoworktogether.

27

28

(ViewBugcontestexample)

UpuntilthispointIhaventdefinedcreativity,itssomethingweallpossess,the
abilitytointeroperatetheworldaroundusinordertocreateuniqueideas.Weshow
theseuniqueideasinanumberofdifferentwaysinmycaseitsbuildingcomputers,
ridingunicycles,andmakingart.ThroughoutalloftheseexamplesIsharedrisksneeded

29

tobetaken,somethingkeytomyviewofcreativity.Sometimesitshardtoexplain
creativitysoIwouldrathershowittoyou.Alltheimagesbelowarefromthisyear,
enjoy!

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52