lights, camera....CAMERAS....action! by Jeff Herrity Artist

Dropcam HD Last night I received an email from my friends at Dropcam and they are sending me my cameras...I even have a tracking number that I will begin to obsessively check every five minutes until they arrive. (personally, I LOVE tracking my shipments) I can't say how excited I am that I will have my cameras in time for the test run in Gallery 31, and to be able to really use and promote this fantastic product.

Looking at the beautiful simplicity of this new HD camera has me really thinking about the device I will be making that will be in the show. I really like the industrial appearance of the device combined with the shiny pupil like camera. This is something that is just as much an art object as the piece it will be used for.

Keep watching this space for details once I get the cameras, and get them up and running.

and, thanks a million times to the folks at Dropcam.

are you ready for your close-up?

in the spirit of art. by Jeff Herrity Artist

I'm making progress on the planning behind my thesis piece - Focus Group - which will involve multiple Dropcam cameras - their new cameras are beyond amazing to an artist like me. I've ordered them, but will have to wait a bit for their arrival - which only has me slightly (ok, a lot) anxious at the moment. I'm proceeding with the thoughts that they will arrive in time for the show install (which we have some time, and I can get it done, but will be really sweating it) I'm glad that my work can be created prior to the opening, all that I'll need to do is set up the camera which takes about 10 seconds. Focus Group

My work will include four camera carts that each have a Dropcam on the front, and a monitor facing the viewer. There will be handlebars on the rig that the viewer can use to move the camera around the gallery space. However, the viewer/pusher isn't see the feed from their camera, but from a different camera on a different mount or stationery position. I'm still trying to figure out the materials that will be used, I really like the wood, but I also want to explore acrylic and make the whole object see-through, minus the camera, monitor, wires, etc...  We'll see.

There is one thing about this body of work that goes unspoken to some regard. It's the interaction we have with each other through our devices. I've been very thankful to have so many friends 'corporate sponsor' me and my work - and even recently after an email I received from the Dropcam folks. It's great to know that in this connected world, we can still support each other digitally or visually.

And, like my last work, you can watch me working out the new piece  - (sometimes it will be offline)

will work for art by Jeff Herrity Artist

Well, I began my final semester of my fourth year in my BFA/MAT program here at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. I also have begun the first of my two consecutive years of thesis work. First up, fine art thesis. My thesis preview work has been well received and I think a great chance for me to begin to think about how I take a 4x4 foot tile piece with an embedded camera to the 'next level.' When I created that piece, I had some pretty clear thoughts about what the work was accomplishing, and what I was trying to communicate. It wasn't until my critique for that work that new ideas came to the surface and I realize that the work is about some other things that also fascinate me.

Surveillance. Watching. (not in the creepy way) What does it mean that we live in a post-9/11 world where we are constantly living our lives on cameras?  Is this for our safety and protection, or an invasion of our privacy? Are we different people when we know we are on camera? How does marketing influence the art world? How does technology influence our connectivity and communications with each other?

This is the direction my thesis work will be taking and I'm still in heavy research mode trying to understand my work. I know - at this point - how the 'piece' will be in the museum and the cameras have all been ordered and sketches sketched.

Because the nature of my work is marketing and communications it only made sense to me that I needed to involve sponsors to help me finance the work. I've been talking to friends that have small businesses and have had a great response towards my sponsorship goals.

sponsorship QR code

I've created different levels of sponsorship, and there are many great benefits to them all. First and foremost, they get their company logo and name included in my artist statement, and incorporated into the piece in some way. BUT, the hidden benefit is that each level of support includes several hours of my marketing consultation time. Considering I spent over 15 years as a consultant, it only makes sense that support of me and my work translates back to MY support of my sponsors work. Perhaps this is the nature of the piece, this technology driven communication and connection between two individuals is really structured on a barter system.

please contact me if you want more information on sponsorships. And, watch this blog over the next few months for regular updates on my thesis project, and information specific to my sponsors. It goes without saying that I would like you to support them as well.'s HOT at The Fridge by Jeff Herrity Artist

jeff and jess and aselin Seven of us BFA seniors are currently showing our work at The Fridge gallery in Washington, DC. Our work was first on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art + Design in the side gallery 31 - but unfortunately due to bad timing and events, our show was missed by many. (Thanksgiving holiday break, Obama tree lighting ceremony, and portfolio review day)

In a fit of frustration that my partner John couldn't see the show or attend the opening, I called Alex Goldstein the founder and director of The Fridge gallery. I'd been to several shows in his incredible space on Barracks Row near Eastern Market, including the Corcoran's own BORF - aka John Tsombikos - and knew at that time, I wanted to show my work there. Alex was instantly welcoming to our group, and lucky for us, his month-long downtime was immediately filled making sure that we would have the best show.

And we did.

dan and aselin discussing their work

As Alex stated in the announcement of the show on The Fridge website, this show is a great opportunity for us to get feedback from people outside of our normal creative environment - the critique space. Having our work in a gallery setting gives us the chance to tweak the work some, and most importantly to TALK about our work when a grade isn't hanging over our heads.

The other great aspect of this show is that we were able to 'set' the show ourselves in a more intimate space that complimented our work amazingly. My piece required a sturdy wall to support it's weight, and so we were able to then build the show around it, and each piece seems to seamlessly blend to the next and really play off each other.

I think we went from loading the work to fully installed in just a few hours, also with the help of Edwin the gallery technician at The Fridge.

Our opening was a huge success. So many people, some we knew, and some we know now, showed up and talked to us about the work, and really spent time with each piece. I had a great conversation with Amanda Wilson, and she wrote some great reviews of our work.

thanks a million times to Alex.

AND, look for our first post-graduation show at The Fridge sometime in May or June....


Presentation on Digital Animation by Jeff Herrity Artist

Hello fellow classmates from Digital Media for Art Educators. I'm sure you are here because you are DYING to click through my presentation again. Sadly, me and my froggy voice cannot walk you through it like in class. Thanks for a fun time during my presentation and for tolerating my croaking.  Below are two links to download the presentation: here is a PDF version but the links don't seem to work, which pretty much defeats the purpose of downloading it.

here is the Powerpoint (.pptx) version which DOES have the links, but I had to removed the embedded movies and include the youtube URL to play them...

if you do not care to download either of them, post a comment and I will send you the links for each reference and resource for your enjoyment.

have a great holiday!


teaching on the grid by Jeff Herrity Artist

My partner Leah and I had a fun time working 'virtually' on a project for our Digital Media for Art Educators class. One class session was spent experiencing the 'online classroom' environment and all the pains that comes with it. At first I thought that we would be able to knock this out quickly and without any difficulty, but then the Internet and all things virtual take over. lesson plan screenshot communications with Leah

I'm generally a respond-as-soon-as-an-email-comes type, and I am glad that Leah is the same, we had several email chats about our lesson and how detailed we needed to be. One plus of working with a group virtually is that face-to-face conflicts do not occur, and you can really think about how to respond, instead of a quick in person response. After only a few emails we were able to nail down or idea and flush it out. This communication/working style worked best for us I think because of the nature that we both work. Some groups chose to do video chats and whatnot, but that wouldn't have worked for us, because many times I would be communicating with Leah while lying in bed.

THAT would make for a very strange chat working session. YIKES.

So, our Lesson was geared towards older art students who need to make a portfolio site. I've also created my final project as a 'how-to' website to teach something similar.

Our lesson is as follows:

Lesson Plan: Photos of Student Work, using Photoshop (high school digital art)

Goal: To teach students the basic tasks within Photoshop in regards to photo post-production techniques- students will learn to make basic edits to the photos of their work.

Big Idea: Students will gain an understanding of why images of their work need to be as professional looking as possible in order to properly promote their work as artists and to use the images in portfolios.

Objectives/Outcomes: The Students will:

1. Understand basic mechanics of taking high quality digital photographs of 2D and 3D artwork

2. Learn how to transport digital photos from camera to computer

3. Identify basic tools within Photoshop program

4. Understand how to utilize key tools in Photoshop to apply edits to digital photos.

Teaching Procedure: (pre-work and previous lessons that we are building on: have students make work, and then have a unit where we teach them to shoot the work. They come to class with the images to use for Lesson)


Photo Selection: students will come to class with 50 images. Discuss what makes a good photo of work (lighting, angles, distance)

Based on criteria discussed, students spend 10 minutes selecting 5 images to tweak. Open images into photoshop (2 minutes). Basic tweaks, five minutes per image (exposure, cropping, clarity, noise, sharpness, contrast, how to save/apply same changes to all images). Save image (various formats for web and print).


More advanced image tweaks: masking, modifying specific areas of photograph (backgrounds/shadows), erase tool for skin imperfections, content aware fill, edit group shots to fix blinking

Assign out of class homework to turn in 5 edited images. 

While I'm no serious photographer, I am pretty confident that I can competently teach students some basic skills in shooting their work and presenting it well. I'll post in a day or two my final class project which is the visual step-by-step guide to shooting work and creating a portfolio site.



yes, it scans. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Herrity_Jeffery_Target Audience - Audience Segmentation_49x49_ceramic tile and web cam So, last week I installed my Senior Thesis Preview Show in Gallery 31 along with several other classmates. All the stress leading up to this show instantly melted away once my piece was successfully hung on the wall. I was a bit worried that the weight of it would send the whole piece crashing to the floor and I would have to quickly re-write my artist statement to include how this was planned. Ok, not really, I wouldn't be able to bullshit my way through a catastrophe such as that. I think in total, the piece weighs in at a little over 100 pounds.

One thing DID change once the piece was hung, my beloved Dropcam got fuzzy. This isn't because the quality of the camera isn't good - it is fantastic - but many things started to work against me as I got closer to finishing. I had to embed the camera into the middle of the structure behind one of the black tiles which caused the signal strength to drop significantly. This isn't a flaw in the camera. The Corcoran is also notorious for bad internet signals, and so the wi-fi up in the senior studios is also working extra hard. Never once have I had the signal drop.

screenshots of people interacting with the work

Once the piece was hung on the walls, the camera is really sandwiched between tiles, plywood, 2x4s, drywall and more plywood. Across the gallery, directly in front of the QR code is the monitor that displays the live internet feed. One feature of the Dropcam(have I mentioned how great this device is??) is that I get a notification on my iPhone and email any time there is movement around the piece. I wasn't sure how I would use this when I was planning the work, but then found that I like a record of the people interacting with my work. There have even been a couple times when friends have been looking at the camera and playing around and I take a screenshot of them and text message it to them. It goes from fun to creepy in about a millisecond. BUT, that is what the piece is all about, interacting with me and interacting with the work.

My critique for the piece went well and there were many questions raised that I had also been considering. In my head and my plans everything went perfectly, but it wasn't until the piece was hung in the configuration that I wanted that some new ideas arose. This piece has become more about how we live today under constant surveillance. Sure, my original idea about how we interact with objects and gallery spaces holds true, but the broader question is how we are constantly watched EVERYWHERE has come into play. My THESIS piece may change a bit...

We have our celebration reception this Thursday December 1, 2011 from 6-8 pm. hope you can make it, and if not, sit down at your computer and go to: to watch.

"boy, what a great show." - mike teavee by Jeff Herrity Artist

"Look at me, I'll be be the first person in the world to be sent by television!" - mike teavee Growing up, I loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. To this day, the movie creates a sense of wonder in me and every time I watch it I want to be one of those kids who explores the great unknown world of Willy Wonka. (Don't get me started on the terrible Tim Burton version...) To me, Gene Wilder is the only Willy Wonka.

scene from Willy Wonka where people are transported via the airwaves

There is one moment in the movie that has stayed  with me all my life, and probably in some way guided me into a career in the internet. The scene where Willy Wonka is transporting the chocolate bar across the room and all the bits are zooming above everyone's heads. That also kind of freaked me out. But it has made me think about how we share information today. We send information, now wirelessly, almost anywhere. I always think about these little particles of information constantly floating over my head in our wireless wi-fi world. We even store our data in some magical cloud now. (which also totally freaks me out)

We have iDevices that allow us to pay our parking meters, video chat with people on the other side of the planet, control our homes while NOT at home, and surveil our surroundings. We can look and interact anytime, anywhere.

My latest piece that I have been documenting on this blog is nearly complete. Today I finished all of the grout work on the tiles, and I just need to wait for it to cure before I embed the webcam. This piece is also about how we see, and how we watch and how we look. But, at the same time, it's about how we are looked at and how we are seen, even when we don't know it.

close up image of my ceramic tiles with the web cam built in.

As we all know, i've been exploring the current marketing phenomena - QR codes - and how through our devices we are able to quickly get a marketing message. That seems weird to me; companies are doing very little work to get their messages to us. WE do all the work. It only takes a few seconds to make a QR code. It's a total marketing win - just put this little doohicky on things and people will scan it and hopefully buy something. The ROI on these must be astounding.

But, what happens when these codes look back at us like we are animals in this greater marketing zoo? What would the QR code see?

I've been giving much thought to how people see with their new iDevices and how we use them to interact with our environment and the gallery space. Like I mentioned above, my large ceramic QR code has a webcam built into it. This webcam will broadcast, via the internet, a feed of the people interacting (scanning) with the code. This information will be transported to another part of the gallery during the show - much like Mike Teavee - and put back together so everyone can see themselves as they are seen by this code.

AND, even if you are not able to see the show in person, you can watch from wherever you are via the wondrous powers of the  internet. I've even been broadcasting the creation of the piece if you have been watching - and I know you have.

enjoy the show.

is this thing on? by Jeff Herrity Artist

Oh, it's on! On November 21, 2011 I will be installing my newest piece called 'Target Audience' which is a continuation of my previous works incorporating QR codes. My last piece 'Mission Statement' was well received, and I learned many things during my critique of it. It's hard to describe how a critique went for a piece that is fairly experiential - it's hard to critique an experience where not everyone participates - meaning they did or didn't scan the code. And, this piece wasn't available to the general public, only my fellow classmates. It is now in my studio at Flux and I've had some interactions and positive feedback. Hopefully the piece will be in some shows and I can reach a broader audience.

my task list for the project Target Audience

My new piece is a bit more ambitious and at any point the whole concept can come crashing down on me. I'm creating the same QR codes but with 2inch by 2inch ceramic tiles. The first problem I have encountered is that there are tiles of different heights. The black tiles I ordered are taller than the white ones. Of course the price different should have clued me into the difference in height (and quality.) I'm not entirely sure if I will seek out shorter black tiles or taller white tiles. I've spent many hours already working on the layout of the code - and not sure if I want to spend the time doing the same task again when my task list is already so long.

I'm at the point where I need to solidify my decisions and proceed with construction. I was talking to a colleague yesterday who informed me of something even more important...the tiles will need to set up before I can really manipulate the object. UGH. So, that means that I have to be done before the 21st - which is good for time planning.

the initial layout process for my QR code

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when working to a deadline is that the timeline is not considered in a backwards direction. I was so glad that he reminded me of this, and so I was able to go back and look at my timeline differently - backwards. My calendar has changed drastically now.

It's funny that when I work on these types of labor intensive projects, I reject all technology. Normally, everything I do and manage is through technology. iTechnology really. Now, some cloud manages my entire existence. In this case, my calendar is hand-drawn in my project journal.  My new finish date for the tiling is November 18. Less than a week. And there is so much that has to happen now. It is no longer a project but a carefully choreographed dance. And at this point, I have no idea who my dance partners are. WELL, I do know, but I don't know what kind of dance they are doing. Tiles. Home Depot. Wood. etc. Oh, and a webcam where I can't control the IT environment in the gallery space. fun.

This piece, while a working scannable code, will also have an aspect that addresses time and how we perceive space in a gallery. Embedded into the middle of the piece, UNDER the tiles, will be a webcam that is creating a live video feed over the internet. I won't get into specifics here, but there is something that I'm working on that will make the piece multi-dimensional. Is this QR code a code or a doorway to another place? (admittedly, I won't go into specifics because this part may change depending on many variables...) BUT, if you want to take a peek into my world you can (but only if the camera is turned on...i'll post when I have it more permanently active...) Hopefully, I will move this camera into my studio so viewers can watch my progress on the piece.

The webcam was it's own little nightmare aspect for me to deal with. (seems like a lot of my work these days has a hint of unpredictability that keeps me 'honest.' My friend Jim R. once told me that I always saw the finish line in my work which made me often miss opportunities to all my work now has this aspect of uncontrollability (i think i keep making up words here...) that terrifies me.

But, back to the webcam - i've purchased several and only one works with MAC nicely. The Dropcam. I was able to set it up in minutes, no PC required. It was fun yesterday getting that side of the piece working and I had the camera pointed at me while I worked. I sent an email to my partner John and told him he can see me. I promptly forgot about it and that it was recording and broadcasting my every move. At one point I had an itch in my nose and started picking. Yes, I was picking my nose. And then I looked over at this eye - webcam - staring at me and I thought 'oh great, is that thing still on?'

It was on.

how do you see? by Jeff Herrity Artist

Mission Statement QR code So, my first full attempt at incorporating QR codes into my work has passed, and I'm currently working on the second piece in the series. I'm very happy with how the 'painting' ended and again, lively discussion during my critique.

Mission Statement QR code on critique wall

I'm still working on the 'experience' of the piece(s) and how we are expected to interact with them. It's a very fine line that I'm trying to walk which means a drift in either direction can be disastrous. This first piece, Mission Statement, is my introduction to the work and lays the foundation for the following work. I'm looking at how we look at art and how we interact with art, and then how we interact with each other in a digital age.

book cover image: Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media

I've been doing a lot of reading on the topic of interactive museum/gallery experiences and have found a great bible for me: Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media. This book has already proven to be very valuable in helping me to identify what has been done in the past with interactive or experiential work in museums and gallery settings. I've quickly added it to my list of favorites along with The Poetics of Space.

I'm very excited about the work that I have started for my next piece - Target Audience - which will continue with this theme and message but uses the codes as a doorway to another place...stay tuned

what will you see next?

How will you see it?

please touch. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Next Monday, Halloween, I will be having my critique for my second project in CORE studio class. This new piece is a step closer to my December show - Thesis Preview - and I'm now beginning to get knee deep in the concept. I'm thinking a lot about how people interact with art and how we live in a world where everything is vying for our attention. a 36x36 frame with black felt flocking on the ground

I've spent about 40 hours working on a painting. That's a really really long time for me to work on one piece. I already know the work will be met with controversy just based on how my last work(s) utilizing the QR codes went over. Some people loved it, and some didn't. Perfect.

This new work is my attempt to orchestrate an interaction with a piece of artwork, the physical push and pull tension that any object may create.

Let me back up a second and explain something about me. I'm a very tactile person. I touch everything. It is very hard for me to walk through a department store and not want to experience the way something feels on my fingertips. (once on a field trip to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, I ran my hand along ancient hieroglyphics - let's just say THAT situation didn't end well...alarms, guards, etc)

This tactile nature of mine may be one of the reasons that I like working with ceramics; engaging my fingers in a way that is natural for me. Eyes open or closed, my fingers can see for me. I always touch the braille bumps whenever I see them - this is something that fascinates me - sight-impaired people can read with their fingertips.

my studio with my latest work: Touch.

My newest work is about how we 'look' at art. Some people stand many feet away, while many other (myself included) will walk right up to a work and inspect it visually. I want to see the brush strokes or how it was constructed. There are not many situations where I can 'see' with my hands.

My exploration of the QR codes continues with this painting, which to me isn't a painting but an installation. I want the viewer to come closer, 'see' how I want you to see and abandon your need for information on how you should interpret the work.

However, once you have seen what I want you to see, you - as a borg-like device-driven viewer you must walk away, out of the tactile sensory zone to pull out your smartphone and scan the work with your new eye, the device scanner, and 'see' in the way that our culture is heading. On a small screen in your hands.

But, please, first come close and touch the artwork. It's ok.

I promise, alarms will not sound.

is it plugged in? by Jeff Herrity Artist

In my previous existence, well, in one of my several previous existences, I was responsible for bringing the Children's Defense Fund into the realm of technology and then to teach/train everyone how to use it all. I the networked the organization, as well as gave everyone their first email addresses, but then came the hard part....teaching everyone how to use the new stuff. Keep in mind that most of the equipment that I worked on, and then taught on, were all donated PCs. Old PCs. We are talking DOS prompt old. BUT, on the bright side, this equipment was much newer than the typewriters and the few PCs with WordStar on them. It was a win-win for me...everyone was eager to use their new insanely powered computers with COLORED monitors! No more blinking amber or green screens. During my time at the Children's Defense Fund, we realized that I had a 'gift' to teach people things - I could teach anyone anything.

Unless it involved a keyboard. All bets are off for something that is completely foreign and TECHNOLOGY. Forget trying to explain the mouse at this wasn't yet a verb.  And "click here" mentality?....forget about it. We had to start at the basics.

How do I, as an educator, explain the most basic elements while knowing that many people will have different levels of familiarity with the tools.

So, I spent weeks, maybe even months, talking to everyone in the office and what their needs were with their new digital co-worker. Because computer and digital technology was so new, people didn't know how to even BEGIN to use it to streamline their work, let alone try new things or understand that the way they did things could be done quicker. Quicker. No more IBM Selectric produced mailing labels. I was about to teach everyone some new tricks.

Not so fast.

I spent the better part of two months creating my lessons for my first series of 'Training' sessions with the administrative staff. I made the first fatal mistake by assuming that everyone was on the same ability level. Even though I did my 'pre-assessment' of their skills, I later realized that anytime someone comes around the office with a 'survey' about skills and job effectiveness, people will lie.

You'd be surprised at how many people who responded with 'experienced' to describe their comfort level with computers did not know how to turn one on.

I think that anytime there is a lab-style learning experience, there are bound to be people who not only learn differently, but know different things. When it comes to teaching something in the digital realm, I think that the most important thing to start with are the basics - the basic basics - how to turn something on and understand the basics of the tool/hardware that you are using. Students will have different equipment, so making sure that everyone understands the common elements of the computer, then learning the common elements of software would be easier. As an educator, it will be my responsibility to make the information as accessible to the broadest range of people. (Of course, this would be for 'intro' level courses)

The key to learning a program, and teaching the program is to 're-learn' along with the students - not 're-learn' meaning you have 'no clue', but 're-learn' in the aspect that this information could be 'new' to someone. You must put yourself as a teacher back in the bucket of learner. I think discovery is the key to learning programs, not necessarily trial-and-error. As the educator it is important that I provide those moments where something 'clicks.' This can be easily achieved by shortening lessons and repeating tasks. Over and over again.

Once you have spent enough time teaching - truly teaching, not just showing - you can speed up the remaining lessons because you don't have to spend as much time with the basics.

At this point there may be a divide in the learning curve - some people are getting it, and some are not. As we progress in our teaching the basics to the more advanced stuff the classroom dynamics may shift. There will be more demos that are geared towards the levels that people are at - there is nothing more frustrating than an advanced learner being forced to re-learn something for the sake of someone a little slower.

It's easy for me to reflect on how to teach digital technology, but the thing that will always keep me current is that - as a user - I must keep current with the tools and technologies - and most importantly how these things are being used. Keep in mind that in my early PC tech days I spent several hours trouble shooting a tricky printer. After giving up and calling my boss for assistance, her first question to me was:

Is it plugged in?

It wasn't.

appropriately appropriated by Jeff Herrity Artist

Sorry for my absence on the blogging. Much like I would expect, my hard drive crashed again on my Mac Book and I had to get a new one. I'm normally pretty good about doing regular system back-ups and all that - but of course for the past few weeks I've been working 'rogue' at home and bouncing around...NOT connected to my monitor and thus my external hard drive. Fast-forward to my new hard drive and a computer that doesn't remember my blog account password, and a password that is outside of my normal password structure..thus, no blog post. until now, in a stroke of genius, I remembered my 'this is brilliant' NEW password structure. And, now I can blog again. Back to my story... ...I was excited that they could fix the computer, however still a bit worried that this is the second time this has happened, or third even, so I'm now in a constant state of worry. All that said, with my new hard drive, I had to do a back-up from my most recent back-up, which was several weeks ago. I also recently upgraded to Lion and was concerned that my new hard drive was formatted for Snow Leopard and my back-ups would not work. Luckily, the Apple Genius said he had an image of Lion that he could put on my machine. That seems to work for me, but I immediately got concerned that this 'image' of Lion wasn't the real version that I purchased. Could I still use this? Would I be stealing work that was protected under copyrights?

Much like in art, we collect images that we use in our art, be it just a simple notion that we visually revisit at some point, not a copy but a nod to the idea. This is absolutely fine, as is the use or appropriating images for use in work as long as they do not represent what they originally represented. Or, even further, the IDEA that was represented.Once this topic is usually openly discussed, the subsequent discussion on plagiarism must also occur. I suppose because I also 'own' the software, I could use the image freely.

In some of my own work, I have appropriated images. For a piece I did last year in CORE studio, I downloaded and reprinted 50 images that were taken during The Artist is Present with Marina Abramovic, a retrospective of her work at the MoMA last year. She is a favorite of mine and I wanted to sit with her so badly, instead I just watched people watching each other. The work that I created from someone else's images - photos on a flickr stream - were all modified in such a way that they had new meaning and were different than the intended purpose of them (which was most likely just for documenting each person). Had I called the images 'mine' would have been problematic...they aren't mine.

I think that I appropriately appropriated images in this case. But a bigger question is always out there - when are images not used correctly and what can happen? The most recent and important image stealing case has to be that of Shepherd Fairey and his famous Obama HOPE poster image. The actual piece is a collage of newspaper articles, but the image is that of an AP photographer. This all probably would have gone away, after all, they were fighting over the use of the image of the President (which once elected, the POTUS image is the MOST protected visual asset we have as Americans and you can't use it for any purpose) The issue got uglier once Shepherd started lying under oath. Oops.

Last year during the ARTS 101 lessons that Sussannah, Hannah and I created, we used images of artists work. Clearly we didn't modify it's use, or make new art work from it, but we made informational posters with images from Mondrian, OKeeffe, and some others along with images of posters that were actual reproductions of works of art from the Corcoran Collection. Clearly multiple offenses of inappropriate appropriation happening here. Well, not really. The Corcoran most likely owns the rights to the images of their collection (and why you can usually take photos of museum's permanent collections, but rarely for travelling exhibits) so they can do with them what they want - like make posters for art educators (like ME) - who can then make posters from the posters. A clearly clever negotiating the legal side of artwork reproduction. Never did these posters make any financial gain, only educational gain.

I think that as an artist and future art educator, it is ok to appropriate images when used .... errrrr.... appropriately. Obviously we all have enough ethics to know that we don't pass off another's work as our own. As teachers, we have just be be aware of the current laws and make sure that we don't intentionally break them.

to scan or not to scan... by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, my piece "Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore" continues to generate conversation. I wasn't sure what kind of response, if any, I would get from my use of the QR code.

Since the piece was installed, last week, people continue to approach me and tell me they like (or don't like) my piece in white walls. How would they know it's me if I do not have a name label on the wall?

Nate G. came up to me yesterday and showed me his friend's phone with my text on the screen. I was glad about that interaction with both my work and me personally. I like when someone tells me they think my idea to use the code is interesting.

I will share one more bit of information about the code and it's placement in my installation. I made it small so that you would have to get closer to the piece, interact with it more, just in order to scan the code.

I'm excited where this work is taking me and I have already begun working on my second piece in this series that will lead me to my Thesis preview show in December where the largest piece of this series should (god i hope) be complete and generate just as much conversation. Good or bad.

I've even included the QR code so that you can scan it on your phone from wherever you are. you don't even need to be at the Corcoran White Walls exhibit.

no forwarding address. by Jeff Herrity Artist

So, I survived my (e)merge art fair experience relatively unharmed. Well, actually, I think I came out of the other side a different person and different artist armed with a better idea of how to talk about my art. It's interesting to me to think that I may make different art now. Not different in that I am going to pander to the art community, but with the understanding that everyone will look at my art differently. the de-install of my piece

I cannot influence how people interpret my art unless I specifically say "My work is about..." or "This is what you are to think..." Hopefully, I will be able to be clear in my intentions with what I want to communicate - but I'm also secure in understanding that not everyone will 'get' it. That's ok from my perspective, just as it should be ok from the viewer's perspective.

Heading into the (e)merge show I knew that immediately after the de-install of that show, I would be installing my first senior show at school called FOCUS. This show sets the stage for our final thesis project and show in the museum. For many weeks, I worked and worked on a new piece for this first show. I was working on a large wall piece, or floor piece (I didn't really know) and was really struggling with what the piece meant to me and why I was making it. I started to enter my previous work style, and was forcing meaning that was not there. During my one-on-one meetings with my instructors, each gave a different set of critiques and I continued on my way.

the wall piece

On the Wednesday during my install of (e)merge Ivan basically challenged me about the piece and it did several things: 1. made me panic, 2. made me rethink the entire piece, 3. made me panic even more because I was already knee deep in working on a piece where I didn't know the outcome. So, now, I have two pieces that I have no clue what they were going to be. Fuck. I knew I wouldn't have time to completely make something new and I thought that I was going to have to go with a piece that I couldn't talk about and just take the hit. I knew that I would get slaughtered if I put up a piece just because it was pretty and shiny.

another view of the piece

Pretty and shiny doesn't always go well in art school. And pretty and shiny CERAMICS definitely doesn't (always) go over well...I might as well have said I wanted to be a visionary artist just for the trifecta of art school sins.

So, all during the (e)merge show I was fretting over what I was going to install on Monday morning. I figured I would just continue making the horns and something would come out at the right minute.  I thought the solution was to work with a different material - glycerine - and so I started working on those.

Still nothing.

I realized that I would have to make something work during the install and just put it all out of my mind and would deal with it at the time.

Well, just as things always work out, the (e)merge art fair came to an end. The last day was the best with so many friends coming to visit  - Beth, Art, Tara, the amazing Jen, Greg, Daniel, Jim, Judith, Novie (the owner of Flux Studios DC) and so many others. Forest Allread continued to be a great friend and we had so many more great conversations. The day definitely was ending on a high note.

Then it was 5pm. The show was over. Time to take everything down. Time to face reality that I still didn't have a good piece for the show the next day.

I got sad.

It was amazing how quickly the other artists were able to pack up their work and return this magical art wonderland to it's own reality: a parking garage.

I was standing in the middle of a parking garage popping garbage bags. Shit. Is this my future? Where was Jesus in the Clouds?

I continued to clean up my mess. Thinking about my work and what this experience meant to me. Did this work still exist? My strand of Jesus lights were revealed to me and as I unplugged them I jokingly said to myself: "Jesus doesn't live here anymore."

Then it hit me like a bag of deflated garbage bags - literally. All this shit i've been carrying around with me, this garbage,  was the work. All I had to show for this amazing experience was thrown over my shoulder and into the back of my car. I wanted to keep it, but also wanted to break out of it like a bull through the toreadors cape.

I had my piece for my FOCUS show. Dear sweet baby Jesus, I hope I can pull this off.

how to make gifs How to make gifs

the new modality? by Jeff Herrity Artist

I am afraid that my ideas for my masters thesis will have to be based on old information. This bothers me because every article that I have found is based on information that is many years old. The concepts are generally unique, but as an integrated marketing specialist I have a hard time basing current knowledge and theories based on old data. I'm not sure of the answer to this problem and hopefully with think of something as I consider my ideas further. In the white paper:  'Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century' by Henry Jenkins (with Katie Clinton, Ravi Purushotma, Alice J. Robinson, Margaret Weigel,)  most of the ideas are based on research by the Pew Internet & American Life project which states that ". . .more than one-half of all teens have created media content, and roughly one-third of teens who use the Internet have shared content they produced." Sure, when this white paper was created the increase in smart phone technology and usage was not considered. That is the problem with anything 'new media' related. The research becomes as outdated as the latest iPhone.

I fully agree with the general thesis of this paper in that teens today are a different 'participatory culture' but just as soon as one entry point is discovered and studied, it is no longer relevant. Current studies by PEW state that the numbers are staying about the same but acknowledge changes in behavior (even this updated report is a bit outdated, since the adoption rate to smartphones seems to grow exponentially on a daily basis!!)

I think the bigger issue at hand is that what happens when the student outpaces the educator in the digital realm? We discussed in our class that this generation will be the first to graduate high school and enter college in a time when the internet was always a tool for communication and convenience. More interesting studies should be focusing on how to educate the old die-hard educator who still writes checks and carries a filofax or dayrunner.

I am in full support of a fully digital integrated classroom. I have my problems with shared content and all things Web 2.0, mostly because it makes us all lazy and changes the way we think. Even at home, we still have yellow-pages sitting around. I'm not entirely sure why, and to be frank I could never really find things I wanted - the taxonomy always seemed off: to find a taxi, you had to know to look under automobile services, and then cab services, and then taxi. Today, I use an iPhone app and am on my way.

Shared content, participatory or not also makes things more prone to mistakes. It drives me crazy to look on a news web site and see typographical errors. Where's the editor? We rely too heavily on spellcheck features and not the old fashioned draft review. We have shortened our language to just a series of acronyms. Hell, even GOOGLE knows what I am searching for before I finish typing it. Let's not even discuss the Tea Partiers and the 'participatory' 'fixing' of wikipedia pages to alter historical facts. my rant and back to the article singing the praises of this new culture....this new modality. Teens and sharing content. It is true that teens are more ABLE now to make better jumps between concepts and ideas because they are able to think of things in more than one manner and make the connection between differing ideas quicker.  But this was when myspace and online content sites were being used more, even the online gaming sites (WOW, etc...) seem to not be in favor much anymore in lieu of facebook and texting or the set-top game systems (Playstation, Wii (which admittedly is probably the best for shared learning), and Xbox) What does Gears of War and Vice City teach?

I do not see how texting and facebook is helping kids to focus more on their work and digital learning when they spend more time face down trying to secretly text a friend. This is no longer a participatory approach to existing and learning, it's more isolating...solitary. Borg-like. a shared mind that is only 'on' when connected to something else and if one knows...all know. Where is the learning in that culture of instant data-driven knowledge?  The white paper gives great examples about digital learning, (the young man discussing what class systems are and how the kid interprets them - by how close he builds houses to the Senate in this game...) These are great examples, but I feel they are few and far between.

What most of this means to me and makes me worry about, as I mentioned before are the speed at which technology changes, leaving the slower behind (including the teachers) and then the accessibility to the latest and greatest gadget. I was one of those people that stood in line on the day the iPhone came out and paid $699 for this device. Not everyone can do this.

Until everyone is on the level playing field, and there is a general plateau of developing new systems and devices (it HAS to stop at some point, right?) then adapting educational guidelines based on the new, new, new, new, digital culture will never work.

This is NOT to say that integrating digital learning into the classroom as a mechanism to bridge curriculum and help the history teacher teach english and the english teacher teach art will never happen, or shouldn't happen. It IS to say that we need to make sure that everyone can speak the same language.

LOL, right?

i feel different. by Jeff Herrity Artist

It's been since Thursday afternoon that my piece "I Saw Jesus in the Clouds" has been on display at the (e)merge art fair. Over these past few days, i've watched the work transform and slowly become something a bit different than the fully inflated bags that represented the clouds. Now, the piece has become a great learning experience for me. Spending time near the piece over the past few days has made me think a lot about how people interact with art and how I interact with people interacting with my art - if I do at all. There have been two main take-aways from this experience for me, which ends today:

  • Do I, as an artist, interrupt the viewer and discuss my work?
  • How do I actually talk about my work?

I have also enjoyed the times that I spent with former Corcoran student and current MAT2 student (the art ed program I am also in) Forest Allread. His work won him a place in the show, and I've always thought that his work was leaps and bounds better than many folks coming out of our school. His work is just so unique and interesting to me. But, anyway, he and I were discussing the 'problem' of when do you - as the artist - approach someone in the art space and interrupt their exploration of the work? I think he and I were both in agreement that you have to really let the people spend the amount of time uninterrupted. But, there is a point when some cues are given that you can talk to them, or if they approach you. I've had both experiences by my work both with different results.

I was watching a father and son (about 7) walking all around my piece, and then the son finally settled in the chair that is nestled under my clouds. I could tell they were having a conversation of some depth. I got curious and slowly started to inch my way closer and closer. The little boy was looking up and all around him. Finally I got into earshot and overheard:

I Saw Jesus in the Clouds

Father:  "....but, do you think this is art?" Son:  "...ummmmm....yeah, because I feel different when I look at it"

Well, that was all I needed to hear. Of course a few seconds later he noticed the brightly lit magnet piece across from mine and took off. I can't blame him, i'm easily distracted by the brightness of the piece as well. And, it's got magnets. Who doesn't love magnets?

A little bit later a woman, older, and clearly drunk, wanders into my space. She's puzzled and appears frustrated. I intentionally decided to interrupt her because I knew she probably needed my guidance. I chose poorly.

She didn't know that the piece was mine, and I approached her - cautiously - and said hello. The floodgates of confusion burst and her unsuccessful day of looking at and interpreting emerging art and artists was spewed all over me.

Lady:  "....Can you splain thish to me? I jush don' get it...." me: (after taking step back, not sure if I could get contact drunk)  "Sure, it's about white trash"

Of course, my description was a little bit longer, but the funny thing is she then finally understood it. The 'it' being ART in general. We had an interesting conversation about art and that it is ok not to understand it all. This woman was probably in her late 60s and like I mentioned, she was drunk. But I think she was drunk because the day for her was so frustrating. The gallery rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors could be intimidating to the casual art viewer. Even I had problems understanding some of the concepts. But this drunk woman was upset with herself because she didn't understand the art that she so desperately wanted to 'get.'

I told her that it was ok not to understand it all but that she had to focus on what she liked and then could dig in and ask questions. Finally, her eyes lit up like it was me that finally gave her the validation that she wasn't stupid for not understanding what she was seeing. At one point Mia Olsen (whom I adore) came up and I asked the lady if she remembered the 'room with the hair all over the bed'  "YESH! I didn unnershtand that."

me: "That was Mia's work"

A few seconds of awkward entered the conversation again, but I think the woman was finally OK not understanding some work. At this point I directed the woman to the Art Whino area, armed with a new sense of understanding the art scene and knowing it was OK to be puzzled by work.

me: "Sorry, Mia, I had to help that woman drive the bus that just ran both of us over"

But, all of these exchanges also made me realize that sometimes people DO need the help of an artist statement or some sort of explanation of the work. We are not all art students and lovers of art or art theory. I realized that my work may be different things to different people. (let's face it, my piece is a bunch of garbage bags tied together...) Some people need the work explained in terms that they can identify with. I can tell them what it means to ME, but they will interpret it based on what they bring to the work.

guy with long ponytail: "I have work in this show too." me:  "GREAT! what is it?"  (I realized afterwards that his statement was a challenge to me, but I took the bait anyway) guy with long ponytail: "I installed the walls and drywall [that enclosed] the space." my thought bubble said "OH FUCK, now what do I say?" me: "GREAT! thank you for your effort, fine job you did." his girlfriend with the 'Buddha Say Relax' tshirt: "Can you tell me about your work?" my thought bubble repeated, louder this time: "OH FUCK, now what do I say?" me: "It's about sitting under the clouds and meditating on what you may find"

Buddah say relax.

They both took off arguing over who would sit in the chair first. They took turns taking pictures in the chair, and I took pictures of them as a reminder of this exchange.

After they were done, the woman came over and suddenly was full of insight into the work as if Buddha himself whispered the meaning to her. And as they walked away, lured again by magnets, they kept looking back and pointing, seeing different things in the cloud.

Sometimes you have to tell the people what to see. And sometimes, they tell you what THEY see and it brings further meaning to the work that may not have been there in the first place.

But of all the interactions I had with people, the most special to me was walking Jacquie Ionita - the Gallery Directress at Hamiltonian Gallery - through the piece. I don't really care to tell everyone about our exchange, but in just a few minutes she gave me the best advice for talking about my work.

Because of that, I feel different now.

I feel like an artist.

i saw jesus in the clouds by Jeff Herrity Artist

Finished day one of my installation of my piece at the (e)merge art fair. All is going very well so far because the awesome Andy Martin, a fellow artist and great friend from Philadelphia, came down for the weekend to help me install. And, let's face it, it takes a special friend and person to deal with me when I am in this 'mode'. (read: INSANE)

I was able to get a little bit of a head start yesterday and got my infrastructure built and even a few bags inflated and installed. This was great for me because I felt that I was able to get several hours of work out of the way so that Andy and I could really get rolling on Thursday.

Today, we spent 7 hours working on the piece, and again like the first time I worked on it in CORE last year (a version of it anyway) - I remember what this piece is really about. Me, diligently working on something that I have a basic idea of the outcome, but really let the materials drive the finished piece. Some bags pop, or deflate, the piece will shift as i'm tying new bags to the form. It's insanely frustrating.

There are several new aspects to the piece that help me with the space and how the piece comes together in the end...and these new elements are how the piece got it's new name:

I Saw Jesus in the Clouds.

before. by Jeff Herrity Artist

This is quite a week in regards to work and art making. Yikes.  Two big projects happening in the same week. For CORE Studio (my main studio class for my fine art studies) we install our first show on Monday September 26 in White Walls. This is technically our first contract or project that is leading up to our thesis preview show in December. My work is focusing on...well, i'm not entirely sure yet. I've been reading this incredible book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, and it has really helped me to understand my work and my thoughts on my work in ways that I suppose I knew was there somehow, but hadn't been fully realized. horns CORE project

My first piece is dealing with horns. But it's mostly about how horns (and teeth, hair, etc) are just by products of things our body doesn't need anymore and we shed it, and what our body produces that will help to protect us. I've always identified with the bull (being a Taurus) and these specific horns have always fascinated me as objects - i've incorporated them into my work for a long time but didn't understand the connection they were making to me and my work.

I've made many of them because it's my favorite mold in the ceramics studio - but it wasn't until the Poetics of Space and my more detailed understanding of space and home and what makes a home a safe place that these horns have taken on a new meaning. I see them as an expulsion of my self and the repetitive creation something that - in mass quantity - can be rather agressive looking and protective. In my one-on-one critiques with my instructors we've discussed the many possibilities for this piece and I'm excited that even up to the last few days of work-time, I still don't know 100% how the final will look. (the old art-making me would be having a nervous breakdown at this point.)

The parking lot before....

Speaking of me making pieces that I don't know how they will be finalized, I started working on my installation at the (e)merge art fair. I'm revisiting a piece that I did for CORE last year that was a further exploration of my cloud installation (which you stood inside of) but instead, it was me making a cloud but intentionally allowing the materials and the process dictate what happened. This was very helpful to me because it made me have to NOT know what the end result would be. Working with the garbage bags was a great way to wrestle with the act of creating, but having to give-in to unseen forces (air leaking out of the bags.) In the end, I had a piece that was enormous and showed my process as well as my efforts.

When  I was invited to be in (e)merge I was talking with Joe Hale (our exhibit director) and was talking about what I should do, I mentioned the cloud piece and he said that would be great because he needed installations. This piece, when finished should definitely command a presence in the show (good or bad) and will hopefully be the bait to bring people to our booth/area so they can see the fine work from my fellow students in the Fine Art program and Photo/PhotoJournalism programs. There are 10 of us total, and only four fine artists (well, we are all FINE artists...) I plan to do a few different things with this piece and with the help of my good friend Andy Martin (from Philly, and graduate from the Tyler School of Art) so, again, I'm not entirely sure what the end result will be - with the exception of a marketing tool to get people to our space. . .

guess i'll be a marketer until the end.

very meta. by Jeff Herrity Artist

For the first blog post as a response to my Digital Media for Art Educators class, we are to find blogs by teachers and 'blog the blog' - an interesting concept that will serve many purposes in this class as a way to increase our practice in blogging, but also to network in the world of blogging. As a former Integrated Marketing consultant/expert, many clients would ask about blogging and the need for anything Web 2.o oriented. Keeping in mind that as the web became more 2.0 focused, I began to lose interest. I often had a problem with web sites that started to rely on user-generated content as a means to put a staff writer out of a job. AND, have you ever noticed the number of typos on sites these days? I think the other day I counted over 5 on the Washington Post web site alone. same for the local NBC news site. (but then again, they keep Barbara Harrison around...)

For me, there are many factors that make me want to dig-in to a blog and become a regular reader and follower. At first glance many things must happen for me as a site visitor:

  • Does the blog look 'professional'? If there is a children's drawing as a main image, i'm gone. and won't return.
  • How much content is on the main page - or in most blog cases, how is the blog organized? Is it a jumbled mess of ads?
  • How long has the blog been around? (depth of content) Was the blogger/teacher an early adopter or was this blog a last minute fulfillment of some requirement - it shows.
  • When was the most recent post, posted? Why should I read something that is six months old? You MUST blog regularly
  • Are images used? and are they used well? Is this blog really just a digital refrigerator? Blech.
  • Does the blogger understand the basics of writing for the web? You should be able to read a post in one sitting.

There are several blogs I like to visit routinely, but only one  that is a regular stopping ground for me is that of my partner John Copenhaver. His blog Talking the Walk was started a couple summers ago as a means for him to blog about the fine line between teaching and making art - in his case, writing a novel. The creation of his blog was mostly as a marketing tool to get his name out there, but also to provide insight into the process HE was following to get his book published while trying to maintain a full-time teaching position at Flint Hill School in Virginia.

Because John is my partner, and the love of my life, it's hard for me to be biased about his blog - and, well, I forced him to do it. BUT, he has really taken it to the place that he can really 'talk the walk' and maintain it on a regular basis. At first he blogged quite frequently and I would give him prompts that I would give any client as a means to get more readership and exposure. Over time, he realized that the grueling writing schedule interfered with the purpose of the blog, and he now blogs less frequently but with more intentionality.  His site stats have continued to grow, and he is very aware of how he needs to understand his traffic and who is linking to him and who posts comments. He is great at replying to comments and has started many dialogs with readers that he would not normally come across in his daily life. This is one of the aspects of blogging that I find most useful - the sharing of ideas and the dialog that is created by people that just stop by to read.

While not specifically a 'teacher' blog, I also regularly visit the blog at the Chronicle for Higher Education. This is a great resource for me as a future educator because there are many posts/articles about what is happening in education these days, something that I think is important to stay on top of. A particular interest of mine is the use of technology in the classroom. Technology changes with the wind it seems, so it is important for me as an early adopter to stay on top of trends so that I can keep up and change my focus as necessary. I believe that teachers much always stay ahead of the curve - especially since many teachers don't even know how to use computers (a generalization, I know) it worries me that a student will not be able to learn from me if I don't understand where they are at technologically. The blogs on the Chronicle site are very easy to read, but what I find most interesting is that because of the audience to the site, the dialog that is started in the comment area tends to take the ideas further and really make deeper connections of the thoughts.

For me, a blog really shouldn't be just a series of 'how-tos'  - most teacher blogs are just that. I think what makes a great blog is the sharing of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

[polldaddy poll=5524322]