Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Final Project: Circuit Bent Toy Guitar

For my final project I decided to circuit bend a toy guitar that I purchased at Walmart.  The toy guitar as I bought it, only had an on/off switch and had the buttons to press on the neck of the guitar.  Each of the buttons on the neck of the guitar had set songs that it plays for a certain amount of time until it's done.  After discussing what to add to this regular toy guitar with Clint, we came to the conclusion that I would try to make this toy guitar as closely related to a real guitar as I possibly could without losing it's obvious toy-like features.  It is intended to be a statement of how I personally do not play any instruments whatsoever, and that I have no musical background or history at all!  That being said, playing a toy guitar as though I was playing a real guitar references the humor with myself playing an instrument with no musical history.  In order to add some "real guitar" characteristics to my toy guitar, I had to dissect and take the toy completely apart.  I then began circuit bending the circuit board that was inside the guitar to see where certain points on the circuit board would make different sounds that the "original" toy would definitely not be creating.  To be able to toggle between the normal sounding guitar tunes, and slow/fast guitar tunes, I had to add some switches to it.  I wired a switch to the circuit board that drops the tempo of the guitar tune really low, and then after that I wired a switch to the first switch and the circuit board so that I could distort the sound a little bit in various ways.  The reason why I wired the second switch to the first switch was to make it so the second switch wouldn't be active unless the first switch was turned on.  In addition to that, just like how a real guitar would have, I added a potentiometer in a relatively similar location to my toy guitar as where it would be on a real guitar.  This potentiometer was wired to be able to toggle the volume at hand.  Then, of course, to make it even more like a real guitar, I had to cut the wire off of the speaker that came with the toy, and wired a jack to the toy so that I had the ability to play the toy guitar with an amplifier active loud and clear. 

Artist Talk: Melissa Milgrom

I attended an artist talk in the Nevada Museum of Art by Melissa Milgrom.  She lectured the audience with a power point on the topic of Still Life, more specifically, Adventures in Taxidermy.  She immediately stated the point that, for many, this is a very controversial issue and that taxidermy has no place in art.  However, throughout the lecture, she seemed to change just about everyone's mind on the controversial topic.  The idea behind this is that many people see taxidermist as animal killers and individuals who don't care that much about wildlife in general.  However, she quickly clarified, from person experience and more, that that idea is completely wrong.  Most taxidermists are very careful and meticulous people who care about animals very much.  In order to master being a taxidermist, one has to study and learn every single aspect of said animal in order to get the animal just right.  If anything with the animal is off, even by a little bit, it's considered basically an abomination and abstract art.  But the main focus on how taxidermy is art, and taxidermists are artists, is that they have a strong belief behind trying to capture life in the state which it should be, and so that even if that animal were to go extinct, one could view the true beauty of the creature as though it were still alive.

Outside Artist Exhibition

(Artist: Mahsan Ghazlanzad) This artists' work was extremely interesting and very thought-provoking.  She used the medium acrylic on canvas to paint abstract paper airplanes in various ways and situations in each of her paintings.  I could not stop examining her piece called, "Leader" which portrayed one paper airplane alone on the left of the canvas facing a pile of other paper airplanes on the right of the canvas.  With that piece I was able to examine that Mahsan was incorporating paper airplanes into her works as reference to herself and her life experiences and journey up to the point where she is right now.  In addition to that, all of the colors combining with the style of brush strokes seemed to catch everyone's eye in the exhibition.  If I had one question for her, I would ask her specifically why she painted paper airplanes as the theme to her exhibition.
(Artist: Bahareh Shahrabi Farahani) This artists' work was very culture-based and seemed to have some deeper meaning behind the visual front.  She used tar as a main medium throughout her exhibition because tar is most closely related to her Iranian culture.  The art that she made that was not entirely made out of tar, also used acrylic paint on canvas, or on wood panels.  She seemed to love making collages because she was able to closely relate with how the Iranian culture is by incorporating her art in a collage form.  In terms of visually how her art looked, I thought her style was very thought-provoking, however, seemed very simply made over time.