Mario Prisco Gallery Essay

What do you think about when you hear the word “art”? Most people will simply state that it is a drawing of something, whether it be an everyday object, person, environment, or whatever something completely original that the artist thought up. They may even bring up sculptures. But what most people fail to realize is all of these beautiful, mesmerizing pieces of art all rely on is one of the simplest things you could ever draw; a line. When the vast majority of people observe art, they view the image only as a whole and nothing more; ignoring the most basic of features. If it were not for lines, fantastic art work such as the “Mona Lisaor “Starry Night” could not exist. In Mario Prisco’s exhibit titled Observed & Imagined: Works on Paper, Mario does a fantastic job at displaying how important the smallest and largest details in a piece of work would not be possible if not for something as simple as a line.

In one of Mario’s many study pieces of the human body, “Untitled 11” is by far one of the most basic pieces of the human form in the exhibit, but at the same time seems to successfully capture every contour and natural shape of the human body. By using different line weights (boldness/thickness of the line), different parts of the body are able to display important details in a region that has smaller lines surrounding it to create shading. In the case of “Untitled 11”, face is the best example of this. Along the bridge of the nose, mouth, chin and all the way to back behind the ear, many small lines are used to create the appearance of a shadow. This is all well and good, but what about the actual details of the face? Well, through the use of thicker lines (heavier weight), Mario is able to use basic strokes to create small features on the front of the face. In the case of this person’s face, these are two straight and three curvy lines. That is all! Through the use of five simple lines, Mario has been able to assist the view in knowing not only where the features of the face are, but also what direction the person’s head is turned. If not for the small addition of simple lines, we would just see a mound with some shading on it lying next to a body. But lines can be used for much more intricate details if the artist so chooses to do so.

In another one of Mario’s human body pieces, this one being titled “Untitled 17”, Mario not only had to pay attention to detail when it came to the human figure, but to the object the woman was resting on as well. When you first look at the image, you’ll notice that there are heavy jagged lines along the right side of the woman’s torso as well as across her arms. These heavier lines help the viewer to differentiate between the woman’s body and the object she was resting on. If the line weight had stayed consistent all throughout the model’s outline, it would have been a bit more difficult to make out where the edge of the model’s body is in relation to the material she is laying on. Who would have thought that just by changing the thickness of a line in a certain region in a piece of art would make it so much more appealing and easier on the eyes to view? As for a more advanced use of lines on the woman, the shading of the knees is much more complex than the previously discussed piece. Through the use of a method called cross hatching as well as yet again varying the line weight, Mario is able to create the appearance of darker shadows on the surface of the woman’s knees. In lighter shaded areas, the woman’s legs seem lighter; not as darkened out by heavy shadows. But as we move up to her knee, the lines become packed closer together as well as slightly heavier. The combination of these two events is what makes various usage of line so important; it is a simple thing to draw but when used correctly and with different methods it can give a completely new look to an illustration. Even at the knee cap, there are still individual lines composing the heavy shadow. Lines aren’t only for creating outlines, shadows or filling in basic features. They are also helpful when it comes to putting motion into artwork.

In Mario’s piece, “Imagined Landscape 3”, which is created using watercolor, Mario creates a variety of basic shapes. These shapes include things such as triangles, rectangles, circles, squares and trapezoids. But it is not the shapes themselves we are interested in this time, but rather the way in which lines are used to help give the objects a sense of direction; as if moving across the page. In the bottom right corner is a rainbow coming out of a cloud. Rather than being drawn completely straight, the lines used to create the rainbow have an arch shape to them. The reason for this is to cause the observer’s eye to be drawn to the rainbow as well as follow the direction of the rainbow. In this case, the rainbow fades off not too far from going off the edge of the page, but still, the way it is drawn makes your eyes follow its path. A second example is the chimney with the smoke and shapes coming out of it. Rather than having the shapes and smoke come straight up out of the chimney, Mario chose to have them come out in a direction traveling diagonally. Drawing something in a diagonal direction causes the user’s eye to be attracted to that part of the work easier because it creates a sense of motion; unlike horizontal and vertical lines which appear static rather than dynamic. To make the smoke more interesting, Prisco includes the various colorful shapes to increase the contrast of that region of the image; drawing our eyes even more.

These three examples based off of Mario Prisco’s work are just a few examples as to how important lines are in any piece of art. Without lines there would be no shapes. Without shapes there would be no objects with depth to draw. Our world is full of lines and are what make up everything we see, but with art we must use them in different ways to include details. Without them, things would appear flat and would not be that interesting. So next time you go to a gallery or see an image someone made online, try to notice the smaller details that aided them in composing it rather than just the single image itself.


“Objectified” Response

In Gary Hustwit’s documentary titled “Objectified”, Gary shows us how much work truly goes into the simplest of designs. At the beginning of the documentary we are introduced to various designers and engineers who have revolutionized the way products are built today. One of these people was Johnathan Ive, an industrial designer for Apple. Within a short amount of time, Johnathan explains how much work goes into just one piece of the puzzle that composes a product. Not only that, but he also makes you realize that if it were not for even the most basic of features or design decisions, it could render the rest of the product useless. The documentary goes on to introduce you to various designers as they explain the history of product design, where it is currently at, and what the future may hold. Towards the end of the video, things take a slightly more negative turn. We see the amount of destruction that even the smallest of all objects can cause if not given enough though; an example being a small toothbrush. All in all, this documentary is a great introduction into the world of design and really gets you thinking about how even the smallest aspects of somethings design can have a huge impact on the entire world. Through design, not only are we able to create a whole new product for the general public to get hooked on and use in their everyday lives, but we are also able to communicate ideas to others through the various elements that are incorporated in the design; an example being the colorful presence of a Dyson vacuum cleaner product. Not only are they built to look as high-end as they are, but with very simple color choices and placement, they are able to give off a more “functional” feel to their users, as stated by one of the designers interviewed in the documentary.

What really got my attention was some of the statements made by some of the designers about various products. Probably one of the biggest points brought up was when a designer was discussing the various “faces” that are assigned to various cars. When we see cars in advertisements, we are usually shown the front of the vehicle; sometimes at an angle so we can see the sleek design of the side and rest of the body. But as the designer goes on to discuss is the fact that these vehicles also have “faces” on the back. At that moment it suddenly clicked with me that the vast majority of people never really talk about the backs of their vehicles, only how nice the front and sides look. But what most people fail to realize is that the way the back looks on a vehicle is a result of testing, prototyping and mass production as well, and isn’t appreciated or at least noticed as much as the rest of the vehicle. One other thing that jumped out at me was the discussion of sustainability when it comes to mass produced goods. In an average time span of about 11 months, a high-tech item is thrown in the trash and sent off into a landfill somewhere. What I don’t get (as well as most designers) is why with all the technology and resources we have available today is as to why we don’t construct things in more reliable, easier to recycle materials? By doing so we would be able to recycle more materials to mass produce goods as well as keep from having objects that were rarely used left somewhere to crumble and slowly deteriorate on the Earth. If major mass production companies more willing to use more bio friendly materials, we would not have to worry about this issue. But even with all the research and publicity on this matter, they still choose to use materials such as heavy plastics and steel; things that will not degrade for a very long time.

Illustrated Journal #6

Raphael’s School of Athens is a grand painted piece of work that was painted from 1509-1511. It is currently resided in the Apostolic Palace. Through the use of scale and proportion, Raphael was able to create a true sense of depth in the room as well as a easily identifiable focal point in the back of the room; inside of the arched doorway. Another design element that is well used in this piece is value. Depending on the location of the “light source”, Raphael created a different value for the colors of the wall, giving the illusion that there are walls blocking an actual light source and casting shadows on the wall. Another design element to create the intense depth is texture. If you look at the walls closely, you can see a dotted pattern on the wall. This gives the wall a more realistic look rather than being just a plain flat color. This relates to what we are currently going to be working on because we must use texture in our upcoming project.


Illustrated Journal #5

Golden Ratio:

. In mathematics, the golden ratio is when an objects ratio is equal to the sum of the two larger quantities

. Is a mathematical ratio that is commonly found throughout all of nature to create alluring looks to any design based work.

. Was used quite often by Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci



Golden Mean:

. The most ideal position between two extremes on the opposing sides of the spectrum (one being excessive and the other being deficient)

. Created by Aristotle

.  Started as an attribute of beauty by the Greeks

. Many variations of the rules/name of this philosophy were given by multiple philosophers around the world



Fibonacci Sequence:

. Mathematical operation

. The sum of two preceding numbers

. Can be written out as a rule rather than a simple sequence of number

. Idea and principles were developed by an Italian man named Leonardo Pisano Bogollo. Fibonacci was a nickname given to him by his friends and translates to “Son of Bonacci”.


Alfred Stieglitz Video Write-Up

This document on Alfred Stieglitz (The Father of Modern Photography) was incredibly interesting to watch. Just the idea of a single man having his work criticized for being “blurred and out of focus” to later becoming one of the greatest photographers to ever live is truly inspiring and shows that if you continue to strive at being good at something, you CAN truly do it; no matter what others say. When comparing photography and the arts with each other, there really is no great difference between the two. The only main thing that is truly different is that standard art methods involve different mediums in which an image can be made. But photography, on the other hand, is done with one object; a camera. For both the arts and photography, the elements and principles of design apply. The reason for this is because although the images are made in different ways, they are accomplishing the same task; creating a sense of depth even though they are 2D images. Both photography and the arts are able to do so with various elements of design such as line and shape. Just because these things are not hand drawn in photography does not mean they are not there. The viewer must instead look for them. An example being the various individual planes that compose the image of buildings along a city skyline, or the lines that create the appearance of the strong cables responsible for holding up suspension bridges. Three images that stood out to me throughout the documentary were Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”. His use of various line angles as well as quick brush strokes give an uneasy feeling to the image. Also his use of motion makes it appear as though that the plank like objects are moving up. A second piece that caught my attention was Stieglitz image he captured of all the people crowding the side of a boat at a harbor. Through this image, even today, we are able to get a feel of how things were during Stieglitz’s time, including how people dressed, socialized and even how social classes were treated by others. One last piece (or in this case pieces) that I really enjoyed and saw as significant were the photographs of clouds taken by Stieglitz. Through the art of photography and natural beauty of mother nature, Stieglitz was able to communicate how he was feeling just by capturing images of various cloud formations. For example, if Stieglitz was feeling sad he would photograph large and darker clouds. But if he was in a better mood, he would show this by capturing images of light and soft clouds; less intense formations.





By creating the illusion of space with various lines and vanishing points, artists are able to give the illusion of depth to a 2D image. This applies to both photos as well as videos. By using vanishing points as well as methods called one-point, two-point and three point perspective, I was able to create the illusion of depth in these 2D images.