Digital culture is replacing words with emojis, and I am fascinated with it! As a visual artist, I know the power of using symbols to communicate, and how they give us nonverbal ways to express our ideas and share our experiences.
I have been reading about the design and history of emojis and icons, and have learned that visual language isn’t as new as I originally thought. My studies reminded me of cave paintings, the Egyptians, Native Americans, Asians and many other cultures who have used picture based language for thousands of years. Even in recent times, we regularly use symbols for bathroom , danger, navigation, operating machinery, and so forth. An advantage of visual language is that it can transcend other languages. If you have ever visited a country where you don’t know the language, there is no doubt that icons helped you understand important information.
To practice this idea, I have started to create my own icons/emojis to tell you all a little bit about my week. This is what the weather was like in Old Washington.
In my personal life, I have been taking a 7-day break from Facebook every month (which freed up a lot of time for studio work and exploring the world of emojis). I thought this symbol was a good way to represent that experience:
It’s interesting how, nowadays, adult coloring books have become bestsellers and Bob Dylan recently won the Pulitzer Prize for literature. (For the record: i think both adult coloring books and Bob Dylan are great!). As our language continues to evolve, maybe in the future, a visual artist can win a the Pulitzer Prize for a work of art written in emoji?Categories: animation, studio life
Last year, while I was in Oaxaca, Mexico, I learned about ‘el Día de los Reyes Magos’. It is also known as ‘The Feast of the Epihpany’ which is when the 3 kings visited baby Jesus — to give him gifts. The Oaxaquenos celebrate by eating a round, donut shaped cake. Somewhere inside the cake is a small figurine of baby Jesus. Whoever finds the figurine in their piece of cake, gets to host a part for their family/friends later a few weeks later. In many parts of the world, many children get excited because IT IS THE HOLIDAY WHEN THEY RECEIVE PRESENTS!
For those of you who celebrate: “Feliz día de los Reyes Magos”!
One of my biggest challenges as a creative person is focus. In a world filled with infinite wonders, I easliy get overwhelmed trying to explore every possibile direction i can go with my creativity. In some ways, my desire to learn and explore EVERYTHING has been a strength. I have developed a unique set of skills, which help me stand out as an artist. The downside is the choas that ‘chasing squirrels’ has caused in my creative, professional and personal life. It had gotten so bad at times in my life; I considered talking to a doctor about taking medicine to help me focus. I like to avoid medicine whenever possible, so many years ago, I bought this book with good intentions:
I finally got around to reading it, and one of its big ideas that I want to share with you all is this:
Before starting another new project, ask yourself if there is an old project you can finish instead.
This idea was revolutionary for me, which leads me to my latest painting. Do you all remember WAY back in June: when I started painting the Cincinnati skyline from the Ohio River?
well, I FINALLY finished it, and the book was right. instead of feeling bad and ashamed because of so many incomplete projects, I feel a lot better having finished something…and I am thrilled with the new painting. This is the first time I have shown it, so if you are interested in adding it to your art collection: it is a 16×20″ oil on canvas. It’s for sale at the EAT Gallery in Maysville, KY., where you can see it in person.
You could also support my work by buying a print. They come indifferent sizes and, if you live in the USA, I will ship for free. Click the painting, or follow this link for more details:
I am trying to read a little bit more of my book every day. I’m also trying to apply the book’s ideas to my studio. lists, calenders, planning, etc. Hopefully, I’ll have lots of FINISHED projects to show off soon!
a project I am working on with my sister, who is a music teacher…now including verse 2: Julia was a birdy…the animation is a little bit clunky, but you can get the overall idea. UNos de mis proyectos con mis hermana (una maestra de música) ahora lo incluya parte 2: Julia fue un pareja…la animación es un poco rústico, pero pueden comprender el idea general.
I want to introduce you to my friend, Sue Ellen Gorman. she’s a painter out in Lewis county, a rural region of Kentucky. Her neighbor, Laura Mays (18 years old), made the music. there is a lot of talent in that part of the state!
I got sick while in Mexico, so I got to experience their version of health care. Estuve enfermo cuando en Mexico, entonces tuve la opportunidad ver su manera de atencion medica.
Nothing serious, but I had a cough for over a week, and thought I should see a doctor about some medicine. I was nervous, because I don’t have health coverage while in Mexico. No fue serio, pero tuve un tosa durante mas que una semana, entonces piensé que debe ver un medico sobre algo medicina. estuve nervioso porque no tengo seguro de salud cuando en Mexico.
I went to this small clinic, where a doctor checked my temperature, blood pressure, eyes, ears, nose and throat. He asked a few questions about my symptoms and allergies, then wrote a prescription for 4 different medicines. Fui a este clinica pequena, donde un medico vió a mi temperatura, presion de sangre, ojos, oidos, nariz y cuello. Me pidó unos preguntas sobre mi enfermadad y alergias, entonces me escribó un nota para 4 distinto medicinas.
There was a pharmacy next door, where I bought an albuterol inhaler, a decongestant, antihistimine, and antibiotic. Hay un farmacia al lado, donde compré los medicinas.
This might look a little rustic compared to US health system, but it was professional, and sufficient, I am already starting to feel better—especially since the doctor’s visit AND medicine cost less than $20 USD. Quizas parace poco rustico comparado con atencion medica de EEUU, pero fueron bastante y profesional. ya comenzo sentar mejor–especialmente porque la consultorio medico Y medicina costo menos que $350 MX.
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Ken is a self-taught artist from rural Kentucky, whose work includes painting, printmaking, and pottery. He considers himself to be a 'lifetime learner' and he uses art as the vehicle to explore and learn more about the world around him. Much of his work reflect his optimistic views on rural folk culture, river life and simple pleasures.
Before the pandemic, You could visit Ken every Final Friday of the month at studio 400 at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. Now, he's mostly sitting on his front porch ,keeping a social distance, in the Historic Village of Old Washington, KY.