The Cotton Eye Joe Socials Post

Where did you come from, where did you go? Where did we come from, where will we go? Where did we come from cotton-eye humanity?

This is a pretty loaded question, in my opinion. There are so many ways I could take such a question, but for the sake of not losing my fingers, I will take it in just one. I am taking the direction of morality in humankind. There are many things that humans have done throughout history  that are seriously terrible, often unquestionably. For example, extreme genocide, slavery of entire races, and many other atrocities that humans have committed against other humans throughout history.

I don’t believe that humans have ever gotten better or worse throughout history, only the things we have done have changed. I have considered the fact that modern inventions that seek to improve general quality of life or to stop atrocities towards humans now exist, but I think that morality and the actions that it so effects have simply transcended more obvious boundaries.

Where did we come from in terms of morality? Slavery is a massive item on this list that occurs time and time again throughout history. The Bible, a book written over 2000 years ago, discusses slaves in some detail. In the Bible, it is spoken of in a very matter of fact way, such as you or I would speak about any typical thing in our daily lives. Slavery was talked about quite candidly, and for the people ‘winning’ (those who benefited from the oppression of slaves) they discussed it like nothing was wrong, and to them, nothing was. No one who was benefiting from slavery likely thought that what they were doing was wrong, because that was just the way things were.

When slavery was at a more modern peak in the time of the discovery of the ‘New World’, slaves were treated as a pure commodity, worked literally to death and then replaced in batches. These days, this is a disgusting notion that nearly every reasonable person would agree is awful, but at the time, these slavers thought of the people they used as slaves as less than human, as an inferior being.

These days, most people think and agree that slavery is terrible and wrong, however other things have become entirely normal that would never have flown in the past. One to five hundred years ago, it was not normal for one person to know the daily goings-on’s in another person, however thanks to the normalization of social media, I can look nearly any person I know (or not) up and find out where they are or what sort of things they like, things you usually had to find out through speaking to them for a decent amount of times. Things you had to find out through becoming their friend (more so than clicking a button on Facebook).

I believe that while some things change, humans and their oddities really don’t.

In-Depth – Hour 672

My project is fairly underway this week. I met with Karla last week, and we discussed my goals and what I kind of foresee myself doing in this product. She answered a lot of my questions, surprising me sometimes too. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that she rarely works more than a weekend on a project. I think that this will make the project a lot more compartmentalized and easy to do in conjunction with my other responsibilities this coming semester.

I have been looking online and have been trying to figure out a relatively easy first project. A table of some kind is what I have in mind at the moment, however I need to visit thrift stores and other resources in the area soon and look around for an actual item to restore.

I have already found myself talking about restoration a decent amount with people who know very little about it. For all the stress that the research essay on the topic put on to me, I must admit it gave me a good baseline knowledge base. It also armed me with something to discuss with Karla, while still showing that I have plenty of room to learn. In regards to our last meeting, I thought that I successfully implemented De Bono’s three objectives in a conversation, although I wouldn’t say I had an agenda in the matter. We very much reached agreement,  we worked a plan out together and I am already on the way to implementing the first ‘phase’ of it. We had some points of difference, however I very much consider myself the knowledgeably inferior one in this relationship, so I am going by what Karla says for the most part. This may change when I am more experienced in restoration, but for the moment I am content with it. Our time together was very interesting, our conversation was effective and all my questions were answered. I hope that our next meeting will be just as effective as our last one.

This is all I have for now, I’ll be back in 336 hours.

In-Depth – Week 3

Unfortunately, I have not made a lot of headway on my project yet. With my workload in school and being made to write about my in-depth more than I am being made to work on it, I’ve not had much time to sit down and get to work. I still need to meet with my mentor to discuss ways to start, however with the inclusion of the integrated essay in my life I may be a little more prepared for that meeting. My initial learning on the topic has increased marginally, though frankly research is not much of a replacement for an actual mentor.

Because I kind of forgot to actually talk about why Karla is my mentor for this project in my last post, I will do that now. Karla’s full time job is not restoration, however she has been restoring items that she has been skillfully integrating into her home for many years. I don’t intend to be doing anything quite too drastic in my restoration, such as rebuilding half of the piece. Most of my projects will be hopefully be cleaning, refinishing, painting and possibly a bit of light carpentry.

Because of my lack of actually meeting with Karla yet, I am not really sure how I can talk on how I’ve integrated the first three habits of ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’ in our discussions. However I will do my best:

1, 2, & 3. How to agree, how to disagree, and how to differ

In some project topics, this topic would be much more relevant. However, in restoration, the project is almost entirely process-based, and much like doing math, there is one right way to do it and many, many wrong ways. It is also a craft that, while somewhat teachable through books and research, is primarily learned through experience and doing projects repeatedly. Because I have no experience, and Karla has a lot, really her word on anything restoration-process based is gospel to me.

Hopefully, week four will bring with it a little more substance to write about.


John C. Maxwell’s 360 Degree Leader- The Myths of Leading from the Middle Questions

The first myth of leading from the inside, the position myth, poses the question of what a peer has taught you in the past year. In response to this, I look to the student directors who teach me in my drama classes, they are peers of mine in eleventh and twelfth grade who direct me in my drama class, they give me notes and teach me lots about acting. The second myth – destination, asks how do you become the person you desire to be. I believe this can be achieved only through hard work and goal-setting, you must first decide to set goals that will act as stepping stones towards your final goal of becoming the person you want to be. After your goals are set, you must work hard to achieve each one.

The third myth was influence, which asks me what prompts me to follow someone. I personally follow someone if I am: Getting paid to do so, or if they genuinely have a powerful vision I can buy into. I tend to follow people who are less of a boss and more of a leader, a distinction I make based on whether they work alongside their team or let the team carry them.

Myth number four was inexperience, and queries what prompts me to consider another persons opinion. I typically listen to another opinion if they are well-spoken and obviously genuinely care about what they’re talking about. Of course… listening to another opinion is easy, but that doesn’t mean I will agree with it. The fifth myth was the freedom myth, and asks whether I agree that when you move up in an organization, does your responsibility increase? I think it depends on the organization, if you are the CEO of your own company, you have very few responsibilities, however they are larger. I think that most CEO’s mostly are able to coast as long as they fulfill major responsibilities like large fiscal decisions and avoiding being filmed paying for the services of an escort.

Myth six (potential) asks what I am capable of achieving, and what reaching my potential would look like. Frankly, I believe this question is unanswerable, I do not believe that many of the people who arguably reached their ‘potential’  (Einstein, Steven Hawking, etc.) ever knew what they were capable of, even when they died. I think that short of premonitions, this question is impossible to answer factually.

Myth seven is all-or-nothing, and the question is: The reality for most people is that they will never be the CEO. Does that mean they give up leading altogether? To this I say, no. The entire point of this book( and of the philosophy of John C. Maxwell) is that being in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader necessarily, therefore I think that people shouldn’t give up on leading, after all every charity, foundation, and other organizations besides business needs a leader.

In-Depth Introductory Post

Last year, my in-depth project, spoken word poetry, was wildly successful in my opinion. Hopefully, I can replicate that success with my in-depth topic this year, restoration.

Specifically, I want to restore furniture and other home items, hopefully I will be procuring these items from friends, family or otherwise at garage sales and other such places. Through the help of my mentor, I will go through the steps necessary to restore a piece on a case-by-case basis. If this item is something I intend to keep and is not belonging to another person,  I may add my own touches to it, which will probably be all aesthetic. When this is over, I will return the item to it’s owner, however I will be taking before and after pictures of the item and keep a record of who it’s from for potential use in my learning center.

I wanted to do restoration because most of what I do is performance and art based. My passions and primary interests are theater, spoken word poetry (last year’s in-depth really worked out for me) etc. so this year I’d like to do something entirely new. I will be working with my hands mostly, which is something I don’t really do all that much. I’m not sure, if like in poetry, if I will carry on doing this after the project has ended, but I think it should be fun and interesting for the duration of the project.

My needs for this project will be a lot of careful guidance from my mentor, as I know very little about restoration currently. I will also need a good flow of items to restore, one every two weeks or so.

My mentor for this project is Kharla Thompson-MacDonald, (otherwise known as Emma MacDonald’s mom!) I still need to meet with her, however she has committed to mentoring me and we will sort out logistics in our first meeting.

Finally, as I said before I will be trying to restore one piece every week or so, depending on the size of the item.

I am looking forward to getting to work!


Well, here we are. I never actually made it this far last year because I didn’t finish my posts, but now here I am and it feels good. Also, happy birthday to me!

Here is everything I used over the course of this project:

Wikipedia article: The general wikipedia article for Banksy. This includes a general overview of his career, information on the possibility of his identity, notable artworks, technique, social and political themes, and his critics.

Banksy’s Webpage: Banksy’s website, includes photostreams of public arts, photostream of sketches and drawings, information about films Banksy has produced and directed, and Q+A.

Wikipedia article (Graffiti): General information on various types of graffiti, legality, etc.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: Film directed by Banksy, discusses works both public and private by Banksy and other street artists.

/r/graffiti: Subreddit about graffiti, less focused on art and more on ‘tagging’ (the act of painting your name or graffiti handle in public spaces. Interview source.

/r/streetart: More general subreddit of other types of street art such as stencil art, wheat paste, and 3D installations.


Art installation featured in ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, piece built by ‘Mr. Brainwash.’

Learning Center, Speech, Document of Learning, Night of the Notables Reflection?

My learning center was left to a very short amount of time because I’m dumb. As was my speech, as was most of my eminent project. That said however, I feel that with some help from my wonderful parents, I got everything done in time for the night, and despite my not being there, I heard everything went pretty well. So without further ado, here is the learning center construction!

My plan with my learning center was to get a locker bay and create a ‘back alley’ that Banksy had graffitied. I wanted to have the impression that it was Banksy’s final piece, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t any old piece.Via StencilRevolution

For the text itself, I took a look at all of Banksy’s art that I could find, and eventually settled on a very simple piece of text he originally painted in Central London. It might leave some headscratching (isn’t graffiti illegal?) but in this work he is implying that graffiti is illegal, and thus does change things.

I also wanted to recreate the rat, a trademark image that is seemingly everpresent in Banksy’s art (it’s even in that one above), so that was another large component of what I wanted in my centre.

Another component of Eminent night I needed to produce was my speech. Because of my Metfest performance I wasn’t able to be at the night itself, so a lot of preparation had to go into my speech. I didn’t want to record it as a video, because Banksy isn’t much for being filmed anymore (after the catastrophe that was his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop), so instead I opted for just audio. That left, however, whatever it was the audience was going to see while my speech played. Rather than a projection, I hired an actual person for a live performance. Emma M, a morning nine and my savior, accepted my request to be my actress, playing the role of Banksy, and I got to work on her props.

The idea of my speech was that Banksy was talking while working on his final piece. He was sick and tired of people trying to identify him, and so he is doing it for them in his final work. Here is the speech.

The next thing I made was the work of art ‘Banksy’ was creating as he spoke, which was a large banner. The intent of this was so that Banksy could identify himself and effectively burn himself as an anonymous artist, so he could move on. However, he is interrupted. My plan for this work of art was a large banner made to look like a regular wall like that of my learning center, that Emma would ‘spray paint’ as she spoke.

I first got the large piece of asphalt paper, and then added some mock brick work in white pastel. Then, I painstakingly cut out large stencils out of paper for every letter I was going to paint. After taping these onto my piece of paper, I needed to spray paint. Bare in mind this was approximately at 12:30 AM. I needed a large space with good ventilation, but it was very dark outside and my garage is not ideal for this sort of thing. So I did what anyone would do, I dressed in black and laid some tarps in my driveway, and channeled my inner Banksy, spray painting in the pitch black.

So here are some pictures of it, for those of you get that tingly feeling in your skull when something is oddly satisfying, you’ll like stencil before and after pictures.

Wax on…



Wax off!

This went on stage, and although I heard there was some difficulty with what I had set up, it ended up working in the end.

Overall, I believe that my Eminent 2014 project went quite well, all considered! I leave you with one final image, post-spray-paint-misadventure, with my dad and I, a real pair of criminals.


I actually got an interview!

If you recall from last year, my interview requests crashed, burned, asked me to tell their wives they loved her, and then convulsed wildly until their vital signs were zero. I believe this was because I was overly optimistic about securing an interview with my person himself and so did a pretty half-hearted job of seeking interviews from anyone else. In short, I was fishing with a line instead of a net.

This year however, my interview request was fired out to a potential audience of almost 60, 000 people, all who are knowledgeable or at least interested in graffiti. Where did I find such an audience?




Now, last time I used reddit for a TALONS project, it was for in-depth to find a mentor. It failed miserably – but no worries! This years reddit request required much less commitment from another user, and with just one post:


The post received mild success and I actually ended up getting three offers for interviews. I fired off questions to all of them yesterday, and so far have gotten one set of answers back. I also tailored some of the questions based on the information they gave me. The first person is a graffiti artist themselves, who declined to be identified. My questions and their answers are below:

1. As a street artist, what do you think is the difference between ‘street’ art and more conventional art?

The main difference between street art and conventional art is obviously the venue. If it’s not in the streets, it’s not street art. Another difference is motivation. While fame/infamy is certainly part of it, street art mainly focuses on sharing your art with the world. Some people try to make money off of it, but it’s based in the idea of giving your art to the world with no expectations of profit or recognition.

2. What is your opinion on the illegality of street art and graffiti?

Marking property that isn’t yours is a crime. There is absolutely no question about it. But think about how many billboard you see a day. Did you ever agree to let Coca Cola plaster your city with their logos? If companies are going to put up their ugly advertisements (some of which are actually illegal) then I’m going put up my art.

3. Is the process of becoming eminent as a graffiti artist different than with conventional art?

Most graffiti artists remain anonymous for their own safety. With a few exceptions, few graffiti artists are going to give TV interviews about their work. Fame/infamy can certainly be achieved in graffiti, but you’re known for your work and whatever name you choose for yourself. In conventional art, celebrity can certainly be achieved. You can look at a picture of Andy Warhol and know who it is but you’re not going to find any art depicting Katsu.

4. Are you anonymous to everyone as a street artist? Why do you think that being anonymous is something so many artists do?

Anonymity is for security first and foremost. Graffiti is illegal and broadcasting that to the world can get you in a lot of trouble. An artist may also choose to remain anonymous to let the art speak for itself rather than making themselves the focus. My close friends and family know that I do graffiti but I don’t go around telling everyone I do it.

5. What are current trends in the street art and graffiti world? Is it expanding or shrinking?

Graffiti has always been around in some form and always will be. At its simplest, it’s writing your name or drawing a picture on a wall. There have certainly been developments (wildstyle, stencils, electronics) but it all goes back to that tag. I haven’t seen much of an increase in people doing traditional graffiti lettering but street art is certainly expanding. Not everyone is going to want to risk their life by painting in a train yard but anyone can grab a marker and some labels and make sticker. There are a lot of casual street artists who aren’t too serious about it but if you’re doing traditional graffiti, you recognize the risks you’re taking and accept that as part of your life.

6. Are there still original ideas in street art? Or have things started to be recycled?

As mentioned above, there have been developments. People are experimenting with materials other than just spray paint and markers. Things like yarn-bombing, 3D installations, and projection bombing are all pretty new and it’s cool to see what new stuff people can come up with.

I will update if or when I receive more interview answers!



The procrastination was strong with this post. We went to the Simon Fraser University on October thirtieth (Read, 17 days ago), and I am only now uploading it. But at any rate, here it is!

15489089328_86e1b96d29_z (1)


I headed off into this trip with a goal of finding more about the art form that my eminent person, Banksy, works in, which is of course Graffiti. There are a few books about him, but none that were available at the SFU library, so I was looking for more general reference information on graffiti, different styles, and in what ways Banksy is different.

There were a few photos taken that were relevant to this cause, but for the most part i retained what I read, I only wish I had taken photos of what I saw in one of the large reference books on graffiti.

Over the course of the trip I learnt about the graffiti styles from around the world, especially in France, which is where a large reference book I read was based around. These graffiti art pieces were often simpler than a lot of graffiti art that you may associate with the word. For example, it depicted a few pieces of ‘situational graffiti’ which were when art was based around something existing in the environment, for instance, two holes that were drilled into a stucco wall for no discernable reason, and an anonymous graffiti artist designed a basic face around this. This simple piece of art was believed to be at least seventy-five years old. The book was a photographic chronology of graffiti in Paris, and covered simplistic pieces such as the situational graffiti described above, to more modern day stencil art and ‘tagging’.

15055134193_199e517211_kI wasn’t supposed to be in this picture.

For me, the theme of this trip was blending in. On this trip, I felt deeply out of place, a group of over fifty teenagers in a university is like several teenage bulls in a very quiet china shop. We were noisy and took a lot of selfies (see above), and together I think we really did not fit into the environment of SFU. However, as we broke up I began to feel more in place. I like to think I look slightly older than I am, but I do not look like a university student, first year or otherwise. At any rate, as the group temporarily dissolved, I felt a lot less like a huge awkward group of people and more like integrated members of the community that SFU has created. I felt more productive and generally more comfortable when I was alone there.

From this trip, I think I can use my greater understanding of graffiti art to really appreciate what Banksy does and better understand him for when I go to write my speech. I enjoyed my day as a freshman, but honestly I don’t think that life is for me, at least not yet.

Eminent Person 2014 Intro Post – Banksy

I set into my Eminent Person 2014 project with a goal in mind, and that was to do this year with passion, ideally a lot more of that than last years. So for this reason, I’ve chosen someone who I frankly care a lot more about than my Eminent person last year – Jimmy Wong.

My Eminent person this year has one little twist, and that’s that no one actually knows he is.

Banksy, my eminent person this year, is a world famous graffiti artist operating in England. He is however, completely anonymous and despite his blatant displays of work on public walls and other spaces that have large regular traffic, has never been caught. Banksy is known for his contempt of government labeling graffiti as vandalism, and his work primarily involves satirical works on government, poverty, and social justice.

There is only a little information available about Banksy, most of it from the book Banksy’s Bristol: Home Sweet Home. According to the book, Banksy is a male born in 1974, he was born and raised in Bristol, and was the son of a photocopier technician. He was trained as a butcher, but became involved with graffiti during the ‘Great Bristol Aeresol Boom of the 1980’s’.

Bansky has never sold his work, although many auctioneers have sold the graffiti works to buyers, with some ‘pieces’ selling for as high as £30, 000. These deals are under questionable legality and the actual removal of the work before it is covered up or washed off by city workers is left to the buyer. To me, this shows Banksy is not interested in money, as he could easily be making a lot of bank (haha) off of these pieces, but chooses not to. I believe he is far more invested in the cause of spreading awareness of the issues he paints about than in the fame or money he has the potential to accrue as a result.

I am interested in studying Banksy, because becoming as eminent as he has without ever revealing his identity shows me he has a sort of humbleness that not every person of his stature might have at this point in their career. I respect that about him and find his views on issues interesting and similar to mine.

Because there is so little information on Banksy, I can’t draw many conclusions between the two of us besides our views on the world. He has painted images talking about public display of gay affection (See police picture above), poverty, first world versus third world, and much more.

Over the next few weeks, I will be going much more in-depth into the work of Banksy. My goals for the project are to go into the idea of being both eminent and anonymous, and modern eminence in a man who is still alive.