The Crescent

The State of the Arts: Follow Up

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March 20, 2017
Clarifications regarding the article The State of the Arts: Graphic Design may provide more insight into the piece. In my previous article, published in the 10th issue of The Crescent, Senior Lehman Pekkola was quoted: “they teach style and communication arts, not what’s new and upcoming.” Pekkola has since clarified that the “communication arts” referenced in the quote refers to the publication, Communication Arts, which is regarded by many as the TIME Magazine of design. “It’s been around for a long time, but like older publications I feel like it’s lost its relevancy, but they still keep pushing it. It’s old fashioned, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It has its pros and cons. It’s important to know what used to be.” Pekkola said. Sophomore Jordyn Dunseath was on the search committee for the new graphic design professor. The university hired Brandon Waybright to begin teaching starting in the Fall 2017 semester. “He’s awesome. He’s energetic, innovative, and conceptual. There’s going to be a lot of new wonderful classes,” she said. In the previous article, the class Creative Suite I was mentioned. The class’s structure revolves around professor Bob Bredemeier’s tutorial videos, and Pekkola was quoted as saying “they should be teaching us what you can’t learn in videos.” Pekkola stand by his words, citing Google as an education landscape game-changer in recent times, but adds that “that’s not to discredit all the work he’s put into the videos. But also, in addition to the videos, I think we should be learning more concept.” “The art department is very technically oriented right now, they’re training us to be technicians and then to think conceptually as we go out,” Pekkola said. He emphasized that this is not a negative, rather a personal preference to start conceptually and move to the technical side. On a similar note, regarding the quote “I’ve had to pave my own path,” Pekkola clarified that the reason for this is “because what I’m interested in is not necessarily what they offer.” Pekkola is interested in print publications, which could be considered more of a niche concentration. “I’m very thankful for all the opportunities the program has given me,” he said. “The design world is constantly changing. And to keep up with it is very hard, especially for a university,” Pekkola added. However, freshman Allison Spoelhof points out, “they’re doing a good job of understanding what the program needs. With the new jobs coming into the market, especially in the art realm, it’s going to be really cool to see the diversity in the graphic design program.”        

Challenging Experiences, Challenging Assumptions

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March 1, 2017
A few days ago, a Muslim named Samer attempted to proselytize me. It has undoubtedly been the best experience of my study abroad trip. He spoke of loving Jesus and women. He softly sung the Qur’an to recall answers to our questions. He even teared up at one point. He was genuine, passionate, even loving. To the casual Christian student, the scene would have appeared oddly inverted. To the casual American, it would have seemed strange, at odds with the running commentary of the popular media. Studying abroad in a predominantly Muslim country – 97.2% Muslim to be exact – I have found many of my basic assumptions challenged. For example, another Muslim friend I spoke to asked if I was sure I was a Christian when I told him I did not have a priest. Another convincingly argued that America indirectly funded ISIS, so detrimentally have they tarnished the name of Islam. Sometimes it is difficult living in a predominantly Muslim country simply because many Muslims have so many different basic assumptions. The Arabic language is infused with Islamic understandings of the world. The two most common words, inshallah and yallah, invoke the name of God. Sometimes I feel the very air I breathe is Muslim. I have realized the first step in the journey from foreigner to family is understanding each of our basic assumptions. Without understanding which square I stand on and which my neighbor stands on, I cannot move with any purpose toward relationship. Even the basic words of our respective languages carry fundamental assumptions that fly far over any foreigner’s head. That is why I’ve committed myself to learning whatever small portion of the Arabic language I can. In this world where words I don’t understand are saturated with meaning, it is easy to miss the beauty of the society I live in. One example is the phrase “Allah yatiik ilafyeh,” or “God give you strength.” I say this phrase to taxi drivers when I want them to stop the cab or to my friends when they are overwhelmed with homework. I told my Iraqi friend I went to bed at two in the morning and he said, “Allah yatiik ilafyeh.” God give you strength. Another is “ysallim idayk,” or “God preserve your hands.” A waiter hands me my food and I say, “Ysallim idayk.” God preserve your hands. Or the ever-present “ahlan, ahlan!” My family, my family. Each of these phrases has an automatic response. They are ingrained into the speaker’s mind and inform his/her way of life. The intentionality of each word makes me question the English words I use, especially with Arabs who draw connections between our most common words and their original meaning. I said “that sucks” the other day, and my Christian Arab friend asked what the phrase meant. I didn’t really have an explanation. Slowly I realize, experiencing new culture sets a mirror in front of the foreigner. It calls into question even the most habitual phrases and the most common assumptions. And it refines me, sometimes painfully. From the insignificant to the paramount, it refines me.

Sunday in the Park with George: A Review

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March 1, 2017
“White, a blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole.” So starts the musical by Stephen Sondheim chronicling the life and work of George Seurat. The show focuses on the subjects of Seurat’s iconic painting: “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” and how the relationships depicted may have affected his work.  George Fox University’s (GFU) theatre department presented this show as their Winter Musical; it was shown from 26 Jan. to 5 Feb. As the lights dim, the show opens with Nate Ayers, playing George Seurat, in the center of the stage. He launches into a monologue in which he explains the magic he sees in design. The audience sits in rapt attention as he pulls trees from the darkness of backstage with what seems to be pure willpower (in actuality, it is the work of a masterfully hidden stage crew). He reveals intricately painted walls and within moments, the audience is transformed into passersby in a French park. Together Ayers, as Seurat, and Sarah Aldrich, as Dot, weave together an unconventional and semi-tragic love story. It is a story of love between two people as well as the love between a person and his or her endeavors. Director of the show, Rhet Luedtke, said in an interview with GFU’s news release blog, “When does my creative drive and passion to create meaningful work negatively impact my relationships with my family and friends? Is compromise possible in the quest for excellence?” These are the essential questions explored in the show. From the park, to the studio, to a gallery, and back to the park, the audience experiences a full circle.It is a 100-year story of what it means to be passionately human, to endeavor to balance the pursuit of beauty with one’s own inherent flaws. Tim Timmerman, artist and professor, praised the show. He specifically loved the opening song of Act Two: “It’s Hot up Here,” in which the cast appears in its entirety, replicating the poses of their counterparts in the original painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.” As they sit and stand in their poses, they sing to one another in a humorous and accurate portrayal of the façade that melts away when people lose their ability to tolerate each other. “The actors were very talented and it was a good story. I enjoyed that part of it,” said one theatre minor at GFU. His critique of the show was more toward the writer than the cast. He said that it was a bit long, and the off-kilter soundtrack was not his favorite for a musical. Overall, Roy commended the cast for their acting and the meticulous portrayal of their characters. Those who did not get a chance to see GFU’s portrayal of “Sunday at the Park with George” can see the next production, Deus Ex Millennia, a student-written play. Opening night is April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The State of the Arts: Graphic Design

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March 1, 2017
Change is on the horizon for the graphic design program — and change important for a program whose ethos is rooted in innovation and forward-thinking. The revamp, which will see two new faculty hires in the 2017-18 school year, comes after a steady period growth over the past decade in the Art & Design department. “The major has grown from only 20 majors 16 years ago, to over 120 this year, so we anticipate there will continue to be growth,” said Professor Jeff Cameron. George Fox University (GFU) will welcome Patrice Brown, an interior design professor, and Brandon Waybright, a graphic design instructor who will also be co-chairing the department.However, growth is not the only factor bringing about changes. Mixed reviews about the program’s curriculum and relevance are also contributing factors to the revamp. A broader range of courses and a new approach to teaching certain classes could go a long way towards bringing the program up to speed. For example, Creative Suite I is structured for independent work; students watch tutorial videos to learn the course material. Students have consistently decried the class as ineffective. “It’s not a learning environment,” said freshman Sarah Parsons. “There’s not much actual instruction, it’s just videos teaching you.” Pekkola added, “They should be focusing on what you can’t learn in videos.” Is the graphic design program sufficiently preparing students to enter the ever increasingly evolving market? “Yes and no,” Lehman Pekkola, a Senior design major, said. “The program is heavily geared towards illustration and technical tools with the exception of typography and marketplace branding. I’ve had to pave my own path.” Pekkola also cited Professor Jillian Sokso, the acting department chair during Mark Terry’s sabbatical, as one of the best things about the department. “She brings a fresh perspective to the department. She and Ashley Lippard are a powerhouse duo,” he said. Sokso has big plans for the graphic design program, and item number one on her agenda is breathing new life into the program. “I’m hoping to make sure the program is as contemporary, relevant, and cutting-edge as possible, but re-emphasize the idea of doing good through design,” said Sokso. Cross-disciplinary, product, and industrial design will become new focal points through expanded course offerings. Additionally, Sokso plans to integrate more relationships with community and industry partners through internships, as job placement is a specialty of incoming instructor Waybright. “Web design is not a strength right now, so we are adding two new courses in coding and HTML,” Sokso said. Sophomore Jordyn Dunseath appreciates the job and internship connections GFU has helped her develop but wishes they would add more assignments that pertain to real world design. “For instance, if there was a class that taught us solely how to brand a company, I think that would be really cool,” said Dunseath. As it turns out, a class like this might be just what Sokso ordered for next year. Lippard will be expanding her teaching role to branding and ID systems, in addition to owning and operating the local boutique Pulp & Circumstance. “It will be a class where students will take on real clients and she will art direct them,” said Sokso. There’s a social aspect of graphic design that needs to be addressed as well; a divide exists between the studio art and design branches. “The designers separate themselves a lot,” said Pekkola. “After freshman year, people diverge a lot. Sophomore year I felt that — I didn’t want to associate with the art department. But now I’m like, no, the art department is cool!” Unifying the department socially while individualizing the different branches is a tricky balance to strike, but not completely impossible, as evidenced by the new Art Talk program, which hosts local artists and designers on Monday nights at the Cultural Center. Students are challenging the graphic design department to think more broadly and consider the design landscape the current generation finds itself in; accordingly, the department will introduce many new changes next year. Only time will tell if the revamp will bring the change that is needed, but if current plans are any indication, the program is on the right track.

Start your Engines!

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March 1, 2017
  You might not know it, but George Fox University (GFU) has a car club. Nestled in the long list of other student groups, it’s easy to miss — especially in the winter when there’s a general lull in car-related activities. Don’t let the weather fool you, though; the Car Club is still very much alive. Last semester, the club held a car show in the Stevens parking lot, and the community came to show off their cars. When the weather clears up this spring, even more events will be possible. To the members of the club, it’s not just about the outward events others see. Stephen Allen, one of the two Vice Presidents of the Car Club, says, “I’ve met a lot of guys that I didn’t know were car guys for a long time, and I just kept not knowing. So it’s more about letting everybody know that there’s a group where you can come and share what you love.” It’s a sentiment that the other members share. Car Club President Dakota Geil says, “Be known is Fox’s motto. Well, in the car club, you are known. Each one of the people is known by name. We’re also car people, so we’ll know you by your car.” When they can, the members attend meets — gatherings where people show off their cars. Once the dragstrips open in the spring, they plan on going to the races as well. “All the time we roll together to meets and stuff. Like, six of us in two cars. It’s more about hanging out, and talking about cars.” Says Stephen. Within the club, many members have different tastes in cars. It doesn’t matter much; there’s room for everyone in the club. “It brings everybody together, regardless of what car you drive, of what style you like. It brings you together; you’re family.” Says Dakota. For instance, Jared Horton, the other club Vice President, likes classic cars. “I think cars are important, because they’re kind of a portal to the past, in a way,” He says. “I think it’s important that cars are preserved so that future generations can see the same thing that previous generations did.” Regardless of what cars you’re into, however, you’ll be welcome in the club. Joshua Mathias, Car Club Treasurer, says, “I want to encourage people to come, and go do stuff with us, come to meets with us. If you have a car, show it off, if you don’t have a car, no worries, show us pictures of the cars you do want, and just come hang out and we can just talk about cars.” Throughout the interview with Jared, Stephen, Dakota, and Josh, the spare talk quickly descended into debates and friendly jabs about different types of cars and their makes. Gesturing to the center of the table, Josh says “This is what the car club is, we just hang out and talk about cars.” It seems a modest claim for such comradery, but it’s nonetheless true. If you’re interested in joining the club, you can contact Dakota Geil or Jared Horton at dgeil12@georgefox.edu and jhorton15@georgefox.edu, respectively.

Double Take

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February 10, 2017
Photo Story by Katie Culbertson   Audrey O’Farell arrives at our photo shoot with her arms full. Soft knit sweaters and shimmery blouses in shades of pink, mauve and black spill out of her hands in a snuggly, wintery waterfall; she lays the sweaters over the sofa and hands me a bag. “I have more stuff,” she says, “and that bag is just shoes.” Pink velvet booties, black pointy-toed shoes, gold loafers–for a second I’m a little jealous, but my attention shifts like a magpie to the vintage suitcase of fantastic statement pieces twin sisters Erica and Amanda Guest have just opened. These two appear to be inspired by menswear: I see cropped dress pants, striped turtlenecks and beautiful oversized coats in subdued tones of camel and gray. I’ve given the models freedom to choose whatever they want to wear for this project, and what they select is a beautiful and intimate glimpse into their identities. What inspires them to dress outside the lines at college? “Part of me likes to stand out a little bit, but I also don’t want to be too…is ostentatious a good word?” said senior Maddie Hayes,  ”I kind of like the double take. Like, ‘oh, that’s kind of cool.’” Hayes describes her approach to style as classic with a splash of edge; on a typical day, she’ll layer combinations of chunky knits, high-waisted trousers, and softer pieces in chiffon or satin. “I like to take certain silhouettes and kind of expand on them,” she says. Junior fashion design student Johnny Kang’s favorite color is pale pink, a color he’s drawn to in his designs and in his wardrobe. O’Farrell, Erica, and Amanda style an outfit for him that include his favorite go-to’s: black straight-leg jeans, a black tee, an oversized denim jacket and, of course, a cozy hoodie in ballerina pink. “I don’t want to dress like every other guy,” he says. For Kang, Hayes, O’Farrell,  Erica, and Amanda, clothing represents self-discovery, art, and freedom to express themselves boldly. Each one of them finds uniquely artistic way to communicate their complex selves using fashion. As we wander into an empty field to take pictures, the models blend into the Northwest landscape almost magically. The wind whips their coats about, and they laugh; their smiles and confidence are just as beautiful as the mist tumbling over the mountain behind them. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 100%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

The Dating Game: Couples

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February 13, 2016
Last week saw the return of the annual Dating Game. Before the Game, I sat down to talk with the couples competing this year. Responses have been edited for space and clarity. Bobi Whitehead and Andrew Bergh – Dating Reporter: Tell me a little about yourselves. Bobi: We’re seniors. I am an interdisciplinary major studying Christian ministries and theater. Andrew: And I am a music education and vocal performance major, with a worship arts minor. Reporter: How long have you two been dating? Andrew: A little bit over a year. Reporter: How did you two meet? Andrew: So we met in choir our freshman year. We never really talked to each other. Bobi: We both tried for choir chaplain, and we both got male and female chaplain. Andrew: So we started spending a lot of time together, through that– Reporter: That’s such a George Fox story. Bobi: Praying for each other! Andrew: Everyone was asking, “are you two a thing?” and we’re like, “No, we’re not, we’re just good friends.” It turned out to be more than just friends. Bobi: Then we started dating and everyone still thought we were just good friends. Reporter: How did you start dating? Andrew: I made a video: “10 reasons you have no reason not to date me.” Bobi: It was hilarious. Andrew: My style, I’m flush with cash, my car… Bobi: And he got consent. Andrew: Yeah, I asked her dad, too. Reporter: How has your dating experience been impacted by the dating culture at George Fox? Bobi: When a guy and a girl hang out, I think people just assume they’re dating. Reporter: Have you been getting lots of comments about getting married? Andrew: Absolutely. Bobi: Ring by spring! Andrew: So, if we win the Dating Game tonight, I will propose on stage. Bobi: And if we lose, we’ll break up.   Bryan Neufeld and Keiko Fujii – Engaged Reporter: Tell me a little about yourselves. Keiko: We’re both seniors, I’m a computer science major. Bryan: I’m a computer engineer. Reporter: So when is the big day? Bryan: It’s the end of May. Reporter: So how long have you been dating? Keiko: A year and four months. Reporter: How did you meet? Keiko: We were in the same freshman dorm. We both lived in Pennington. Bryan: So we both interacted normally. We had the same group of friends, because we’re sciencey. Reporter: How did you start dating? Bryan: I had a creative method to (ask her out). We had played this game called Hack RUN, which is kind of simulating hacking into a system, and it’s really fun – you feel like a hacker, it’s great. And so I tried to replicate the game, only I made it custom, and at the end, it had a poem that you finally get to, and the poem was how I officially asked her out. It was a very pretty poem. Keiko: It was at the Oregon coast, too, when he finally gave it to me. Bryan: The Oregon coast is her favorite spot. Reporter: What has been your experience with the dating culture at George Fox? Keiko: Well, when I actually first came, I was in a long-distance relationship with a guy back home, so it was interesting getting to observe the dating culture without actually feeling the need to be in it. Definitely, there was almost like this pressure, at least among the girls, to have a significant other freshman year. Our RA at the time was single, and so we would always joke around about how we would set her up and find her a guy. Bryan: I think the biggest way George Fox culture impacted dating was that– I came from public schools, and finding a Christian girl in a public school was rather difficult in Denver. And so, it just became way easier to find someone actually compatible [at George Fox]. Keiko: And it’s nice, because people choose to be here, and so you’re all already have something in common.   Molly and Sean Roberston – Married Reporter: Tell me a little about yourselves. Sean: I’m a junior psych major. I’m nontraditional, so I’m 27 with kids. And a wife. Molly: I’m not a student. I’m a stay at home mom to our two boys, and I am really good at laundry, cooking, putting people down to naps. So I do a lot of that. Reporter: How long have you been married? Molly: It will be three years, in August. Sean: We should say five years to make it sound better. Molly: A hundred years. It’s a lot. Reporter: That’s impressive. Sean: It’s the evangelical dating culture. Molly: Anyway, three years. We dated for two years, and we were engaged nine months into our dating-ness. Reporter: How did you meet? Molly: We met in third grade. Sean: We’ve known each other for a very long time. I think my earliest memory of you was you beating me at wall ball. I think I called you a name, probably, and you chased me around the playground. Molly: You weren’t very nice. Sean: Well, you beat me at wall ball. Molly: We both went to the same junior high and high school, but then we both moved away. When we were 23, he was coming back into town from the Navy, and we hung out. It wasn’t supposed to be a date– Sean: No, just friends catching up. Molly: But then it turned into a date. And then he asked me “where was this going?” right after the date. Sean: You don’t need to say that. Molly: That totally happened. Reporter: What has been your experience in the evangelical dating culture? Sean: We weren’t coming from that perspective when we were dating. I grew up in the church, but I was away from the church while I was in the military. And then, as we started dating, it became part of our lives. And then, as we were getting married, it just blossomed– Molly: Blossomed– Sean and Molly: We finish each other’s … sandwiches. Sean: We made it a point, that as we were getting married, we were also getting married with God.  

Cambria Herrera directs The Balkan Women

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February 13, 2016
“It is a big honor to direct a main stage show when you’re a student,” said Cambria Herrera, a senior theatre major at George Fox University (GFU) This spring, Herrera is thrilled to be directing Jules Tosca’s “The Balkan Women” on GFU’s Woodmar Auditorium stage. While set design, costume design, and casting for the production have barely begun, the process truly started more than two years ago when Herrera first approached Rhett Luedtke, GFU’s theatre department head, and expressed interest in directing. Some GFU students may have already encountered Herrera’s projects, like Lee Blessing’s “Eleemosynary,” which she directed in her junior year, or David Auburn’s “Proof” at Valley Repertory Theatre. Herrera also won the regional award for top director for a scene from John Logan’s “Red” at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF.) “The Balkan Women” is a drama centering on Muslim women in detention camp during the Bosnian War. “Over the summer, it was a really hard process to pick a play. I read over sixty plays,” Herrera says. In the end, she chose a script she felt would best speak to her audience and facilitate discussion about relevant issues, even though she knew a play with a dark and complex storyline would be challenging. Herrera sees the art of theatre as a conduit for enlightenment. “It was how much you can learn through theatre than really drew me to it, because I love learning,” she said. “The Balkan Women” has a message Herrera knows will challenge her audience; the work explores issues of racial conflict, war, rape, and gender, to name a few. Herrera’s experience as a woman with multi-cultural background impacts the way she approaches theatre storytelling. “Unfortunately, most mainstream plays are exclusively about white Americans, not about Americans from other cultures. I really want to direct shows by women of color; I want to empower other women, and I someday hope to write plays myself and have them produced, and that way there are more Latina voices out there,” she said. Herrera hopes the audience at GFU will be receptive to the darker, more challenging quality of “The Balkan Women.” Herrera said, “I don’t want people to be scared of seeing a play with issues.” Hererra’s relationship with theatre has been developing since she was six years old. As a child, she started out in musical theatre to make friends, but became passionate about the art when she got to college. “The power that it has is something I learned later. I recognized the power it had on people that were doing it, but later I realized the power it could have on audiences and culture,” she said. “The Balkan Women” will run April 8-17

Residence Hall Recipes

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December 7, 2015
Let’s face it: cooking in residence halls is almost impossible. And for me, cooking in general is pretty impossible. So when faced with the task of feeding myself in college, the prospects were pretty bleak. And I’m a student who doesn’t even like to cook. I feel bad for students who love to cook, but don’t have a place to do so successfully. Because let’s be honest, the community fridge is sort of a free for all (although I admit to nothing). Also, where are you supposed to store cooking utensils? Storage space is limited as it is. Perhaps you could leave your cooking supplies in the floor’s kitchen, but there are definite trust issues there. I wouldn’t necessarily want my pot to become the community pot; that would be plain unsanitary. I’m assuming. Or maybe I’m just selfish with my saucepans. With all of this in mind, I have scoured the internet, researched for hours and hours, just in order to bring to you the best recipes that would be easy to make in a dorm room, recipes I will be sharing and detailing my own possibly-disastrous experiences with. It’s going to be a lot of fun. So, first on the list (drum roll please…): Top Ramen! No, but actually. This recipe is what I will call ‘upscale’ ramen— special ramen made all within the comforts of your own residence hall. This recipe is ridiculously easy, not even I could mess it up this time around. Needed ingredients: Ramen (duh) One egg (or two if you like eggs) Spice of your choice (I chose a nice Creole seasoning, on sale at the local Fred Meyer) The first problem I encountered while making this meal was what to cook it in. At first I thought I was going to resort to the microwave, but luckily there was a clean pot in the kitchen unattended on the stove (see, this is why I would have trust issues). Once you have a pot, it should be relatively smooth sailing. Step one: boil water. How much water you may ask? Good question. I just eyeballed it, the package says two cups but nobody left any measuring cups in the kitchen for me to use. Step two: put the block of ramen into the pot. Or crush it up first, whatever works best for your ramen needs. Step three: beat your egg in a cup, and then remove ramen from stove top when done. Then, (this is the really fun part) pour the egg slowly into the ramen as you stir. This was my first time making ramen with egg in it, and watching the egg cook itself just about blew my mind. Step four: pour ramen into a bowl, then add spice to taste (I recommend Creole but that’s just me). Step five: enjoy! If I’m going to be honest here, I was not expecting this recipe to go well. I thought it was going to be kind of disgusting, but I was ready to try residence hall cooking and see how it worked out. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the end result. It was a solid 7.8/10, would make again, if only to use more of the large container of Creole seasoning I bought. The final product. Look at that steaming bowl of mediocrity. Needed ingredients: egg, ramen, and seasoning. Simple as that.

Oregon's Slice of Middle Earth

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November 29, 2015
The Columbia River Gorge is known for being a giant evergreen playground for hikers, and for scarcely being able to look any direction without seeing a majestic waterfall right in front of your face. It’s also known for being the birthplace of windsurfing which, if you happen to go out there without checking the weather first, will become apparent as soon as you step outside and start chasing your hat: the wind is pretty extraordinary! But what a lot of people don’t realize is that just past Cascade Locks, Middle Earth makes a small appearance. When heading east on I-84, take exit 44 into Cascade Locks and take a right towards downtown. After continuing on Frontage Rd. and taking a left on Wyeth Rd. you will soon come to a stop where the road ends at a gate. This place is called Government Cove. There are several paths that go up and around the short cliffs that make up the small peninsula. The rock formations are unlike anything else that can be seen in the area. The short, moss-like grass covering the tops of the cliffs and the small fields on the ground appear to be imported straight from New Zealand or Scotland. At times, it seems as if all that’s missing is Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli riding up to Rohan, or warg riders charging at men on horses. All of this lies right in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge, with dramatic mountains that be seen on either side, just so you don’t forget completely that you are still in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the cliffs there are to explore, there is a jetty that extends out from here, allowing you to get an amazing view of the cove with the mountains in the background. It also give you an opportunity to experience the Gorge from the middle of the river, without having to take a ride on a boat. A great way to cap off the day here is to build a fire in one of the many fire pits dispersed throughout the peninsula. This spot proves to be a great place to get a solid dose of exploration, without being tired after a hike or running into crowds taking selfies. Or running into orcs for that matter, most likely.

Truth in Faces

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November 20, 2015
When art major Nicole Williford makes a portrait, she doesn’t just paint a face. She’s not interested in the split-second capture of two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Instead, she crafts oil and pigment into the essence of a person’s soul. Her work was recently on display in Brougher Hall, where viewers could see her exploration of movement and truth in her subjects’ profiles. Portrait painters usually work to accurately render one perspective of a human face, but Williford was unsatisfied with this traditional method. Her images, at first glance, are a little odd. The eyes of the person are not where they should be, or are not there at all. Faces come out from faces, eyebrows overlap noses, and the overall effect looks like a badly timed photograph with a slow shutter speed. “We live in a world of visual manipulation and filtration,” she explained in her artist statement. “A large portion of my exploration of portraiture has been an intense pursuit of honesty.” Williford believes most of our online portrayals of ourselves are not accurate. With a myriad of editing options, filters, and the convenient “untag” button, it has become easy to lie about ourselves. To Williford, a bad photo—where a person is caught in motion—might be more telling about him or her than an edited online image. “Oftentimes, [that kind of photo] is more real,” she said. Painting a true image of someone’s essence is not easy, as she’s found. Williford began this portrait project with a painting of her friend Grandpa Roy (Heibert), but realized her large-scale image was not an accurate depiction of his character. “Grandpa Roy is such a gentle man, and it’s such an aggressive size,” she said about the painting. “I want to be honorable to who the person is.” Williford often uses more than one artistic method to get closer to an accurate representation of the person. With Grandpa Roy, she first made a series of photographs, then sculpted a bust to work from before beginning to paint. “I can feel his face, without actually holding his face,” she said with a laugh. “I’m making the actual object, then going back and painting the illusion of that exploration.” Williford enjoys the kinesthetic experience of sculpting first, and she believes it helps her render the subject more accurately. She finds sculpture very fulfilling and even considers it a spiritual practice. “There’s this deep sense of ‘I am doing the right thing,’” she said, “and that this is where I’m supposed to be.” With her portrait series, Williford hopes viewers see that her images are uncomfortable and even a little troubling, but also true. Her paintings may take some time for viewers to understand, and she’s okay with that. “I hope they cause enough tension … for people to really look at something,” she said. “We are so complex, and there are so many different parts of who we are, even in one moment.”