The Brain/ Pharma Ads

24 04 2012

I thought the Secret Life of the Brain was  very interesting. In one way or another we are taught about the brain as a whole as well with individual parts but it seems not as important as it should to us. As I get ready to graduate and move on to law school in the fall, there are things that I should be aware of when it comes to my brain to better enhance my performance in school. When I was younger I dedicated my athletic training to cheerleading and gymnastics and because of that I suffered many concussions and blows to the head. While obviously none of them became life threatening, my doctor had told me that those hits, especially in my frontal lobes, caused me to not stay focused in school and could be the reason that plenty of times I could not control my emotions and behaviors. I stopped doing those activities in my second year of college and I can say that I have seen a significant improvement in my attention and reasoning because I am not frequently being hit in the head. If I had seen this tour during high school I think it would have made more sense as to why some things were happening instead of taking my doctor’s word for it. Now that I am more educated, I can connect the dots myself.

I wouldn’t say that just because I have now viewed this tour that I am going to change my way of thinking, I just feel I am more aware of the dangers and why things in the brain work and don’t work. Growing up I had always wondered why my mother was the only one with perfect vision and her children needed eye ware. I now know that it is a genetic complication but it makes one wonder; if we each have our own brains, can’t they function to their own ability without dealing with what our parents have?


The ad I chose is for Latisse- a product that helps grow lashes to be fuller and darker. The ad does not automatically begin with symptoms, however, while the spokeswoman beings to speak about how to use Latisse, the words “DO NOT APPLY to lower lid. Hair growth may occur outside the treatment area”. So one can assume that if the medicine gets into other areas of the eye, hair growth will continue. She then states that she saw results in 4 weeks and full growth in 16 weeks. Text states, however, that results may vary; meaning you might not have the same success as Claire Danes (paid spokeswoman and actual user).

The side effects stated are itchy eye and eye redness. The symptoms of the product are increased brown pigmentation around the eye and eyelid skin darkening. Both the side effects and the symptoms have the same amount of dissatisfaction. The ad repeatedly states that this is a prescription only medication and should NOT be taken unless followed up with a doctor and under their permission.

The ad promises the user longer, fuller and darker lashes can be obtained with the use of Latisse. The images used mimic what the spokeswoman is saying in regards to her success in 4-16 weeks without the use of mascara or Photoshop eyelashes.


Below is the ad link for Latisse.


Pastiche Exercise 1 and 2

14 04 2012

Pastiche Exercise 1- Wolverine is the new Dali painting

For my example of pastiche I chose to pick a famous work of art that was changed to incorporate a character from a comic book. The original work of art was done by Salvador Dali titled The Persistence of Memory in which there are melting clocks scattered around the land. The painting was done in 1931 and has since become a very well known piece of art. The imitation of The Persistence of Memory comes from Paolo Rivera who is a graduate of RISD 2003 and currently works for Marvel Comics as an executive artist drawing covers to the comic books and actual stories.

In his pastiche drawing of Dali’s work, Rivera turned the land in which the clocks lay upon into Wolverine, a comic book character who has become very popular since the 1970s as a member of X-Men. The way the clock on the branch of Dali’s work lays now has been replaced with Wolverine’s melting hand and claws.

I believe this to be pastiche only because Rivera is not mimicking Dali’s work in a negative fashion, if anything Rivera is supporting the work while encompassing his own talent and profession into such a famous painting. I think if Rivera were to create a similar painting, still with Dali’s work, he would continue to incorporate Marvel characters because that is his line of work. Since Dali’s painting has been widely accepted and is well-known, it is easy to recognize Rivera’s work as a work off of The Persistence of Memory.

Below is the link to the site to which I attribute the credit for the Wolverine picture.,r:0,s:0,i:73&tx=66&ty=71

Below is the link to which information about Paolo Rivera was taken from.

Pastiche Exercise 2-

The two pastiche graphs I chose to examine are #1- Justin Bieber’s talent and #2 The support of children in Uganda.

Both of these graphs are pastiche in the sense that they each represent a parody of the current popular culture. For example, the Justin Bieber graph depicts the majority’s dislike of the singer and thus the pastiche is making fun of him. The Uganda graph is depicting the lack of knowledge the facebook users had about the situation, therefore, the creator makes it a point to make fun of them through this graph.

Both of these graphs are clearly a parody of the situations they depict. It is more amusing to make fun of certain situations than to simply talk about it. Graphs are usually harder to be considered pastiche because they are not actual pictures combined together. The graphs are combined with graphing materials as well as the popular culture context we see in each of the graphs. The original work of these pastiches are the situations in which they are based on. If many (who are not tween girls) had not disliked him then there would be no comedy nor would there be a need to make fun of him and his career. The same can be said for the Uganda graph for if no one had claimed to be an over-night activist then there would be nothing to poke fun at.

Below is the link to where I took both graph for exercise #2

Culture Jamming- Skittles

10 04 2012

The above photo is the reworked ad for Skittles. The reason I chose to take the Skittles advertisement was in light of the Trayvon Martin case that has swept the nation for over two months. All around the country there have been protests, marches and cries for justice because of this death that did not have to happen. The storyline behind Skittles is that it was the “weapon” that Trayvon was carrying and he was shot because of it.

At the top left of the ad I have changed the words “original fruit” to “original killer”. The “S” on each of the candy pieces have been changed to “T”, for Trayvon. The pitch for Skittles is “find the rainbow, taste the rainbow”. Beneath the large Skittles logo I hanged the pitch to “find the justice, taste the justice” which is targeted to those in charge of getting justice for Trayvon. Finally, the Net weight has been changed from the weight of the bag to meaning that the weight of having this bag is worth one life.

At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to change the ad, even though Skittles was always my topic because this case has been very important to me and those who share the same pain. I first was going to take the ad for chocolate covered and flavored Skittles and work an oppositional reading around the problem of racism, which is what unfortunately happened in the case of Trayvon Martin.

The biggest problem I had with creating this ad was due to the tedious process that was done to make this ad complete. I do not have a laptop, aka Mac, in which I am able to go on Photoshop whenever possible, so I first had to find the appropriate time to make this ad. What took the longest was having the different layers in Photoshop to replace the “S” with “T” on each of the Skittles. I next had to come up with catchy pitch lines instead of the ones already tagged on to Skittles in their commercials.

I chose this oppositional reading because Skittles is the candy that must be so deadly for a young man to have died over. Skittles itself obviously did not kill Trayvon, but since he had the item along with an ice tea George Zimmerman, the gunman, thought he was in danger and assumed Trayvon had a weapon and thus shot Trayvon. The country is in complete uproar because of this incident, as they should be. Zimmerman has yet to be charged in Trayvon’s death because of a Florida law giving the right to use any force if you “feel” that your life is in danger.

Overall, I am happy with the work I have created and I personally feel that it is channeling the greater good of the situation. In order for justice to occur we have to first voice each of our opinions in support of Trayvon Martin, which means George Zimmerman must first be held accountable for his actions.


Below is the original ad for Skittles’ link,r:0,s:0,i:73


Below is the original ad for Skittles

My 48 hours at a glance

3 04 2012

For 48 hours I marked what sort of media was used and I used an excel spread sheet to keep track of my process. At first I thought it would be difficult to keep track of all my usage, but as I continued it seemed easy to just quickly jot down my work, even though it seemed tedious to constantly write in my spread sheet. Below is the break down of my media usage throughout the 48 hours (Thursday and Friday).

Class- 3 hours

Watched television- 8 hours

Music on ipod and radio- 18 hours

Emails, cell phone and FB use- 8 hours

Working at Work Out World- 6 hours

Reading and homework- 6 hours

Video Games- 2 hours

The most media used was listening to either my ipod or the radio and the consisted of 18 hours. The reason it is very high is because during my sleeping time I have Rainy Mood in the background, which is an app on my ipod that plays rainy and thunder noises which is peaceful to sleep to. The second highest use is watching television, also netflix from the computer plugged into the television set.

The least form of media that I used was playing video games with my boyfriend and my friend. The reason the use is so low is because the games we played were not of interest to me but I still tried them out.

A total of combined 8 hours was spent speaking with others via phone, email and FB (facebook). I try to stay away from distractions such as FB because I have other important things to attend to such as school work and going to my job. The reason I combined email, phone and FB was because I felt that they all fall into the same category. With my phone use, I mainly used it to communicate through text messages and made a phone call at least once because I don’t particularly like to talk on the phone.

For my workstudy job I work in the Dean of Students suite at RWU Law School and I have the task of helping to organize the annual Diversity Symposium Dinner. Most of my emails consist of contacting those who have not responded and to keep track of those who have.

Looking back at my work and seeing how much media I used, I was actually surprised that I use distraction sites like FB for shorter amounts of time than I have thought. I usually am one to be very distracted but apparently I don’t use FB as an outlet for my distractions. I am not surprised that listening to music was my highest media usage because I am constantly wearing my headphones and have some sort of music playing. If anything, the hours should technically be larger because while writing papers and playing video games I have either music or Rainy Mood playing in close proximity.

I think after this assignment and having a closer look at the type of media I use and for how long, I don’t think I will change anything only because music keeps me focused from distractions like FB. The longer I have some sort of music or Rainy Mood playing in the background of what I am doing keeps distractions at a low usage.

Creative Commons

8 03 2012

Creative Commons project allows individuals to share their pieces of work with others over the web easily, legally and fairly. While others have trouble with keeping their credit for work, this site allows works to be shared so that one can gain recognition through the web. With the rights reserved, the creator allows his work to be appropriated through different uses. The license allows for creators to essentially “give away” their work with copyright. The article I reviewed and thought was the most interesting was about Jonathan Coulton, who allowed for his work to be downloaded so that he would be able to gain recognition and thus be able to have his name be out in the public. Even though Coulton would not gain financial compensation for all the music he gives out online, he will ultimately benefit when he gets his name out to big corporations and makes it big, he will then make money off his work. He did not give away all of his rights away, Creative Commons protects about half of his work so that he is able to make money after he becomes successful and compensation from the appropriations by others.

This could be applied to a similar situation in which video makers post their movies, films, clips on the internet for entertainment purposes in order to gain recognition. The video and the success of the video is solely the creators, if of course a form of copy right is applied. From personal experience, my cousin puts up videos on YouTube just for entertainment purposes and recently was contacted by YouTube in order for him to receive compensation. The legal aspects were involved before any contract was signed of course, for had it not been, my cousin would lose his right to his films and YouTube would receive everything.

Gone with the Wind and the works for Sherrie Levine and Michael Mandenberg have completely different situations for the fact that Levine and Mandenberg have free copy right on their works so that others may alter, download and copy their works. Gone with the Wind has stricter copy right infringement laws for their works cannot be distributed for commercial use and purposes.

I believe it is extremely important for Creative Commons to give leeway  toward copy right and ownership, however, one must not be oblivious to the legal obligations Creative Commons, the artist and the viewers who are taking from the artist. In the case of Bela Lugosi, his family had stated that they had not wanted Lugosi’s image to be used for commercial gain without there permission. The reason being that if the production company used Lugosi’s images and gained profit, the family would not have received anything. Unfortunately, the Lugosi family did not win this battle for Bela Lugosi had not converted his image into a property to be used for commercial gain only allowed to his family. Since he was a worker for Universal Pictures, they (Universal) was able to indeed profit off Lugosi’s image even after his death. Had Creative Commons taken over and been a resource for the family, Lugosi could have made it that his image and stardom be available to his family usage only.


Self Portraits

26 02 2012

Below is a picture of myself that I took showing my true self; without much makeup and my hair in its natural state. After I took the photo I began working on my symbolic representation self-portrait. At first I was not sure how I wanted to go about it and then I researched symbols that pertained to everything I care for and symbols that make me who I am in an interesting way. The things I wanted to showcase in my symbolic representation were family, my interests, my relationship with my boyfriend, and my future.

Below is the symbolic representation of  my self-portrait that I drew out. I decided that I wanted to make this resemble my face, because it is after all a self-portrait. Of course the symbolic portrait looks nothing like me, however, it is an abstract drawing of me and what makes me unique. The self-portrait that I took accurately portrays me, for it is my natural state. The self-portrait doesn’t show what I am interested in, my hopes and dreams, or my relationships; it only shows how other people see me.

If one were to look at my symbolic representation they would not know what is going on until it is explained. I chose the symbols for certain reasons, because they represent what makes me Angie Elise Cardona. The viewer might not be able to see that the representation is in the shape of a face. At the top, I have two symbols that pose as my eyebrows, “squiggly lines” and a gavel. The “squiggly lines” stand for my zodiac sign, Aquarius. The gavel stands for my future as an attorney. I am going to RWU Law School in August and in three years I will have a law degree. I have wanted to be an attorney for the majority of my life.

For my eyes I have books and a silhouette of a couple dancing. The books represent my love of learning and reading in my free time. When I am not doing homework, I am occupying myself with reading autobiographies or other books that have interested others. The silhouette of the dancing couple represents my love for dancing. I have won many awards for dance competitions and it has been a huge part of my life since I could walk.

My nose is represented through a tiny person getting measure and reaching 4’9”. Being short is what makes me unique, especially since I am considered a legal midget. I could not picture myself anything but the height I am, and I guess it is a good thing I love wearing high heels!

On both sides of my nose I have a yin-yang and three spirals. The yin-yang represents the relationship I have with my boyfriend. We have been together for three years and we truly have a connection that is unbreakable. The three spirals represent myself branching off to my two younger siblings; my brother and sister. They truly make up who I am for without them I would be nothing. We all balance each other out because of the age differences. My brother is 1 year and 1/2 younger than me and my sister is 11 years younger than me.

For my smile I chose to write familia, which translated into English from Spanish says family. My family is the most important thing to me. They are the reason for everything good in my life. On my mother’s side there are 17 of us (and one on the way) and we are all extremely close.

The blue spirals coming down the sides of the photo represent my curly hair. I feel as if it is represents my ethnic roots and I should be proud of it.

Finally, on the bottom of the photo are two flags that represent my heritage. My father comes from Puerto Rico and my mother comes from Guatemala. I embrace both cultures as my own and I am proud of where I come from.

Spectatorship and Power Relationships in Advertising

21 02 2012

The first photo, shown below, is of Jessica Alba modeling for Revlon top speed nail polish. Jessica is often seen in ads for cosmetics because of her beauty and model appearance. As the ad appears, Jessica is looking straight into the camera with her nails on her face so she and the nails become the central focus. The way her hands are placed on her face indicates that while she wants to be the object of the photo, her hands/nails are actually the main objects because of the advertisement for nail polish. Jessica places her hands on her face so the viewer looks directly in her eyes. One could even made the statement that the message is “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” based on Jessica’s eyes and the fact that the nail polish comes in different colors (bottom left). For Revlon, beauty is fast and comes in many colors for your needs. Just as we saw in the art of Las Meninas, the viewer automatically looks at the Princess because she is the center focus. In this ad, Jessica’s eyes become the center focus and the viewer goes straight to them. We can also state that the rule of thirds is applied to this ad because the eyes are right in the middle and the hands are directly proportional to each other.

The second photo, this time of more than one person, is an ad for Gucci Guilty, a new fragrance for men. The ad shown below is of a woman model and Chris Evans, famously known for his role in the Fantastic Four films. When one views this ad their eyes go directly to Chris Evan’s eyes. Rule of thirds can also be applied to this ad as well because Chris Evan’s eyes are the main focus and the model below him balances out where his face is positioned. The way he and the model are positioned makes one have the assumption that because he is wearing this fragrance, he is in control and she cannot help herself but throw herself at him. This ad is putting Chris Evan’s in power simply by wearing this cologne. Chris is depicted as having power because he has a beautiful woman who is lusting for him. His eyes and subtle smirk  give us the feeling that he is enjoying being in power and having the woman fall all over him. The woman hung over Chris Evans is unaware that she is being photographed because her gaze is not towards the camera, it is in the direction of Chris Evan.

One could make the comparison of this ad to the Jessica Alba nail ad that since the eyes, of both Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, are in the center that they are the main focus and instil power and a bit of sex appeal for the viewer. The saying goes for advertisements, “sex sells”. As stated previously, both of these ads have persons who are very attractive and have a seductive look to them that demands your attention in order to sell their products. Both advertisements we found in Vogue magazine and are directed at the female audience.