Journal 4: How Art Made the World / Self Portraits

9 Feb

How Art Made the World

Art was used as a political tool in ancient times in a variety of ways. The first political logo was used by Darius, in a depiction of him as an archer. This symbol offered peace and cooperation because during that time period a bowman symbolized wisdom, leadership, balance, and control. Another example of art as a political tool is in the case of Alexander the Great, who produced coins with his face on them. Lastly is Octavian Augustus, who altered his “look” to achieve a new type of recognition. In sculptures, Augustus’ hair was flattened and his face was broadened to create a more serious and mature physique. Unfortunately, Augustus didn’t practice all the qualities he portrayed in his images. He used images to manipulate people into believing the opposite of what was true. He wanted people to act a certain way when he, himself, did not act that way.

Today, art is still used in politics to convey a message to the public that isn’t necessarily true. This is done through posters and advertisements, as well as through set design for a major political event. Even the way political figures dress, down to the color of their tie, is carefully planned out so that viewers get a certain sense from what they see. This importance of dress traces all the way back to ancient Rome where clothing was used as an indicator of one’s status. This act of dress is shallow because anyone can put on the clothes, but do they actually do what they say they will? Often times, it is not the case.

Self Portraits:


a. How does your empirical representation (the photo) differs from your rational and/or symbolic representation (the signs)?

Both my representations are actually very similar. The overall theme for both is the ocean, and the color schemes are similar. I don’t know if this is a stretch, but I noticed that even the placement of the white shelves on my bedroom wall is similar to the placement of the white birds in my symbolic representation. I definitely did not do that on purpose, but is a very interesting coincidence. Now that I look at it further, the tall standing stature of my bedpost even matches the stem of the ‘k’ and is in the same location!

b. Are there any areas of intersection?

My self portraits intersect in multiple ways. First of all, the color blue is in both of them. Blue is my favorite color, and while I specifically chose it for my symbolic representation, I did not intentionally wear blue in my self portrait. I reference the ocean in my symbolic portrait, and you can also see a small pirate ship in the upper left corner of my photo portrait. There is even a painting on one of the shelves of an ocean. The picture in front of the painting is of my fiance and I, and we took that picture at the beach. Even the painting on the wall contains a small lake. I like water.

c. Why did you choose the symbols you did?

I chose to represent the beach through a shell and sand because I have always loved the ocean; it relaxes me and I feel like I’m in another world. I used polka dots for clouds because polka dots are my favorite pattern; I have so many polka-dotted things.  I used blue colors because it is my favorite color and I also think it represents my melancholy personality. Birds represent my life-long wish to be able to have wings and fly. The rainbow represents my love for color. Flowers represent my love for flowers and also my middle name, Iris. Lastly, I chose to insert the letter ‘k’ because I decided in Kindergarten that it was my favorite letter. I always wished my name was spelled with a k instead of a c (Erika, instead of Erica). I thought k’s were prettier–c’s just seemed boring.

d. What in your photo describes you symbolically or rationally?

Everything in my photo describes me because it was taken in my bedroom, which I consider my sanctuary. I picked out that specific shade of green for my walls because it felt antique to me and I liked the way it complimented an old gold frame I have hanging on my wall. The ocean is referenced numerous times in my room. I have paintings of it, pictures of it, that small pirate ship that I got from a pirate museum. I also collect shells and display them all over my room. My blue shirt directly correlates with the color of the ocean (but like I said, that was not intentional).


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