Lisa Johnson Mandell - Career Comeback: Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want - https://amzn.to/2urHs1S
As a graphic designer or any creative professional, your resumé or CV not only has to say all the right things, but needs to look like it was designed by a designer, not an accountant. Here are 5 tips that you can use to get your next job.
When I first heard about these giant rainbow gumdrops in the middle of the desert, I really didn’t think much of them. I thought this would be just another popular spot for all the instagram models and Kardashian wannabes. But I guess what isn’t nowadays?
On my recent trip to Las Vegas on Interstate 15, just a few miles before arriving to Vegas I noticed the installation was still in place. I knew that it was supposed to be taken down earlier this year, so I was a bit surprised and decided to do some research when I arrived at my Airbnb.
I learned that the sculptures were called “Seven Magic Mountains,” a work by a Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Not a name I was particularly familiar with, but I was glad to know that it wasn’t something random. I was intrigued to learn more about it.
According to their website (sevenmagicmountains.com), the exhibition was originally scheduled to be on view for 2 years, starting May 11, 2016 but due to the incredible success, the artist has expressed a strong desire to explore ways to keep the artwork on view at its current site. I mean, it’s not like it’s blocking any traffic.
So the exhibition will stay open to public at least through the end of 2018 and the producers are still working on ways to keep the artwork on view at the current site for a few more years or even permanently.
I had about half a day in Vegas to myself before I driving out to Death Valley, so I thought maybe finally I’d check out the artwork in person.
The exhibition is about 10 to 12 miles south of the strip. You can either take I-15 South to Sloan Rd. and drive additional 7 miles south on Las Vegas Blvd., or just take Las Vegas Blvd. all the way from the strip.
If you’re coming from Los Angeles on I-15 North, take exit #12 to Jean, turn right on NV-161 toward Las Vegas Blvd. and then drive 5 miles north. I’m writing this with the Californian accent by the way.
You will probably notice these highlighter-colored rocks from several miles away so you won’t need to worry about directions too much. I remember thinking that they seemed a lot smaller than what I saw in the pictures, but landscapes in the desert can be quite deceiving. I don’t know if you’ve ever been hiking or rock climbing in the desert but you could be walking for hours toward something you thought was only about a mile away.
Anyway, once I parked my car in the parking lot and walked up to the sculptures I realized, I was absolutely right! The place was FILLED with instagram models and Kardashian wannabes. Sometimes I wonder if high schools started teaching modeling classes or if my generation just completely lacked self-esteem. I’m only 31 but I’m often amazed by how people act in front of a camera nowadays.
Up close in person, the sculptures were about the sizes I expected. They were about 30 feet tall, and each layer of rocks varied in height anywhere between 4 to 8 feet.
I saw a bunch of unusually well-dressed girls posing in front of the rocks while their boyfriends or “business partners,” I should say, were talking pictures with their smartphones in various positions. Some small kids were climbing up the rocks with their mom helping them while their dad holding the camera. This one guy started flying his drone behind me and then we were hit by some rain and sandy desert wind. I wonder what happened to that drone.
According to Rondinone, the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Although at its current state, I felt it couldn’t get any less artificial if the Grand Canyon was next to it.
I was actually a fine art major before I decided to pursue graphic design as my career. Although I have been a bit detached from the art world since college, I’m not usually the one who questions whether or not something qualifies to be called “art” until I fully understand the artists’ intent.
In design, there’s always a clear “a-ha” moment when the audience “gets” it. A design that’s not intuitive or makes the audience or a user question the intent of a designer is not a good design, nor even a design at all. A good design should serve a clear purpose, not let the user figure it out. I was having a hard time reaching that “a-ha” moment.
And then the forgotten artist in the back corner of my right brain started screaming, “It’s freakin colorful rocks in the desert. Just shut up and enjoy it, you pretentious ungrateful prick.”
Maybe I was focusing too much on how this is supposed to be art. Maybe I shouldn’t think that it needs to serve a purpose. Maybe the very fact that it doesn’t have a purpose makes it art.
Rondinone has said in an interview, “it’s not something intellectual, it’s just something to experience. I always say you don’t have to understand an artwork, you have to feel it.”
I used to think that the purest form of art is self expression. I used to get annoyed whenever someone asked me to explain to them what my paintings meant. To be honest, I probably wasn’t even trying to “explain” something with my paintings. I was simply expressing how I felt. It didn’t matter to me if my paintings fit any experts’ definition of what art should be.
Rondinone’s quote reminded me of my paintings. Made me wonder how I would have reacted to my own paintings if I saw them for the first time today.
I guess at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what I or anybody else think about it. Today, even companies like Google aren’t free from criticism whenever they change their logo.
Now, time to go post my pictures on Instagram...
Canon 5D Mark III
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I just came back from a quick weekend trip to Las Vegas and the Death Valley National Park and while I was in Vegas, I finally got to visit the Neon Museum. I actually used to live in Vegas back in early 2000s and I never knew this place existed. Apparently they've been around since 1996.
For those of you who don't know, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization which collects, restores and preserves old Las Vegas signs, not necessarily just neon signs, but any sort of historic and iconic signs or sculptures.
During our guided tour, I wasn't allowed to take videos and I was busy taking pictures so I don't remember everything the guide lady told me, but I did some more research when I came back home and got to learn more about the signs.
Here are just a few of the signs from the museum:
So when you get to the museum, you’ll see the neon sign, of the Neon Museum by the parking lot. The sign is actually a collage of different elements from different Vegas signs. The top N is from the Golden Nugget, the E is from Caesar’s Palace, the O I believe is from Binion’s, and the second N is from Desert Inn. The top star on the right is from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and the smaller starts are from Stardust.
One of the first signs that you’ll see as you walk in is Jerry’s. It is from Jerry’s Nugget Casino which was opened in 1964 and it is still open I believe, and this particular sign was made sometime in the 70s. This sign was actually a circling piece on top of a tower of letters that spelled “nugget.” In 2014, the sign was restored and donated to the museum by the casino founder, Angelo Stamis in honor of the casino’s 50th anniversary.
This piece, which is not exactly a sign, is from Golden Nugget Gambling Hall. Although it says 1905, the Golden Nugget first opened in 1946 which still makes it one of the oldest casinos in the city. Gambling actually wasn’t legal in Las Vegas until 1931.
If you google Golden Nugget, you can easily find old pictures of the building and how these pieces were arranged.
The Moulin Rouge hotel, obviously named after the Paris nightclub, first opened in 1955 in a predominantly black neighborhood, and it was actually the first desegregated hotel casino in the city. It became obviously popular with many A-list black entertainers, who would perform at other hotels and stay at the Moulin Rouge.
The hotel unfortunately closed down only 6 months after opening, but in the 1960s it played a huge role in the Civil Rights Movement. A lot of the regular visitors and former employees of the hotel became activists and supporters of the movement, and eventually forced all casinos on the strip to be desegregated.
There has been several incidents of fire on the property in the recent years and the sign has been moved to the museum around 2009.
The El Cortez Hotel and Casino opened as the first downtown Las Vegas resort in 1941 and it is still open, which makes it the oldest continuously-operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas. I think I actually parked there last time I went to downtown.
The hotel’s exterior is still mostly original and it is also the only casino in town on the National Register of Historic Places, so it's a great place to visit to experience a piece of old Las Vegas.
Binions is an interesting hotel. Its founder, Benny Binion was a gambler at heart. Since they first opened on 1951, their focus was on gambling, not on performances. It became famous with high-limit, or sometimes unlimited craps tables and hosting of World Series of Poker, the biggest poker tournaments in the world.
The casino was renamed to Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel in 2004, and although the casino is still open today, the hotel was closed down in 2009 due to high renovation cost and recession.
One of the coolest signs that wasn't from a strip casino. Targeting the rising middle class vacationers after the World War II, a lot of motels were built around the Route 66 and Highway 91 including the Yucca Motel, which borrowed its theme from its surrounding landscape. The motel was closed down in 2011 and the sign was moved to the museum in 2014.
For those of you who don’t know, "Tam O’Shanter Inn" is actually a restaurant in Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest restaurants in LA, established in 1922, but from what I understand, they are not related. According to the Neon Museum’s Facebook post, the motel in Vegas first opened in the late 50s and it was named after a golf course in Chicago that the owner frequented.
The motel was closed down in 2004 when the property was sold to the owners of the Venetian hotel for over $12 million, and The Palazzo building was built on the spot where the motel was.
Cocktails Steak Chicken
This is the oldest sign at the Neon Museum and probably my favorite. Mattie “Jimmie” Jones began selling fried chicken and bootleg whiskey from her kitchen window to the travelers, and in the early 1930s, she opened her restaurant, the Green Shack, which then became one of the longest running restaurants in Las Vegas.
Since prohibition wasn't lifted until 1933, it is very unlikely that any restaurants would have had signages with "cocktails" written on them until 1934. The Green Shack was eventually closed down in 1990s.
An interesting fact that I learned, was that the film Casino was actually based on the true events that happened at the Stardust hotel, but when the movie was being made, Stardust was still open so they had to change the name of the hotel in the movie to "Tangiers Hotel and Casino."
Although I've never been inside the Sahara, I've always had a soft spot for the hotel because I saw this sign almost every day on my way to school when I lived in Vegas. Apparently this is a replica of the sign because the real sign was too big for the museum.
The hotel was closed down in 2011.
La Concha Motel first opened in 1961, next to the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Strip. It was closed down in 2003, and the lobby was moved north Las Vegas Boulevard in 2006 and it now stands as the Neon Museum's visitor center. I unfortunately don't have the photo of the lobby, but if you ever get to see it in person, the shape of the sign will make much more sense.
I must say, this was a fascinating experience and it was well worth the $19 I paid for the visit in my opinion. Even after reading this, I highly recommend visiting the museum. Like I said, these are only a fraction of the signs from the Museum and it's good to know that the money is going to be used to preserve the signs and also for them to acquire more cool signs in the future.
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 16-35mm F4L IS USM