Why Basketball is the Universal Sport

If you ask someone what the most popular sport is, chances are they will answer with soccer. For team sports, enrollment in soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and rugby are growing more and more widespread. However, I truly believe that basketball is for everyone.

Invented by James Naismith in 1891, basketball continues to be dominant as a major sport for both amateurs and professional athletes. The fast-paced, exhilarating game can be played by almost anyone–people who use wheelchairs, tall, short, young, old, any gender. All you need is a hoop of some kind and a ball; this simple equipment closes the gap for people of different socioeconomic statuses, unlike sports which require tons of expensive gear like skiing or hockey. Also, the fundamentals of basketball are easier to learn than those in other sports: you need to dribble, pass, and shoot, but can go on much farther and improve upon your skills from there. The rules are relatively simple, and games can be adapted for different people. Of course, not everyone is going to like basketball, but overall basketball is an accessible and enjoyable sport.

Another interesting point about basketball is that it is linked to contemporary culture, particularly streetwear style. They are closely connected and play off each other. From the famous Jordans that catalyzed the sneakerhead movement to a constantly-changing collection of fashion collaborations, basketball enriches global style. Furthermore, basketball has influenced many conversations about race and equality throughout history. Basketball is more than a sport; it allows people to connect with one another and others around the world, get active, and learn how to impact one’s community.

To get inspired, check out these awesome basketball courts from @HypeCourts:

Image result for hypecourtsRelated image

Image result for hypecourts

The Chopsticks Project

For a my first Sophomore Studio art project, I attempted to address my identity. I was born and raised in the United States, but a lot of my life has been influenced by my parents’ culture. At a young age, both my mother and father immigrated to American from Vietnam and haven’t been back since. In my generation, I believe it is common for young Asian Americans to feel uneasy in their cultural identity–we seem to be stuck between two worlds: Asian and American. We don’t always feel like we quite fit in, or maybe we can’t speak our own language, resulting in tension and shame. I created these engraved chopsticks and modern paper packaging to try to address these aspects of the Asian American experience. Several pairs focus on the model minority stereotype, and depict sayings that people say to Asian Americans, while the “Asian Disappointment” version detail phrases that parents may say to their children. I aimed to foster a sense of unity among Asian Americans and give an opportunity to reflect on and laugh at stereotypes. Hope you enjoy!

The Problem with Karl Lagerfeld

Renowned and controversial fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away at the age of 85 this week, leading to a slew of celebrities both praising the iconic designer or bashing him for his problematic statements. As the head of Chanel and Fendi, he broadly expanded fashion through thousands of designs and collaborations with other brands. When someone famous dies, it’s easy to get heated with opinions about the person either way, but it is still important to look at all perspectives. Personally, I believe Lagerfeld’s extremely problematic language and behavior in no way justifies his contributions to the fashion world.

Karl Lagerfeld is a man of paradoxes: brilliant, yet infuriating, one-of-a-kind but discriminatory. For one, in an interview with Numero last year, the prolific fashion director called male models “stupid” and “sordid creatures,” and that he was “fed up” with the #MeToo movement. In the very same interview, Lagerfeld managed to use the word “retarded.” In several instances, he has made fatphobic, sexist statements, famously in regards to Adele and Heidi Klum. He has also been accused in numerous years of being Islamophobic and racist. Those are just a few of the many controversial arguments made against Lagerfeld.

When you look back at someone’s life, it’s easy to ignore certain parts of it. But to remain open-minded and truly take a critical look, you must consider both their successes and faults. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold people accountable for their problematic actions.

Are Water Bottles a Status Symbol?

Water bottles–they’re an essential daily item that nearly everyone uses. But a number of magazines and websites have questioned the object themselves, as it appears that expensive reusable water bottles have become a status symbol among young people in the current era. Just as items like headphone brands or winter jackets, people carry around certain brands of water bottles that are intended to suggest a specific type of lifestyle and personality.

I think it’s intriguing how different social groups may adopt niche trends–namely water bottle trends. At my high school, the cool, sleek thing to have was a S’well bottle. Among the outdoorsy, active groups, you’re more likely to find a large Nalgene or Camelbak bottle. Among well-off students of all kinds at the University of Michigan, Hydroflasks are the big must-have item. Reusable bottles in general can suggest a variety of things–for one, the person cares about the environment–and that’s a great thing. Perhaps the person lives a very active lifestyle, and needs constant hydration. If the water bottle is pricier, it suggests that the person has the financial resources to afford such an object. With the addition of stickers, the personalization opportunities open up a whole new world of status.

Of course, expensive water bottles are also functional–they boast hours of insulation for cold and hot beverages, durability, and a long lifespan. It’s worth looking at the division between needing a well-designed water bottle for daily use, or purchasing an expensive, aesthetically-pleasing bottle because everyone else has the hottest trend and you want to fit in. I’m still not sure where I stand on this issue, I think it’s more complicated than a simple answer. What do you think?

“Luh Croy”: The Unauthorized Rebrand

La Croix: we all know it as the sparkling water packaged in bright, multicolored cans. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny La Croix’s revamped global presence and rising popularity. It seems like everybody is obsessed with the beverage.

Oust, an Atlanta creative agency took it upon themselves to refresh the brand’s image (unofficially). Sick of carrying around a nerdy, outdated-looking can, the designers set to create a new image. Throwing away the cans that “look like the set of a tv movie set shot in the 1980s,” the team delivered a modernized update, complete with humorous descriptions of different flavors. Perhaps your favorite is Pamplemousse, “the stuff dreams are made of,” or Pure, a can of “sparkling beauty.”

There’s even a petition you can sign to officially rebrand the La Croix branding: https://luhcroy.com/

What do you think of this potential new look?

Hail to the Gradient

Gradients, or swatches that consist of specific colors that change gradually, are omnipresent in the world of art. Personally, I love a nice gradient–they’re inexplicably pleasing to the eye, with fluid changes of hue that similarly appears to occur in the seamless blending of a sunset.

In visual arts, a gradient refers to a directional change in color/dimension. For example, there are axial (one side to another) and radial gradients (circular). They’re everywhere: in app userfaces, in advertisements, in posters. Gradients are commonly associated with digital art, where they are easier to produce and more conducive to modern design trends. However, they have been seen in fine arts around the 20th century in painting and photography.

Walker Art Center explains that gradients are “edgeless and ever-shifting,” transitioning across an undefinable spectrum.  Light is a spectrum, gender is a spectrum, identity is a never-ending spectrum of possibility. They remind us that nothing is ever definite.

Check out these awesome gradient-related things below:

 

Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RGB Colorspace Atlas
Robert Canali’s In Dust photo series