This past school year has been one of great artistic inspiration. Whether it be the talent on campus, the world outside of school, or the spark within ourselves, there have been many opportunites to learn and grow as art-lovers. My experience has been one more from the outside world. The many great minds and talents within the world is truly astonishing. It has opened my eyes to all that can occur from turning a thought into an inventive action.

I encourage the musicians out there to keep creating. Your lyrics and tunes are transformative and can take listeners to another place.

I encourage the actors/actresses/thespians to continue inspiring viewers through you passion. You are the well-crafted tools to creating stories that sometimes are hard for us to see.

I encourage writers to continue exploring the great dreams that are in your heads and in this world, and continue writing it down for us readers to marvel at for years to come.

I encourage the photographers/painters/sculptors to continue transforming visions in you mind and visions of the world into tangible objects. Your work is living proof that greatness is in the eye of the beholder.

I encourage designers to continue to be amazing, for you give us art to walk around in, art to scroll through our computers on, art to get lost in our video games in.

I encourage the producers/advisors/experts/dreamers/consultants to keep supporting and helping the great art that comes across your way. You are the backbone to every movement and continue to push these creators to be their best.

This school year for Arts Ink has been great, and I will see you all soon to see where this upcoming year takes us.

We Know What’s Going to Happen, You Don’t

Do you ever watch your favorite show, read your favorite book, or start a great film and already know what is going to happen? The plot unfolds right at the beginning with you, the viewer/reader, as the initial confidant and the eye-witness to the madness. Then as the plot of the said show/book thickens, and the music starts racing in the background as the characters look at each other in worry, you sit back and realize that wait…you already know the big secret of the plot…the other characters don’t! This my friends is called dramatic irony, and I absolutely can’t stand it.

“Dramatic Irony – a literary device by which the audience’s or reader’s understanding of events or individuals in a work surpasses that of its characters.”

Yes it can be found in the classics like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and even modern works like ABC’s Revenge (cough, cough..hint, hint). Dramatic irony can be the best thing that could ever happen to a plot, and the absolute worst thing that can happen to an audience.

I came to the realization that I detest dramatic irony whilst watching my favorite drama/mystery TV shows. Yeah it’s great that we know that there’s a murder and some form of deception by this person, but do we as viewers really need to sit through 5 seasons of watching characters build up the courage/knowledge to confront the people or entity holding them back? Now that’s just ridiculous.

Dramatic irony sets up a storyline that we know will run its course. Did you think if we knew who the mother was before Ted met her, we’d even care after 9 seasons? What really pushes viewers and readers to stay passionate about these creative works, is the perfected art of surprise. Not many writers have it in them to continuously draw its audience in without giving much away, but to be honest, that is what makes for great drama. It’s the constant need to know on the audience’s end that will always make the pages worth flipping through or the shows worth watching.

In giving the very juicy goods away as soon as audience becomes acquainted with the text, it becomes a game of what character do I care enough about to stay invested in this? What character will I wait to know what I know, and will they react how I want them to? Even with this criteria in mind, I find that character-pull is becoming more and more weak. Do I even care about this character’s reaction enough? Eh..not really.

I urge creators of dramas to consider dramatic irony’s effects, and if it really brings forth what you want it to. Consider practicing the art of surprise, and how keeping the audience in the dark might bring forth amazing stories.

Theory of Moving On

Theory of Moving On

By Erika Bell

The warm


wine colored,


date nights

are among me again.

Three months ago I thrived in this time.

I twisted my curly hair,

knotted it around my polished ring finger

and you rubbed my knee

sending soft shots of confirmation through my veins.

Though, I am here again.

Not here, where we were.

Somewhere new.

I look across the table and

you’re not scratching your scruff

and talking about the impending doom of the world

and I’m not staring into your glossy hazel eyes

as you wolf down that spinach dip.

I look into a dark brown set of eyes now.

He talks of working out.

There’s no scruff to scratch.

He eats his Greek salad with a fork




The bedazzled night is above our heads

like a giant headlight on my heart.

Why Bookstores Are My Favorite Place in the World

Being a semi-immobile student at U of M, I rarely get the opportunity to branch out to the fantastical ‘real world’ off of this campus and bask in its awesomeness. Luckily, the opportunity came about this weekend. Where was it absolutely imperative that I make a stop at? Yes, my beloved and forever a staple, Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. There’s this really big one somewhere out in that real world that sits high in the sky and when you walk in there’s the hustle and bustle of readers, writers, coffee addicts, and pure happiness throughout the air. The books line all of their perfectly organized rows, (like in every B&N you come across…I don’t know why I’m being dramatic) and the opportunity to get lost in new worlds are endless.

There is just something about a great bookstore that really brings me true happiness. Is it the books? I love reading, but lately my Kindle is where I easily search and find my new conquests. Maybe it is the people? Young and old alike, meshing together to immerse themselves in literature, business, chit-chat, and music. Hmm,  I don’t think it’s just one thing I can pinpoint that makes bookstores my favorite place in the world. I think it’s a large concept that transcends to all that I am as a person.

Bookstores evoke my favorite parts of myself…in a store. Is that weird? I don’t care, it’s true. I enjoy reading really great books that I can escape into. Fall hopelessly into and work hard all day just so I can get the opportunity to fall back in and get lost again. Being surrounded by the latest and the greatest is one of the great pleasures of bookstores alike. Most carry classics that will always bring you peace, and the new ones they offer will definitely get your wheels turning. Back when I had my first job at 16 working in my local mall, the bookstore was my favorite stop every chance I got a break. I would grab the book that interested me of the moment, and read it every time I had that break until I finished it completely. The best part was I didn’t have to spend a dime because it is socially acceptable to consume the merchandise at a bookstore. Maybe that is the true reason why I love them so much…

Then there is the atmosphere. The way in which this structure (depending on how advanced this society gets) will never go out of style and there will always be at least one person who can appreciate it enough to walk in there. People are all around, doing their own thing and making the most of their shopping experience.

From what I mentioned before, I do fear of the impending way that these brick and mortar bookstores will change due to the advancement of technology in our society (Fahrenheit 451 moment anyone?). I am proponent of utilizing a digital reader for books, magazines and music. I will search Amazon and have the ability to go through my day without any physical or time-consuming interruptions. Yes, a lot of people lack the free leisure time to immerse themselves in bookstores to possibly buy nothing, but could entirely taking out the symbolic structure from society really be the next step? We have to have bookstores on our streets forever. They’re magical, inviting, safe, and fun. I guess we must wait and see what the future holds, but until then I will continue to cherish the time I get to spend in a great bookstore.

No Role Models?

As I was listening to “No Role Modelz” by J. Cole, I started to think about the concept of role models within this generation. J. Cole’s song targets women and relationships and how there seems to be a lack of true depth and inspiration in the people that we aspire to be like today. I have to agree with this stance. The well-respected influencers of the past garnered their credibility by putting in hard work, by facing doubtful criticism, and by going against the norms within their fields. I feel as though these traits are not found in a lot of the public figures or forerunners of our industries today. There seems to be a change in the revolutionary trait of these “role models,” and the reason why we are inspired by them.

I remember when I was a young pre-teen, I was obsessed with the high-fashion industry at-large. I knew every historical prominent designer, every muse they had, and what made them revolutionary in the industry. I was convinced that I would be the next Oscar De La Renta and I begged my parents for sewing classes, a sewing machine, and voraciously sketched designs non-stop in school. When I think back on that time, I was completely enamored with these role models, and I was willing to do whatever it took to be like them. Through time, my interests faded and my reality sunk in, but looking back, I appreciate the spark that these influencers brought to my life. My work ethic, my passions, my desire to fulfill my dreams became a tangible thing in my psyche. I wanted a fulfilling life for myself, and having this industry and these role models influence me was a major factor in that.

Moving back to today, there seems to be  a different dynamic amongst influencers and the youth. Sure there are little kids inspired by the great artists of the past and of today, but there are also little kids inspired by people whose “fame” doesn’t correlate with the revolutionary aspects of what entails being a role model, in my opinion. Not to say that everyone must meet a certain criteria to be an influencer, but this is a major role that celebrities and intellects should take seriously by being in the limelight. Millions of children, and even adults, are going to be inspired in some way by these people. We live in our truth eventually, but the way in which we get there is influenced by the people we see praised on our T.V., in magazines, on websites, or in newspapers.

Role models are an amazing part of learning about yourself. They are the backbones of our world, and they teach us everyday to be the best that we can be. It can be your parents, grandparents, cousins, teachers, or even celebrities. Their revolutionary traits show us that what we have to offer the world is possible through amazing work ethic and passion. As time goes on, I hope that these famed role models in our media emulate people who will inspire the youth around us to live in their truth, and be all that they can be.

Reality TV and It’s Complexes

It seems like whatever channel we turn to on the TV or when we open the homepage to Hulu and Netflix, reality TV shows have taken over our lives. This is nothing new. It’s 2015 and what people want to see are people like them, who are more dramatic, funny, daring, outgoing, etc. This craving to relate to one another seems to be intensifying, with reality shows of the more intimate nature like Dating Naked and Sex Sent Me to the ER, enticing viewers more than scripted TV. Why is that?

It could be our connection to the digital world. The constant need to be connected to each other online, to be in this space of constant entertainment and interaction, we then utilize reality TV as a way to feel as though we are connected with each other on a physical and emotional level. Beyond the space of virtual life.

Nothing seems to be off limits now, with issues like sex, dating, addiction, and drunken fights being the central focus of the plots. These controversial subjects have been topics of discussion for years on scripted shows, but what made them different were their ability to discreetly or pedagogically illustrate these topics to audiences in which we could learn something from it. Now reality shows have a desire to do this, but the presentation and the theatricality and at times camp nature in which it presents these topics make these shows seem like “trash TV”.

Although, scripted TV is making its comeback in many ways. From ABC dramas like Scandal, to AMC’s Mad Men, what has made these shows so revolutionary are not only its amazing production staff, but also the power in which it stands compared to the low-impact reality television shows of today. So, in ways, it adds value to what we may have taken for granted in the past.

Love it or hate it, reality TV means something to today’s world.