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Being Critical is Easy - Creative Isn't.

2:45:00 AM

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم

It's finally the can I please write something, dear blog? Can, ok? can lah..thanks.
So, semester keempat saya di NIU dah start. Nak start sem ni tak mcm sem lepas. While I was eager to start last sem because I finally didn't have to take anymore drawing classes and start focusing on the core, this sem proved to be on the contrary. Instead, the one month school break that we had to unwind ourselves, I spent it being ketaq. You know what ketaq is? It's when you feel like your heart and tummy vibrate vigorously and go into spasm (such a funny word).

The Knockout - Don't Hate The Player nor The Game. Just Accept, Love and Do It. 

Why? Because last sem I just realized the brutality of Vis Com major. You see, you had to take a class that lasts one entire semester to test whether you're eligible to pursue the course or not. I call it the Knockout stage. So the news have to go through the process of elimination or tapisan that is conducted because apparently the world is harsh like that. We were given 3 lives i.e. three major projects which were assessed by all of the professors of Vis Com and that's it. Some fled half way through the course, some stayed behind only to get kicked out later and some survived. In the nice winter break of 2012, those students who stayed until the last moment received their letter of condolence or accolade through the mail post. If I'm not mistaken, there are 40 of us now. Alhamdulilllah for passing the first stage. Ada syarat lain ke? Well, you can't get a C, below 3.0 accumulatively in order to stay in the program. Only the creme of the creme will be selected for senior show later in the senior year.

So puhhlisss doakan kejayaan saya dunya dan akhirah.

Ketaq saya tak habis jugak lagi especially for this one special class that I was signed up for. Prof saya yang best, experienced lagi inspiring ni ajak saya join kelas dia. Saaaangat ecstatic but then, saya jd reluctant sbb dpt tahu kelas tu ada pre-requisite/requirement that I didn't meet yet. Tapi prof insist jugak saya ambil kelas dia which is the last class he'll ever be teaching at NIU before his retirement, with the aid of pre-req waiver that he gave. 

418A Class

With that come in handy, I was still reluctant because on my part, I had to meet the assistant director of the department and convinced him why he should let me enroll in the advance class regardless of my unmet requirements. Dah la saya sendiri tak convinced nak amek kelas tu. Sekarang, kena convince orang lain pulak. Plus kelas tu 4 credit hour (berat) and only an elective. Lagi la mcm pls taknak amik~ Tapi sebab Allah is the best Planner and the One who Guides, He made me check my three-year semester plan and ghupe2nya, kelas tu adalah elective yang saya wajib amek (peliks) dan kena amek pada summer tahun ni pulak tu. Haa...alamatnya, perjalanan jauh tak ku rasa kerna hati ku melonjak sama ingin berjumpa sanak saudara laa! sbb summer ni inshallah plan taknak amek ape2 kelas. Rebel style geek mcm ni la...tanak amek kelas masa summer. Nak rilek dan chill je. Best la Allah ni. Terasa lekeh diri ni T_T Tak hukupp ke sign yg Allah bagi bila Dia dah permudahkan sesuatu huntuk hengkau? Prof dengan baik hatinya offer peluang tu dan saya buat reluctant2 pulak. So, the very last day before the school break, I managed to settle the registration stuff at the admin office and met the officer to defend my stance. Cey..

Le prof qui j'adore emailed me and said yeay he now has the permission to sign me up and invites me to his house kalau lalu wisconsin over the break. I admire his work. He's an artist, a designer and registered architect who can be philosophical at times. He's gone through war, survived a rare cancer although he never smokes and drinks and he built his own house. He helps his students a lot and shares his experiences. I aspire to be like him as far as career wise and as an inidividual. 

First day of kelas 418A, saya yang dah already pelik, "lain daripada yang lain" (tak jumpa lagi muslim yang berhijab dalam Art Building sejak setahun lalu) jd lagi pelik sebab saya adalah sorang budak mentah (sophomore) yang tercampak dlm kelas tu in the ocean of 12 juniors and seniors. Saya rasa nak macam nak lari dan nyorok dalam locker bila senior saya whom I get critiques and advise from on my design, pon ada dalam kelas tu. Oooohh~ apakah perasaan saya? Mentah lagi menggelebeh. Bergelora mcm sampan cabuk yang terumbang ambing di pukul ombak deras. SAYA KENE BERANI DAN BERMUJAHADAH. Jangan biarkan kesenioritian, pangkat dan darjat menghalang aku. 

Prof Kata...

Takpe. This is the time that I let all suckiness in me break loose so I could make room for good and excellence later. Inshallah :)

Prof Wirth ckp on the first day of class;
I want all of you to sit next to someone you don't know (in my case, anyone was good for me) and put yourself in a uncomfortable situation. Beware of the safe zone. You'll reach nowhere.   
All bad and good experiences are experiences. They're all good no matter what you say. 
I want you to get out of the mentality of being students. You're not my students. You're my colleagues. We're in the real world. 
This faculty has many tribes. You have Arts and Craft tribe, Art and Design tribe, Art History tribe, Sculpture, tribe, Architecture, Painting, Drawing, Comp graphics, Vis Com etc...these tribes need to respect each other and unite.  
Prof. Quin said Vis Com is not art. It's more like architecture because it is about solving problems as to how to get across your message visually. 
Instructor and Designer Mat Toller said, it's not art. It's communication. What is the best way to communicate your message visually.  
Vis Com is counter productive to art because it is not subject to interpretation. It is planning, solving and direct meaning.

Last year, the more I learned, the more I realized I didn't understand design. There are formulas, grids and purpose - all new concepts. Alhamdulillah, the few classes I had at the beginning of this sem, I could hear a sense of acceptance by my new instructor. Now my doa consists of ya Allah please give me ilham. Please inspire me, please give me some understanding and skill. With these gifts please assist me in assisting the ummah. Amin. Something like that. The thing with design is, it's always easy to critically critique sombody's work and say what isn't working and why. But it's always harder to actually be creative. Ideas and inspiration don't grow on trees. Sometimes they grow in my dreams, so when I wake up, I've to quickly jot down the ideas before they slip my mind. Sometimes they appear out of nowehere. So, I've to brace myself and prepare. Lol. This is my kind of revelation. Having said that, time and again I've to remind myself that everything I want or need, comes from Him. So invoke dua and ask from Him. Then with what He grants me with, it goes back to me, using it as a means to get closer to Him. This is an important reminder as i could easily get carried away and forget. The fact is, everything will return back to its rightful Owner - so either beautify it or uglify it. 

Another thing yang mengnervouskan saya adalah harapan saya runtun bila saya found out that I still had one more drawing class to go. Life drawing. This is the class that I had been avoiding and managed to escape from at Oakton. Tapi tak di NIU. Never mind drawing class...this is LIFE drawing class. bila dapat tahu, saya rasa macam nak main aci ligan dengan ayam2 keliling kampung. Macammana ni. Semua ayam berdekatan dah kene frozen, takpun dibuat lauk. Takpelah. Dok diam2 dan ngadu kat Allah pon boleh. Please enlighten me ya Rabb. Please protect me and my eyes as I've no choice. 

Designer Justin Ahrens
Dress Code guys, Dan Covert and Andre Andreev

The night before. Last meeting.

Just one sem of Vis Com last year already gave me a lot of insights and experience. Alhamdulillah I was given the chance to volunteer in the annual SEEK Design Conference held at NIU, where we invited students from other institutions and designers across the US to represent their companies or they, as CEO themselves come out and inspire us :) Prof. Quinn made a breathtaking video that included the names of students of Vis Com. Find me! Seth, my senior, as the director of the event made the super awesome SEEK website. I ended up with Vis Com as my pursuit of Bachelor Degree. May Allah make us the warriors of our majors whatever path we may choose. May Allah keep our seedlings of principles grounded which one day will grow the tree with firm roots, strong branches and yummy fruits, beneficial for humanity. Amin. 


Do you have any comments, concerns or inquiries? Or else, just drop me a note to say hi! :)