Tradgedy in the Loop

As I sit watching the news last night, which I rarely do, I heard about a delay of the Blue Line in the Loop because of a death of an individual by being struck by the incoming train during the early afternoon. Thinking it was such an unfortunate situation and how it happened, I was confused, but I left it at that. Today, I noticed many posts from some of my friends from undergrad on Facebook about a fallen friend. Wondering what exactly happened, I texted some friends while at work to find out. I wasn't expecting to hear what I did. After an answered call, I quickly realized I knew the individual who was killed. I was enveloped in a state of shock and was even more confused with the situation than the night before. Billy was in a fraternity which was really close with the sorority I was in in undergrad and every time I talked to him he was in a good mood, positive and energetic. It is very unfortunate to hear something like this so close to home in more than one way. Every time I pass the Monroe stop on the Blue Line, I will think of Billy.

An article on the accident.

Rest in peace buddy.

Photo courtesy of Jack via Facebook: Brothers: Jack and Billy. New Years 2008.


Frank Armitage Lecture-Day 1

Well today was the day - the beginning of the 2009 Frank Armitage Lecture that our Biomedical Visualization graduate program. It seems like just yesterday I was building the website for the event. I swear, this semester has to slow down! Anyway, I wanted to be prepared for the morning and be on-time and put-together for the event so I picked out my outfit the night before and everything else was ready to go for the smoothest morning possible.... of course that didn't happen. When my alarm went off in the morning, I realized it went off too early so I set it for a later time.... too bad I turned it off and ended up waking up at 8 instead of 7. Well, I guess I will just have to take a cab again. Annoying, but still on time. I hop in the shower and get ready to look presentable-professional and I'm out the door with coffee-in-hand on-time. To my surprise, even with living right off of Clark Street in the heart of Lincoln Park, there are no cabs to be seen... and it is raining. No, not today, just not today. After hoping to see a vacant cab for 10 minutes, I decided to call for one. The operator said it would be less than 5 minutes. Okay, I can handle that. Well after another 10 minutes, I said screw it and I finally was able to hail a cab. The cab I called for called me 10 minutes later... not quite the time they gave me. Oh well, I got another one. Later, when I was about to be dropped off they cabbie figured out I was in school and stated that I was too beautiful to be in the medical field... whatever that means, but I took it as a compliment. Public compliments seem to be my thing; I can't go anywhere without someone noticing me even though I don't feel like I stand out. Oh well; there are much worse things that could happen.

Needless to say, I was late again by 10 minutes. Even though I attempt to be as prepared as possible, there is always some unexpected variable that destroys the plan. I just can't seem to catch a break. I walked into the lecture to Noah Lowenthal, Vice President of Abelson-Taylor. He discussed working in pharmaceutical advertising, more specifically working with the client, different animators and companies to create the product, as well as the working team. The drug, Kapidex, was the example the he discussed. Abelson-Taylor needed to build a booth for a convention that was promoting the drug. The A-T team decided that interactivity was key to captivate the audience, in which they decided to utilize Microsoft Surface. The work that A-T did was very impressive, especially as this was the first time that the company was working with this software.

Greg Blew was next, in which he discussed Emmi Solutions and patient education. More specifically, he started with the beginnings of the company, the significance of patient education for the patient as well as the hospitals, planning, budgeting, and survey scores from patients. Since Greg is also a professor for our program, he has discussed some insider info with us prior, but nothing like this. It was great to see even more of such a beneficial business.

After lunch, we had our last, and main, lecturer, David Bolinsky. Starting out with prehistoric art and man's ability to create artwork and evoke movement. Bolinsky went on to bring this idea into his own life and his progress to where he is today. Starting out in med school and doing pen and ink illustrations on the side, he was always interested in animation. Taking a leap of faith, he decided to drop everything and follow his dream. Can you believe this man started his company XVIVO, a 3D medical animating company, without ever owning a computer? They started off small and not well-known, but after submitting a short on the process visualizing the process of extravasation at a Siggraph conference and getting rave (yet unexpected, or so XVIVO thought) reviews, the company was jet-set to stardom in an instant. It was amazing to see the success that he had through his hard work and following his dream, which were his words of wisdom for the audience as well.

I couldn't believe what a success the first day of the lecture was this year. Usually, the talks, other than the main lecturer, are attended mainly by Biomedical Visualization students and faculty. This year, all the seats were full for every talk. It is fantastic to see how more people are becoming aware of what we do. All of the speakers were captivating, interesting, and the work they showed was just incredible. I don't think our program could have asked for a better day. We'll see how tomorrow goes!

Video courtesy of youtube.com. Inner Life of a Cell.


An Animator From Down Under

Today the Biomedical Visualization program hosted professional biomedical animator, Drew Berry. He held a talk during the day today discussing his rise to success by hard work and self-promotion as well as his process in creating his animations. Drew works at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, a prestigious medical research establishment, in which they have received an Emmy for DNA documentary series in 2005.

My approach is the opposite tack to simplifying the science,” says Berry. “Rather than dumbing it down, I set out to show the audience exactly what the scientists are talking about. By building accurate visualizations founded on real scientific data, the animations come alive of their own accord, engage the audience, and go a long way towards explaining what the science is about. The science is rich, detailed and fascinating, and if you can watch it in action you will intuitively get to know how it works.

It was a pleasure to get to see, listen and meet with a professional in our field yet again and this man was stellar and this is just the first one this week! Stay tuned for a recap of the Frank Armitage Lecture later this week!

Photo courtesy of cgsociety.org. Still from animation of the malaria life cycle in human hosts. Drew Berry.
Animation courtesy of youtube.com. Molecular Visualizations of DNA - DNA Chromosome Wrapping. Drew Berry.



Just a little bit of advertising since I have been pretty sick recently (I have been sleeping almost constantly for the past 3 days). Nip-Tuck season premier is tomorrow if any of you watch it, otherwise, here's an interesting promo ad that plays on fashion, luxury, femininity, and of course, plastic surgery. The official TV show website is pretty cool too; check it out here. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy from oliv3r.net. Nip-Tuck season 6 premier advertising. 2009.


I-con do it!

Above are my icon designs for my Advanced Graphic Design class. Now many of you are probably thinking "What is the difference between an icon and a logo?" Here it is: A logo is a graphical element that, together with its logotype (a uniquely set and arranged typeface) form a trademark or commercial brand. Typically, a logo's design is for immediate recognition. An icon, on the other hand, is defined as an image, picture, or representation. A sign or likeness that stands for an object by signifying or representing it either concretely or by analogy; in simpler terms, a symbol. (Thanks for the definitions wikipedia!) Pssh, a symbol? How difficult could this be? Why were we given weeks to do something that is supposed to be so simple? Though we had to choose three different medical fields (which if you didn't notice, chose optometry, orthopedics and neurology), seriously, how bad could it be?

Again, surprised. You have to take every aspect, shape, line, weight, color, etc into consideration. I have to say, the hardest part was breaking down a complex medical field (let alone three) and make them cohesive with each other. I wanted them to be bold to evoke confidence of each field and use the more basic elements of anatomy that each field chosen works with every day: optometry with the eye, orthopedics with a broken bone, and neurology with the neuron. The colors are chosen for a reason too. Yellow is known to be the most visible color in the spectrum, red was used to evoke the blood from marrow, and blue is used as it is known as a calming color. I could go on with all the little aspects, but if you want to know, ask. Again, I liked how they turned out and I liked the project. This assignment made me think even more about the meanings behind an artist's actions. Meaning in art makes it all the better.
Medical field icons. 2009. Lindsey Pionek. Adobe Illustrator.


Olympic-Sized Shock

The race for the 2016 Olympics is over. Rio de Janeiro was selected this morning, October 2, 2009, as the city to host the summer games of 2016. Being a Chicago resident, I was shocked to hear that we were the bottom and were out before the end announcement. With all the effort and pull that was going on for and in the city, the excitement turned into jaw-dropping shock. However, in my eyes Rio definitely deserved this honor. They have attempted in 1936, 1940, 2004 and 2012 and failed. Persistence worked in their favor and now they will be the host of first Olympics in South America. The Olympics is a world event is it not? Shouldn't every continent have the opportunity to host something like this (Well, maybe except for Antarctica)? With these reasons, I am still a proud supporter of the games. I just may have to go to Brazil now and check out what it is all about. :D

This loss for Chicago may be a good thing though. Think about it: the city already has the highest taxes in the US at 10.25%, the criminal behavior doesn't cease to exist (though I haven't experienced it really and I don't care to) and the El could use a little revamping in many locations. By not receiving the bid for 2016, we are able to use the money to work on the city and the things that truly matter rather than for two weeks seven years from now. The city needs to regain their focus and work to make this place even better that I think it all ready is. Stop the violence in the South and West sides, bring back the compassion, work to make Chicago as a whole a more peaceful place and who knows? If we attempt again (which Chicago should consider; we Americans can't expect to have everything instantaneously), we may have an even bigger influence than we did this time.

Photo courtesy of blog.pinkergreen.com. Candidate city logos for 2016 Olympics.


It is up!

The 2009 Frank Armitage Lecture website is finished! This little gem has been my pride and joy for the past two weeks and I am happy to say that it is now finished. It had its ups and downs, just like every website, but it worked in a way that it was a good review in CSS and html for me. I received some great images from all the lecturers except for one, so instead of making that one stick out like a sore thumb and underrepresented, I decided not to use them except for our main lecturer, David Bolinsky and the artwork from the individual in which the lecture is named after, Frank Armitage. However, I believe the use of these images create a cohesive and clean look to the website, which tends to be my aesthetic. I also enjoy that the images I chose work with each other well with the colors and of course the subject matters, contrast at the same time. The traditional style of Franks Armitage's artwork reflect on the history of medical illustration and the beginning of UIC's program, whereas David Bolinsky's style is future-forward, with bright contrasting colors in a 3d style. Take a look at the website here and let me know what you think!

Splash page portion of 2009 Frank Armitage website with artwork from David Bolinsky. 2009. Lindsey Pionek. Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop.