Jul
17
2014

Announcing the Winners of the 2014 SoHo Spring Art Contest

A Round of Applause for these Wonderful Winners!

 

 

We had some great entries this year for our SoHo Urban Artist Spring Art Contest. The rules were simple, use SoHo products and show us what you can do with them, and I must say: Our Artists delivered! 

Our voting period was intense with a jury of artists, our stellar team has picked these entries as this year's winners!

 




More On SoHo Urban Artist:

SoHo Urban Artist is dedicated to bringing fine art materials to both amateur and professional artists the world over. From high quality oils, acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils and pastels, studio easels and furniture, canvases, palettes, brush cleaners and more, SoHo supplies artists with a thorough and well rounded studio set up at excellent savings. No matter the medium and no matter the skill level, every artist can benefit from the affordable, quality art materials provided by SoHo urban Artist. 

Acrylics, Oil Colors, Watercolors and Colored Pencils

 


Check back on our Contest Page to see Honorable Mentions and Keep up with future art contests and more chances to win!

Jul
15
2014

Making Art Can Change Your Brain for the Better Says Science

New Research Shows that Making Art Helps Improve Brain Functions

Painting by Belle Yang

It is often said "age before beauty", but a recent study says that creating beauty and art may just help you in aging. According to a recent study conducted in Germany suggests that those that make art on a regular basis are helping different areas of their brain work better together. 

The Test

A recent study conducted on a newly retired group of people tested people before and after a ten week course where recently retired people aged 62-70 were entered into a group that created art hands on and a group that appreciated and critiqued art. The study was designed to see if visual art production enhances the functional interplay of the brain. 

What they discovered was that the group that had spent ten weeks creating art had "a significant improvement in psychological resilience" (attributed to aging) as well as higher levels of brain functional connectivity. Meanwhile the group that studied art appreciation had worse levels of brain functional connectivity and a lower psychological resilience (attributed to aging).

Test subjects that were entered into the interactive art workshop attended a two hour long class where they learned drawing techniques and how to paint once a week. The subjects that signed up for the art appreciation course spent that same amount of time learning how to analyze and critique paintings from an art historian. 

The Results

Before and after the participants started the course, they were tested using fMRI technology to measure "emotional resilience". The small team of scientists found that:

"The improvements in the visual art production group may be partially attributable to a combination of motor and cognitive processing. Other recent fMRI studies have demonstrated enhancements in the functional connectivity between the frontal, posterior and temporal cortices after the combination of physical exercises and cognitive training. The participants in our study were required to perform the cognitive tasks of following, understanding and imitating the visual artist's introduction. Simultaneously, the participants had to find an individual mode of artistic expression and maintain attention while performing their activity. Although we cannot provide mechanistic explanations, the production of visual art involves more than the mere cognitive and motor processing described. The creation of visual art is a personal integrative experience-an experience of 'flow'-in which the participant is fully emerged in creative activity."

- Anne Bolwerk and team


Now more experiments will be necessary, but the results of the test do show that creating art can help your cognitive processes and lucidity as you age. So retirees, put down the golf club and grab a paint brush or pencil, because it may just save your life. 


 

For further reading, see "Study Says Making Art is Good For Your Brain, And We Say You Should Listen" by Katherine Brooks on Huffingtonpost.com

or

Read the Original Study "How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity" by Anne Bolwerk, Jessica Mack-Andrick, Frieder R Lang, Arnd Dorfler and Christian Malhofner

Jul
10
2014

Bizarre Facts About The Way We See Colors

Top 5 Reasons Why Colors Are Absolutely Crazy

We each probably think of colors as pretty simple. There's red, blue and green and the rest are made from those three right? Well...

Our minds conceptions of colors are all crazy. We see such a spectrum of colors that we have only just begun to understand how our eyes see them. So, here at the blogsquad, we'd like to stop and appreciate all that our eyes do to see the world in such beauty and color and present 5 insane facts about the colors we see. 

1. Everyone perceives color differently.

I'm not just talking about the colorblind people who cant see the number in the circle either:

We each see colors differently from everyone else. Colors are simply light reflected and refracted through cones in our eyes so there is no reason that my perception of the color blue might be different from your perception or mind's definition of the color blue

 

2. The color Red is very different to men and women.

Researchers from Arizona State University discovered that there is a unique gene that allows humans to see and decipher the color red. It turns out that the gene needed to see the color red is on the X chromosome. Since it turns out that women have 2 X chromosomes, Women can see different shades of certain colors such as red better than men. Where a man might only see the color red, women are better able to identify shades like maraschino, cayenne, crimson or maroon. That might be why we as men are so bad about picking out your shade of lipstick, ladies...

 

3. Pink has amazing calming powers. 

 

Pink has an amazing power to weaken and calm you down. For awhile, it was legal for football teams to paint the opposing team's locker room a shade of pink, called Baker Miller Pink, that calmed down opposing players so much, that the home teams were constantly winning. Baker Miller Pink is also called "drunk tank" pink because it can calm down violent prisoners in jails and has often been used as the wall paint color for solitary confinement. It is such an energy-sapping color that the heart muscles can't race fast enough to get aggressive or angry while looking at the color. It has such an effect, that even color blind individuals will be calmed by that shade of pink. 

 

4. The color Blue has been known to stop suicide

This one is really crazy. Back in the early 2000s, Japan had seen a ridiculous rise in the suicide rate in their country. In 2003 alone, Japan had a record number of 34,427 deaths due to suicide. The suicide trend had people choosing to end their lives by jumping in front of trains for some reason. This form of suicide was especially bad at Gumyogi Station in Yokohama. Tons of people were going out of their way to kill themselves specifically at this one train station. It was getting so crazy that japan had to do something about it so Keihin Electric Express Railway Co. changed the colors of eight lights on the ends of their platforms and the suicides suddenly stopped.

 

They stopped completely. The substitution of blue lights for the lights that were previously red. But the calming effects of the blue lights stopped that mode of suicide to the point that by the following year, there hadn't been a single suicide at that train station.

Blue LED lights have also been used in street lamps to shut down crime in high crime areas. It turns out that in addition to being a "calmer" color, because the color is so new and unusual, it causes people to act more cautiously as the blue LED lights remind people of a possible police presence. 

 

5. Red and Blue affect your Intelligence

It's been discovered that the colors red and blue can affect your intelligence while taking tests. Studies show that people taking IQ tests after seeing the color Red do a good deal worse. Since the color red tends to make people feel cautious, seeing the color tends to make test takers more nervous and second guess their decisions. 

The color Blue on the other hand tends to inspire creativity so that test takers typically do better during tests that stimulate their creativity. Seeing blue puts people in a more cool and thoughtful state instead of the color red which puts people into a state of more high alert. Red was shown to better help people in situations that involved editing or proofreading because the color makes you more attentive and pay more attention to detail. 


Want to learn more about colors? A Color Wheel is a great instrument to teach you more about the relationships and harmonies between colors. 

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