Art School: Semester 3, Week 10

Jeff Powell
6 min readJul 14, 2018


Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of week 10. Or perhaps the start of week 11. I can’t tell anymore.

Oh, wait. Those are effectively the same thing. Yeah.

I guess it’s been a long week. Better get started.

In non-school news, the harbour was back to being a busy place.

The first thing I noted was a huge yacht that had docked next to the SeaBus terminal in North Vancouver. Alas I got no picture as there was a huge crowd in the terminal and I was trying to catch the bus home from the quay, but I did note the name and looked it up. It is really very large and even had a helicopter strapped to its upper deck. You can worry about the no doubt excessively poor owner by viewing some of the vessel details here: Attessa IV. I am sure they are really hurting these days, given that none of the photos there include the helicopter I saw.

It was still docked there on Friday, but the helicopter had flown off, so I didn’t bother with the picture then, either. If it’s still there this coming week and the copter has returned I’ll grab a pic of it in all its excessive glory.

Also in harbour news, I got close to the prow of another ship. Meet the Ocean Trinity:

That photo was taken from the North Vancouver SeaBus terminal, and you can probably guess I had high hopes of getting a good look at the prow of another ship that might have those weird gouges in it. And I did, and it did:

As you can see, someone has cut into the prow of this ship too, and at this point I am ready to conclude that this is an efficiency thing. These gouges on the front help change the way the ship moves through the water. I am betting that a ship without them creates one big vortex on each side in the wake, and that sucks a lot of energy out of it, making it use more fuel. These gouges, however, turn that one big vortex into a bunch of smaller vortices, and that makes the ship more efficient. So, unless I encounter other weird things, I am going to stop photographing the prows of ships now. That nerdy itch has probably been properly scratched.

In non-harbour news, on a walk to the bus stop from an unusual location a while back I noted this, and went back to photograph it the other day:

Look closely

That’s a set of retaining walls someone made, and they did so with materials from one of the local hardware or outdoor stores. Note the bar code tags near the middle and towards the upper left. Those things are plastic and are stapled into the end grain on such things.

We can look at the boards in the lower left and see they have rotted away. Rather a lot of rot, actually, so this is not a recent installation. And yet, those bar code tags are still there, waiting for a stray laser scanner to read them and give them meaning.

I take two lessons from this. The first is that if you’re building something, remove these sorts of tags. They are ugly and do not disappear on their own. The second, however, is a realization of just how long plastic lasts. That much rot in those boards takes years, and the tags are unphased. All that plastic garbage in the ocean? Yup. Makes sense. Nothing eats it. Nothing degrades it. Nothing makes it disappear. Maybe, just maybe, we should rethink our use of plastics.

I know, the world is currently up in arms about Starbucks starting to work on getting rid of straws. I hear one group saying that’s stupid and straws are a tiny part of the problem. Another group says — quite rightly — that some disabled people actually need straws. A third, more radical group says any plastic is too much. And all of that in the presence of so much political chaos that (at least in my mind) is vastly more important. But humans are humans, and we will argue about dumb stuff for no good reason.

So, come to your own conclusions, but I wonder about plastic in general these days. There are places where it’s critical, and places where it isn’t. We should probably pay attention to those choices.

Anyway, back to school. Ugh.


I continue to avoid writing my final paper for this class. I have a million ways of avoiding that, including writing this post. I can’t yet get a handle on a thesis statement, and it is driving me batty. I have some stuff, and I will get something done, but I have serious doubts about how good it will be in the end. No other news to report at this time.

Canadian Art

The midterm is over. It consisted of three essay questions. I finished and thought “I think I did pretty well on that” initially, but after an hour or two I was second guessing myself. “Oh, I could have discussed this aspect of something as well,” or “I forgot to mention that.” Argh. I have no clue. The grade will be back in my hands on Tuesday and then I will know.

After the midterm, class continued with a lecture on even more modern art. So modern it stepped back from abstraction and back into representationalism. I need to read the chapter and write something up for that class this weekend, so perhaps next week I’ll have something a bit more organized and useful to say. For the moment, I dunno.


This week I drowned in political reading, but nothing stuck with me as being particularly relevant to share here. As a result I have only the usual index of art school posts and other things here on Medium, because Medium didn’t get the ordering right when I imported posts from somewhere else, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.


Dog photos are a hit with some, so here’s a typical back yard scene lately:

Skookie lounges, doing nothing but is alert to strange noises. Tinkerbelle lays in the back, with a ball, taunting Cruzer, who sits at attention, wanting the ball because Tinkerbelle has it.

You don’t think Tinkerbelle is taunting anyone? Oh yes she is…

Hey Cruzer! Look what I have! It’s so much fun!

And In Conclusion…

A Dalek is trolling Donald Trump in the UK. Really. I would shake its plunger in congratulations and appreciation if I met it in person.



Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.