The Wisdom of Nature

The Wisdom of Nature

The world was created in a balanced and perfect way. Our bodies, perfect too. Our organs functioning collectively to make the body work. Similarly, nature provides everything; each species has its place, which contributes to the balance of the system. It is enough to make you stop and look at nature, to see its beauty and recognize that it has everything that human beings need, from food and resources to live, to the things we use, like paper for a book or wood to build a house.

Our ancestors were aware of the perfection of nature and respectfully borrowed the things they needed from it while appreciating what it provided them, and consequently making adequate use of the resources. Their contact with nature allowed them to listen to it, know its pains and make changes, if necessary. With humility, they recognized the goodness immersed in nature and the human being, which as part of the whole, flowed in harmony.

However, as time passed, human beings, in an effort to improve their living conditions, gave different uses to the resources that nature offered them. Little by little, and without realizing it, human beings lost their connection with nature. Perhaps, because now a city is a cement maze that does not allow us to see what was evident before:

  • The flow of a river indicates that everything flows;
  • The movement of water in the sea indicates that things are coming and going;
  • The sunrise and sunset indicates the beginning of a new day to enjoy and the night to rest;
  • The growth of a tree that indicates the connection with the soil through its roots;
  • The plants that absorb from the soil and air the nutrients they need to live; and
  • The animals reflect nobility, wisdom, and strength to survive in the ecosystem.

Recognizing this, our ancestors knew that everything was provided by nature and each being had an important place within this system in order to maintain its balance.

Why are we disconnected from nature?

The modern individual has changed his lifestyle and priorities. Health, food, and shelter are still important, but since they are acquired through monetary transactions, humans no longer recognize the natural value. A child who grows up in the countryside knows that sun, water, soil, and insects contribute to the good harvest of strawberries and by extension, values these natural resources. However, another child who grows up in the city will eat those strawberries, knowing that they came from the countryside, but not actually seeing all the efforts that were required to have them. We have lost sight of the cycle.

Return to the simple

People want the best for themselves: a better body, a better house, a better car, a better job, and so on. However, humans have already been provided with the best, however, we get distracted by such an information overload, that we do not dedicate enough time to reflect and connect with ourselves and, with nature.

The best that people have received is their life, their positive circumstances, and the other people around them. Although some situations may seem dysfunctional or difficult at times, they serve a purpose for our personal growth. Perhaps to recognize that and connect with ourselves, we must seek our roots and return to a simpler way of thinking, where we enjoy nature more and worry less about material things.

Time to awaken consciousness

When was the last time you enjoyed a day in the countryside? When was the last time you swam in the sea? When was the last time you did something good for nature, like helping an injured animal, planting a tree, cleaning a beach, or picking up your city’s trash to prevent pollution? Have you visited a farm that produces the fruits and vegetables you eat every day to find out how they are harvested? Do you know what the trees are like where the peaches you eat in your salad grow? Do you know the body of water where the water you drink at home comes from?

We are called to connect with our origins, to take the earth with our hands. It is time to know that the happiness of the heart can be found when we give ourselves time and space to connect with nature.

What is “Graphic Design?”

What is “Graphic Design?”

I was recently talking with a friend about my graphic design work and after the ten-to-fifteen-minute conversation we had, he then stated “I’m not even really sure what graphic design is.” I of course laughed at the fact that he respectfully endured my lecture about a topic he was completely oblivious to. Nonetheless, this humorous situation laid the foundation for the topic of this article: What actually is graphic design?

Graphic design is one of those things that we all sort of have an idea of, or a general concept of what it is, however, for the majority of the time, no one can truly describe what it is. It is like Einstein’s E=MC2  equation, or how a computer operates: We know the general idea of these things, however, ask us to explain or elaborate on them and our brains become “blank screens.” However, have no fear, I am here – to explain what this mysterious, daunting, abstract term means and also, how you could easily apply some of its basic principles to your life.

The easiest way to explain what graphic design is-is to use the four general principles first coined by writer Robin Williams (not the actor): CRAP. C.R.A.P. is the acronym for contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. Much can be said about each of the principles, however, as this is a short and sweet introduction, only the larger, more significant ideas will be presented. It should also be noted that this is a paraphrased version of the original author’s work.

C – Contrast is extremely important for aesthetic and mental comprehension. When two or more colors compliment each other, we call this having ”good contrast.” For example, the colors dark grey and yellow go well together, or white and black. However, the most common mistake that many people make when presenting information is the lack of attention to the contrast principle. You would be surprised at just how quickly bad contrast can throw off your eyes and by extension your mind. The inability to read text because, for example, the font color is purple and the background is red, creates a major visual inconvenience for your audience. Bad contrast and color choice is seen time and time again in school or work presentations, websites, even company logos! However, it is a small, yet very powerful added touch that can bring the information you are presenting to a step just above the rest. If you would like more information or additional examples of contrast, I invite you to visit this link:

R – The principle for repetition in the most basic of explanations is: If you do something in one place, this must be repeated throughout. In other words, if you use Arial font for the title on a page, you should use Arial font for all of the titles and subtitles on the page. However there is an exception to this font principle, which is: Complimentary fonts. If you use a modern font for the title, you may use a classical font for the content, or vice versa. In general, this principle should apply to all aspects of whatever you are creating: Images, fonts, colors, and style. When a medium has a defined style, it is significantly easier to retrieve information from it because the medium has repeated aspects. However, if the medium were to constantly change, your brain is in a constant state of flux trying to process the differences. To elaborate, a concise example may be of assistance: If you are creating a ten page proposal and you use an orange background with a photo on the first page, and Helvetica font, in the subsequent pages, all of these aspects should be repeated to establish coherence.

A – Alignment is simply ensuring that all of the contents of the presented information follow repeated spacing. In other words, if you align the title of a paragraph to the left, but you align the paragraph itself to the right, this would immediately throw off your audience or reader. Also, alignment could establish certain connotations to the contents. For example, in English writing, centered alignment establishes emphasis, left alignment establishes structure and normality, and right alignment establishes obscurity and abnormality. These could be manipulated depending on the feeling you want to convey with the information.

P – Proximity is the space between content. An easy example to visualize this is the margins in a document. If you were set the margins of a document to “0”, not only would it print incorrectly, but again, your eyes would be immediately thrown off. Proximity is arguably the most difficult to manipulate as it doesn’t always come naturally. Also, proximity is often what graphic designers “play with” the most when designing concepts. Many minor aspects fall under the category of proximity from the space between the characters of text, to the space between a paragraph and a related image.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but one of the most redundant sentences I used in this article is “throws off your eyes” because this is exactly what graphic designers work with and manipulate. Graphic design is simply taking information and displaying it in an intelligent and aesthetically pleasing manner as to allow for faster and more efficient comprehension. You have graphic designers to thank for massive amounts of visually comprehensive phenomena around you at almost every moment and most people aren’t even aware of this. However, in following the basic principles outlined in this article, you should now be able to act as a graphic designer and drastically change the presentation of information should this ever be demanded of you. Nonetheless, you now have a basic understanding of this rather unfamiliar term “graphic design.”

What are TAV teachers up to on their spare time? Featuring: Jonathan Wilansky

What are TAV teachers up to on their spare time? Featuring: Jonathan Wilansky

Photoby: Guillermo Castellanos. Photo: Jonathan poses for a photo.

This article features TAV College digital media instructor Jonathan Wilansky. Jonathan’s interests extend far beyond the classroom. When he is not teaching at TAV, he can be found in other classrooms, learning! As well as adventuring outdoors, on the musical stage, working on something creative, or behind a computer attempting to help save the world.

Before working at TAV, Jonathan earned a Bachelor of Computer Science at Concordia, and a Master of Arts in Music Technology at McGill. His thesis combined elements of music, electronics, data visualization and software development.

Music was Jonathan’s first truly artistic passion. He’s been active musically since high school and continues playing in a band today! He first started as the band’s drummer, but after injuring his wrist in 2016, he stopped playing and established a new role as the band manager. He has since returned to playing as a rhythm guitarist.

However, art wasn’t always a part of his life. His childhood and teenage years were saturated with sports, and it was only until his interests in graphic design and animated movies that led him to the Computation Arts program at Concordia University. The program was a double major through Fine Arts and Computer Science, and that’s where he discovered a whole new dimension to art that he was never even aware of. Now, he enjoys using his spare time to be creative; however that may be. He’s always working on a creative project, from handmade to computer art, and even 3D printing! He considers it a hobby, for fun; mental stimulation and as a creative outlet. His favourite (and most random) is a functional, giant Nintendo controller that requires two people to operate.





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