Monday, November 22, 2010

End of my final fall quarter

Hello all,
Just a couple more pieces to show you before a nice, long holiday!

First off, the most exciting news I have this quarter is about my Advertising Illustration class. For our final assignment, my professor was able to snag an actual client, Perc Coffee. Perc (Panther's Eye Roasting Company) is starting out in Savannah, and was looking for illustrators to create a poster to hang in the places in which their coffee would be sold, for customers to try out new blends. We were to illustrate "Perc Up," the house blend, and put our illustration into a template created by Perc's designer. Only one person from the class would actually be printed on the posters. Thanks to learning how to sell myself from my trip with SCAD to New York this summer, I snagged the deal! It is extremely exhilarating to be a "real working" illustrator now, and I can't wait to see my posters hanging around Savannah. I am very excited-- working with these people is a great first job to start of my career. There may, just perhaps, even be opportunities in the future with these folks.

"Perc Up," 2010, Gouache and Digital

For the concept, I was wanting to do something unexpected and fun. These "Cool Cats" came to mind, and then as I worked on the idea, my professor and I discussed how using animals are sometimes a safer bet than actual people. This eliminates issues of offense, by not representing different groups successfully enough. Everyone can relate to the cats. And, for kicks, I put them in clothing representational of different types of people who might like drinking coffee, such as professionals, professors, moms on the go, etc. The feel I was going for was one of unity and tranquility in the gathering around coffee. There is no specific background so the viewer can more easily place themselves in the piece, imagining the coffee shop or cafe they feel most comfortable in. I also made sure to use the color scheme already provided by the designer, so the poster worked well as a whole. The groupings are painted in gouache individually, and then arranged in Photoshop.
I'll keep you updated on this incredible adventure!

Backtracking a little, here is an older piece from my Psychology class that I was unable to scan until later. For this project, we had to create a superhero based on one specific sense. It sounds like a very juvenile project, but it was a nice creative solution to learning about one of the duller parts of the class (science... in my opinion!) My partner and I received "sight," and created Eb the Eye Blinder. His eyes can intake more light than any other human, and they overflow to the outside of his eye, temporarily blinding others. That's why he has to wear those stellar shades when his power isn't in use. (Kinda cheesy, I know. But I had a lot of fun with the illustration.)

"EB" 2010, Gouache

"Popi 4/4" 2010, Lithography Print with Chine-colle

For our final lithography assignment, I decided to utilize the open theme by creating a piece symbolizing current happenings in my life. My father, a couple of weeks ago, was asked to step down from his position of store manager at a national grocery chain. He had been a loyal, award-winning and trusted employee of the store for 26 years, and the circumstances in which he lost his job were unfair and clearly revealing ulterior motives by his employer. Truly, he was constantly celebrated by the people he worked with every day, and had an uncanny knack for improving morale and margins in one fell swoop. This came as a shock to everyone in my family, as well as the company community. My father, typical to his personality, is incredibly optimistic, and already finding golden opportunities for his next career. I wanted to express to him, through this piece, how moving it is that he touched so many people, and that he continues to march on, unwavering. To illustrate this feeling, I chose to use lyrics to a sweet song, which I comically had heard from the Muppet Show. The song is about holding people up, supporting, loving and believing in them. One part reads, “If just one person believes in you/ deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you/ hard enough and long enough/ it stands to reason that someone else will think/ ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’/ Making it two whole people who believe in you.” For the imagery, I knew I wanted to use some type of ocean scene, because of my father’s undying love for the sea. He recently has discovered an interest in sailing, so I decided to use the boat as a metaphor for him, being lifted by the encouraging words of the people who love him. He is sailing away from the gloomy city, the lifestyle that did not appreciate his contributions. The color choices are all symbolic as well. Using a warm yellow for underneath the water and the boat suggests upbeat energy and happiness, while the colors fade into a chillier palette the further into the background it recedes.
I executed the assignment with three runs of photolithography plates. The images I painted by hand, scanned, and printed onto the transparencies, which I then used to burn into the photo plates. My first run was in yellow, and went quite smoothly, except for my registration. I always find myself frustrated and seemingly stupid about the concept. This is embarrassing, and I realize I should have conquered this step at my stage in the curriculum, but for some reason, I have a very difficult time with it. The large size of my prints made this even more frustrating. I ended up somehow printing my plate two inches higher than intended on the paper, which has forced me to tear my edition down to make the border less awkward and bottom-heavy. Whatever caused my error then drove me to recreate my registration once more for each plate after the first. Luckily, I had saved my transparencies, and through a very silly system, I managed to problem solve. The rest of the plates lined up pretty well.
My second run included a blend roll, which I enjoyed very much. This was my first time attempting the technique, and although not always cohesive with my style, I found it a very simple and pleasing tool to create atmospheric perspective. Not to mention my blue and green look lovely mixed together! The last run was in dark blue, with chine-colle. The only issue with this was the glue, which apparently soaked through my patterned paper, causing it to stick to the plate as I lifted the paper off. There was some tearing, unfortunately, and I have tried to mend it as subtly as possible.
Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of this project. I attempted several techniques that I had not utilized before, and worked outside my comfort zone with such a large image size. This project was a challenge, but also a success, and a wonderful way to wrap up my lithography studies.

On week 9, I got to see award-winning illustrator Peter Brown speak. I usually enjoy sitting in lectures pertaining to my major, but listening to Peter Brown was especially inspiring. Peter is a children’s book author and illustrator, with one of his books, “The Curious Garden,” having sat on the New York Times bestseller list for six months. He explained not only his personal journey into the field, but also gave advice to the audience about procedures to earn book deals. I felt as though the lecture was a very nice balance between autobiography and guidance, whereas usually speakers seen lean too heavily on one topic over another. Plus, I just really love his style!

©Peter Brown, "The Curious Garden" Cover

©Peter Brown, "The Curious Garden" Spread

This was a pretty good quarter, as far as work goes. And it looks like I managed to get by with all A's again! Next quarter I'll be taking my last printmaking class, Photographic/Digital Applications for Printmaking, and my very important Illustration Portfolio class. And for my lecture, I'll be in Art Since 1945 online. Hopefully that will allow me to focus more on my portfolio class and less on exams. But no need to worry about that, just yet!

That's all for now, more updates on holiday work coming soon.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mid-Quarter Work

Hello again!
Well, it's significantly chillier outside today, and it reminded me that quite some time has passed and I need to post some more artwork!
First off, if you live in Savannah, you should check out the SIC Urban Legends show at the Savannah Mall. Both Kellan and I have work hanging (mine is the piece I posted last time of Goat Man and Donkey Lady) and they are for sale too!
Now for the art:
Let me explain these first few. In my last update, I showed you the beginning of the Exquisite Corpse assignment in my Lithography class. The project is now complete, and I have three collaborative pieces to show for it. I have to be honest-- this project was extremely frustrating for me. It was very difficult to not be in control of my own work because of what was already completed when it was handed to me. It was a learning experience to let go, and to "go with the flow," and by the end of it, I had pretty much mastered the concept. These are not going to be in my portfolio by any means, but I am very proud of the growth they represent. Being a control freak is great when you are working alone, but not so much when collaborating with others! This assignment got me out of my comfort zone. I usually work with the mindset of "all or nothing," and end up doing a whole group project myself, or don't want to be associated with it at all. That wasn't an option here, and although it was very hard for me, I'm glad I had the experience.

"No Name Exquisite Corpse" 2010 Lithography and Chine-colle collaboration with Rhett Scott and Emma Davidson
The yellow and brown runs are Rhett's, which were after mine, and Emma wrapped it up with the cat's legs and exploding body. She had quite a challenge to make the yellow legs and my cat head work in the composition, since Rhett printed on the other side of the paper.

"Untitled Exquisite Corpse" 2010 Lithography collaboration with Rhett Scott and Emma Davidson
Emma started off with the light line work at the bottom and the teal run. She had trouble having her lines show up over the color, and when I created the body and shoes (to bring the feet back out), I had similar troubles. I wasn't sure if it was the paper choice or color, but everything seemed quite grainy. Rhett then added the heads, which I am wondering if perhaps they were meant to be flipped and connect to my body.

"Aliens Did Visit Us" 2010 Lithography and Chine-colle collaboration with Rhett Scott and Emma Davidson
The piece started with Rhett's robot body (minus the colored in plates) and brown background. Emma then added the head, and it was up to me to make the rest of the piece work. Registration was an issue because the bodies were not always in the same place, so I had to come up with something that would still look decent in different locations on the page. Another challenge was to break up or push the brown background, because it lay too heavily in the foreground. I chose to break it up with cave-painting images, which weren't as successful as I thought, and then wrapped up the theme by making his lower half a cave-painting horse. Then the body fell too far into the background, so I brought it out with the chine-colle leg, and pushed this idea further by coloring in the two plates on the robot. I feel as though I did everything I could to make this creature work, and as hideous as he is, the piece does follow many of the design elements and principles. Hooray!

"Let Go of the Past" 2010, Lithography print with Chine-colle
During our last run of the Exquisite Corpse assignment, we were also working on a trade portfolio in my Lithography class. I was very excited about this assignment for two reasons: first- we get to own other printmakers' work from our class, and second- the theme was "Dreams." I have always been fascinated with dreaming and the subconscious' way of telling us things about ourselves, and was thrilled at the opportunity to put that into my print work. The piece is based off a dream I had in which I was walking in the Sahara, near a town, and stumbled across an elephant sitting in the grass. His legs were covered with ants, and he was helpless. The elephant was dying. When I tried to brush the ants off, they stung me too, and I knew I had to run for help. I told people nearby, and no one seemed to care about the poor elephant. When I later looked up the meaning behind this dream, it suggested symbolism relating to personal problems I had been overcoming recently, which is how I came up with the title of the work.

"The Vicar Wine Label" 2010 Gouache
Meanwhile, in my Advertising Illustration class, we were working on wine labels. The wine our professor picked for us is called "The Vicar," which is the flagship wine of Chapel Hill Winery. My style is a little too child-friendly for alcohol, but I really love the way my piece came out. I chose to use less predicable religious imagery (the lion, a representation of Jesus, just as a Vicar is somewhat representative as well) because of the beautiful, warm complimentary colors of the animal's fur and the purple grape.

This is packaging for the top of the wine bottle neck. I did not create the logo.

Here's the label on my bottle! The topper is just an old trinket my mom gave me, nothing I took the time to create!

"Self-Portrait" 2010 Collage and Gouache
My last image to show you today is actually from my Introduction to Psychology class. We had to make a collage that described ourselves, and I, being always in illustration-mode, thought of an actual collage. Everyone else did clippings from magazines. Oh well! They seemed to like it, and I might actually use it in my portfolio. The metaphors here are clear-- I protect the people I love (friends, family, and even acquaintances I can empathize with) from the world, and can sometimes feel that weight upon my shoulders. The relationships in my life are extremely important to me, and I am a loyal person to those folks I hold close. Also, I wear my heart on my sleeve, whether it be anger, fear, joy, frustration, love or sadness. The color palette and pattern choices also are really indicative of my personality and life in general.

That's all the art for now! Keep an eye out for the final projects of the quarter. Oh, and some exciting news-- we have an actual client for my final Advertising project!! I could be a official working illustrator by the end of week 10. I'll give more details later.