Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Last First Post of the Quarter

MAnd then I am no longer in school!

These classes will be an excellent way to wrap up my education. They are challenging, yet fun, and scary, yet exciting. I'm in my last English class of my life-- World Mythology-- which, so far, has been especially entertaining. Our book, "The Friendly Guide to Mythology," has short explanations of stories passed down in cultures across the globe and over the centuries. Some of them are surprisingly crass. Here is a short excerpt that had me laughing:

"The Narrinyeri of Southern Australia, an irreverent group, say that the Creator used excrement to form human beings. Afterward, he tickled them until they laughed and thus he brought us to life."

Now, is that how he did it? Funny we don't smell worse...

Anyway, not too much to show yet for my other two classes. In Getting Published (where we have actual clients and compete for the assignment), I have yet to be picked, but I do have a few sketches to show.

Worcester Sketch 1, 2011.

Worcester Sketch 2, 2011.

These were two different concepts (with the masthead mock-up) for Worcester Magazine's poetry contest special cover. The first is of the concept "word garden." The second is playing off of the idea of the metamorphosis of poetry. Neither were picked to take to final.

Charleston sketch, 2011.

For this piece, we were told exactly what the client (Charelston Magazine) wanted for their story on a trip through Italy: a spot of a couple walking down a path Wizard of Oz-style, holding a basket with salami and bread, and also some wine. The Italian hills would be clear in the background, and the path would be lined with Cyprus trees. Where they are stepping, the path turns into a map of Italy, with their destination of Spoleto clearly marked. It was a challenge! Even though I wasn't picked for this assignment either, I was pretty happy with my sketch.

And in Self-Promotion, we have only completed our Artist Statements (logos are in progress), so here goes:

Many people are bound to simply dream of exploring a career they are truly passionate about. I chose, a long time ago, to take the risks of pursuing that fantasy, and at this point, I could never imagine myself doing anything but illustration. Living through eyes trained to see aesthetics is a privilege that makes the world instantly more sentimental and filled with magic. My goal is to bring that sentimentality to others, that simple beauty which four years of art school has trained me to capture from my everyday life. More practically speaking, my goal is also to live a modest, comfortable, cozy, and colorful life creating illustration that, to be put most simply, makes people happy.

As I create any illustration, I always try to keep in mind my inspirations and references. I am continually looking to art created by illustrators in the 1950s and ‘60s, such as Disney concept artist Mary Blair, taking note of elements of the work that are still pleasing today. I also often reference current artists inspired by the same era, including Matte Stephens and Peter Brown. Following the research, my creative process moves quickly from start to finish. During the sketching stage, I hammer out important aspects of the work, such as composition. The character of my illustration truly lies in the color selections and handling of paint, however, where I spend the majority of my time. These are things that grow naturally as I work, and if I see the development as unsuitable for the assignment, I will likely start the piece over again. It is a priority of mine to not overwork a painting, because doing so diminishes the lively quality I am attempting to achieve. I want the work to appear effortless and simplistic, and never “trying too hard.” This is a partial cause of my love of dry-brushing techniques. The natural quality of a brushstroke is something I believe many people find comfort in. It is a subtle reminder of human hands at work, and creates beautiful imperfections that reflect life itself. I believe that art needs to be ever so slightly quirky to have a heartbeat, and I have always strived to create illustration that shows a steady pulse. My color choices are also a large part of my work’s energy and emotion, and with every piece I entertain complimentary selections. This is another area where I draw from “retro” illustration, finding color palettes that are instantly comforting because of their nostalgia. For me, the best tool to create perfectly opaque color is gouache paint. I use it with much less water than traditionally suggested, and paired with a perfectly destroyed brush, it creates texture faintly reminiscent of chalk pastel. This style of painting allows me to focus on a composition of shapes, rather than lines. Although sometimes challenging to achieve, I believe a successful silhouette is key to a thriving piece. All of these intricacies mixed with the childish nature of half my mind form an appropriate recipe for young and old viewers alike.

My purpose is to touch people through my creations, and I find that children are especially attracted to way I paint. If I can produce work that captures a moment in their life, whether that be through a storybook they cherish still as an adult, or a pattern on the baby blanket they cannot leave home without, I will feel complete. After spending enough time solidly in this style of illustration, I feel that my work and I are stepping in time with one another, neither dragging the other behind them. My relationship with my own illustration is much like the message I attempt to convey through it: relish the small moments, savor the silly, and find comfort in your own life. It is very much a truth that the years pass by too quickly, and I hope my work can slow the momentum down enough for some people to savor a few sweet moments.

And that's all I have to share for now! Keep checking for updates, because things will be changing quickly in the next 8 and a half weeks.


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