Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Makin' Stuff.

I've been really wanting to do some graphic design and typography lately. It's hard to self-assign projects though. But I'm feeling a bit rusty and I need to fill my portfolio with more up-to-date design work. I can design if I have to... but most companies don't just take your word for it, ha. 

I was thinking I would play with some song lyrics or poems I liked, but it was taking so long to find something and I really just wanted to start something. So I rummaged through my art studio and found lots of stuff I use to create, and I do create with a lot of different things. I used to be really into collaging (again, not a real word, but using it anyway). Everyone always told me I was really onto something with that kind of work but I kind of abandoned it anyway. I don't really know why, probably for convenience. It's a lot harder to create that kind of stuff without a lot of materials at my disposal. Anyway, I used to go into classes, cafes, through my apartment/house, etc, carrying, fabric, yarn, construction paper, pieces of wood, sewing materials, glitter, you name it. Dirt, I even carried around a cup of dirt for a while. I used to always get the same response from most people.

"What the hell are you doing?"

I've gotten tired of explaining myself, so these days I just say something to the effect of "makin' stuff". This little phrase can actually get you out of a lot of trouble. I used to get away with trespassing just by saying... "this is for an art project" or "Can I record a song in your bathroom? It has excellent acoustics..." I once got to ride the carousel at the mall in syracuse all night because I said it was for a photography project (it was actually for a project, I didn't lie). People are surprisingly lenient when it comes to art. Or maybe people just don't argue because artists are notorious rule breakers anyway. Or if you're a glass half full kind person, maybe they just want the world to be a little more colorful too.

So I decided that would be my phrase and I would make something with that. I spent about 20 minutes scanning and photographing stuff and then about another 30 minutes making the image in photoshop. I used to physically make the words out of various materials back in the day, but I wanted to try something different and quicker this time. It's really hard to encompass all the things I like to do, artistically speaking. I don't know how some artists use the same medium and paint the same way for 30 years. I'd go insane. I think there are a lot of ways to approach a creative problem, and it's okay to employ different tools. 

And funny story, as I was walking downstairs with a tangle of yarn in my arms heading for the scanner my mother said "Uhh what are you doing?"

I think my response was actually "scannin' stuff." but close enough anyway...

The Rodent Hour Returns


A while back I did some radio show posters for my friend Matt and his radio show "The Rodent Hour." Since then our friend Rachel has also joined the radio show. They now host the show together and invite musicians to come onto their weekly show and play some of their tunes and talk a bit about the music! When they aren't interviewing, they are playing a lot of high-voltage rock and songs from their upcoming artists.

This past spring, I made a new poster in the same vein as the original four posters I had done a year previously. This time adding the new information. I also updated and corrected the old copies, and made some bookmarks, for a book give away that Matt and his wife Khris were giving away at the Pratt Campus for World Book Night. The new poster features a blind chipmunk playing the keys, a nice tie in with the guitar playing beaver, the beat poet rat, the playwright chinchilla, and the painting gopher (or at least I think it is, I can't remember anymore, might have been a prairie dog).

Also if you click on the posters here on the blog and they are very saturated... well I'm just not sure what that's about, so I apologize.

So please make sure you tune into pratt radio on Tuesday nights from 8:00 - 10:00 pm, to hear the show, and become a part of their mailing list or follow them on Facebook to receive upcoming news!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cumulus Book Cover

This is still being tweaked a bit, but this is the general idea of the cover I've been working on. It's starting to look like a real book. Hopefully I can hold it like a real book soon too!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Hundred Paintings Part XI

Good day! I'm updating once again on my "One Hundred Painting's Project." I aimed to have six paintings done by Tuesday but I was only able to paint four with others in progress. Maybe it's overreaching but I think it's good to try and push myself to do more than I think I'm capable of.

The first painting this week is kind of a reprise of painting number nine, "Don't Let The Night In". There were some problems with this painting at first. For example, one of these sheep had three front legs at one time. Fortunately, I was able to intercept my error and promptly rectify it before posting it to the internet and shaming myself. I'm pretty bad at math, but I'm not that bad. 

That wasn't my only mistake though...I'm like the infamous Alice, who gives herself very good advice but very seldom follows it. I often stray from the path and make the bold decision to try something new. Though, I didn't chase a frustrating and elusive white rabbit down a wormhole into another dimension. My curiosity luckily, has been curbed by lesser evils such as trying daring painting techniques. I'm so mischievous.

I tried this clever trick that Sargent used to do in his watercolor paintings (example here). He used these ultramarine blues for highlights, and siennas for shadows. It's completely counter-intuitive as most things get colder in color as they recede into the distance or are cast in shadow, but his paintings seem to have even more life somehow. Sargent does it way better than I do though and it looked awful when I tried the technique (especially in the context of a non-naturalistic painting). So I repainted the mountains these quirky gumdrop colors. I took out these heinous pine trees too. I think it worked better in the end because it made a greater contrast between the innocently sweet and the deviously sinister.

"Quiet As Snow"

I can't actually recall why I painted this painting. I think I thought to paint a wood pecker and that it made sense to put something inside of the tree that was unexpected. I knew immediately I wanted to compare the inside/outside and make that a metaphor for someone who might have a hard exterior. I meant to give the tree a more grotesque periphery but it ended up being too nice looking. I wanted it to have more of a contrast than it did. I think that was a flaw I should consider for the future.

"Inner Beauty"

This next painting was inspired by a conversation with friend and fellow illustrator, Heather Sisson. I told her how I had been meaning to paint a wolf or jumping spider (because they're just so darn cute) and it turned into a challenge for each other and some of our other illustrator friends to create an illustration with a spider in it. Heather also collaged a picture of my face, which is pretty awesome. (Apparently collage can not be used as a verb, by the way. I'm breaking the rules though, and if at this very moment the grammar swat team swings into my bedroom, then so be it. Let 'em riot!) My fellow friends and participators include Alexa Bosy and Chris Harrington (whose illustration isn't posted yet). I'm quite enjoying everyone's interpretations. It was really fun.

Anyway, I didn't paint a wolf and or jumping spider, but instead made a very peculiar illustration based on a poem I wrote last fall. We called them "nonsense poems" because the objective was to take a list of words that had no visible connection and make them connect in a way, or write a poem that was complete nonsense but became about the language rather than the content. Much like an abstract painter might make a painting more about color, line, contrast, ect, rather than an actual subject. In this case I wrote a poem about these avian spiders who come out of the woodwork, steal lemons and make off with them in the night. I could have made an avian wolf spider, but I always pictured them as more leggy, for lack of a better term. I'd been wanting to paint this scene for a while, so I seized the opportunity. 

There is a secret subtext that actually reveals how these spiders have scurvy and that's why they are compelled to steal the all healing-bitter-vitamin C saturated-citrus fruit. Obviously.


This last painting was born out of a desire to re-paint a screen print I did my last semester of college with Johnny Appleseed as a raccoon. Instead I decided to make said raccoon a bandit (which really isn't far off in appearance or demeanor) who steals fruit. Like a raccoon-fruit stealing Robin Hood... but you know...bad. I could see a fun story coming out of this. I had fun with the title too. I'm all about alliteration. It just makes things so silly and catchy. 

"The Fruit Filch"

That's all I have for now. I'm hoping to have a few more paintings up within the week, if life allows and fate dictates. Until next time.