Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where did the time go?

Quick post today, just wanted to share some of the art projects I've been working on. Lately it feels like time is both rushing by way too fast while simultaneously nothing happens. It's that time of the year: finals. 

Here is a digital painting I just finished and printed today. Look familiar? It is basically a scene from "Up," from the beginning montage of Carl and Ellie's life. I really love that montage, so much was said and felt in just a few short minutes. So I took that scene, kept the basic color palette and composition, but added in my own figures and did it in my own style. 

I wanted to keep that lovely nostalgia that's conveyed in these scenes. I originally wanted to modernize it, give them a smart watch and an iPhone, but then I decided that this scene was more about the nostalgia of the "good ol' days" and just chose another nostalgic era and made the characters a little younger. 

BTW the man is basically James Dean.   

Next I'd like to share a project that has basically consumed my life lately. The final product will be illustrations telling a story of a girl who moves to a new city, focusing on imagery and feelings of loneliness, especially loneliness within a crowd. Who here hasn't experienced that right? It's a special sort of loneliness, not the kind where you take a long drive by yourself, or the kind where you stay late to work while everyone else left, but instead the kind of loneliness where the more people are present, the lonelier you feel. 

To achieve this, I decided that I was not going to draw or paint anything. So photography was the logical choice. I created a couple of dolls to be my protagonists and I will be photoshoping them into pictures I take around town. 

Here are my models, each made of an aluminium wire skeleton, plumped up with aluminum foil, and given life with super scupley  and tiny clothes I sewed for them. 

These are pictures from the photo shoot I had with them. 

Yes, I sewed all those tiny dresses. And the tiny scarf.

She has tiny shoes, with laces, grommets and all. 

 Sitting on a sculpey box, it's basically play-doh for grown ups. She'll be on a bench later.

. Does that metal pill bottle look familiar? I was the trophy I made last semester. 

Talk again soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birds, bugs, and Italian food (?)

Happy Sunday!

I hope it's been a nice relaxing weekend, I know for me it hasn't been. It never is. I have been painting all day today and yesterday and I deserve a prize for the world's slowest painter! It took me like 8 hours to paint a couple of very simple buildings! But that's a work to share next week. I would like to first share some finished work. 

Here is another bug print. The finished bombardier beetle I talked about in my last post. "The one with the exploding butt?" you ask--yeah, that one. 

This is showing the 3 color "printing" I did, always starting with the lightest color and ending with the darkest. It's a very delicate print, I felt like a surgeon doing some of those tiny cuts for its antennae and face. I'm pretty dang proud of this one if I do say so myself. 

So here is the project I have been teasing about for several weeks, the bird book. To recap, this is a book I made, illustrating the poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens. Here are some of the page spreads. I will talk about them one by one. 

This is the title page. The poem itself is very dark, and mysterious, so I tried to convey that in this page. I didn't want it to read as "this is a scary story," but more like "this is something strange and mysterious."

This is the first page, where I illustrate the bird and the snowy mountains together as one. Where the bird belongs to the mountains as the mountains belong to it. 
 These are pages 4/5. Page 4 describes a man, a woman, and a bird being one. At first the black areas on the bird look like its wings or part of its coloring, but then you see they are actually the silhouettes of a man and a woman. Page 5 is the bird whistling, where the lungs not only represent its voice and breath, but also the bird's power. 
 These are pages 6/7. The 6th page is my favorite, the bird shows us an icicle-filled window. It looks so lonely on that small branch, the way one feels while looking out into the dead of winter. Page 7 is the golden bird, you can't see it here, but once it was printed out I colored it in gold ink. 

These are the last 2 pages. Page 12 is once again the bird and its environment being one, being complementary.  Ultimately this poem is about life and death, which is why the last bird is dead, since "it was evening all afternoon." Evening is dark, like the bird, like the fear of dying and like the bad things that happen as part of life. 

I'm not entirely sure what this poem is about. But to me it's about the "blackbird" being metaphorical darkness, and how it's as natural and inevitable as icicles forming or rivers flowing. With life and nature comes disaster, sadness, and we can't escape it anymore than we can escape nature. It afflicts men and women alike, and through we may dream of better times, happier things, golden birds, there's not escaping the blackbird.  

Before this post gets too depressing, let me tell you some food jokes! And by food jokes I mean really bad food descriptions I wrote for some menu designs I created. 

Do you ever read a fancy menu and it uses phrases like "cool bed of lettuce" or "crisp, juicy apple slices," "gently smoked" or even "rich, handsome potatoes"? OK, I made the last one up, but sometimes food descriptions are really weird, like they're trying to get you to make out with the food instead of eating it. Or sometimes they're not helpful at all, like "lentils in choice spices," I have no idea what this is going to taste like! So I took advantage of a menu design project to have some of my own food item descriptions. 

I should also mention that these are menus for a fake vegan, Italian restaurant I made up called "Bel Niente." It means "Beautiful Nothing." I guess I'm poking fun at the fact that people seem to dig foreign sounding things just because they're foreign, even if it's bad, or completely ridiculous. 


(I know you can't read this one, but appreciate the design?) 

Until next week!