Thursday, October 20, 2011

some of my recent work; occupymovement visual essay planning & research

My first visual essay was a series of frenchfolded booklets on the Memphis Zoo:

photos of it finished & folded coming soon.

some research & image gathering for my Occupy visual essay:

as of now, i'm between a more conceptual photo-collage series on the subject of nonviolent demand for social-economic change on a wide scale, executed by hand then in photoshop, with era-detached drawings, found imagery, photography & textures. color to express emotion.

the other option is a smaller, more personal piece that zooms out from a portrait of one of the members involved, to the street, to the movement here in memphis, to the movement on wall street, to the situation as a whole. sketchy, expressive litho-pen & one spot color.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

living artist research 6: Alexis Deacon, Stian Hole, Taro Miura

1. Alexis Deacon
Deacon's work combines classic children's book traditions with a distinctly present sensibility, his characters lonely aliens & monster families where forest dwelling creatures & fairies would have been. His hazy, never over-worked drawings are executed small-scale in pencil, blown up & rearranged via photocopy, & then put on high-quality paper & watercolored/gouached. He occasionally seals an image to rework it with a layer of linseed oil; a technique I'd like to try.

2. Stian Hole
Working in digital collage, using found imagery & photoshop, Stian Hole makes work with aims to transcend the time-specific quality of the medium as it ages. Aware as he is of how dated it will someday seem --as it is dependent on technology, always obsoleting itself-- he has the old-fashioned mind of a collector, gathering textures, digital photos, scans, sketches, notes to combine into narrative compositions, with execution a spacial sensitivity & colors that allow the works to read cohesively & step outside of the distraction of the construction to communicate to a reader of any age.

3. Taro Miura
Japanese Taro Miura illustrates for advertising, children's books, magazines and book-covers, drawing influences from modern art, old picture books & ads, citing the japanese phrase that translates "new ideas come from knowledge of the past". For his board book Ton, Miura depicts purely visually the ways humans transport objects of increasing weight, distinctly drawing from Constructivism, rendered in the muscular 20's & 30's flat color with simplified, stencil-like text.

living artist research 5: Shaun Tan, Ragnar Aalbu, Morteza Zahedi

1. Shaun Tan:
"I knew very little about children's books when first asked to illustrate one, and tended to share many people's prejudice that they were exclusively the domain of young children, not an art form that lends itself to much artistic or intellectual sophistication."
Shaun Tan's often enigmatic and open-ended children's stories arise out of imagery culled from his sketchbooks, allowing a sense of meaning to "arise visually" & then be applied text & a malleable storyline. Before deciding on making a career from his art, Shaun Tan considered pursuing biotechnology; a thing that once you know, you can't stop seeing in his work.

2. Ragnar Aalbu:
Norwegian artist Ragnar Aalbu prefers graphic work focusing on the visual aspects of language. He describes his process for his characteristic style as the evolution from rough sketches, gone over with watercolor and crayon on paper, to a digital drawing, flatly-rendered but textured by scans of things (wallpapers, fabrics, etc.) that he has found.

3. Morteza Zahedi
On the quality & depth of Iranian Illustration: "Maybe this is because before painting, graphic art, & literature, in their current form, came to Iran, we already had a culture of book-making & illustration. The book & the process of bookmaking have historically been very important. The activity of illustrating was seen as a serious profession."
Zahedi's idiosyncratic, energetic style, sensitive to the forms & patterns of organic life, reads less literally than what most would consider illustration. But the way the shapes emanate from the toned paper communicates across language & culture. His treatment of line, colors & forms explodes with life in ways the youngest child could read.

living artist research 4: Renee French, Lisa Evans, Anders Nilsen

1. Renee French
"French is certainly one of the more acclaimed comics artists of the past decade-plus; it’s fairly rare that a review of whichever anthology she’s currently contributing to doesn’t single her out as one of the highlights of the enterprise, and her pamphlet-format books have garnered a strong following." -Jog the Blog

Edward Gorey-esque Illustrator Renee French uses more feather-thin textures than line to delineate forms, with an admirable sensitivity to the grain of her paper. Her books & graphic novels are filled with imagery that often toes that popular line between body-horror grotesque & baby-shower cuteness.

2. Lisa Evans:
"Journeys & processes, subtle narratives & subplots. I like the merging of fact & fiction & the endless possibilities an image provides."
Wften working in acrylics on gesso & pencil "fluffed up in photoshop," Evans recently finished her first children's book, Orwellian The Flower by John Light and published by Child's Play. She has been focusing on 3-d imaging & design as she works on her current project.


3. Anders Nilsen
Acclaimed comics artist-writer Nilsen has a delicacy of line and obsessive quality to his texturing that draws the reader in as if his investment speaks to the viewer's own, no matter how straightforward his concept or joke is. Also, his handwriting looks kind of like mine! He's been nominated for the Ignatz Award and was anthologized in the 2006 Best American Comics. He makes a lot of work, currently an ongoing comic series called Big Questions, for Drawn & Quarterly.