Tag Archives: drawing

Animals for People — From Concept to Completion

Dog Sketch

Over the past few months, I have ventured out into unknown territory: the territory of solo art shows (gaaaah!!!) Unsurprisingly, it’s been a learning experience. I initially felt overwhelmed by the prospect of creating all new works of art with no real outside direction placed upon me — Anyone with a background in graphic design will understand the comfort associated with having project constraints. But a blank page (or really, 15 blank pages), 3 months, and no requirements for media type, dimensions, or theme? Terrifying.

Luckily, I am a list-maker, which means I had a plethora of concepts to choose from, some of which had been stewing in my brain for years. I narrowed it down to two possibilities and eventually settled on the one that I thought was realistically doable in the amount of time I had available. The result is Animals for People.

In a nutshell, the concept for Animals for People is relatively simple: animals, doing people things. But (and forgive me for getting all art-school-critiquey for a moment), for me the concept is slightly deeper than that. Yes, I wanted to draw animals in clothing, but I also wanted to allude to our human feelings of discomfort, inadequacy, and feeling troubled by what is expected of us. I think we can relate to the beaver who knows it’s in his nature to cut down the tree, but feels ashamed by his own destruction. We can relate to the hippopotamus who feels the pressure to “be fit” and reluctantly laces up his sneakers, despite a body type less suited for running.Refined Dog Sketch

Throughout, I struggled with balancing imagery of cute furry creatures with more serious topics. And now that the pieces are complete, there are perhaps changes I would have made here and there. But my hope is that in the end, the work reflects life: fun, playful, and humorous with just the tiiiiiiniest inkling of sadness hidden beneath.

Animals for People: A Solo Art Show by fuzzy grapefruit
Saturday October 4th, 7-10pm
Space Montrose, 1706 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
Free Admission & Open to the Public
Music, drinks and nibbles provided
*First 25 attendees will receive a limited edition fuzzy grapefruit print!*  Bodie Looks for a Job

Pop Shop Houston: THIS Weekend!

Are you excited about this weekend’s Indie Craft Fair, Art and Music Festival, Pop Shop? Of COURSE you are — Over 70 of Houston’s talented artists, craftspeople, and artisans will be there, Pi Pizza Truck will be there (OMG, all-weekend access to one of my favorite food trucks? This is going to get dangerous…), a mobile photo booth will be there, lots of cool bands and musicians will be performing, and there will be FREE crafting for kids and families. Also, did I mention I have some new work to show? Golly!PopShopHouston2013

So grab your momma this Mother’s Day Weekend and show her a good time!

Check out the Pop Shop’s Facebook Event Page to see the schedule of events and officially join!

Rainy Day Art Project: Silhouette Self-Portrait

Silhouette Art Project

Last weekend was dreadfully rainy. To cope with my cabin-fever, I worked on an art project. Luckily for you self-proclaimed “non-artists”, the process behind this piece was so straightforward (not to mention it didn’t require a lick of drawing), I thought I’d share it with you as a simple how-to. I imagine this would be really fun as a rainy-day project for kids. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

What You’ll Need:

  1. Paper
  2. Tape (preferably artists tape or masking tape)
  3. A photo of your profile (I snapped a quick shot on my computer and printed it out on cheap paper in black and white — nothing fancy!)
  4. Contact Paper
  5. Scissors
  6. A patterned stamp (or you could forgo the stamping process and use decorative paper instead)
  7. Stamping ink
  8. Charcoal (could be vine charcoal, compressed charcoal, chalk, or pastel… each one will have a unique look to it)
  9. Paper towel or a chamois cloth for blending
  10. An apron (charcoal = messy!)
  11. Fixative or spray sealant

 

Step 1: Tape your photo on top of the contact paper and cut out your profile. Cut any additional shapes you’d like to include out of the contact paper.

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Step 2: Tape down your paper along the edges (so it doesn’t move around on you), and stamp away!

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Step 3: Peel the backing off of your contact paper pieces and adhere the sticky side to your stamped paper (keep in mind wherever the contact paper goes, that area will remain white.)

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Step 4: CHARCOAL! I find it works best to use the side of a compressed charcoal stick and try to work from the center of a contact paper piece outward (so you don’t accidentally pull up the contact paper… if it happens though, just tell yourself that’s part of the beauty of the artistic process — the unknown!) Blend the charcoal as much or as little as you like, using your paper towel or chamois.

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Step 5: Remove your contact paper pieces, carefully pulling from a corner.

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Step 6: Admire your work!

After removing the tape from the edges, don’t forget to seal the finished piece with a sealant, in a well-ventilated area (outside is best!)

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Riffing on Artists

kupka_riff

Frantisek Kupka’s “The Yellow Scale” (oil), and Allison Johnston’s “Orange Scales of Justice” (pastel and chalk)

Sometimes I hear other artists complain about needing inspiration in order to produce new work. Although I find that my personal problem has more to do with an excess of thinking and a lack of doing, I can certainly relate. Every now and then I have the sneaking suspicion that the GENIUS idea I just sprouted has already been done… perhaps many times. But that brings up an interesting question: If we are all unique individuals with unique thoughts and experiences (and I believe we are), don’t we automatically infuse that uniqueness into our work, regardless of whether the concept is truly original? And let’s be honest, nothing is truly original anymore. The spark of an idea must always come from some other source of inspiration. It’s what we do with that inspiration, how we put our own spin on it, that really matters.

Yesterday was the final critique for my drawing class. The end-of-semester assignment was to create a “riff” of another artist’s work. Initially, the idea made me uncomfortable — there is a lot of bad art out there which is meant to pay tribute to the genius of an artist whose skill level is above and beyond the capabilities of most of us. In other words, no matter which artist I chose, I felt completely incapable of doing the original work any justice. But after a frank discussion with my instructor lamenting my lack of time, quality materials, and ability, she reminded me of the importance of individuality and perspective. We are all unique, therefore we all create unique work. If we embrace our own voices as artists and refrain from attempting to mimic, our work which is inspired by another can have its own unique style, its own unique point of view. Most of the great artists of the past were influenced by each other, pulling bits and pieces of inspiration from the world around them. But they always made their work their own. It’s okay to be influenced by other artists, it’s natural. But if we’re not putting our own uniqueness into our work, what’s the point?

The Age of Innocence — Visiting the Present Through My Past

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Recently, one of my mother’s cousins stumbled upon a bunch of old photos of my grandmother when she was very young. I’ve always loved vintage photos — at times, they evoke an era and an attitude that seems so far from what we now know. No evidence of an obsessive preoccupation with cell phones or facebook updates, no forced sexuality or vulgarity, no intent to impress, just an innocence and honesty. Other times, they possess a sort of unwavering truth about the human spirit, an unchangeable quality that reveals who we are and always will be as people.

As the youngest child of parents who were also the youngest children in their families, all four of my grandparents were fairly elderly by the time I was old enough to have complex thoughts of my own. While I’m thankful I got to know them at all, I often wish I had been able to see them when they were young and full of the energy I’ve heard so much about from older relatives.

Seeing photos of my grandmother as a young woman — energetic, happy, without a care in the world — makes me feel unexpectedly connected to her. I also see glimmers of my sister, Aimee, in her face and I’m reminded of the sometimes random amalgamation of all of us. We’re all knit together from strands of a past we no longer know. But those strands (at least partly) make us who we are — complex, crazy, and beautiful.

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Here’s a charcoal drawing I’ve been working on, inspired by my grandmother’s youthful grace, and collaged from one of the vintage photos I found particularly haunting. There’s something about balloons that makes me think of childhood…

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