Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Wind in the Willows

A little while ago I was exploring Netflix and I found the old stop-motion animation Wind in the Willows program that we for some reason had taped on VHS that I would just watch on repeat when I was a kid. You know, this one:

And I remembered just how much I had loved the Wind in the Willows story so I sat down that afternoon and read the whole book. Suddenly, I realized, I should be doing drawings based on the story. And not just drawings...tunnel books. So I began the process of sketching out a tunnel book from the first paragraph:

"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said 'Bother!' and 'O blow!' and also 'Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gavelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, 'Up we go! Up we go!' till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow." 

Mr. Mole preliminary sketches
Tunnel Book Sketch
A few water colors and a few cut up fingers later, construction began.
And this is pretty much it.
I want to make a series of these so I can make a little star book out of them. There will be more better pictures to follow but I can't photograph the piece....until it gets back from the show it's in! I will post more about the show soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Long Time, No See

It was a busy whirlwind of a summer. It felt like every weekend I was shipping off to some other event, family gathering or adventure. And I know, the blog got neglected. But I hope to be back with a vengeance. And I have quite a few things to post. But first, here is a quick glance into my summer in art & design:

1. Graphic Design—Now in Production 
Co-organized by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Walker Art Center. Held on Governor's Island off New York City.
Pages of exhibition catalog from the Cooper-Hewitt.
 Unfortunately while this exhibit is now over, it was a wonderful collection of all forms of design. The small building was packed with so much information, it was extraordinary. Not too mention you then get to spend the day on Governor's Island, which is such a wonderful place for a public park (and free!). While the group I was with did not quite have the patience to explore the whole exhibit (it was an overwhelming amount of content) we found a few choice pieces. I particularly enjoyed the collection by Anthony Burrill:

The piece on the bottom right, Oil & Water Do Not Mix is screen printed with oil from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. For more information about the exhibit, look at the Cooper Hewitt Website: Graphic Design - Now in Production

2. Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
Curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in Manhattan, New York 
The success of the Met's Costume Institute has been on the rise in the past few years and the exhibits are becoming more and more popular. A fashion-savvy friend of mine chose this trip for us and while I'm what you would call the opposite of fashion-savvy it was still a fun exhibit. Regardless of your knowledge of fashion, it is fun for any designer to see the comparisons between the works of these two icons. Unfortunately this exhibition is also over, but you can see more on the Met's website: Costume Institute

3. The Allure of Japan
Curated from works housed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts

The Modern Poster by William H. Bradley (1895)
Now for an exhibit a little bit closer to home. The Museum of Fine Arts, like most museums, has an extensive collection that you rarely even get to see. So they fill several of their smaller galleries with exhibits curated from their own collections. This is always fun as you get to see a broad array of work from many artists with nice simple themes. This year, the MFA's Allure of Japan explores the American fascination with Japanese art around 1900 and the impact it had on artists, particularly poster designers. While the exhibit only fills one room I found myself taking pictures of everything on my phone so I could look up the artist later. In short, I loved it.This exhibit is still running! Hooray! It will be open until the end of the year.

4. Summer Reading
Books acquired over the summer...

McSweeney's Issue 13 - This McSweeny's Issue is compiled solely of comics, even the dust jacket is a comic poster that is folded up and wrapped around the cover! This one was quite a find at the used bookstore basement at the Brooklyn Booksmith for only $15.

 The Illustrated Life:Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers by Danny Gregory - This awesome books is a collection of pages from various artists sketchbooks including R. Crumb, James Jean and many others.

Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton - I took a typography class over the summer and this was one of our required readings. It was a wonderful compilation of interesting reading and excellent graphics (including this one).

5. Poster Project 
Working at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (even in an Admin. Assistant position) exposes to me to some really great projects people are working on. I spent the summer working on the administrative side of a traveling gallery show of posters designed to raise awareness on a variety of issues, from natural disasters to social injustice. I got to see a whole lot of incredible work and artists I had never encountered. Here's a small sampling:

(Left to right) Lives in Danger by Hiroyuki Matsuishi, Susana Machicao, Weapons of Mass Creation by Angryblue

More posts (of my art!) to follow soon...