Thursday, 25 November 2010

RGB - Carnovsky

Out of the whole week I was in Berlin, this is the one the main piece of artwork that has stuck with me and is still stuck in my head as I try and figure out how I could reproduce it. However, I am already thinking of doing something with it in my next piece of work and i NEED to make sure that I dont just rip off the idea and make it my own, with a slight twist.

We (me, james, ste and ashely) were recommended to visit the Direktoren Haus in Berlin to experience some illustration and artwork a little different from the norm of a typical gallery... there we discovered Carnovsky's RGB work. The piece works on artwork/illustrations printed onto paper or the walls but layered in different colours (cyan, magenta or yellow) and then under different coloured lights, only one set of images shows through. For example, under a red light the blue/cyan coloured illustrations stand out where as the others fade into the red spectrum and no longer visible to our eye. It's not exactly a ground breaking idea, optical illusions have existed for years, but its the fun aspect which appeals to myself more. The fact that the illustrations are on 2 full walls and not just confined to pages feels like it has more audience participation, almost like you HAVE to look at it, it draws your attention as you wait for things to be revealed to you through the changing lights. I keep comparing it to easter eggs hidden in pieces of work etc (like a giant Where's Wally?), you have to wait for the light to change in order to view specific sections... theres more in the piece to engage the audience, hold their attention and keep them looking at your work as opposed to a flat illustration. (also featured on CreativeReview site)

I remember getting excited as a kid when a computer magazine or comic had a free pair of 3D glasses on the cover, even though there was only 1 image in the whole mag and a waste of time more often than not. Even as I got older, the attraction of a set of 3D glasses still entices me to buy a magazine purely for the fun and nostalgia of it (and nothing else!!).

Now, as I said, I havent stopped thinking about this piece of work since I got back and as such started planning on including it into my current work.. however, I would just be copying and recycling this idea rather than coming up with something of my own that captures the same essence...

my current sketches/ideas for my new D&AD piece are getting a little carried away.. i have plans to combine new technology with sensory illustrations in order to bring illustration off of the page and into the world a little more but I'm losing sight of why I want to create this work in the first place.... next step... sensory toys...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

navigate around this panoramic video

a strange collaboration between Doritos and Prof Green has culminated in this panoramic music video in which you can spin around and look where ever you want throughout..

but im sure i saw the FIRST panormaic video by a japanese band a good couple of years ago... but i havent been able to find it since! :/

Huck Gee

an ever so slight interview/bit of info from Huck Gee on his work.. not actually a proper interview as its to tie in for ModNationRacers.. but I still find it informative

Monday, 22 November 2010

Studio Visit - 1

I still need to catch up a little with my research on my negotiated project as I still have a little bit of time to work on that, however.. whilst it is still fresh I need to sum up the recent trip to Berlin...

To start with, i speak no German and I felt like a typical brit abroad.. speaking loudly and slowly in a slightly patronising manner... not intentional but luckily the german people speak english much better than some of us and are very tolerable. :)

First things first, as part of our 3rd year we are to act more professionally and start visiting local studios/designers for feedback on our portfolios and to create some contacts for networking in the future after graduation. Setting up contacts/appointments in a foreign country is a very daunting task, but luckily we were given a helping hand and had some already arranged for when we landed. I joined a few of the 2nd and 1st year illustrators in a visit to see Eboy (blog & shop) although more specifically Svend, one of the original members of Eboy still situated in Berlin (The other two members, Steffen and Kai, have actually relocated to Canada). Svend was very kind in showing us around his studio and answering all of my annoying questions on how they go about working, what its like collaborating and what process they go through to create their work. One of my main questions was about how they managed to take their artwork from posters and apply it to other formats, as I too want take my own designs and put them on snowboards, tshirts, toys, or anything I can. For example, their pixel style didnt quite work as vinyl toys at first and so it changed into the PeeCols we see today and their custom wooden toys. I gained a lot of useful info from Svend about working as collaborative, how the work is shared equally between each member and since their work is a single style, only they know which member has created which elements. Like many professional illustrators, they have built up a library of elements that they can delve into and re-use to save time.. however I'm not sure if i can get away with that. Similarly they tend not to sketch out every idea and possibility but work straight onto the computer using a grid for the layout/isometric pixel style. What always surprises me is how the artists and illustrators i like say they often fell into a particular style or area of work, there doesnt seem to be a set way of breaking into the industry.. sadly...

Whilst there, I also took the opportunity to show Svend my portfolio... now I dont think anything in particular jumped out at him, there was nothing he was truly excited about... but at the same time there was nothing he despised! It is a rough portfolio at the moment and I asked whether there was anything in particular he thought I could improve on but instead commented that it was good to see a range of work, not just one style. We got chatting about hiding behind an alias and creating any work I wanted in any style I liked, but soon spotted the flaws and downsides to that... apparently we were talking for quite a while and we didnt want to take up too much of Svend's time... but could've probably carried on for hours! :)

I also tried setting up a 2nd visit with Tim Robot (blog) who has a similar working style/theme and interests as myself... however the only day available for the visit was the last day of our trip, before his exhibition opening and it also clashed with our plans before packing up and going home. Now I am gutted that I didnt get chance to visit Tim, since work wise, we seemed to be similar in my opinion.. however I have already asked him if it would be possibly to send him a digital portfolio and some questions about his work and succeeding as a freelancer. I'm going to form some coherent questions and finally get in touch with some people.. :)

Toykyo Kids

I have just found a wonderful children's magazine (ok it's for style concious parents!) called
Milk, from this site, I found this Blog called Toykyo Kids. Everything on it is right up your street. Fun, playful ideas with a sense of mischief.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

running with stickers

As part of the 3rd year, we are doing something that I have been thinking about for the past 2 years!! We're trying to be professional by designing promotional items to help spread our names and work about.. I've already written about how I'd like to make a keyring and thanks to Laura Gilbert (2nd year Illustration student) I now know of who i will be contacting in the next couple of weeks for this.. but.. at the same time Jane Richardson (3rd year Illustration) has introduced me to AwesomeMerchandise who I have just placed an order with for a promotional sticker.

It may seem that its only recently that I am interested in stickers, but I have them over placed all over my personal stuff at home from the fridge, my monitor, a fan, my guitars and portfolios... I've never imagined my work as being a painted piece on a canvas to be hung on a wall.. I see each of my pieces as separate designs that suit a sticker format more. The other reason for choosing a sticker is, its something a bit more throw away and ephemeral... people can pick them up and place them anywhere - hopefully meaning I get more coverage - however im not sure where I stand on vandalism if somebody places my sticker on private property etc.. :/

anyway.. I have been pulling my hair out over this sticker design. I'm running with what I imagine is my most widely known/popular piece.. my "running with scissors" D&AD piece. I feel i need to exploit my success with D&AD but at the same time, I often get bored of a piece once its finished and I dont want to keep flogging the same old design for years to come. Some comparisons have been drawn between my character and others work such as Gary Taxali for having a character who is a recurring theme in Taxali's pieces.. or to PipBoy from the popular Fallout games who pays homage to the 50's illustration style. I dont think I should worry too much about using this one piece at the moment, as I have other work to view on my website but also a lot of the artists I like also have a signature character who is often repeated, repositioned and sometimes revamped... Frank Kozik's Labbit, Matt Jone's Lunartik Cup of Tea, and Tim Biskup's Helper to name but a few.. this also reminds of graffiti artists who have adopted a character/symbol as a tag instead of spraypainting their name/alias... Flying Fortress, London Police, and Invader.... but more on this later...

I've finally settled on a design and sent it to print as i said, but it wasnt easy.. ive been re-writing my name/URL tonnes of times and trying to see what position would best suit the overall design...

i've only done a short run of stickers, so that if they dont look great.. i can just get rid of them and remake it :) the hand written type looks naff on screen, but printed out it looks better.. I'm hoping i wont need to adjust it, but I get the feeling I will need to remake the URL in vectors and distress it later..

Long and Overdue...

Right, I've been really bad these last couple of months.. just not been paying full attention to my work and I think this first interim grading has proven that to me... but also I'm shocked that I still scored high on some key points.. anyway... here is a rough run down of what I've been through in my head during this project - which still isnt finished but it has been kicked to the kerb to make way for the D&AD/YCN competition briefs this year.....

From my initial idea of wanting to look at (Branding) Characters and how being in "the business" has affected them or what they would look like in another 20 years I finally managed to settle on 5 extra images that I liked the look of. The idea is technically still the same but I've taken it a little more light hearted as I thought my work would be interpreted as politically motivated, where as I am tryin to say nothing about any of the companies or their property... but to just "have a laugh.."

*Also, I had intended for these designs to become posters as I do with all my work.. I want to screenprint them (hence why I did so many of my Mickey's.. I didnt have any other finished characters by then)... but as the ideas progressed... I turned more to a street art/graffiti feel for the pieces and imagined them as stickers... something quick and easily posted up on a wall, street furniture or sign somewhere... I'm not trying to get a message across by I'm trying to get my artwork seen, and what better way.. not only that.. but the idea of having fun married up nicely with the sticker format.. reminding me of when I used to skateboard and I'd collect stickers as a way of decorating my board.. (not realising I was actually advertising these companies)... :P Being made into stickers also explains a couple of design choices I made, even if they are poorly executed at the moment... I wanted to add tone without going overboard on the colours.. so I turned to halftones and limited my palette to one colour only for each and I also wanted a more punk-y feeling to the designs and kept them hand drawn.. I now realise this doesnt really work... I reckon I will have to make each character in vector format and then disress the artwork for that hand made quality.

I stopped worrying about trying to invent an elaborate backstory to some of the characters and just thought up funny scenarios to find each of them in and there I immediately found that "fun" i was looking for. I had wanted to use Ronald McDonald as an idea but I found no matter what I did with him, I was saying something more about McDonalds as a company or playing on very obvious stereotypes/presumptions. I tried to move away from the title of 'Branding Characters' just so that it didnt feel as if I was aiming at specific companies, although by a happy coincidence it just so happened that I ended up picking 'victims' from 5 separate brands.

Firstly I already had Mickey Mouse representing Disney... the story behind this image is that Mickey will forever be a symbol of the Disney Corporation.. even years into the future he will be revamped just like many other characters and never retired due to the strong bond and association people/children have with the character and their brand. So, I thought that the next generation of board members for Disney would have his skeleton preserved and ready to wheel out at corporate events and meetings as a symbol of their roots in the business.. he will never be allowed to die, the everlasting Mickey.

Next came, Bugs Bunny, another strong character identified with Warner Brothers and vice versa. Only this time, Bugs has actually fallen out of the public eye and sort of gotten lost in the midst of 3D generated animations... he is no longer the wise cracking, cocky rabbit we grew up... he's been silenced almost. He just has no luck at all :( probably got something to do with losing the foot ;) admittedly this one doesnt appear as obvious to some people, the idea he has lost his lucky rabbit foot is the result of his decline in popularity but I've been playing with the idea of adding certain aspects to the image that makes this more apparent.. such as a newspaper with the headline "Pixar's Lucky Streak Continues" etc.. or maybe having 'Pixar Woz Ere' carved into the wooden leg.. to suggest they have taken Bugs' crown/luck. The veterinary cone added to Bugs' head is just to add more humiliation but hides his face from the shame... Having adopted poses from existing images of each character, it has helped people identify certain characters without having to see the whole thing but also plays on their nostalgia of these characters.

Another one of my initial branding targets was the Michelin Man (or Bib as he is known to his friends). I had thought of trying to suggest something about the state of Britain's roads today, that the amount of potholes, rubbish/debris and weather has finally taken it's toll on poor old Bib and left him a shell of a man.. He was to have puncture repair kits all over his body, shards sticking out where he couldnt afford to repair them, an arm in a sling and maybe a withered leg and on crutches due to not having any more spare tyres available. Instead, I took some elements of this - the puncture repair kits - and decided to show a deflated and distressed Bib grasping for help/life.

Now we get to a favourite of mine. Even though I am not happy with the outcome of this design yet nor the execution of it.. I am however pleased with the idea and that I had the balls to do it. Normally, I dont like to offend, i pride myself on being a gentlemen and respectful to any and all.. but the Cadbury's Bunny was just asking for this! Amongst the animated world she was seen as an idle, almost as a sex symbol like Jessica Rabbit or Wilma Flintstone, but oh how the mighty have fallen. Being dropped from the Cadbury's advertising campaign after a reboot failure she has had to turn to other means of making money.. thats right.. as a stripper! Originally planning to draw her as a Mrs.Robinson (the Graduate) kind of lonely housewife, but more haggard, I threw that out for a more seedy approach... I wanted to show that she had turned to stripping as a last resort.. hence the expression on her face and the single tear. The positioning of the arms was key too.. although technically naked already - barring the bow/scarf - I wanted to show that she was ashamed and trying to hide/keep her modesty from the staring audience. ahhaha is it wrong that I find this funny?

Tony the Tiger was a difficult one to begin with. Again as part of my original branding line up of characters, I looked into the history of Tony the Tiger... his origin, the fall of Katy the Kangaroo as he became the official 'Frosted Flakes' mascot, his son and family, up until his recent extreme sport loving revamp he received. I may have misread some information but I'm sure it said the original Tony was replaced by his Son which strangely seems possible when viewing some of the artwork.. but i was getting distracted by that and wanted to show the new sporty/healthy Tony as a fake.. he;d take performance enhancing drugs or just overdid it on the steroids.. but again.. I wasnt sure if people would get that straight away.. which doesnt matter as people dont seem to get my current idea with him right away either! After 50+ years in the business of selling 'Frosties' and hearing his token catchphrase.. I think even Tony is starting to get sick of the damn things!

Finally, Ariel is a duplicate for Disney but I just liked the idea for this one and ran with it. I still think a few more elements could be added to this one in particular but at the end of the day... I see this as more along the lines of the magic of romance or fantasy have died when the little mermaid has been caught in a net by a whaling boat or fishing trawler. A mystery has been solved, mermaids do exist.. and here we can prove it with this dead one! so far, I keep gettin reactions of "Aawwwww..." followed by a sad face... :P HA.

A couple other characters who didnt quite make the grade where my Scooby Doo/Shaggy and Homer Simpson. I've already said that Ronald McDonald was dropped but Scooby (Hannah Barbera) and Homer (Fox) didnt have strong enough ideas that werent just reworkings of the other previous designs. E.g. I could have done Homer as having died from being overweight.. but Mickey was already dead.. I didnt want to just kill a bunch of characters.

Scooby could've been a ghost, the very thing that he and Mystery Inc. investigated.. but again.. it wouldve resulted in him having been dead... At least Ariel caught in the net isnt technically dead.. it's more she's 'Washed Up' (wait thats just like the cadburys bunny idea.. oh well). I tried showing that there was a shortage of mysteries to be solved and so Shaggy and Scooby where homeless and left to fend for themselves... offering to solve mysteries and hunt ghosts for money... whenever I see a homeless person with a dog, i now think of these two characters :(

With Homer, i wanted to draw attention to his obesity without making it too obvious and drawing him weighing in at 1,000 lbs+... instead I wanted to show a less happy go lucky dimwit and more of a penitent sufferer of spending time in hospital to treat illness/problems caused by being over weight.. sadly apart from putting him in a wheelchair and hooking him up to an I.V, i only thought of tryin to show he'd had a stomach stapling operation of some kind and he was trying to recover from it..