Monday, January 25, 2010

Stormy Weather

Things are getting a little desperate over here in the Thesis Factory. It should be a great comfort to anyone who feels like they might be in direct competition with me (for say a lifetime achievement award?) that I've spent the past 24 hours doing this

Friday, January 22, 2010

Granada Frowning Lady No. 1

In Barcelona, at the Park Guell, amongst the herds of hippies hocking scarves, jewelry, and agitating bird noisemakers, I stumbled upon a bizarre book stand. It was home to several offbeat design books, a catalog of Art Deco post cards, and a magical Shirley Temple paper-doll kit with detachable torso. I look through the stand much longer then Nick would have liked, but ended up taking home a book of Erte's fashion-inspired designs for early editions of Harper's Bizarre. His hard contrast line work and Art Noveau aesthetic made me think that I might want translate some of his techniques into painting. I've seen a lot of amazing line work done lately in gouache and even in oils, which I might attempt in the Future when I have more time and less guilt. But in the mean time, I tried out some Erte-inspired line work for the hair and fur collar of one of the infamous Granada Frowning Ladies (these women have become pretty popular amongst my friends, and some can be seen on my earlier Granada photograph post). I'm pretty happy with the result.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Art Direction: Andrew Austin

With the new year well underway, I'm thinking a lot about 2009 and what is has meant for me. While I hardly accomplished my goals for the year, I can say that 2009 brought a surprising new direction to my otherwise academic mode of work. Being surrounded by some pretty talented people meant that I was given all kinds of opportunities to do Art Direction as a compliment to their work. I got to design for some short films, a music video, a couple photo shoots and even some merchandise, and although I was a total novice at all of these endeavors, got great feedback, and (perhaps more importantly) I really enjoyed the work. So in the interest of making my status as an Art Director existentially official, I thought I'd declare it on this mostly-personal pseudo-public way, and post some of the work I've done.

To start off, here's some merchandise I designed for Toronto singer/songwriter Andrew Austin:

This was cover art for the first single. Some people have told me that it looks like a shell, and others a pear "as seen from above" but the intention was that it be the planet Mercury, which would be followed by three other planet-theme single covers.

And here's the t-shirt I designed, which can now be seen all over Southern Ontario sported by both my father AND my sister.

And finally if you're interested here's a link to Andrew's music video which I did the art direction for. I cut 127 circles out of foamcore, and spray painted them gold. Exciting right?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cowpoke (For Becky)

Here's a new picture that I finished in December for my sister's Birthday. I was trying to continue on with this idea I had about weird animal encounters, and horses being Becky's favorite animal, felt like the next logical step.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Granada Part 1

Hey friends,
I'm freshly back from a Christmas Vacation in Spain with Nick and his family, and I'm pumped to send the pictures I've taken out into the internet. As I edit through these photos, I'm realizing that I've spent the greater part of the past two and a half weeks looking through my viewfinder. Editing is not coming easy, so I'm likely going to post way too many pictures over the next few days.

Spain was beautiful but cold -- unseasonably cold -- having been hit by a deep freeze that preoccupied two weeks of Euro-CNN news coverage. Oranges on trees in Florida, school children were kept out of class throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and we rarely experienced temperatures above 10 C. As a consequence, I've returned home with the Spanish Flu. Sure it's not the Spanish Flu, but it certainly is a Spanish Flu imported from Spain. Due to the typically temperate climate, and the staggering cost of electricity, most residences and hotels in Spain opt out of centralized heating systems. After going to bed with wet hair one night, in an off-season hotel room in Malaga, my nose won't stop running, and my head feels kind of like a hacky sack. But aside from my weakened immune system, the result of Spain's relationship to electricity is kind of inspiring. It seems most Europeans are forced to be much more cognizant of their energy consumption, then we in North America (inspite of our best efforts) tend to be. For example, Ben's apartment in Grenada, where we stayed for about a week, heats water and runs its stoves and the occasional space heater with the same propane gas tanks that we use in Canada to run our barbecues. Each tank has to be ordered and delivered up to three days in advance, at no small expense. As a consequence few consider leaving a light on, let alone installing an electric clothes dryer.

Anyways, here are the first batch of pictures from Grenada, a small town in the South of Spain the feels like the setting for a Disney film. For posterity, I threw in a few poorly exposed shots of Ben's apartment. In the basement of a very old housing complex, it looks like the building's original cellar, but feels more like a cave in the side of a very cold mountain. There are many more pictures to come, but I took so many that I quickly maxed out my memory card, so for the time being they're stuck in New Orleans, waiting to be uploaded for me to a dropbox. Most of these are from the Alhambra, and huge and beautiful islamic castle in Grenada. Its architecture is serene and awe inspiring, and its ornate Islamic designs are only occasionally interupted with the mundane Catholic decors of its Spanish conquerors.

There they are. I've been trying to improve my photography skills, so any criticism or advice would be greatly appreciated.