Monday, November 28, 2011

Threadless Finches Beer Can Design

Below is a beer can design I have entered into a Threadless contest for Finch's Beer, a Chicago brewery. Threadless is a Chicago-based company that prints graphic t-shirts, hoodies, totes, packaging etc based on community endorsement via online voting. Please vote for it and give me a "5" if you dig it!

This design shows the silhouette of finches against a vibrant sunset. They appear in a familiar bird assembly--sitting together on wires, which are allusive to threads in their thinness and flexibility. In this way, the design "seamlessly" incorporates aspects of both Finch's Beer and Threadless. Please vote for my design and give it a "5" if you want to see it printed! The contest ends in four days, so please don't wait!

Vote here:

PS IMPORTANT: I have been told that you need to register before voting. Don't worry, it only takes two seconds and they really don't send you anything. Just in case, be sure to unclick any option for receiving their newsletter

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Screenprinting Insights & Fight for Your Right Screenprint

Hello, Internet! My first-time screenprinting class at Lillstreet Art Center is over now. The class is taught by Matt Ginsberg, who explores the medium of screenprinting in a very interesting way. Click here to check out some of his work. Matt's prints highlight something about screenprinting that is very significant to me: this is a medium that tries to be consistent and reproducable, but every print turns out slightly different. My teacher's work highly exemplifies this, especially in his monoprints on vinyl in a retro-60's style. Not only does every record itself provide a little bit of a different printing surface, but each design is uniquely created on the screen only to be printed ONE time. As my artistic investigations continue, I know that this is definitely something that interests me conceptually, because I like the idea of using a medium which is intended for one thing, but is manipulated to be used for another, unexpected or opposite end. In other words, I like how screenprinting is generally intended for ease of replication and yet the process can be used to make something that is one-of-a-kind. I don't know exactly why I am attracted to this type of aesthetic concept (yet), but I think it has something to do with how re-purposing an artistic medium makes you question the meaning/message of that medium. How cool and interesting!

Below is the second print I made in class. These are on sale in three versions at my Etsy store--hangable in office spaces, homes, studios--everywhere! Buy one today. PS. Do you see anyone you recognize?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Portraiture

This is another portrait I worked on at the Evanston Art Center. My teacher told me that making portraits is like herding sheep: you can't leave any part of the portrait behind as you're working.

I actually painted this one with acrylics--burnt sienna and burnt umber, to be exact. Of the other two portraits I posted earlier, one was made with charcoal (top) and the other with graphite (bottom).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Screenprinting 101

Below is a narratively-suggestive screenprint. I have created an edition of ten prints for this independent piece, which could be yours today for just $15 a pop! Please visit my new Etsy store to purchase these 11" x 17" artworks of the comic persuasion.

I made this piece at the Lillstreet Art Center. It is a man putting a hand on a little boy's head and then thinking about a moment, possibly from his own past.

The process of screenprinting itself is not too technically difficult, but this is another medium that requires a lot of patience, since after every step you need to wait for something to dry, basically. I like the way that an artist needs to sort of anticipate the process of screenprinting--or the process of any medium, come to think of it. Every medium requires a different image-making strategy.

I also like the way screenprinting gives images a sort of vintage look, but at the same time the ink is so clean & precise (<3). I wonder what the implications of a whole screenprinted comic would be.... I might have to try that soon.

--One more screenprinted item on the way in the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Embroidered Commercial Art

This was my submission to the Chicago Fringe Festival 2011 Design Contest. The fringe festival is a relatively new annual theater festival in Chicago. Both this year's and last year's festivals took place in Pilsen.

I didn't win the contest for the festival art (to go on posters, ads, and general marketing collateral), but my design DID receive a shout out on the Fringe website--something to the extent of "we received a wide range of crazy submissions, including embroidered whales, etc". Hey, at least they noticed me. Maybe next year!

The theme for this year's festival was "On the map, under the radar". I decided to embroider my design solution to this theme for two reasons. Firstly, embroidery made sense because the festival seems very grassroots, created by the people for the people. I felt that embroidery would reflect that sort of "homemade" feel. Another reason I decided to embroider my design is because obviously the word "fringe" relates to fabric and sewing. I had never embroidered anything before. It is not that technically difficult, but it does require a lot of patience!

One more thing to note: this is another piece of art (in addition to the Thank You Notes) I have recently created that is handmade but has a very clean, precise feel to it. For some reason, I am drawn to exploring this aesthetic.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rogers Park Mural

What better way to investigate visual storytelling than through a 70ft, large-scale community art piece? This is a mural I helped produce during the summer in Chicago (Roger's Park neighborhood). The project was led by Leah Tumerman, an artist who submitted this design to a contest and then received a grant from the 49th ward to complete the project.

There were two major design components of this project that I found to be challenging & interesting:
1) Color Management
2) Visual Pacing

Both of these elements contribute immensely to the hierarchy of any artwork and it was interesting to see how these things come into play on a large-format project. In terms of pacing, the passerby will experience a subtle, gradual increase into the "heart" of the piece and then the piece will slowly recede as the passerby exits the other side. The color hierarchy was particularly challenging because the background was made to help bring life to this dark, dingy underpass (underneath the red line at Touhy & Greenview--go visit!). As a result, determining the rest of the colors to be used in the foreground became a game of desaturated color application (don't try this at home, kids, it's actually the reverse of what they would teach you in art skewl). Within the desaturated colors of the foreground, we attempted to establish a hierarchy which allowed the foliage to be the most important element, the buildings the next most important, and then the trees. It should be mentioned that color was not the only contributing factor to hierarchy in the mural; the level of detail in the foreground elements also helped a lot to establish the desired order of importance.

Progressive, sophisticated, and collaborative, this was a super rad project and I am glad I had the opportunity to help produce it. Go public art!

Other contributing artists:
Rachel Tumerman

More photos:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thank You Notes

Below are some thank you notes I created using cut paper and graphite. I have been exploring this aesthetic of things that are handmade, but they look very perfect and simple, almost as if they were created digitally in the creative suite. Basically, I am interested in "designing by hand".


Two pieces from a portrait class at the EAC (Evanston Art Center, not to be confused with the Evanston Athletic Club). Portraiture helps inform design sensibility because hierarchy and balance must be maintained in the art even as it becomes more and more detailed. At the end of the day, the face is just a few basic shapes molded together and...alive.