Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tribute to David Cronenberg

As a massive horror fan, it was only natural for me to pick movie director David Cronenberg as the subject for my Hartford magazine assignment. The idea is to do a portrait on the cover of a magazine in the style of a particular illustrator, all from the same decade. This is what I did last time: Maria Callas in Coby Whitmore's style on The Saturday Evening Post

 For my artistic inspiration, I looked to the incredible Marshall Arisman.  http://marshallarisman.com/ The magazine cover format emulated is Midnight Marquee ( example). Note- I am in no way selling or distributing this project as an actual Midnight Marquee cover.

Many of Cronenberg's movies deal with bodily transformations (The Fly, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, etc.) Arisman's work also deals with transformative experiences, though in different, sometimes spiritual ways. I thought it would be interesting to bridge some of the feel from both artists.

More about what I used at my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eholtillustration/posts/1051580761561486

Friday, April 17, 2015

San Francisco Reaction

For this San Francisco trip reaction piece, I used the same brainstorming method I had worked from previously in my NY piece (see here) ---->

I began with my overall strongest impressions of the city. I first recalled how steep the streets in San Francisco were. I had visited once before, years ago. Even though it had been a brief driving tour, I still remembered how vertically inclined the sidewalks could be. It was even more apparent this time around, as I was mostly on foot.

San Francisco was colorful and everything looked heavily saturated compared to where I currently live, in Boston. The palette here feels more cool and subdued, (though the contrast of New England leaves in the fall is stunning). I was quite taken with San Francisco's apartment architecture, as well as the streets of Chinatown. I loved the pagoda style roofs and the Chinese lanterns.

Lastly, I was bemused to see quite a few fit people, with some surprisingly un-fit dogs. This was hard to reconcile with the roller coaster streets, which provide ample exercise, but I saw more than one extra curvaceous pug or dachshund.

Ultimately, my image became about San Franciscan pedestrians, steep streets, tottering balance, bright colors, a struggling pug, and the seaside atmosphere. I wanted something bright, dynamic, maybe even a bit art deco, though the end result isn't quite in that genre. I had a lot of fun with this piece, and thanks to my classmates' critiques, made some final changes for the better.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Updates Dec-April

Currently I have two main ideas in progress on for my Hartford Master's program:

1. A series of paintings about Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper (hey she was a native of Hartford, Connecticut!).

2. A set of illustrations about animals which have compound names, portrayed literally, so that they look like fantasy creatures. 

Recently, I finished a reaction piece for my New York trip. Initially, I was going to use one of the myriads of photos I took as inspiration for a realistic painting, but ultimately that idea didn't get my creative juices flowing, nor did it really express my reaction to New York. Going back to the drawing board, I recalled how easy it was to spend over one's budget on all the exciting things the city has to offer. In particular I remembered my surprise at seeing a Cupcake ATM.

My initial concept was to create a parody of a fancy handbag ad, the sort you might see on kiosks just walking down the NY sidewalk. The catch would be that the bag made your money very hard to access, but you'd still spend a boatload to purchase it, and look trendy. The subtlety would deceive the viewer into thinking that the ad was genuine. I was considering even trying some watercolor, fashion illustration technique.

After sketching a bit, it just wasn't capturing the humor of the idea enough. It wasn't lively, nor did the prospect of working on it excite me. 

As usual I began thinking in vignettes.
 Back to the "Cupcake ATM", I thought how funny it would be if my hamster, an endless source of comedic inspiration, came across one of those. No doubt, her self control would be compromised within seconds. 

I began thumbnailing a narrative about a hamster visiting New York, using some of my own experiences as inspiration. 

To spend or not to spend? 

I made a checklist of sorts, for sights and scenes to cover, such as a Chinatown restaurant, the Cloisters, Broadway etc.  It began to take shape as a New Yorker-esque cartoon series, with a narrator hocking the "Lock-it" handbag to the desperate hamster.

Some of the finals

 Thanks to my experience in Degree Project at Massart, which required us all to make handmade books, the logical next step was to turn the series into something physical, complete with tapestry-like fabric reminiscent of the Cloisters, and locks from my local hardware store.

And just like that, it was time for the Hartford--> San Francisco trip!

Once again we had a wonderful array of speakers, including: 

Colin Fix: http://colinfix.blogspot.com
Brian Stauffer: http://brianstauffer.com
Chuck Pyle: http://charlespylestudio.com
Dennis Ziemenski: http://ziemienski.com/dzabout.html
Robert Hunt http://roberthuntstudio.com
Courtney Granner: http://www.sjsu.edu/design/design_programs/ai_design_program/ai_faculty/granner_courtney/
Owen Smith: http://www.owensmithart.com/about.php
Lou Brooks http://loubrooks.com
Ward Shumaker and Vivienne Flesher: http://warddraw.com
Tony Trujillo: http://www.trujilloportfolio.blogspot.com

We were also treated to an amazing tour of Bunny Carter's illustration collection, and EA Games's facilities. 

AND, while I was there, I collaborated on these very important pieces with fellow illustrator Alyssa Menold: