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.
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: