"But you know, there's something about the kids
finishing their homework in a given day, working one-on-one, getting all
this attention - they go home, they're finished. They don't stall, they
don't do their homework in front of the TV.
" Dave Eggers
While shuffling my "studio" over to my new digs, I came across three paintings that shared the same flocked wallpaper as a background. The funny thing is, I now see that the wallpaper was the hero all along.
While shuffling through the boxes, my daughter excitedly sat on the floor to do her homework. . . on a Friday evening no less.
Yesterday I was looking at old Swissair posters, and this morning I am trolling current designer - illustrator web sites. I liked Ketchup Mustard's logo and especially the "You Love It" screenprint.
K-M's about plug: "Jaime Van Wart spends her days designing software for IBM, her nights
designing original typefaces and custom lettering. Saucebomb is a home
for news and announcements, process work, and strokes of creative
genius. Jaime can best be contacted at email@example.com. Send her some love, or visit Ketchup 'n' Mustard to view her portfolio.
Did you notice that she has a day job? That isn't very encouraging.
I keep coming back to this image for some reason. Maybe I should reverse engineer my taste. Apparently I am a sucker for a translucent layer of color. A screened pull of diaphanous color works just like a medium rich glaze would in painting. Check out how the raw umber pagoda silhouette is slicing through her pupil. The composition is classic steelyard.
I also seem to be interested in a certain kind of texture. I wonder if this is a generational thing?
Just so I don't get all nostalgic on myself, I am going to force my research to alternate between the old and the current. Art is either plagiarism or revolution.
- Paul Gauguin. I'm going to shamelessly steal from many. There is the interesting nuance right there; that razor's edge that makes originality so coveted in the painting world. That is, the high-horse-on-a-pedestal-in-a-white-cube-at-the-top-of-an-ivory-tower vibe that is often associated with the fine art gallery culture, doesn't translate to this illustrator/designer identity I'm exploring. Obviously, there are exceptions and cross-overs, but I can tell I am going to dig the intelligent craft of my new chosen profession. I'm sure once I get me feet on the ground, I'll feel the visceral tug of oil paint once again, but right now, I'm a bull in a candy shop.
I need to focus. I need to be efficient. Am I going to be a Jack-of-all-Trades or a Shtick Meister? Do I study hard and become an Adobe Certified Expert or do I try to make what I think is cool and see how my chops and aesthetics develop? Should I be a Designer-Illustrator with a unique brand, or the glib, facile, and charming translator of whatever the client wants?
Shit. . . I still gotta put my name on the mailbox and unpack boxes.
I guess if I've learned anything from painting paintings is that it is helpful to start with a grand idea and work the details out later. "Paint the dog before the fleas" I always say. Less obvious, but more beautiful is when I shout "You can't cram a cake inside the frosting!"
Either way I go, there is an over-arching name or company logo that needs to be developed. Am I Steven LaRose Graphic Design? SLGD? LaRose Illustration and Design? LID? The Fish or Cut Bait Group? FoCB Design? Teresa Sloven Graphic Design? Some made-up word that still has an available url and sounds like illustration? etc. etc.
I am overwhelmed. I could go on-and-on about painters old and now, but I am finally 'fessing up to a certain taste in design. I have no schooling in design but it seems I have a taste that I never explored or spent the time to define. Do I have to explain why I like this label from 1951?
I'm starting to pull everything out of the flat file because I've got to move it. It used to be under our house in the crawl space and totally out-of-sight-out-of-mind. There is some neat stuff in there. Perfect inspiration for a budding Graphic Designer. Left to right we have an infamous Flaming Lips poster that Art Chantry created, a Butthole Surfers black velvet gem by Paul Mavrides, three Kozik creations, and two Chris Ware screen prints. But the things I didn't know I had, my mom must have saved these, is two Slurpee cups.
This is my first blog post from my new pad. That's right, you heard me. Don't go thinking that I'm going to get all bloggy about my divorce, but it would be silly for me not to acknowledge the situation. The theory is: Life is short, and we will both be happier.
In the meantime however, I am living the Fish or Cut Bait dream: liminality.
Rest assured, this will not turn into a blog about the tales of a single 48 year old slacker. The fact of the matter is, I've taken the opportunity to purchase the entire Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 (at an incredible "educators" discount) and a fairly large Wacom tablet. We can expect a Fish or Cut Bait makeover in the coming year. But first, I've got to move some boxes, purchase cutlery, and figure out what an "IRA Beneficiary Change" means.
It has been over a quarter century since I've lived with a wood burning stove as my primary heat source. My first official night of sleeping here, and I am digging it.