Saturday, August 13, 2011

Newly inspired

I don't know if it's all the Elliot Smith I listened to today, but I finally got inspired. Finally.

I've had this feeling for the last little while- the last post helped to express some of it. I feel a very big lack of quality in life. That's a really clumsy way to phrase it, but I'll try my best to explain.

I work at a daily newspaper- the focus here is not finely crafted advertisements, beautiful paper, well thought out typography, etc. The idea is get it in as best as you can and get it on the press. I am blessed to live in the oldest neighbourhood in Hamilton that has maintained so many gorgeous architectural treasures, however, this isn't valued everywhere. The current mentality is build homes very fast that aren't going to stand out in history (that will, in fact, probably crumble to the ground very quickly because they are built in such a rush). Technology expires faster than I can keep up (CS5.5, is that really necessary?) and it's making my head spin.

I suppose this should make me very Buddhist and I should understand that times change and everything is transitory, but it just makes me cling to the things I find comforting.

Back to the inspired part- I was at the art crawl last night, and they were doing the Beehive Collective craft fair in the old Friendship Shop (in a funny tangent, it used to be an Asian gift shop, and I used to buy tons of Sailor Moon stuff there as a young girl, but I digress). This print totally caught my eye- especially the nun.

It's a bit dark, a bit humourous and definitely has something to say. Skulls and skeletons have been a recurring theme in my art since I was in University. My first big project in sculpture class was to build a shelter, and I made myself a coffin. It's not that I'm morbid, but I've always been very aware of my own mortality.

So today, I did this:

I was just thinking about days gone by where people actually cared about dressing up in a tuxedo and bow tie and how I'll never see very much of that. The time is very literally dead. It's just a first painting, i'm a little rusty, and I'd like to find other ways to explore this idea.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wouldn't it be nice?

I have an admission: I have a rip-roaring obsession with a time period I didn't live through.

I can't be blamed, really. I grew up surrounded by people who showed me the best of what those times had to offer. My dad, a man who used to work for Eatons and produced some of the most gorgeous advertising illustrations I have seen (I'll track some down and scan, I promise!), taught me all about quality and workmanship. While playing Twist and Shout on our record player, he taught me how to draw, starting with Disney characters. You want to see some of the best hand-drawing skills? Watch Disney films from the 1940's and 50's. Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Alice in Wonderland. When Disney started using computers, they took their skills to another plane, but to me this was the best animation money could buy.

Check out the saddest scene in Bambi to see what I mean.

If you've watched Mad Men, you'll also know that it was this period that was a golden age of advertising. I believe that we're seeing another kind of era with advertising now too- there's so many new developments: QR codes, flash sales websites, social networking, but I digress. As far as really beautiful work and strategic campaigns go, the 1950's and 60's still reign supreme in my mind. It was in the 1940's and 50's where ads started selling a lifestyle rather than a product, especially to women.

Take this one that's selling "a bit of the brilliant, sophisticated air of Yardley ’Bond Street’ Perfume." Sounds quite a bit more glamourous and European than "this perfume smells nice". You also can't beat these classic illustrations. I feel indebted to Leif Peng for sharing his 40's and 50's illustration blog with my college class- you should definitely check it out here!

It's not to say that the 50's were perfect- I'm aware there were massive social, racial and gender prejudices. I could definitely do without those, but sometimes I crave the absolute quality that existed back then. The art, the pop culture, the fashion and the respect and manners people were socially expected to have. I think in our time, where digital reigns supreme and all technology is quick to become outdated, it is important to look back and appreciate a time when quality and the Good Housekeeping seal of approval reigned supreme.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ROOT: a new blog

I decided to start blogging again. I can't bring myself to delete this one, because I like reading back on the art I did in college. It gives me a good sense of where I've come from, and where I'm going. However, this new blog won't quite be the same thing.

I'm not JUST a designer. I know when we originally set these blogs up, the purpose was to be quite focused on one thing, but I just can't. I have never been a terribly single-minded person, and I have a great variety of hobbies, likes and talents. Even my job never lets me do just my own job.

So I've renamed the blog ROOT: depending on the context this word has some pretty disparate meanings which seem to sum up my professional and personal lives right now. To put down roots means to settle down in a place and make a home. Root also denotes the base of anything, getting right down to the base of the matter. To root around can also mean to go snooping or looking for something. Currently, my life is all these things- settling down in a new location in a new home while also searching for new creative ideas and fulfillment.

This is as personal as it will get though, folks. What I will be posting here are the efforts of all this ROOT(ing), which will mostly be art and design with the rare DIY project or cool idea I'd like to share sprinkled in. Please stay tuned- I would love to hear your criticism, ideas, suggestions, queries, you name it. Thanks for stopping by.