My sister, Shenandoah Davis, released her third album, Souvenirs, earlier this year. Shenandoah (or Shenni, as she is known to her family and past acquaintances of her pre-20s) asked me to create an illustration inspired by the lyrics from her album; she sent me all of the words to her songs and left me to sort through the poetry and see what image I would pull out.
You are our greatest adventure, so please don't ruin it for us with the "terrible twos" or teen angst or by being a bad person in general.
I am working with Free Road Entertainment to put together a number of designs for the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida's Tribal Museum and Indian Village, starting with two movie posters. Free Road Entertainment created new short films for the museum that highlight the importance of passing the tribe's cultural heritage down through the generations and the infusion of traditions of the past into modern life, and it was my responsibility to capture the spirit of the films in these posters.
My friend Michelle Weger emailed me a sketch of what she wanted for her King of All Creation album artwork, along with the words "I envision something very creation-y. Birds, sky, earth. I kind of see a starburst frame with a primarily sketched circular center with maybe some water color undertones and the title across the bottom in some handwritten old-school cursivey goodness? I don't know if that even translates lol..."
I love emails like this because although Michelle was uncertain if she had effectively communicated her vision for the artwork, the entire picture popped into my head as a finished work--all that was left to do was to actually make the artwork in real life.
I started out by drawing the "creation-y" scene out in pen on paper, then scanning it to add the watercolor effects digitally in photoshop. Creating the entire image on paper would have been risky with a design like this--if the tree needed to be a different color or the sky needed to be a deeper shade of blue, I would have had to re-do the entire piece from scratch. By coloring digitally, I was able to alter hues and textures much more efficiently.
I also don't have a lot of experience with watercolor, and my experiments with the medium usually turn into brown mush-lands of trash. Photoshop watercoloring is much safer with my skill level.
Earlier this year, Dave and I drove up to the historic PAL theater in Vidalia, GA to see our friend Brian Ernst achieve one of his dreams--to record a live, two-disc album. I think that Brian had mentioned his plans for this album literally every single time we saw him for the past four years, and it was always clear that his passion for this project was immense.
When Brian asked me to design the artwork for his first live album Any Given Saturday, I wanted to showcase all of the tools that help make his performances so enthralling. One of the coolest things about watching Brian perform live is seeing him expertly switch instruments like a woogly octopus, stomping on his looping pedal while simultaneously dropping a didgeridoo on its stand and swinging a guitar over his head.
In a very quick hour, the design concept went from a sketch and a conversation to hurriedly tossing a bright green sleeping bag (improvised green screen) in the driveway and photographing each of Brian's many soundmakers. The resulting album artwork features every instrument Brian used at the time of the live recording. As a constantly travelling musician, he tends to have instrument turnover from tour to tour; I love the idea that album captures a unique moment in Brian's collection of tools both through the music and in the design.
It has been a very awesome month--Dave and I went to Colorado for the wedding of two of my favorite people in the whole world (which was hands-down the greatest wedding of all time), and I have to admit that it was difficult to return to Florida. I certainly missed StarFox and Nemo and our new little chickens while I was away, but the friends I have in Denver/Boulder are without comparison (not to mention the mountains--how my eyes pine for their glorious peaks!).
Right before leaving for CO, I rushed to get a few new design projects wrapped up. Here are a few of my favorite graphic bits from the last month.
Visual Campaign for Journey4YOUth
Journey4YOUth, a non-profit organization currently working in Kaswanga Village, Kenya, is providing 38 women in the village with a variety of business trainings. After completing the trainings, each woman will create a business plan and, with soft loans, start their own businesses in their community. Rather than paying the loans back to Journey4YOUth, the loan will be paid forward into another woman's business in Kaswanga.
Currently, these 38 women are meeting together regularly to discuss their business ideas and to form a network of empowered women in their village. These businesses will be able to work together to provide their community with a wide variety of services and products that currently require a long, arduous trek to neighboring areas to obtain.
To create the visual campaign for this project, photographs of the women of Kaswanga village were kept very natural. With such incredible faces and stories, a simple, organic approach draws the viewer into the text.
If you are interested in sponsoring the business training for a woman in Kaswanga, you can donate through Journey4YOUth's website. A full sponsorship is $40, and $10 "shares" are also available.
Today (Valentine's Day)(also my sister's birthday; have a good one sis!) was definitely one of the weirdest days of my life. Five days ago, I posted my Make-Out Practice Pillows on my blog and made an Instructable for my creations. Three days ago, I started getting dozens of press requests from big news sites like Huffington Post, Metro, and UK's Daily Mail. They had seen my pillow on a number of share sites like DesignTaxi and Buzzfeed.
Yesterday evening I was on an Australian morning radio show--they interviewed me about the pillows and we all had a good laugh about the "kissing cushions." My creepy creations were featured on Tosh.O's blog and Perez Hilton. Suddenly, only a few days after I sat at my sewing machine and stitched these pillows into the world, the CPR mouths had gone viral.
Mehdy wanted a logo that had a globe and was playful, memorable, and youthful that could be easily animated. I viewed the project as a challenge to create a logo that both fit in with and stood out from the map-centric logos that are understandably commonplace across the travel industry.
It's been "turn off the AC and open all the windows in the house" weather here in Florida for the past week. It finally feels like fall with its recognizable tinge of sweet crispness in the air, so, despite a general "meh" feeling about Halloween, I couldn't resist buying a big pumpkin for carving. I sat on our stoop and made the only kind of jack-o-lantern I thought would impress Dave: a Grumpy Cat that projects "NO" onto the wall behind her.
I also went to a Nine Inch Nails concert the night of Halloween and it was incredible, and they played my favorite song. The visual effects used during the show were ridiculously mind-boggling; even a week later I feel unsure of exactly what I saw happen on that stage. I think Trent Reznor and the whole crew behind the production of the effects are aliens who came to melt our faces.
In college, I listened to Nine Inch Nails almost exclusively while painting in the studio--the album Year Zero heavily influenced my work during my senior year, and it is only natural that the visuals and sounds from the concert are starting to leak into the painting I have on my easel now.
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