Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heart of a Lion

"He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king"
-St. Augustine

A circular icon of Poland's iconic Zygmunt I Stary, or as he is better known in the West, Sigismund I the Old. Sigismund I (1467-1548) of the Jagiellon dynasty reigned as King of Poland and Duke of Lithuania from 1506-1548. He was also the husband of Renaissance personality and cultural reformer, Bona Sforza. During his reign, Sigismund faced the challenge of consolidating his country's internal power in order to face larger external threats. The greatest of these outside conflicts formed part of the Muscovite Wars, whereby Poland was intermittently at war with Vasily III of Muscovy. 1514 became the year that marked the fall of Smolensk (under Lithuanian domination) to the Muscovite forces.

Apart from my admiration for Sigismund I and Eastern European history in particular, I just had the impulse to paint a king. A friend was kind enough to lend me a book on Polish nobility and kings. I quickly took inspiration from Sigismund's costume and began a quick underpainting during a nightime stretch between 2-5 AM (as always, inspiration opportunely seizes me when I should be toiling away at more pressing responsibilities). I made the mistake of experimenting with a gloss medium on hot press watercolour paper. The result? I was eventually forced to rip off the king's cheek after excessive paint build-up. It was only within the past two days that I found his forsaken, lacerated visage under a pile of paper. I decided to breathe some life into him again. This attitude is consistent with my approach to art, and for that matter, life. I don't believe in letting anything die prematurely. I have too much faith. The result shows some potential :) My first attempt at impasto.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer Co-op Sketchbook Week 3

As of this week, fellow Illustration student Rachel Idzerda and I have finally settled into our new studio space for co-op. With some adjusting and decorating, it will eventually become our summer home. The best part? It's located in one of Woodbridge's main entertainment hubs, a bowling alley! I sincerely hope that the following weeks will bring bountiful art production. Stay tuned for lots of sketch documentation.

Tiberius the Rhino was no match for the Kitchen Aquarium Shark. A songstress and her keyboard.

My wonderful cousins Olivia and Elizabeth at an Italian community event.

Mother's Day and a rainy commute.

Rachel's friend Rachelle came to model for us one day at the studio. I sat into their painting session and sketched.

Death is the Road to Awe

Hans Christian Andersen's (1805-1875), The Nightingale--a beautiful tale of redemption, pity and intense longing.

"The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe; he felt as if something were sitting on his chest; he opened his eyes and saw that it was Death, wearing the Emperor's gold crown and holding in one hand the Imperial sword and in the other the Imperial banner. All around the bed, in the folds of the velvet curtains, were strange faces--some kind, some friendly, some hideous and hateful. They were the emperor's good and evil deeds, clustered about him, as Death sat on his heart..All at once by the window, the sweetest song rang out. It was the living nightgale, sitting on a branch outside..And as she sang, the ghostly faces grew fainter and fainter; the blood began to pulse more strongly through the Emperor's feeble limbs; even Death listened in and said, 'Go on little nightingale, go on!'"

A conceptual sketch for Death and the artificial nightingale that ousts the once beloved real nightingale from the empire.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Summer Co-op Sketchbook

The beginnings of a summer co-op diary. Each sketch is a documented portrait of my whereabouts. Good friends/co-workers and family are featured, as are many rural and urban landscapes. Unfortunately, I'm unable to experiment with media in this sketchbook. The pages are waif-thin and only allow for delicate pencil lines.

"Those tend'rer tints, that shun the careless eye,
And in the world's contagious circle, die"
Anne Radcliffe (1764-1823), The Mysteries of Udolfo

Round Dirt Cowboy

For our final Interpretive assignment, Thom asked my third year class to illustrate a cowboy. It was our second self-directed project of the year. Often these sort of tasks exert an additional degree of pressure. They indicate the direction of our personal style. Given that the majority of my work focuses on the ideal, and most of my male representations resemble cherubs...I chose to depict the cowboy as an idealized hero. A parody of Michelangelo's David became the product of these musings. It was fun to make. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly resounded on my computer speakers while I was developing early sketches.

I am not particularly satisfied with the outcome. It was also executed on major time constriction. As a result, I was unable to finish my quintessential spaghetti western landscape for the background. The integration of digital/traditional media did not go as seamless as I'd planned. With some practice, I'm sure my digital paintings will successfully imitate the tactile beauty of my beloved traditional media. I've made slight post-marking corrections since..note the manly changes :).

Night at the Museum--Final Animation

For weeks I had given thought to the subject of my final animation for Hyein's class. My original intent was to develop and animate the narrative behind one of my earlier pieces this year, 'The Goodbye', but found that the degree of work involved exceeded my technical knowledge and skill. So, as is habitual with me, I thought that I'd move toward a more simpler idea...which ended up being just as complicated as the former :P. Inspired by the Sculpture Room scene at Pemberly from the 2005 Joe Wright film, Pride and Prejudice, I decided to create an animation of sculptures springing to life in 3D. I had little experience in working with the Adobe After Effects 3D camera. I overlooked the fact that 3D cameras manouvre flat imagery to resemble paper theatre in 3D space. Rather, I started drawing multiple sculpture views to give the illusion of a rotating axis surrounding each character. Given the end-of-semester time constraint, I wasn't able to complete the animation to the extent that I would have liked. Nevertheless, I learned a great deal. After Effects and I are no longer enemies..for the present :P

Vimeo link to animation: link

Here are a few digital sketches and paintings featured in the final video:

More Lemurs!

A poster inspired by my bottle design for Peek and Seek fruit juice. I created at least five different versions of the poster before I settled on this design for final submission. I am not accustomed to working with Illustrator all that much for my personal artwork. The vector style of these lemurs is a far departure from my intensely detailed hand-renderings. I don't suspect that I'll be working with this style in the near future. Nonetheless, it was a nice exercise in shape simplicity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

PEEK and SEEK--Final Label Design

Bottle design catered to children who entreat the purse of their brand-loving parents for the latest trend-setting products. For the 'Peek and Seek' theme, I chose to work with playful lemurs as my mascots. The bamboo background and overall colour scheme would imply that the beverage itself is a healthy choice.