Sunday, June 5, 2016

Well, it's been a long while

Things have certainly changed. I've changed jobs and locations and even what I do in the summers.

This will be my first summer in five years that I will be staying home. Like the oncoming winters in Michigan I am preparing to stay indoors to escape the hot Florida summer weather, except at certain times of the day to water my poor flowers or to mow the grass. I have traded in my snow shovel and ice scraper for a weed wacker and a mower. Something that needs to be done all of the time because I don't like to get the stink eye from the neighbors.

I have some plans:
I will be teaching a summer school class most of June and July at St Johns Country Day School here in Orange Park.
I will then be receiving AP Studio Course Development Training. This year will be the first year this school offers this.

Then it will be time to make art. I am looking forward to working on my own work (not just class samples). This will be a challenge because I will not be at my creative haven, Belvoir Terrace, in Lenox, Massachusetts. Even though I teach and work intensely with the wonderful students there, I also have had the opportunity to be cut off from everything - email, phones and televisions. When I am there, I am focused on reprograming my brain. I strive every second to be in a calmer state. I am more tuned into myself by drawing, painting, reading and then I am better able to tune into people by talking about things that are creative and important.

I did do something different at Belvoir last summer in that I started an Instagram - sketchy_Pam. So even though I had terrible phone service at the camp I continued to use my phone as a camera. It was a challenge to post pictures but I also used instagram as an excuse to visit the Lenox Library were service was pretty good. So, a walk into town and a cup of coffee helped me to share the things I was seeing. I admit that I have always preferred to use my phone more as a camera than anything else. I will be revisiting pictures I've taken these past few years (Instagram and not Instagram) and posting them here or on my other blogs according to how they fit into what I'm thinking about and how they can be influence on my work. I plan to illustrate little stories about these pictures in a kind of fiction.

"Why do we need the things in books? The poems, the essays, the stories? Authors disagree. Authors are human and fallible and foolish. Stories are lies after all, tales of people who never existed and the things that never actually happened to them. Why should we read them? Why should we care?"

"The teller and the tale are very different. We must not forget that. Ideas, written ideas, are special. They are the way we transmit our stories and our ideas from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over." 

From "Credo" by Neil Gaiman

While driving in Florida

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Illustration Isn't Art but Illustrators Are Artists

by Artist Gary Taxali

The following is from an interview with Gary Taxali - it is fantastic.

Have you always been able to draw or was it a skill you learned in college? I don’t think one can learn to draw in college. While they’re certainly honed in art school, if one doesn’t possess basic drawing skills no amount of school will help. However, one can learn how to better see and connect that to two dimensional interpretations in order to effectively communicate.

What was your first paid assignment? It was a spot illustration for Toronto Life magazine on male aggression. I was still a student and didn’t know how the whole sketch/final thing worked with art directors. I basically walked into the art director’s office and presented her with three originals with no prior sketches sent. She laughed, picked one and explained to me in two minutes how illustrators work with clients. I learned more in those two minutes than I did in four years of a dysfunctional art school education.

by Artist Gary Taxali
Which illustrator (or fine artist) do you most admire? Nevermind artists. I admire rock musicians. My goal is to go back in time and be Wayne Kramer from MC5. (I can’t play a guitar though, so maybe things are best left the way they are.)

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator? I used to work for Canada Post on the loading docks. I don’t really have any other skills so I guess stacking mail bags infested with mites and rat droppings would have been my day job.

From where do your best ideas originate? The Junction—an area northwest of the city core of downtown Toronto. It’s next to the train tracks and in a Portuguese neighborhood filled with churrasco joints. Home sweet home.

How do you overcome a creative block? Who has the luxury of time for creative blocks when you have a string of perpetual deadlines chasing you? I admire those who have time to dissect the minutiae of their creative exploits. No working illustrator has that luxury.

In one word describe how you feel when beginning a new assignment? Sexy.

Do you have a personal philosophy? What did Bill Murray say in Meatballs? Oh yeah, “It just doesn't matter.”

Do you have creative pursuits other than illustration? I’m a DJ and that gives me sheer joy. No requests, please.

by Artist Gary Taxali
What music are you listening to right now? “Sugar Sandwich” by Toronto’s own The Leather Uppers. It’s garage rock brilliance.

What's your favorite quote? “We've gone on holiday by mistake” --Withnail (from Bruce Robinson's film Withnail and I)

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Perseverance is your ticket to a successful career. Create personal work, at least one piece every week. Your ideas are better than any art director’s so don't let them feed you concepts. Style should not drive the picture; the picture should drive the style. Illustration isn't art but illustrators are artists. Don’t ponder why some people do bad work and become household names, it’s the nature of the industry. Lastly, if you don’t feel sexy, you don’t look sexy.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Nobody knows, better than me, what’s good for my career. Well, Steve Heller does—but nobody else.