Sunday, December 2, 2012

Illustrator Interview

Kelsey  Garrity-Riley is an artist and illustrator working out of her home in Savannah, Georgia where she resides with her husband Erik Riley who is also a talented illustrator. She grew up in Germany and Belgium before coming to the States to pursue her love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She graduated in 2010 and works for both professional publications and private commissions.

Ira: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what led you to move to America?
Kelsey: I grew up in Belgium and Germany. English is my first language, and as an American citizen I was eligible for better scholarships looking at schools in America. I love and miss Europe but I love it here as well. There really is amazing opportunity for young creatives.
Ira: What school did you attend? Were there courses besides Illustration that you particularly liked and that contributed to the development of your artistic vision?

Kelsey: I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design. I always knew I wanted to pursue art- but it took a while to declare a major exactly. I was very interested in fashion and fine art as well. Not that there can't be a lot of overlap creatively, but now I can't imagine having pursued anything but illustration! I really loved my experience at the school- especially within the Illustration department and on a study abroad quarter in southern France. I absolutely love getting to be creative in other mediums as well- other than my illustration classes I really enjoyed the basic 3d class we had to take.

Ira: Describe your typical working day. Do you have any other jobs besides doing freelance illustration?

Kelsey: I'm a display artist and visual merchandiser at an incredibly wonderful place in downtown Savannah- the Paris Market. Its been a really invigorating creative experience- a lot of the window displays we get to work on are a chance to be creative in ways that are refreshingly different than the work I produce from home. I really enjoy working with a small creative team of amazing people. I also do freelance prop styling on occasion. But lately 90% of my work is freelance illustration work from home. 

Ira: What is your creation process? How do you come up with ideas? Where do you find your inspiration?
Kelsey: Hm. There is inspiration everywhere. I love antique stores, nature, old found objects with good stories.  Ideas don’t necessarily com from anywhere in particular. I try and jot them down in a notebook as they come to me- and revisit them later to work them into a final piece. I’ve always kind of over-done it with collecting interesting things to surround myself with- a lot of nature pieces like old bones and sticks, I love religious art and taxidermy. My husband and his art inspire me constantly- we often talk through projects as well. I know this is kind of cheezy and modern, but pinterest has become a useful tool for me when I have to build up reference images for a project- especially if its one where a client wants to see or add images.
Ira: What is your favorite medium? Describe some of your favorite technical approaches.
Kelsey: I love working with a dip pen and ink. A small red handled pen called a "Brause 515" is now the only thing I ever use. Peat Brown ink by Windsor and Newton is my absolute favorite, as well as their gouaches. I often use some collage elements as well. I rarely collage imagery, but rather pieces of interesting old colors and patterns.  I love the way the old faded colors mix to form the color pallet I'm drawn to. Then I always clean up my image in Photoshop before printing, posting, or sending it to a client!
Ira: Which artists’ work most inspires/influences your own?
Kelsey: When I first saw Carson Ellis's work I was overwhelmed with how well she mixes so many elements that I love. I love her stylization, subject matter and color choices. Growing up I adored the "Brambley hedge" series by Jill Barklem. Other contemporary artists I'm so inspired by are Olaf Hajek, Marcel Dzama and Camilla Engman.
Ira: Do you promote your work in any way? How do you find clients?
Kelsey: I'm constantly trying to be better at having a steady online presence. Its SO important for professional creatives! Maintaining a good website and blog are important.I also have a Facebook account for my work. So many of the illustration jobs I've gotten in the last year  were from someone finding my work on line. This most often doesn't mean that they went strait to my website, but that they first found my work on pinterest or re-posted on other blogs. The more your work travels out into the internet world the better! Of course always make sure its credited to you and links back to either your own blog or website so people can find you.
I do also have an agent (Catugeau) for my children's book work, and as of recently one for Editorial and International work (Illozoo). These are great tools and support! I've been represented by Catugeau for 2 1/2 years now and only this month got a full book assignment, so things take time either way! Its so important to not be too discouraged. Every great thing requires a lot of patience, hard work and small consistent steps to get there.
This last year I also made the investment to have my work featured on theiSpot- an online illustration database. I actually wouldn't  recommend it based off of my own personal experience- to my knowledge it hasn’t helped my find any jobs or clients. This might be different for people pursuing more editorial work! I’m not sure. But for me it hasn’t been worth it.
Ira: What was your most favorite project that you worked on lately?
Kelsey: I just recently finished a mural in a little girls room that was really enjoyable. It feels so rewarding to see her excited about and interacting with it. I'm in the earliest stages of two children's books which I'm beyond thrilled about!
Ira: Which book would you really want to illustrate and why?
Kelsey: Its hard to say…I love that Wes Anderson hires artists to design fake book covers for his movies- that would be a dream job. I would love to illustrate a very soft an subtle story- one not necessarily modern or historic so I could mix all the things I love together in it…not sure what that would be.
Ira: What do you find most challenging about being an illustrator?
Kelsey: For me, the most challenging thing about being a freelance illustrator is trying to strike a balance with life and work. I've always loved drawing and painting in my free time, but now that all of my work time is taken up with it as well sometimes its hard to know where work ends and daily life begins. I work from home and it can be hard to turn illustration "off" a lot of the time. There is always a feeling that I should be working, when its also very important to take time to pause and appreciate spending time with others, sleeping well, etc. Also I work right next to our kitchen and its hard to not snack all day!
Ira: In your opinion, what does it take for a young illustrator to be successful today? 
Kelsey: Patience, dedication, and hard work. Above all probably Self Motivation! Its an exciting time where as young artists we have opportunities to spread our work to others through the Internet, competitions, etc. What that means though is you have to be disciplined enough to work on and promote your own projects even when there isn't a real deadline, or a paycheck or a client.

Self-Portrait as a Mythical Creature

Povitrulya – “air spirit”

For this assignment, I would like to portray myself as a povitrulya. Povitrulya is a good spirit from Ukrainian pagan mythology, specific to the western Ukraine, particularly Carpathian Mountains region.  The name povitrulya comes from a Ukrainian word povitrya which means air. Povitrulyas are daughters of the wind, that live on top of the mountains. Carpathian Mountains are famous for their polonynas – mountains with flat tops. Basically polonyna is a flat area, like a field on top of the mountain. It is usually very windy on polonynas, making it a perfect habitation for povitrulyas.

Povitrulyas are fast and light, and can be invisible. They have wings, but usually hide them.  Wings allow povitrulyas to float in the air. They are very beautiful, and merry. They love to dance and play in the wind. They are associated with beauty, creativity, and inspiration. They protect mountain shepherds and their sheep.  There are many versions of a legend that tells a love story between a povitrulya and a Carpathian shepherd, and how she leaves her wings and becomes mortal to be a wife of a human.

I chose this creature, because I am very interested in ancient Slavic mythology. I am also in love with Carpathian region and its culture. To me, this place is what true Ukraine is all about. Growing up, I spent many summers camping and hiking there with my parents. This place is home, so if I was a mythical creature I would definitely choose this to be my home too J

Some of the descriptions of povitrulyas say that they wear wreaths of flowers and herbs, and that their bodies are often covered with plants and flowers all over. I would like to create an elaborate wreath incorporating plants, flowers and berries that grow in that region: like blueberries, wild strawberries, thyme, mint, ferns, branches of fir trees. For the clothing ideas, I looked at traditional folk clothing and embroidery patterns of that region.  I want to make the sleeves of her clothing look like wings, and imply her ability to fly, rather than drawing actual wings, because povitrulyas hide their wings most of the time, and because I don’t want her to look like an angel.

As far as overall composition, I would like draw her in motion to emphasize her lightness and her association with wind and air.  Also because most of the herbs and berries that I mentioned above are used in teas, and I love drinking tea, I want to try to draw her holding some sort of cup offering tea to the viewer. This way, this mythical creature will possess my qualities, while I possess hers.  

Comm Arts Submission

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lettering Studies



Negative space:


Fall leaves:

Wet clay:

Spot metaphors illustrations

In black and white... for now

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 silhouettes with interiors

This is how my pieces looked at critique this Monday. The response was generally positive. I am not happy with them though. I feel like they are missing something: some sort of definition or contrast perhaps, apart from some anatomical issues.

 I really want to re-do them and hopefully I will by the end of the semester!

Originally I wanted these to be illustrations about a girl's day. I liked Mary's interpretation, that it is about a girl dreaming of having long hair and eating gigantic doughnuts :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Visual Metaphor Research

Part 1: Verbal Metaphors

1) “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” - St. Augustine

      target: world
       source: book
      ground: book has a lot of pages, just like the world consists of many countries or destinations
      tension: scale, shape, what they are made of
      The metaphor compares traveling with reading, and equates an intangible idea of not traveling with just reading one page in a book. It provides an illustration.

2) "Past is a foreign country." - David Lowenthal

        target: past
          source: foreign country
          ground: often beyond our reality and experience
          tension: past describes time, while country describes space
          This line is a title of an article, that summarizes the idea explored by a scholar Lowenthal. The idea is that people never exactly know what happened in the past, since they were not present there, just like they can't completely know and understand people from another country because they are not present there and don't walk in those people's shoes.

3) "All the world's a stage." - William Shakespeare

       target: world / life
          source: stage / theater
          ground: in life and theater, people play roles
          tension: theater shows imagined scenarios, while world/life is reality
Shakespeare compares the world / our life to a theater to emphasize how in life we often have to play roles written for us by society, our jobs, our families, etc.

4)  "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." - Ernest Hemingway

          target: Paris
          source: moveable feast
          ground: lively festive and romantic atmosphere, beauty
          tension: Paris - a specific geographic location, feast - a general word that describes a celebration
With this metaphor, Hemingway wants to say that Paris can be such a bright and happy memory, that wherever the person goes, the memory of Paris remains a source of inspiration and fulfillment.

5)  "The ocean was a smooth skin reflecting the light with the million mirrors." - Yann Martel, Life of Pie
         target: ocean
          source: skin
          ground: smooth surface
          tension: different density: ocean is water/liquid, skin is flesh
Metaphor emphasizes the flatness and smoothness of water.

Part 2: Visual Metaphors

1) Alessandro Gottardo, Embracing the sloth, Real Simple, 2012

          target: meadow
          source: lake/river/body of water
          ground: flat surface, association with leisure time and summer
          tension: texture, color
Metaphor uses replacement and similarity.

2) Alessandro Gottardo, The day I felt the richest, Reader's Digest, 2012

          target: sun
          source: melon
          ground: shape, color, association with summer, warmth
          tension: size, structure, purpose
Metaphor uses fusion and similarity.

3) Alessandro Gottardo, Classic novel treasure, Real Simple, 2012

          target: book
          source: door
          ground: shape, both can be open and peeked into
          tension: size, purpose
Book can be opened just like a door that leads to treasures, secrets, knowledge. Metaphor uses fusion and similarity

4) Alessandro Gottardo, Asia and Middle East problem, Plansponsor Magazine, 2012

          target: bowl of soup
          source: storm
          ground: liquid
          tension: size, taste
Storm in a bowl with Eastern design communicates the problems/conflicts taking place inside Eastern countries. Metaphor uses replacement and similarity

5) Chris Buzelli, Giant Obligation, Plansponsor Magazine

target: obligation
          source: whale
          ground: giant, heavy
          tension: obligation is an idea, whale is an actual object
Metaphor illustrates the heaviness and hugeness of the obligation through comparing it to the whale.
Metaphor uses replacement and similarity

6) Chris Buzelli, Book Monster: taming the wild text, Educational Leadership Magazine

target: fear of reading / learning to read
          source: monster / dragon
          ground: scary, intimidating, hard to overcome
          tension: intangible vs tangible
Metaphor uses juxtaposition and similarity

7) Stephen Savage, Trouble in Venezuela, New York Times

target: troubles in Venezuela
          source: fire in neighbor's apartment
          ground: can be watched from a safe distance, neighbor relations, map location: US on the North, 
          tension: scale of two apartments vs two countries, scale of the actual problem
Metaphor uses fusion and similarity

8) Stephen Savage, History of American Thought, The New York Times Book Review

target: American thought
          source: light bulb
          ground: idea of enlightenment
          tension: concept vs actual object
Metaphor uses fusion and connection.

9) Luke Melanson, Can't help myself: the power of habits, New York Times book review

target: average person
          source: puppet
          ground: humanoid
          tension: alive and thinking vs. inanimate, in control vs. being controlled  
Metaphor uses fusion and opposition.

10) Christina Ung, Financial incompatibility

target: financial incompatibility
          source: family conflict, sexual incompatibility, adultery
          ground: negative, about breaking apart
          tension: different aspects of the relationship, financial is more practical, 
while love is more emotional 
Metaphor uses fusion and connection