Friday, August 3, 2012

Allow me to throw this in your face

Cause I sure as hell have not introduced this project.

These are the newly created patterns for the interactive children's ipad book I am illustrating. My mother, Jamie Stevens, is writing it.

The app is an educational dress up game. The focus is the the Japanese holiday Tanabata. Though the real reason you'll want this is because you get to dress up two adorable kitties in yukata!

I was lagging a little on making these patterns. But on tuesday, we started renting CS6! The pattern maker in Illustrator is fantastic. What would normally take me hours of trial and error was doable in minutes.

The aim of these patterns was to do a combination of traditional japanese textiles, summer colors, and of course, cat themes.

The backstory behing each one (from left to right)

  • The Bamboo- One of the key parts of the tanabata festival is to hang tanzaku (wishes on strips of paper) on bamboo.

  • The Catnip- Please disregard that I am technically covering a yukata with drug propaganda. I felt pressured to do a pattern with flowers. It turned out looking a lot more Edwardian than Japanese, though.

  • Neoclassical Cat- I believe the idea for this came from a chinese robe. I can't remember exactly.

  • Tortoise Paw- Tortoise shells are a common motif with Japanese mon. But the shape became octagonal. Also, a paw print is encapsulated in the centers.

  • Milky Way- The milky way is an incredibly important part of the Tanabata legend! If you want to know the story, you'll have to buy the app when it comes out. I originally tried making the milky way actually look like the milky way. But that was pretty boring as a pattern. So it has been reduced to a heavenly river. 

  • Speeding Mice- These were supposed to be decked out in traditional embroidery. Instead, they turned into a homage to Osamu Tezuka?

  • Wind Chimes- These just ring summer. Terrible pun intended. 

  • Corner Stripes- Deep down, this is probably an homage to Vivienne Westwood. I wanted to create the illusion of dynamic angles and a perfect cut, which is really inappropriate for a yukata.

  • Shrubbery-These are oddly vintage Japanese.

  • Balls of Yarn- Circles of color are common in kimono. I made them cat friendly.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Foundation Drawing Spring

Although drawing was mandatory, I was very selective of who my teacher would be. I signed up for Karelyn Siegler's class. The reviews said she was strict but your drawing skills would approve ten-fold because of her. 

I can say that is exactly what happened. Though I found Professor Siegler to be reasonable in her teaching. If the student was slacking, they deserved to be told so. Though I was a little afraid of the grading system. To pass, it wasn't enough to just do the work. You had to actually do it well. 

Now, I am usually pretty confident about my skill. But honestly, when it comes down to it, I feel my work lacks a certain something. The people look flat and emotionless. Like there's no blood flowing. I had hopes that this class could fix that. 

This was the first drawing class where there was active note-taking and quizzing. It was quite challenging, actually. I get confused when I have to look at proportions mathematically. 

The first few weeks covered model sketching drills. 

We also discussed perspective and the coloring of the human face. These assignments forced me to buy markers. I had not a complaint about that. 

The last few months focused on self portraits. I'll share my favorites. 

This was the first one. I never was the best with charcoal. I was in mourning when this was drawn. But I would be lying if I said that was the reason I am frowning with a furrowed brow. That seems to be my natural expression.

The second portrait was to draw only the darkest shadows. I resemble a silent film villain. 

Here is another one. This time it's full a out marker and pencil rendering.  Friends have told me that I look like a male Japanese militant. I am quite pleased. 

My goal for the next self portrait was to make myself actually look feminine. To help accentuate it, I donned a red scarf and scarlet lipstick. Though like all of the previous portraits, I never knew when to quit.

The final one. I was going to try drawing myself with my hair down. Alas, I looked ridiculous. 
We were told we could go completely abstract with this one. I went wild with the colors, aiming for a more realistic/impressionistic look. But it seems that I was a little too undecided for the class standards. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Foundation Art History Spring

Art History is really a class that never included art by the student herself. But for a particular paper, we had to include photos of the pieces we wrote about. Since the exhibit I wrote about strongly forbid photography, I had to do sketches as an alternative.

My paper was on the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the MOMA. The first piece I covered was her Untitled Film Still #54.

Untitled #92 was my favorite one to render. The teals and blues were really fun.

Somehow, my rendition of Untitled #146 is more disturbing than the original photograph.

I obviously went overboard with "sketching," but it was such a great opportunity to practice my marker and pencil work.

Foundation 3D Body as Form

I found this 3D a little more bearable. We had pretty much free reign over what materials we could work with. Not surprisingly, I always opted for sowing.

First Project - Protective Headgear

The prompt was to create a piece of headgear that would conceptually protect against something. It could be physical or psychological. I opted for something close to home and decided to make a hat that would protect against anxiety.

The coils are supposed to mimic lavender fields. In fact, the front and side coils are stuffed with lavender for extra effect. The felted balls mark acupuncture points. Though most of them don't deal with anxiety. The hat is a little tight, so the pressure accidentally adds to the relief. This was quite popular among my suitemates. In fact, this was even in the school's display case for awhile.

My quick illustration for the presentation board

Second Project - Transformative Article

Ok, I really have no idea what the assignment was really titled. The prompt was to create a carrying case that could transform into something else. Again, I went with something that could be useful and easy. My hopes were dashed with the latter.

Excuse the terrible quality of the photo. If you can make out anything, I'm wearing a smock! But this isn't any normal smock. It's a smock with individual pockets that can hold pencils/brushes/makers! The red straps at the bottom were last minute additions that are supposed to hold a small sketchbook. They were not a part of the original design, but I had to rationalize why the bag it transforms into had so much room. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that this smock transforms into a bag.

Here are the illustrated instructions: 

Final Project - Recycled Superhero Costume

Again, I can't remember what the real name was, but mine summarizes the assignment well enough. We had to use only recycled materials to make a costume that would cover the entire body. This was supposed to be fun but I found this quite stressful. As I am lazy and unskilled with creating clothing, I felt that accidental nudity was imminent in my future. 

But no! It survived presentation day! It also turned into a political joke reflecting the current economical climate of Greece.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just in case you wanted to see...

...a little better. Here is one of the 3 Harlem type posters from first semester Lab. It's the one I did the most work on.

Foundation Laboratory: Get Involved

It's official. I've completed my first year at Parsons. It's been about 3 weeks since I came back. These class reviews have been pushed back long enough and it's better if I get them written up before I start panicking about next year.

The first class I'll talk about is Lab. Much like its fall semester, this class is about working in groups. I suppose it's to simulate what working in the industry is like. Though I do hope that in the real world the people are a little more willing to actually work. I had a lot of options for what kind of Lab I could take. I decided to take "Get Involved" because it sounded like we'd be making merchandise for charities and schools. The idea just sounded a lot more selfless. Also, I wanted to take any class that wasn't taught by a certain someone.

First project  - Temporary murals at PS8

This was a little stressful at first since I haven't worked with children in awhile. We were to go to classes and have the children share and draw what they believe is "collaboration." Luckily, my group had the Pre-K children so it was basically a few hours of us squeeing over how adorable they were. 

Here is a selection of the students' drawing. My "dogwalking" example was colored in with the assistance of some very enthusiastic kids.

We then had to transfer those ideas onto murals of overwhelming vibrancy. The teacher suggested that the content be like a Rube Golberg device (foreshadowing), though I still don't really see how any of the murals mimicked that. Which is good, since my idea was a little too complicated. Also, the entire school took shifts working on the murals, so the idea of trying to direct 500 children on what to paint would have been unrealistic. 

The mural I worked on. I'm standing on the right.

Second Project - Rube Goldberg Device

This project lasted about 9 weeks. In the beginning we had to make our own little device. Mine was mostly made out of this rusty sculpture I found in the trash. It's a wonder I didn't need a tetanus shot.

Then we formed small groups. Our group's goal was to create some sort of painting. We spent about 3 hours trying to pop a balloon filled with paint. In the end, I think we settled with knocking ground-up chalk and water onto paper.

Art is made!

We then teamed up with another group and set about instructing a class at PS8 about how to create their own devices. We made handouts explaining terms. Here is a selection of the graphics I drew.

The devices turned out pretty cool. There was a little tension between some of the kids, but they seemed to have had a great time. Our class got great reviews. 

The final part was creating pamphlets as a sort of souvenir of the experience. It was created in a week that was full of miscommunication, drama, late nights, and a last minute meeting. Yet again, it turned out really well. 

Third Project - Pop-up store

This was definitely the breath of fresh air we needed after that multi-month long project. First, the class selected 3 charities: New York Children's Aid Society, Unicef for Haiti and Sahel. We were charged with creating products to sell to raise money for the aforementioned charities. Since I don't have the skills or desire to sew things, I went the quick and fun route:


The shop was set up in the Parsons lobby. I wish I still had the pictures of the tables, because it was really impressive what the class came up with. The customer was allowed to choose which charity their money went to. Coincidentally, each charity raised over $100. So in just 2 hours, we raised over $300!

Final Project - Eagle Street Rooftop Farms

Again, the class was assigned to create products. This time for the world famous Eagle Street Rooftop Farm. 

The view is pretty nice too.

We had the option of working in groups or on our own. It's pretty easy to guess which option I chose.

They mentioned teaching kids about bees. So of course, being honey obsessed and all, this ended up being my contribution:

Informative bee poster! 

It was actually quite enjoyable making this. I really had complete freedom over what I drew and taught. The teachers liked this enough to request their own copies. Eagle Street though it would be useful. So yes, I was pretty happy with how easily successful it was. 

The class's marvelous contributions.

On the last day of class, we made some banners for the farm. I'm sitting in the middle with the cityscape I just painted.