Friday 30 March 2012

Bold Blooms

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! I thought I'd share with you the designs I came up with this week. They're bright and cheery, and full of flowers - my favourite things to draw right now.

Hope y'all have a grand weekend!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

New Card Designs

I've been beavering away quite quietly for the past few months since having been accepted by Advocate Illustration Agency. At the moment I'm largely working on greeting cards, gift wrap and other stationary items. As far as jobs go, it's great fun, and I've found myself striving to get better and better with each brief that comes through. So I thought I should really start showcasing what I've been up to, perhaps with a blog post once a week with some chosen designs. With this in mind, here's the first in what should be a series of posts!

This brief was for floral Valentine's cards. I chose a bright colour palette that I thought would shake up and stand out from the usual (and somewhat tired) red/pink hues associated with 'romance'. Really, I think the designs could be used for more than one occasion with the right caption, but hopefully they are a refreshing change to the usual hearts and roses. (Having said that, I also went down the hearts and roses road, ha!)

For the first time in a long time, I've started to play around with fonts again in my designs. Usually, they scare me. Too many designs have been ruined with the use of a naff font. Perhaps my choice isn't perfect, but I thought it was a good mixture of something bold, to work with the big colours, decorative, yet readable, and fun.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Seeing the Beauty in Everyday Things

I read a quote this morning that went like this:

"I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art." Ernst Fischer

It lead me to thinking: how much of life would I consider to be art? How much would you consider, on your average day of waking, daily routines and chores? Would you even stop to think about it? It's very easy to wade through life on autopilot; your subconscious taking over from your conscious mind on habitual tasks, sometimes to the point where you don't even notice what you're doing anymore. 

A little example - I made myself a cup of herbal tea today. Quite a simple pleasure. I absent-mindedly noted that the tea tasted a little strange (well, it was a herbal infusion, don't they always), but whilst rattling off a new to-do list, it wasn't at the forefront of my mind. I reached the end of the mug. There, sat in soggy befuddlement, were two very different teabags. I have absolutely no recollection of putting more than one bag in my mug, but I'm assuming, whilst consumed with more pressing and conscious thoughts, I went into autopilot and added my usual rooibus teabag to the mug before recognising that I fancied a herbal tea. Either that, or I'm just losing (more of) my marbles. 

But the point is, I love tea. Yet I probably take it for granted that it's always there if I want it, and therefore it's become, by-and-large, an undervalued commodity. How much of our lives, in a fast-paced Western society, do we fail to appreciate?

Let's get back to the quote. Life imitating art vs. life as art. 

First up, I guess it comes down to what you consider to be art. Secondly, whether you have an appreciation for what you define art to be.

For me, slightly-kooky-self-employed-illustrator-with-a-spiritual-outlook-and-love-of-all-things-holistic, art can, and sometimes does, amount to everything my molely little bespectacled eyeballs see. It's primarily visual, but not always. It's expression, imagination; sometimes refined and sometimes a raw and beautiful outpouring of the soul. It can be challenging and difficult. It can be calm, reassuring and pleasant. It can be intentionally contrived and carefully considered, or free-falling, spontaneous spirit. But most of all, art makes you stop in your tracks, take stock, and think for a while. If freezes the world and presents a tiny portion of it to you in a heightened state. Sometimes it's reconfigured, accentuated, manipulated; sometimes it is precise, measured, photo-realistic, and sometimes it is a sweet, hazy, joyful, clever or delirious mash-up of what it is to live. Or maybe none of the above.

To see the art of others is an existential experience, either adhering to or challenging our individual view of the world. If it's the former, it can be reassuring, soothing even, or excite us to see something that's on the same wavelength as our heart, head or spirit at the time. If it's the latter, it can be uncomfortable, but its provocation is alluring in itself, and from this we grow.

To make art is often a cathartic process. But there doesn't have to be anything complex about it. Its beauty is subjective, unlike so many things in the world, and that's the wonderful freedom of it. There's not a right or wrong answer. It engages the right brain in a left brain dominated society. As an illlustrator, making art is often about producing and delivering concepts through to visual designs to a wider audience. It's a career, in my case, and it brings in some pennies - but it never stops being personal. It's not a 'job' that you ever switch off from, but then its rewards (perhaps more of mind and spirit than monetary!) are so bountiful that it's not something I'd ever want to switch off from. 

So to think of life being art is an interesting concept. If art is beautiful, we should see beauty in life. Perhaps even the dull parts. Maybe especially the dull parts. If art is challenging, we should (or could) see the beauty in life's challenges. Life, and consequently we and everything around us, becomes art through simply existing. Perhaps not even 'becomes', as that suggests a morphing process, but just is.

It is all too easy to get caught up in life's complexities. Even the simple pleasure of admiring art, beauty, life - enjoying a cup of tea - can become wordy and complex, as this blog is testament to! We are human beings, not human doings. Sometimes all that is required is to just be. To just be, and enjoy being, comes down to perception. And perceptions, although we don't always feel it, we have a choice over. 

My boyfriend and I have been discussing this a lot recently, and I was introduced to a book called The Tao of Pooh. If you haven't come across it, I would highly recommend it. The way of Pooh is admirable indeed. To quote: "While Eeyore frets, and Piglet hesitates, and Owl pontificates... Pooh just is." It speaks of the Chinese principle "Wei Wu Wei" - Do Without Doing. In much the same way, for life to be art, perhaps all we must do is See Without Looking. 

I'll finish off with one of my favourite quotes from the book:

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.