I like to dabble in collage, building my own imaginary machines. I collect a lot of old technical catalogues and manuals, and see anthropomorphic images in the diagrams and objects. I don't keep a sketchbook, but I have a lot of open illustrator files, where I create new combinations and characters.
There is something fascinating about the click and whirr of analog technology. Springs, flywheels, gears and levers. A ticking clockwork or adding machine. There is also a romance built into fiction along the lines of H. G. Wells. I don't have the attention span to assemble and repurpose old machines, but I do like the aesthetic, and have dabbled with it in my Mecanismos series. These images are always evolving and have taken on a life of their own.
It's fun to take a technical story and incorporate these robots into the illustration. Here's a recent assignment for the Christian Science Monitor, about human error and mistakes made by officials in sports. Should we replace humans with machines in order to get the call right? Is it foolproof? Will it improve the game? It's your call.
Recent assignment for Hemispheres magazine above, about designers repurposing our modern technology with a steampunk aesthetic. Juicy topic! Thanks to art director Claire Eckstrom, she was great to work with.
'Your worship is your furnaces Which, like old idols, lost obscenes, Have molten bowels, your visions is Machines for making more machines.' - Gordon Bottomley (1912)
'Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.'
- Mark Twain
Technology is becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives. We are connected in more ways (good and bad) than ever before. Pick up your phone, take a picture, text your friends and check your email. Soon you can wear your tech, too. Your necktie could remind you when you are late for a meeting.
Is your clothing in need of an upgrade?
Radcliffe Institue for Advanced Study at Harvard is hosting a symposium 'smart clothing' in November:
Radcliffe’s annual science symposium will focus on “smart clothes” and the science of designing materials that improve and protect lives. Experts in biology, design, engineering, materials science, medicine, and nanotechnology will address a variety of topics, including digital fabrication, soldier-centric technologies, smart materials and biology, wearable technology, and the future of innovative substances.
Sounds intriguing --I would love to sit in on some of these sessions.
I was asked to creat this identity image for the poster and promotional items for the conference. Designer Jessica Brilli gave me the call on this. Thanks, Jess!
I developed a number of sketches, the first more mechanical in nature, we decied to go with an androgynous figure. Here are a few iterations of the concept. I love to work on these, and it takes some finesse to get the right balance.
Left one is a little too manly, the right is a bit to sci-fi steampunk. Symposium website here
I have made a lot of changes in my work and life this fall. I began teaching at Sheridan, a huge leap for me in terms of lifetime goals and also a big commute. It's a major adjustment to make, but the experience has been very positive, so far. It is also a reason why I haven't posted much work lately. I have been super busy, assignment wise, so look for some upcoming posts about what's on my desk and what I have been doing this fall.
I was happy to have my work included in the latest Work/Life annual, published by Uppercase. They are based in Calgary and put out some fantastic and inspirational collections of designers, artists, and illustrators, and Uppercase magazine.
I was asked to create an illustration of my studio space, something that I designed and built myself. Since I spend most of my time in the studio, it is something that holds a central focus in my life. Having the right place to work, to be creative is critical to my success as an artist. Everything has to fit together.
I put a compass into the drawing, because I have one painted on my studio floor. I like to think it keeps me focused. Here's how it looks, if you haven't seen my previous post about the studio, check it out here.
David Rakoff was an author and actor who passed away recently. If you listen to This American Life, or Wiretap (CBC), as I do, you probably have an appreciation of his wit and humanity. Rakoff described himself as a "New York writer" who also happened to be a "Canadian writer", a "mega Jewish writer", a "gay writer" and an "East Asian Studies major who has forgotten most of his Japanese" writer. What an incredible mix! In the last few years of his life, he battled cancer. He bravely performed, and even danced on stage, after losing the ability to move his left arm. He was a gutsy, funny man who stared death in the face and kept on going as long as he could. His last novel Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish was published posthumously and is reviewed in the latest issue of The Walrus.
I don't get the chance to do a lot of portraits. Drawing someone, capturing their personality and charms with a few lines can be a real challenge. Paying homage to someone whose work you respect and has passed away adds another layer of complexity. Thanks to Paul Kim for the assignment!