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Rob Dunlavey
La Donna Cannone
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I'd like you to meet "The Shooting Star", Robin Valencia, "the only female human projectile" in Europe. This image from her website (which seems to only be available at the moment via a Google cache).
I have this image on my computer desktop. It's a great metaphor, especially when it's early morning and I'm awaiting for the computer to boot up. I see this dreamy and compelling image of a retro but real woman in flight. It makes me wonder what attitude I'll bring to my day as I get shot out of my little cannon. And, is anybody watching? Does anyone really care? What a way to make a living!
Why was I looking at pictures of human cannonballs? Some of you probably know. I was interested in entering "La Donna Cannone" a children's book illustration competition in Italy.  Of course, I waited till late in the game to create my five (yes FIVE!) spreads for a wordless picture book that took as it's theme "The Cannonball Lady":
"A title alluding to a particular theme: diversity. One difference from the multiple interpretations and facets: respect, seduction, gambling and especially empathy. A gallery of bizarre characters who become a eulogy of the differences, the mestizo, dell'incongruo, maladjustment of uneven. Because while there is only one perfect beauty, there are countless imperfect beauties to discover!"  (sic, Google translate)
Here is my entry (which I learned this morning did not place). I can't wait to see the catalog and see how other artists interpreted this compelling concept!
Spread 1: a little man leaves his house. He looks like he's packed for a long-ish trip.
Joined by his companions, he makes his way through a dark and tangled forest.
They reach a great busy city full of interesting people but they continue looking for…
La Donna Cannone! Why? Are they close? "Just read the sign dummy!" tweets the tern.
Happy Birthday to La Donna Cannone! She thought everyone had forgotten her since she retired from the circus.
One of the requirements was to include a cover design as well.
The art was created by making cardboard models of the trees and buildings and drawings of the characters and photographing or scanning them and collaging everything together digitally. I kept everything in as low a resolution as possible without sacrificing clarity. I also kept my digital painting uncomplicated (airbrush, dissolve) so that I remained focused on the playful and very speculative nature of this kind of endeavor. I mailed a set of prints off to Italy and crossed my fingers. There's always next year?


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