Steampunk Shenanigans

This past month I had the pleasure of holding a workshop at The Orange Space in Redlands where I talked about concept ideation and composition. The recently opened space is host to rentable work tables and monthly guest talks by creatives and entrepreneurs. It's a cool place to stop by after you've grabbed your à la minute ice cream.

There are two upcoming adventures this month for the time traveler and art collector! The first is the Iron Horse- Family Steampunk Carnivale on March 18-19 from 10am-5pm. It is on the grounds of the Orange Empire Railway Museum, which houses many a historical locomotive, including ones you can ride during the event. There will be live entertainment and Victorian-inspired vendors, which is where you will find me! I will be bringing signed prints, originals, and other collectible items. Both modern-dressed and Steampunked civilians are welcome!

Just a week after will be the bi-annual Downtown Redlands Art Walk on March 26 from 12pm-6pm. The art walk is always free to attend and continues to grow in size. It's a great time to grab a bite to eat and peruse the local artists on State St, Citrus Ave, and 5th St. I will be among several artists exhibiting indoors at the Cope Building, so come inside and find us!

CTNX vs. Designer Con

There are two California conventions taking place this weekend in close proximity: The Creative Talent Network's Animation Expo, and Designer Con. I've made the crazy decision to attend both.  

Designer Con is relatively new and one of the fastest growing shows in the design industry. While it can be seen as a rival to CTN, it clearly represents a different facet of the commercial arts. CTNX caters more towards the entertainment industry (animation and concept art for film and television) while Designer Con features art and design for physical products (toys, art prints, apparel, etc,). My plan is to experience both as a casual attendee and compare the two in terms of educational value, vendor interaction, and general observations. 

Let the show begin!


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Spotlight on the Accompanist

Lets take a moment to observe the objects around you...

That's a pretty cool cell phone case you have. Not only is that design captivating, but I'll bet if you ever lost track of it, your friends would be able to identify it because the artwork is so unique and reflects your personality.

What book is that you're reading? The cover really speaks to me. It makes me interested in what fantastic adventure or profound ideas are contained within its pages.

I really like that poster on your wall. Not only does it go well with the decor, but it strikes me on an emotional level. It makes me want to contribute to a good cause.

There is no doubt that visual art is everywhere. It's often called "design" in commercial applications, but has no less creative value than the paintings in a fine art gallery. The biggest difference between commercial illustration and fine art is that illustration functions as an accompaniment to a product. This gives the product the attention it needs, but consequently leaves some mystery as to who creates the artwork.

Contrary to popular belief, sophisticated software like Photoshop does not possess the power to "create" pictures at the touch of a button. In the hands of an illustrator, they are mediums that operate in the same way pencils and paintbrushes do. It takes a skilled human with years of study and practice to create the design on that lovely Starbucks mug you are thoughtfully sipping from.

Who are these invisible creatives in our midst? They are everywhere, but like the accompanists of the music realm, they make it their goal to help the soloist sound amazing. They know when to play softly and when, in those rare moments, to play loudly when signifying a change in mood or narrative landmark. Even then, they are setting the stage for the soloist.

So how do we give the accompanists a spotlight? Well, one option is to give them their own concert every now and then. Those "concerts" come in the form of things like gallery shows, expos, and art-focused publications. One such publication, the anthology, is unique in that it often features a collection of works from several different artists. And who doesn't like the idea of a collaborative picture book?

Artwork by Phivi Spyridonos.

This brings me to a specific anthology worth giving notice. The SCAD Illustration Anthology is a collection of work by students of the Savannah College of Art and Design that is in the process of being crowdfunded. I know several of the students who are involved and can tell you that you would have trouble finding a more passionate and capable group of artists. Don't let the title of "student" fool you--these are studious individuals whose work is at a professional level. But you don't have to take my word for it. Instead, have a look:

Pretty cool, eh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

What if you could give illustrators center-stage and prove to the world that the people who created artwork for the objects adorning your room exist? You. Can. By helping get this sweet piece of visual candy made, you will make the presence of the allusive creative known!

It gets better. Illustrators know that anthologies like this one help get their work seen by art directors. These art directors are directly responsible for hiring freelance illustrators. You could be part of getting these folks their first gig. That gig could, in turn, give them more visibility to other art directors. And before you know it, you are helping make a dream come true that takes commercial artists many, many years to achieve.

How about it? Here's your chance to put the spotlight on the accompanist: