Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Chelsea: Remixed" , Jazz to Feed the Soul and Updates Galore....

So many things to discuss here at "Out the Other Side" -- so lets get to it, shall we? ;)

First let me start out by saying that despite blistering hot temperatures and the recession (already in progress) , I'm  holding up pretty okay over on my end.

I've been primarily busying myself lately with (freelance) job hunting and promoting my illustration work.

I've also been seriously contemplating the possibility of moving on to art school at some point after graduating from Western Carolina University (and have researching accordingly).

 As far as the job hunt goes, some results may vary -- but occasionally I'm finding a few patches of light within the storm clouds ...which is always nice.  I'm taking at least a little solace in the fact that I'm not the only person who is finding the job market a fairly depressing place right now. Currently, I'm doing all I can to stay happy, focused, and busy.

Above all -- I'm trying to stay positive (which is a tall order from anyone after you've heard "no" a million times in regards to your services.  I'm hanging in there, though. I know that it's all a big exercise in character building in the end. :)

Speaking of busy -- along with working on assorted papers
, classwork and listening exercises for my whirl-wind summer Jazz Appreciation class (more on that later) , I have also been busy creating new art and trying some new things aesthetically/technically. 

Exhibit (A) of this effort would be "Chelsea : Remixed" (see above).

While it's not an entirely new composition (see original below) , it was a happy little pixel-based experiment for me that I'm hoping (in due time) could  lead to some more fun  and increasingly experimental Photoshop-based stuff.

I have been itching to go in a new (or , at least, different) direction with my illustration work for quite some time.  Quite frankly, I was getting a little bored of my own work. 

Maybe "bored" is the wrong word.  More like "uninspired".

 I was beginning to feel like a lot of most recent work (no matter how well received) was becoming more about technical gymnastics on my   end.  I still very much love the "Superflat"  vector illustration style that I have been working in to date .

 However, maybe it's just me -- but I was had kind of feeling like I had burt myself out on it a little. I began to feel like I was burning the viewers of my work out on it as well. I also felt like I was buying myself a one-way ticket to "one trick pony land" -- which is just a depressing thought altogether.

That's not to say that I feel that my previous work is bad or  lacking in soulful intent.

 Quite the contrary. 

In fact -- recent pieces like "Mother of Violence"  and "Sharkbait Tango" were coming out of a pretty damn infected emotional wound.  A lot of that work is my most personal (digital work) to date and a labor of love/anguish.

Maybe it's because of the fact that some of my most recent "Superflat" inspired work has been coming from a darker emotional place that I began to feel like I needed to go in a different creative/technical direction for a little bit.

Re-enter: Adobe Photoshop!

Litterally-- after a depressing night of sitting at my Mac and trying trying to force a fresh idea out through my fingertips (which, by the way, only rarely works for me) I decided to dig out the original lineart for my "Chelsea" character and start doodling....

The end result may have not been the most technically sophistocated piece of illustration in the world but that wasn't even the main break through.

The main breakthrough was that *gasp* I had a lot of FUN re-coloring Chelsea!

Really?  Fun creating art?  You don't say?! ;)

It occurred to me then that not only did I really like (and had, apparently, previously underestimated) the more organic places that I could take old artistic ideas -- but more than that , utilizing Adobe Photoshop as more of a digital painting utility was a hell of a lot of fun for me.

I like the fact that my hand (at least appears to be) in the compositions. I enjoy physical act of coloring in my work (as opposed to the manic click n' drag that I was doing 
with vector illustration).  I'm interested in how I can continue to use Photoshop and Illustrator together to (hopefully) come up with something amazing some day.

Hell -- I'm completely convinced that working with pixels and brushes in Photoshop is satisfying some deep-seeded child like need to color on stuff (I was a terror when it came to walls and ceilings as a chid. ;)

Anyway, the point is that I'm feeling inspired and pretty excited about how the extensive experiementation with bruhes and "digital painting" techniques now could play out in my work later.

One other thing that has been a great joy (and surprising inspiration all unto itself) has been the Jazz Appreciation class that I'm taking this summer.

I'm actually re-taking it as a grade replacement (personal tragedy at home was the main reason I didn't pass it the first time around).  

I'm glad I'm re-taking the class for the grade , but honestly, the class has been such a blast and a half that I seriously could have taken it for no credit and been okay with that. 

 Mr. Don Miller is my professor and he's an incredibly witty and knowledgeable California guy (as well as a sax player...which is something we have in common :). 

He covers the material (which is already entertaining) in a compelling way and we always have a laugh in that class.  It's been refreshing and fun. :)

The sad thing is that I've felt more at home and relaxed in his music class this past month than I have in several semesters within my own art department (which really isn't a department so much as it is a bad dream at this point).

That kind of makes me sad ....but there is only one more semester to go.

In any case, I'm going to end this already far too long blog post with links to a few of the things that have inspired and moved me the most during Jazz Appreciation class. Here's a mini-lesson :)

#1)  "Black and Tan Fantasy" by Duke Ellingtion (bandleader and  swing music legend)

#2) "Deacon Jones" by Louis Jordan (leader of one of the first 'jump bands' which were the precursors to Rock n' Roll as we know it :)

#3) The brilliance and tragic self-destruction of bebop innovator,  Charlie Parker

#4) Charlie Christian ( 1st jazz guitarist to go electric and widely considered  to be the person who first popularized the electric guitar)

#5) Miles Davis - "Birth of the Cool" ( 'nuff said ;)

#6) One more from Miles (my favorite -- "Nefertiti")

#7) "Double Drummer" by Magnus Lingren (my favorite example of 3rd Stream jazz)

#8) Finally, none other than Avant Garde/ Free Jazz legend, John Coltrane letting loose on "My Favorite Things".

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