armor, ink and digital
ever have one of those flash fantasies where you’re embracing and cutting through an emotionally unavailable man on a bed of twisting fiddle heads? yea, me too.
god my choice in subject is so fucking weird sometimes.
sophia and i talked a lot about the direction of contemporary illustration (mostly editorial) and how it relates to our work. i decided that i had to start creating art that had more balls. seriously. i’ve always felt so conservative with all my aesthetic choices: anatomy, value, palette, texture, subject, media. everything is always so bland. considering the ink work on armor was already finished by the time i spoke with sophia, my attempt at addressing this problem came in the form of an uncharacteristic palette choice: red. mother fucking red.
what i didn’t realize at the time was that i am intellectually incapable of working with red. my natural inclination is to use it conservatively and offset it with its complement. the first color sketches of this thing, therefore, came out green. i stared at it and screamed, “NO, RED!” then i got up and went to sleep. my eyes wanted to bleed (but i’m sure it would have come out green instead).
so i finally muscled my way into a red palette, but i can’t shake how much it reminds me of a kurosawa film. maybe that’s a good thing. he was a little zany, which i like lol.
another thing about this color sceme that proved troublesome was the heavy use of black. whenever black plays a dominant role in a piece, it tends to suck out the saturation from the rest of the colors. i ended up spending a lot of time exporting different versions of this with varying levels of saturation. some made my brain hurt, some looked depressing. i think i arrived at a happy, juicy medium. at least i hope i did.
regarding subject matter, i noticed that a lot of people seem to think my work is about “love.” it’s come up in descriptions and conversations before, “well he clearly loves her,” “it feels so romantic,” etc. the strange part is that almost none of my illustrations are actually about love. it’s quite the opposite. i explained it to a friend of mine: the ambiguity or mistaken judgements in tone are due to my identical experiences in the last year. i just thought i’d clear that up lol.
one more boring note that i’m sure no one noticed or cares about is the issue of the signature. this is literally the first piece i’ve decided to sign in the last 5 years. while a freshman in art school, my dear drawing professor, george parrino, berated everyone in my class for turning in signed homework assignments, “what are you showing your paper bag drawing at the Met? are you having a retrospective at the Guggenheim? get that signature off there.” he scared the signature out of me— and i stayed scared for years.
i also realized that my obnoxious john-hancock-sized signature threw off my compositions (i literally used to use it to help balance out bad designs when i was younger and dumber haha). going back to the signature is experimental. it still seems arrogant of me to sign something, but that’s due to my art-school-freshman-modesty. in reality, though, that’s just stupid.