Saturday, January 9, 2010

Process: Designing and Finding Inspiration Everywhere

This is Monkey here, and today I'll be talking about the design of my personal business cards which led to a new diptych of paintings.

So first off, for whatever reason, whether it be the creepiness or the iconography or just weirdness, I've always associated myself with skulls. My old logo was something like this:
So it was natural that when I was designing ties, I came up with this:
So, I ended up designing the front of my business card to look like this:
Using a scan of the original tie design, I changed up the crossbones to be paintbrushes, added a splatter texture that I created a while back by soaking a brush in ink and just going at a large sheet of paper. After scanning and saving it, I now have a really awesome, natural-looking texture that I can whip out whenever I need that grunge look.

So then, I realized that I probably should put a photo of my painting on my business card, since a)that's what most artists do, and b)it makes sense to show off your work. However, I was torn as I really liked the pink and black design with the skulls and the "create or die" underneath it (a motto I plan to live by). Then, inspiration hit. Duh, why don't I just do a painting of the "create or die" dealy? (slaps forehead). Duh.

In my paintings (most of which are not up on my website yet -_- ) I deal with the exploration of the hierarchy between text and image, realism and graphic representation, order of words altering meanings, and the nuances of language. So, it came to me that by having the order of the words be "create" then "die," it gives the reader the idea that I'm advocating the creation over the dying. I thought it would be then interesting to use almost the same image but switching the words around. I also wanted to keep the numbers of letters the same in the first and second word, so then I did another painting that says "death or art."

Believe it or not, these are the same color..stupid weird lighting in my apartment..

The top photo is longer cuz I formatted it for business cards and had to get clever with the stamp tool in photoshop to extend the canvas border.

I then decided to use a contrasting color (well, not a perfect contrast, but you get the point) on the back. I brought in the original grunge text, added some hand-drawn elements, and here you've got the back of my card:
Anyway, I guess what the point of all this was to highlight how what seem like problems or setbacks can be the best (although unlikely) place to find inspiration. I ended up not having to compromise my original design and ended up with not only a business card design but also two new paintings. Often I get the biggest inspiration when I'm frustrated or completely at my wit's end when dealing with a problem.

Instead of trying to bash your way through problems (as tempting as that may be, especially for me), I find that staying fluid and constantly looking for new ways of viewing your problem can lead to unexpected and novel solutions. Also, I like to think across mediums. From what started as a tie design led to a new logo which led to a new business card which led to two new paintings. Think about some cool doodles you already have. Maybe that's your next painting or postcard design. Anyway, I hope this was informative and helpful!

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