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!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Monkey's Ties are up in the shop!

After only about a month of procrastination/delays/the holiday monster/etc., Monkey has finally gotten all five of his necktie designs up in our shop!

While the designing and printing of the ties are great fun, even more fun was the photoshoot! Monkey had Seal take photos of him doing silly poses, looking all grim and whatnot. We have compiled all of the staged shots here for your viewing pleasure. Which one is your favorite? Also, if any of you are talent scouts looking for male models, Monkey is interested :P

Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Isn't this ironic?

So while stopping at a Safeway in Stockton (the most miserable city in America and Monkey's birthplace) over the holidays, we snapped this quick photo of two reusable shopping bags being sold next to each other. One features a nice happy cow feeding in a pasture while the other is a "rough and tough" display of different slices of beef (aka different pieces of meat cut from a cow). Perhaps they are doing a "little bit of something for everyone" type of visual merchandising?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

As 2009 went right on by, we want to welcome in 2010 in what we're hoping will be an awesome year!

We hope that everyone out there has already set some goals for the year and we thought we'd share some of our broader goals:

-Curating a successful gallery show
-Commercial success at all craft/anime/comic festivals (especially at APE)
-Being able to live off the money we make from our art
-Drawing/Painting every day
-Posting at least one new item in our Etsy shop per week
-Each of us publishing our own art books
-One new comic each
-Bad Date Zine 3!

We're definitely working (a bit late, however) on our own "annual review" of sorts to really go through and figure out a definite action plan for 2010. Monkey got the idea from Chris Guillerbeau, the man behind the Art of Non-Conformity. You can even download his template that he uses for his Annual Review here.

What goals have you set for 2010?