Monday, August 15, 2011

Get some time. Make some work.

For the past few days at the store we have been uncharacteristically on top of things. So much so that I have found myself with a little extra time to design. This is a real luxury at my job because most of the time our customers are demanding "I need it yesterday!" to which I refer them to this chart:

So with all this extra time I have been trying out some new approaches to depth and texture with my invitations. This has mostly been achieved by using transparencies and (gasp) gradients.

(this last one is influenced by an existing "Minted" design. But hey, inspiration has to come from somewhere, right?)

I would say the biggest problem I'm having currently is that my brides don't have a lot of vision. Its been months since someone approached me with new imagery or a unique request. More often than not though, the brides who have vision don't have budget, and the brides who have budget want the same invitation their mother had.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

*Over Due* "July" or "Can You Find Inspiration in a Post-Wedding Existence?"

Yes, yes. I know. I said new posts in June. I lied. So here we are, 3 months since the wedding and I think I have finally caught up on my sleep. Thank you notes are another story. So, without an impending due date creeping up on me, and without the motivation to wow my family and friends at one of the most important events of my life, do I have what it takes to be inspired and make new work and push myself and my concepts beyond what I think I am capable of?

The short answer is "yes I do." While it will be quite sometime before I resurrect the red and blue color scheme (I say that but inadvertently a painting I'm working on assumed that color scheme without my knowledge... pics when completed), I have found it much easier than I anticipated to throw myself back in to production of creative work that has absolutely nothing to do with my wedding. In fact, by the time I went back to work, I welcomed it.
People warned me about the "Post-Wedding Blues." They would tell me that I would miss working on it, that I would miss the excitement of discovering new things and how they could play into my special day. They would say, "When your day is over, what's there left to do? You're not a bride anymore." This may be a huge bummer to some people; and I can totally understand how, but I have found that not being the bride is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being married.

(this particular bride wanted "Upscale Cajun." The accordion was a must.)

Professionally, I am uninhibited when it comes to helping my brides achieve their vision. If anything, I'm disappointed when a bride comes in and chooses something straight out of the album and is just like "This one, in blue. Here is all my information. Can I pick it up in a week?" Business wise these customers are awesome, but I have been itching to flex some design muscle lately. I probably should start cranking out Christmas Card layouts now with all this new found motivation.

Personally, without the limits and specifics of anybody's wedding getting in my way, I am consistantly looking at the following:

1) Blogs by Illustrators. Any of them. Any style. I truly believe that if you are not investigating what other people in your field are doing, and if you are not looking into new techniques and finishes then you are dead in the water. PARTICULARLY in graphic design, 'cause the bottom line is, there is some 15 year old with the Creative Suite on his laptop, and a hell of a lot more time than I got who is already a better designer than I am. Nothing lights a fire under my ass more than seeing someone whos work is better than mine.

(loish is 25 and started posting on deviantart the same year i did. i am humbled by what she produces on the regular.)

2) Marimekko. When I realized the storefront in Oxford closed I was motivated to get my hands on as much pattern as I can, even if the only thing in my budget right now are the disposable cocktail napkins.

3) Odosketch. I am a very visual learner, particularly when it comes to processes. Drawing on paper has never been my strong suit, what with its inherent lack of undo button, and while I have yet to contribute to the Odosketch library, I learn so much by clicking on some of the featured drawings and watching how they were produced stroke by stroke. You have to check this out, and if you have a graphic tablet, you have GOT to try this.

4) Lauren Faust. This woman is my total HERO! From the Powerpuff Girls, to Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends to the revamped version of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Lauren is totally brilliant and deserving of more than a simple wrap up paragraph here at Cage Free Press. She is an inspiration to me and to design nerd girls everywhere striking the delicate balance between humor, girl power and "hearts and rainbows."


So see! I haven't been farting around being a newlywed and listening to Abba. I've been pickin at this tired old brain of mine waiting for the jumper cables to get me moving again. I'm sure it comes as no big surprise that I am loving stylized, retro illustration, pattern and two tons of in-your-face color. This all sounds strangely familiar....

I think we just got a spark.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cage Free Contemporaries: Drew Hyatt

What's up, ya nerds?! 
Welcome to the long-awaited second edition of Cage Free Contemporaries, featuring my good friend, Drew Hyatt.  Drew is currently a Printmaking BFA student at Ole Miss.

I really enjoy Drew's work.  The subject matter always intrigues me:  while the work is very personal, the execution ranges from the comical to the very serious to the abstract.  He's a jack-of-all-trades in the printshop.  Its easy to pick one medium that comes naturally to you and stick to it.  Drew does it all and does it well.  I admire that.  
Here's Drew's artist statement:
I create art as a means to ignore, resolve, and understand my experiences as an infantry line medic in Iraq. I am usually hesitant to create work pertaining to these experiences, but I believe my observations and opinions are socially relevant and should be explored by my peers. I prefer to use traditional printing processes, because they are so time intensive and force one to have complete control over the medium in order to have successful work. I believe that the actual process of creating work in this way is more important than the actual finished product.
I see process is being very therapeutic, because my mind becomes entirely occupied on the process while working as opposed to the content. I identify with the Buddhist tradition of creating sand Mandalas, because they are an exercise in focusing ones mind. I see my art as a way to focus my mind on something other than these intense and painful experiences.
M.C. Escher, Ralph Steadman, and Daniel Reeves also influence me. I strive to attain the level of craftsmanship in both Escher and Steadman’s work, while working with similar themes as Reeves. Prevalent themes that have begun to present themselves in my work are conflicted identity, physical pain, emotional pain, violence, shame, and peace. I have tried to move from creating pieces that broadly explain my experiences to work that is representative of specific situations that bother me. I hope that working through these themes and experiences will give my viewers insight into my personal experiences as well as providing them with first hand experience of an ongoing and important conflict. 
Below, a few examples of Drew's work.

See what I mean?  A little bit of everything.  Each piece makes me question not only its meaning, but why Drew made it.  Was it to resolve, to understand, or to ignore his experiences in Iraq?  Drew's attention to detail and desire to control his medium are apparent in each piece.    
I'm very much looking forward to Drew's thesis show.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011



With Christmas at the store finally out of the way, I feel like I can focus my energy (previously spent lining thousands of envelopes and indulging parents in photoshopping the scab off their kids face for their Christmas card photo) on getting this wedding thing on the road. Most things are falling into place and I think I finally have enough information to let you all in on some of the details of the upcoming nuptials. So everybody who has been looking for the poop, get your shovels out cause I'm about to give you the scoop...

Our wedding is taking place April 30th, 2011 at the Newman Bandstand in Audubon Park:

The reception following will be just a few steps away at the Audubon Golf Course Club House:

Ross and I are registered at Macy's, Dillards and Adlers.
We have picked out china (available at Dillards) and silver (Adlers) and a bunch of other fancy things that we are pretty excited about (Macy's). I'm actually very pumped about the china which is called "Painted Camellia" and it is a special Lenox pattern that was designed by Marchesa.

Even if we don't get one speck of china its cool... as long as we get some pots and pans. The remaining pans I have from college are peeling up their non-stick surface so aggressively that I'm pretty sure if I keep trying to make eggs in them my stomach lining is going to turn to Teflon.

People keep asking me what the theme to our wedding is and they don't seem satisfied with answers like "Our wedding theme is Marriage" or "The theme of our wedding is True Awesomeness." If i had to pigeon hole us into a theme I would say the stylistic inspiration of our event is "Southern Printmakers In Japan." We have been actively trying to finalize plans for a honeymoon in Japan. With our combined abilities to get sunburnt to a crisp we knew the beach was out, plus we both wanted to go somewhere we had never been before. Ross has already done Europe and I have done the Caribbean so we came up with someplace that was still exotic and peaked our interest in terms of art and history. Boom. Japan. Ross loves the ancient woodcuts and I am seriously loving some contemporary Japanese art... not to mention there is a Gundam Museum.

The wedding party is a collection of favorites. Brooks is Ross' brother. Kyle is his cousin. James is my younger brother and Jeff is one of our closest friends from college. Joanna and Julia are my sisters and Kolbi and Emilie might as well be. We have been friends for nearly 15 years.

No, I have not picked bridesmaid dresses yet. I know I am cutting it close. I can't find a style/color/shape/price I really like enough to force 4 other people to buy. I want to find them something off the rack (not j.crew) that is either in a beautiful light blue that I can pump up with my red accents (shoes perhaps?!) or an awesome pattern that would make my friends look rockin. The fellas are wearing sand colored, poplin suits. They were fitted at Perlis the other day.

ok... we good? Cause that is literally all the bride I can handle being tonight. Further posts as events warrant. For now enjoy my little inspiration board. (Calm down, calm down, the pink hair pic is for the flower... not the hair)