Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2006 Summer Sessions Catalog

Wow – remember how simply awesome it was to have an Iomega ZIP disc that could pack a whopping 100 megabytes of art on it? I dusted off and fired up the antique ZIP drive (sounding about as well as my pickup starting at forty-below-zero) to transfer some miscellaneous old files to disc and external backup, and came across some sketches done back in 2005. The iconic animal of the arctic, the musk ox, was chosen to be the literal poster-child for one of the biggest bouts of exposure in my career (and no, I won't name the specific students portrayed in the above group, but there's usually corresponding representatives in any given class). UAF Summer Sessions wound up using a generous and eclectic sampling of my work, both cartoons and drawings, as the featured artist for the ’06 course catalog. Feedback was great, even for years afterwards, along with all the publicity: it was a full-on marketing blitz with banners, bookmarks, posters, fliers and ads everywhere. But the one thing I remember above all else was how utterly surreal it was to see my musk ox adorning the sides of freakin' city buses.

Theses doodles are part of a set that were taken from trips to the UAF Large Animal Research Station, but I once got to see them in the wild while hiking around the Seward Peninsula. It was on a two-week solo trek to the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, and their presence added quite an ice-age ambiance to the backdrop of the excursion, along with my own personal prehistoric odiferousness. Just last week on a related post I alluded to my extensive background in field-sketching reference material on these critters - a unique and indelible experience, to be sure. My girlfriend's opinion on the household behavior of similar large arctic mammals notwithstanding, witnessing in person the vocalizations of a rutting musk ox while lying down just a few feet away from it (sketching its feet) is truly a wonder of nature. As in, "I wonder how this is gonna end..."

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