Friday, November 5, 2010

Parks Highway Towing

Got the chance to illustrate another annual calendar mail-out for a local business. Instead of recycling an old Nuggets panel like we'd done in the past, this one was a custom job. Every once in a while you connect with a client who has as much of an offbeat, unorthodox sense of humor as yourself, and those are a real treasure to work with/for. While the idea of driving off a cliff might not get a laugh from everyone (personally I blame an upbringing by Looney Tunes), but it sure is a distinctive spot ad, and would garner a second look or linger, which is the point. I also think it'd work great as one of those cheesy air-fresheners to hand off the rear-view mirror, maybe vanilla or sandlewood, something soothing to smell while upside down in a ditch. And you can forget about "Ice Road Truckers" - try towing for some serious adventures on the Alaskan road system. And to think that I go through antacid just sitting in my studio.

Over conversations and coffee in the bookshop cafe I thumbnailed out a few concepts, one design was picked, and the next weekend the process started with preliminary roughs. After a brief bit of back-and-forth with editing and tweaking (mostly making sure the dimensions were correct for the calendar layout), the elements were locked down and exported into Photoshop for the final color version.

Fairly simple and straightforward, but I always like looking back afterwards and seeing how the idea mutated and got executed in the end. It's such a mental hand-in-glove flow from point A to point B for me, but one foot is always firmly planted in the peripheral awareness that this same evolution is quite often the single biggest stumbling block for someone starting out, like a student. Even to the point of staring at a blank sheet of sketch paper hoping something materializes out of nothing. And like love, money or food, in my experience it rarely just happens: it takes mistakes. In that situation, and hopefully well before they go over the edge, we can back up to the accident scene and winch out a functional piece. 

Call it an Art Salvage Operation - studying the smoking wreckage and coming up with a workable solution. The right tool for the right job helps.  There's also an analogous observation on poring over a manual at the beginning (though you never really seem to see any of those laying around open at most professional garages). How many miles have you put on it anyways? Maybe it's time to buy a new car, or in my personal example, just be happy you're alive, and really don't mind driving around a damn beater. Hey man, that's my style...

One nice side-effect from juggling freelance gigs (and why is it called "free" anyways? Shouldn't it be more like "moneylancing" instead?) is it, temporarily at least, forces a full-stop to the endless salmon-run of ideas that constantly try and make up the stream of consciousness. In other words, it forces a focus and a definite resolution to at least one job at hand. Pre-empting other miscellaneous ideas that get bumped back into the log-jam somewhere deep in the brain, ever further out of reach - that for me been perhaps the most frustrating fallout. On the one hand, you're always busy, on the other, you never seem to really get anything done - or at least catch up on all the stuff you really want to do. Guess I gotta eat the same advice I readily dispense with in the classroom: make it a priority then. When you're done whining, if it really means that much to you, you'll make time for it regardless. That's the difference between it being art... or being a glorified hobby. Then again, I know some obsessive model-makers that could teach any fine artist a lesson or two. World of War Arts & Craft?


  1. Ahhhhh, Jamie, you will make us famous!!!

    It is interesting to read about the career of being an artist.


  2. Ahhh - then there's famous versus INfamous!
    I put 'em in ditches and you pull 'em out?
    Always a pleasure Annette!