Thursday, May 3, 2012
"Re/Creation" - A Visual Essay For Print Magazine
A short while ago, the fine folks over at PRINT contacted me and asked if I had any interest in creating a "visual essay" for their June issue: essentially, I'd be given 6 pages of the magazine to do with as I pleased provided the content related in some way to the issue's theme of "play." Of course I leapt at the chance to take on such an amazing commission in such a venerated context... but as is often the case with these "creative carte blanche" opportunities, the initial euphoria quickly metastasized into panic as all I could seem to come up with idea-wise were the proverbial cartoon cobwebs and visions of clouds of an unpleasantly aromatic and chalky white fog/fugue. A drag to be sure.
But sometimes all you need in these moments is a little recontextualization. Essentially the assignment was to create some work akin to one of my zines, except it'd be printed in glorious technicolor and on the tab of a major industry publication with a far greater circulation than that of my tiny address book and social media conduits. Additionally, it provided a unique opportunity to make some specifically illustrative work about something from my direct experience: if i'm guilty of anything, it's overextending myself in terms of time, money, commitments to "projects", checking out "shows"etc... ya know, doin' stuff, but often to the retroactive annoyance of myself, my friends and loved ones. It's a tendency I've been trying to curb if not reconcile with my age and the mounting responsibilities thereof for a while, as my 20s sail further and further into the proverbial sunset. While I usually eschew "diary art" in any form, framing these pieces in a loosely personal context seemed like it'd be an effective strategy to give them more teeth by making myself a little uncomfortable and also give the "essay" an actual editorial slant.
For visual inspiration I turned to the following: tacky vacation ephemera, Max Beckmann's dream drawings, an old health class text book and vague recollections of motivational office art (like the "hang in there" cat). With all of this in mind i completed the following sketches:
and in context: