Who wants to chill out? This dude does. Float time.
GRAD SCHOOL CATCH-UP: ROUND #2
Following the traditional paint and brush work of Robert Hunt (earlier post here) was Craig Fraizer, a traditionalist of on the opposite side of the spectrum from Robert. Craig is a conceptual, graphic illustrator with a background as a designer and art director; a background I share and why I was very excited to hear Craig talk about his work.
Craig’s traditional process involves using amberlith, a masking film used in the days before computers when pages where laid out by hand (paste-ups) and then shot with a stat camera. He uses an exact-o to cut out pieces by hand, working at a very small scale. He said that most pieces for his figures are no bigger that 3/4 of an inch long. Working this small forces him to simplify everything down to basic shapes and captures the happy accidents of cutting things by hand. Seems kinda crazy to me to work so small but, hey, he makes it work quite well.
Craig then scans and vectorizes the shapes before compositing them in the computer, so not all of his process is so old school. When scaling the shapes and repositioning the pieces to create the illustration, Craig says he always leaves the edges as is, never cleaning up or modifying what came from the original cutouts so the hand work comes across in the final. This approach made me think that I could probably benefit from getting a bit looser in my own work and not over think the construction of things.
As you can see from his samples above, Craig’s work is always very clever and uses surrealism to engage the viewer in the conversation. I am very excited that he has a full collection of his work online, as it is such a great source of inspiration and great reference for all kind of optical illusions. I know I will continue looking back to this whenever I am hitting a wall when sketching on a new piece.
Be sure to read other updates from the Hartford Illustration MFA over on the school blog, SQUINT.
GRAD SCHOOL CATCH-UP:
Whoa nelly! What a week! It’s taken me nearly two weeks to recover from the amazing, mind-openeing experience of grad school (and a sinus infection). Where to start!
Robert Hunt was our first presenter of the San Francisco contact period. I’ve met Robert a few times before when attending guest lectures at CCA, where he teaches and was invited to speak to his class once to talk about art direction (back when I still worked at SF Weekly). He’s a great guy and an asset to the illustration community.
Robert is the opposite of me. He uses oil paint, not a computer, he’s focused, not all scatter-brained, and he has somehow got over the fear of starting (and finishing) things. He is constantly producing work, stating that he spends about 50% of his time on personal work. That’s a great ratio if you can manage it.
And his work is beautiful. Maybe it’s more amazing to me because I’ve never once put oil paint to canvas, but he is a true master. Just see for yourself over on his website.
What stood out most to me about his work was not how he applies his immense amount of talent a wide range of subjects and the subtlety of styles within those, but was his branching out into to animation, doing film-house logo intros in particular (the original DreamWorks logo). What was most fascinating to me about this was how the majority of his process remained traditional, doing multiple, sometimes hundreds, of finished paintings to then be used as a sequence of images, morphed from one to the other to create the animations. Robert definitely has more patience than I to pull something like this off but the result is obviously worth the effort.
View his examples of the above examples here.
Thanks to Robert for coming by and sharing his process and knowledge with the Hartford Illustration MFA posse.
Here’s a 375° panorama of SF that I took from Corona Height Park. Best viewed straight in your browser here: http://bit.ly/YWqXHL
Illustration by Brian Stauffer
Art Direction by Tom Carlson
Design by Andrew J. Nilsen
All the SF Weekly Covers of 2012. You’ve come a long way, baby…
You can view all the covers since January 2010 HERE.