As an "Artist-in-Residence" in a marketing firm, directed to be "creative," I interpreted that as a designer/artist, I was to treat the building as my studio and be visible being "creative." It's often easy to make the work in one solitary place and then show it off somewhere else and an audience sees it as magic: an "abracadabra, here it is": or more cynically: "push button, get entertainment." Artists such as Matthew Barney and Richard Serra have embraced the performative aspect of their artmaking, often tying it to Modernist notions of the hero and the Hero's Journey, but there is room to introduce this into design and illustration. So during my tenure at the Curiosity Group, I wrote daily poems on my various typewriters and passed them out instead of posting to a blog, taped pieces of paper and typed in front of an open window a stream of consciousness text to serve as a process for the Mawson Project, bringing it back to "craft time" by building a small playscape of mountains to photograph and driving around Portland with one such mountain of tupperware, packing peanuts, and paper looking for a great place to photograph. 
The designer / artist as performer.
A performer is also a mascot. There is your typical mascot, the face of a company like the Colonel below in which his history from Homeowner cooking Sunday Chicken Dinner for his neighborhood eventually turns into he has to work the counter of his former restaurant because he can't afford to retire.
Or a mascot is an avatar of a concept clothed in the important qualities of a given society, a myth of a society's beliefs as in the story of the Golem. A Jewish community under a pogrom turns to the local learned Rabbi and asks for help and protection and the Rabbi, being a serious man, fashions an Adamic figure out of a clay, inscribes the name of God on a slip of paper, puts it the Golem's mouth, awakening the being who begins to protect the small community. Portland is the City of Roses and when I lived in there I worked as a parking lot attendant at the Rose Garden (where the Trailblazers played) right after Grad School, getting my bearings, letting the quiet and the flowers of Portland stick to me. A golem of roses, inscribed not by the Word of God, but by the power of the nature in a cold place of Antarctica. 
On my wrists are two tattoos: the Triforce and the Fire Flower from Super Mario and I'm interested in their connections to mythology. The Triforce represents Power, Wisdom, and Courage, a typical power-up/grail/piece of the True Cross ultimate power object; and the Fire Flower (where Mario is walking around bumping his head on boxes with Question Marks on them) is akin to the Bodhi Tree of the Buddha, the Lotus that brought Ra out of the primordial dark oceans, the tongues of flame at Pentecost, etc. I'm reminded of people like Joseph Campbell and his theory of the Hero's Journey—Star Wars is a great example of this Journey. As are most video games in that they have objectives and power-ups to transform a person from one station in life to another. Mawson's journey would be familiar to an audience of old school gamers and a lot of the imagery, characters, and even layout and action defined relate back to old 8 and 16 bit sidescrollers. 
Print offers us a panel to panel experience, but the web provide a potentially unlimited canvas for comics. The rise in comic book-based storytelling in the last few years could relate to the similarity between the panels of a comic and the artboards of a film. If we ever do suffer "superhero fatigue," it could be that in a comic we mentally fill in the action and detail between two panels whereas a director and producer tell us their vision for the action on the screen. Does the power of the comic reside in the agency we give to the individual viewer and what does that mean online? 
Does an Art/Design student approach the computer as a byproduct of being a maker, or more likely do they come to believe that the computer is an essential tool to not only art making, but in thinking of art itself? I encourage assignments and classes that put the focus on making things to go into the computer over things to be solely made IN the computer. And the computer isn't the issue, it's in the way the students view it and if they already spend a majority of the day on this device then it becomes their mode of thought. A well- balanced image maker uses all tools available to them as in these illustrations combining both the Analog and Digital. 
Student Work
Back to Top