Scribbled Childhoods

I prepared for working with sidewalk chalk the best way I could. I thought it would be a different medium then one I’d previously used.

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Some sit the chalk in water, let it soak and draw with it.

Some break down the chalk entirely, mix it with water and paint with it.

Some just use chalk for what it is.

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I checked out a few videos of tutorials and tips. I came across one with David Zinn, a well-known sidewalk artist. He didn’t use water at all, which made me feel more comfortable. The way he draws is much like charcoal, and I liked it best.  I channeled my inner David Zinn and practiced around my apartment complex.

 

 

When I went to the Sidewalks Arts Festival that SCAD ran, I just had fun with my piece. I truly enjoyed working with the medium. It had a soft creamy feel that slowly pigmented the grains. After I had my outline, all that was left to do was to layer color vibrancy. Over and over. I had two hours to complete the work, but if I’m being honest: it seemed ten minutes. IMG_20180430_001358

When I came home,  I noticed a small rock with shaky rainbow colors. It sat next to one of my practice sidewalk pieces. Mere inches from the scribbled “art” was a child exploring it. The biggest strength of sidewalk art, to me, is the ability to connect with children. Other mediums like acrylics, gouache, digital are on a more sophisticated tier that isolates from children. Whereas sidewalk chalk is loose, scribbly, and raw.

 

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As David Zinn mentioned, we all created as kids. Whether it was with a crayon, chalk, or words: we created something worthwhile.

 

Mysteries Through Color Shapes

 

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Disclaimer: None of this is my personal work or ideas. This is simply a fun appreciation of other artists everyone should know about.

For any artist, it is always beneficial to do a master copy of, well, a master of the craft.  We all know the legends: Caravaggio, Raphael, and Parmigiano. Most of us have heard the more recent legends: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte. Fewer have heard of the contemporary legends: Gary Baseman, James Jean, and Mark Ryden. And only a handful find the soon-to-be legends.

Sachin Teng fits nicely within the last category.

Sachin Teng Takeaway

Going through and mimicking her work has taught me a lot. It was the little things: small strokes in shadow, tight color palette, gentle overlays that really bring her work together. I never use oranges or greens, but Teng presents the delicate colors strongly. She is able to create a sense of space through a layering of the cloth, branches, and leaves. Her work is effortless and it is because of her strong use of color and line that the pieces are shape-based.

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Gary Baseman. Mythical Homeland

Yet, it doesn’t carry the simplistic quality most shape-based art has. Gary Baseman is also shape-based illustration but his work has an entirely different feeling then Teng’s.

I failed in capturing the mythical edge that exists in The Pilgrimage.  Nevertheless, after working on this master copy, I understand how the elongation of the figure and even the trees bring that emotion to the piece. Letting the face have only an eyebrow and set of white pupils is brave and hence makes the face universal with just enough of a mystery that we are left wondering who they are. It is a fine line, but Sachin Teng truly guides us on that path.

In the Ring of Gladiators

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For the longest time, I had no idea there were several different types of gladiators during the Roman Empire.  As the arena grew more popular, different types of battles and fighting surfaced.

Bestiarii

These gladiators fought animals (lions, tigers, elephants, bears).

  • “damnatio ad bestias” (damned to the beast). Their death was meant to amuse the crowd. They weren’t considered gladiators. Rather, they were lowest class of Rome that was sentenced to death.
  • “venatio” (hunter).  They trained and hunted as part of the act. Because these gladiators were looked down on by others, there wasn’t much record of individual bestiarii. The most famous was Carpophorus (the link leads to an interesting but disturbing diary-like entry of Carpophorus) at the Circus Maximus.

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Noxii

These were more pawns used to aid other gladiators than anything else. They were thrown in the arena to die the worst way possible for their crimes. Noxii weren’t deemed a part of Roman society because they were often murderers, traitors, Christians, Jews, or those who deserted the Roman army.

They were used as a harsh reminder as to why civilians should follow the Roman law.

Retiarius

These were the gladiators with nets and tridents. They were often mocked and viewed as more feminine because they weren’t suited in armor. They depended most on their speed and agility.

Secutorsecutor

The gladiator dressed in heavy armor:  the large shield, sword, and round helmet. The Secutor and Retiarius were often pitted against each other because of the visual contrast.

Equites

The glorified showmen who would ride on horseback and aim at one another with lances. Soon, they’d dismount and fight with sword and shield. They wore light armor.

Provocator

They’d challenge each other, using the fights to settle feuds. With these duels, each Provocator was armed with rectangular shields, breastplates, and a helmet.

Gladiatrix

Female gladiators that were armed with short swords and often came from high status. They caused such scandal that they were eventually banned in A.D. 200.

Murmillo

Originally known as the Gallus, they fought after being captured as prisoners of war. They relied on power and force and usually fought other Gallus’. Once Gauls and Rome made peace the gladiators were renamed the murmillo. Typically, they were armed with heavy swords and shields.

In 2009, a murmillo helmet surfaced from the Pompeii ruins. It is now held at the Melbourne Museum.

Samnite

Originally prisoners of war from the Samnium region of southern Italy. When Rome took over this area, they forced Samnites to perform mock ceremonial battles.

Thracian

Prisoners of war from the Thracian tribe of southeastern Europe. Thracians carried a round shield, curved blade, and broad helmet. The most popular of the gladiators.

 

There are so many layers to the Roman Empire that when I think I’ve learned enough, I continue to learn more. Discovering the different types of gladiators is heavy but also something I’d love to illustrate one day.

For now, I’ll settle for a Murmillo helmet.

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Gardens to Last the Chambers

 

When creating heart plants, I wondered what kind of environment would be best to visually show them in. I wanted to have a greenhouse but also have areas where other plants grew and areas where scientists/doctors could do routine checks on each status of the hearts.

I thought that greenhouses and conservatories were the same. I was surprised to know they aren’t.

Greenhouse Perks

  • Seasonal Extension
  • Protects crops from diseases, common field pests
  • Can grow virtually anything. The best are tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, delphinium, lisianthus, and snapdragons
  • Need to ensure the plants are parthenocarpic (doesn’t require insect pollination to set fruit) and; gynecious (all flowers are female)

None of these relate directly to heart plants, but having this knowledge still informs that type of environment I’m drawing and trying to depict. Any flowers or plants I want to use, I’ll keep this in mind.

Official Greenhouse (mostly)

I came across the Royal Greenhouse of Laeken. During the 19th century, right when metal and glass was finally usable as construction materials, Alphonse Balat was sent after to create a greenhouse for Belgium leader King Leopold II. Balat was set to design a greenhouse complex that complemented the castle of Laeken. It was meant to emulate a glass city and was inspired by Art Noveau.

The incredible thing about this greenhouse, besides the stunning architecture, is:

  • Some plants of the original collection still exist
  • Current collections respect the spirit of the first
  • Still has large amounts of rare and valuable plants

Every year, during Spring, the greenhouse is open to the public for three weeks–a tradition for over a century.  This year it will be from April 21 to May 11.

Conservatories

Looking up the definitions, they both convey the same idea: structures where plants are grown. Even so, they are still quite different.

  • Conservatories are often extensions of the homes whereas greenhouses are separate
  • Conservatories are a living space with the heavy accents of plants in the design whereas greenhouses are more utilitarian

In a way, parts of the Royal Greenhouse of Laeken is a conservatory. The Winter Garden, for example, was used for royal receptions.

With that in mind, I wanted to use this example as my influence for the conservatory within my own story.

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Grown Hearts

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If a heart malfunctions, we wait for a transfer from someone who’s recently passed away. According to Unos,

  • Every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list.
  • 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

And the people who do receive the transplants have a chance of the body rejecting the organ and set up an immune reaction against foreign cells.

A Little Progress 

In 2016, Popular Science released an incredible article.  Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate working human heart tissue. They hope that this will lead to further innovation that will allow scientists to grow entire hearts from the patients’ own tissues.

The cool part is that they were able to convert adult skin cells, using a messenger RNA, into pluripotent skin cells.  These cells are vital for any of this to be successful. These are the types of cells we need more of. They basically are blank cells that can transform into any type of cell. In this research, the scientists used the cells to become cardiac. They used nutrient solution to help stabilize the cells.

Body Memory

Sounds crazy?

Perhaps.

But it might not be too farfetched.

Scientific American did coverage on the subject. Its come to light that the cell’s nucleus may have traces of memory embedded with them. This links to synapses, where long-term memories exist. Apparently, the body knows the exact number of synapses it should have. So if the body over creates any, these synapses will retract back into the cells, bringing snippets of memories with them.

There are several stories that investigate recipients that have taken on traits of their donors.

To me, all of these things sound a bit like plants and could be an easy transition when manipulating the cells correctly.

Meat Plants

There is BeyondMeat to think about. This is a company that strives to feed the planet with a new solution, even if it’s a bit left wing. They want to replace animal protein with plant protein. If we can grow meat this way… maybe we can grow hearts this way too.

Does our future contain heart plants too? 

Science is always changing, and I wondered how can we make it better to save more lives? Is it possible for us to grow hearts too? If we embed the heart with patient cell tissues, would it be better because the heart is grown specifically for the patient?

Innovation begins with the right mix of ideas, rumors, and imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tikis: A Geometric Legend

 

There is a Jurassic World graphic-tee design competition in process of rating for Hot Topic. I wanted to push a dinosaur to have a more geometric style.

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What better place to look than Tikis?

Carvings are a really old form of art, and this fits perfect with dinosaurs. Tikis are often head or body statues, depending on the craft of the sculptor.

They were originally created to represent the demi-god: the Samoan Ti’iti’i or Hawaiian Maui who was considered by legend the first man. It was said that if the represented god was pleased with the likeness then he would inhabit the statue and watch over the village.

Tikis aren’t limited to a single type of wood or one set size. They can be statues, totem poles, pendants or found within tattoos. It’s a form so strong that it still carries on today.

One carver, based in Hawaii, breaks down how important the facial elements are:

  • Eyes looking up=protection
  • Eyes looking down=good luck
  • Smiling=Happiness/brings peace
  • Sticking out Tongue=sign of a warrior
  • Flowers=love
  • Turtles=long life/family

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He mentions that designs are carved into the top of the head to complete the story. With every tiki, every carving, each is individual and unique in meaning. This all varies on which symbols are combined together. Like a grid, so many designs can be chosen based on the set facial features, poses, and additional designs carved into the head or body. Some are meant to benevolent, some malevolent. Some offer wisdom and strength. Most offer a sense of protection, and in the film Jurassic World, the Mosasaurus definitely comes through as the saving grace of the film.

 

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Beware Underwater: my final submitted design

The Mosasaurus was one that I hadn’t seen many designs for. I wanted to create a design that I would buy or want to see if I were in Hot Topic. There’s something about the strong aesthetic of tikis that lures us in.

Most tikis represent the form of revival. In the Jurassic series: their entire story is also based on the revival of the past.

 

 

Taboo or Trendy?

A look into why tattoos are trendy today when they’re as old as we are.

There are some elements that have always been around mankind. Tattoos being one of them. Even so, it strangely has been a taboo for a long time. Only recently have tattoos become a normal part of everyday society and not just within tucked away cultures.

“Tattoos are as old as we are. Something magical about changing yourself for life. It can be symbols, a guide to remind you where you’re going. Those are the tattoos that are important to me or the ones that I like doing.” Shaun Beaudry, a tattoo artist at Anonymous.

A Small Line of Beginnings

B.C. 

  • Pre-Columbian cultures of Peru and Chile. 10,000. There were tattoos on the torso, limbs, face, and fingers. It still isn’t clear as to their purpose.
  • Otzi, 2000. He was believed to have tattoos to help lessen his joint pains. All tattoos were centered around weakened joints, and this would be a reasonable conclusion.
  • Ancient Egyptians. 2000. it was mostly women that received bead-like tattoos across the stomach. They’d also get tattoos around the thigh and breasts. This was all in a therapeutic support for health and fertility.
  • Nubians to the south of Egypt. 2000-1500. Mummies of women with tattoos also around the stomach and breasts.
  • China’s Taklamakan Desert. 1200. To mark criminals
  • Scythian Pazyryk of the Altai Mountain Region. 382 BC. Bodies were found with tattoos on the fingers.
  • Ptolemy IV. 210. Believed to have ivy leaves to symbolize his Dionysus devotion.

A.D.

  • Polynesian. 200. A bodysuit of a geometric design was used as an identity scrapbook. It was used to tell their rank in society, genealogy, and status.
  • Northern European tribe, Picti. 297. Also known as “The Painted People.
  • Maori. 1200. Their geometric tattoos were focused on the face and believed it made them appear more desirable.
  • Japan. 1200. Began as a symbol of protection. This transformed into a way to mark criminals or banning. The practice kept when foreigners really liked the aesthetic.
  • Native American Cree and Inuit. 1475. They tended to focus on facial tattooing.
  • Sailors and Coalminers. 1750. Both of these professions used tattoos as a way of protection. Both jobs were always so dangerous, there wasn’t much guarantee of survival, but through these tattoos was the survival of hope.

Timeline

Cory Hand, a tattoo artist at The Butcher, referenced an Abraham Lincoln quote that his father would tell him: “I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”

Tattoos weren’t meant as a self-proclaimed pointer to the artist, but more to showcase how powerful body ink can be. This has repeated itself continuously through our ancestors.

Sudden Burst in American Popularity

For the longest, tattoos weren’t always normalized. When did that start to change? It’s crazy that something humans have always been doing has only just been truly allowed in present day.

Reality TV. When Miami Ink aired, everyone was able to see the true world of tattooing. It showcased that tattoos are for anyone, and started normalizing them.

Celebs. Soon, celebrities started celebrating their ink or making a point to get tattoos. Because idols were getting ink, it gave people the courage to get tattoos and defend that successful people can also have them.

Social Media. This has allowed the craft to strengthen and elevate into a new era of tattooing. Up and coming tattooers are able to build their platform, as high tier artists continue to reinforce their followers. Artists are able to grow from one another in ways never done before.

In Savannah alone, there are several shops

  • Red Ocean
  • Southside Custom Tattoo
  • White Bluff Tattoo Company
  • California Tattoo Company
  • Black Orchid
  • The Butcher
  • Savannah Ink
  • Resurrection Ink
  • Anonymous
  • Twin Tiger
  • Kustom Hustle
  • Good Fortune
  • Stranded
  • Fifth of Ink
  • Ghost Town
  • Tatlyfe
  • Riverside

 

It’s easy to say that the industry may have reached it’s “trend peak” a few years ago, but it has become normalized. A perk of becoming a normal part of society is that a lot of people go every day to get work done.

 

 

Anonymous and The Butcher are next door.

Each shop has different vibes, as do the tattoo work done there. They attract different types of clientele, and both businesses do well. So when interviewing tattoo artists from both Anonymous and The Butcher, they responded that they were on good terms.

Like girl code, there are unspoken rules that you just don’t cross. For example, if an artist started a piece of work, another artist isn’t going to just pick up and complete it. Then again, if an artist never started a work that they said they would, then its open game.

The cool thing is that with all the shops, there is a tattoo artist that can do the desired work or genre a client is specifically searching for. There is the ability to “cater to a certain demographic.” Kelly Borders, a tattoo artist at The Butcher, says.

Genre Breakdown

Like music, the genres were small but they quickly branch off and form several. These are the main genres with a little extra.

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Traditional

 Bold outlines and bright colors. This was when sailors were heavily inspired by different cultures they visited.

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Realism

Starting in the late 1990’s, this form is the kind that jumps from your skin. Whether it’s portraits, animals, or objects.

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Watercolor

Work that seems it’s painted or brushed with color rather than inked on.

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Tribal

Always done in black with elaborate patterns, but vary within each culture. This seems to be the original genre of tattoos.

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New School

This started taking place in the early 1990’s, with a cartoon-like aesthetic. This exaggerates characters, concept, objects. It became very timely with the type of 2D shows/comics that were released around the same time.

Cory Hand’s favorite tattoos are these. “It leads to different line weights and forced perspectives. it’s almost like surrealism because there’s a lot of texture use and lighting. Like graffiti, its a lot of loud ass colors.”forest+totem

 

Neo-Traditional

There is still strong linework, but this time around it has more line variety. There is still prominent color, but with more united palettes.  There is often more detail accomplished.

 

 

 

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Japanese

A traditional Japanese style that originated during the Edo period (1603-1868). These are meant to highlight Japan’s past, and use dramatic smoke and waves to better keep in line with the style that originated so long ago.

Kelly Borders niche stays rooted in Japanese. “It was the first thing I studied when I started tattooing. And it’s just a style that stands the test of time. Dragons, samurai, koi, simple woodblock imagery.” When I asked her how she felt about the history of tattooing, she responded, “I feel the strongest in here about taking what they figured out a long time ago and still applying that. The Japanese created a black and grey background to a color piece. It makes the color stand out. The bigger the tattoo is, the better it will age. We were told you should be able to see it across the room.”

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Blackwork

Uses only black ink and currently the most experimental. This can be anything from geometry or ornamental.

 

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Biomechanical

Typically these are freehanded. These copy the functionality of cyborg or alien and incorporate that into the client’s body flow.

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Neo-Japanese

This maintains the traditional Japanese subject matter, but with a stronger hint of realism, color, and detail.

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Illustrative

Walks the line between traditional and realism. There is a bold outline and sharp color combined with realistic shading.

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Surrealism

 

These are created from overlapping styles and are inspired by Salvador Dali.

When asked his favorite kind of tattoos, Shaun Beaudry said: “Stippling, black, and grey. Anything organic, nothing stiff. With a creature or rose, there’s so much going on that if there’s a little wiggle in the leaf you won’t even notice.”

 

 

Just like us, tattoos will continue to evolve and become more than just embedded lines on the skin. The tattoo artist must be able to draw and mold a masterpiece in the skin. They must be aware of the skin treatment. And how far they can push boundaries. The tattoo artists are close to that of a surgeon, and it’s taken far too much for granted.

Because of its boost in popularity, it opens for a new market. Tattoos have the biggest platform ever and it shows. This media has elevated to an elite art form that has never been properly recognized before.