Sunday, January 30, 2011

100th post!

Cheers to my 100th post!

Here's the final product of the graffiti stencil project.

Unplugged, 40" by 30", spray-paint on foam core, 2011

When thinking about a subject for the assignment that was to be a social or political statement, the thing that sprung to my mind was how most of us spend our days plugged into our ipods, cell phones, and heavily reliant on computers. I feel that this leads to a “disconnect” with our physical reality. I wanted to make an image that would cause a viewer to think about their place in the natural world: to stop and smell the roses. The image I ended up using for the piece is from a postcard that I had purchased during a trip to Paris and felt that it captured that comical or playful sense of the joie de vivre so prevalent in Parisian society. The “artificial” stimulus we receive from our personal devices cannot compare to the visceral stimulus of our physical reality. I modeled the execution of the piece after the work of Banksy. I recently watched Exit Through the Gift Shop (A Banksy Film, 2010) and found his work to be very clever and graphically strong: perfect for stopping the casually observer in their tracks. I also noted how Shepard Fairey enlarged his images on the computer and tiled them using multiple sheets. I made an initial drawing in pencil in my sketchbook using the postcard as reference. I then scanned the drawing and traced it using Adobe Illustrator. I then simplified the lines, determined the positive and negative forms, and then enlarged the image. I printed out the image and tiled it so it could be full-size. I then pasted the printouts onto the manila folders and cut out the negative parts. I had to make some adjustments so that I wouldn’t lose some of the positive forms that were surrounded by the negative. I wanted to use a background of newspaper cut-outs but found the spray-paint bled on the newspaper so, I used the back of the boards and preferred the crisp edges left by the spray-painting the stencil directly on the poster-board surface. I used three colours and started with yellow. This is a technique that I learned in graphic design and 4 colour printing: it’s easier to overprint the darker colours over the light if there is any adjustments needed mid-printing. One of the pitfalls (or benefits) of using multiple colours is that there is bound to be a bit of off-registration of the colours: you can see the black is off to the right but I think it adds to the playfulness of the piece. I found that my graphic design background was handy in completing this project, especially when reducing the drawing to positive and negative shapes. The biggest difficulty I had with the project was using spray-paint outdoors and not losing my stencil in the gusty wind: those aerosols are nasty when used indoors! 

Some process photos woo!:
Tiled print-out

Cut-out stencil

1st pass: yellow

2nd pass: blue

How the stencil looked on the poster board (this is actually the failed newspaper side but you get the idea).

Phewf! It's windy and cold out!

Ike loves being a part of these things :)

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