Jun 27, 2008

Artwork: Tribal Eagle

This tribal eagle was created by hand, scanned, then cleaned up on the computer. I rarely use the Wacom tablet for concept art and illustration. For me, the tangibility of drawing on paper far outweighs the coldness of the computer.

Since the Olympics and July 4th are coming up, it's a fitting time for a self-promotion. After creating the artwork, I thought it would be interesting as a shirt. I'm trying not to create many duplicates of artwork on paper and t-shirts, but this one seems to work well as both.

Jun 23, 2008

Artwork: Dual Dragons

I actually created this dragon design a couple years ago for a 18x24 glass etching--to be placed in a gallery. It was a good 100 hours of work. Unfortunately, the glass etching was accidently destroyed by another's hand. I was glad to have saved the original design, and thought it was time to give the dragons a new life.

This tribal style artwork was created by hand, then scanned, and digitally colored. The top dragon is created in an Eastern/Asian form, while the bottom dragon is done in a Western style. The inspiration of this piece was personal--growing up Chinese-American and being privy to the two cultures. It's a duality, but never as one.

Jun 17, 2008

Music Innovation: The Genie

Musicians like The Genie is what makes art such a source of inspiration. On his Myspace bio, it states that his performances involve "live looping, slide guitar, and beatboxing." The Genie proves that art in itself is about evolution, growth, and pushing the envelope.

Jun 15, 2008

Graffiti's Gone Mobile!

Voice of the Streets is a interesting site that gives graffiti writers and artists a way to receive feedback on their work anonymously. Because it's in Beta form, the functionality of the site isn't really smooth, but the concept is pretty hot. The graff artists could upload their work and receive a unique QR Code (which conveys info like URL, images, phone numbers, etc), all the while uploading their own voice message. If someone recognizes the work, they could leave the artist a voice-mail response to their work.

There aren't many uploads to this website and it seems to be a global project, so there are language barriers involved. Adding a simple text feedback option could be advantageous to the site so artists could translate the response if it was in a different language or if the voice-mail fails somehow.

Engaging the graffiti artists with their public/fanbase through technology is an interesting one as it provides an open, anonymous channel of communication, while increasing visibility for the artist.

Jun 11, 2008

Artwork: Dragon Bodysuit

Art by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions.com

Here's a throwback to Asian tattooing styles. The drawing on the right was the initial graphite drawing on vellum; the girl was drawn separately. They were then scanned, cleaned up, collaged, and digitally colored in Photoshop.

I haven't designed tattoos in a while, so this image has been clawing its way through my head till now. I owe so much to tattooing--as an illustrator (picking up different visual styles) and as a designer (logo work and lettering). It's also made me realize that everything has potential and can be a source of inspiration. With such a rich history (dating back to paleolithic ages), it's great to see that tattooing is rising past being a mere fad. The inspiration for my artwork "Dragon Bodysuit" is the Irezumi or Japanese tattoo, and the artist and master tattooist, Horiyoshi III.

Here are some notable artists who've created artworks of tattooed women: Richard Chesler, Caroline Young, Luis Royo, and Olivia.

Attack of the Killer Lobsters!

Originally uploaded by shaire productions
Eat them before they eat you! Just kidding. Another dull day at the office complete with crustacean visitors.

Jun 10, 2008

Inspirations: Art & Life

I became inspired today by two very different artists. In Talib Kweli's "Listen" music video, the urban art of Kofie is incorporated as motion graphics. The video is a few years old, but the artwork is still hip and vibrant. Kofie's work is very deliberate, yet expressionistic. Hip hop has created a platform for a global youth culture and it's always fascinating to see different art-forms merge.

Another inspiration was seeing the film "War Photographer" and being exposed to the deeply moving documentary photography of James Nachtwey. He braves the battlefields and streets to capture the human condition and the stories behind them. His photos are morbidly beautiful and intimate--art with a conscience.

Jun 9, 2008

Artwork: Ghosts from Khmer Rouge (Heritage Series)

. Art by Sherrie Thai of ShaireProductions.com

This piece was inspired by the stories of my family--of tragedies from the hands of the Khmer Rouge, military intervention, and refugee camps. Different times beget different circumstances, but overall, history repeats itself. In a general sense, this piece is also a commentary on the atrocities of war, power, and corruption. Because this artwork comes from a very personal space, it holds great sentimental value. My family is ethnically Chinese, but have faced the same atrocities as Cambodians and Vietnamese from the Khmer Rouge. Modern Pan-Asian pollination has unified different cultures through basic life experiences. Sparked by personal events and a sense of self-exploration, I'm glad to have finally created the first (in hopefully--many) artistic tributes to my family and culture: The Heritage Series.

The initial illustration on the right is graphite on vellum. From there, I scanned in the artwork, collaged patterns (created from my brush pen) and digitally colored the piece. In many of my mixed media pieces, I tend to leave certain areas in grayscale. I've always loved juxtaposing detail with simplicity--in concept or through visual elements (Graphic Alchemy). While the Buddha monument is in the foreground, it's mostly monochrome--the viewer gets drawn into the detail, and not distracted by color. Although color can be a powerful tool, I like to emphasize the simplicity of the subject matter by taking color away. View Larger

Jun 1, 2008

The Dark Knight Guerrilla Marketing Campaign

The marketing campaign for the upcoming Batman movie "The Dark Knight" is pure genius. This is the one of the first times I've seen multiple online guerrilla venues to promote a brand. I have yet to discover the ad/media agency behind this, but it's caused quite a stir.

The new Batman movies (with Christian Bale) are a reinvention of the Batman enterprise. The content and approach of the new movies are darker and explores character development, steering away from its cheesy predecessors of the 90s. This reinvention carries over to the online medium. Because Batman has a cultural heritage (decades of comics, t.v. shows, toys, movies, etc.), it has an existing cult-like following. Creating a world around this is no simple task, as execution must be tactful.

The whole premise for the campaign revolves around the user/viewer becoming engaged in the world of Gotham--it's characters, activities, sights, and sounds. This engagement marketing is very Web 2.0--utilizing User Generated Content to propel the projects further. One example of this is the Why So Serious site (screenshots above). The atmosphere surrounding the Flash site is very covert and mysterious. A viewer is encouraged to submit photos--not with a generic "submit now" button--but through the copy, graphics, and hints of a secret Clown society. If you are pro-Batman, there's Citizens for Batman, or if you're interested in politics, you could support Harvey Dent's bid for District Attorney. Another great site is the mutation of the Gotham Times to the HaHaHa Times by clicking the headline. The campaign is very strategic and fluid as it's been timed to coordinate with various events--from Comic Con Clown Recruitment to Movie Screenings.

The intelligence of this campaign is due to its non-explicit advertising; it's about discovery and exploration. It allows people to come to their own conclusions about certain characters or activities. There's no central homepage listing for all the sites--adding to the mystique of the campaign as it's user-generated--from articles, other bloggers/fans (Batman Blog), and countless searches.

A new face of online advertising is upon us.