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Making it in the Art World

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Digital Drawing: A Modern Alphabet

A lot of people have asked me how I create my drawings digitally so today I'm going to give you a quick tour of how it's done. I have to preface this by saying that I love drawing with pencil and paper (nothing compares to it) especially when you're doing life drawings of nudes and still life. That said, the mouse has become a great tool for illustrating the concepts I have in my mind in a hyper-realist way that prints in rich, saturated colors, lending a quality of manufactured perfection that I adore in fashion magazines. But it's a process like everything else and while changes are a "click of a mouse" away, sometimes it's more laborious than traditional drawing. For most projects I use Adobe Illustrator and sometimes Adobe Photoshop. Both are integral to our company's success and everyday function. My latest project sparked from our obsession with mid-century furniture and objects. We're heavily into everyday objects of that era and earlier. I couldn't get over my need to illustrate the shapes and lines of some of my favorite pieces so I started drawing the Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), an icon of Modern era pieces. With its curved chrome rods contouring to the body and guiding the eyes back and forth, it's the perfect marriage of form and function. The idea of illustrating struck immediately as I saw the finished chair (second from the top left, in place of the "B").

Once a piece or designer comes to mind that I want to recreate, I bring in a digital photo to help me shape the outline.

I literally use the mouse and "draw" with it on the mousepad.

With a computer, instead of using an eraser (although there's one of those too), I click to straighten, curve or reposition each line segment individually. Above, I'm fixing the angle of a line that I drew previously. (I think this takes longer than drawing with a pencil)!

I'm making final adjustments so that all letters and furniture pieces are balanced using the graph and ruler tools. I think this project took me about twenty hours to create.

The final poster is printed on heavyweight archival photographic paper with professional grade inks. It's 18 x 12 inches and I'm incredibly  proud of this limited edition run of 50. I can't wait to get one framed and hang it in our home too! If you're in the area, we'll be offering the poster (A Modern Alphabet, $65) along with other custom works at our opening at June Moon Furniture on May 3rd. I'll be on hand signing prints and giving advice on framing, hanging, collecting and more!

-Y-

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Challenge: Point vs Pro | Why Do You Need A Professional Photographer Anyway?

We've gotten a few photo shoots under our belt since the start of the company and we have to say, we're pretty happy with the results. From food to portraits, we've been able to offer a variety of takes on what the client wants while injecting our own flavor into things. Thing is, there's still some apprehension from time to time about what it is we do, why we do it and if it's truly that different than just picking up a camera and taking a point and shoot photo. The answer is "yes!" We don't strive for just good enough, we want exceptional. See for yourself.

People may not always be able to voice what it is about the photo that doesn't seem quite right until they see a proper example of how it should be done. You're probably wondering what we shot with and why there's such a drastic difference. The shot on the left was taken with our trusty Nikon Coolpix S4100. It's a great camera for fun, social gatherings. But if you're a business owner wondering why your mailers aren't getting response or why you can't achieve the results as we did on the right, it's because we pack and bring an entire studio with us.

Although a point and shoot camera is good for documentation it only offers one light source from a fixed point. For the professional shots, items were lit from the side with the assistance of white bounce cards to fill and highlight, making the item more robust. Every aspect of the shoot is in a controlled environment, much like the food campaign we shot a couple weeks ago. If you've ever wondered about professional photography, we're happy to answer your questions.

We look forward to working with you.

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Our Latest Project: Objet D'art | One-of-a-kind art objects

We met with Sava's Restaurant in Ann Arbor last week and we're happy to announce that we'll be taking over the upstairs lounge area with our art. We've never curated a non-gallery setting like this and we're really excited to collaborate and match the ultra contemporary and comfy look. We got on it immediately. After a quick brainstorming session, the series Objet D'art was born. This also gave us a chance to print and frame our new series of school desk prints.

Each item is a print illustrated or photo taken by us and carefully hand matted with coordinating accessories. Whether you see one or in a grouping, we're making an experience that we, and hopefully you, have never seen before.

We'll be hanging things salon-style but adapted to the space to get the most beautiful effect. Since we have long spaces to cover, our groupings will be spaced out with most pieces centered at 60 inches from the ground, the professional standard for installing art.

What do you think of these? We're looking for some feedback before the big installation takes place. Right now we're just enjoying having "piles" of art around the studio. Soon we'll have them in our store too. Have a great weekend!

-Y-

OBJECT D'ART - (dimensions denote frame size, shipping is extra)  5 x 7 inch : $25 and up  |  8 x 10 inch: $45 and up  |  Pairs of 8 x 10 inch: $80 and up

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Robert Rauschenberg: Grand Rapids Art Museum

In 2007 I had the pleasure of publicizing a great series of works by Robert Rauschenberg called Currents. Created during the winter of 1970, he clipped disturbing and attention grabbing headlines from various national newspapers, arranging them in aesthetically pleasing and titillating fashion and translated them into photographic prints. Based on the social, political and financial turmoil of the times, he covered events through his clippings in a way that fed that the news in a palatable way, urging viewers to come in for a closer look.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is currently showing and hosting a myriad of events surrounding the works of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. From now until May 20th, 2012, you can join in the conversation and see the pieces from his time at Gemini, a major print studio and collective in Los Angeles.

While he's known for his prints and multiples, his most sought-after and profound works were his combines, objects joined and manipulated to be read in a totally new context altogether. Rauschenberg passed away a year after I installed his show at the gallery where I was. With his passing he leaves behind a legacy of process and collaboration that brought together great thinkers such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Cy Twombly and most notably Jasper Johns. I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibit. I hope you will too.

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Mother of all Contests: Photo Narrative Giveaway

We're doing something that we haven't seen before and it's huge.  From now until noon on March 6th, 2012, you can enter to win a professional photo shoot with the one and only Nick Azzaro (well, actually we know of at least two others...) but this is the only one we know of that shoots incredible photos. His style is dark, dramatic and full of surprises. This is not an ordinary, "say cheese" kind of shoot. Think storytelling, original and dangerous.

The Photo Narrative Giveaway* is easy to enter. Simply email us, go to our Facebook page (and like us) or Twitter page (and follow us) and answer the question, "Who's your favorite photographer and why?" No matter how brilliant your answer, we're still going to keep it fair and choose three winners by random on March 6th. We'll let you know who won that evening and those lucky people win a one hour photo session shoot along with three digital images that they can do what ever they want 'em! Full details and rules can be found on our website. Good luck!

*Sorry folks, you must travel to Ann Arbor for the shoot.

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Bye American

"I was born in ______ in the United States of America. My skin is ______ and I'm a ______, and believe in  ______. I work ______ and pay ______ and don't believe in ______. I exercise my right to ______ and appreciate the ______ of those before me. I eat ______ and am not scared of all of the ______. I feel that ______ should be free and that ______ is our choice. I'm not for ______ intervention, but feel that ______ is necessary. I know that ______ don't get paid enough, while ______ live lavish lifestyles. Each night I watch the ______ only to see ______ over and over again. To me, it's obvious this country has forgotten how to ______." -______

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The Process

Our ideas begin here. They're given life here.

The keepers are then digitized.

Lastly, they're printed on high quality archival photo paper in rich, saturated colors and sent to you.

The end.

-NY-

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Father Photography.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, my father enjoys photographing wooded wintry scenes. Below are a few he's taken in the recent past. My father has been photographing since the 60's. For a period he even developed film and printed images in a darkroom built in the basement of the house I grew up in. It's safe to say that his style, eye and passion for photography have positively influenced my life. -N-

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Icy hot.

My father has always enjoyed photographing wooded winter landscapes, while I like more urban and abstract scenes. The sun broke through the clouds yesterday just before sunset, allowing me to capture the winter woods as I see them (and then some). -N-

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Out + About: Murals, Tagging, Graffiti, Mosaics

When we lived in Chicago, one of my biggest gripes was the lack of public art. Much of it is relegated to Millenium and Grant Parks and Michigan Avenue, conservatively doled out to mainstream consumers and tourist explorers. The city's buttoned-up demeanor goes hand in hand with the obliteration of spray paint within city limits by the Daley administration years ago. In 1992, Chicago City Council passed to ban the selling of the graffiti artists' medium, waging a hefty war from artists and Federal Court Judge Marvin E. Aspen, who deemed it unconstitutional. They subsequently lost when it was fully enforced starting in 1995 under allowance by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. To this day, you still can't buy spray paint within city limits but a few promising murals have popped up over the last couple years.

Don't get me wrong. There is art in Chicago, it's just not as spontaneous as one might think for a city its size. I like to visit Philadelphia for many reasons but one of my favorite past times is walking along South Street and seeing what new pieces have popped up. It's a vibrant art scene which started in the 1960s by a group of artists that moved into the area, but most notably Isaiah Zagar who started the movement of creating mosaics on every surface.

Philly just has a flavor that's all its own. Every year close to a hundred murals are created as part of the Mural Arts Program. Very impressive for a city its size, or any size, for that matter.

Riotsound Graffiti

Fine Art America

VisitPhilly.com

For us, it's nice to just see organic and creative things happening whether it's graffiti, tagging, wall murals, window painting or an impromptu performance. The other night we met Summer Medel, an artist and muralist,  painting a new spring themed scene for a storefront. We were really happy to see creation happening, especially since it was a pretty damn cold out. That's heart.

Cool, huh? What's your favorite piece of public art - painting, sculpture, graffiti or otherwise?

-Y-

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