Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A long, drawn out trip...

I know it’s been a while since my last update, but I have a good excuse--I was on my highly anticipated college graduation trip to England. Normally I keep personal occurrences off the blog, but seeing as how some of the the highlights of the trip relate to illustration, I figured I’d mention at least one. So, gentle readers, grab some cookies and milk--or should I say biscuits and tea, since we’re talking Britain here--and get ready for Anna’s inspirational story of the day.

As anyone who knows me moderately well will tell you, my favorite illustrator is Gerald Scarfe. I absolutely love his work, and as well as his ability to make it work successfully in so many different markets. Editorial illustration, political cartoons, character design, animation, set design--Gerald has done it all, and done it all very well. He is a true inspiration to me. And, weirdly enough, we both felt pressure not to pursue art by our fathers. He was talked into banking, and for me it was forensic science--both were horrible ideas. In Gerald’s case he failed his interviews and ended up as a graphic designer at an advertising studio. While it taught him to draw everything under the sun, he was upset at the idea of drawing everything in an idealized way when he really wanted to tell the truth. He wanted to break away from commercial art and go back to the cartoons he had drawn as a child and a teenager. Unsure of how to go about it, he planned on getting advice from his favorite (and rather prolific) illustrator, Ronald Searle.

So Gerald would ride his bike to Searle’s house, all the time thinking of what to say as he was riding. He would finally arrive at the house to be met at the gate by an ominous doorbell which, by that time, he wouldn’t have the courage to ring. After riding around in circles for a bit he would finally return home. Many years later Gerald’s wonderful wife Jane set up a surprise birthday meeting between Gerald and Ronald Searle and his wife. When Gerald arrived there was a small package on his plate. He opened it to find a doorbell mounted on a small block of marble with a note attached: “Gerry Scarfe, Please ring--anytime. RS” How do I know this story? Well, several ways. One, because I read it in Gerald’s book, Drawing Blood (which I highly recommend), and two, from Gerald himself.

My first year at SCAD I was required to conduct an interview with a working illustrator as part of an assignment in one of my illustration courses. I emailed Gerald, fully expecting to never receive a response because, hey, he’s a pretty busy guy. I was pleasantly surprised to get an email back answering all of my questions and wishing me luck with my career. My department got very excited that Gerald had responded to one of their students and sought to try to bring him out to SCAD for a lecture. He came the next April, and because I had been responsible for initiating contact, I was allowed to accompany him, his wife, and several of my professors to dinner. While there Gerald related his story about going to visit Ronald Searle, with one little addition--when he reached the part about arriving at his house he said, while putting his hand on my shoulder, “…and unlike Anna, I didn’t have the courage to ring the doorbell.” That was about the best moment of my life…until my trip out to England.

Thank you, Gerald, for making my ridiculous tuition payments worth it...

Since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I decided to email Gerald to see if there was the possibility of meeting up for another visit. As luck would have it, Gerald was able to spare a bit of time to see me. Even better, I got to visit him in his home studio. Meaning I had to ring the bell when I arrived, of course…

Gerald has a great in-home studio. It’s large with lots of natural light, and plenty of wall space for posting up mock ups of drawings and such. It was actually pretty distracting for me since I was surrounded by work I respect and love so much, in addition to the person that produced it. I could turn to my left and see a model for one of the masks from the Los Angeles Opera’s stage version of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and then look to my right and see a mask from the film version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Gerald told me about his upcoming projects--two separate shows in Germany, plus he’s helping to curate an exhibition at the Tate Britain next year, and is in talks with Pink Floyd for putting together a book of all the illustration work he’s done for them. I also got to show him my portfolio, as well as the children’s book I’m working on getting published.

So the moral of the story, kids, is to never be afraid to ring the doorbell because you never know what might happen.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

"HIPnotize" opening reception

Last night was the opening reception for the HIPnotize show, and I'm very pleased to report it went exceedingly well. There was a plethora of food (and wine!), fantastic art, and amazing dancing performances. Everyone had a wonderful time.


The very talented Nicole Edge and Christa Rosenkranz from Cairo on the Coast. We had originally planned to have the dance performances outside, but the Savannah weather decided it didn't want to cooperate (it was a bit chilly and rainy), so we moved the dancers into the gallery. It was a bit cramped, but I am glad we had them inside as the work provided a great backdrop and really brought everything together.


Razi from the troupe Mei'attah Raqs.

Alexandra Clotfelter, who contributed some beautiful posters to the show as well as dancing.


Carrie Padgett's beautiful painting.

Christa's posters, which are available for sale for $15 each.

Mary Larsen's watercolor dancers with Carrie's wonderful abstract dancer paintings.

Details of Mary's paintings. The dancers on either end are my favorites, but I love them all!

Details of Carrie's abstract paintings.

Christa's large dancer paintings.

Alexandra's posters.

Very happy artists...

...and equally happy dancers.




I want to say thank you to everyone that made it out to the show, and extend an extra special thank you to my fellow HIPnotize artists. I couldn't ask for a better group of artists to exhibit with, or a better group of friends.

Also, if you missed the opening you can view some videos of the dancer performances here. The work will be up until Wednesday, October 23rd, and the gallery is open from 2-5pm. All the work is available for purchase. If you can't make it to the gallery but are interested in purchasing one of the pieces (or a print of one of the pieces), just send me an email and I can put you in touch with the artist.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And the award goes to...


...wait, what?

Like most people I was incredibly surprised when it was announced that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And like most people I think it's very premature. BUT (and a mighty big "but" it is, as my dad would say) I don't think that means that the honor should be discounted entirely. It's a symbol of the 180° turn the US has made in the eyes of the international community, and considering how the world viewed the last administration, it's incredibly refreshing. Has Obama fully earned the award yet? I don't think so, and neither does he from listening to his acceptance conference from yesterday. He has, however, set things in motion for working to create a better country, and a better world. And I think everyone can agree that that means something.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Help, I'm a rock!

Wow, man, it's a drag being a rock. I wish I was anything but a rock. Heck, I'd even like to be a policeman...


Er, sorry...momentary freak out. This is my other contribution to the HIPnotize show. I wanted to focus on the geological history of the region where belly dancing originated---the Middle East. The dancer's belt features a pattern of oil drills while her skirt design turns into layers of rock...complete with Babylonian artifacts and fossils from the early Oligocene and late Cretaceous.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We're gonna need a bigger veil...


One of my pieces for the show I mentioned in my last post. And also my submission for Illustration Friday!

The show is entitled HIPnotize and will be featuring work inspired by belly dancing, as well as live belly dance performances. The opening reception will be held on Friday, October 16th from 6 to 9pm at the Truspace Gallery in Desotorow, 2427 De Soto Ave. If you're in Savannah, please come by! There will be artwork by the talented Mary Larsen, and Christa Rosenkranz (who will be dancing, as well).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mural Painting, a Call for Entries, and other news

I know it has been far too long since my last post, and I apologize. I've been very busy. I designed and sent out a new, more focused set of promotional mailers, and have also been working on new illustrations as well as getting a show together with some friends (details to come). But it hasn't been all work and no play--I've also been excitedly planning my graduation trip (compliments of my mother and a great family friend) to the UK! I promise pictures and travel sketches.

This week has been particularly engaging as I helped paint a large mural in Savannah's Jepson Center for the Arts in preparation for their upcoming Dutch Utopia exhibition. It's looking to be a really fantastic show and everyone at the museum is very excited about it. We used paintings featured in the exhibition as inspiration for the mural. The painting is on the top floor of the Jepson Center and can be seen from the bottom of the stairs, as well as from Telfair Square. The work was fun, but exhausting. I've spent 31 hours working on it since last Friday and am very glad to have it finished!








Also, Creative Quarterly is holding another call for entries for their next CQ issue. Details can be found on their site.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Psychedelia, Typography, and Human Rights (oh my?)

It's been a while since I've posted---I've been a bit preoccupied with the post-grad job search, as well as trying to have a bit of fun. I recently got a chance to visit the Denver Art Museum and see their temporary Psychedelic Experience exhibition. It. Was. Amaaaaazing. I've been to some pretty nice exhibits before, but never one that nearly melted my face off with its awesomeness (those are very technical art terms, if you couldn't tell). Between the typography, colors, and actual drawings/graphics, I went into sensory overload. Especially taking into account that all of the posters were created before the advent of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and daFont.com. Back in the day, illustrators had to do all of that stuff freehand (while walking 12 miles to school in the snow, and it was up hill both ways!). I think the great use of typography in the exhibition lent itself a bit in my newest piece...


All hand-lettered text in acrylic, with the orange background added in Photoshop. I think the message speaks for itself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I dreamed there was no war...


This was an idea I had for my promotional mailer, but I ended up not using it. Partly because one of my professors felt that nuclear weapons "weren't a big news story anymore". I completely disagree, but the image isn't really about nuclear weapons, anyway. It's more about how while it takes the effort of so many in order to maintain peace, it only take one person to start a war.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Graduation, Website Launch, & a call for entries

Well, I did it...I graduated from college. About 2 and a half weeks ago. Hey, give me a break on the announcement, I needed a bit of a vacation! Anyway, I graduated and sent out my first batch of promo cards, so I feel like a "real" illustrator now. Though I think I'll feel more like one when I get my first job.

Though speaking of promo, I got my official portfolio site up and running, and although I'm not a web design guru, I'm pretty happy with it. Feel free to visit and link to me if you wish:

www.anna-cooper.com

I also wanted to give my fellow artists a heads up and announce that Creative Quarterly (sister publication to 3x3 Magazine) is having a call for entries. The deadline is July 31st and there's only a $10 per entry fee. There's no maximum limit for the number of entries, and it isn't limited to just illustration. You can also submit fine art, graphic design, and photography. There are also separate sections for student and professional work. You can get more information from their website.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Borderline show

Saturday marked the opening reception for my Drawing on a Theme class' Borderline show. We paired up with the Foundations Department's Non-Objective Drawing class to put on an exhibit of student work from both classes. I think the show was a big success---we had a pretty good turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy the work. I thought I'd post some pictures of the exhibition.

Carrie from Non-Objective Drawing was nice enough to get the gallery plans and map out where everyone's work was going. I lucked out and got a great spot---right at the opening of the gallery!

My friend Sarah's Theme drawings. She portrayed characters from her favorite classic novels. She has Jane Eyre, Cathy and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Edmond Dant├Ęs from The Count of Monte Cristo, and Alexandra from O Pioneers!.

Classmate Ben did his Theme over awkward moments. Each of the pieces are charcoal and pastel on toned paper. I thought they came out beautifully!

Here are Carrie's pieces from Non-Objective Drawing. Unfortunately the photo does not do her pieces justice. The colors are much more beautiful in person.

Meredith Lear's Theme project. Meredith is originally from Kentucky and her project dealt with the long drive she would take between her hometown and Savannah, GA. The piece was inspired by the boring billboards she would see as she was traveling between her two "homes". Each piece is done in charcoal with a bit of acrylic paint here and there.

This is one of my friend Brittany's pieces from Non-Objective Drawing. She had four pieces that were all about 2" x 12" dealing with portraying a dance non-objectively. She drew all of her pieces on illustration board with pencil and ballpoint pen. They are so brilliant and detailed, and really remind me of Roger Dean's work.

This was done by my classmate Jess. She had two other large drawings, but unfortunately one of them got pulled from the show due to censorship (the piece was a bit explicit and we were having the venue at a church). It was too bad since it was an absolutely stunning piece and my favorite from her series.

These were done by my classmate Chris. He portrayed his favorite authors along with characters from their books. From left to right, H.G. Wells, Jules Vern, and Rudyard Kipling.

I loved my classmate Lauren's work. She decided to make handmade journals portraying the Bohemian ideals of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love. For the exhibition she displayed her journals in a vintage suitcase along with things a Bohemian would most likely take while traveling.

And finally, me with the boys!

And if anyone is in Savannah, GA and free this Friday evening, please come to the SCAD Illustration Senior show! It's being held at the Illustration gallery in Savannah Mall from 5-7 pm. You can check out the Facebook page for more info.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Five Elements: The Void - Syd Barrett

"Astronomy Domine" - acrylic - 9" x 12"

The Void (Syd Barrett, guitarist/songwriter): The Void is associated with creative energy, spontaneity, and inventiveness. It is also considered the highest of the elements as it gives birth to Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Syd is the quintessential Void: he created the Floyd, as well as provided them with a powerful creative and inventive force. He also all but disappeared into a void (choosing to live as a near recluse for most of his life post-Floyd), as well as created a void within the band with his departure. This absence provided the inspiration for the album Wish You Were Here. Syd is still a formidable creative force, inspiring many famous musicians and artists, such as David Bowie and Robyn Hitchcock. And me, of course.

The Five Elements: Fire - Roger Waters

"Burning Bridges" - acrylic - 9" x 12"

Fire (Roger Waters, bassist/songwriter): The element of fire is associated with passion, drive, and motivation. It could be well argued that Roger was the most passionate member of Pink Floyd. He kept the band moving after Syd Barrett's departure as head songwriter in 1968. He also penned the lyrics to the band's most famous albums: Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. However, too much fire can be destructive, as evidenced by Roger's tumultuous post-Floyd relationship with David Gilmour. Fortunately Roger (and David) was able to cool off for a reunion gig at Live 8.

The Five Elements: Earth - David Gilmour

"Grantchester Meadows" - acrylic - 9" x 12"

Earth (David Gilmour, guitarist):
Earth is an element associated with stubbornness and stability. David has aspects of both in his personality. When he joined the band, he provided a stable alternative to Syd Barrett as a guitarist. In the 80's his stubborn nature kicked in when he refused acquiesce to Roger's wish that the group disband after Roger's departure. Even David's way of playing resembles the earth; rather than writhe around on stage like many guitarists during mind bending solos, David stands very solid and natural on stage, focusing intently on playing his signature black Stratocaster.

The Five Elements: Water - Richard Wright

"Rain in the Country" - acrylic - 9" x 12"

Water (Richard Wright, keyboardist): Water is an element associated with adaptability, flexibility, and magnetism. Rick's playing has always reminded me a bit of water--fluid and beautiful, and quite necessary to the life of the music. When paired with David Gilmour's (Earth) guitar playing, the two form a harmonious bond each other, like each piece was specifically created for the other.

The Five Elements: Air - Nick Mason

For the past 9 weeks I have been hard at work on creating paintings for my Drawing on a Theme class. Each student had to propose a theme (connected by subject, materials, or both) and create a number of works based around the theme. I decided I wanted to do a series of portraits for my theme as had no figures in my illustration portfolio. I came up with the concept of portraying the members of Pink Floyd as the five elements, something inspired by Storm Thorgerson's wonderful photographs for the Wish You Were Here album cover. I matched each individual with an element that best represented their personality. So, without further ado, I give you the first painting in the series...

"A Pillow of Winds" - acrylic - 9" x 12"

Air (Nick Mason, drummer): Air is associated with movement, benevolence, and communication. These all perfectly describe Nick. His instrument of choice requires a significant amount of movement to play. Nick has also acted as a communication medium between other members of the band, especially in some of the more tumultuous times. With the aid of Bob Geldof, he managed to help put together the Floyd's famous reunion at Live 8 in 2005.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Promotional mailers

Well, the art updates have been few and far between, haven't they? I promise I'm working! Actually, I've been doing so much I haven't had time to update. Between doing work for classes I'm also on the planning committee for 2 shows, as well as working on the SCAD Illustration Savannah Mall mural project. But I am getting a lot done, and I am having fun doing it.

I just received my first ever batch of promotional postcards from GotPrint, and I must say, they look fantastic! I am very pleased with the quality. I also ordered business cards, but they haven't arrived yet. However, I'm sure they will be as great as my promo cards. I'm really looking forward to sending them out to art directors and seeing if I get any bites. I decided to cater this card to the editorial market since that's the area I'm most interested in doing work for. The piece is meant to be a comment on the mortgage crisis and predatory lending.


Also, if you're in the Savannah area, please come to the Borderline show on Saturday, May 23rd! It's one of the shows I've been helping to plan exhibiting the works from my Drawing on a Theme class, as well as SCAD's Non-Objective Drawing class. There will be some fantastic work, plus yummy goodies to snack on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sidewalk Arts Festival

Saturday marked SCAD's famous Sidewalk Arts Festival. It's something that I had always wanted to participate in since I started school here 3 years ago (has it really been that long?), but I always managed to talk myself out of it because of school projects. This year I was determined to do it since it's my last year. Fortunately, two of my very good friends wanted to do it, too, so we decided to team up and collaborate on a design. We came up with good concept--an underwater tea party featuring our favorite animals. The magnificent Gally sketched up a design, to which Katie and I put in our characters (a fox and a pig, respectively). And with sandwiches, drinks, and supplies in tow, we set out for Forsyth Park to participate!


The concept.


Our squares. Notice how clean Gally's & Katie's shins are. They didn't stay that way for long.

Our chalk. We had two boxes with only these colors (plus white, which Gally was currently using).

Gally sketches out the drawing.

Adding color. Unfortunately I'm not in the process shots because I was the official picture taker.




All done!

I love Katie's adorable fox. And the John Cleese-esque octopus.



Dirty (but happy!) artists. I'm really impressed at the way the piece turned out, especially since none of us work with chalk or pastels!