Jeremy Geddes May 9, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Surreal.
Tags: Jeremy Geddes, Taylor Grant
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Post by Taylor Grant
Jeremy Geddes is a working illustrator in Melbourne, Australia. Beginning his career as a video game artist and art director, Geddes made a name for himself in the world of comics, game art and graphic novels. Having studied painting in the 90’s, Jeremy became a master of oils and turned to a career as a full time painter in 2003. His paintings exhibit an amazing capacity for rendering,with rich tones, extreme detail and a carefully considered composition. In order to achieve such refined finishes, Geddes starts with a preliminary painting which allow him to work out the composition, color and tone before starting on the finish. From there, the painting is drawn out using washes of color to prep the canvas. Finally, the painting is completed and then an additional level of glazes is added to enhance the depth of colors and texture.
A combination of conceptual planning and technical ability makes Geddes’ pieces incredibly compelling. The extreme photorealism of his rendering creates scenes that are completely believable, despite the surrealist elements. This idea is exemplified in Heat Death which features an astronaut floating weightlessly in an urban setting. Though his gravity defying pose is impossible, the figure and setting are both recognizable and realistic. I think this juxtaposition heightens the surrealism because I read the scene as a photograph, making it disconcerting because I know it could not actually occur.
The same eerie discontentment is seen in Cluster. but unlike other works by Geddes, this piece is not in a setting but instead uses the negative space to add to the surrealism. the figures are intertwined to create an uncomfortable cluster in the center of the page. Their limbs are entangled but the weight of the form is limp. The discomfort of their pose is haunting, which is again heightened by the believability of the rendering .
Jeremy Geddes continues to illustrate graphic novels, commissioned paintings and his own personally conceptualized work. You can view more of his paintings at: www.jeremygeddesart.com
Lost in Translation? Adapting Existing Stories for Film April 25, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Film, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
Tags: Animation Adaptations, Arielle Jovellanos, Coraline, Film Adaptations, The Last Airbender
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Post by Arielle Jovellanos
Adapt – n. – make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose. (wordnet.princeton.edu)
Caption: (above left and clockwise) How to Train Your Dragon 2010, Alice in Wonderland 2010, X-Men 2000, Scooby Doo 2002, Dragonball Evolution 2009, & The Phantom of the Opera 2004.
Adaptations. In a world full of penny-pinching consumers in a bad economy, adaptations are all the rage in Hollywood where many executives would rather invest their energy, time, and money on adapting proven successes rather than risking it on a new, untested idea. Hence, we get things like Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, Sex and the City, Harry Potter, and Iron Man all up in our movie theaters. (And then there are the sequels, but that’s a whole other discussion…)
Now, just because there are a lot of something-to-film adaptations out there, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all good. Adaptations can be tricky. It is much easier said than done to turn a book into a movie or a cartoon into a live-action film. It’s not simply a case of, say, buying a whole bunch of copies of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, handing them out to your cast, and saving money on printing an actual script. There is a lot of work that goes into adapting an existing to work into a film because it is essentially about translating a story into a completely different medium and still keeping its heart intact. What works in one medium may not automatically translate successfully to fit the big screen.
Let’s take a look at these two movies that were adapted from successful source material and try to analyze what makes them work or makes them fail as full-length feature films…
Caption: (above left) Director Henry Selick’s Coraline 2009 (above right) Director M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender 2010
Coraline, a 2009 stop-motion animation film directed by Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach’s Henry Selick was adapted from Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed children’s novella of the same name. In this case, save for a few wonderfully disturbing illustrations by Dave McKean interspersed throughout the pages of the book, the film crew had only the story as reference to create the world and define the art direction.
Caption: (above) Dave McKean’s book cover and illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s Coraline 2002
As someone who read the book ages before seeing this film, I admit I was a bit surprised by the changes made to the storyline—most notably, the addition of the new character “Wybie,” a boy who lives in Coraline’s new neighborhood.
Ultimately, while it does stray from the source material, the decision to add Wybie into the movie was a smart one. In the book, though Coraline is alone her thought process is written through the narration and the reader gets a grasp of her personality through their understanding of the text. In the movie, Coraline needed somebody to talk to so the audience could visually understand her personality and motives without the filmmakers having to default to in-head voice-over.
Caption: (above) Screencaps from Selick’s Coraline 2009 film
There are a few other changes made, in regards to setting, pacing, dialogue, and the like, but in the end I feel everything added up to a high-quality film adaptation. What I personally find most successful about Coraline’s adaptation is that the filmmakers did not get themselves caught up in word-for-word accuracy to the book. Instead, they managed to distill the progressively building feelings of disturbing dread the reader experiences while reading, and manifested that same feeling on screen.
For example, art direction-wise, the film literally does become darker as the plot progresses, contrasting sharply to the bright colors Coraline first encounters when entering the Other World. This direction alone tells the story of the book visually in a way that needs no written or narrated explanation for the audience.
Caption: (above) Screencaps from Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko’s animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender 2005-08.
Moving on to another film adaptation, director M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action movie The Last Airbender (2010) to many critics and fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-08), the original animated TV show, was a disappointing, boring, and over-expository mess which failed to do justice to Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s popular and award winning source material.
Caption: (above) Screencaps from Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender
In my opinion, there are tons of reasons as to why this movie failed, but the biggest problems for me were:
1. The movie told what was going on rather than showed what was going on. The movie attempted to squish in the arch of an entire 20-episode season into 103 minutes. To fill in the blanks, Shyamalan decided to employ the use of a narrator to explain away what happened rather than letting the visuals speak for themselves.
For example, to explain the budding romantic relationship between two characters, the narrator blandly says to the audience, “They became very close” instead of actually showing the two characters becoming closer. In this case, voice-over wasn’t used for any artistic purpose; it was used because the visuals of the film weren’t strong enough to carry the storyline without a narrator.
Caption: (above) Map of the Asian-inspired world of TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender
2. The movie’s direction failed to focus on the bigger picture, instead choosing to focus on unnecessary details and losing the actual message of the series in the process.
One of the first things people should ask themselves when considering making an animation is, “Why is it animated?” This is why it is so difficult to transform animation into live action. Through its entire conception, Avatar: The Last Airbender was inherently designed to be an animated series. The realm of animation opened several opportunities to DiMartino and Konietzko in the original show. For example, the fact that it was animated allowed the audience to suspend disbelief immediately concerning the manipulation and “bending” of the elements and the animal hybrids, which populate the Asian-inspired fantasy world.
The filmmakers of The Last Airbender got way too caught up in the little details such as having the animal hybrids show up for ten seconds even though within the script, they ultimately held little importance on the plot, making them seem like random anomalies on screen. There’s a difference between being meticulous with creating a fantasy world, and forcing something into the film just because it worked on TV. Because they were focusing on things like this, they lost focus on the actual story.
Caption: (above left) Original show concept art for character “Katara” by Bryan Konietzko, inspired by Asian & Inuit culture. (center) “Katara” as she appears in the show. (right) “Katara” as she appears in the film, played by Caucasian actress Nicola Peltz.
Yet at the same time, the filmmakers decided to forgo the heavily researched and accurate Asian-inspired art direction, which defined and set the show apart for its respectful and unique homage to Asian cultures in an American-made cartoon. The overarching theme of the series concerned the traditionally Asian concept of finding and maintaining balance and the Asian-inspired world only aided in emphasizing that theme.
In Shyamalan’s adaptation, he completely lost the spirit of the cartoon when he decided to turn the film into a generic good-versus-evil story and subsequently threw in some European-based, Lord of the Rings-esque elements along with vaguely Asian-ish inspirations into the art direction; this made for a very confusing fantasy world that seemed like it didn’t quite know what it was trying to be and therefore prevented the audience from really understanding what this world was about.
It is bizarre that—of all things—the largest and most dramatic changes they made from TV-to-film were in the Asian-inspired, art direction, which already came from real world influences and could have easily been adapted to live-action. In giving up this aspect of the world, they lost the entire heart of the story and changed it into something else entirely. Unlike Coraline, The Last Airbender failed to capture the feeling of the source material or concentrate on the most important elements of the story, resulting in an incredibly poor film adaptation.
The Armory Show Pier 92 and 94 2011 April 17, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post.
Tags: Erik Thor Sandberg, Lisandra Gomez, Luiz Zerbini, Ron Van Ser Ende, The Armory Show 2011
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Post by Lisandra Gomez
One of the biggest Art shows in New York just took place in Pier 92 and 94, there were over 1,000 Artist. They Varied from new and upcoming artist to up close with Chuck Close paintings. My personal favorite was there in the modern section; De Chirico, which was a nice surprise. I actually got tickets to go before the exhibition opened, let’s just say there was a massive crowd of gentlemen in suits, armed with gorgeous women. It was a little uncomfortable at first just because I had to weave around the mass of people huddled in front of the actual art work; but a great experience none the less. A teacher once told me that when going to an opening other artist are always the harshest critics, dealers never really give their opinion on what they think because they want to learn what other people are interested in, and collectors tend to love mostly everything. This quote was confirmed when most of my friends from the Fine Arts department mentioned they didn’t enjoy the contemporary section very much, but at the opening everyone there seemed pleased and impressed.
I put together a couple of images of the contemporary artist that I found interesting. The first piece that struck was this enormous 210×160 cm canvas, acrylic on canvas. By the Artist Luiz Zerbini it was this Huge this grid pattern in the background that resembled the side of
apartment buildings in some type of tropical country. Each small cube was a different color and so the entire background was covered in this urban looking grid. Then there’s these street wires and phone poles covered with wild life ; leaves, cactus, monkeys. It’s decaying wild
life over a city and rectilinear line work is amazing and the juxtaposition between the two is what really strikes me as beautiful. What really catches my attention is his use of exotic colors and how well he uses them within the space he creates. There strong reds with yellow hues and browns near light blue. His palette is remarkable rich with luminous and arranged with wild life images. He combines natural settings with the urban life and I can almost name a place and town while looking at this painting. Although they are not literal representation of lands they can place a date and time. I’m all for meticulous and intense details so this one definitely stole my heart. Here are some close ups I took. This piece in particular is called Le Corbusier 3D World, 2010. By the Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini.
Then I went around the corner and bumped into a piece by Erik Thor Sandberg and couldn’t help but admire how this piece was more closely related to illustration rather because of its peculiar compositions, unusual in a good way though. The craftsmanship was flawless and they were very baroque in their style, which is something we don’t see too often now a days. Although the message is ambiguous I found that all of his work had similar patterns in which they are all very surreal, I would say he is the contemporary Dali.
I Chose to talk about Ron Van Ser Ende, Sculpture reliefs sine there are very 3 dimensional. His pieces are made of salvaged wood. His work consist of colored bit and pieces of wood nailed together to form an image. They aren’t repainted in order to fit his work. With these found pieces he compiles these enormous reliefs of sometimes everyday objects he finds interesting. These sculptures are usually in extreme perspective and he uses this to his advantage. Here are some images, (Below)
(above) work by Ron Van Ser Ende
His work references mosaics in a more modern way. On a interview he speaks of how growing up most of his town was very industrial and that he felt liberated when he expressed himself in sculpture. A nice quote by him “Cars evoke our individuality but at the same time they are the symbol of environmental catastrophe, of unsustainability.” This in fact is relevant since fueled vehicles take a large amount of fossil fuels to build. His main influences are, pop culture and his ‘basic boyish enthusiasm’. These overly sized figures have an immense amount of time and planning in them. When seen from a far they look like paintings but what a brilliant surprise when you get up-close and see all the almost invisible nails keeping these pieces of wood together. A must see at the Armory.
Illustrator Scott Campbell April 9, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Artists, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Uncategorized.
Tags: Scott Campbell illustrations, Vania Wat
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Post by Vania Wat
Scott Campbell graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a BFA in illustration with a focus on comics and children’s illustration in 1992. He began his career at Lucas Learning as a concepts artist for children’s video games. Over the years, he has worked as Art Director for Double Fine productions, published numerous comics and children’s books, and exhibited at galleries. He is most known for his nostalgic watercolor paintings and scraggily drawing aesthetic.
(above) From Campbell’s book “Zombie in Love” by Kelly DiPucchio (2011)
One of Campbell’s most recent endeavors is his GREAT SHOWDOWNS project in which he illustrates famous scenes in movies. He is very successful in choosing a scene in a movie and rendering it in his carefree , cute style while preserving key elements and spirit of the movie. It has received great popularity, as viewers often have fun guessing what movies are depicted.
Scott Campbell has received an Honorable Mention (2009) and Silver Medal (2005) for Dear Ship’s Log and Igloo Head and Tree Head, respectively. He has also received an Ignatz nomination for Best New Talent as well as numerous art direction awards for Psychonauts, a children’s computer game by Double Fine Productions.
Lars Lerin – A Master of Light in Watercolor March 9, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post, Uncategorized.
Tags: Lars Lerin, Linnea Gad, Swedish art, Watercolor
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Post by Linnea Gad
Lars Lerin, born in 1954, is one of Sweden’s most respected artist and writer. Yet most people might not recognize his name in the United States. Lerin works primarily in watercolor on large sheets of paper, sometimes in a collage style, occasionally integrating his writing on his paintings. He is an watercolor painter tied to a tradition of north European landscape painting. His body of work is both partly travel documentation based on his trips to Arktis, Antarctic, Iceland, India, the middle east, Scotland to name a few, and partly autobiographical landscapes from his childhood and emotional life.
But no matter where in time or space he is does he capture the light and the darks like a master painter. In Lerin’s painting it is the misty air, the darkness and the shadows that dominates. Paintings from the coast of Norway embodies the crisp Scandinavian light while paintings from India are filled with a warm polluted light.
The relationship of the light and the darkness is rendered so carefully and precisely that it transcends the painting. The wet ground reflects as mirror and sky hangs heavy over the building. One can sense the dampness of a fish factory, the dirty heat of a village in India or the ice-cold winter night depicted with a snow-covered ground and a black sky in the north of Sweden.
Lerin posses a talent for turning a depressing, grey, residential house in a deserted suburb, or piles of fish guts into the most delicate and precious things. Just like the 17th century landscape painters who found beauty in nature or the view overlooking a city with a domestic church in its centre, Lerin finds beauty in more unconventional subjects like collapsing shanty towns or a roadside gas station.
To see more of his work visit his website http://www.laxholmen.org/text1_5.html All of the above work is from Lars Lerin.
Make a T-Shirt Demo March 8, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Student Blog posts, Student Post.
Tags: Jonathan Fast, make a T-Shirt demo
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Post by Jonathan Fast
Learn to make a T-shirt in under 30 minutes, save yourself some big cash by making your silkscreening T-shirts yourself. All you need is about 1/2 a yard of fabric/t-shirt and optional finish trim and thread! You can find this t-shirt pattern for free on Burdastyle.com
Click here for the link to the video
Anime Transformation March 4, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Animation, Art History, Comics, Film, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Visual Narrative.
Tags: Anime, Death Note, Sailor Moon, Sarah Ding, Transformation
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Post by Sarah Ding
Anime is a distinct art style that originated in Japan during the 20th century, in which Japanese filmmakers first became influenced by Western animation techniques. The highly successful Disney 1937 animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became a huge influence on manga artists, who simplified many of the techniques and styles of Walt Disney’s animations due to low budget and labor. Throughout time, the distinct look of anime has transformed significantly, and although there are numerous different styles of anime, they all have common stylistic elements typical to the anime style.
So what exactly is the anime style? Although the features of the face and proportions of anime characters are exaggerated, they are not necessarily classified as cartoons. The most distinct feature of anime characters is their overly large eyes, in order to express their emotions through to the viewer.
However, recently anime has started to become extraordinarily more realistic in terms of the facial features. Even body proportions are beginning to fit the standard human proportions we would normally recognize. The most familiar form of anime could arguably be Sailor Moon, created by manga artist Naoko Takeuchi.
(above) Sailor Moon, A team of magical cute girls who are in reality magical warriors destined to save the Earth, and later the entire galaxy. Their features and proportions embody the look of anime girls.
Anime might on the surface appear to all look very similar but is in fact quite varied. The anime style of Sailor Moon is remarkably different than the style the viewer sees in Death Note, a well-known manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by manga artist Takeshi Obata.
(above) Two of the characters in Deathnote , Light Yagami, and “L” .
The art and possibly even the story line has taken on a more realistic approach. Here, the manga artist is deviating from the usual large eyes and small mouth characteristics that are typical of anime and drawing features more in proportion.
(above) Death Note illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Although there will always be different variations of anime (from very generic to semi-realistic), I feel that this style in general is starting to become much more realistic by opening itself up to different influences and styles.
Motion in Art February 7, 2011Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Student Blog posts, Student Post, Uncategorized.
Tags: Leigh Cunningham, Motion in art, Nude descending a staircase
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Post by Leigh Cunningham
The concept of motion has been explored throughout history in the work of artists. Depicting motion in art spans the range of two and three-dimensional pieces, and covers a broad spectrum of cultures and purposes. While traditional art works (drawings, paintings, sculptures and photographs) served only to capture a single moment in time, numerous artists have challenged these restrictions and ventured to convey a sense of movement, or a suggestion of motion over a longer interval of time. One of the early artists to explore motion and a main sources for contemporary artists interested in motion is the work of Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904). Branching off of genuine intrigue and exploratory research, Muybridge began photographing animals in motion, and by1878 he had done a series of photographs capturing a horse galloping, thus providing accurate reference for illustrators of the time.
(above) stills from Muybridge’s series, “The Horse in Motion”
Similarly, French artist Marcel Duchamp tackles the concept of motion through cubism, using fractured parts of what would seemingly be a sequence of images to show a figure in motion.
Motion has also been handled in sculpture, perhaps the most prominent being the works created during the Italian Futurist movement. Italian futurism was about glorifying speed and in some cases, the brutality of war, while also declaring a new way of life during a time saturated in new technologies.
Umberto Boccioni’s futurist bronze sculpture incorporates the idea of motion into a deeper connection between the subject and it’s relation to the space around it. His sculpture serves as a tangible work of art that relates every being to its surroundings.
Contemporary painter, Gerhard Richter appropriated the idea behind Duchamp’s Nude Descending A Staircase and painted Woman Descending the Staircase, as well as Nude on a Staircase. In both paintings, the subject is painted in a naturalistic way, giving a completely opposite feel to the original iconic painting of Duchamp. While the viewer still does not see every step, a feeling of unrest exists in the piece, suggesting that she(the subject) is not a static element, but rather a component of the scene in its entirety.
(above left) Ema/Nude on a Staircase (Ema/Akt auf einer Treppe) (above right) Woman Descending the Staircase (Frau, die Treppe herabgehend) www.gerhard-richter.com/
Shunga May 13, 2010Posted by leskanturek in Art History, Printmaking, Student Blog posts, Student Post.
Tags: Japanese woodblock, Josey Herrington, Shunga
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by Josey Herrington
Shunga are erotic Japanese woodblock prints which can be traced back to the the Heian period (794 to 1185) but reached it’s peak in the Edo period (1603 to 1867). The intention of these prints is not to depict sex in a direct, explicit manner, but rather to express the energy, intensity, and beauty of erotism which exists in the Japanese culture but can not be openly demonstrated.
These prints depict not just one idealized portrayal of erotism but explore varying and irregular forms of sexuality. The subjects depicted range from the Courtesans who attended the Shogun’s high court to the ordinary working class, from couples drastically differing in age to homosexuality and even zoophilia.
In the eyes of outsiders this could be seen as a form of primitive pornography, but on the contrary Shunga was not seen as a taboo and was widely accepted as a form of art. As western concepts of the erotic revolve around the amount of explicit nudity, the subjects in Shunga are clothed in flowing garments. This is because public baths or onsen were a part of everyday life in Japan and thus nudity was not valued as the erotic. The subjects clothing creates an aesthetically pleasing flow to their bodies but also directs the viewers eye to what is intentionally revealed.
Shunga is translated into “Images of Spring” and stands as a connection between the erotic and the beauty of the changing of seasons. It is an acceptable medium in which a culture embraces and connects within strict social boundaries.
(above) Cherry Blossoms are iconic in Japan for representing spring