Monday, July 17, 2017

The Artistic Process

About three months ago I had a freelance job for a lady who lives in New York. She is a costume designer and was working on costumes for Disney Land in Tokyo, Japan. She provided me with very detailed, photoshop generated mock ups of the costumes she designed and I was to paint them on paper. She later explained to me that I was simply filling in a small portion of her artistic process. First she would design the costumes and plan their colors. Then I would use her computer mock ups and swatches to create the colors on paper. It turns out that the costume makers would use my drawings for color matching rather than the computer generated mock ups because the computer screen shines light through the image and it makes it very hard to interpret the colors in the real world. So my work basically made her imagination's ideal easier to interpret for the costume makers. Then the costumes were going to be made using white material. Then adjustments and remakes would be made. And then, finally, the actual materials would be used to make the actual costumes.

Sometimes one of my paintings for her would take about 20 or more hours to finish. It wasn't because I was slow, but because it was painstakingly time consuming to mix the right shades of colors, check with her via text and photos weather or not the colors were correct and often times repainting the same vestige 4 or more times until I would get the color right. She had something like 60 of those kinds of images, if I remember correctly. I did not get to paint all of them, but I painted quite a few, I think about 16 and it was very time consuming. The incredible thing was that I was not even providing her with a finished product of her brain child. I was only one cog in a big wheel of an artistic process that led to the eventual completion of the project. After working for her and getting insight into her very intricate and time consuming process I came to a realization that there really was no cutting corners when you wanted to get a thing done right.

I've always been under the impression that I should learn to make my paintings quicker. I like to have intricate details, but I should somehow accelerate the making of the details by figuring out some way where they're suggested rather than carefully depicted. Now I know that if I like to have intricate details I should come to terms that those details will take some time to create and it's okay that it will take many hours, because that's how long a thing takes to make if I want it done the way I envision it in my brain. I think my latest piece really shows growth in my willingness to do what I endeavor to accomplish. I've certainly done other paintings in my life that took as long and were quite intricate, but I think this has a larger diversity in depth and pattern and I hope that my next pieces continue to improve.

This current work has taken me at least 30 hours to paint if not longer. A very basic run down of my process is that I choose images to reference when I decide to paint something. Then I combine various elements and use those images when necessary to look at. I use many rulers, compasses and right angles. I switch from tiny to larger brushes and back to tiny ones depending on the size of the surface area I am painting. Sometimes I look at a book of my favorite artist to help me with technique or to simply inspire myself when I'm making decisions on what direction to go to accomplish the best result.