I can now talk publicly about one of my current projects: I’m doing an illustration, a public art piece and giving a speech for Salmon Creek Journal and Washington State University! The unveiling of the public artwork, and my speech, will be in October. And the magazine illustration will flow from that. Here’s how it all began:
You know I’m deaf right? Well some time back now at one of my local libraries I gave a drawing demo and signed copies of my book “Dogs by Sue Clancy”. During the demo, (picture me wearing an apron, ink brush in hand, art materials surrounding me on a table and an ever flowing/ebbing group of people watching and asking me questions) a woman walked confidently up to my table. To my Deaf ears she said “I’m glad to see you! My name is Amanda Xbmlsnn and I’m the editor for Whelngfm Fumeek Ourmrnal magazine. I’d like to talk to you about fmesryulm tjosun. Are you on social media?” I replied “Yes, I’m on social media. My cards have my contact info. What did you say…” “Great!” said the lady, grabbing one of every card I had on the table “I’ll contact you!” Off she went. Someone else asked me a question and the rest of the day flew by with a whooshing sound.
A few hours later when the day was done my sweetie came to help me pack up my art materials to leave the library. “How did your day go?” she asked. “Very good – but, darn my ears, I met an editor from a magazine and I didn’t hear her name or even the name of the magazine!!” I said feeling slightly frustrated. Sweetie, knowing that editors are some of my favorite people on the planet, commiserated with me. Feeling somewhat soothed I sighed “I’ll just have to hope she gets in touch with me.”
We went out for a restorative dinner and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
When I next checked my computer I had an email, a Twitter message, a Facebook message and an Instagram message all from Amanda The Editor of Salmon Creek Journal!
There was a lot of subsequent discussion via messages, but in short, the magazine (Salmon Creek Journal – SCJ) wanted to select one community submission to feature in both a gallery showcase and their 2018 print issue – and my work was what they wanted to be the “one community submission”! The projects relates to a program called “Dis(covering)ability” – so me being Deaf was a virtue…
We arranged for a face to face meeting at the Washington State University (WSU)campus. I brought my camera and took about 45 photographs for my own use as I created my artwork. I took lots of handwritten notes as Amanda The Editor and several other people talked about the campus, about their project and what artwork they hoped for from me. (My kind of artwork; my use of elements of a physical place etc. was what they wanted! And they wanted me to come give a speech…) Sweetie came with me to the meeting and took notes too. (After such meetings Sweetie and I compare our notes and many of my hearing gaps are nicely filled in!)
Here are a few of the photos I took during the meeting. Sharp-eyed followers of this blog will probably see a correlation between these pics and my finished artwork – which I’ll post eventually. (I mustn’t get ahead of Amanda The Editor in the posting/promo about this project. So I’ll be following her lead on when to post what…)
Since the students are the focus of the SCJ magazine and of the WSU campus – and the focus of the event “Dis(covering)ability” itself – I focused on creating an artistic design that emphasizes the people yet has a flavor of a specific to WSU place. I also wanted to imply a story in my wordless way of movement, of the discovery of sky’s-the-limit ability.
During our meeting on campus I was told that most of the WSU students first experience of campus is on a tour. They said that the fountain was a regular meeting place for students. As we walked about campus during the project meeting I saw lots of squirrels chasing each other, and birds flying about. I noticed that many of the buildings had a similar brick/tile pattern. All of these observations – and many more – were recorded in my notes.
Back at my studio I looked through my photos and my notes – and Sweeties notes – and I began drawing thumbnails for an overall design. Then I did research to determine the average-height of the characters to be included in the artwork and designing the overall crowd shape. (In my last post, here, I wrote my tips for drawing crowds.)
Here are a few photos of me at work:
In this pic I’m consulting one of my “animal encyclopedias” and comparing height of various species and listing/drawing a possible grouping. (Yes, that’s my dachshund on my lap ‘helping’ me work.)
In the pic below I’m developing some of the characters that I’d settled on in the first photo. I did lots and lots of drawings of characters in order to settle what they’d be wearing, how they’d stand, who they’d be standing next to and what kind of expression they might have on their face.
Days, if not weeks, went by filled with regular work like what is photographed above. My “SCJ/WSU” sketchbook for this project is, by now, almost completely full of notes and sketches.
Here, for fun, is another page of sketches:
As per my arrangement with Amanda The Editor I kept in touch with her and sent almost daily photos of my progress. Some of which she posted on the SCJ social media pages – and others she kept for possible posting later.
So I’ll stop this blog post here for now and see what Amanda The Editor does next. Besides it’s almost time for my supper. But before I go here is a photo, taken during our on-campus meeting, of Sweetie, Me and Amanda The Editor.
2 thoughts on “public art a magazine illustration and a speech”
What an exciting and interesting project. Congratulations on the commission. I look forward to seeing how it evolves.