sweet zeitgeist

Posted by on Mar 6, 2009 in Illustration, Maine College of Art | 2 comments

I enjoyed a sweet return to the House of Ninja this week, otherwise known as the Illustration department at Maine College of Art. The Illustration and the Graphic Design departments now share studio space, allowing for an energetic cross-pollination of disciplines. For the first time, both departments hosted an Open Studio. I’m not really sure how much mixing goes on, but it was a full house of curious and curiouser.

Megan Walker and Mary Blaxland stood at the door exercising their considerable satiric skills in caricature, probably drawing me as the Faculty Beasty.

I spied a new face, Sarah Yakawonis, who turned out to be a serene senior in GD, with some lovely graphics ornamenting her corner, just a hint of her design skills. She showed me a Valley of the Dolls paperdoll book she has worked on. Very witty and well-done, and I loved her skirt!

I got the short story on senior illustration major Mary Blaxland’s TV Boy, who makes a circuitous journey to the Great Goldfish through the rubble of past civilizations. I’m glad he has a little handsewn bunny to keep him company!

Sarah McCann, illustration senior, showed a well-researched body of work centered on zoology and critter fixations. Is that an anteater? In Sarah’s expert hands, he no doubt has an impressive backstory.

The animal manifestations continued over in the Metalsmithing and Jewelry department, also hosting an Open House.

I am an absolute sucker for these fascinating fabrications.

Back in the Illustration Open House, I was drawn to a bold series of designs by junior illustration major Johann Nunez Kemp. I met him in a freshman foundation review, but have never shared a class with him. These designs excited me in their potential as pattern and visual language.

Like, is there a word I should decipher here? I don’t really care. I read it anyway on a non-verbal level. He decided to apply this idea to a 3D torso.

While tattooing is a vogue of epic proportions, I find native and historical applications even more fascinating. I appropriated a Maori idea to an illustration awhile back.

I am way too squeamish for a tattoo of my own, so I draw them instead.

Once again, the idea of applied pattern seemed to recur in my line of sight, such as this wall, like an applied tattoo for interior design, by Bells & Whistles, a design firm in San Diego, that I spotted on designsponge, a fave blog.

And in an eerie example of synchronicity, here is a tattoo wall by Pamela Derosiers and Valeries Parizeault, partners in a design firm in Montreal.

So this confirms my little notion that there’s some crazy kismet happening in circles near and far. While killing time in Boston recently, I spied this bit o’ Fairey honey.

It was pasted to a construction walkway in Chinatown, a nod to Shepard Fairey’s big event at the ICA, which I swear I will see soon. He is a master of surface patterning, graphic impact, and cultural theater.

Meanwhile, though, I battle the elements. And make my own manifestations of pattern and nature.

Here’s to another Snow Day!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Jamie! I just want to quickly note that Johann’s last name is actually Nunez Kemp. Someone had left an e-mail address on his desk that read RDerosiers@meca.edu and he had asked all of us who that might be or why they left it. I thought I would point that out, just so there’s no confusion!

    Now that you’ve featured Bells & Whistles and Pam Derosiers, I’m going to go check out their websites! They look like fun!

  2. thanks for the correction, Katie!

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