Coda, created as part of The Little Country exhibition in Fort Collins, CO, watercolor on paper, 20 x30 inches.
Silence in Trauma for the Los Angeles Times. Jamie Sholberg, art director.
Touch, one of seven personal pieces interpreting the seven senses.
Link, created for ArtExpo at the Wonderbread Factory in San Diego, curated by Mark Murphy.
Prevention Magazine article titled Shadow Diseases. Donna Agajanian, art director.
Napa, from a solo show Around Here, Out There in Monterey, CA. Hanni Liliedahl, gallery owner.
Point Reyes, from a solo show Around Here, Out There in Monterey, CA.
Campaign Spotlight: Scott Laumann
An artist who knows no boundaries
Scott Laumann is both a nomad and a master of reinvention. Not rooted to one place or one style, he moves throughout the world with eyes wide open, taking in form, color and shape and re-imaging geography through his art. He quotes the Chinese geographer Yi-Fu Tuan who said that Americans have a sense of space but they don’t have a sense of place. They know how to move in the space. There’s not any direct relation to the place itself.
“I’m trying to find that sense of place with the work,” says Laumann. “It's more common these days for more commercial artists to be broad in their approach, maybe largely because of necessity. But that hasn't always been a seamless transition for me,” he relates. “Portraits have spilled over to ink prints, to oil painting, to working with natural pigments at specific sites to working on more sculptural installations. Sometimes I think I'm more designer than artist in the way I look at things. I'm always thinking about how work I complete can be applied or re-purposed in a new or complimentary way.”
The peripatetic illustrator grew up in Escondido in San Diego’s North County. He has been moving ever since, attending Northern Arizona University, and then to San Francisco where Gerald & Cullen Rapp signed him. Laumann’s early career was defined by award-winning portraits of musicians, and literary, film, and political figures for Rolling Stone magazine. He has done numerous commissions for Time, Rolling Stone, Reader's Digest, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Dow Jones, the Grammy Awards, Warner Brothers and Netscape, among others and has exhibited his work in the U.S. and abroad. In a twist on the commercial illustration world, Scott has become intrigued by making work for which an audience has yet to be determined, reveling in the sheer joy of creating at will.
An engaging conversationalist with an avid curiosity about a myriad of topics, communication is vitally important to Laumann, who loves to collaborate with artists in other disciplines, such as dance and music. This includes his wife Alicia, a dancer and choreographer, with whom he has collaborated; he has filmed her dancing in a series of Vimeos, most notably in the elegiac Five Frontier Poems.
It’s the lack of control that excites him about the process of making three-dimensional, site-specific, “immediate” work. Within a few weeks of my visit to interview Scott for a feature in CA’s Design Annual 55, the piles of sinuous branches and surprisingly delicate tumbleweeds outside his studio had transformed an art gallery into a dialectic between nature and defined space, becoming part of The Little Country, an exhibition in the Historic Carnegie Building based on Charles de Lint’s urban fantasy novel of the same name. “Instead of utilizing a literal visual interpretation of the novel, cues were taken from my local surroundings and themes were transposed from the novel onto the materials present,” Laumann explains. “The Russian Thistle, or tumbleweed, plays a metaphorically prominent role in the installation as a ubiquitous symbol of the local landscape. Interesting parallels can be found in its cycle of life-death-life with themes from the novel.
At the time Scott, his wife and their eight-year-old daughter Paloma, were happily settled in Ft. Collins, CO, having moved from San Francisco, CA. Over the previous decade he has called such disparate locales as Spain, Germany, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and two locations in Southern California “home”.
Recently Alicia took a 9-month assignment as a visiting professor at Colorado Mesa University so they are now living in Fruita, CO (near Grand Junction) until May. They expect to return to Fort Collins this summer. The town seems like a good fit for an artist who needs breathing space. I’m sure its college-town feel, microbreweries, restaurants, and charming Old Town don’t hurt its appeal.
To see more of Laumann’s work, visit www.scottlaumann.com, www.scottlaumannink.com, www.directoryofillustration.com
Q: What motivated you to begin drawing and making art? Were you one of those children who could always be found sketching?
A: I remember drawing when I was younger, but I was never one of those kids who doodled incessantly. Instead, I felt the need to graphically interpret everything I was interested in. I would create these elaborate drawn worlds on poster board of space stations and galactic battles. I’d design entire uniforms for a fictional football league. I remember that documentation was very important to me; anything visual had to correspond to words, stats and written text.
Q: Who or what were your influences?
A: Early on, I remember spending time at my grandparents’ house and being struck by the amount of art they had on display. They were pretty hip. They had a strong modernist sense of style – it was the first time I’d seen anything other than family photos on a wall. They collected original work from local artists. There were bold colors and shapes throughout their home. I distinctly remember being fascinated with a large Clyfford Still knockoff painting they had hanging above their Mid-Century sofa. The effect that composition had on me led me to explore artists who have a strong sense of color, shape and composition: Nicolas de Stael, Richard Diebenkorn. I also admire the work of contemporary multidisciplinary artists like Gabriel Orozco and Kiki Smith.
Q: How did you develop your color palette?
A: I think color is probably the single most exciting aspect of art to me. It’s also one of the most challenging aspects. It took me a lot of experimenting to feel comfortable with color, where I felt like it was a strength rather than a weakness. Now it drives most of my work. An artist who I can’t recall once told me that the key to a strong palette was to use only three colors to mix paint from. I don’t consciously think about that anymore, but I remember it being very helpful initially to bring some cohesiveness and confidence to my color sense.
Q: When you click on “Selected Projects” on your website, the page is filled with a variety of projects in different media. What would you say unifies your body of work?
A: Maybe color! In every project, I think about shape and negative space and the effect it will have upon the viewer to illicit an emotional response. I’m always trying to reveal meaning beyond the surface in each work, whether it be a portrait, ink block print or drawing.
Q: How did you develop your ink block style?
A: About 12 years ago, my wife and I were able to live in Andalucía, Spain. At the time, I was doing conceptual illustration almost exclusively. I felt like I had almost too much control in the work I was making; I wanted to be surprised again through my process. I became obsessed with the unfiltered light, rich colors and Spanish architecture and started making rudimentary ink block prints in response. I loved that I didn’t know what to expect when the color transferred to the paper. Made me feel like a kid again. I liked it so much I made more images with different subject matter. To my surprise, it was well received and I started receiving commissions for it.
Q: What is your preferred medium?
A: Whatever communicates an idea best. The idea really drives the medium. I fought the crossover approach for a while, but realized that my interests are much too varied to be confined to one approach. Lately, I’ve discovered a real love of detailed drawing and combining multiple mediums under one unified theme.
Q: What is your sketchbook process?
A: It’s eclectic. I take photos of things my eye is drawn to, I’ll scribble down stream of consciousness thoughts, gather natural elements, clip quotes from books. I’ve never been able to maintain a dedicated traditional sketchbook. I’d rather pin all these observations up in my studio and see what ideas develop out of their interaction.
Q: What is your favorite type of assignment?
A: I may have answered this question differently several years ago. I view an assignment as more collaboration now. I love to collaborate because it allows me to consider a viewpoint that I may not have arrived at on my own. It can open up a whole new direction for a given work. The best kind of collaboration is where the mutual exchange leads to work that is fresh and contains an element of surprise. The best assignments have this type of collaboration.
Q: What is your process for an editorial illustration?
A: I need to let the story or article settle over me for a while. This is probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of editorial illustration. I’m often intrigued by what is written or awakened to a new perspective. It gets my mind moving in a different direction. I typically sketch out a lot of visual ideas. Usually, there is some struggle in editing them down. When this happens, I remember something that I find distinguishes the best editorial work: illustrating the problem is often better than illustrating the solution. I send along the best sketches to the AD and include notes to clarify the concept.
Q: What inspires you?
A: My immediate environment: my wife and daughter, colors and patterns, a casual discussion. Remaining present to everything around me provides enough inspiration each day.
Q: You’ve lived and worked in so many places, what do you take away from each place when you leave for the next?
A: Each place we have lived has played a role in where I am now creatively, even if I don’t realize it. Over the past three years, in three different locations, I’ve really made a conscious decision to let the local landscape influence my work. I’ve found that themes from one place will carry over to the next and may find some completion there. The funny thing is, I feel that all of these moves have made me aware of the importance of setting down some roots in one place.
Q: Can you describe your studio environment?
A: I’ve been able to work in a renovated barn on a three-acre property with a view of the Rocky Mountains. Three years ago, I would have desired a studio space in the city. But living in Germany on the edge of the Black Forest made me aware of how important open space is to my creative process. Since I’m working in multiple disciplines, I need a lot of space to spread things out. And I love the fact that I can step outside, breathe fresh air and listen to the wind in the trees.
J. Otto Seibold, Untitled, vector illustration, dimensions variable, 2014.
Bill Mayer, Le Nouveau Chapeau de Marie.
Exhibitions of note nationwide.
J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch
Through March 8, 2015
The Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
(btwn. 3rd and 4th Streets)
San Francisco, CA
Children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold, has captivated kids for the last 20 years in this series written with Vivian Walsh. Their Mr. Lunch books were the first children’s books designed using computer software, a perfect fit for Seibold’s offbeat self-taught style. Mr. Lunch, the professional bird-chasing dog whose adventures the books captured in a sweet naïve style was based on the family pet, Dexter Lunch.
Seibold’s CGI animated Christmas television special Olive the Other Reindeer has become a holiday classic. Born and raised in the East Bay, he still resides there. This exhibition will explore Mr. Lunch’s history and Seibold’s artistic process through original artwork and interactive areas he designed with new content relating to Mr. Lunch.
This is the sixth in a series of exhibitions focusing on the work of influential children’s book illustrators at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
Illustrators 57 — Advertising, Institutional, Uncommissioned Categories
January 7–31, 2015
Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street
New York, NY
The first of the two-part annual exhibition Illustrators 57 features works by leading contemporary illustrators worldwide, selected by a prestigious jury of professionals, and includes works in the categories of Institutional, Advertising, and Uncommissioned.
Institutional illustration includes work appearing on merchandise, announcements, annual reports, calendars, corporate projects, government service projects, greeting cards, newsletters, in-house publications, philatelic work and collectibles. Gold medals are awarded to Serge Bloch for “Posters for the 2014-2015 season” (for the Théâtre Gérard Philipe, Paris), Nicolas Delort for It's the Great Charlie Brown (Client: Dark Hall Mansion), and Tatsuro Kiuchi for Please (AD: Katie Burk, Client: National Public Radio), and Red Nose Studio for his animation Holding Polluter Accountable (Client: GreenLaw). Silver medals go to Ofra Amit for Outside Over There (AD: Kobi Ben Meir, Client: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem) and Brian Stauffer for Ambition (AD: Kit Hinrichs, Client: Kroll Foundation, Studio Hinrichs).
Advertising illustration includes work for advertisements appearing in newspapers, magazines or on television; video and CD covers; brochures, fashion, point-of-purchase and packaging illustration; movie and theater posters. Gold medals are awarded to Jonathan Bartlett for Denim + Supply (AD: Amir Mohammady, Client: Ralph Lauren), Bartosz Kosowski for Lolita, and David Plunkert for Baltimore Theatre Project (for Baltimore Theatre Project). Silver medals go to Susan Farrington for Robots (AD: Amy Hausmann, Client: MTA Arts & Design), Philip Giordano for Playtime (AD: Marie Czapska, Client: Playtime), and Leslie Herman for The Orwells (AD: The Orwells, Client: Lincoln Hall).
Uncommissioned pieces include all self-generated work. Gold medals are awarded to John Cuneo for Killed Sex Sketches, Bill Mayer for Le Nouveau Chapeau de Marie, and Kadir Nelson for Morning Post. Silver medals are awarded to Steven Darden for Wizards, Keith Negley for Hope Chest, Bill Plympton for his animation Footprints, and Dadu Shin for Can't Sleep.
Incantation Group Show
January 8–31, 2015
Rocq La Rue
532 1st Ave. S
Inspired by themes around death, rebirth, winter, and ritual, The Incantation Group Show will feature new work by Sam Wolfe Connelly, Erica Rose Levine, Peter Ferguson, Barnaby Whitfield, and more, totaling 15 artists in the space located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. The gallery describes Incantation as an “… exciting and darkly magical show.” Rocq La Rue takes part in the First Thursday Artwalk every first Thursday of the month from 6-9 p.m.
A brief review of notable titles and inspiring monographs.
Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegan and Caroline Roberts
383 pages, hardbound, published by Laurence King Publishing Ltd., $40.
(c/o Chronicle Books, www.chroniclebooks.com)
Exclusive to Illustration Voice subscribers is a discount code for 35% off this title— LaurenceKing35—at www.laurenceking.com/us/fifty-years-of-illustration/
Having written about and been involved in the illustration world myself for the last 25 years or more, I was happy to see the inclusion of many illustrators I know or have profiled for CA, Step Inside Design, and Illustration Voice featured here. Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts have divided the book into five chapters, one for each decade. From the 1960s, “An Era of Utopian Idealism”, that brought us the likes of Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Robert Crumb and Victor Moscoso; to “A New Wave” in the oughts, providing the most names, including Gary Taxali, Shepard Fairey, Paul Davis, Gina & Matt and Yuko Shimizu. There are many recognizable names, the giants of the field, those who have spawned legions of fans and imitators but whose work remains indelible: Mark English, Art Spiegelman, Barbara Nessim, Sue Coe; over 250 artists are featured.
The book is beautifully designed and produced. The informative and insightful writing complements the well-edited examples. Quite simply, Fifty Years of Illustration should be in every illustrator’s library—and by extension, those who love and collect the work of these talented individuals. I couldn’t put it down.
Dogs Rule Nonchalantly by Mark Ulriksen
140 pages, hardcover, published by Goff Books, $29.95.
When I saw that Mark Ulriksen had a Kickstarter for a book of dog portraits, I was all in. Besides being the ultimate baseball fan and chronicler, he is a dog person whose insightful, poignant, and sometimes comical portraits of dogs of every breed, in nearly every pose imaginable have graced magazine covers and appeared in numerous important competitions. You may know his work from The Bark magazine or The New Yorker. This collection draws from his 20-year career; some portraits were commissioned to memorialize a departed friend. “In the time it took our kids to finish grammar school our dogs’ lives were already complete, as if they had accomplished all that they were put here to do,” he writes next to one elegiac portrait of a dog regarding his favorite toys from “the other side”.
Dogs Rule Nonchalantly is the perfect gift for anyone who loves dogs, has had or ever will have a dog. Canine personality traits are captured in Ulrliksen’s quirky style in which perspective is flattened and colors pop off the page. For the behind the scenes scoop on the book or to order from the author, check out dogsruleproject.com.
Infographic Designers’ Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Rick Landers
352 pages, hardcover, published by Princeton Architectural Press, $60.
As always, Steven Heller’s introduction concisely sets the scene with a brief history of information design, or “data-visualization”. Information graphics, the design field’s fastest growing practice, tackles the information age head on and makes the glut of information that constantly swirls around us, into something that can be understood via graphs, charts and other forms. A new age demands new information design— pie charts alone don’t cut it anymore.
This large and impressive tome presents the designers’ working sketches (always fascinating to see thought processes and thumbnails) alongside finished projects for a wide range of clients. Seventy-three case studies by leading information designers including Erik Adigard, Nicholas Blechman, Headcase Design, Nigel Holmes, Karlssonwilker, Inc., and MGMT.design, show innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs that tackle everything from emergency deliveries (yes, as in babies in taxi cabs) to proposed solutions to sewage overflow. Humorous, practical, beautiful, useful, whether computer generated or hand-drawn, the wealth of projects presented here, are sure to inspire and challenge.
A few hot breaks to check out while surfing the net.
www.studiowestart.com — Studio West in Toronto is now offering affordable education by professionals in the industry through workshops, weekly courses and life drawing and painting classes from such esteemed illustrators as Peter Chan, Harvey Chan, Anita Kunz, Keita Morimoto, and more.
wowxwow.com — This new online art resource specializes in “the promotion and celebration of the very best in New Contemporary Art from around the globe” with artist profiles, guest blogs, and more. I’m signing up.
www.designercon.com — Designer Con has come and gone, with 330 vendors, 73,000 square feet of toys and art, and over 7,000 attendees. Mark your calendars for November 21–22, 2015 at the Pasadena Convention Center.
www.artguidenw.com — A comprehensive guide to Seattle art and the Pacific Northwest art scene.
www.artslant.com/sf — I enjoy checking out the art scene in different cities. The contemporary art network Artslant, has calendars for openings, exhibits and events as well as a worldwide community of professional artists and local city editions for art lovers.
Featuring over 180 blogs from artists and their representatives.
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Featuring blogs from medical illustrators.
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Blogs from illustration artists in the Toy and Interactive Game markets
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Editor’s note: I was going to review this title but felt that sharing a bit of freelance illustrator John Roman’s advice was the better approach. The 50 markets he presents—complete with full-color examples of contemporary work—provide a wealth of opportunities and are so wide-ranging that surely there is inspiration there for just about everyone. To order the eBook, visit 50 Markets of Illustration.
The following is adapted from the Introduction to the book 50 Markets of Illustration by John Roman (Foreword by Mark English) that compiles 50 specialized markets in which illustrators can prosper. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge will hold a “book launch” event for the release of 50 Markets of Illustration on January 31st: For more information, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum.
A PASSION TO ILLUSTRATE
Tigers in the jungle do not sit in one spot and wait for their prey to come to them. Out of sheer necessity, they spread out and establish their own special territory—not too wide, not too narrow. Fueled by hunger, the tiger’s very survival depends on a strategic targeting plan designed to hunt specific locations for the most productive return.
The contemporary freelance illustrator, driven by a passion to create art, would be wise to follow the tiger’s business model. Success as an illustrator requires specializing in a variety of specific arenas—not too many, not too few— and focusing on the correct mix of venues suited to your particular skills and interests. “As our beloved field of endeavor shifts beneath our feet, it’s essential for today’s artists to identify fresh opportunities rather than simply lament a lost era,” advises successful architectural illustrator, Steve Oles.
Luckily, these fresh opportunities are abundant in our current marketplace—one just needs to go hunting for them. A targeted search of the web reveals a surprisingly vast territory of prospective clients for illustrators and brings to light literally dozens of ways for artists to forge a career path. This book [50 Markets of Illustration] catalogs the many popular and well-known avenues in illustration as well as numerous esoteric markets that exist outside of the public eye. While the demand for quality illustration remains high, 21st-century economics has made “specializing” an essential strategy for today’s illustrator.
Some of the fields listed are not widely known and not overly saturated, thus offering artists better odds at landing commissions. In addition, many of the markets listed may harbor sub-categories of employment not yet evident or discovered. Further research into any of these areas can expose latent markets hidden within the networks of each domain. The intent … is to unearth the numerous peripheral marketplaces that dwell outside the obvious spheres of our industry for those who love to draw and for illustrators who aspire to earn their living with their art.
— John Roman
Editor’s note: A brief overview of some of the markets covered in 50 Markets of Illustration include Editorial, Book and Children’s Illustration, Comic Book Art, Humorous Illustration, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Medical, Archaeological, and Botanical Illustration. Markets from Scientific to Technical to Info-Graphic Art are reviewed, as are Courtroom, Documentary, Map and Historical Art. Military, Nautical, and Aviation Art, are explored as are Portraiture, Sports, Product and Food Illustration. In addition, Roman’s in-depth examination brings to light literally dozens of other avenues of opportunity that exist for today’s illustrator.
Roman advises the illustrator to be tactical and, “… establish a style and technique that can find a home in two or three markets. When artists establish a strong, personal style in one particular specialty, inevitably their work is in demand in multiple, corresponding venues. It is important to keep in mind that the laws of supply and demand are as much at work in the art world as in any other marketplace—a fact that can affect pricing as well as commission prospects positively or negatively.” He concludes, “The most important factor in establishing a successful illustration career is to honor that which you love to do, and to not let anyone throw you off course. Artists should not choose a market simply because there might be revenue there, or because peers, teachers, or associates are influencing the decision. Your interests must come from the heart and that love will show through in the final artistic products produced.”
A new section devoted to illustration-centric products
At the start of a new year, I find myself looking at calendars. While I find the calendar on my iPhone very useful, I’m a visual person and I like to have one that is always visible in my workspace, where I can jot down notes. This calendar showing the Typeface as Art—A Calendar of Big Numbers, Big Letters & Big Grids Just Type 2015—fits the bill. From Workman Publishing (www.workman.com), the calendar offers examples and information on a multitude of typefaces with ample room to mark important events. Printed on heavy buff paper, the black and red design is modern and attractive, appealing to type nerds and design history fans. $13.99.
Photo Credit: Jose Rosero
The Richard Gangel Art Director Award honors art directors who have supported and advanced the art of illustration. Congratulations to this year's winner SooJin Buzelli!
SooJin will receive the award during the Illustrators 57 Book and Editorial Opening Reception on February 6th at the Society of Illustrators.
If you have received an award, published a book or have other exciting career news, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ricardo Duardo, artist, master printer and managing director of Modern Multiples Fine Art Editions in Los Angeles died last November. He produced and published works for over 450 artists including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, David Hockney and John Van Hamervseld. His own work is in museum collections. The Los Angeles Daily News called him a “pivotal figure in the Chicano art community” (photo shown is from their online obituary). Duardo worked with noted Chicano art collector, comedian and actor Cheech Marin on a traveling exhibition of prints based on paintings that Marin owns.
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