Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bear Gorilla

You know how sometimes you are joking around with your friends and you keep getting sillier and sillier? That is when the best ideas come out. Take Bear Gorilla, for example. BG has the head of a bear, the body of a gorilla, Marilyn Monroe's hair, and roller skates. BG originally came from me mishearing "Bear Grills", who apparently has a survivalist TV show. I was standing on the bank of a stream and my friend Jessica pointed to a maggot in the stream and said "Bear Grills would eat that." We decided that BG was the daughter of our friend Hugh, who then said, "she's big and hairy, but I love her." And thus Bear Gorilla was born.

Needless to say, BG is much cooler than Bear Grills and would serve as a good derby mascot. I am in the process of creating the design, in my typical fashion, by taking existing images; cutting, resizing, and reorienting them; and then rendering the photocomposite into a more simplified image for printmaking.

My style of graphic design comes from years of decoupaging stuff- I once made a table with an image on the top where Raquel Welch and Shaft got married. She had a Mondrian body, which was very satisfying for me. She was also holding an alligator by the tail, because that is how I roll. Graphic design allows me to take decoupage into an environment where I don't have to find things that are the perfect size or perspective, because I can make them perfect. And I can deal with inconsistencies in texture or color by knocking them out into a rendering with a halftone or some other technique. I also get to take my idea and put it into a printmaking format so that I can do DIY mass-production with all of the imperfections of a handmade item.

I think people who criticize art nowadays as being heavily graphic have a point...to a point. Sure the relentless photorealism and heavy use of fonts can get kind of old and can make everything look like advertising. But graphic techniques allow artists to create new production mechanisms that result in totally fresh work. I have nothing against drawing- I have a pretty good hand- but my medium is graphic decoupage. I like finding images and then challenging myself to make them work together. Extra points if the result is funny and innocently fierce. This is what I like to do, and I think it's pretty rad. I also like that anyone nowadays can mass-produce their work and share it with others, either through physical pieces or through images on the internets. It may not be the highest of high art, but it is very democratic and viral.

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