Saturday, February 12, 2011

SVA MFA Illustration

This past fall and spring I have been happily studying Illustration with a great group of 17 other Illustrators at the School of Visual Arts. This program is full of inspiring teachers and students, all focusing on developing ways of visual storytelling. We are having a show of the first semester's book project this Tuesday, Feb. 15 at the School of Visual Arts Gallery. The story we illustrated is Alex Rose's Ostracon, and all 18 of us chose a different approach to visually re-narrating the story... if you are in NYC, come see!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Elf the Musical

Elf the Musical, recently opened on Broadway. It is the live-musical-theater interpretation of the movie Elf (2003) starring Will Ferrell. I recently had the opportunity to create illustration and animation for the show's projection designer, Zachary Borovay, who was in charge of telling the parts of the story that needed telling through supplemental visuals. My job was to illustrate a children's book that was projected on the stage while Santa (played by George Wendt) reads it in miniature form from the set on the stage's bottom corner. The picture book that is projected shows the progression of the protagonist, Buddy the Elf, as he goes through his journey from an over-sized Elf in the North Pole, to a New Yorker who finds a new family and then starts his own.
Below is a study for Rudolph, who appears in one of the illustrations.

In addition to creating the eleven illustrations that tell this story, I also had my Broadway choreography debut, animating a dancing penguin who is projected on one side of the stage during a dance number, and a prancing Rudolph who enters on the other side of the stage to be fed a carrot by Buddy. Below is an rough animatic for the Penguin doing his thing.

While it was fun and an honor to work on this project, a magical aspect of this experience is that Elf is being performed at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, on 45th Street in New York City.
Al Hirschfeld has been one of my Illustration Gods since I can remember. His work, which captures
the essence of his subjects in such economical line, has been my favorite since I was a little girl and my Mom would clip his illustrations from the newspaper so that I could hunt for the hidden "Ninas" in his drawings. I have needed to write about him on this blog, and this is a good time to do so.
So, to be continued...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mustache Sisters go to The High Museum of Art, Atlanta

October 31st is a new the High Museum in Atlanta, GA.  It's called Dalí-Ween.
My mustache sister (Aya Kakeda) and I are in high gear, making our newest mustache to celebrate 
artist Salvador Dalí. His late work has been on display at this museum since early August, and the exhibition garnered a great review in the New York Times in September. The spooky playfulness of Dalí's work feels like a perfect match for Halloween, and Aya and I are both very happy to have this opportunity to create a new mustache in his honor. We are also excited to fly down to Atlanta (unfortunately, not on this mustachioed airplane) to conduct a craft-workshop for museum-goers of all ages. The photo above is a sneak-peek of a Dalí-inspired motif we are using in our costume, informed by works like this.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Nice press for GFS

Ghetto Film School got front page of the New York Times Arts Section today!
The article delivers a good description of the basics, except perhaps it didn't clearly explain that GFS is an after-school, weekend and summer program for high school students who are enrolled in other high schools during the day. GFS is also the creator of The Cinema School, which is a Bronx highschool that incorporates film studies/film making into its curriculum.

The article implied, but didn't spell out that in order to run an extra-curricular film school, help run a high-school, and have a commercial studio for alumni (The Digital Bodega) the small staff of GFS is an incredibly energetic, non-stop group of dedicated and inspiring people. I feel very lucky to have worked with them (teaching animation at The Cinema School), as I learned what it means to operate on all cylinders.

I hope that this article will draw interest and support from additional donors, collaborators, and students!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teachers College

This is a photo of a photo that I love, which I spotted when I recently went up to the Teacher's College up at Columbia University, to hear a lecture on early childhood development and recent findings on how children learn. The photo, of graduates from the 1969 Teacher's College class, holds a great feeling for me, of the excitement and optimism of teaching. Newly minted teachers, ready to go!
There was no photographer's credit, but this was among a series of photos hung in a main hallway there, documenting historical moments in the College. This moment of racial breakthrough adds to the photo's inspiration for me.

The event that brought me to Teacher's College was sponsored by the American Center for Children and Media in conjunction with a New York organization which I love, Women In Children's Media. The talk was given by Ellen Galinsky, who made poignant conclusions of many years of studying children in learning settings, in her book Mind in the Making.  The event was created to help clue-in people like me, who work in childrens' media, about recent findings in how young children learn. This kind of connection of academic study with commercial practice is exciting and crucial, especially in the realm of creating "public" eduction for kids via the screen.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Silkscreen Poster for Jeff Tweedy special concert

This is a silkscreen poster that I illustrated/designed as a commission from my pal Sheldon Schwartz, who co-owns the Chicago shop called Strange Cargo. The concert, 30 Songs/30 Friends, was a benefit for charity to which Jeff Tweedy generously donated his talents and time. Sheldon, one of the 30 Friends, thought it would be festive to have a poster for this event.
The poster was printed by my old pal Jay Ryan at The Bird Machine, also in the Chicago area. The poster project and the evening it celebrate friendships and remind me how we are all connected. Thank you Sheldon, thank you Jay!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Post-It Art at Giant Robot NYC

Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, are two of my favorite artist-illustrators working today. They recently curated their FIFTH Post-it art show, and first on the East coast, now up at Giant Robot New York. This is my third time participating in one of their Post-it shows, and each time I have been very happy to have the invitation to sit down and pour out my thoughts and ideas onto a surface that is familiar, casual, and small. The pressure is off, and the creativity is on!

Once again, I produced many throw-aways, but this is always a valuable process through which to go, and I am reminded of this each time I participate in one of these shows.
In this respect, I feel Mark and Esther are giving the Post-It show's contributing artists an experience that is very nurturing to creativity. They are also giving the viewers of the show a visual smorgasboard which stimulates the mind and delights the eyes.