Sunday, April 15, 2012

Moving House

Dearest followers - I have recently moved my artblog postings over to Tumblr. Please click the above image or the following link to see a bunch of new posts:

I've not posted a whole heck of a lot since my show, but there are some shots of my latest small project, a series of tiny embroidered monsters. A preview:

From now on all my progress/final work/upcoming event postings will be on the new blog, so make sure to switch up your bookmarks and all that good stuff!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Deep Sigh of Relief

On February 3rd, 2012, A Collected Collection opened at Freedom Clothing Collective (939 Bloor St West - show's up until March 26th! You haven't missed it!). Lit by the blinking lights of paper jellyfish and filled with wonderful friends and family, the gallery was a perfect home for the discoveries of my beloved R.W. Brackley. Before all the festivities of opening night, though, there was hard work to be done.

My studio-mate Pam and I framed all the pieces in a single day. Thankfully it went smoothly, and Pam's incredible mat-cutting skills made my pieces look incredible. The next morning everything had to be packed up for the drive up to the gallery...

...and once there, Marsya and I hung it all up on the walls, arranging the pieces mostly in line with the narrative of Brackley's story.

Though the work was all up on the walls, my slog had not yet ended. I was in the studio until almost 1 a.m. getting the most important element of the window display done (sidenote: being able to have a solo art show AND design a window display? AMAZING). That element? THESE GUYS:

LED Jellyfish, hooray! from Jessica Bartram on Vimeo.


Made from washi tissue paper and a load of hot glue, these babies were brought to life by devilishly simple LED + battery contraptions made by Anibal (the same guy who got the bears dancing at my last show). They flickered and phosphoresced all night, being super photogenic the whole time:

Alongside the jellies, I also got to dress the window-mannequin. She got some gorgeous clothing from FCC's racks and a spur-of-the-moment tissue paper feather sash, all the better to go exploring with?

Phew. At this point all the setup is complete, I've gone home and had a much-needed shower, picked out my prettiest dress and it's time for the party to start!

A shot taken before the folks arrived:

The pigeon in his element:

The proof of Brackley's book (now available for pre-order!):

And then,

Lovely supporters!

People looking at my art!

Friends! Family! A very happy Jess!

I continue to be flabbergasted and ever so thankful for all the support and enthusiasm surrounding my art. I love creating this stuff, and being able to share it with people, tell my characters' stories and hang it up in a perfectly wonderful gallery continues to be simultaneously incredible and totally surreal.

To finish off this giant post, a shot from the end of the night, after the window had fogged over, turning the jellyfish into creepy ghost-creatures.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick Creature-Filled Post

I'm in the final stretch of preparation for my show and, amongst the mad rush to finish both framing and my window display props AND that pesky pile of homework (note: I love said homework, it's just the timing of all this that's a bit crazy) I figured I should pop a quick post up to (a) give everyone a non-photobooth sneak peek of some of the 3D beasts I've created for the exhibit, and (b) throw in a convenient reminder of that whole THIS SHOW OPENS IN TWO-ish DAYS HOLY CRAP. Please, if you can, come to the opening (see image at bottom of post for more info). If you can't make it, that's OK! The show's up at Freedom Clothing Collective until March 26th (and up at Graven Feather for the month of February).

Anyways, presented without captions (who has time for captions these days?), some process shots from my beast production line:

Onwards to Friday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Collected Collection - The Details

In a mighty feat of strength and mental fortitude, I have spent most of the day in front of the computer, designing various items to do with the show. One's pretty crucial - the invitation!

Apart from getting the invite off to the printer, I also worked for many hours on the book portion of this project. Presented below (with little comment as it is nearing 3am) is a sample spread for my little tome (is that too much of an oxymoron?). It's not fully finished, as there is quite a bit more typesetting to do, but I'm happy with how the spreads are turning out thus far!

And now, sleep, as tomorrow is stuffed full of book design, apartment tidying and, oh right, homework (school started up again this Monday. More on that later). Phew.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pigeon on the GO

Despite the crazy schedule that always descends around this time of year, I've finally gotten around to starting (and almost-finishing in one sitting, take that, busy-times!) my three-dimensional antler-pigeon. The base of this bird has been sitting around my apartment-and-then-studio since September 2010, so it only took me, oh, a year and two-ish months to get the thing feathered. On the bright side, it's getting done now.

I didn't have my proper camera with me for the progress shots, but you should be used to crappy photobooth images by now, right?

The feathers begin:

Feathery expansion:

Antler-pigeon says HELLO THERE:

I promise a proper update, possibly featuring some photos from my recent trip to New York, soon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Even More Progress!

Now that school is pretty much over, I'm working on spending as much time as possible working on The Show. I made some major progress on the weekend, getting a new large piece started and continuing the process of giving R.W. Brackley, my main character, a proper face.

The first piece on which I worked is the second in the anatomy series - this one's a great auk, and his main washes are almost done!

And of course, Brackley, now more than just a series of pencil lines!

I'd also like to continue on my sharing of inspiring videos. This one's got music from the Fleet Foxes and is directed by Sean Pecknold and animated by Pecknold and Britta Johnson. The characters are designed by Stacey Rozich, who just happens to be one of my new favourite illustrators!

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

(I'd recommend viewing it in fullscreen so as to enjoy the incredible visuals)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bears & whales & squirrels & Brackleys, oh my!

As of this moment, I have exactly TWO projects left to work on for this first semester at OCAD. FANCY. I was up until all hours last night getting my final drawing assignment done. It was to be a 12-frame storyboard, but, being the keenest keener, I convinced my prof to let me create the thing in grpahic-novel mode. It ended up being six pages of painstaking drawing/inking/watercolouring and took me an obscenely long time (sequential art - it's tough, guys!) but I'm pretty happy with the result:

To the left is the envelope/cover I made by hand (at 1 a.m. Somehow the folds and flaps all lined up despite the lateness) and to the right is the establishing shot/first image of the story. When I get it back I think I'll scan everything and post the entire project here - the story I ended up creating is pretty entertaining (maybe someday I'll even continue it).

Between final assignments, I found time to photograph and work on some personal painting. First off, a better shot of my huge curiosity cabinet piece, plus a cephalopodian close-up:

Then, some whale-details. First, the point at which I realized everything looks terrifying without pupils, a.k.a. BELUGA WHALE OF DOOM:

And some more comforting shots of non-possessed cetateans:

I also managed to finally get my main character's face down on paper (she has been eluding me for months), and got her background wash done to boot. It is with great pleasure that I introduce the one, the only R.W. BRACKLEY!!

I'm looking forward to getting some paint on the lady, as then her character will really come out.

So that's that - school is almost done, which means I'll soon be able to devote all of my spare time to getting the rest of my pieces/smaller illustrations done for the show (I'm quite behind, but have hope I'll get it all in order). Onwards!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Late Night Inspiration

I'm currently working on a school project that's being exceptionally difficult and causing me acres of hair-tearing, huge-sigh-inducing frustration. Since pleading with Illustrator to just make the layout WORK already is not helping, I decided that it was time to watch some inspiring things on the Internet (in the hopes that some of the brilliance would rub off on me).

My favourite two selections from this jaunt:

#1: An absolutely stunning music video. I...I don't even know what to say. It's hypnotizing and gorgeous and somehow very sad.

Bubble from Elliot Dear on Vimeo.

#2: I'm sure I've made clear how much I love cephalopods. This video has many (and is darkly wonderful).

OCTOPUS from Mari Kanstad Johnsen on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Own-Art Progress

Guys. GUYS.

I have finally made some time in which to work on my own art (seeing as I have that show coming up in, oh, 2.5 months). This time is found between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Good thing my brain is productive at night.

As per usual, here are some crappy photobooth shots of one finished piece and one in-progress one. On the bright side, I found my camera. Now I just need to find some batteries.

First off, I finished the whales!

I also had the time, post cetacean-painting, to lay in some more colour on this lovely lady:

Her story shall be revealed as soon as she's finished. It's a doozy, I promise you.

I also promise that all of my new pieces will soon be reposted with much better photos and detail shots (as soon as my batteries emerge from the box in which they are hiding).