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Jacqui Oakley 2014
Usually I get contacted by art directors to draw portraits or animals, so this job was quite a unique and a fun challenge! I always have such a good time collaborating with David Powell at InRe (South Texas College of Law Alumni Magazine). The article that I illustrated was about law graduates choosing to work at smaller law firms rather than joining bigger corporations, and this is what I came up with:
I wanted to do something slightly different with this job and rely more on pattern, adding a nice contrast between the small court house and the bigger corporate buildings. Neither of these options could be shown in a negative light, so I had to come up with a way to differentiate them from each other while still making each feel a favorable career choice for the recently graduated lawyers.
Here are some of the project’s process including my pencil linear, some reference and my inked illustration before I added colour digitally. For this project I wanted to go for a less vibrant palette than I normally would use and so I looked to other reference for inspiration and some new ideas.
Some business/corporate magazines can be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to design and illustration but this was not the case with the Fortune Magazine covers of the past. In particular I was taken with the colour palette and the gorgeous way the city was abstracted in this 1954 cover by the very talented Neil Fujita. With my illustration I wanted to have buildings as focal points since I wasn’t particularity excited to draw lawyers, so I took these illustrations (shown below) as jumping off points to try something different and go a little more stylized than I usually would.
Here’s a gorgeous 1951 Fortune cover by Jerome Synder which has a similar feeling to the Fujita piece and was also a source of inspiration. (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)
Obviously I didn’t want the illustration to copy Fujita’s or Jerome’s style and so I’ve combined them with my own look using organic cloud forms, and trees and tweaking the colours slightly. What I loves about this project is that is helped me incorporate something new into my toolbox that I can use again down the road. Those moments in illustration where you try something new and it works out are always satisfying. It’s nice to know that as an artist you’re continuing to experiment and grow and not to just rely on tried and true techniques and subject matter. Throwing something new into the pot every now and again is always a good idea.
Along with this opening illustration I got to draw a whole bunch of lawyer portraits and David and I thought it might be fun to link them together with the building patterns and colours of the main spread. It was interesting to combine the black ink portraits with these graphic shapes. Again, here’s something new that I was excited to see work.
Here’s some more vintage Fortune covers that really stand out. Love how these are simultaneously both very painterly and really graphic. Artists/designers back then could really do it all couldn’t they?
Below: FORTUNE July 1952 – Illustration by Jerome Synder (via Unkee E’s Fortune Cover Tumblr)
It was a great to be able to go to NYC and do a live art installation with my husband Jamie Lawson for Basecamp (and Flexfit) at Agenda’s NYC show this past July 10th and 11th. The Agenda Trade Show is a forum for streetwear lines, such as Brixton, Reebok, Herschel, Vans etc., with a strong emphasis in style, art, music and culture. We were given a big 12×8′ freestanding wall and kindly given free reign by the awesome Basecamp folks to do as we please. We thought since this was the NYC Agenda show we’d go with a New York theme and the first one that came to mind was obviously everyone’s favourite monkey, KING KONG!
Day 1. We arrived at Agenda’s Soho location armed with paint, brushes and coffee.
Here’s the time-lapse video of the whole thing!
It began with a whole lot of yellow….
…. and then at about the 3 hour mark blue was added and I discovered I was too short for this kind of business.
It was pretty fun painting to the Agenda crowds. Even the most intimidating dudes decked out with sunglasses and $800 sneakers were really enthusiastic and sweet to chat with.
At this point Jamie meant business, bringing out a clipboard. You might be wondering about the addition of the baseball hats. Well, Basecamp is the visible face of Flexfit one of the largest vendors of custom, private label hats, hence the baseball hats added to the mural. They had a pretty great Wu-Tang hat that we are now the proud owners of. Basecamp promotes the intersection of art and culture and sponsored the artists at the Agenda NYC show as well as past shows in Long Beach and Las Vegas.
Nearing the 6pm deadline of day 1, it’s hard to stop painting. We’re having such a good time.
…and this is the end of the 1st day. Time to eat Chinese dumplings and rest our weary legs.
DAY 2. Surprisingly we got so much done the first day that on Thursday we could take our time and add some fun details and of course the finishing touches of neon orange.
We had some time on Thursday to check out the other Basecamp artists. The lovely Sofia Maldonado did this amazing piece bringing in some cloud installations. She was also sponsored by the amazing art blog Hy.gen.ic.
A close-up of King Kong. He’s getting there.
… and we’re done!
Thanks so much for having us in NYC Andy Song & Andy Chang of Basecamp / Flexfit and Corbin Cones and Stephan M. Timonier of the Promote & Preserve (formerly Hy.gen.ic) art blog. Many of these beautiful photos, especially the black and white ones, were taken by the talented Stephan. All these guys were so much fun to hang out with and so enthusiastic. It really was a pleasure to work with them.
The DOS show on Friday July 19th at Toronto’s Evergreen 15,000 sq foot Brick Works warehouse was amazing. Not only did I get to show with 39 talented artists, this time I actually got to sample some of the delicious food from restaurants Big Star (Chicago, USA) and La Carnita (Toronto, Canada). Huge props have to go out to Clay Rochemont (HXfour), Andrew Richmond from La Carnita (and his very busy kitchen staff), One Method & Hashtag Gallery for all the work they put into this. Sorry if I’m missing anyone. I know an event this size took so much time, work and enthusiasm to pull off. Amazing work everyone.
This was the 2nd year the show was put on (hence the clever name DOS) and the DJs, restaurants and the artists were paired up in collaborations, or “battles”. It was an awesome experience being paired up with my husband Jamie Lawson (from Poly Studio). It could have been a disaster if we got too competitive with each other but it worked out perfectly. We each started from a silhouette of a jaguar head’s profile and then went our own ways with each of our our 3ft x 3ft paintings. At the end they had similar underlying sensibilities in colour and graphic shapes making for a cohesive pair, but the detail added to each made them look unique.
Earlier in the night and after an insane but brief downpour, the crowds start to form at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works. Prime taco time with the shorter line-ups!
I couldn’t resist doing another paper mask for this show, so of course this one had to be a Jaguar. I’ll post some process shots for this fella soon.
Here’s the crazy great line-up for the show:
Here’s some detail shots of the Jaguars. Each of these pieces focused on South American mythology of the Jaguar. According to Mayan beliefs, the journey of the sun across the sky and the darkness of night represented the infinite journey of human consciousness and its transformations. Mayans believed the big cat’s spotted coat represented the night sky. I focused on the Moon Jaguar, traveling throughout the night sky, showing the stars in his spots and battling in the underworld, hence the night blooming flowers, night creatures and insects that feed on corpses.
For Jamie’s piece his Sun Jaguar focused on the Jaguar traveling throughout the day sky and focused on pattern and shape from the intensity of the sun’s rays. The Aztec calendar had 4 suns or cycles of creation and destruction. The first, most primordial sun, was represented by the ocelot or jaguar.
Earlier in the night the crowds started gathering in the ‘art corridor’. This place got packed pretty quickly as the night went on. Nice to see so many people introduced to such a variety of good work.
Below: One of my favourite pieces of the night by Carson Ting, AKA Chairman Ting (Vancouver, Canada)
The Brickworks is still filled with old ovens and paraphernalia from the days when it was a working brickwork factory.
The floor got packed at night.
Jamie Lawson tempers the heat of his Jaguar with an ice cold paleta:
My Jaguar drawing that I sold as prints for the night. I’ll pop it up on my Etsy shop soon and it’ll be at the Hashtag Gallery DOS closing show on Friday August 2nd. Make sure you pop by the see all the DOS work.
Mike Giant (San Francisco, USA), Tom Gilmour (London, UK), Sam Flores (San Francisco, USA), Joseph Martinez (Denver, USA), Zach Johnsen (Portland, USA), Johnny Crap (Montreal, Canada), Joshua Davis, Chuck Anderson (Chicago, USA), Faith47 (Cape Town, South Africa), DALeast (Beijing, China), Eduardo Bertone (Madrid, Spain), Doublenaut (Toronto, Canada), Dubelyoo (Atlanta, USA), Gene Pendon (Montreal, Canada), Bryan Espiritu (Toronto, Canada), Hydro 74 (Orlando, USA), Matt Barnes (Toronto, Canada), David Glantz (Toronto, Canada), Eric Quebral (Muskoka, Canada), Rcade (Toronto, Canada), Taka Sudo (Vancouver, Canada, Graham Curran (Los Angeles, USA), Ben Tour (Vancouver, Canada, Vladimir Kato (Toronto, Canada), Kwest (Toronto, Canada), Bacon (Toronto, Canada), Skam (Toronto, Canada), Peru143 (Toronto, Canada), Chase Tafoya (Los Angeles, USA), Dresden The Barbarian (Los Angeles, USA), Che Kothari (Toronto, Canada), Nick Simhoni (Toronto, Canada), Jacqui Oakley (Hamilton, Canada), Jamie Lawson (Hamilton, Canada), Andy Kittmer (Muskoka, Canada), Angie Fey (Toronto, Canada), Matt Darling (Toronto, Canada), Nancy Rose (Toronto, Canada), Shingo Shimizu (Toronto, Canada), & Carson Ting (Vancouver, Canada)
I’m happy to be participating again in the next La Carnita / HXfour art event DOS where I’ll be showing art alongside a lot of talented folks (see the great line-up below). If the art isn’t enough they’ll be four battling DJ’s and two battling Mexican restaurants Big Star (Chicago, USA) and La Carnita (Toronto, Canada). It should be a fun night filled with great art, music and tacos at Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works, a 15,000 sq foot warehouse.
Last year’s UNO show was crazy. It ended up drawing a massive crowd of 3000 people to the old factory located in Toronto’s Don Valley. This year should be even better. Here’s my post with shots from last year’s UNO.
I’ll be partnered with my husband Jamie Lawson (from Poly) and we’ll be focusing on the emphasis of Jaguars in South American mythology. Here’s a sneak peek & cropped version of our 3 ft x 3ft paintings. We’re really excited to see how these will look in person side by side.
Here’s a little sketch so far, but this time we’ll be going a a lot bigger with large painted canvases and maybe even a cardboard mask…. Stay tuned for more process shots on my Instagram.
A sneak peek at the Jaguar paper mask I made for the show.
Here’s some reference material that got us excited about this subject including Jaguars found in Mayan art. Directly below is the image of the Mayan Lord Bird Jaguar.
Below is Yaxchilan lintel 25, Maya, Late Classic period (AD 600-900) from Yaxchilán, Mexico now in the British Museum.
Lady Xook, on the bottom right of the panel, is in the hallucinatory stage of the bloodletting ritual. She conjures before her a vision of a Teotihuacan serpent. Some scholars suggest that the serpent on this lintel, and elsewhere, are depictions of an ancestral spirit or founder of the kingdom. The identity of the figure coming out of the serpent’s jaws is ambiguous. The inscription names the protagonist as Shield Jaguar II.
As it happens Mayan motifs were popular in Soviet times in Russia. Who knew? Here’s some examples of these beautiful cards. Many more can be found on the site, English Russia.
After UNO comes DOS, an evening of collaboration in art, music and food. Goes down Friday,
July 19th at Evergreen Brickworks and tickets on sale June 1st. Stay tuned for more details and
see below for the full line-up.
Mike Giant (San Francisco, USA) -vs- Tom Gilmour (London, UK)
Sam Flores (San Francisco, USA) -vs- Joseph Martinez (Denver, USA)
Zach Johnsen (Portland, USA) -vs- Johnny Crap (Montreal, Canada)
Joshua Davis (New York, USA) -vs- Chuck Anderson (Chicago, USA)
Faith47 (Cape Town, South Africa) -vs- DALeast (Beijing, China)
Eduardo Bertone (Madrid, Spain) -vs- Doublenaut (Toronto, Canada)
Dubelyoo (Atlanta, USA) -vs- Gene Pendon (Montreal, Canada)
Bryan Espiritu (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Hydro 74 (Orlando, USA)
Matt Barnes (Toronto, Canada) -vs- David Glantz (Toronto, Canada)
Eric Quebral (Muskoka, Canada) -vs- Rcade (Toronto, Canada)
Taka Sudo (Vancouver, Canada) -vs- Graham Curran (Los Angeles, USA)
Ben Tour (Vancouver, Canada) -vs- Vladimir Kato (Toronto, Canada)
Kwest (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Bacon (Toronto, Canada)
Skam (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Peru143 (Toronto, Canada)
Chase Tafoya (Los Angeles, USA) -vs- Dresden The Barbarian (Los Angeles, USA)
Che Kothari (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Nick Simhoni (Toronto, Canada)
Jacqui Oakley (Hamilton, Canada) -vs- Jamie Lawson (Hamilton, Canada)
Andy Kittmer (Muskoka, Canada) -vs- Angie Fey (Toronto, Canada)
Matt Darling (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Nancy Rose (Toronto, Canada)
Shingo Shimizu (Toronto, Canada) -vs- Carson Ting (Vancouver, Canada)
Hope to see you out!
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be asked to do this job by Cassidy Zobl the Art Director at Hour Detroit. It’s always great working with them and it’s wonderful to have an opportunity to do a cover inspired by the Farmer’s Almanac, garden gnomes, topiary and flowers. It’s like they read my mind.
Here is the Farmer’s Almanac cover from 1902 that I was asked to work from. It’s a beauty isn’t it? I’ve definitely learned a thing or two working from its gorgeous detail.
Here’s the linear I sent to the art director. As you can see I’ve squashed some of the elements of the Almanac design to allow room for the title and the different illustrative elements I planned to add.
Here’s the start of the rather long but fun inking process. I used a very very fine brush and ink for this and went through a lot of podcasts.
The cover is filled with hints to the stories inside including topiary hairstyles, baseball and gardening.
Nearing the end of my night’s work. I think I was hallucinating gnomes at this point.
The next step was to add colour! I scanned in my inked page and then started adding in painted textures, making sure to focus on greens. The line-work I changed to greens and browns, bumping up the contrast in some important focal areas. Then a sprinkling of some warmer colours to add some contrast and further emphasize the green. Here’s a breakdown of some of the colour layers….
….and here’s the final version with the very green background. Hour wanted the cover to look super green, so it was a welcome challenge to not add all the colour I usually do but to still create some focal points amongst the intricate detail.
I went a bit crazy on the detail on this piece, which I have a tendency to do, adding all sorts of little elements that probably no one else will notice but that I enjoyed.
Not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but around the Toronto area it’s still cruelly clinging to Winter. We’ve had a few tempting peeks at Spring which has been enough to get me excited to start working on our new garden. It’ll be the first growing season we’ve had in our new house and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to do with the yard. It’s pretty barren now, but in a few months I’m sure it’ll be as green as this image….. hopefully!