There's nothing that interesting when it comes to explaining my technical process for a drawing so instead of explaining one of my drawings, I will explain a series of cards I made and how I went about creating them. For my card series, I created 4 by 7-inch cards on bristol paper, painted them, then drew on top of the paint. I searched pictures of women that I wanted to recreate on my cards. I was looking for women who inspire me or intrigue me such as singers and actresses. I also drew women from Instagram that had a cool look to them. When I was finished the drawings I would then tag them in the post. One even posted my drawing on her page. After I found the drawing I would take my tracing paper and trace their figure. I decided to trace the figure instead of free hand it because I wanted a really loose interpretation of their body but still being recognizable as the person. I wanted smooth, bold lines so they can really pop. I would choose a paint color. At first I wanted pale paints that didn't really pop or stand out too much. As I created more I would add patterns on top. For the patterns, I would experiment with the paint brush's movement and see if that would create a cool look. I wanted really basic shapes that were fun and squiggly. After I traced the figure and the paint dried I would flip the tracing around and copy it onto the cut out 4 by 7 Card. It would transfer onto the paint very lightly. From there I outlined it with black pen or micron pen. I would photocopy and then choose to edit from there or keep it as the original.
Issey is an inspiration for me currently. I can really appreciate how he combines organic and geometric forms. On top of this he incorporates gorgeous patterns and stand out colors. I've been really into patterns lately. My current work has combined geometric work with the simple curved lines of a human. I would like to accomplish this look with only patterns, shapes, and no people. Issey does this with his clothing. Somehow I will find patterns that attract me geometrically and organically. I'll combine them and screen print the images.
His website: http://www.isseymiyake.com/en/
Researching for me is more of a hobby. Sometimes I don't like the word research because I associate it with a terribly boring class from high school but when it comes to art, the word feels way more "free". My research consists of watching documentaries, going to different blogs to find new artists, watching movies and film, and reading books or online articles. Most of the time I don't consider this to be research. I think of it as having fun on the internet. I realized that what I was looking up was having an effect on my life and artwork. Whatever I'm currently interested in I usually find it through researching. I become influenced. I will become almost obsessed with this subject and create work around it. I definitely go through phases due to my research. For example, my fashion illustrations. Last summer I cranked out fashion illustration after fashion illustration. At the time, I was watching a lot of old films such as All About Eve, A Streetcar Named Desire, Charade, and many other classic films from the 40s,50s, and 60s. I would google each of those films and read their Wiki page. There I could find out about the actresses and their wardrobe stylists. I would come across fashion illustrators such as Edith Head, stylist to the stars. I would google her which would lead me to many other illustrators. Then I would get inspired to illustrate. This is usually how my researching process works. Inspiration almost always comes from film. I will be a constant student and will always learn from my many phase even when I don't realize that I am.
Hip hop has taken over my life for the last couple of months. I've recently realized why I feel so awkward when my friends are in the car and they're spitting the new Future verse while I'm sitting there with a stupid grin on my face not knowing a single word. It's because I have hardly any connection with current hip-hop. When I hear the radio's top 40 hip-hop songs I've only heard of maybe 20. This realization screwed with my head somewhat because hip-hop is a huge part of my culture and I embrace my culture. The good and the bad parts of it. It also has an influence on my artwork because I draw people from urban lifestyles. A lot of my work revolves around black culture because it is my culture. So I had to find a way to connect to this music. I went through my iTunes to see what artists I had under the hip-hop genre. It was a very weak selection. All I could see was a huge Beastie Boys collection and a J.Cole song here and there. I remembered that the first CD I ever owned was the Beastie Boys License To Ill. I begged my dad for this $5.00 CD for weeks until we finally went into the record store and got it together. I was beyond thrilled. Beastie Boys is hands down one of my top 5 favorite artists to this day. My first connection with music was from the hip-hop genre. So why was it so hard to find that connection again? When I was younger I can remember my father playing the music that he grew up with, jazz, R&B, some pop, and hip-hop. I had already connected with every genre he raised me on except for hip-hop. While rooting through his CD collection, I got together every rapper that I knew I would somewhat like. For hours, I popped in one CD after the next and took a short listen to each song. Eventually, I got a very good selection. This is when I realized that I connect more with old school hip-hop than new school. Especially the 90s era. Common, Mos Def, A tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, Biggie, The Fugees, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, and even 2 Live Crew. There was a lot going on with African Americans in the 90's and the music always will reflect the times. I feel a really strong connection with my childhood and whenever I hear a song from it, my heart instantly melts because it reminds me of a very good time in my life. This is why My connection with hip-hop will mostly be from the 90s. 90s hip-hop also had the neo-soul influence because that was booming during those times too. Neo-soul incorporated jazz and hip-hop into the genre too. Neo-soul is the genre-defying sound of my childhood. Whenever I hear Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu I think of playing jump rope outside and my mother singing to it in the car. So all together 90s hip-hop was made for me to listen to. It's culture has influenced my artwork and will still do so today. I recently re-watched a documentary that Ice-T made about the roots of rap and hip-hop. It was a really good watch because I have this new found appreciation for rapping itself and how much talent it takes to be in this genre and to really succeed at it.
Here's the link to the documentary trailer:
The majority of my influences come from urban culture, films, music, and lifestyles. In my work, you can see these influences from different cultures around mainly the Untied States. The current African American, Hispanic, Chicano, and Indian cultures are focuses for my creativity. In the urban lifestyle, people are very proud of where they come from, their ethnicity, their heritage, and their culture. I feel the need to spread what they are so proud of to the viewers of my art. Brown people in America will always have a connection with each other that is unmistakably strong. Therefore, being and African American female, I can relate to these ethnicities, cultures, and lifestyles even if I am not a part of their race.
When it comes to my fashion illustrations, it takes me back to time periods that cannot be relieved. These illustrations are mostly influenced by the films I watch. Watching classics from the 50s and 60s are what inspires me to recreate the beautiful clothing that are forever known as historic moments in American fashion.