It’s all in the inspiration or is it the technique or the final application?!?

I’m reminded this term that design offers a myriad of different ways of communicating an idea. Whether it’s the technique used, the subject chosen or the final application, to some extent for me it all gets mashed together in creating what in some cases ‘works’ and in others doesn’t. I often puzzle on why…

This term I am taking a number of classes where the process and experimentation is almost as important as the final result. I have to say, I am really enjoying the ride.

I’ve had a few projects where I have had to work through from the inspiration to the technique and then the result only to find I haven’t quite hit the mark – or others where the end result was more applicable than I had originally intended.

I thought I would share two examples here – the first is a self-portrait project for Screen Printing and the second is a Techniques in Fashion Fabrics painting and a corresponding stationery order I produced this week.

After wedding, Cape May NJ, August 2002

Self portrait, 2002.

In this case, the picture and the final outcome were very similar – and for the class I am taking it wasn’t considered successful. The emotive power of the end result worked, but the photograph I used as inspiration lacked photographic detail and resulted in a blocky final image.

In the kitchen, Oradell NJ, September 2012

Second self portrait, 2012.

In the second attempt, the photograph is loaded with detail although the lighting is not much better than the one from ten years ago. In addition, the emotive energy is not as intense. That said, the little details like the less than perfect hair do, the glasses and the wrinkles that come through because of the better camera deliver for a more visually interesting final result. Huh.

I am also finding that this term, I am working in ways that are increasingly integrated – from paint brush to photo to computer – one seamless sense of process utilization which expands the ways you can then apply your craft.

Take for example this painting I did recently for Techniques in Fashion Fabrics. It is done with a hand carved caning pattern, block printed over a transparent dye background. It has a fun and modern look to it while riffing off the classic pattern. I thought it was a unique way to apply the caning as it is normally used in home furnishings applications not for apparel. The raw technique and resulting inconsistencies are on target for current apparel market interests.

Hand stamped caning pattern over dyes.

Then I put it to work via Photoshop for a new stationery look. By reducing the intensity of the colors from the dyes to a simple blue and white combination the look is completely different. The complex version was over powering for a stationery application, but this low key but still distressed and ‘modern’ alternative hit the mark. Huh once again.

Caning pattern, colors modified and used for note cards.

Narrowing down my time invested in the less than successful venture will always be my goal. That said, the more I explore my design sense, the more I realize that when it comes to design work – I had better like the process – because predicting what makes a design ‘work’ continues to be an elusive goal.

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One comment

  1. Patches · · Reply

    In almost all areas, the process takes a great percentage overall and better be as much the reason for doing something as the end result. Could have a long talk about that one!

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