Tuesday, September 28, 2010

pittsburgh entry

a brief flurry of urgency in the studio as I rushed to get this ready for shipping to the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators exhibition.
This is a work I originally created digitally to explore the concept of packing and unpacking as a metaphor for telling stories. The idea of blackbirds escaping from a baked pie is wonderful and has the magical and surprising quality I look for.
These birds are packed in boxes along with various other references to them and what they do.
I printed the piece on watercolour paper and pasted it to a thin sheet of plywood, sanding off the corners to emulate the way old photos are worn away, corners go missing and they develop all kinds of irregular shapes.
The frame is built to look like the top of an old box, now opened, showing some of the wooden slats that closed it and nails where the wood would have been broken away. Beneath the main picture are a few other old papers as though this would have been a box containing old memorabilia and now opened to reveal a picture of birds in boxes. The frame and wooden parts are made from old cedar fence boards al grey and broken down from years of being outdoors.
I took a brush to the digital print and added some darker areas and highlights and glazed it to add depth.
What I like and aim for is the contrast between the dry aged wood and the satiny glow from the picture inside it.
Like stories told, there are all kinds of unexpected revelations that emerge in the narrative. You find out things from places and people you often least expect it from. They have been packed away in boxes for years.

1 comment:

  1. I love this image and its story, Johann! It's about as profound as an illustrator can be, yet still leaves one with a sense of the mysterious.
    Especially the section with the bird disappearing into its cubby.
    I got a preview of it in an email from Kathy Rooney because I am helping her with some PR for the show. Can't wait to see the piece in person!