Tuesday, March 15, 2011

welcoming guests at MECA

The little hive known as MECA was plenty busy during the first half of the spring semester. In Illustration 2, we welcomed some amazing guests. Last Thursday, just in from San Francisco, a dynamic pair of creators arrived to tell their story.

Hugh D'Andrade and Mati McDonough frequently collaborate, as couples often do. Yet they have very different approaches to their work. They made a presentation first to the junior illustration majors.

Hugh studied fine art at the California College of Art and after graduating, began doing free art for friends, for posters around San Francisco for music events and political organizations, anything that triggered his sense of activism.

That graphic work drew the attention of publishers, and now Hugh is busy with book jackets, magazine covers, and more music posters. Here are two of the latest.

Mati took a more circuitous route to art, first earning a degree in Latin American studies from Macalester College. She spent time in Columbia, where the vivid colors of local art would someday influence her work. As she told the audience, "Nothing is ever wasted."

She met Hugh in a Photoshop class he was teaching. After grades were in, they began dating, and have been married since 2007. Mati studied also at CCA, and gravitated more to painting. Both of them began having shows of their work in various bars and restaurants in the Bay Area.  Mati's vocabulary of whimsical animals and cheerful colors have garnered a huge following, from her etsy shop to major 
retailers. She brought in samples of work now licensed for items such as clothing, cards, magnets, and jewelry.

They talked about forming collectives with other artists, teaching online, and loving their creative freedom. They spoke again to the sophomore class, not yet majors. The discussion of technique in translating line drawings into Photoshop layers was quite helpful, and we shared an informative
discussion on the Orphan Works bill. Hugh once worked full time for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mati worked in a law office that represented artists. All these experiences round out their careers, in which artists need multiple skills.

Thanks, Mati and Hugh!

The previous week, we welcomed another guest, Dexter, who brought his open minded charm to a short life drawing session.

Drawing animals can be a regular challenge for any illustrator, as is a not-so-still model. Dexter obediently paused for little treats, and the students of IL 206 worked quickly.

Noreen Torelli made several energetic sketches with brush and ink, like this.

Shayna Blumert worked in charcoal, and captured Dexter's calm disposition.

Gaella Materne worked in pen, and made this graphic profile.

Dexter took all the attention in stride. He's used to it. This month, he can be seen posing with local textile designer Angela Adams in a story about her cottage in Coastal Living Magazine. 

Thanks to Dexter's person, Julie Smith, on staff in the Registrar's office!

Meanwhile, students were conjuring up fabled folks for an assignment in character design. After Dexter left, Andi Croak's goblin visited the class.

Character design is a fundamental task for illustrators, whether two-dimensional or fully formed. Bringing them to life, and clothing them, has yielded great variety.

Part of the assignment also involves staging and photographing. Here is Andi's final piece.

Students were free to choose materials, and it ran the gamut, from Super Sculpey, to wood, to paper, to fabric.

This is Devon Johnson's "Fox and the Grapes."

This is Hannah Rosengren's "Swedish Brownie" carved from maple, and hidden in a leafy nook in the Joanne Waxman Library for good luck.

Bevin Lucas created this floating "Snow Queen" from paper and wire.

Daelyne Bell used fabric, Sculpey, paint, paper, and an un-Disney intrepretation of the Little Mermaid for her melancholy character, doomed by love.

MECA students never cease to surprise. This is just a small sample of the many ways they bring their fresh voices to illustration projects.  Since there are no BFA classes this week, I'll head back into my own studio, inspired by their energy.

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