Thursday, March 31, 2011

Street Art of Paris, Segment 2

These great works of art were all captured in Montmartre.  The most well known icon of this neighborhood, located in hilly area in the north of the city, is the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur.  The area is bustling with tourists and students, tacky souvenirs, 3 card monte scams, and artists aggressively trying to commission a portrait.  Although it sounds overwhelming, it was one of my favorite spots, bursting with energy and creativity.  With that kind of atmosphere, it's no wonder the street art was not your typical graffiti.

A plaster face mounted to a wall with a tribal
design. I like not knowing if it was meant to be
one piece, or if someone else added the  paint.

3 faces stenciled outside a cafe.

A cafe door, which did not look open,
despite what the sign says.

The other side of the door.  

Just a cool mashup of stuff on a stairway wall.

This guy is known as Monsieur Chat
Stenciled daisies on a slope along the stairway.

A weathered looking fellow, I love the sketch style
which you don't often see drawn right on the wall.

Looked like a painted canvas, I couldn't get close enough to tell.

Up next, local artists' paintings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taken by les mains

Last week I took a much needed vacation in one of the world's most beautiful and artistic cities: Paris!  There is an impeccable attention to detail in every structure of the city.  And it seemed no matter which direction I looked, there was something beautiful begging to be captured.  This shutter-happiness led to my taking 600+ pictures, averaging over 120 a day.  Mon Dieu!

Don't worry, I'll spare you the anecdotes as well as the photos of me looking touristy in front of Parisian landmarks.  This first installment of Taken by the Hand in Paris cover street art, which is everywhere.  There's standard nonsensical graffiti marking up the train tracks, paper sketches glued to cement walls, and much to my surprise and delight, mosaics.  This first set was taken on the streets near the Bastille, La Marais, and St-Germain.

Paper boar

There were lots of these 8-bit style mosaics, created or inspired by Invader

This truimph de l'oeil is a favorite.  It is positioned near trees
of the same height so you really have to do a double take.

I saw several of these Xes, but couldn't get any info on them.
"X Paris graffiti" is a pretty vague google search term.

The first floor rooftop was a very popular spot.

Another paper illustration.
Up next, street art in Montmarte.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A quick Wednesday night project

Now that spring is coming and it's still light out when I get out of work, I don't feel like I need to throw on pajamas and call it a night as soon as I get home.  So this Wednesday I did some experimenting with tape drawing and inking. 

I did a simple illustration of a bird (because I really like birds) onto an 8.5"x 11" heavy stock paper.  The masking tape actually worked great for this subject because it tears into long triangular strips that resemble feathers.
All taped up
Using a brayer I rolled a bright yellow waterbased ink overtop, and then peeled the tape off.  The results are below. 

Just chillin
Next time I might use a darker ink because the image is hard to see at night when my room is dimly lit.    

If you want to try your own but don't have ink and a brayer, you could easily use paint instead.  Just avoid using tempera/poster paint because it tends to chip easily and you don't want to be pulling off the paint along with your tape.  Pull the tape off when the paint is about 80% dry to avoid chipping anyway (except with watercolor or spraypaint where it doesn't matter).  If necessary use tweezers or a blade to help kick up the tape edge. 

Overall the project was fun and took only about an hour.  This techinque is so simple and versitile that the possibilities are endless.  Decorate your walls, make stationary, or use fabric paint to create graphics on clothes.  I plan to try it again on a canvas tote!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time to get busy

Now that the callouses have softened and I've gotten past my fear of carpal tunnel syndrome, I'm ready to get back to one of my favorite printing methods: woodblock or woodcut.  I've been physically and mentally sketching out my next project since the fall, but have been too lazy to dive in head first.  Then a trip to Home Depot for potting soil resulted in my serendipitously finding two identical, pre-cut slabs of poplar. I knew it was business time.  They were the perfect size for my 2-color nautical themed print.

The twins

I'll be posting photos of my progress, so check back for updates!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cheap crafts, cheap laughs

Image courtesy of express night out
While it's unlikely you'll actually make any of her campy crafts, Amy Sedaris' latest book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People will keep you laughing and maybe even get the creative juices flowing. The book pokes fun at the state of the economy and is laced with Amy's candid humor. It's certainly not for the serious crafter, and a lot of the projects will take you back to your arts and craft days at summer camp. I find in the photo spreads of Amy in costume, the illustrations, and prop styling to be my favorite, and the most inspiring, part. It's also one of those books where you don't have to read the chapters in order, so it's great when you don't have a lot of time. If you can't get to the book store, Amazon lets you browse through a handful of pages.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris on Amazon

Also check out Amy's other book I like you: Hospitality Under the Influence for a humorous take on entertaining.