My senior year at the University of Oregon a visiting professor looked at my painting and asked what I wanted to do. I said, “History painting.” The art department in the 90s was like experiential art history, learning to do what artists centuries ago had accomplished. I lived Impressionism. It was like acting the part of an artist, packing my easel and going out to the field. Then I got into Cubism. And the Romantics, their grand canvases. But I had come to school wanting to be a comic book artist, and that strand wove itself into the picture.
OPAL is a nonprofit in Portland doing advocacy for environmental and social justice. I volunteered to help out and they asked for some graphic design: new business cards, letterhead, MailChimp header, social media templates, Thank You card, and a poster.
My first task was to create a vector graphic of their circle logo, name, and tagline (what you see on the back of the card) from a 74 KB jpeg file. OPAL needed the vector logo ASAP because they didn’t have an .ai file on hand for the logo and it looked fuzzy on their social media (74 KB is small!), and especially when sized up.
On the business card I used curves of light and dark green circle within circles as a design element to echo their logo. The curves seen on the back of card became the visual motive that integrates their visual communications. We used that on the letterhead, MailChimp header, and Thank You card. The social media template allowed OPAL to have volunteers insert photos and quotes to create a unified campaign. I experimented with color halftone on the photo for visual style:
OPAL asked if I could create a graphic from one of their student volunteer’s drawings to clarify the image while keeping the spirit of the original. I made the poster as a vector graphic with Illustrator so it could be scaled to any size.
Youth Environmental Justice Alliance. Feel it! To experiment with the animation feature inside Photoshop, I made a GIF for social media. Here’s a quick-assembly limited animation:
OPAL is a great place to get involved with your community!
So many notebooks! Yes, I still keep a notebook with me, with real paper. This is utilitarian (notes!) and a place to create. From those pages I’ve put together a few collections. Here are the covers I created for each chapbook; and I made the photo taken at Mt. Tabor with some help from Photoshop. Please click the covers to read my back-of-book descriptions:
Around the turn of the century I began a dream journal and found that writing them down upon awakening helped with recall. That was fun. At the time I also did creative writing and would type my poems and stories from my notebook to a word processor. I decided to type the dream entries and they turned out to be more creative and interesting than the writing that I was doing consciously. So that propelled me and I had the dream journal going for a few years—it’s a discipline because one really can’t wait to write them in the morning. Get up and the image dissolves.
My intention with What We Have In Common was to articulate true statements. A series of headings and statements where I wrote an observation about life needed a occasional breather, so I came up with a concept for illustrating the book with human figures (like you see on the cover). They increase exponentially as the statements increase in number until the figures just run for pages and pages to the end. Given that, it’s like an art book. Concept being: we have a lot of people!
The poems in Open Book Society are of a wide variety so I was happy to land on a way to describe the collection (click the back of book). Some were composed with a guitar and those have an almost architectural soundness. I observed that all the poems in the collection are more abstract than naturalistic or confessional. But I saved these poems for so many years that I finally decided to rescue them from the hard drive (bit rot). It was going to be a two-part book, with the second part being more recent poems—that was far too long so the second part will be another book.