2019-08-29T23:03:26-04:00

Some Assembly Required

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 09 – Some Assembly Required 

TLDR: Keeping it BRIEF in this blog post – an update on my grant pieces and official Brand Identity Announcement! There’s been SO MUCH going on – both personally and professionally – and I can’t wait till it all culminates on Thursday, September 12th [6 – 9PM] at Creative Pinellas.

Prints are back from Florida Graphic Services and I couldn’t be happier! All the tedious color correction as mentioned in my previous post [Waiting] really paid off. Now, more tedium looms ahead, as I sand, screw, stick, and wrap all appliques and hanging hardware in preparation for my drop off deadline of September 4th.

I’ve still got Certificates of Authenticity to design but now that I’ve finalized my new Brand Identity, signed up for a new email address, as well as launched my new website (more on that below) I have all the information I need to create formal CoA’s. I’ll be sure to share those with you as soon as they are ready.

In the meantime, here are a few shots of the freshly unwrapped prints!

Unwrapping prints from FGS is like Christmas in August!

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the excitement of seeing my digital works come to life.

These pieces were printed on a lightweight expanded closed-cell polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – sometimes known as Sintra – though that’s a specific brand name.

The two layers of white ink as mentioned in the previous post really allowed the colors to reach their fullest vibrancy.

The real excitement will be when all these pieces are buttoned up – the craftsmanship of each assembly is absolutely crucial in their presentation.

 

Sand it, stick it, wrap it, hang it:

Here’s a quick picture of part of the assembly process in action. There are a few crucial tools that come in handy for the process – from your average Phillip’s Head screwdriver, to needle-nose pliers. A crimping tool helps to pinch and secure the heavy-duty picture hanging wire. Also, the adhesive used – 3M VHB Tape – is an extremely strong, permanent bonding adhesive that is unsurpassed in its mounting ability. But just in case, I’ve got some 3/4″ screws to ensure the threads grab and hold the appliques in place from the back.

This drafting desk hardly reflects the insanity that’s about to ensue. For the larger pieces, I’ll have to move operations to the dining room table.

This applique technique is one we use at Creative Arts Unlimited frequently. Working here has helped me to learn a variety of ways of creating impactful graphics. I hope to use these techniques to transcend commercial art, and bring this unorthodox contemporary medium in to the gallery setting.

Oh Sh!t, it’s Miss Crit:

It’s officially official – Miss Crit is the new me! I am happy to have settled into a new logo design, and am working diligently to put together a Style Guide – complete with color palettes, font pairings, patterns, and icons – all of which will help to reinforce my brand. My next blog post will hopefully focus on these concepts.

In the meantime, check out the new website >> themisscrit.com << along with my new Instagram Page – @miss_crit. It’s a work-in-progress, and there’s a long road ahead to fine-tune my portfolio, so be gentle! Check back frequently for more updates and shenanigans. I’ll also be launching an online store, featuring artwork and merchandise. Also, a mailing list is forthcoming to keep you up-to-date on all things crittery.

And since I’m so long-winded, I’ve decided to keep up the blogging – so you’ll be able to read more rants and ravings here. But for now, keep up with the ol’ @lauraspencerillustrates page on Instagram for continued goodies. I also run the instagram for @creativeartsinc so be sure to follow there too!

New Business Cards for Miss Crit. The files are to print and will be in hand sometime between September 3rd – 9th. Fingers crossed, y’all!

George Retkes – Sculpture Extraordinaire:

George Retkes, fellow Emerging Artist Grantee and my ride-or-die, allowed me the opportunity to hook him up with a little rebranding. Check out his new logo design and business card! They’ll be arriving along with mine sometime around September 3rd – 9th. Both cards feature the Trifecta triple layer color core available at GotPrint.com. A velvety, buttery finish gives the cards a luxurious feel and rich look. I am really excited to get these prints back. I’ve been using GotPrint.com for years and can’t recommend them enough (well, I guess I could if they sponsored me or something, but this endorsement is purely out of love). Their prices and turn around time are awesome – matched only by their quality. Check them out if you’re in need of high quality marketing material.

Logo Design and New Business Cards for Artist George Retkes.

As always, thanks for lending your ear – or rather your eyes.

Until next time…

— Miss Crit

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2019-08-17T21:38:24-04:00

Waiting

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 08 – Waiting 

TLDR: FIRST LOOKS – Here’s your chance to take a peep at my pieces for the 2019 Emerging Artists Exhibit [hosted by Creative Pinellas]. Though the hard part is over, my work is hardly done. And as they say, there is no rest for the wicked.

Since our last installment, I’ve become an obsessive little art-machine. Focused like a laser-beam and full of desperate determination to get everything buttoned up and off to print. Deadline pressure is particularly intense for digital artists, since our work can only be brought to life by a third-party; a printer, router, etcher, etc. But despite all odds [familial drama, upper respiratory infections, and other work-related deadlines] I got the art done! If you can make it through this boring post [or if you’re ruled by a short attention span and insufferable impatience], a first look at my pieces for the exhibit await you, far far below.

More Work Ahead:

Though the artwork is completed there is still a long road ahead. Once the prints are back there will be edges to sand and appliques to assemble. Picture hanging wire will curl up and fly, and rubber footies will be added so the pieces sit flush against the gallery wall. Most importantly Certificates of Authenticity for each piece must be designed and signed. This is an absolute essential step in creating any sort of printed artwork. CoA’s ensure your patrons that their purchased art is, in fact, part of a recorded and numbered Limited Edition series. It is a critical part of establishing and maintaining a genuine reputation in the age of digital art. 

In the meantime I wait with bated breath. All fingers, toes, and fallopian tubes are crossed in the hopes that my art is printed and routed to perfection. Since these works will be printed onto a dark substrate – that 1/2″ black sintra [PVC] I mentioned in my previous post – the process becomes a bit tricky. Two layers of white ink must be laid down prior to the color printing. This double-white ink layer helps to provide an opaque and “pure” surface for the CMYK colors to be added. However, because of this convoluted process, I have to account for variables in color, and thats where the concept of “color shift” comes into play.

A brief [and confusing] look at Color Shift and Color Theory:

In all print processes there is an inevitable shift in color. For starters, the color you see on a monitor isn’t necessarily “true” to real life, as the nature of that color and our eye/brain comprehension of it is completely different. This is the difference between additive or RGB [red, green, blue] and subtractive or RYB [red, yellow, blue] color spectrums. On monitors [RGB], color – or rather light – is emitted. Whereas in real life our perception of color is a result of ambient light reflecting off of a surface. And all monitors are not created – nor calibrated – equal. This means that what I see from my fancy pants iMac 5k Retina Display [#humblebrag] is vastly different from the Dell monitors I use on my PC at work.

This issue of color shift is all the more complicated when we then have to translate a digital image [RGB] into 4-color print process known as CMYK [cyan, magenta, yellow, black]. CMYK is important and inherently different than RYB, as not all colors in the print spectrum can be replicated within such a narrow gamut.

You also may have heard of Pantone, which is a standardized color reproduction system that aids designers in creating “flawless” color matching across different media. However unless your printer has access to a specific set of pigments/inks/dyes those Pantone colors will STILL be converted to CMYK builds, and therefore likely to have subtle variations.

Sensory Overload:


By this point I’m sure I’ve lost a few readers to this rat’s nest of Color Theory jargon, so here are a few articles that articulate these subtle nuances much better than I can: 

In order to ensure the least amount of color shift my files underwent a Three Point Color Correction process. Each high-res .tiff file was measured for its darkest darks, lightest whites, and mid-tone neutrals. Further adjustments were made to compensate for the underlying tone of that aforementioned white ink. Even with two layers the somewhat opaque white ink is closer to a cool gray rather than a true “white”. What all of this means is that no matter how hard an artist tries control their visual space, variations and interpretations of color will always vary depending on the substrate, print quality, and of course, the Eyes of the Beholder.  

Nested:

Enough of that nerdy color nonsense! Here’s a look at my final nested 4′ x 8′ sheets – as you can see, I had a bit of spare room and made a few duplicates of the smaller pieces [i.e. the crystal cluster, mushroom cluster, and pineapple top]. I also had enough space to add a few MoonCat Mini prints. If you recall, MoonCat was one of my aesthetic inspirations for this new series of work, so it only seemed natural to print a few more. These MoonCat Minis will be available for purchase on my new website (more on that later).

SHEET 01 – THE FINAL NESTING. Here you can see my nesting layout. This was the most efficient way of rotating and rearranging elements to best fit onto the sheet. With more time, I could have been even more savvy in this bizarre game of Tetris. But this was my best attempt.

 

SHEET 02 – NESTING BOOGALOO. More nesting goodness! As you can see, I had some room to spare, so MoonCat mini prints will be available on my new website [TBD].

First Looks:

Ladies and Gents, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here’s a Display Mock-Up of my pieces for the Creative Pinellas 2019 Emerging Artists Exhibit:

“We Never Die, We Simply Change Form” – working title for my portion of the Creative Pinellas 2019 Emerging Artist Exhibit opening September 12th at Creative Pinellas

Back to Branding:

In this two-week interim while my pieces are off to print, I’ll be focusing back on creating a new Brand Identity for myself. That means designing a new logo, as well as a new style guide for future branding opportunities. Style guides typically include color swatches, type settings, logos and other brand icons/elements, as well as patterns – all of which can be used to represent a concise and cohesive personality. 

I’m looking forward to revealing my new brand strategy with you all in my next blog post, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,
-LS

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2019-08-06T08:44:34-04:00

Nesting

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 07 – Nesting 

TLDR: I’m continuing to develop my pieces for the Emerging Artist Exhibition – our deadline is looming and as a digital artist, I’ve got to get my assets to print ASAP in order to get the work back and prep it for the gallery.

Between the old 9 to 5 and my personal art grind, I’ve got my face to a screen more than 16 hours a day. And yet there still never seems to be enough time! I’ve been working tirelessly to get my pieces together for this exhibit, all the while managing freelance work, as well as personal and family matters. It’s been a consistently crazy hustle, but my hairs haven’t turned gray yet!

I’ve made some great strides in my grant art, and I’m here to share it with you.

The Art of Nesting:

Nesting is not just for the birds. In print design, to nest is to lay out all objects onto a specific size of sheet good in a manner that is most efficient for printing and routing. Typically, this type of production work is left for the end of a design process. However, I had to special order the two [4′ x 8′] sheets of 1/2″ Black Sintra from my local printer prior to submitting design files. Luckily, I placed the order early last week so the goods should be at Florida Graphics awaiting my final art.

Rough pass on nesting my first of two 4′ x 8′ sintra panels. Note that the colors are not indicative of the final work! It’s merely just a way for me to see at a glance the most efficient means of plotting out the work.

Rough nesting on my second sheet, with plenty of room to spare! See that dotted line around each component? That’s the ideal routing path for each piece.

When it comes to nesting, one must always consider the size of the router bit. In this case, a 1/4″ diameter bit will follow along my carefully designed route lines. Unfortunately, this means that achieving crisp and sharp angles can be a challenge. Therefore, all inverse corners must be softened to accommodate this limitation. This also means that each piece has to be at least 1/2″ apart and away from the sheet good edges. My largest piece – the Tri-ger or “Gaa” as it may be titled – will be printed at a max. size of 47.5″ x 47.5″.

It’s important to provide an ample offset around each image, as the routing path can vary as much as 1/8″ all around. This is why I’ve chosen to create a sort of psychedelic set of offsets around each component [the brightly colored outline around each piece]. I think I will add more offsets, varying in color, depth, consistency, and frequency. Hopefully, this will help to emphasize and add a fractal-like aura around these ethereal pieces.

As you can see, this was a rather rough nesting pass; intended to ensure I had ample space for all the necessary pieces. In fact – it appears I’ve got some room to spare! I’ll be adding some extra special pieces from the Critter Archives to flush out the rest of the sheet goods.

Every Day I’m Vectorin’:

Now that the production work has been roughly laid out, I can finally begin on the best part of all – VECTOR AND COLOR!

I derive such joy from making clean and consistent line work, similar to traditional pen and ink techniques. I’ve been working with some Adobe Illustrator plug-ins to provide a more authentic and custom feel to my lines. Astute Graphics has two particularly awesome plug-ins for this: Dynamic Sketch and Ink Scribe.

Sneak Peek on my Owls – a.k.a. “Long” progress. Can’t wait to start on the Ink Cap Mushrooms

Once the process of roughing in my vector line work begins, I like to place a few rough/in-progress color .pngs into clipping masks. This allows me to work more flexibly, instead of laboring over each and every little detail of vectoring, thereby running out of time for the most essential aspect – color and texture.

Progress on the Triger – a.k.a. “Gaa”. More values, details, and textures still to come.

When working on concentrations of art, I’ve been trying to practice the art of designing in “batches” so that each and every piece gets worked to the same level of “completion”. I’ll go through and provide a rough vector for all the pieces, then begin color. After color comes another pass to refine the vector line work, then a final revision for color and texture. Right now, I am in between vector passes and color – so check out the little teaser of my Owls [a.k.a. “Long”] above. There’s more where that came from!

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2019-07-21T13:31:04-04:00

The Process Begins

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 06 – The Process Begins 

TLDR: FINALLY, the real work begins. I’m digging into creating the pieces for my grant exhibit, and in a bold move of vulnerability, I’ve decided to share my process with you.

I am out of the woods on a few freelance projects (although there’s always a few small jobs floating around), and FINALLY ready to dive into my grant work. The concept is formulated, and I’ve even made a rudimentary wall mock-up for the exhibit.

I’ve never really shared my process publicly – always feeling the need to keep such matters hidden and private. Perhaps it is out of fear of my ideas being “stolen”. More than that, it is the fear of being judged over fragile, imperfect works-in-progress. But, like I said in my inaugural blog post, I wanted this blogging experience to push me well outside of my comfort zone, so here goes nothing!

We Never Die, We Simply Change Form:

The title of my exhibit will be “We Never Die, We Simply Change Form”. This name was lifted from a work of art purchased by my sister on our trip to Los Angeles [ca. 2009]. Found in a cozy little thrift shop on Venice Beach, we stumbled upon The Art of Chase and quickly fell in love with his graphic style and all-seeing-eye motifs. In a bizarre turn of events, we got to meet him while driving around Venice as he was painting a large mural. We parked, ran over, and got him to autograph these new acquisitions.

In an even MORE bizarre example of universal synchronicity, it turns out that Chase is Belgian. He hails from the town of Antwerpen, Belgium where I just happened to attend a foreign exchange program in college – just one year after this L.A. adventure. We once again got to pose in front of his murals, and the world became just a teeny bit smaller that day. Anyways, enough with the tangents…

The following pieces are all inspired by 3 very important women who have come to pass – my 3 grandmothers: Mary Sanchez, Ellen Harkonen, and Marjorie Long. Within each piece, the animal and element is representative of their wisdom, strength, and personality. The rendering of these pieces will be vibrant and psychedelic in nature – evoking an ethereal “vision” and transformation of their spirits into eternal, ephemeral effigies.

“We Never Die, We Simply Change Form: Harkonen” Preliminary Sketch for my Grant Exhibit – 32.0″ x 28.0″ [Bees and Pineapple Blossoms]

“We Never Die, We Simply Change Form: Long”. Preliminary Sketch for my Grant Exhibit – 24.0″ x 31.5″ [Easten Screech Owl with Fairy Ink Cap Mushrooms]

“We Never Die, We Simply Change Form: Gaa”. Preliminary Sketch for my Grant Exhibit – 47.5″ x 47.5″ [Bengal Tiger and Sapphire Crystals]

A few weeks ago, the Emerging Artist Grantees had a meet and greet. We got a some one-on-one time with the curator and digital content manager for our grant experience. In that meeting, we discussed the allocation of wall space within the large gallery at Creative Pinellas. The following is a rudimentary mock-up of the gallery wall. The space allocation will likely vary once exhibition install begins, but at least it provides a jumping off point in order to determine sizes.

A mock-up of a gallery wall at Creative Pinellas. Each artist is given approx. 30′ of exhibit space (but don’t quote me on that). The Blue Dots represent additional smaller pieces I am hoping to crank out – time permitting. The Blue Rectangle represents space allocated for an Artist Statement.

The Past Influences the Present:

As I mentioned above, the rendering for these pieces will be vibrant and psychedelic. The two works below are representative of the direction I want to take this body of work in – surreal, other-worldly, mysterious, and mystic.

WORK SAMPLE: “Cosmic Pollination”. Laura Spencer – 2019.
This piece was commissioned by Bank OZK for the corporate headquarters in St. Petersburg, FL. Digital watercolor.

WORK SAMPLE: “Moon Cat” – Laura Spencer, 2017
This piece was created for the OUTSIDE IN – Shine Mural Festival Closing Exhibit. Digital.

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2019-07-21T10:42:34-04:00

The Maker

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 05 – The Maker

TLDR: Quick update on grant allocations and mentorship meeting; plus a really fun “quiz”!

I’m in the home stretch on a large freelance project and I cannot wait to get freed up and focused back on my grant! The past week has been madness – and the coming weeks are looking just as hectic. But all the while I’ve been grinding through these illustrations, the gears are turning and I think I’ve finally honed in on exactly what and how I will be using this grant opportunity.

A few snippets from recent projects – I told you, I’ve been keeping busy!

Building a Brand:

Through many late night sketchbook session, as well as bouncing ideas off of fellow artists and my EAG Mentor (Mr. Chizzy // Chad Mize), I’ve come to realize that I want to build my brand.

While the moniker, “Laura Spencer Illustrates” served me well for over 8 years, it was never intended to carry on this long. For all intents and purposes, it was a means to an end; created in my final year of college for the purpose of a rudimentary website and career launch. But let’s all be honest – “Laura Spencer Illustrates” is clunky, a mouthful, a bit cumbersome to spell, and there are already a whole lot of other Laura Spencers that are far more famous than little old me. So out with the old! It’s time for a new identity.

The various ways in which I’ve represented myself for the past 8 years. Bring on the change.

A new name has been chosen, and logos are in the works – however I am not quite ready to announce what – or who – I’ll be.

In the meantime, I am making another grant allocation investment. This time, on a brand spankin’ new website, a new domain, and of course business cards. Also – upgrades to some of my favorite software [ArtRage 6].

I feel like this has been a long overdue change, and am very excited to share the progress with you all. Thanks for tuning in – there’s much more where this came from!

Something fun:

Now normally, I’m not one for online quizzes, but I stumbled across this one, and it was surprisingly pretty insightful!

Take the Creative Type quiz, and share your results! – I am “The Maker”

I am “THE MAKER” – Committed to my craft


Until next time…
-LS

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2019-07-03T22:49:44-04:00

Blunder Years

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee

Post 04 – Blunder Years

TLDR: A follow-up to the previous blog post – a quick look at images from yesteryear and a new sketch to see how far I’ve come.

Long time, no post! Needless to say, I am in over my head with freelance work, and it’s been taking a toll on my Grantee responsibilities. I’m trying my damndest to get ahead – so the next several blog posts will be quick updates and images. I wish I could share some of these freelance projects with you all, but they are tightly under wraps until the official finished designs can be published – but soon, I promise!

In the meantime, here are those old sketches from my PCCA audition application [see my previous blog most for more details]. Also – a little look at my transformation from 8th grade self portraiture till now. Not too shabby (if I do say so myself) but I have a long long ways to go in refining my skills. So, less talking. More drawing. 

PCCA Audition Application - Still Life of Shoes

PCCA Audition Application – Still Life of Shoes • Graphite ca. 2006 [8th grade]

 

PCCA Audition Application - Drawing of Hands [01]

PCCA Audition Application – Drawing of Hands [01], ca. 2006 • Charcoal • from Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life [Pro-tip: ALWAYS use acid-free paper, and store them in an archival folder [d’oh!].

PCCA Audition Application - Drawing of Hands [02]

PCCA Audition Application – Drawing of Hands [02], ca. 2006 [8th grade] • Charcoal • Yep, those are my little critter fingers, drawn from life

PCCA Audition Application - Self Portrait from Mirror

PCCA Audition Application – Self Portrait from Mirror, ca. 2006 [8th grade] • Graphite

Self Portrait with Witch Hair [02]

Self Portrait with Witch Hair • 10-minute sketch from mirror • Graphite • July 2019 Fun Fact: I have this one, creepy, long chin hair that I’ve imbibed with magical powers – ONLY to be plucked for a very important wish. It’s pretty gross and weird, but then again, so am I!

Laura Spencer - Self Portrait with Witch Hair [01]

Self Portrait • 10-minute sketch from mirror • Graphite • July 2019

Mentor Meeting:

Switching it up a little bit from the typical “Personal History” section, I’ll be sharing some thoughts, ideas, critiques and concepts from my Emerging Artist Grant Mentor Program. With that being said, it is an honor and privilege to announce Chad Mize [aka Chizzy] as my grant mentor!

Chad is an Artist, Designer, Muralist, and all around Renaissance man here in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is the proprietor of MIZE Gallery, as well as the former, most infamous Blue Lucy Gallery [RIP]. Early in my career, Chad featured my work in a variety of exhibits, which helped to jumpstart my entire career. A big thank you and shot out to Chizzy – thanks for taking me under your wing, I can’t wait to absorb ever bit of knowledge I can from you, oh Jedi Master!

Jedi Mize educating his young Padawan Critter

On my mind:

 

2019-07-02T22:37:58-04:00

Awards Deserve Rewards

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 03 – Awards Deserve Rewards

TLDR: A delicious meal and good conversation with an old professor dredges up memories from High School, as well as evoking a much greater existential question.

A few weeks back, George Retkes* and I caught up with one of our professors from High School. This former Art History & Studio teacher left a lasting impact on both of us, and I am grateful that George has maintained correspondence after all these years. Like always, our simple dinner turned into a lengthy and deep conversation. We sat and chatted as the restaurant closed around us, covering everything from health and family, to travel and adventures, and most importantly, ART.

We talked at length about the strain of creative employment upon an artist’s ability to create for themselves. This is the burden of using your creative skills to help realize the work/vision of someone else. For this professor, teaching and guiding young artists to find their own voice – while satisfying/rewarding – was an immense creative responsibility.  To then come home and muster up the motivation to generate their own work was simply overwhelming.

It’s comfortable and dare I say, easy, to use your creativity and talents for your 9 to 5 job – it pays the bills after all, and that alone provides a certain level of career satisfaction. There’s also something sort of noble, or self-sacrificial, about giving yourself and your abilities to something other than your own selfish endeavors. The issue then, is how an artist defines their success. Isn’t the craftsman successful when she utilizes her talents to their fullest potential, no matter for who or for what? Or is there an underlying insatiability that only self-generated concepts can fulfill? This struggle is most familiar to commercial artists – graphic designers, illustrators, advertisers, etc. We use our talents like tradesmen do – service-based creative problem solvers. This is one of the greater existential threats that I face in my own life and career.

Regardless, I continue to fill my days with unique, challenging, and creatively demanding projects at Creative Arts Unlimited. On top of that, more freelance graphic design work, and of course finding some sort of inspiration left over for my own projects. As you can see, I haven’t really found balance between it all, so here’s to burning a candle at both ends! I should probably try to find a hobby that’s different from my work, but these days, its all blending together. It’s not a bad place to be. Perhaps in my hubris, I can be the exception to the rule – or maybe this means I should start planning a long-term trajectory, to becoming an artist for myself – first and foremost.

*George Retkes: partner-in-life-and-crime; fellow Emerging Artist Grantee.  

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2019-06-16T23:41:50-04:00

CRUNCH TIME

 

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 02 – C R U N C H  T I M E

So I know I talked a big game in the last post, boasting of an extra-long blog installment all about an old professor, my high school experience, etc. However – I am in CRUNCH MODE to finish a piece for the upcoming show – ICONS – LGBTQ+ PORTRAITS [Opens this Friday – June 14th – MIZE Gallery // Chad Mize ]

In the meantime, here’s a studio shot and some promotion for the show. Hope to see you all Friday!

You know its about to get serious when I’ve cleaned off my drafting table.

 

ICONS – LGBTQ+ Portraits

Until next time…
-LS

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2019-06-01T12:09:26-04:00

An Introduction – Laura Spencer Illustrates

Laura Spencer Illustrates
2019 Emerging Artist Grantee
Post 01 – An Introduction

TLDR: My name is Laura Spencer, and I Illustrate – Welcome to my Emerging Artist Grant blog. My intention is to provide you with engaging content on my creative process, while piecing together my personal history. 

Thank you for stumbling upon this blog – powered by Creative Pinellas – which chronicles the trials and tribulations of my Emerging Artist Grant. In this blog, I’ll be sharing photos, works-in-progress, musings, and inspiration. Most importantly, I want to use this blog as a mean of artistic self reflection. By reviewing my history, I aim to expose insecurities, give voice to the questions in my head, and embody the discipline, timeliness, and accountability that it takes to write a weekly scheduled exposé.

To kick things off, here’s a little sample of (almost) all of the projects I worked on this month – from Creative Arts Unlimited, freelance clients, and personal work. 

In addition to illustration and graphic design work, I’ve been dabbling in rudimentary 3D modeling/rendering in programs like SketchUp so you’ll see a few rendering snippets above.

 

A Personal Art History:

In an effort to better understand myself and to illuminate the path forward, I’ll be including blurbs on my artistic background. As artists, we are the creative sums of our histories. By reviewing the past I hope to discover the underlying message that drives me today.

Ever since I can remember, Art has been the central focus of my life. I was born and raised right here in St. Petersburg, Florida to a small yet fiercely creative family. My upbringing was humble; far from affluent, but rich in love, encouragement, and imagination. I was always surrounded by tools of creativity and impactful works of art. As a small little critter, my mother often took me on visits to her eldest sister’s home and art studio. I’d wander around wide-eyed and seemingly unaware, taking in her masterful and surreal paintings. As my mother tells it, I began pointing out figures and context within her paintings. Impressed by this moment of visual comprehension, both my mother and aunt decided that I would begin taking art lessons. 

And so it began [ca. 1991]

Around the age of 5, I began studying under the guidance of my Aunt and Local Artist – Boo Ehrsam – every weekend, without fail. At the time, I was irked to miss out on Saturday morning cartoons. However, I could not have predicted the direction these lessons would lead. The education I received so throughly seeped into my brain that it provided the foundation from which I build upon today. From learning the principles/elements of art and design, to the hand-eye coordination of observational drawing, as well as the basics of perspective – this wisdom set the tone for an enduring sense of discipline and devotion to Art.

The journey that followed this “creative genesis” can only be described as being in the right place and the right time. A future full of unique opportunities that, to this day, I am only just starting to realize their significance. More on that subject in the next blog entry.

If you managed to stick around through all that rambling – I thank you! The next installment will be about a visit with an old professor, and my experiences attending an art magnet high school. Also up ahead – updates on my concepts for the Emerging Artist Grant, and my plans for how to allocate my funding. It will be a long post, so brace yourself!

Until next time…
-LS

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