Inspired by: Renegade Round-up

Now that I don’t sell retail any more I was able to go out to the San Francisco Renegade fair just as a shopper.  There was unfortunately a bit of repetition, which will happen whenever any meme proves itself to be commercially successful.  I saw at least four booths selling spiral-bound journals made from recycled book covers, and there were more mustaches, bacon and abstracted San Francisco maps than you could shake a stick at.  Still, when you have 300ish vendors, you’re bound to find a few new and interesting things and find them I did!  Here is a sampling of a few of the artists I admired this year:

Emma SanCartier’s oddFAUNA sculpture shadow boxes:

“Jesus Saves the Dinosaurs” and other irreverent collages by Unusual Cards:

And Whitney Smith’s gorgeous pottery. Would LOVE one of her bowl sets:

Inspiration Station

If I want to transition into doing more editorial-prop-type work, I’m going to need to beef up my portfolio.  I’ve already done some work for book publishers like Chronicle and Scholastic, but most of it’s not very sophisticated, being geared mainly toward the kindergarten crowd.  My portfolio needs a lot more examples of the kinds of projects I’d like to get hired for.  It needs to demonstrate that I’m capable of handling more complex work of various scales, while appealing to the needs of marketing and art directors.

I’ve therefore begun an on-going brainstorm (which I will turn into a static page so I can keep updating it) of potentially interesting portfolio pieces.  The idea is not to get through the entire list, but to create enough options that at least one of them is exciting to me on any given day, no matter what my state of mind. If you have ideas to add, please put them in the comments and I’ll add them to the project brainstorm page.

  • Design a new title page for a boring magazine article
  • Design two interesting settings in which to photograph jewelry
  • Design a window display
  • Design a trade show booth
  • Design five DIY holiday gifts, and five DIY holiday decorations
  • Design a political package for an issue or candidate, including poster, bumper sticker and button (or other schwag)
  • Design a piece of wearable clothing not made from fabric
  • Create three unsettling plush objects
  • Create a pop-up card or book spread
  • Design something to indicate the passage of time that is not a clock, calendar or hourglass.
  • Shoot a handcrafted animation
  • Create a kit to help solve a common problem
  • Create a diorama
  • Create a shadow box
  • Create a papercut
  • Design something to help organize your workspace
  • Make a gross or boring job or product look sexy
  • Create a trompe l’oeil
  • Create a map of an imaginary place
  • Make a pocket square that looks like something other than a handkerchief
  • Make a memory game
  • Take photos and then alter them in a barely noticable way
  • Create a shrine to an obsolete technology
  • Create a board game to illustrate a process
  • Make a family tree
  • Diagram something emotional
  • Create an introduction/thank you piece a la Jeffery Rudell
  • Make a weird cross-stitch/needlepoint sampler
  • Design a poster for a quotation using at least five different fonts
  • Design 5 simple-to-make but elegant DIY wedding items
  • Make an advent calendar
  • Make something useful out of 100% garbage
  • Design the childhood bedroom of a fictional character
  • Re-create an often overlooked household object that is ten times larger or smaller than usual