Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Munny For AB 83 (Lost in the Ozone)

Mixed Media on 7" kidrobot Munny

This was probably the coolest hing I got to do at work so far.  My boss gave me the task of designing a Munny for our new sale coming up in September.   The "Artrageous Sale" is deeply rooted in graffiti and urban style art.  All of our signs and window clings are graffiti and we now sell Montana Gold spray paint and several of these sculptures.  There are several designs but all are soft vinyl toys made by kidrobot that artists can paint, draw, do whatever to.  It's a design-it-yourself art project.  You can check out more Munnys.. Munnies here and also here.  

I started this project with Sharpies markers, drawing what cities lack the most.. trees.  The trees, without leaves, eventually turned into vines and roots which represented growing up.  Although it looked cool, this black and white version was not what I wanted.  I guess I was on autopilot and ended up wasting a couple hours because I painted over most of it the next night.  I wanted something that embodied the urban life I remember seeing back east.  It needed brick walls and graffiti...  An old feel reminiscent of NYC in the 80's where graffiti began.    


To get into the feel of urban art and graffiti, I decided to watch Paid in Full.  Its a movie depicted in the 1980's about a few drug dealing friends that grew up in the rough area of Harlem and deal with the problems and casualties of living such a lifestyle. The movie gave me some inspiration to start painting..  RED!!  The acrylics I used are not artist quality but this worked to my advantage.  A single coat of this cheap paint acted like a transparency and allowed the marker detail to shine through.  They are not as opaque as the heavy body Liquitex which I normal use.  This allowed me to keep the roots on his right leg which is the only portion of the original design that I liked.

That movie reminded me of the only time I was in Harlem walking around and it was pretty scary.  Granted I was there to see a Jousha Johnston painting in a YMCA during the middle of the day, with two super awesome white lesbian women in their 40's.  It sounds like a dream but I swear it's true.  I was taking an African Art History class at Kean University at the time and the trip was required.  I remember coming out of the subway with my classmate Maria and her girlfriend and being instantly overwhelmed.  We asked the first person we saw for directions to the YMCA and the Harlem Museum.  Although I didn't trust the person we asked, he was right on the money which made me feel terrible.  Sorry guy with one tooth more than a baby.

After the gun busts and ganstas in the movie, I drew the target on his back and painted The United States on his head to represent other countries' love for us.  I also got the idea to cut the handle off Munny's ray gun, one of the four mystery accessories he came with (still intact in the single photo above), to create a Montana Gold spray can.  It was then that I noticed the rest of the ray gun looked like a spaceship.  I was browsing Netflix and put on a History Channel program about our galaxy.  This gave me the galaxy idea for the top of his head.  America--> first people on the moon--> Golden!  I used a transparent iridescent medium by Liquitex to add a pearlescent shimmer to the stars within the galaxy.  Below this is a silhouetted figure that I transformed into buildings spray painting the atmosphere; a play on aerosols and hinting at our carbon footprint deteriorating the ozone.  I also added the tagger hoodie that zips over your face so witnesses or police cannot identify you destroying property.  I also included a tiny heavily painted easel and tiny canvas with graffiti tags that represent the store and the reason I got to do this project to begin with.  There is so much to say about this little guy but I don't want to go overboard like I usually do.. like I already have.  I'll let the pictures say the rest.  Check out the fancy boarders!  I also removed the paper lines in Photoshop (visible in the black and white photos above) to make the pictures look official. 


This next digital piece was just something cool that came from collaging all the pictures below it.  Each photo detailed the 'graffiti' on my Munny so I thought I'd group them together like the pictures above.  While putting the forth collage together, I realized that some of the photos looked really cool next to each other.  I removed the white background near the Munny's ear and my buddy Jesse stopped by.  He cheered me on to make the rocket ship look three-dimensional and literally watched me mold these images together for an hour.  (That must have been so boring.  Sorry dude)  I did not plan on spending so much time on this..  I think I blacked out zoning.
As the time flew by, Jesse had left,  I got hungry, and my butt hurt from sitting on a wooden-makeshift computer chair.  I looked up, saw this, and left to get nasty on some fast food like these guys.  Sauce!

I expected this digital piece to have a transparent background and I did not know that JPEG files automatically insert a white background when saving.  I had to go back in the cheap way and magic wand everything that reappeared. It looks pretty terrible compared to the original Photoshop image that I saved because the areas that were transparent are now opaque.. (obviously) Oh well.  I wasn't going to waste anymore time on this.  If I only saved it as a PNG file instead of a JPEG, I would have been able to keep the transparent background..   Who knew?


Fun facts:  The term "zoned" or "zoned out" derived from a 1970's phrase "Lost in the Ozone" which I found to be quite appropriate for this blog posting.  There is my title.. Boo-ya!

*FYI The Aaron Brothers in Midway, CA is having five world renown writers tag their windows live on August 13th from 1PM-5PM.  This promotional event is free and will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs.  CLICK HERE for more info. Do it, Do it, do it..

2 comments:

Natalie Farrell said...

Still my favorite Munny, and I still want it just as much as before.

Taylor S Smith said...

This is awesome! Love the process and thought that went into it too.

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