Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Illustration Conference v4

Day 2 and 3 of the Illustration Conference...

Kevin O'Callaghan is a 3D designer/illustrator, principal of O’Callaghan & Company - Art for the Film Industry, and curator and Chair of the 3-D design program in the Advertising and Graphic Design department at New York's School of Visual Arts. He gave the closing keynote speach at ICON 5.

What you see above is a shot from my Palm Treo of the Grand Ballroom just prior to his speech. On either side of the stage are large monitors where inspired 3-D work will soon be shown. The large figures are his creations for the MTV Video Awards a few years ago. You can see, from left-to-right, Britney Spears, Marilyn Manson, Chuck Berry (doing the duck walk), and Gwen Stefani. Behind them is a life-sized sidewalk newsstand kiosk replica, also built by Mr. O'Callaghan and created specifically for this conference. It features illustrated magazine covers surrounding a video screen with looping footage of a proprietor interacting with us, as outsiders looking in...perhaps picking up the latest New Yorker.

By the way, I don't think the New Yorker or cover-illustrator Barry Blitt could ask for better publicity with this week's "Politics of Fear" cover. The mainstream media has run with it, expressing some people's hesitancy in jumping on-board with its intent. It depicts, with satire, Mr. and Mrs. Obama manifesting all the false rumors about them.

Back on the stage, between Britney and Marilyn is Whitney Sherman, ICON 5's president, preparing to introduce the final speaker.

To open the first full day of sessions, New Yorker cartoonist Victoria Roberts read announcements in the persona of her alter ego and one of her cartoon characters, Nona. Nona is a small, colorful, eccentric British woman. I wasn't familiar with her, so I wasn't sure what to make of this oddly charming woman reading in the Queen's English. She was kind of Yoda-ish with her petite stature and Jedi-like command of the audience.

The breakout sessions commenced, and I chose to learn about the "Endless Possibilities" with regards to the ancillary markets, like animation and toys, in which artists can apply their work. I then gained insight on life from an artist rep's viewpoint, and wrapped up the day listening to Brad Holland (always an inspiration) talk about the Orphan Works legislation from the perspective of the Illustrators Partnership of America. Aside from being one of the pioneers of modern-day illustration, and perhaps the most often-copied artist of this generation, Brad Holland is an insanely brilliant individual who was rattling Washington legislators' names and meeting dates off the top of his head as if he were plucking them from his Rolodex, and dispensed the information with ease and just the right digestibility for hungry illustrators, like me.

If you are an artist, designer, photographer, musician, or one who makes their living from the products of your creativity, or derive benefit from your freelancer's creative contributions, or just care about either, I would politely ask you to take two minutes and follow either link below to voice your concern about the proposed Orphan Works bill. As currently written, it short-changes artists by removing some of their rights in protecting their work, and places them in a position of weakness when it comes to pursuing infringements. The letter-writing process is done for you, but customizable, and takes 2 minutes to send.

click here

click here

I wrapped up the evening by walking down to the East River to watch the Macy's fireworks display in a light rain, sans umbrella. Obviously, I could have found a street vendor had I really wanted one, but even in the rain, the experience was amazing.

Saturday kicked off with more of Nona and her wisdom, which segued to Gary Panter. Mr. Panter was an art director for Pee Wee's Playhouse. He entertained us with his art and regaled us with stream-of-conscious conversations and stories about Paul Rubens and his time at the Playhouse.

Gallery 101 was next for me as I gained some insight toward breaking into the gallery scene -- something which is on my radar.

Contract self-defense came next, and its information about smartly negotiating and wading through contracts. Finally the keynote and Carnival Carioca -- a fitting Brazilian-themed party to end the conference.

I'm pretty up on registering my copyright, regularly, so the benefit of these conferences, for me, is two-fold (not counting the obvious networking potential): the calls-to-action, like with the Orphan Works legislation, and the pearls of inspiration that squeeze through, like when Steven Heller (former art director for the New York Times Book Review, and prolific author and educator of all things art and design) or Brad Holland speak. Their success and wisdom oozes through in the things they say and don't say. This dialogue alone is invaluable to me as an opportunity to hear some of the most important voices and creative minds in our industry lending their time and expertise to those who will listen.

If you missed the conference, Steven Heller was conducting podcasts, which will be posted to the Illustration Conference's website in the near future. I plan on checking them out, just to hear his angle.

ICON 5 website

If you are so inclined, I've included a bonus post below, detailing some of my non-conference excursions.

1 comment:

Flydesign said...

Great post Allan. I read this post yesterday while sitting down at the Corner Bakery eating a really good sandwich and salad. Reading this post off of my Blackberry I was well entertained with your adventure in the big apple.

Thank you for the info on the Orphan Works Bill and will be following up on it.

Have been really busy as off late and seems like all my personal projects are put on hold, maybe for the next month, but can you really complain if your to busy?

Thanks for the post, my crayons are once more energized with creativity.