Sometimes you really need to ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. Or so the saying goes by the book of the same name. I decided to have a small exhibition of some of my art. Some was based on my portraiture illustration and some on my typography. I just couldn’t decide which route to go down so why choose? I decided to go for both.
This Bold book features interviews from confident business women who have made it to the top of their field, as well as Bold quotes from inspirational women. Produced by BeBold and featuring over 400 pages, this book can be purchased direct from their website.
Enfield Council issued a rallying cry to all local artists to get in touch with ideas to create a special exterior artwork for display at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town. The centre is an an art and business space for the local community to enjoy. It has been closed since the covid-19 lockdown and is currently being used as a covid vaccination centre.
I was really surprised but overjoyed when they called to say that they had chosen my design. They mentioned that they had chosen it as they felt that it was specific to Enfield and that it was hopeful…a sign of things to come.
The owners of Edmonton Green shopping centre approached me to do an artpiece that could be displayed in their shopping centre. They’re a very community based business and wanted a piece that would reflect the area and the people that live in it.
The theme for this piece is community and inclusivity (circles all the way). About family and friendship. How we can all give a helping hand and look out for each other. In times of mental health issues, we need to talk more and be inquisitive. Ask questions. Is your neighbour doing okay? How we should always be kind. I ask the phrase, ‘can you be someone’s rainbow today?’, regularly on social media and wanted to include particular quotes on the art piece which I feel that people could relate to. The African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is the main inspiration for this illustration and there’s a story behind it…
Back in July 2020, I was asked to contribute some art for one of the pedestrian crossings that would be appearing at five points around the borough of Enfield by Enfield Council. Mine would be positioned in Edmonton Green. The brief for the crossing was to reflect the diversity of the area. Coming from a print background, I knew that the design couldn’t be too complicated but wanted to get the ethnic diversity across in the illustration. Silhouettes would have been the obvious choice but I find them a bit old hat so instead I chose to draw facial outlines that overlapped into the patterns. The result is blocks of vibrant colour and lines which reflects community spirit.
So it’s taken me almost two years to open up my Etsy store. But on the 31st August this is what I did. And the catalyst? It was the passing of Chadwick Boseman, aka Black Panther. Within hours of finding out about his death, I grabbed my ipad and drew an illustration of him. Sad times that we’re living in. He inspired a generation of young people and old alike. Representation is important and he was a hero and someone to look up to for black kids. When you don’t see many people who look like you portrayed in a good light, you need an inspirational person (be it fictional or real) to look up to. The Black Panther is a film with an uplifting main character and a stellar black cast. I took the family to see this film on my birthday in 2018. I came out bouncing and smiling with glee. I love that film. And I’m not even a Marvel fan. Fast forward to two years later and to know that he was battling this horrible disease whilst performing these almost heroic, larger-than-life characters on film is astounding. My white friend told me that her kids were very sad when they heard and saiid that, ‘it’s so important for white kids see a black superhero, leader and all-round inspirational character in such a ground breaking film’. I second that.
A few people were asking for prints of this illustration But I didn’t feel comfortable profiting from his death. I’ve therefore decided that for every print sold of the Chadwick Boseman illustration, I will be donating a portion to charity.
You can find my etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/absolutelykareen
Keith Hepburn of Target Tuition Driving School, contacted me last year asking for a rebrand of his business. His plan was to get a new logo designed, business cards, vehicle signage and some new portraits taken. It’s been a year long project in the making. Here’s a look at how his plan came to fruition.
Does anyone remember duotones? For those not in the know it was a way for you to add a bit of tonal colour to a monochrome photo.
Let me go back in time a bit and I’ll try not to bore you. Before digital (4 colour) print was born, businesses had to print lithographically. Printers would split the job into four colours (cyan, magenta, yellow and black, aka cmyk) and then make printers plates. It was pricey. So in order to keep these costs down, us designers would design and print a job in two colours only. Generally (but not always ) it was black and another pantone colour which are special printers inks. It meant that we couldn’t use full colour images. So we’d convert the colour images to monotone and add another colour to it – aka a duotone. For example, black and Pantone 122 (yellow) would give you a sepia-type effect. But with the invention of digital colour print which is so much more affordable, duotones have all but become extinct. They’re still great to use if you want a special effect like a black and a silver or a flourescent orange. This image is a duotone made up of black and a light blue. I took the contrast way down to soften it. It’s a simple and effective way to give an image a different look other than just black and white or full colour.
Whilst this year has been one of the busiest, it’s also been one of the hardest on a personal level. It was a very tough year and one that I certainly don’t want to revisit. I’m hoping that 2017 is kinder, that there are plenty more laughs and that good health is granted to family and friends. Thanks for following my creative journey.