In my fine art practice, graphic design is my “modus operandi” – it is the tool that aids me in every artistic endeavor. It is a translator for ideas and a liaison for all types of media to intersect.
In this portfolio, I will demonstrate my skills as a graphic designer and how I use digital art to improve the aesthetic and efficiency of my artwork.
“Johnnie White Walker” – Product Design, 2017
“Johnnie White Walker: Dead Label,” was my most popular and well executed project. In 2017 I created a streamlined series of Game of Thrones parody bottles using graphic design, mixed media, and recycled Johnnie Walker: Red Label bottles. I gained domestic and international success, however the true achievement of this project was revealed not by me, but by the Johnnie Walker Company itself.
Orchestrating this project complete with social media marketing, manufacturing, and shipping was by no means a brief process; however I will attempt to describe it as such. A lot of preparation went into design development and into the social media calendar that synced posts with premiere nights during Game of Thrones Season 7.
I first set about making the label which could be ordered in either Black or White. It was created with spray paint, stencil art, and sown together with Photoshop. The translucent sticker paper used for the labels and portraits could not print “white,” which allowed for a chic, impressionable label with three dimensional appeal.
I then set out to create handmade portraits designed for mass production.
I debuted the project on the night of the premiere of Season 7 on July 16th, 2017. With consistent Instagram posts, GIFS, and uploading images to Reddit, one of which garnered over 11k views: I had gone viral.
During that summer I received just as many domestic commission requests as I did international ones; it was quite a compliment to have my art reach Sweden, South Africa, Germany, and most recently, Belarus. Riding the coattails of pop culture-oriented merchandise, I continued to produce bottles into the Winter as a Christmas gifts.
Digitally-focused skills and functions that contributed to this success:
- Proficiency in Photoshop
- Image replication
- Resizing images
- Product design
- Creating custom labels
- Color management
- Product photography; developing images for merchandise
- File organization – mock-ups, drafts, edits, finals version, utility files, public images
- Social media management
- Accessing a wider audience by utilizing the media-sharing site, Reddit
- Management of personal business
Things got complicated in May, 2018. Johnnie Walker and DIAGEO announced they would be releasing their own Johnnie White Walker, entitled, “White Walker.” After meetings and phone calls with lawyers, investigating trademark law, and evaluating my own options, I came to the conclusion that the battle was not in my favor. Though not using my artwork, it’s difficult to not see the similarity in concept.
In developing my response to Johnnie Walker, I created a spreadsheet of all ‘Documentable Social Media Interactions,’ a table that counted the minimum number of people that would have seen images related to “Johnnie White Walker: Dead Label.” This data was never used however it was a good exercise in organizing data.
Consider each “Like,” Comment, and View to have an equivalent unit of value in relationship to each other, and each unit represents a person that interacted with the media. Including data from Instagram and Reddit, but not from Pinterest where spectatorship is not recorded, I concluded at least 23.8k people had seen my media by January, 2018.
Since May I have spoken with a Johnnie Walker representative and we are on good terms. I continue to receive commission requests from fans and whisky enthusiasts, to which I politely decline.
From this experience, I can conclude that the strength of the design, marketing, and concept were successful enough to be adopted by a larger company. The infamous lesson: don’t use copyrighted material.
“Sunee Thai & Lao” – Mural, 2018
Sunee Thai and Lao is a restaurant on 14th and Stark that houses one my my largest murals to date: 6′ x 23′. Using a phone App and different techniques in Photoshop, I constructed this entire image digitally before actually painting it.
For this project, I pointed a Kaleidoscope App at a traditional Laotian wallpaper, creating a symmetrical mosaic pattern from the original image.
By photoshopping just the silhouette of the pattern, I was able to produce multiple varieties of ringed images that I could manipulate into custom designs.
The concept and ornamentation of the design was a hit with the owners.
After multiple creative meetings, reviewing and grading what elements worked successfully, we decided on a final image. I was able to provide them with efficient and professional service in the designing process because of my extensive work in Photoshop.
Graphic & Digital Art, 2015
2015 at the University of Oregon was a monumental year for learning how to incorporate digital art processes into a budding painting practice.
My classes devoted to Digital Art were the most radical and stimulating for my understanding of contemporary media. Below are examples of different skills I acquired during that year, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and GIF making.
“Good Intentions” – Digital art drafting, 2015
I like to use dynamic color schemes. Though I tend to include a splash of every color into an art piece, I am knowledgable about color separation and pantone colors in the context of graphic art. I created the painting “Good Intentions” below by manipulating the colors of a macro photograph several times, piecing the different images together like a mosaic, and attempting to render the digital image into a physical painting.
* I am aware this process is not an example of typical color separation. I have experience in the standard color separation process via CNYK screen printing, though it is not an example of graphic design. *
McMenamins Art – 2018
As a member of Pub Staff at Mall 205, I am very familiar with working quickly and handling various tasks simultaneously. During my two years at this location I have learned a great deal about keeping cool under pressure and handling stressful situations with grace and a positive attitude. As a server I excel in customer service, and as a line cook I craft everything I make to a high standard of quality and aesthetic.
“Tribute to Deadheads,” tie dye t-shirts, 28″ x 28″ x 2″, Barley Mill 34th Birthday.
“Cheap Trick,” acrylic & glitter, 18″ x 24,” Barley Mill 35th Birthday.
I bring the same caliber of enthusiasm and precision to my day job as I do to my artwork. I have made three different works for McMenamins in the past and I believe they demonstrate a unique interpretation of the company’s culture and brand. Two were created for the annual Barley Mill art contest, and the other was created as a portfolio piece when I applied for the McMenamins Painter position last year.
I am very interested in a career involving the arts at McMenamins and would love to join the Graphic Design department as a stepping stone to further creative work with the company.