On Integrity in Creativity

As I expand and explore the creative world of art, illustration, and graphic design, I realize so much more the horrible cost a rip-off product or using uncredited inspiration or source material can have on its original creator. So many times, especially recently, huge corporations (ie. Zara, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Cody Foster to name a few) have come under fire for directly stealing the work of smaller, independent artists and designers, and selling them in mass amounts, making bank on someone else's idea.

Exploring 2017

Honestly, I can say I'm pretty psyched for 2017. I started off this year coming home to a new apartment in St. Louis that finally felt like home, beginning some incredibly interesting classes at school that are putting a huge spike in my creative juices, and gearing up for my last year of college. That's some pretty exciting stuff! I've decided to take all of this positive energy and make a list of all of the things I'm grateful for, excited for, and hoping to explore in the coming year.

In Search of Positive Vibes

We all know the feeling - everything is going great, fantastic, just how it should be, and then it just isn't. Now you're stuck in a rut and majorly in need of some uplifting words. The cold weather always gets me that way, some years worse than others. This year wasn't particularly tough, but I still felt the shift into positivity and energy once the 70-degree spring weather rolled around.

I know hearing what others do to fix this problem or that can often be helpful for me to figure out how to deal with challenges that I'm having, so I'd like to share with you this little collection of things that help me get out of the slump, or just generally perk me up.

European Countryside from the Rails

Upon finding my travel journal full of unpublished entries and remembering my heaps upon heaps of travel photos from some of my most favorite places I've ever been, I've decided to do something really absurd: talk about the traveling I did, using text I wrote as it was happening, over a year later. I wish so much that I'd kept up with posting these entries in-time with my study abroad experience, but I figure late is better than never! 

Finding my Design Flow

I'm slowly figuring out my rhythm for design. I'm always one of those people who spends endless amounts of hours planning and dreaming, but rushes the night before to pull what seems like a flowering forest of ideas in my head into reality. And it never quite turns out right.

To my surprise, I had a concept for this piece right away. I didn't force the process, like I usually do - I just let it come and go. In doing this, I was done days earlier than my deadline and had time to relax, do other work, and even sleep!

For years, Corina Nika has inspired me with her design work. I decided to take some inspiration from her (& others') scanography and put a slightly darker twist on it. I love the beautiful, experimental vibes from Corina's work, but I was feeling something a little more classic, more dark.

Design in Everyday LIfe

Chances are, if you are not a designer or a creative mind, you may not even realize just how much you rely on good design. Especially in our consumer world, submerged in technology and media, fine tuned design goes into everything - even the standard #2 pencil you've got stuck behind your ear or floating around inside of your backpack. The world relies on efficient, concise design that often goes unnoticed.

The text chosen for highway signs make them easier to read, therefore, our country easier to navigate. Bathroom signs, although now under scrutiny, identify our binary-gender restrooms to ensure privacy and safety. The need for communication even goes beyond text and language, referencing century old icon-based communication to inform people of different languages in international spaces such as airports and train stations.

When people think of Graphic Designers, they often think of sellout artists, or just a cog in the corporate machine. "Oh, so you make logos?" is a common response people hear upon revealing themselves as designers. The truth, we have to explain, is so much more. We design ease of use. We design for feeling and emotion. We single-handedly create the atmosphere of luxury around big-name brands. The label on your insta-worthy health-food juice? That's us too. We create the visuals for every lifestyle, and make it easy for you to read all of the information you will ever need. Everything you touch has been designed with careful consideration, as a service to visual literacy in the world, as well as an ode to the Graphic Artists of the past.

So, consider this the next time you buy something: What made you want to buy it? What drew you to it, over another product or brand?

links / 5

Add this to the list of things I hate. It's up there, among the men who think they aren't being creepy when creepily "complimenting" me and asking for my number.

So many exhibitions I want to see at the Kemper Museum, namely this one on World War I, and another on social justice work.

I want to make amazing things, just like Henrik Ellersgaard made Drone Sans.

See look, it's science. I promise I know what I'm doing when I stay up all night.

I love poking around Jesse Chamberlin's website portfolio. It's so bright and colorful!

I think I need this.

This TED Talk called 'Social Services Are Broken' was really interesting.

Found an amazing new-to-me artist (Emily Carroll) through Fran Meneses! Her style reminds me of the Ava's Demon web comic (that I haven't finished yet....) a little bit. Kind of.

Early Morning Sunrise

Let me start off by saying I have this thing that I call a 'homework sunrise'. These rare (hopefully) things can only be seen on all-nighters, when you work so much you don't go to bed until everyone else is about to wake up. Yeah, it's fun stuff.

Today I got to see my first Austrian homework sunrise. I'm not very proud of it, but one all-nighter was bound to happen. Even if I only had 12 hours of courses this semester instead of the ususal 18 plus a part-time job. (I'm not the greatest with time management sometimes, but I always meet my deadlines). It's my curse.

The sunrise was beautiful, even though I could only see a teeny bit of it down my street and even though I only took a couple of minutes to break, relax, and snap some photos. Yes, I started drinking that coffee at 6 am.

Days like today are always, always rough, but seeing the sun rise in the morning definitely makes it a little easier. It's the little things, you know? And hey, I didn't even have to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5 am to see a sunrise because I was already up! Bonus.

(I'm trying to justify my bad habits, okay? Just go with it...)

Budapest for a Day

Yesterday, Lexi, Marion, and I woke up bright and early at 6 am to catch a train to Hungary. Only having gotten 3 hours of sleep because of a cold and cough, I thought I might end up miserable all day. Thankfully that wasn't the case.

We arrived in Budapest at 9:30 am after a hectic, noisy train ride, exchanged our money for Hungarian Forints, made fun of how ugly the US Dollar is compared to other currencies in Europe, and headed out into the city. During our initial wandering in Budapest looking for some food for me (still hadn't eaten breakfast - sad face), we decided that it wasn't a very tourist-y city. It was interesting, for sure. It just wasn't filled with souvenir shops, which was a nice but unexpected change.

The Parliament building was the main site of our trip today. It was beautiful and the history was very interesting. I never really knew much about Hungary's history, or the history of eastern European countries in general - aside from the USSR used to control most of Eastern Europe, communism, and little snippits about it from the history of World War I and II. Obviously, there was a bit more taught about it, but not much. Eastern Europe is basically glossed over unless it affects France or England or the US.

It was really cool to learn about something new! And our tour guide was so adorable. She was very enthusiastic about teaching us about Hungary's history and the Parliament building.

Lexi loved it, and it showed with her 100 photos of the Parliament building from many different angles as we walked around Budapest and along the river. I hear she is currently in the process of choosing her favorite glamour shot out of all of the ones she took of her most favorite building.

We stopped to eat at a little cafe/bar/restaurant after our tour at the Hungarian Parliament where I had a beef and potato stew that was absolutely delicious. We also stopped by a little bakery stand before we headed back to the train station at the end of the day to get some pastries. I got a little round pink cake (cherry maybe) and a cookie sandwich pastry that had a fruit jam filling and was covered with chocolate. Yum!

We even stumbled upon a National Geographic exhibition set up in one of the squares. It was called 'The Future of Food' and talked about hunger, food production, and traditions all over the world. And we also found a Jewish World War II memorial of bronze cast shoes on the side of the river.

Lessons learned:
1. You can travel on 3 hours of sleep while sick and still have tons of fun.
2. I love Hungarian food.