Thursday, October 05, 2006
After 9 months sketch-it is closing for good. Thank you all for your wonderful requests. It was our pleasure to create personalized artwork for you.
All of the sketch-it artists completed around 800 sketches. The site generated over 80,000 visits. At its peak, around 118 other blogs linked here yielding a Technorati ranking of 20,000 something. There was a month or so where we received 30 requests a week! It's a good thing we had 10 artists completing sketches at that time or we'd still be backlogged.
The whole thing was an idea I hatched while talking to a friend of mine. In the begining of Janurary I threw up a simple site and waited to see what happened. It grew into an amazing collaborative experiment.
Since I'm an artist and not a programmer, the site never became automated. Each request was received, assigned and finalized by me. This manual process meant I spent an increasing amount of time managing requests and less time sketching them.
I'm going to keep the site up because there's some great artwork on here. I and the other artists may still post artwork here from time to time. The shopping cart has been removed so we wont be taking any more requests.
a.k.a. Scott Moore
Posted by Awed Job at 2:23 PM
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Illustration by Eric Stettmeier
Shane Corn, the subject of the first Artist Profile, picked Morgan Owens to create his portrait. I've decided to make Morgan the focus of this Artist Profile. Morgan choice to create his portrait was Bubbashelby, a.k.a. Eric Stettmeier. Morgan provided me with a brief bio as a starting point.
Sketch-It: How do you kill an hour in North Dakota without breaking the law?
Morgan: Who’s going to see you break the law in North Dakota – everyone is inside huddled around a fire. But seriously, many people go ice fishing in the winter or snowmobiling. My brother and I would go for walks in snow drifts. Going to a local bar always worked for me too -- popcorn and the taste of Grain Belt Premium, Yum. During the warmer months one of my favorite escapes was to take a drive along the county roads and watch the land change as farmers did their thing.
Sketch-It: Are you ready to be finished with school?
Morgan: Yes. I am anxious to work along side other artists who are making it in animation. I’m very energized to learn what one can only learn as a professional. At 34 years of age having returned to school after eleven years of making a living doing other things, I’m incredibly practical about school. It is costing me both of my arms and hands to do this so I’m not wasting time getting through it. At the same time while I’m pushing through school, I revel in the nurturing and explorative atmosphere school provides.
Sketch-It: What is your dream job?
Morgan: Traveling Artist – I would totally enjoy traveling to towns throughout the world getting to know each community and making drawings for exhibition in those towns.
Sketch-It: Did anybody ever tell you that wanting to become an artist was just crazy?
Morgan: You know, I can’t remember anyone who said that to me. I’m sure someone did because I can feel the pang in my gut at the thought, but the faces and names of those who did don’t come to mind. My parents, and the rest of the Owens clan, have always provided great support. Laurel Reuter is another person who gave me an opportunity and positive direction as an artist during my formative years on my own.
Sketch-It: Have they had their comeuppance?
Morgan: That’s not something I think about.
Sketch-It: What do you say to a student who tells you, "I can't draw"?
Morgan: I hand them a pencil and say, “Show me.”
Sketch-It: What's with all those lines and shapes? I just don't get abstraction.
Morgan: The abstract drawings I’ve made are expressions of what I sense in my mind and body. At that point in my life, I didn’t have the words or images in my mind to connect with my sensations so I drew without words or recognizable images. I think an artist may create a painting of dancing lovers or a flower bathed in morning light. In doing so that artist connects the sensation in his mind and body with that image giving the viewer a place to begin to understand that sensation. There are also moments in an artist’s life when sensations in the mind and body cannot be matched to a recognizable image. When I made my abstract drawings, I had to put charcoal to paper and react to the marks, lines and tones on the paper. As I said, at that point in my life I didn’t have the words or images to connect with the sensations I had. Now, it has been almost ten years since I created those drawings and I’m just finding the words to match those sensations.
Sketch-It: Is life just crazy with two kids?
Morgan: Many times life can be very hectic keeping two children and two adults thriving at activities that we enjoy as individuals and as a family, but all of it, the hectic and slow times, make the connections between the four of us incredibly rich and powerful.
Sketch-It: Do you get into your children's school projects?
Morgan: Of course. I focus on joining my kids in the exploration of their project and we have a great dad and daughter time.
Sketch-It: Ever hear the theme music from Deliverance play in your head while you were in Tennessee?
Morgan: Many times when skinny-dippin’ down at Sugar Loaf during Attitude Adjustment Hour with the Posse.
Sketch-It: That's quite a studio set up you have in that one picture. Do you have to have a specific mood and setting before you can create?
Morgan: I prefer to create in my studio at home because that is where I have all my tools and supplies. As for a specific mood that I prefer, not in the last year. In late summer 2005, I decided to approach art with a business professional attitude. I chose to put my moods aside and focus on getting the making of art done. When I work with a client, I focus on their words and desires, and when I’m making work for myself I focus on the idea or the image and finish the piece. I want to see it complete so I can move on to the next work. No hemming and hawing about this or that – just make another work. That’s what artists do – they make art. Getting better and finding a voice only comes with making lots of work. Prior to summer 2005, I would let the moment carry me. My mood or the events of the day would dictate what I could do. With that as a foundation, making good work was hit and miss, and I wanted more control of the outcome.
Sketch-It: What is your favorite request you ever received via sketch-it?
Morgan: I received a request for a drawing of a person looking through the circle made by putting the thumb and forefinger together. It was used on the cover of a wedding announcement and wasn’t posted at the request of the client.
Sketch-It: What is your favorite image on sketch-it. (could be yours or anyone else's)
Morgan: Monkey Typewriter
Sketch-It: How many drawings do you create in a day?
Morgan: At least one, and sometimes close to fifty. It depends on what I’m doing. Right now I work on my own drawings for about three to six hours a day, and it’ll take all of those hours to complete one drawing. When I’m sketching out ideas for a board or design, I’ll make many, many drawings from thumbnails, to subject studies, to composition studies, to the final work.
Sketch-It: Ever look back on some of your earlier work and laugh/cry?
Morgan: Always. I review and update my portfolio often and have come to realize that a few of my early paintings were real gems. I’ve also found paintings and drawings that would be better used to wipe the tears from my eyes. But that is how it goes when making art. I’ve made many more poor drawings in my past than successful ones and I’ve learned equally from the poor and the good drawings. I’ve found it incredibly important to always look back at my drawings, the good and bad, and look at drawings of those artists I admire. In analyzing all of them, I learn the most.
Sketch-It: Why aren't there more female animators?
Morgan: Animation used to be a man’s network, but that’s changing.
Sketch-It: Any uncommon advice you have for young budding artists?
Morgan: It is also important to live your life. Get out there and meet people, go to places other than the one you call home, take a job that you don’t like, kiss someone you don’t like, go to museums, go to barbeque rib shacks, go spend all your money, go make mistakes and draw. You’ll have great stories to tell.
Here's the complete bio submitted by Morgan:
Morgan Owens is an artist and educator who specializes in drawing and painting. His subject matter varies from still life, to non-objective abstraction, to off-beat juxtapositions of images creating sometimes humorous and, other times, highly introspective works. His pieces have been exhibited at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Fresno City College, Knox College in Galesburg, the North Dakota Museum of Art, and various galleries.
Morgan Owens received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1995 from the University of North Dakota, and attended the Master of Fine Arts program at Illinois State University, Bloomington. He has been an Artist in Residence at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at Studios Midwest in Galesburg, Illinois, and the Fresno Art Museum in California. Following a productive and exciting career as a freelance artist, Owens developed a career as an educator and curator.
He lives with his wife and two children in Fresno, CA, and studies animation in the Masters program at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.
Posted by Awed Job at 1:55 PM