One of the most important lessons I ever learned was a simple tip a friend gave me in passing. Before considering a piece "done", look at it in gray scale. By hiding that information I realized the actual colors chosen wasn't the key. It was how they interacted with each other, and the underlying shapes in the work. This changed how I designed and illustrated going forward. When creating "It's a Matter of Scale", I didn't go in planning on pairing acid green with mustard yellow and searing red. Yet they work together in the final piece, and enhance the scene. I used to stick to certain familiar combinations that were safe. Easy. Literal. Removing it removed any inhibitions in the process.
This freedom allowed me to play with texture and imagery, such as in my "Summer in Abaddon Album Design Concept". I took a lot of inspiration from David Carson's chaotic works. Rather than extract literal imagery from the songs, I chose images that matched the feeling of the album drew out from me. The work is a combination of old photographs from the history of computing, a vintage Jell-o ad, example images on how CMYK printing works, and sprites from an obscure early 2000s Japanese horror game. Not every work of mine is this experimental, but I like to take the same principles of shape, texture, and contrast into everything I do. Even in more conventional black and white pieces like "Spilled", I worked to bring that same expressiveness and exaggerated shapes. 
I did not take a conventional path in my life. I'm not a conventional student, and I'm not a conventional artist. I want to hone and cultivate my work so I can fully answer any creative challenge. Even with a short time back at school, I've experienced a lot of interesting creative challenges I wouldn't have stumbled across naturally. "RING RING??????" was maybe one of the most frustrating pieces I've ever worked on. The large size and micrography techniques destroyed 3 pens and tested every last bit of my patience. It required me to quite literally step back and look at the work from across the room to appreciate how the values ended up coming together. In the end, I was able to create something that was both new to me and yet still very much in my own style. By getting my degree finally, I'm working to improve myself. Through this change, I can grow as a person and artist. 

"Self Portrait", Papercraft, 8x10", Design Theory and Practice assignment, 2024

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