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Hot Sauce Label

So my friend Ashley kept raving about this hot sauce his girlfriend's aunt was making and he decided to bottle it for her. So naturally he needed a label for the bottle, right? The name of the sauce was to be "Auntie Guori's Caribbean Hot Sauce" and since she was from Trinidad, we should incorporate the red and black from the flag into the label. "Make it look Carribean" he said.

After some research, I decided I liked the idea of "hand-drawn" type. Now, when I say that, I mean,draw the type, scan it in and then trace it point by point in Illustrator. I went to work on the logo and came up with a habanero pepper with the type inside along with two alternate ideas. Happily for me, the pepper was chosen.

Then it was time to work on the label. After getting the copy from Ashley, I had to figure out how it would work on a 3" x 5" space and be legible at the same time. I decided the best way would be to separate it by subject (ingredients, where it was made, contact info) into sections and draw the type so it fit within the space. It took forever, but I got it done and I think Ashley was pretty happy with it. Stay tuned for photos of the finished product!

Hand-Cut Stencils

After the Artscape project on North Charles St., I decided I'd like to continue making stencils. People seemed to respond to them and maybe I could sell a few if they were on canvas or wood panel. I bought two 60" x 40" canvases and went to work covering them with black acrylic. I also purchased some large sheets of oil board, which is perfect for cutting and resists succumbing to the moisture of spray paint. It really holds up well and it won't rip or fall apart even after 20 coats.

After finding some nice images and manipulating them, I laid the designs out in photoshop. This gave me a good idea of how the end product would look. I find it tremendously helpful to figure things out before-hand so I don't end up wasting time. Then I print it out and get to sketching.

First, I penciled a horseshoe crab (front and back) and then a giant squid and I took my exacto knife and went to work cutting. Art supply stores carry large 100 packs of exacto blades and I change OFTEN! I once had an art teacher who said a blade is worth 8 cuts- I can always tell when it's time to change when the blade starts to catch and leave a ragged edge. Each stencil takes a good 6-8 hours to cut at this size depending on the detail. HINT: Don't leave stencils within reach of dogs or cats- I lost an entire days work that way once :(.

With my stencils cut and canvases prepared, I took everything out on my deck to start spraying. I measured and planned out with pencil where the stencils would be placed in advance. It can be very challenging to figure out placement, math and a nice ruler comes in handy. I use a light tack spray mount on the back of the stencil to prevent the force of the spray from getting underneath the stencil and lay it on the canvas. Then with a good quality spray paint I aim straight down with short quick bursts until all of the cut out areas are filled in.

I would love to do more of these, maybe on wood panels next time.

Fabric Recreation

A local art dealer contacted me recently with an interesting project. He had eight high Victorian chairs that at one time were upholstered with leather. All he had left were the chair frames and the ghost of the leather pattern on the muslin backing underneath. We had several lengthy discussions looking at a photo he had taken of this faint pattern and we came up with a good educated guess as to what it was originally. The plan was for me to vectorize the pattern so he could have dies made to recreate the leather and restore the chairs. I think these must have been pretty fancy chairs for him to go through this trouble.

I scanned the photo in and transformed it to black and white thinking it might reveal some extra detail. It really didn’t. Using Illustrator, I started out with the circular flower motif in the middle and worked my way out. Then I took it back to the client and we picked it apart and talked about what it was lacking.

After we got the flowers, the clovers and the band to our liking we added more. Someone from the Brooklyn Museum had shown my client some photos of a very similar chair he had in their inventory. The leather on that chair had a similar band across the back with the addition of a really lovely diaper pattern behind it. After seeing this I was asked if we could add this to the design. Although we had lots of revisions on this project, I really enjoyed the process and would love to do more work like this. Looking forward to seeing these chairs returned to their original state.