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Archive for February, 2013

I recently completed a illustration for the back cover of Relapse Magazine, which is a fashion zine featuring gorgeous and creative fashion stories. I actually collaborated with photographer Tyler Mitchell on a ten page story for the title as well. I’ll share those as soon as I can. In the mean time, I wanted to talk about the drawing I did for the back cover for a little while. (I’ll share the final colored illustration once it’s published) I was given free reign to do what ever I wanted. So, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to play around with a subject that I thought pertained to beauty and fashion.

In some Asian and African cultures the idea of the “neck ring” is a symbol of beauty, wealth and status. However, they differ very greatly between the two cultures. In African cultures, particularly the Ndebele people of South Africa, the rings are separate and don’t really create the appearance of an elongated neck. In Asian cultures, particularly in the Kayan culture, the ring is a single coil that can weigh a max of 11lbs. The weight of the coil pushes the clavicle and the rib cage 45 degrees down from their original position creating the appearance of an elongated neck.  At first glance it seems like a rather painful process, and it might be for all I know. However, it does create this idea of what we in the western culture identify with beauty. A long, graceful, swan like neck.  The ancient tradition actually has unknown roots, however from my readings it really does seem to have “some” cultural roots in beauty and status.

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In my drawing I tried to blend the Western and Eastern cultural ideas of beauty to create my own unique take on it. I was very much inspired by the fashions from the age of Marie Antoinette. Luckily enough, I had this copy of Vouge laying around my studio, so I referred to it a lot while working on my drawing. (It wasn’t lucky at all. I got it back in 2006 and saved it because I knew I was going to use it for something. Oh, the confessions of a magazine hoarder.)

The main idea of my drawing was hair as a neck rings. Hair plays such a integral part of beauty, fashion and more importantly life. It can be a symbol of status, wealth, religious devotion or hippie rebellion. The lack of hair also takes on important social stand points. Soldiers, monks and skin heads all shave their heads to show devotion to a specific cause.

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Of course this whole project was fueled by love of drawing hair, but as I came up with the concept I was really blown away by how it all tied in. Anyway, here’s the drawing. I’ll post the final as soon as I can.

Beauty

Thanks!

D.

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Above is Siempre Mujer’s latest cover featuring actress, singer, songwriter, model and producer Roselyn Sanchez. It was shot by Omar Cruz, styled by Debroah Furguson with hair and make up by Clark Ivor. We shot this in Atlanta, GA where Roselyn is currently working on her new Lifetime TV series, Devious Maids. This cover is meant to promote, “The Heart Truth” , which is a campaign for women about heart disease. The red dress acts as a symbol to alert women to take action to protect their heart health. Since 2003 The Heart Truth has organized a Red Dress Collection runway show during fashion week with leading members of the fashion industry in hopes of bringing awareness to heart disease in women. This year, Roselyn was part of the show.

This cover is one of my new favorites, but it wasn’t easy to arrive to this final image. While working on this project the concept of the photo shoot shifted directions many times, right up until the final moments before shooting it. These shifts in direction were often due to technical, budget and time constraints, which isn’t out of the ordinary.  In fact, it would be out of ordinary if everything worked out as planned. When the photographer, the creative director (Stacy Marchelos) and my self first spoke about the creative direction for this cover, we decided that we wanted to create a monochromatic effect with a textured red back ground and a red dress worn by Roselyn. I usually order the back grounds we had in mind from a company located here in New York. They’re usually beautifully painted on large rolled canvases, which would have cost a fortune to ship. So, I had to find a back drop rental company in Georgia, which was easy enough. However, when the back drop arrived to the studio, the quality we were looking for was seriously lacking. So, we had to come up with a plan B.  Luckily enough, the studio had a large roll of red seamless paper. However, we were all less than thrilled with how it looked. As we stood and pondered, this black freight door caught my attention. When I pointed it out to the creative director and the photographer, they both loved it as well, so we decided to shoot a few options in front of the door as well as the red seamless paper. NOTE: An age old art director secret at any photo shoot when forced to make a complicated decision is to shoot it both ways! Then your never wrong. Of course it’s easy to joke about this now, but the moment was a little stressful because of the sums of money being spent to get the perfect shot. It was just dumb luck that this door was located in the studio, but it took a certain level of calm and awareness to actually notice that it might be the solution to the problem when your in a mild panic. Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with another cool little story behind the picture below, which is another example of thinking on your feet. We staged an area to photograph Roselyn and her baby girl in front of a beautiful textured metal wall and vintage chair. However, as soon as Roselyn sat down with her daughter, she began to cry uncontrollably, the baby, not Roselyn. (ha!) Anyway, Roselyn had to get up and walk around to sooth her. Omar, our photographer, instinctively got up and followed her to capture this amazing shot. In summery, I guess the best plan is to pay attention and live in the moment as not to miss the little special pieces of the puzzle that present them selves to you. As usual, the team was great and we had a ton of fun getting this done. Roselyn was also amazing and did her best to help us get what we needed for the project.

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Thanks,

D.

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