Tiny Homes: Safe

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Tiny Homes opens today at Light Grey Art Lab! Naturally, I was super excited to be accepted into this show. Buildings? Tiny things? What's not to love? As what often happens after I receive a prompt though, I spent a while spinning my brain trying to come up with a concept. Buildings are a subject-matter that I deal with often and I really wanted to push myself. Did it even need to be a building? A home isn't necessarily a building. 

I kept coming back to the idea of Earth being our tiny home. It's something that my mind often wanders off and thinks about. I'll think about how big the country is....then the world....and the depths of the oceans....and then the galaxy.....and then ten minutes has gone by and I snap myself back to Earth. 

This piece was also influenced by my recent travels to Iceland (also with Light Grey! Post about this forthcoming....I finally uploaded all of my photos to my computer). I was in awe of the beautiful, vast landscapes of this country and kept feeling very small, but also very safe. There's a cozy melancholy that I hoped to convey through this piece. 

PUT PROCESS PHOTO HERE

Squares are a very challenging dimension for me to work in and I spent a while fiddling with this composition. The last time that I had to work in a square format I turned it into a circle ha It also started out far more colourful and I muted it down as I incorporated more of the deep space idea and wanted to focus more on the textures. I'm still quite fond of the hills and sky on the version on the right, though. 

I thought of the triptych idea while I was in a meeting at work and spent the rest of the meeting doodling these thumbnails. Once I broke out of the square format it all fell into place nicely. It wasn't going to be a sequential piece at first but these ended up being my favourite thumbnails and I really liked the story that they hinted at. 

You can find my piece as well as work from over eighty other artists in this show in the Light Grey Art Lab online shop! The show opens tonight at the gallery in Minneapolis and runs through October 21.

Botanica: Discovery

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Botanica opened last night at Light Grey Art Lab. This show celebrates the origin of our Earth and how plants have shaped our culture and planet. 125 artists drew inspiration from ancient stories, scientific endeavors, historic discoveries, and beyond to create the work for this show.

Once I got over my excitement to be included in this show (I have been known to draw plants on a few occasions before...) I had so many ideas about the direction that this piece could take. I let my mind wander for a week exploring as much plant-related media (podcasts, documentaries, books, blogs) as I could get my hands on before settling on a topic. Many ideas made the B-list (something involving poppies and the Opium Wars? The symbol of the chrysanthemum in Japanese culture? Tulip mania and the Dutch Golden Age?) but someone that I had heard about on a podcast early on in my research stuck with me.

Left: pieces of plant paintings used for layering, right: ancient trees draped in Spanish moss in City Park from my trip to New Orleans last year

Left: pieces of plant paintings used for layering, right: ancient trees draped in Spanish moss in City Park from my trip to New Orleans last year

E.H. Wilson was a plant explorer that traveled the world (well, mostly just Southeast Asia) to find new plant specimens to bring back to England to be studied and cultivated. Plant exploration continues to this day and I love thinking about how the world is so vast and the plant kingdom so expansive that we are still able to discover new species.

I loved the imagery of a ship being overtaken by plants and it was a great opportunity to illustrate something that I have loved for so long: Spanish moss. I also really enjoyed experimenting with a more subdued palette than I typically use. The most difficult part was getting the sails right. I wanted them to look somewhat accurate but also keep a bit of whimsy to them (thanks Josh for ship reference material!). I took a lot of cues from images of vertical gardens and "vines overtaking powerlines" is also now in my google search history. After that, it was just a matter of when do I stop adding plants?  

You can see all of the amazing work from this show right here or if you are in the Minneapolis area you can stop by the gallery until May 15 to see it in person. 12x16 prints are also available of my illustration from the Light Grey online shop.

The Robo Show: Bioterra

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Robo Show opens today at Light Grey Art Lab! They asked over seventy artists to create pieces featuring their own robot designs. I was really excited about this prompt and wanted to challenge myself to work a bit outside of my comfort zone to try and create more of a back story and environment with my robot. 

I spent a decent amount of time trying to overcome all of the robots from pop culture that I love. A few designs that I have really loved over the years include Howl's Moving Castle, the robot from Castle in the Sky, the Iron Giant, and more recently the mecha suits from Legend of Korra. I wanted to be inspired by them, certainly, but really had to push myself to not just remake the Iron Giant. Sometimes unlearning things is the most difficult task. 

The only thing that I knew from the start was that I wanted it to involve plants somehow. I really liked the idea of combining the natural and the mechanical. I went through a lot of crazy back story ideas (most of them post-apocalyptic just because I wanted to draw the landscape and I liked the idea of my robot surviving and protecting some sort of plant life from Earth-that-was) before I finally settled on a walking conservatory built by a Victorian scientist to roam the earth and collect and house plant specimens. I had recently finished reading Devil in the White City and post-apocalyptic eventually morphed into the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition.

It took me a while to nail down the design of my robot. Editing was really the most difficult part. So many ideas for what to include! It could be anything! I wanted to include architecturally-inspired details, elements inspired by couture fashion, at one point the robot housed an aquarium. Editing to make sure that the robot had a clear purpose was really challenging. 

Lighting and environment are not something that I often tackle in my illustrations. I really enjoyed working on this illustration a couple of years ago and thought that Robo was a great opportunity to experiment with this a bit more. Once I had figured out the robot design, putting it in an interesting setting was the next challenge for me. Showing scale was an important element that I wanted to portray. One of the notable things about the 1893 exhibition is that it introduced the Ferris Wheel to the world, Chicago's solution to upstaging the Eiffel Tower unveiled at Paris' Exposition Universelle four years prior. The wheel presented the perfect opportunity for my robot to rival it in scale. 

I worked through quite a bit of the illustration before deciding that the composition was just too dull to look at and I hit a bit of a roadblock. Inspiration actually came to me while I was procrastinating and watching Jessica Jones. The framing in this show is so fantastic. I was immediately struck by this shot from episode twelve and moved the Ferris Wheel to the foreground of my illustration. (Sometimes it pays to procrastinate!)

And that's the story of Bioterra, the mobile conservatory that visited the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. I can't not think of how the name sounds like "bioterrorism" now but it was one in the morning so what are you gonna do. Be sure to check out all of the incredible robots in the show on Light Grey's website or if you're in the Minneapolis area you can see the show at the gallery until the end of March

This Week / 5

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Hello Friday! I'm taking it easy this weekend after getting back from a quick trip to Columbus, OH for work yesterday. It was my first time visiting the city and I loved it! Definitely hoping that I get the opportunity to return in future. Hope everyone has something to look forward to this weekend whether that be adventures out and about or some quality Netflix time (I finally started West Wing and am already hooked)

In other news: The Robo Show opens tonight at Light Grey Art Lab! If you're in the Minneapolis area you should check it out. I've got a process post coming up later today about my piece for the show.

Dear Montréal, when can I move in? // A few of the beautiful buildings spotted last weekend while I was in Montréal with my sister. I could easily just spend my entire visit walking around looking at houses whenever I'm in this city. (Many more building pictures from the trip on my instagram.)

I Love You and I Like You // I didn't have time to make any new Valentine's this year, sadly, but Parks and Rec or Arrested Development cards from years past are still available if you'd like to print and share those! 

You're a Treasure // Even more Valentine options! I hate the holiday but love the amount of great art and puns that are its product every year. Liz made these fantastic (free printable!) Valentine's for the Sunshine Syndicate.

Friday Dance Break // It's not unusual....

This Week / 4

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Happy Friday! I am currently on a bus en route to Montréal (well actually it's Thursday night and I'm writing this in advance....and feeling marginally superstitious about stating my plans for tomorrow) because who doesn't want to visit Montréal in January? Spent the last couple of days in Ottawa with my sister. I was hoping to partake in a bit of skating on the Rideau Canal but the weather has thwarted that for this visit (but you'll never hear me complain about it being above freezing). Oh well, next time!

Monet: A Bridge to Modernity // I got to see this great exhibition yesterday. One of my favourite parts of the show was a listening area where they had a few ipods loaded with music by composers that were active around the same period. Listening to the impressions of nature and light captured through music while flipping through books filled with Impressionist paintings seems like such a simple idea but it was totally transformative.

The Answer // I caught up on Steven Universe last weekend and was so in love with the backgrounds in this episode. I mean, the backgrounds are always incredible but they were exceptional in this one. 

Kill them with Kindness // Important read about confronting internet bullies, being a woman in the design industry, and trying to lift others up rather than tear them down.

Bower Bird

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Light Grey Art Lab's Bower Bird show opens today! The show features artwork from 90 artists creating pieces about the things that we collect. For my piece, I illustrated all of the houseplants that fill my apartment.

My mother has always loved plants and gardening and tried to instill a love for the botanical world in me and my sister from a young age when we would accompany her to nurseries on weekends and be absolutely bored (unless it was the one with the golf carts). I didn't begin to love plants until I started working at a garden center with her during my summers off in college and now I can't imagine any space that isn't improved by a little greenery....or a lot of greenery.

I illustrated all of the plants that I currently have in my apartment from the small plant cuttings on my work table to plants handed down to me by friends who have moved away to my pothos vine that I am trying to train to grow around a doorway. There is a good chance that I will have acquired one or two more before this show is over...

I originally planned to have the plants arranged like a specimen chart so I drew them all individually without paying any attention to composition since I planned to arrange them all separately later. As I was drawing, though, I began to like the overlap that was happening that made it feel more jungley. So, I proceeded to spend an extra three days trying to figure out how to tetris all of the plants together. Many thanks to Anna for her suggestion to try it on a black ground—something that I never would have thought to do myself. 

The show opens tonight at 7 if you're in the Minneapolis area! My home jungle print is available as a limited edition postcard or as a print from the Light Grey shop. And definitely be sure to check out all of the pieces from the other incredible artists in the show. I just spent ten minutes poring over the Light Grey shop and am so happy to have my work included alongside such amazing work. 

Lately / 2

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Hi friends, it's been a while since the last Lately post. Here are a few of the things that have been inspiring me recently. 

Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort // I'm ashamed to say that this Netflix dvd had been sitting unwatched on my media shelf for over a year. I finally watched it last weekend and it was amazing. Great fashion and dance, such a visual feast. And, of course, Gene Kelly

Pyrgi, Greece // While scrolling through my instagram feed a few days ago, the photo on the right made me pause and stare. How is this incredible town covered in beautiful pattern and colour real? The buildings are adorned in patterns created by painting and carving plaster called graffito. Definitely added to my Things-to-Draw list. If I ever travel here, I'm going to have to go solo because whoever I travel with will likely grow tired of me stopping every few feet to draw everything.

Photo credit: left / right

10 Murals: One Day // This mural project spearheaded by Mike Perry (the amazing artist behind the Broad City opening credit animation among other things) brightened Brooklyn and my instagram feed yesterday. 

Photo credit: left / right

I Love You and I Like You

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

As a love letter to one of my favourite television series, I thought it would be fun to make some Parks and Rec themed Valentines to say farewell for its final season. I had so much fun with the Arrested Development ones a few years ago and have been wanting to make another set so this was the perfect excuse. You can download and print 'em to give to your galentine or someone that you love and like. I also have some nifty square ones that you can share on instagram available to download on my tumblr if that's your (Jeremy) jam. Thank you to all of my cool friends that helped me think of the perfect phrases to pair with each character!

sheet1.jpg
marisaseguinparksandrec3
marisaseguinparksandrec2

Click here to download the complete set!

I made you say that........you are my Valentine.

Lately / 1

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

Lately, I've been missing the ability to share a bit of what I've found interesting or been inspired by that blogging regularly allowed me to do. So I thought I'd start semi-regularly posting what non-art happenings I've been up to and some things that have caught my eye.

Home for the Holidays // My free time has mostly been consumed by house illustrations for the past few weeks. I always love doing this every year and hearing the stories that go with the homes that people share. All of the illustrations are wrapped up now and I'm just waiting to pick up the last batch from my printer so I'll share a bit more after the holidays but here are a few of my favourite bits. I set up a mailing list for anyone interested in being notified when sales begin next year!

Over the Garden Wall / I recently (well, recently when I started the draft for this post a month and a half ago) devoured this entire series. The best kind of weird, dark folklore but with lighthearted characters and bizarre surprises to keep it from being too depressing. And gorgeous, gorgeous backgrounds and great music. You can get the entire series for just $10 on iTunes!

Land/marks // A few months ago, two of my favourite people broke my heart and also reaffirmed why I love and admire them so much when they quit their jobs, put all of their belongings into storage, sold one of their cars and left to travel around South America for half a year. My friend Jessica has been documenting their travels through gorgeous photographs as well as beautiful patterns inspired by each of the places they visit and sharing them on her travel blog. I have avidly/jealously been following along.

"We love illustration because you can lie to people."

Added on by Marisa Seguin.

This was one of my favourite quotes from ICON a few weeks ago (said by Sam Arthur during his talk about the fantastic Nobrow). It is something that is bouncing around my brain even weeks after the conference ended and I had a very similar sentiment in mind when creating my submission for the Work+Play show at Land Gallery.

seguin_land.jpg

When I heard the prompt "work and play" (the theme for the entire conference) it made me think about how my favourite thing about being an illustrator is that we have the ability to bring anything to life. I love that researching and learning new things for illustrations is a part of my job and it really doesn't feel like work at all. I get to bring together the things that I learn and elements of my imagination to create something new which was the inspiration for this made-up cityscape.

Thanks to the cool folks at Land for putting together this great show!  You can see all of the work from the show and purchase prints in their online shop or if you're in the Portland area you can check out the show until August 24.