It's the time of the year that I fixate on Thanksgiving feast making and the annual promise I make to myself and my peeps, the annual Advent Calendar. The Advent Calendar happens Dec 1-25 where I attempt to create at least 25 illustrations or images and post them to this site (and Facebook, Behance, Dribbble) to make the holidays a bit sweeter and for me, fun. I have been doing this since my graduation from Hartford (2009)--so this year is the sixth year. I started willy-nilly with a focus on the Companions of Saint Nicholas around the world (surfacing Krampus and Zwarte Piet among a few) (2009), rolling into nutcrackers, swiss/german papercutting inspired and Maryushka Nativity scenes. 2012 was Candy coated, Gingerbread Advent. Last year, was for me, "I think I can I think I can" having just gotten out of the hospital after breaking my ankle and being a bit down for the count. But, I did do it...and now we have another advent on the horizon. What to do? How to start the ball rolling?
Well. in 2012 I ended my journey with Kawaii inspired illustration and so, I will pick up that thread and start with Kawaii inspired illustration this year. We are talking a fun, bright fusion of color both Asian Kawaii and western interpreted kawaii as starting points. I am going to be cute and yet, inspired by the more grotesque kawaii as well...taking clues from "PonPon Pon", Sanrio "Hello Kitty" and her friends, "My LIttle Pony", Tokidoki, from the Blythe doll phenomenon, from popular culture to kitch. I will not be imitating what is happening in Japan, but more working with these ideas within my own hand--my own characters, my own symbols combined with the cute and the known that are out there already. Kanye West has a video "Good Morning" created by Takashi Murakami, an amazing artist we saw in Los Angeles who clearly grabs onto all of this Kawaii wonderfulness and throws it out transformed as a new idea. Clearly, Murakami inspires me. And there is the amazing creative Hayao Miyazaki bringing us Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001). Wikipedia links Miyazaki to manga, but his interpretation visually, may be manga derived, his subject matter, his iconography and sources are all based in myth, legend and folklore diving deepply into Yokai. Is this stuff cute? No, there are lots of dusty wigglies in this pile...not the frothy fun that Hello Kitty gives us...but for me, there is meat here...and begins to explain some of the darkness that we see lurking in the depths of anything this Marie Antoinette baroqueness.
Am I going here because the reality of a world in chaos, of Ebola unchecked in part of Africa, the hateful people in Congress, the three wars we are currently engaged in, fracking and the clamp of the hand of The Man?
It is an adventure I let spin in my head in the deep darkness when I wake up at night...and see where it takes me. You will be along for the ride, I hope. Time to brew, percolate and stew.