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Week #50
This work was done by Lisa Devlin in 2017 in New Orleans for the session “Italic and Variations” in 26 Seeds: a Year to Grow. In her own words:
Blame it on a misspent youth watching old science action and horror movies, Star Trek and The Outer Limits. Throw in a little H.P. Lovecraft . Add megadoses of nightly news reports about politics and world events. Shake vigorously and you get People of Earth.

This idea originally came to me when Reggie very generously shared some vellum so that we might experience writing on such a wonderful surface. I was intrigued by some of the interesting pieces he had spread out for us on the work table. Maybe it was the shapes or the color or the fact that they were made from animal skin, but one thought lead to another which determined my next project on italics. So much for writing on such a wonderful surface—these pieces would become parts of a space alien’s face.

In the movie e Day the Earth Stood Still, an alien from a distant planet visits Earth, warning us to behave ourselves or suffer the consequences. In my image, the alien delivers this message via television. A hole in the universe opens through which emerges a strange vision composed of TV test patterns, giant snake skeletons, etchings of cloud bursts and the all-seeing eye. In the center, an alien appears on a floating Sony TV set to deliver his warning to all naughty Earthlings.

People of Earth is actually a multi-media collage. The TV alien and the background were created separately. The TV alien was glued on top of a high resolution digital print on watercolor paper which was spray-mounted onto thick illustration board.
It appealed to me conceptually to create the alien’s face using both Arches paper and vellum, thus making the alien part plant and part animal. The jaw was made with Arches watercolor paper which I glued to the black illustration board. I attached the alien’s vellum eyes with brads (which I thought worked nicely with the texture created using various shades of FineTec metallic paint).

The warning is written in an italic variation and colored by computer so ware. After practicing for a few days, I wrote the text in W&N gouache on Arches paper with a Mitchell #2 nib, scanned it and placed the pdf file in Photoshop. I particularly enjoyed doing the lettering for the words “People of Earth” which was my own variation drawn with graphite and then scanned. The remaining text was typed and computer manipulated.

I found the stars, TV test patterns, light bursts and giant snake skeletons online and altered them in the computer. The skeletons were tinted in shades of blue which I thought created an interesting and eerie Lovecraftian effect in the final jpeg file. Unfortunately, they were barely visible in the digital print which I think made the total image less impactful. I might have taken another crack at were it not for the expense and tight deadline.

This homework assignment was a wonderful opportunity to use a variety of materials and production methods for expressing different interests and obsessions I’ve had since childhood. My goal was to use calligraphy, subject matter and images to express some fairly serious concerns in a fun, entertaining and nostalgic way. As a loyal Trekkie, I thoroughly enjoyed “boldly going” where I’d never gone before.

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You can enjoy all the Pics of the Week from 2009 through 2018,
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