31 January 2008

Bombed Again at the Bombardier

One of my favorite (or should a type favourite) pubs in Paris is the Bombardier right next to the Pantheon. I know... a English pub in France, what's wrong with me. The atmosphere is so cozy though, and mighty condusive to drunk drawing! It's one of my favoUrite social past times. Looking abck at the drawings, they act as a visual dictation of the topics discussed around the table that night. Scarily enough, my personailty is screaming through: an abundance of Ghostbuster characters, a to-do list, a map of the Bristish Isles, drawings of Lily, and a bouncing unicorn. Frightening. Also featured, a sad girl getting a Duncan hat (a friend's Great Dane will rest his drooly lips on visitor's heads, thus becoming their hat) and some Japanese artifacts. I scanned in both sides, since it was done on a piece of trace.

Antoine Revoy was my cohort in this catastrophe!

29 January 2008

Shakespeare's Rejects

Here are some of the aforementioned rejects. Poor things.

Illustration Friday: Tales and Legends

My entry for this week's "Tales and Legends" is from an artbook I made for the indie horror film I worked on called Little Erin Merryweather. It's a retold version of Little Red Riding Hood only involving a female serial killer from a small New England town. Regrettably, I am having trouble finding the full sized files. Sorry that things are so small. Just another hint that I need better organization in this room I call a studio. Uuuugh. It never ends.

27 January 2008

Four Years!

I've never felt "seasoned" in my profession, and I am not too sure I ever will. It's one of those careers where someone is always doing more than you, whether it be in skill level or quantity. But honestly, when I look back at consecutive jobs, I do kind of sort of want to put a feather in my cap. One of the projects I look the most forward to each year is Shakespeare on the Sound's annual theater poster. This year was Julius Caesar, and my fourth in a row. I absolutely love sketching out ideas for them. Being a ginormous fan of the polish poster movement, I shamelessly rip them off... unsucessfully. But regardless, this client gives me the opportunity to go great guns on concept... or at least more than I am used to. Above are the last four years: Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar. Below are some sketches for this year's Julius Caesar. Oddly enough, the finish products seem to be focused on eyes and noses. Maybe a bit of my own personal likes are shining through! Mayhaps in the next post, I will show all of the previous sketches. Mayhaps!

23 January 2008

An Abundance of Sketching

Since almost all of my long term projects are over (still shaking from the very notion), my brain has been on an almost far worse overdrive. MAKE SOMETHING GOOD. LEARN SOMETHING NEW. PROMOTE. Needless to say, I haven't been sleeping much, but I have been trying to calm myself down, and not take things at such a fever pitch. I do have so many things I'd like to experiment with, but I am so nervous that something to engage my time for the next year is on the doorstep. Ahhh, the freelance panics. And they wonder why we hide indoors for days. It's because we're a roller coaster of frustration: HAPPY SAD SAD SAD CONTENT ANGRY OHWAITIFEELABITBETT.... OHGODNOPE MAD MAD MAD MAYBEISHOULDGOTOAMOVIETODA... ASSGETBACKTOWORK WORK WORK WORK!

A sketch from another plane flight. Tumultuous ocean!
Lots of sketching these days. Here's more.

And one of a strapping Grecian, just because I typically give the ladies more of a spotlight.

Pierre Jean David (dit David D'Angers)
Louvre, Paris France

22 January 2008

Illustration Friday: Plain

Being one of my first flash animations, I have an aversion to all things vector. Thus, this plain girl is plainly animated. Sorry for the redundancy. I feel as though my artistic tendencies are way too messy to be controlled by the Beziér pen tool. Don't get me wrong, I have crazy respect for those that can harness that power. As for me? I will remain unfortunately messy.

In my mind, plain girls tend to have thin, stringy hair. But I think they say it's the quiet, plain ones that are the fruits!

20 January 2008

Walter Potter: An OMG artist

When I went to London for new years, I happened to pick up a local newspaper to pass the time. What I then saw blew me out of the water: some of the most rediculously cute images made out of entirely dead baby animals. A bit of an oxymoron you say? Well check these pictures out.

The Kitten's Tea Party

Rabbits in a Sussex School

The Death

Kitten's Wedding

Horrified yet? I can't stop looking at all of his taxidermy scenes. I keep going between a girls squeal of cuteness to a gastly shriek of horror. Regardless, it prompted me to discover more about this Potter fellow.

Walter Potter was born in 1835 and began to experiment with taxidermy by the age of 15, preserving the body of a pet canary. His family ran the White Lion (now the Castle) in Bramber, West Sussex England, and as he expanded his experiments in preservation, he was obliged to move to the stable loft. This was the time of the Great Exhibition and one of the attractions was much to the taste of the Victorians, Hermann Ploucquet's display of taxidermy. The Comical Creatures from Wurtemberg showed stuffed animals in human situations. They were so popular that a book of hand-colored engravings of them was published. There is no way of knowing whether young Walter Potter saw the exhibition or the book, but his growing interest in taxidermy was clearly much in tune with popular taste.

By the age of 19, he had produced 98 stuffed birds which made up the first of the tableaux for which he became well known. This was "The Original Death and Burial of Cock Robin", inspired by a book of stories belonging to his younger sister. Within the large glass case was displayed the sorrowful funeral procession of Cock Robin together with the Sparrow who killed him with his bow and arrow, Parson Rook and the Owl who dug the grave, accompanied by the mourners, all of whom made their way through the graveyard.

The tableau was an immediate success with the customers of the White Lion when it was first displayed in a summer house behind the inn in the summer of 1861. This success launched young Walter on a career preparing stuffed animals for Victorian parlours, but he continued to produce the more creative tableaux. Taxidermy was used by the Victorians to study and understand animals and their physiology. In the late 1800s, it was thought fashionable to have deceased pets stuffed and cased, or mounted, and on display. Since there were no cinemas, and photography was very basic, it also allowed many people to see wild and exotic animals that they may not have seen before, or perhaps again.

Potter's growing stock meant a move to new premises in 1866 and again in 1880 to the specially constructed building still in Bramber today. By then the collection was termed a 'museum' and the tableaux of small animals and birds had been joined by the likes of the two-headed lambs and four-legged chickens which fascinated later generations of children. ARGH!

Where did Waiter obtain the large number of animals he used in the displays? We know that he had an arrangement with Ward's Farm in Henfield to take over their continuous supply of unwanted kittens produced by the farm cats, and his growing reputation locally meant that the public brought him items of interest. Potter suffered a stroke in 1914 and never fully recovered, passing away in 1918. His collection was kept by his daughter, Minnie Collins, who eventually sold it. The collection changed hands and moved around England several times before being broken up into separate lots when it was auctioned off in 2003.

Sad, in a way, but there is the Walter Potter Foundation which is dedicated to the ultimate goal of returning all of the important Walter Potter taxidermy tableaux and relevant artifacts to England for permanent public display and to educating the public about this important body of work. I think I would just have to go to West Sussex to see it. Holy heebeegeebee trip.

On a sidenote, currently living in Chicago, Jessica Joslin's work, though slightly different, is also extremely astounding.

Thank You Chicago Public Library!

I was delighted and honored to be informed by my friends at Charlesbridge that Fiona's Luck was named as a Bookmania book to get in 2007!

Give a child the gift of reading! Encourage the child in your life to read books that make them laugh, take them on trips to faraway places, or simply make them wild about books. The Chicago Public Library suggests these children’s books, all published in 2007, as perfect gifts for any occasion, all year round.

Crafty Creatures
Fiona’s Luck
By Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Charlesbridge, Ages 7-11
Anyone who gets to enjoy this delightful original Irish folktale is as lucky as a leprechaun.

This bit of news totally lifted my spirits, since I am just back from Paris. Thanks so much again CPL.

16 January 2008

kelmurphy.com teaser

kelmurphy.com V 4.0 is coming soon friends! Stay tuned, for the meantime, here's a bit of a taste.


Around the Town

Well, my stay here in Paris is yet again coming to a close. I've actually gotten out this time to see a bit of the sites, and it was marvelous to see the holiday season come and go. New Years seems so long ago. Before I sign off, I wanted to share a few pictures of these past few weeks. The first assortment are from Printemps window displays. I think they were somewhat inspired by À la croisée des mondes : La Boussole d'or (otherwise known as the Golden Compass). Here are a few pictures of the diplays.

The above picture is one of the animatronic displays they have each year. This year they had white Nordic stuffed animals, dancing and partying to some twinkling music. They were pretty amazing. The past years have included robots and dish ware, too. Because I did not want to fight the mad crowds in front of the windows, nor stop late at night to be accosted by a smelly bum, I didn't take any video, but this fantastic person did! Thank you crazy person who elbowed their way to the front!

07 January 2008

Illustration friday: 100%

This was a previous illustration for the UTNE Reader about a woman who had a scar since early childhood. After making the decision later in her 30s to have it removed, she felt as though a small part of her identity had been taken away, thus making her feel not complete. Sometimes it is our imperfections that make us whole.

05 January 2008

Augustin Pajou statue sketch

Bacchante au tambour de basque avec deux enfants, by Augustin Pajou.

Another Successful New Yeras... *hick*

Oh, just teasing! I did succeed in having another tame New Years, which makes me very happy. We arrived in London on December 31st by Eurostar which was a might comfortable ride. After wandering around a bit at the National Portrait Gallery, trucking down into Trafalgar Square, and almost flying out of the double decker bus (they drive like MADMEN), we ended up at Vauxhall. Passing the Royal Vauxhall Tavern that early evening, no one would have thought it a raging club, but by 11:45pm... "wow" is the only word to describe it. Bald men beware that night!! We made our way down to the banks of the Thames to see the fireworks in front of the London Eye, and appologetically the pictures are quite lame compared to the experience. It was a mighty fun time, even if I was ankle deep in river sludge. The next day, on the way back in to the city, the RVT was still thumping. Impressive for 3:00pm, and still enveloped with bald men. All and all it was a 26 hour visit, and I didn't get to see the more popular sites of London, but from what I saw it seems like a very fun place. The pubs are beautiful there, all with awesome names like the White Cross, Slug and Lettuce, or Pig and Prawn (or something like that). Perhaps one day I will be able to go again. Cheerio and pip pip!