Art & Design

The Heartbreak Connection

Hello Readers! Today, I’ll be discussing a piece that is truly iconic: Roy Lichtenstein’s Ohhh…Alright… (found in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago).

The 1964 painting is a piece shows a close up image of a woman on the phone as the foreground. It is 36 inches x 38 inches; viewers are larger than it, but it’s large enough to notice the details. Outlines of different figures are highlighted with thick, black lines to create contrast with the colors used. I feel like the black outlines were necessary because the entire piece is so bright and certain elements would have been lost without it.

The first thing I notice were the primary colors. Using bold colors such as red, yellow, blue and black is the equivalent of a having a flashing sign, with huge letters, doused in glitter, that says, “Look at me now!” Yet, it doesn’t feel like a desperate call for attention. I believe he was intentional with his color choices, and it really ties within the piece. Besides the colors, Lichtenstein used a technique called Benday Dot Technique, which is the skill of painting the majority of piece by only using dots. Additionally, it’s a type of technique that is used to create texture that is represented in comic books. Using magna paint, he would use a variety of stencils and use both types of paints to create the dots. For his lines, he used masking tape to create smooth, crisp lines that are definitely conveyed in almost all of his works. 

By doing a lot of research, I found out that Ohhh…Alright… was a part of a series. Lichtenstein created a series of paintings that had romance as the focal point and represented cultural dichotomy between male and female stereotypes that were strongly developed in the 1950s/60s. Although I won’t be analyzing the series, I can only image how much emotion would be evoked if I were to see the pieces collectively. When I first saw the painting at AIC, I automatically had sympathy for this woman I didn’t know. Without any context for the image itself, her emotion that Lichtenstein was able to convey into the painting really spoke to me. The way she held the telephone to the line on her forehead, those subtleties were additions to the feelings the woman in the painting had and would ultimately make viewers want to sympathize or empathize. 

In an essay that can be founded on Christie’s website, it provides the context behind Ohhh… Alright… which states, “Lichtenstein’s series of romance paintings drew on the slightly dated comic books published for the burgeoning Post-War teenage market. The plot line of these stories typically follows a young girl who falls in love with a young man; a serious problem arises to threaten the relationship, and the heroine is briefly devastated before an inevitable happy conclusion…”

Then a realization hit me like a ton of bricks: heartbreak is a feeling most individuals have gone through and it’s something that keeps us connected. It keeps us sympathetic, empathetic, frustrated, desolate, and miserable all at once. It’s a feeling that never really goes away, even if you’ve found your person, because of how much it hurt you back when it happened.  This is why I’ll always say that Lichtenstein was a complete genius for creating art, nonetheless a series, that expressed just that. Ohhh…Alright… continues to represent the “romance culture” of today, and will be stunned with its current relevancy to society. Well, with the exception of women being defined by men. Glad that’s over! *drops mic 

-Michelle

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Art & Design

Back to Work!

On this cold and blustery day in the city, I’ll be writing about my current pride and joy: my Etsy shop. It’s called The Gift of Giving Co. and it’s a shop my sister and I created that (at the time) sold Holiday handmade ornaments, napkin rings, and designed wrapping paper sheets. Now that the Holiday season is over, we’ll be focusing on creating items/prints for weddings and baby showers. Not only do we sell items that we love to make, but some percentage of our profits goes to charity. We believe in the “it’s better to give than to receive” motto, which was one of the things that inspired the name for our shop.

It all started a few months after we both graduated from Columbia College Chicago. Since I’m a graphic designer and she’s an illustrator, it seemed natural and expected to go into business together. Honestly, it’s been the best, tiring and most expensive thing we’ve ever done; but completely worth it. There’s no one else I would rather work with and to craft products that make people smile is the best part of it all (sappy moment). Fast forward to today: hands filled with graphite. Literally been sketching and drafting for the majority of the day, but I’m happy to say we’ve come up with products that we’re excited to create.

Glad I had the chance to write about the shop, but it’s time for me to focus and work on digital sketches. I like to digital sketch because it allows me to look at colors (obviously Pantone) that I want to incorporate in the products. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner too. Haha!

Until next time,

Michelle

P.S- If you’re new at Adobe Illustrator and want to use Pantone colors in your illustrations, follow these steps:

  1. Once you have your document, click on the bottom arrow next to the color box on the top left of your screen.
  2. Then you click on the tiny image to the right top side of the box that looks like a bulleted list with a down arrow.
  3. Scroll down to “Open Swatch Library”, then select “Color Books”
  4. Once you do that, there are various Pantone options to use. I usually use “PANTONE + Solid Uncoated” for print purposes, but feel free to do the research on Pantone Color Books.

 

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