So here’s some more pics, not as pretty, but whatever. Here’s the statement I wrote for it:
When I first found out about this weeks assignment, I already had an idea in mind. I wanted to do something silly along the lines of this: http://www.cockeyed.com/pranks/mall/plazaprank.html. After scouting around La Jolla, I found a few potential targets (I thought about putting eye patches and weird hats on the dolphins at UTC), but quickly came to realize how bad something like this could end up (especially in La Jolla), and decided to do something a little less drastic. I couldn’t come up with anything until last Saturday, when I went up to L.A. to visit a friend. While there, we went to a few malls, stores, etc (Christmas shopping), and I was struck at how many Salvation Army bell ringers there were (though I’m used to seeing them at home, I thought it was a phenomena not as pronounced here in SoCal). There were even a couple dressed up as Santa! (Something I haven’t seen since I was little). That gave me a nice little surprise and I dropped some change off. On the way back home, I had to stop by school. When I got to the corner of La Jolla village dr. and Villa La Jolla, I saw a couple of homeless people looking for money and jobs. Now this wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered the less-fortunate around school, but seeing so many “Salvation Santas” in L.A. put the scene in a different context. It was then that I noticed that I haven’t seen a single bell ringer in La Jolla since I’ve been here. I went around searching for one, but the closest I could find was a small change drop box at Vons. This led me to the idea of making one up to atone for this, and setting it up at my original site, UTC. I also wanted to make some kind of statement with it to help shed light on how lucky Americans really are. I did consider making a real figure instead of a painting, but realized that if I did (and did it a real-life scale), it would be too hard and heavy to get to the mall. I didn’t really want to do anything that I’ve done before (drawing, water colors, pencils, etc), and figured that it would be a good opportunity to pick up and practice some painting skills so I used acrylics. I’ve never really painted before (well, not since I was little at least) with acrylics and wanted to see how I’d manage with them. In my opinion, it turned out very well (which prompted me to do another painting for the extra assignment). At first I had a little bit of difficulty coming out with even brush strokes, but I got the hang of it and had a lot of fun with them I really wished that I would have started using them earlier, as I like them much better than water colors and pastels (mixing colors is easier and more fun for me with paints).
Going back to Santa, at first I wanted to find one that I could use as a subject, but I didn’t even see any Downtown (maybe they were on break though, I went there 2 days ago and heard quite a few bells). Wanting to get started, I decided just to sketch out the ringer, and turn him into Santa while painting. After doing a couple rough sketches, I became satisfied with one of them and went home. When I got around to painting, I googled up a few popular Santa images (my main source was the Coca-Cola Classic Santa), and referenced them for my own. I chose not to put the traditional Santa hat on him because the one that originally inspired me was quite bald (and proud of it).
I chose the words, “Are you helping?” solely to instill guilt upon its reader. UTC being such an extravagant and excessive mall, I felt that it was quite an appropriate reminder to others that there are many only less fortunate people. I also didn’t paint the words on, because I felt it could make a nice and friendly Christmas poster without a heavy handed moral getting in the way.
I had trouble with 2 main parts with this assignment. First of all, I didn’t know what to do for the eyes. I don’t consider myself to be a great drawer, and didn’t feel like ruining a nice happy face with strange looking eyes. Not wanting to risk it, I borrowed some happy-looking anime style eyes. Secondly, I had a LOT of trouble with the collection bin. First, I didn’t know where to place it (I originally wanted to depict a hanging one, complete with the Salvation Army Sign, but I felt that it would have blocked too much of Santa. After finally figuring out a place for it, I sketched it out and it seemed all right. When It came to painting it though, I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to look, and was very frustrated (I finally felt like I got it right towards the very end of my painting).
I still have a few more things that I wanted to add (like a few concept sketches), but that’ll come tomorrow. I’m sooooooo beat right now… I hit a lotta traffic in SD and LA, and driving I-5 North all the way up during the night is really boring and tiring.