Saturday, February 12, 2011

Written Thesis:

This is the first draft of my senior Thesis as it was in late 2010. It mostly references my fixation with signage and the aesthetics and tone of my coastal home town in Maine.

Currently it is going in for some drastic revisions which will hopefully occur within the next 48 hours. I want to actually mention the Ice Cream Man/Truck and try to further pin down this idea of antiquated summertime Americana... I just thought it would be a good idea to post my jump-off point.

Close to the water in coastal Maine, where money is scarce and often the only thing trusted is a person’s own name, it is guaranteed that there is no shortage of homemade self-promotion. Hand painted signs dot the harbor roads to suggest eateries, recommend contractors, or let you know about the ice heave up ahead. Their evolution spurred by competition and their aura filled with trappings of the sea, these messages exist unconsciously as art. From sign to sign, each is unique and often skillfully crafted with pride or charming in their amateur styled naivety.

These relics of an older and more impoverished time are of a specific breed of people whose major source of income is the sea. While making it through the season is never a promise and drug crimes continue to spring up on the outskirts of town, the subtle country sense of humor is always there. A grinning lobster plastered on the side of a restaurant, beckoning customers inside is a frequent site and seems to fly in the face of the social decline that is often present in life by the ocean.

It is a goal and a challenge as an illustrator to bring these sentiments into a gallery setting, to pull a notion of non-art out of the harbor and land it, transformed as a thoughtful and thought provoking work. A strong case will be made for illusive, conceptual, and performative art in the context of illustration and the setting of an illustration exhibit. Influential artist’s include the “Beautiful Losers” crew, Wayne Thiebaud, Thurop Van Orman, Jenny Holzer, Nathan Oliviera, and of course the work being done by those living in the harbor.

Let me know what you think if you are so inclined.


  1. a very nice artist statement, though I don't know if it sounds like it's from an illustrator.

    It puts your attraction to signage into an understandable context.

    How important is the connection to Maines coastline? I ask more as a question of whether this should be more prevalent in your artwork. It's quite a convincing case you put forward to the sort of feel you're looking for.

    If i had any advice it would be to somehow compress the anecdote into one paragraph, and perhaps talk more about your process, specifics (icecream truck), and/or other formal ideas.

    One thing i'm interested in is the idea of trying to impersonate a naive sign painter. With this logic you can argue against what might seem like obvious improvements, to us art students, to the signs. not so much as materials go, but design. i'm not saying you're wrong in following this larguement against such things, just that I'm wondering if you know where you're going to draw the line. it's also hard for me since i haven't seen any of these signs in maine. Maybe if i saw them with my own eyes i could easily identify the framework of the style you're trying to represent.

  2. yeah, i think i am going to compress it so it. omit things, add things. ill post the revisions.