Since July of 2010, I have been creating monthly visual essays for Imprint. These pieces are part art, part poetry, part storytelling and part design. They combine poetry and prose, illustrations, photography, paper sculpture or three-dimensional typography to create the visual language of my life. For the last two months, my voice has been absent from this site; turns out it took that long to create the latest essay: “Lucky.”
The idea for “Lucky” was to illustrate a short story on 12 clear plexiglass panels. But the process behind it was so unique and complex, I thought it would be interesting to share with Imprint readers.
As the story unfolds, the panels build, and each panel reveals bits of the story beneath. As the story gets bigger, history is still visible, but is obscured and reinterpreted by the unfolding tale. I worked over a grid I created and used vinyl stick-on type of various sizes, fonts, and colors to articulate the story. I painstakingly put down one letter at a time on clear plexiglass and only forgot to remove the clear plastic coating once. One paragraph actually took more than 8 hours to complete. I thought I was going to faint that day! I worked on clear plexiglass that had a clear plastic coating. I only forgot to take the coating off once and stuck the letters to the coating–GRRRR–that was sad, but it gave me an idea for another piece.
After completing all of the handwork, I worked with the amazing photographer Brent Taylor and we stacked each piece of plexiglass on top of one another using small rubber erasers as spacers. Brent shot them in a reductive type style, shooting the last piece first, and removing each piece until we were at the bottom of the stack. By starting with the whole stack, it enabled him to see what the entire piece would look like from the beginning of the shooting process. For each piece he adjusted lighting from underneath, focal length, aperture, and camera to subject distance. This way he could control the amount of focus being put on each letter, and highlight the ones he wanted to “pop”.