Thursday, July 2, 2015

Light Grey Game Night: Subterfuge

Light Grey Game Night: Subterfuge
Don't look nervous, just play it cool. Cool as a cucumber... It's you against them, and so far you've been doing an okay job maintaining your "innocence". You've just got to stick to your story, make solid eye contact, and keep your lies straight. A couple more rounds and you'll be home free. Wait, someone's asking you a pointed question. Think of something!

...

Crap! Nothing! Quick, flip the table and run! This panic-induced escape must mean it's time for another Light Grey Game Night! So mark your calendar for Thursday, July 9th from 6:30 - 9:30 pm!

As you might remember, we're attaching a theme to each night to help people narrow down what games they might want to bring (although you're still welcome to bring whatever you'd like!). This week's theme is subterfuge!

Join us as as we sneak through a high-security compound, hiding just out of sight in Specter Ops, struggle to keep the spy clueless in Spyfall, and lie through your teeth to sneak a bag full of crossbows past the law in Sheriff of Nottingham, among plenty of others! If you have a favorite boardgame, bring it!

So grab your friends, family or favorite stack of board games, and come play with us! RSVP via our Facebook event, and feel free to share! The more the merrier!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Podcast: Tough Grannies

06.29.15 - Tough Grannies
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

Tough Grannies
Length: 00:52:39
Synopsis: Patches + Stitches opens this week, and the juxtaposition between gritty themes and traditional craft techniques has Lindsay, Chris and Jenny asking just what it takes to be a tough granny. We discuss our grandma/grandpa personas, the divide between art and craft, and what it takes to transition between the two.

Show Notes:
Exploration & Inspiration: A Workshop With Teagan White
Patches + Stitches
Light Grey Game Night

Friday, June 26, 2015

Podcast: In the Desert

06.22.15 - In The Desert
Download the MP3, stream directly on Stitcher, or subscribe via iTunes!

In the Desert
Length: 00:39:00
Synopsis: We're back from Light Grey Art Camp, an artist retreat to Bryce Canyon and Zion, Utah! After a fun-filled week of hiking, drawing, adventure, and slowly drying out in the arid desert heat, Lindsay, Jenny, and Chris reflect on our experiences of traveling with a group of artists, seeing the night sky in perfect clarity, and the joys of pushing past your comfort zone.

Show Notes:
Exploration & Inspiration: A Workshop With Teagan White
Patches + Stitches
Light Grey Game Night

Patches + Stitches Opening Next Friday

Patches + Stitches will be opening this coming Friday, July 3rd! We will start off the show with an artist lecture by Teagan White from 7-8pm, followed by the opening reception of Patches + Stitches which will go until 10pm!

Teagan Promo
Preview by Teagan White

We are absolutely excited to be presenting this two-part exhibition that celebrates the tactile nature of textiles- craft, decadence, patterns, and personal identity! The show will be featuring artwork by 70+ international illustrators, designers, screen printers, and creatives! Works include original and limited edition patches, buttons, needlework, appliqu├ęs, and much much more!

Ashley Promo
Preview by Ashley Yazdani

Be sure to come by Friday night to check out the show and meet some of the amazing participating artists! More details can be found on the Facebook event page.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Artist Interview: Yinfan Huang

profile_yinfan

Meet Yinfan Huang. Yinfan is a freelance illustrator based in New York, creating whimsical and playful work influenced by world travel and folk art. She grew up in a city called Guangzhou in Southern China, and briefly studied animation and printmaking in Chinese college before she came to the US to pursue her BFA in illustration at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She has worked for clients such as 3M, Anorak Magazine, Children's Theater Company, and more.

We're excited to chat with Yinfan about her inspirations, travels, ongoing projects, and more! We have had the pleasure of working with Yinfan for the Smart exhibition, Anymistics, and presently Patches + Stitches. We'll talk about her interest in textiles and soft sculpture, and details about her piece for the Stitches side of the Patches + Stitches show. You can see more of Yinfan's work on her website as well!

Tell us about your workspace! How does your environment affect your creativity?

Because I work traditionally, having a quiet workspace with lots of light is important for my practice. Right now my workspace is in the living room and bedroom of my apartment. It is perfect for my current situation, but I would love to have a separate studio someday.

studio_yinfan

Your work focuses heavily on playful colors and textures. What is your approach to using materials to accomplish this?

I have a deep appreciation for everything handmade, so I want to keep the tactile quality in my work. Colored pencil has a soft feeling to me and I like to use it for illustration. I also use materials like wool, felt, and clay for my 3D work- they just feel natural for me to work with. Even for my digital work I tried to keep the handmade touch. I like bright and playful colors, which make me feel happy, and I hope my work makes people happy as well.

There is a sense of happiness and innocence in your creations. How do you get inspired and stay motivated to make your work?

I get inspired a lot by the places I live in. Walking in the city and taking the subway provide me with endless inspiration. Although I have spent most of my life living in big cities, the early years of my childhood living in a small town has played a big role in my life. I still connect deeply with nature and animals, I think that’s why my work has an innocent feeling to it.
Yinfan Huang_Fun Playing Cards

Moving from China, to Minneapolis, and now living in New York, has moving around influenced your work in any way?

Definitely! like I said before, I am influenced largely by the environment I live in. Moving to the US has broadened my horizons and made me grow as a person and an artist. Minneapolis is a beautiful city with great nature and nice people, which gave me so much freedom to play with my work. However, it got to a point where I needed to have more energy and a bigger art community around me, so I decided to move to New York. Living in New York has given me so much inspiration and my work has improved a lot because of that. I often have ideas when I was traveling, either on plane or train. I would like to travel more in the future, but moving is always a huge pain!

Now that you are located in New York, have you had any opportunities to collaborate with other creative people who live there?

I recently collaborated with my friend Xinyun Huang for my on-going creative project pomegrandate Boy. We took the life-size plush toy I made to different places in NYC and took pictures of him. We’ve made postcards out of these photos and we’ll sell them at the Renegade Craft Fair on June 27th which I’m excited to participate in- it will be my first craft fair in New York!

Who are some of your artistic role models?

Maria Kalman is one of my favorite illustrators I discovered when I first moved to the US. Her work is so innocent yet sophisticated with poetic text, which has inspired me a lot. I also like the art of Kiki Smith, Marc Chagall, Japanese textile designer Katsuji Wakisaka, Swedish graphic designer Olle Eksell,Marc Boutavant, Japanese designer Yoshie Watanabe. Just to name a few!

08.Yinfan Huang_Happy Wishes
Anorak Magazine, "Happy Wishes"

What has been your favorite project recently?

The UK children’s magazine Anorak recently asked me to do a two-page activity illustration for their Cats & Dogs issue. The illustration I did is called “Happy Wishes”, which was inspired by one of my personal illustrations called “ List of Happiness”. The art director gave me the freedom to design the whole double-page spread. I drew some happy scenes on the left side of the page, and put some empty boxes on the right hand side for kids to fill in with their own wishes. It was such a fun project to work on!

You work a lot with textile and soft sculpture. How does this kind of work relate to your illustration work?

I started making clay sculptures and plush toys when I was studying animation in China and we had to make puppets for a stop-motion animation. Years later, I first made a 3D piece for one of my illustration assignments in MCAD, which made me realize I could incorporate 3D materials into my illustration to make it look more interesting. I think my 2D illustration and 3D work inspire each other which creates a nice balance for me. I’m so glad I have something else to work with besides drawing on paper or on the computer, that way I will never get tired of doing illustration!

Yinfan_Cat Faces

Patches and Stitches is a show that will celebrate the beauty and breadth of textiles. Could you indulge us a bit about your piece for the Stitches side of the show?

Seoul Memories is a hand-embroidered piece I created based on a sketch from when I was traveling Seoul, South Korea in 2011. I remember I was sitting in a coffee shop near Ewha Woman's University and I drew a quick colored-pencil sketch of the view by the window. It was one of the best trips of my life and I think that drawing captured my impression very well. So I decided to transform my memories into a tangible format as embroidery. It was a challenge for me because this is my first time doing a fully illustrated embroidery, and I tried different stitching technique in this piece. It took me forever to finish but I am very happy now that it is complete.

Thanks Yinfan! You can see Yinfan's piece, Seoul Memories, at the upcoming Patches + Stitches exhibition, which will be happening July 3rd at 7PM at Light Grey Art Lab! You can also check out Yinfan's website or blog to see more of what she is up to!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Artist Interview: Emory Allen

Meet Emory Allen. Emory is an illustrator and designer based in Minnesota. He is known for his fun character design, custom lettering, and stylish incorporation of animation into his work. Emory has worked with clients such as Star Tribune, Target, and Wall Street Journal and his work has been recognized by Adobe, HOW, and The Huffington Post. Emory has participated in past Light Grey Art Lab exhibitions including Dream Arcade, Guts, and the upcoming Patches & Stitches exhibition here at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, which will open July 3rd!

Patches & Stitches is a two-part exhibition that embraces the tactical side of textiles. The Patches side celebrates the grunge and grit of jacket patches, while the Stitches side highlights a more delicate approach to textiles with Embroidered work. The show unites texture, techniques, and tradition, with defiance, personal identity, and experience. We are proud to present Patches + Stitches, featuring new works, originals, and limited edition collections by 70+ artists from around the world. The Opening reception will be on Friday July 3rd from 7pm to 10pm at our location at 118 East 26th Street in Minneapolis. Learn more about the exhibition on our website!

You can view more of Emory's artwork on his website or his blog here!

emory allen

Hey Emory! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What are some of your interests?

I’m an art director at NEIGHBOR by day and freelance illustrator by night. I love my flat-faced cat, my girlfriend, and Magic The Gathering. As of this July, I’ve been living in Minneapolis for 7 years. Which officially makes it the longest I’ve lived in one place.

What kind of media has influenced you the most throughout your life? Did you watch a lot of cartoons or read any comics growing up? What are some of your favorites?

Growing up I loved everything Jim Henson and I watched Cartoon Network pretty much non-stop. It wasn’t until my dad bought me issue #1 of Nine Volt that I really started getting into comics. I also spent a few summers playing Final Fantasy while rocking out to Alice In Chains. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve sadly fallen off of a lot of that stuff. I don’t think I’ll ever get too old for video games though!

nerd nation by Emory Allen
Nerd Nation

Where do you find the most inspiration? What influences things like your color choice or the kinds of shapes that you integrate into your art?

When I started finding my illustration voice, I was (and still am) enamoured with screen printing. A lot of what I was looking at had limited but vibrant color palettes that made the pieces come alive for me. Three colors can say just as much as 1,000 colors if you use them right. As far as shapes, I always draw on grid paper. There’s something about self-imposed constraints, like using a small number of colors or working off a grid, that I find really fun. It’s a challenge to tease an illustration out of just a few elements. It’s almost like I’m discovering an illustration rather than creating one.

What’s your process like? Is most of your work done digitally?

I always start in my sketchbook. Pencil and paper is so malleable—I can burn through ideas and compositions relatively quickly. I erase and draw and erase and draw over and over until I’m happy with the composition. After that though, it’s all digital. I scan in my sketch, create the piece in Illustrator, and add textures and other effects in Photoshop.

snackodile hunter by Emory Allen
Snackodile Hunter

Looking through your work, I see a lot of whacky and fun characters. How important is it to you to incorporate characters into your work? How do you approach designing your characters?

Creating characters is so much fun because they can bend and stretch in ways that would be criminal if done to a human :) Kidding aside, creating characters makes me feel like a kid watching Fraggle Rock again. I mention that show specifically because it was basically a world within a world within a world, each overflowing with characters and personality. That fascination with fun characters and worlds is something I hold dear.

Besides personal work, do you try to have fun with your client work and professional projects?

Of course! Whether it’s personal or professional, I bring my same passion for illustration to every project.

Do you have a favorite piece of work or project that you have worked on?

I recently completed my first short animated film—something that has long been on my wish list. The film is called Triolet For Laika and it was completed as part of Motion Poems. I never had the confidence to tackle one on my own. So, what really sets this project apart for me was being able to work with a few of my talented friends. I’m extremely grateful that they were willing to help me with a passion project and I hope to repay the favor some day!

Swept Away by Emory Allen
Swept Away

You seem to work in many different disciplines (illustration, animation, design). How do you find a balance between them? Do you often like to incorporate the three into each other?

Being able to play and explore is a huge part of the reason I’m in this line of work. Some of my favorite projects have come from combining a few of my different interests. For example, my continuous daily drawing project, An Exquisite Beast, was born by mashing illustration and web development together. My short film came from combining illustration and animation. Now that I think about it, a lot of my other interests support my love for drawing.

Do you think that it’s important for a working artist to be skilled in multiple artistic fields?

It’s definitely important for me personally. I can’t really speak for what’s going to work for other artists.

You’re going to be participating in the upcoming Patches & Stitches exhibition. Do you work with tactile design often? What made you want to be a part of this show?

Because I do so much work digitally, I jump at any chance to create something I can actually touch. In the past, that’s meant screen printing or papercraft. This show gave me an excuse to explore a bit of embroidery (and dust off an old jean jacket). Now that I know what’s involved, I’ll be definitely making more patches in the future!

Are you working on any exciting new projects currently? Do you have a “dream project” that you’d like to work on in the future?

I’m in the middle of 100 Days of Merit, a project where I design a merit badge for something I’ve done that day. Four of patches from the project are going to be in the Patches & Stitches show! Triolet for Laika is based on a poem of the same name, so I would like to write and direct an original animated short.

Other thoughts?

When in doubt, add bacon.

Thanks, Emory!

Again, you can find more of Emory's artwork at his website or his blog here! You will also be able to see his work at the upcoming Patches & Stitches exhibition, opening July 3rd at 7PM at Light Grey Art Lab, 118 East 26th Street in Minneapolis, and Emory's patches will be available to purchase from the Light Grey Art Lab Online Shop here!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Light Grey Game Night: Dungeon Delve

Light Grey Game Night: Dungeon Delve
Hey, summer's here! Temperatures are rising, you can't go outside without sunglasses and some SPF 1000 sunscreen, and the entire city is out, smiling and laughing and soaking up the summertime vibes! If it sounds like reason enough to you to go hide in a deep, dark, dank dungeon, that must mean it's time for another Light Grey Game Night! So mark your calendar for Thursday, June 25th from 6:30 - 9:30 pm!

As you might remember, we're attaching a theme to each night to help people narrow down what games they might want to bring (although you're still welcome to bring whatever you'd like!). This week's theme is Dungeon Delve!

So come prepared creep through the darkness in Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game, explore a tiny, adorable dungeon in Mice and Mystics, bust up a SPACE dungeon in Star Wars: Imperial Assault, or wimp out and make some other fool go in your place in Welcome To The Dungeon, among plenty of others! If you have a favorite board game, bring it!

So grab your friends, family or favorite stack of board games, and come play with us! RSVP via our Facebook event, and feel free to share! The more the merrier!