Thursday, June 6, 2019

Of Purple Cows--Part 1

The winning bovine.
I was contacted by my old college suite-mate a few months ago to ask if I would consider doing some original art work for our 35th college reunion.  I went to Williams College, a small, liberal arts college in western Massachusetts where I was a studio art major--getting a degree in 1984 in Fine Art--but I also managed to fulfill all the science and math classes needed to satisfy a pre-med major.  Consequently, I was almost always in one of the art studios, the science labs, or the library studying--and I never got to meet,  nor know most of my classmates that made up our year.  I have mixed feelings about my college years.  Much of who I am now is due to my years at Williams, but the choices I made there and the trajectory of my life since has been so unlike what I imagined when I was a student that I had misgivings about being able to attend reunion or to be able to say much that would be appropriate for a Reunion get together. We traded emails back and forth for a bit, I'm not a commercial artist or illustrator and lack that skill set but I am a visual artist and since the school mascot--the Purple Cow--appealed to me, I said yes.
For the next few weeks I doodled various interpretations of cows and hills, eventually settling on a couple of ideas that I liked as a logo for the 35th Reunion.  The Reunion Gift committee was pretty helpful in helping choose among the drafts and ideas I put together things that seemed to be suited to the purposes of bringing back alumni that would not have normally considered returning and made the process much easier than I had thought it would be.
A purple cow flank OR the Purple Hills? The numbers came from a photo I saw years ago of butterfly wings showing color patterns that resembled arabic numerals and the English alphabet.

But during our initial discussions I also suggested that while I am not an illustrator I AM a printmaker, and the particular technique I have adopted was particularly suited to making color multiples suitable for a small gifts or momentos and what did he think about the idea of doing an original mokuhanga print as something to include in the gift bag instead of the usual fare.
I'll write more about where those discussions went in my next post.

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