Updated: May 17
On May 16th 2020 Gallery Nucleus in Los Angeles published Tom Bancroft's MerMay 2020 Art Show online. Mermaid Artwork from Artists around the world will be for sale until May 31st!
Exhibition Duration: May 16th - 31st 2020
By the beginning of this year, I was asked by Gallery Nucleus to create one or two original mermaid artworks, as former Disney Animator and creator of Mushu (Mulan) Tom Bancroft will be having an Art Exhibition in Los Angeles, featuring Mermaid Art from lots of different Artists.
Tom is also the founder of "MerMay", a mermaid challenge which requires you to draw a mermaid every day during the month May. The MerMay challenge became quite popular on Instagram throughout the years and I was one of the lucky winners of last years MerMay contest, which was sponsored by WACOM.
If you follow me and my art here or on social media, you might have seen, that I've been participating in MerMay since 2018!
WHEN A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC COMES IN THE WAY...
I had just booked my flight and the hotel to stay in LA during the Exhibition in May and a week later the situation about the COVID-19 virus started to cause some serious problems in Germany as well as in the United States. I thought it was just the beginning of March and there would still be plenty of time until May, but I was wrong. US borders were closed and flights got cancelled. We were still hoping for the exhibition taking place, but unfortunately the opening reception on May 16th got cancelled. I was so looking forward to meeting the other contributing artists!
Luckily Gallery Nucleus found a way to have their exhibition online, so our artworks are for sale now! Obviously, it would have been nicer to view every piece at the gallery, but having the exhibition online is still better than cancelling the entire event.
THE PROCESS OF CREATING MY ARTWORK FOR THE SHOW
I started working on my Artwork for the show during January 2020. I wanted to work with traditional media and used Gouache Paints. At first I wanted to paint on regular paper, but then I thought I could do another paper-craft artwork, as I haven't done these in quite a while- and they are so much fun to work on!
I found a frame in a long format, which I think was interesting in terms of composition. When I start working on pieces for a show or very complicated artworks in general, I try to do a quick color and composition concept digitally on my iPad. This comes in really handy, cause I am still able to adjust colours and I can use it as reference all the time to avoid mistakes.
I just came back from a Maldives vacation when I painted this artwork, so I was already super inspired by beautiful underwater-worlds. I tried to use a split-complementary color scheme to get some nice color contrast into my artwork. I really like how the cool blue and warm pink of the fin contrast each-other. My mermaid artworks from May 2019 really taught me how important value and/or brightness contrast can improve the readability of your artwork.
When the digital reference artwork was done, I printed the original sketch in a large scale, so it would fit my picture frame. I cut out all shapes as templates to transfer the outlines to the thick crafting-paper.
The paper I use for paper-cut artworks, is regular coloured crafting paper, which you can get in every store! I paint over the paper with Gouache anyway, so the colour doesn't really matter much. I cut every single piece with regular scissors- I'm left handed, so it's impossible to get professional scissors. I also use a little cutter for very small details such as sharp corners.
After I cut all the single pieces, I start painting them with Gouache paints, just as I'd do on regular paper. Sometimes I like to mix media and also use coloured pencils for some details. Once the paint has dried, I use thick cardboard (from all the amazon packages I've ordered in the past) or styrofoam. Depends on the depth I want to create. I glue these pieces carefully behind the painted pieces using hot-glue.
When working on the hair, I cut long stripes of paper and bend them around round objects (such as a pencil or a cup) to make them curl.
Making everything fit perfectly in the frame, without creating too much depth, is probably the hardest part. If you compare my traditional and digital artwork, you will find some changes that I did along the way- or sometimes even mistakes I made or didn't think entirely through. But that's what traditional art is all about. There's no undo button- but I feel like exactly that's why traditional work is so much more appealing!
My artwork will be for sale on Gallery Nucleus website until May 31st 2020.
I was also being live interviewed by Tom Bancroft on May 12th at 20:00 CEST, who's doing Live Interviews with MerMay Artists every Tuesday for #TailTalkTuesday ! If you have missed my interview, make sure you watch Chihiro and Amanda during the following two weeks!
The exhibition also features talented Artists such as Pernille Orum, Liana Hee, Neysa Bove, Mindy Lee and many more!
Once again, thank you Tom Bancroft for creating this gorgeous challenge and inviting me to contribute a piece to this stunning art show!