Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Alone Again, Artistically?"

Framing created by Terri Hamilton at Pineapple Gallery
I had an interesting and often rare experience two days ago. It occurred after months of conversation over the phone and over the internet. The person I was "dealing with" was pretty understanding and readily admitted that he had little knowledge of how to accomplish this graphic feat. We spent months kicking around several ideas replacing a very old college decal into a frameable piece of art that he could hang in his office. The decal was quite brittle and the kind that you soak in water and apply to whatever you chose to attach it to. Back in the seventies, that usually meant one's car.

Ah, school spirit and all that rah, rah stuff.

Thankfully, Doug was not in a hurry to have this feat accomplished quickly and that was a real nice place to be for me when you consider most of my commercial work always needs to be done "yesterday."

After a few romps into a new visual concepts, we decided to stick with the Mississippi State mascot and bring the little pugnacious pup into the new century. These sketches were completed during the Christmas holidays and emailed along with my own designed Christmas card. Here are a few of the ideas...

Sometime in January, Doug emailed me that he loved the idea of the graph paper and wondered how I came up with that idea. Like many ideas, it came to me as an accident. For another project, I had incorporated, in the Photoshop preferences panel, the automatic opening of grids and guides. When I went back to this assignment, the grid automatically popped up. I thought it looked good. So, I sent the new design with the grid to Doug, thinking it really applied to being an engineer.

 Boy, did it ever. Doug loved it.

After many minor adjustments over time, Doug gave me the permission, in between his busy schedule, to have it printed. There were a few more emails to get an approval about colors, and frame size.

After it was all assembled and ready for pickup, we set up a date and a place to deliver it. When it was all said and done, it was suggested that I drop off the artwork and mail him the bill. In a way, I figured that would be the safer way to go if after all this time and emails, he doesn't like it. I wouldn't have a confrontation or the embarrassment of trying to explain myself or my design.

But, then I thought that I really wanted to meet the person that I had spent half a year working with. I decided that I was not gonna allow the digital world with everyone staring down at their iPhones and iPad screens, to keep me from making human contact.

We met at a local coffee shop, and had a wonderful time. It was great to see who he was, how he looked and see the expressions on his face... expressions I had heard over the phone many times. To me, it would have been a great loss to not have had the time to met him personally.

Over the last twenty years, the computer helped me acquire many jobs without leaving home, but seldom did I have any physical contact with clients I really enjoyed working with. In our meeting, Doug and I got to laugh about the project's progression, the changes, the silly ideas, and learned quite a bit about his work as an engineer at Shell. He introduced his wife as soulmate and art critic and shared a bit or their own personal life.

I think she liked me, and thankfully, she loved what I'd done.

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

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