26 Jan 2021 01:58

Stock Art Can Go to Hell: Corporate Art Without Compromise

Artist and illustrator Melissa Whitaker works full-time for companies across the US, bringing her signature pop-graphic-noir style to their branding and storytelling. Melissa’s clients include Madpipe and Free Agent Source. Commissions include food and beverage, real estate, and medical industries—as well cover art for authors and musicians. Her work has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, KC, and St. Louis. If you happen to be her part of the world, look for her new billboard for the Arts Council Southern Missouri; it’s a satisfying full circle from when she was featured on that same billboard years ago as a real estate agent. Whitaker made the commitment to a full-time art career later on as an adult: she kick-started her art-business skills with CHF and never looked back. https://itsallintheart.com/ (itsallintheart.com) The Thriving Commercial Artist“Companies want to tell the story of who they are, and why they do what they are doing. Maybe they can’t find the perfect stock photography for their business. They will come to me to illustrate their story, and make their website or material, even their PowerPoint presentations, stand out from the rest.” “Companies are adapting to be able to reach out to people who are not socializing much anymore. They’ve got to put that personality into their marketing presentations. I see new people coming in for personal illustrations: I’m talking to a real estate agent right now who wants to make herself stand out from all the other agents out there. So I’m excited!” “A whole new world of crypto art is coming out. It works a lot like Bitcoin where you can take your digital artwork and you basically encrypt it, where the person who’s buying that is buying the original—virtual original in a way—so it’s not just a digital copy. And that has value to it.” Collaboration: The Artist’s Voice in Commercial Work“The client will tell me: ‘I want a subway station platform.’ I will put myself there, thinking: ‘if I am on the subway, if I get off the subway and I’m on that platform and I’m waiting…How am I going to stand? How am I going to see that train? Where is the train coming from? Who are the people around me? And that’s what goes into the picture. So I would say a lot of myself goes into the picture because I put myself there.” “I’ll talk with the client and I get a sense of what they are looking for. A lot of questions come out, such as what kind of mood are you looking for? What do you want your customer to feel when they look at this? What is your objective? All of that is information that is needed in order to tell the story accurately.” “In today’s culture, a lot of people refer to movies. They’ll say, ‘I’m thinking of The Transporter,’ or ‘I’m thinking of 80s music’ and they’ll give me a playlist. That puts me into the zone and it will come out in the art. I try to put everything, all of me, into the art—so whatever is going in, is coming out into the art. “Sometimes I’ll do rough drafts to get an idea of what the customer wants. And there are times where I have an image in my head and I’ll just do the whole thing and send it to them, because sometimes the client doesn’t know what they want until they see it. Or they can’t envision the rough draft in the final completion of the project.” “There are struggles at times. There are directions I want to go, and the client has to pull me back and say no, no, no, that’s that’s the wrong way. Or, ‘that looks really fun but we can’t go there.’ So that can be difficult, but often I will go ahead and still create it because I can always use it somewhere else. I’m very open to change and adapting because I will always try to make something work.” Technique & Composition: from Walls to Web“If it’s a complex illustration with several individual people—each character is drawn individually and on a separate layer so that they can be reused. They’re like stickers: you can post them here or there, which makes it unique and has...

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