New projects are always exciting and in all the time that I worked as a free lance artist my favorite projects were always the ones that required international travel. Painting in a Country you’ve never visited before or one that you really love and experiencing the culture and peoples reaction to your work is an unforgettable experience. But in the 5 years since our company We Talk Chalk has been in business, I’ve accumulated quite a few favorites because of the projects themselves…either because of the imagery, the scope, or the client themselves.
Our current collaboration with the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has been a dream project for me for several reasons. I have the opportunity to design several anamorphic / 3D paintings for the property as semi permanent installations during their 2 year revitalization and rebranding…and, I essentially had an open theme for all the designs…AWESOME.
So, we (Myself, WTC Studio Artist Lyndsey Anne Morel, and my assistant Jarred Mendoza) just completed 3 paintings, live on site, to kick off the Monte Carlo’s ‘Trick-Eye Experience’. (Actually, Trick Eye was kicked off in December with two Holiday paintings of Polar Bears I created digitally. It was a last minute decision since we were already scheduled to create the live paintings in January. So the Polar Bears were a quick turn around and lots of fun to create.) The first two were titled “Desert or Dessert’ and sit prominently framing the Plaza Blvd Entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The whole Idea is for people to pose as if they are inside the bell jars…The Desert Jar has succulents inside like a giant terrarium and scorpions scaling the outer glass walls. The second is our favorite… ‘Dessert’ features a tower of Macaroons that you have to keep from falling over. It’s bright and colorful and fun.
The third live painting we did was a hungry ‘Shark’. Because who doesn’t love sharks these days? – from a distance, of course. Now that the live paintings are complete I will be creating a few large scale digitals to be sprinkled throughout the interior of the Casino for a total of 6 Trick-Eye Paintings at the Monte Carlo – for now 🙂
Here’s how things got started…
Concept sketch and mock-up for Desert or Dessert painting. Simple pencil sketches within a photo of the location. Once Ideas were given the green light by the Monte Carlo team I moved forward with full color renderings.
Tools – Strathmore drawing paper, Strathmore Grid paper, tracing paper, mechanical pencils, Mac, Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, Illustrator.
Since starting We Talk Chalk in 2012, I’ve designed almost every painting that we’ve produced. On average we’ve been creating about 100 paintings per year with our incredible team. So, I usually design 2-3 paintings a week. And considering I sketch 2-3 designs for the client to choose from, that’s over 300 sketches a year. lol…I didn’t actually realize that until now. Most sketches start out with a simple pencil or digital sketch and turn into full color renderings. This is nice because it lets the client know exactly what they will get. No surprises. It also allows our studio artists and assistants to see what I’m thinking for each and every inch of the painting. I can’t always spend a full day painting so I rely on my amazing artists and assistants to get things going while I’m creating sketches for the next painting.
My favorite designs are usually the ones where the clients allow us free reign (or close to it) on concepts. Of course, it’s always important to make sure our clients are happy and we convey their message in an intriguing way but it doesn’t mean we always ‘love’ the designs 🙂 And more often then not, the client won’t choose our favorite sketch…which means I have a ton of sketches that are just waiting to be used for another cool project. Here are a few sketches from 2016 that weren’t chosen!
All my sketches end up in Photoshop, even if started in pencil, for finishing touches and sending off to client. I’m using a Mac Pro, Wacom Cintiq 27 HD (which I LOVE), and an Epson 1400 Printer. When I’m traveling I use the Wacom Cintiq Companion. They make my work so much easier. Can’t live without them 🙂
Julie and I have been very fortunate to be able to do what we love for a living and we’ve been doing it for many years. Last year, when we started We Talk Chalk with Remco, we dreamed of big clients, steady work, lots of creativity and inspiration. After a year and a half, we are so proud to say that we are living that dream. Sure, there is always more to aspire to and it’s all hard work but we are so, so grateful for the incredible start we’ve had as a company.
We just spent a week in one of the most beautiful cities in the world for a project with LaSolution and Foire de Paris, the largest Expo in France. We created 3 paintings in studio in the themes of Earth, Air, and Water. Attendees could Watch Nature Soar, be a Pilot for a Day, or Kiss a Siren. The airplane painting was probably my favorite…It turned out really cute. But really, we were really happy and proud of all 3 paintings and had so much fun painting them. It was really nice to create new work that leaned more towards fine art then commercial.
Our new technique allows the paintings to live well through numerous rains, footsteps, and busy mommy strollers.