Team Hadrian t-shirts are now available (finally)! Get one! They’re only ten bucks.
For residents of Lenawee County attending this year’s PALM tour,these shirts are especially for you. Our area looks to have a strong showing. Why not represent and sport the local colors? It’s what all the cool kids will be wearing.
The design is by Alyssa Baker, an art student at Adrian College. I asked Alyssa to talk a bit about her work. Here’s what she had to say.
HADRIAN: How did you become interested in being an artist? How did you get your start?
AB: When I was in third grade we had a “make a book” project. We were being graded on the quality of our writing, but I threw a bit of a hissy fit when my pictures for the story didn’t look the way I wanted them to! I was a bit of a perfectionist, and still am to this day, but I think that was the moment I realized I wanted to put most of my effort into making nice looking pictures.
HADRIAN: How do you classify or categorize yourself as an artist? Where do you “fit” in the grand scheme of the art world?
AB: I think I’m a very commercial artist. I’m not the sort of artist who locks myself in a studio apartment and comes out with abstract sculptures of dogs made of scrap metal from urban areas or anything “out there.” I see myself working for a big company like Disney or Pixar or working for a graphic design firm. I’m happiest when I’m making other people happy with my work and I love being hired to make other peoples’ visions become a reality. I feel like so many people have great ideas stuck in their heads and lack the skills to bring those ideas out into the world, and I love being the girl with the skills to make it happen. My art is mainly done for others but I’ve managed to put a little bit of “me” into everything I do — logos included!
HADRIAN: Describe the types of projects you most enjoy doing? Which undertakings do you find most tedious? What are your favorite and least favorite media?
AB: My all-time favorite thing to do is sit with a mechanical pencil and just doodle cartoon characters. They’re mostly animals but I’ll do a cariacature here and there of family, friends, and sometimes random people. I love animation, movement, and goofy-looking exaggeration. I also love doing just about anything at a computer. Graphic design, digital illustration — I feel as though some of my digital work looks comparable to work by professionals and I get a huge feeling of satisfaction from that. Tediousness (if that’s even a word) doesn’t bother me much. I’m a sucker for fine details and I’m still the perfectionist I was in third grade.
I have to say my least favorite mediums are charcoal (just a mess) and anything 3d, particularly ceramics. Every pot I’ve ever thrown has been crooked!
HADRIAN: Tell us about your creative process. Whence cometh your inspiration? How do you go about conceptualizing and executing a project?
AB: It depends on the project and how demanding the criteria is. Both of my most recent projects have been relatively open ended – working with you on the logos has been easy since you’re not a particularly demanding client and I felt more okay with coming up with slightly out-of-the-box ideas that weren’t really brought up in conversation. The result was a mix of ideas you had from the start mixed with new ideas I got as a result of our conversations.
The concepts for the logo were based on a few key phrases I remembered like “classic,” “round,” “must appeal to many types of bikers.” I usually just doodle very literal interpretations of those things. One of the first sketches I did that I never showed you was literally a circle with Hadrian kid of squished in it. From that terrible idea came the gear idea, then some ideas with the wheel being on top that led to the winning logo design. It’s sort of a logical “well, what else can I do that’s a circle and says ‘Hadrian on a Bicycle'” process that evolves from rather terrible initial sketches.
The project before this one was designing a poster for the “Let’s Save Michigan” contest. The guidelines were fairly open-ended as the poster just had to say “Let’s Save Michigan” and had to resemble posters from a certain era. I like when projects are more open ended than strict, it allows me to throw out a bunch of ideas I think might be stupid and then I realize they actually work pretty well.
HADRIAN: Tell us specifically what you intended to convey with the designs your crafted for these awesome t-shirts.
AB: They are both t-shirts with simple designs that are about bikes but I wanted them to be completely different. The Team Hadrian shirt had to say “classic” and “bikers” without focusing in on people who bike like Lance Armstrong or people who have cute bikes with baskets heading to the grocery store. So there was this challenge of making a design simple and all-inclusive while not making it into a totally boring shirt. I think the size of the logo on the back is a little more “fun” than traditional t-shirts for events, and the words “TEAM HADRIAN” on the front are italicized and say “moving forward” to me without looking too much like a font you’d see on something like a racecar.
HADRIAN: What are you working on now?
AB: On this particular day? Nothing, really, as I just got on summer vacation a few weeks ago (woohoo!) but I am looking to design a website and the graphics/logo for it for my Stepdad who is looking to open a t-shirt business online. I’m also using up all my spare art supplies from the semester to do some paintings and drawings for family and friends, like a giant painting of an angler fish for my boyfriend’s brother and something flowery and pretty for my mother for Mother’s Day.
HADRIAN: What are you looking to do professionally?
AB: My ultimate dream job would be to work for Disney animation studios as some sort of animator or storyboard artist. To get there I’m going through some hoops like working at Walt Disney World later this year as a custodian. Sounds like a drag, but I have opportunities to network while down there, and many professional internships offered through Disney are only available to the kids like me who chose to go through the college program and sweep trash. Plus, I’m getting paid to walk around in sunny weather in wintertime instead of going to school for one semester, so that’s good, too.
Alternatively, I’d be thrilled to work as a graphic designer for someone or get good enough myself to freelance and make a comfortable living. I would love to have people seek me out for work rather than the other way around!
HADRIAN: What’s next for you?
AB: This August I leave for Florida to do the Disney College Program, and after that I return to college. Which college I’m not entirely sure as of yet. But I plan on taking any and all classes that have anything to do with animation, graphic design, and other areas I’m interested in like video editing and tv production. I’m trying to expand my horizons while still being able to say I’m best at A, B, and C. In my immediate future is hopefully a part-time job in town and a car, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for both of those things to happen!
HADRIAN: If one piece of your work could be displayed anywhere in the world — inside or outside (in a museum, on a famous building, stretched along the side of a subway train, suspended from the Eiffel Tower, embossed on Mt. McKinley) and in any format (tattooed, projected on screen, printed on drink coasters, whatever) — where would it be? Why?
AB: That’s a tough one. I don’t think any of my artwork has a powerful enough message to warrant being displayed somewhere like the eiffel tower, though I do love absurd things so I think I would go with a drawing of my cartoon character Frankenfish being on all of those places, just to get people to say “Huh?” and watch snobby artsy people ponder the deep political meaning of such a gesture. For reference here’s a picture of frankenfish with his bride of frankenfish I did about three years ago.