A Light in the Darkness: Adobe Creative Residency
In 2015 I turned 30 and learned how fragile life is.
Two days after my birthday, my mom suffered a devastating stroke that left her paralyzed on half of her body. She underwent countless surgeries and continues to fight for the ability to walk to this very day. Only a month later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and made the difficult choice to have a double mastectomy. I have the BRCA gene, just like my mom who survived breast cancer twice undergoing chemo and radiation.
The past two years have been an ongoing challenge testing our strength and patience as a family.
At first, these trials seem isolating.
In time, we learn more deeply about love and the ability to gain strength and understanding from our losses. Tragedy is part of the human condition; none of us get through a full life without experiencing it. It is what we make of this loss that will determine the rest of our lives.
I am a multimedia designer and have worked in this field for 9 years, starting out as a graphic design intern and earning my way to the level of Art Director. Simultaneously, I’ve studied glassblowing since the age of 15, and have been a juried glassblowing artist since age 18 in Balboa Park, San Diego. I envision combining these two artistic expressions to positively touch the lives of people who are struggling with difficulties or losses of life. I believe neon is the perfect medium to achieve this goal.
The creation of neon reflects humanity's struggle—bending, breaking and burning on it's path to shining bright. Beautiful, visible day and night, and it's presence in unanticipated locations will be noticed and hopefully appreciated. To plan, design and create these works of glass art requires me to use so many of the Adobe creative products. Using Illustrator and Photoshop, I'm able to effortlessly experiment with various typography, layout and color combinations. To document my process I will film, edit, photograph and print mixed media using the depth of Adobe software.
I hope that the messages I create will help an individual or community realize they are not isolated and alone as they struggle with life's adversity. Just as my family and I have learned, even at the darkest hours, there is "a light". I seek to display my designs in accessible, public locations. A busy street intersection, a hospital waiting room, an entrance to a school. I think it can make a difference.
These projects are labor intensive. My first month would be spent organizing a studio where I could work and have it available 7 days a week. There are community studios, but it is too difficult to obtain enough time on a consistent basis to produce the amount of work this would require.
My approach to this project occurs in three phases, beginning with my personal experience, to collaborating with the community, and eventually building a community around my project. Moving forward, I will incorporate interviews with individuals and communities, gaining insights and inspiration from their stories. I will use my graphic design skills and Adobe software to create a website and book documenting this journey and hope to share it with many people.
Phase 1: The Individual and Loss (May - August)
The initial phase of my project is personal to me but relevant to many—my mom's experience with breast cancer in her 30's. She underwent chemo and radiation to save her life, losing her youth, femininity, and challenging her faith. I was in 3rd grade at the time and only understood it from a child's point of view. As an adult, I too was diagnosed with breast cancer, and can truly appreciate the beauty and grace through which she expressed her grief and anger. Throughout her treatment she coped with the devastation by stuffing clumps of her dying hair into envelopes and writing obscenities on the back—emotions she tried to hide from the outside world. I want to communicate these expressions of emotion to help others cope and persevere.
Phase 2: Connecting through Hope (September - December)
Using connections made in phase 1, I will interact, interview and collaborate to create phase 2.
Phase 3: We are Resilient (January - April)
Build a community surrounding my project using insights from Phase 1 and 2.
1. Gather inspiration and interview people. Choose location for featured work, visit and take photos/measurement of space.
2. Sketch ideas playing with the arrangement of type and elements.
3. Convert sketch to vector form using Illustrator. Design and refine neon arrangement converting fonts into workable bends in 3D.
4. Mock-up an example of how art will be displayed on location using Photoshop. Show result to approved location for final sign-off.
5. Project image (flipped backwards) onto layout preparing for neon work. Purchase tubes and all other materials necessary (i.e. metal, stained glass, plexiglass, paints, etc.)
6. Create neon while simultaneously creating multimedia background.
7. Add electrodes and bombard neon (with help of Lyle George). Paint areas of sign that need to be blocked out if necessary.
8. Assemble project, order transformer and test to make sure everything works.
9. Transport project to location, reassemble if necessary.
10. Take photos and video throughout. Edit media along the way. Share and promote on social media, encourage community interest.
11. Create additional items for sale if relevant (i.e. t-shirts, postcards, framed art) using Adobe CC.
The neon community is incredibly interconnected and supportive. Recently, there has been attention focused on this new generation of neon artists, especially females. It would be an honor to be part of this group, sharing my voice in one of the most challenging mediums.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to apply for Adobe Creative Residency. If chosen, I will cherish this gift and share it with the world.