Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: "Art Revolution" by Lisa L. Cyr

4.5 out of 5 Stars

I actually read Art Revolution at the end of the summer and have been so busy I hadn't gotten around to writing a book review yet. This book was very influential for me.

The "art revolution" Lisa Cyr is referring to in her book is that of mixed media artwork. I work primarily in alternative photography, but after reading this book, it inspired me to learn as many art mediums as possible. Not only was I inspired, but it motivated me enough to sign up for a watercolor and an oil painting class at school last semester. I loved learning and exploring these new mediums so much I signed up for 3 painting classes and a drawing class for this semester. In my opinion, a book that can inspire real, concrete change is a powerful book. This book really amplified my desire to learn as much art as I can (however, individual results may vary).

Art Revolution is packed full of beautiful and inspiring images. It was a feast for the eyes and the mind. Cyr picked very thoughtful, talented artists to feature in her book. She interviewed 20 mixed media artists, including a 2 to 3 page article about their art work which was packed full of great quotes from the artist. Each section also has a few images to show off the artist's work. Some of the artists even give step by step demos on how they created a piece of art. The directions in the demo seemed a little unclear sometimes, but it gives you a good general idea of how mixed media works and of different techniques you can try in your own work.

What I gained most from this book (well . . .besides the desire to act) was reading about the artist's working process. It is fascinating for me to hear other artists talk about their work. It helps me understand my own processes and concepts better, and also helps me develop skills in talking about my work. I also gained a lot of insight about working with concepts and how to illustrate ideas. Mixed media is not always easy to pull off, but in Art Revolution there are many great examples of beautiful mixed media art, as well as explanations about why artists' are working with mixed media. I think if you are a mixed media artist, you will enjoy this book.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: "COLOR: messages and meanings" by Leatrice Eiseman

A must have:

5 out of 5 Stars

This book is a great resource for all artists, but especially for graphic designers, interior designers, and commercial photographers. This book is an essential resource (it is targeted to this audience . . . especially graphic designers). I am not a graphic designer, but if I was, I know I would be referencing this book daily for inspiration and direction. I have read a couple books on color (color theory, color symbolism) and this is the best book I have read. The author, Leatrice Eiseman, has strong credentials and it shows in her book. She knows what she is talking about. The book is easy and enjoyable to read and very informative.

It starts by covering the basic colors (red, blue, brown, purple, orange, etc.) and the symbols/moods associated with those colors. She even touches on how colors effect us psychologically. At the end of a color section she lists different shades of that color along with positive and sometimes negative adjectives/symbols often associated with these colors. I found this section the most interesting. It was very informative and comprehensive. It is a very helpful reference for any artist who works in color to better understand what role color plays in sharing a message with their audience.

The next section is about color in the marketplace. This section is more about using color in the advertisement world. She focuses on creating an identity for a company and how color effects their image and reflects their mission as a company. Eiseman talks about using color as an attention grabber and using appropriate colors to fit certian ages, genders, and shopping patterns.

The next section goes into color relationships. She has a brief section about color schemes on the color wheel and the messages sent by using those schemes. Following this, she gives 20 different moods (exotic, sentimental, unique, restful, assertive, nightlife, etc.) with a brief description of the mood and associated colors. Then, on the next page, there are 20 colored squares giving examples of a dominant, subordinate, and accent color combinations that could be used to convey that mood. The part I found most impressive is at the end of the book where she has a chart of every color she used in the book and the CMYK numbers for that color! This chart is a great time saver and will help you get the exact color combination desired. It makes this book a very practical reference book.

In the last section, she covers color trends in the advertisement world and how to spot them. She briefly discusses trends in fashion, graphic design, technology, and art. She even gives specific examples of places to look.

I really loved this book. Not only are the images beautiful and pleasurable to look at, but it is packed full of information. It is the best book on color I have seen or read. I STRONGLY recommend it to anyone who works with or is interested in color theory, color relationships, or color symbolism. If you are a graphic designer, this book is a must have. It is worth every dollar spent on it!