If you live down south, it's probably halfway to summer by now but up here in the North we're still in pre-green spring, with new changes, new things budding up, new sounds, new smells. The snow still hangs on in places, and has been utterly vanquished in others. Here at LaVoy Design, some huge undertakings have found their conclusions, while new ones are sprouting up.
As many of you already know, I have undertaken the 100 Day Project, a creative initiative organized by Ann Russ & Catherine Benda of Marquette. The idea is simple: make art every day for 100 days. There was a theme this year, I think it was “Art’s Capacity to Nurture,” which I didn’t take on consciously, although it worked its way in.
My idea was to reconnect with some missing piece of my own creativity, getting back to the sense of wonder and exploration that I once found inside of blank pages in my room as a teenager. There’s a whole world that I’ve been missing, long since buried under a decade in the film industry, and adulthood generally. This was a perfect chance to try and find it again, and I decided to start with its denizens. So, each day I’ve drawn a creature.
I’m calling the series Should You Need Us, a title which may ring some bells among those of you who grew up on the movie Labyrinth. These drawings have been a key part of my mental health since I started, and the response on social media has been heartwarming. To everyone who has been liking, commenting and sharing, thank you so much! You make my day, every day!
The last day of the 100 Day Project is the 30th of April, which is next Tuesday, and some of my followers have been asking me what I’m going to do next when it’s all over. The answer is: it’s not going to be over.
The 100 Day Project is going to end, and I am going to keep right on going.
The nature of my work in this direction will change slightly, however. Rather than focusing on churning out quantity, I will begin developing some of these characters in further detail. Most immediately, I’ll be working on adding color and rigging up some of my favorites to be animated. Many of them look like they are dancing, or could easily dance, so I’ll start there. I will also be developing the world in which they live, and hopefully soon a story-line or narrative setup of some kind. We’ll see where it all goes!
I’ll have a big announcement at the end of next week about how you, my audience, can participate in this journey. So, stay tuned for that!
In other news, if you’ve been plugged in to my social media posts, you have probably noticed the footage I have been posting from an immersive projection installation. That was an amazing project called The French Quarter by Night, which I undertook with Michelle Benoit and Glen Pitre of Côte Blanche productions. In fact, this is the very same project that was the subject of my last blog post, over two years ago! It is now up and running as a permanent exhibit at The New Orleans Historic Collection.
If you are currently in New Orleans or expect to be there any time soon, I heartily encourage you to head over and take a look. If that is not possible for you, here is a link to the portfolio entry on Behance:
I went down to New Orleans for the grand opening this month. They threw a big black-tie opening gala for all the bankers and other fancy folks, and then a more casual reception a few nights later. On both of those evenings I was looking for some closure or finality that never quite came. This was the last thing I ever did as a full-time resident of New Orleans. Even as I was working on it, it felt like it was my grand farewell to the city that I have had such a complex and intimate relationship with for so many years. But there was something detached and surreal about the big events surrounding the opening, like I was expecting some huge “here it is” moment that never arrived. It’s odd how that can happen sometimes.
However, I went back on a regular day, I think it was a Tuesday, to shoot some footage of the show for the portfolio entry you see linked above. No catering, no dress clothes, no music or speeches; just the exhibit on an ordinary day, with ordinary visitors taking it in. That was when the “here it is” moment finally hit. Being a fly on the wall in that room and hearing the response of everyday ordinary people gave me all the applause I ever felt I needed. I packed up the camera gear and walked out of there with my heart in my throat to find myself, of all places, in the middle of the French Quarter.
I had soured on that most touristy part of town over time, as I fought to shake off the feeling that I could never truly be a local to New Orleans. Still it has a certain magic, and it was the first piece of the city I ever saw. That was fifteen years ago when my Dad and I stepped off the plane into a cab during a rainstorm in the middle of the night and got dropped off in The Quarter. Standing there after completing this project, which is now a physical piece of that neighborhood, I felt a great circle in my life finding its completion. I felt like I had really finished something, and now the next thing can begin.
So, onward with my creatures, and whatever crazy world grows up around them!