Rachel Oto weaves stories with words, guitar, folded paper and waves of sound. I asked her to help me out with a new artist portrait series. In this series, I want to create line drawing portraits of musicians integrated with their instruments and tangles of other line drawings of symbols of their identities. I asked her to send me a few photos of herself. They were good photos, but after drawing for a few hours I realized they were not what I wanted. Moreover, I didn’t take any of the photos. That source photo issue is one I’ve been grappling with. I think I need to be the whole who takes the main photos of a piece in order for drawing to feel right.
Here’s the process of my first drawing of Rachel:
For the supplementary details, Rachel sent me a photo of her elaborate high heels, these great origami paper explosions, her guitar, and a soldering iron next to a bunch of creative-person contraptions and doodads. Homegirl has a lot going on.
I returned to her portrait a few weeks after this initial attempt, and decided to start with what I know. I had taken some great photos of her at The Lexington during the Coronation event, so I chose one of those and began to draw it in my surreal Lorna fashion. I found the big shapes and then the smaller ones. I over drew and then undrew. I traced the face so that up close it looks bazaar, but from far away it’s recognizable.
I got to repurpose some of the supplementary line drawings from the initial attempt. Here’s the second portrait process PLUS some Rachel Oto music (check out her Sound Cloud)! I drew her boogying a bit at the end.
I would have just uploaded the video (instead of embedding it from YouTube) but I’m out of memory with WordPress (and e v e r y w h e r e). I need to consolidate my previous work quickly in order to make way for future work. This would involve slowing down for a second. I’ll mull it over…
Here’s the final 12″x15″ portrait of Rachel. I’ll call it, “Rachel Oto and Mary (not pictured)” …maybe. Hmmm. How will I title this new series of portraits? Artist Name + song lyrics? Artist Name + inanimate contributors? Prob Artist Name + whatever stands out about their portrait. I fucking love Rachel’s song, “Mary” so I’ll stick with “Rachel Oto and Mary”
Here are the options that didn’t make the cut:
This version includes the source photo with some blue saturation. I figured I was complicating things, so I decided to scrub it. I’ll save the photo integration idea for a different project. The background photos do add some depth, though…[Feedback, please]
This one is before I changed the background to gray. I like the gray more because my black shape fills are evident with that distinction. If the background is black, those fill choices are moot.
Here’s the source photo:
If you know a musician who might appreciate a Lorna portrait, leave a comment with a link to his/her website and music