Valerie Damen
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Cree School of Fish

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Illustration, Textile Design, Wholesale Merchandise

 

I developed the idea for this series during lunch on campus one day. Mounds of students were scurrying around either trying to find their classroom or caffeinate their brain in hopes of staying awake through class.

 

Cree School of Fish

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Illustration, Textile Design, Wholesale Merchandise

Overview

Inspired by Cree beading, pattern, and nature, I developed an ornate and embellished underwater series.

Challenges

I faced two main challenges during the production of this project:

1. Illustrating an underwater world using only dots.

2. Creating harmony using quite a large color palette.

Solution

In preparation for my appearance at the Edmonton 2017 Make it Show, I developed a collection of personal designs and illustrations that I would print on all sorts of goodies and sell at my booth. At the time of this preparation, I worked fulltime for the University of Alberta and was greatly inspired by both Inuit art and all the students making a reappearance after reading week. I developed the idea for this series during lunch on campus one day. Mounds of students were scurrying around either trying to find their classroom or caffeinate their brain in hopes of staying awake through class. As an observer of this student-based crowd, images of fish flooded my mind and I noted the idea on my phone.

A few weeks later when I was ready to start developing artwork for the show, I revisited my notes of inspiration off of my phone and was happily reminded of my 'school of fish' idea. At the time I was working on branding materials for ATEP — the Aboriginal Studies department located at the Faculty of Education — and I was greatly influenced and acquainted with beautiful Cree beaded fabrics and paintings. I decided to lead the project in an experimental direction and play around with forming an underwater scene using Cree-inspired pattern. I first developed the artwork in black and white and then strategically applied color by hand at the very end.

Production

The underwater illustration was printed and sold on all sorts of fun materials such as posters, postcards, magnets, pillows, and shower curtains.