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Patti Pogodzinski ILP MFA 2014

contents 1. Introduction 2. Image Harvest 3. Alphabet book 4. Greek Aesthetic 5. Patterning 6. Nostaligia 7. The Sketchbook Project 8. Handlettering 9. Mitologia

introduction This year turned my creative mind into a factory of ideas. The school year begun with Image Harvest, an assignment that required a list of reoccurring themes and ideas found in my work and my head. Synchronize swimming was a subject matter that I kept in the back of my head, waiting for best occasion to pull out and create something with it. Before beginning this program, my artwork (stylistically speaking) moved in and out of Fine Arts and Illustration. Much like many other young artists, studying a field of visual arts, I questioned the boundaries and meaning behind these fields. I wondered more about where my work could fit in more than actually producing the type of work I wanted to. Now I’ve stopped thinking where my work could fit, and started producing work. I’ve learned that I create my best work when its backed by an idea. The work I produced for Art Market is a perfect example of this. I came up with a concept from start to finish- theme, application and target audience. It proved to be my most successful project this year. This year studying illustration practice at MICA has shown me that the field of illustration is wide open to every sort of idea and theme. Every assignment/project/ piece of work is begun with an idea which leads to a concept and later followed by interpretation and production.

image harvest I harvested my past work into a big pile and found several reoccurring ideas and themes within it.Including ideas that I wanted to work with which didn’t appear in my past work. I created a big list of 20 ideas. I must remember this process for when I’m stuck in an artist block. I enjoyed going through this process of assessing my work and pulling out certain aspects of it that could be turned into a new concept. Synchronize swimming was a subject that I had never creatively engaged with before, besides actually being a synchronize swimmer in my younger years. I was attracted to the idea knowing the intricate and pattern like poses synchronize swimmers make. I thought these synchronized poses would make for an interesting image. I jumped with this idea a bit too hastily and struggled to create the illustrations that I wanted. The concept was to create a booklet of synchronize swimmer figures. Each spread would include a large detailed illustration of the figure and a diagram illustrating the sequence of the pose. My idea was to create a booklet of 8 figures. I recreated my illustrations several times before coming to a final. I wasn’t happy with the result of my project. Stylistically it was completely different than my usual work and a complete eyesore. However, I did like the diagrams and the abstracted miniature figure illustrating the pose. After the image harvest I swore to myself I wouldn’t touch synchronize swimming as subject matter. It was tainted with a curse and I could never undo it’s wicked spell. I had convinced myself with the silly superstition that I could never produce anything compelling with it because can no longer physically participate in it. But, I went back to it. I chose to use the subject again to illustration zodiac signs. It was an assignment for Lifestyle Illustration, a class outside of the MFA studio. This time I was mre successful with my illustrations. I enjoyed the comment from my professor, “These remind me of Marcel Dzama’s work”. Marcel Drama is my hero and always has been.


1. Cat Tarot 2. White cat story 3. Egg man picture book 4. Gdansk postcards 5. Narrative Recipe Cards

ZODIAC SYNCHRO GIRLS After the image harvest I swore to myself I wouldn’t touch synchronize swimming as subject matter. It was tainted with a curse and I could never undo it’s wicked spell. I had convinced myself with the silly superstition that I could never produce anything compelling with it because can no longer physically participate in it. But, I went back to it. I chose to use the subject again to illustration zodiac signs. It was an assignment for Lifestyle Illustration, a class outside of the MFA studio. This time I was more successful with my illustrations. I enjoyed the comment from my professor, “These remind me of Marcel Dzama’s work”. Marcel Drama is my hero and always has been.






A is for alphabet Dzama’s work subtlety hints towards historical appropriation takes history, scenes from the past and appropriates it into fantastical narrative drawings of tiny people. This way of working was my idea behind the Alphabet book assignment. The alphabet book seemed like a lot of fun. It was an opportunity to create illustrations that held a dirty secret. The idea that the book, “P is for Pussy”, was meant to be a children’s book seemed a bit of a stretch. I wanted to tie my illustrations together thematically with art history and literature. I Illustrated 8 words, each in reference to a different painting or work of literature. For example: A is for Ass was illustrated with a donkey referring to Shakespeare’s play, “A Midsummer night’s dream”. E is for Ecstasy was in reference to The Ecstasy of St. Theresa. I did not want literal depictions of each reference. Some of the illustrations were more successful than others, while others still need to be reworked.

A is for ASS

B is for BEAR

C is for COCK

D is for DIME

E is for ECSTASY

F is for FUNK

G is for GRASS

H is for HORNY

I is for ICE

greek aesthetic The concept of using history to fuel my illustrations was found through the need of figure drawing reference. I will use marble statues usually from ancient history as reference for poses or drawing figures. Looking for more statues I came across the history and stories behind them which intrigued me further into Ancient Greek and Roman history and mythology. I had not only found an interesting subject matter to work with, but it fueled my work stylistically as well. The geometric lines and lack of perspective seen in greek pottery began to infiltrate my work and sense of aesthetic.


poseidon “Poseidon” was my first personal piece since the summer. It was created for the “Blue show” and again I took inspiration from a historical point. My reference was a sculpture of Neptune, one that stands erected in Rome’s Trevi Fontaine. I started this piece by first laying down a blue wash. I glazed over the wash with a second light wash, a slightly different shade of blue green than the previous one. I picked up some of the color with a sponge to create the texture. The rest of the portrait was created with layers of watercolor and ink for the lines. If this piece were hanging in a museum or gallery this is what the label would say, “The Greek God of the seas, the shaker of the earth and tamer of horses, Poseidon was the protector of many Hellenic cities. In most artwork Poseidon (or Neptune) is usually depicted as an older muscular man with curly hair and a beard. The painting was inspired by the Fontana di Trevi’s Neptune in Rome, Italy. This whimsical rendering of Poseidon’s portrait offers a fresh depiction of the well known God. Aqueous watercolors are met with strokes of thin line that map out the inner contours of his face. The execution of material and stylization of this portrait gives us a glimpse of Poseidon’s daintier and softer narrative. “

patterning I have always been curious how my illustrations would look on textile or applied to fashion. One of the reasons for applying to this program was to experiment with this notion and research the many ways illustration could be applied to fashion accessories. I discovered that patterning compliments my illustrations well. It allows to me to apply my artwork to textiles that could be later created into fashion accessories or garments. Working with fashion and textile has always been a stowed away dream of mine. I am excited and motivated to push this pursuit within my illustration practice.

ART MARKET My concept for art market was to create products based on a unifying theme. Art Market happens every December. It is an opportunity to find holiday gifts created and crafted by artists and art students. Keeping in mind the season Art Market takes place, I created a two lines of products that reflected other December traditions and holidays. I really enjoyed the process of creating for Art Market. I had a concept and pitch in place before I set out to create. It was framework that wasn’t familiar to my creative process before. As a result my illustrations and end products for Art Market were the most successful pieces from my Fall semester portfolio. The illustrations I created for Art Market also came with an epiphany. Throughout the semester I was consistent in using watercolors and traditional wet medias as my mediums. This was the first project were I split my work between digital and traditional. It allowed to broaden my work stylistically and sped up my process.

BOOK BINDING I used the book binding workshop to create a possible menu card concept. The menu would be for a fictionalized smoothie stand, and this would be a way for them to list their wild berry recipes and ingredients.

Nostalgia PATTERN WORKSHOP By the time we had our patterning workshop with Leah Goren I became more comfortable with using pattern as a way to convey ideas and narratives. My theme for this set of patterns was Poland. The country’s history and visual culture has been a major influence in my artwork and interests. My childhood memories are infiltrated with nostalgia towards Polish cartoons, children’s books and communist era architecture. This set of patterns mainly revolves around Polish aristocracy and folkloric decorative motifs. The noble heads pattern was specifically inspired by the characters from Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Polish fictional historical trilogy.

the sketchbook project The sketchbook project was a semester long project which had us share themed sketchbook. We passed them along to each other every week. The first week we were assigned a sketchbook that we would, at the end of the semester, finish off with by illustrating the cover and end pages. My sketchbook was themed wanderer which resonated with me. I am including a couple of sketchbook spreads in this book. The cover of Wanderer comes up earlier in the introduction spread of this book.

handlettering This project was a lot of fun. I wanted to be as experimental as possible with creating the letter forms to see which process work the best for me. I created three sets which one completely different from one another. The first set, shown on this page is loosely based on coral reef. They are collaged paper colored with watercolors. I built them intuitively keeping in mind the organic shapes of coral reef and sea plants.


The letters on the opposing page were based on the Greek Myth, The Argonauts. My idea behind this set was to superimpose a portrait of each argonaut with their corresponding letter. A is for Argus, B is for Bellerophon, C is for Castor and etc. I wasn’t satisfied with how the letter forms looked as a set. I reworked it, retaining the overall shape and portraits and instead created a more consistent color palette and form.


The last set was created by moving paint around acetate. There are parts that I like about this piece and other parts that could be reworked.

Mitologia SELF DIRECTED PROJECT My idea with “Mitologia” was to create a set of travel inspired postcards that would carry the viewer from the north of Poland to the south. The illustrations are portraits of Slavic Demons which are associated with a specific region in Poland. I created “reaction” patterns to go along with each illustration. After completing the illustrations I put them together into a postcard booklet.

In the seaside town, Gdansk, there are may things to do as a tourist. You can walk around the medieval city center, have fish and beer and observe the large ships and small boats sail by as they mingle among the gigantic mermaid like creatures, called Topliece. In most cases they are harmless, but sometimes their curiosity and strength will get the best of them and cause havoc for the sailors.

“This is my pond,” says the Vodyanoy, as he swats away the usual Mazurian swarm of mosquitoes. Every year they come here with their long boats, bags and bags of God knows what, and disturb my peace! They yell at me, shoo me away as if I were some mosquito!” He pauses to take a long pull from his pipe and puffs out a thick swirl of smoke while looking out into the distant lakes over Mazuria. Despite being longtime resident of Mazuria, the Vodyanoy doesn’t embrace the tourists that flock every summer to it’s 2000 lakes. Mazuria is a national park in Poland, known for its large amount of lakes ample for sailing and other eco-tourist activities. In return of his appreciation of the tourists, he will observe them closely with his beady eyes from the tall stalks of myrtle grass.

Mazovia is located in the center of Poland. The province’s landscape is sprinkled with apple orchards and small farms. In the summers, the air stands still and the temperatures become unbearably hot. Poludnica likes to appear during midday when Mazovians are out tending to their crops as quickly as they can, so that they can go inside to rest. She pesters them till exhaustion with unnecessary questions- “Where does milk come from?” and “How many apples will you harvest this year?”. She stops until one or more people faint from her exhausting taunts and if no one gives into her ways, she will cause the air to go unbearably humid and the sun to rise up even higher in the sky for the entire summer.

I had the misconception of illustration being tightly woven, constrained in it’s likes and dislikes. I thought there was no room for me and my work in it. There’s no right or wrong answer and there’s room for every style, material, concept and person. I am satisfied with the body of work that I developed this year, with the ideas that I conceived and developed. I learned about the field from a theoretical perspective and from studio practice. I am excited to see what my thesis year brings and what I develop during the next year!

Patti pogodzinski Illustration Practice Ideabook 2014  
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