21 September 2008

Stampede Postcards

For my Art2Mail postcard exchange, I decided to do a couple of series of postcards (as well as the Doctor Who card I posted earlier). The first series, because we started up our exchange just as Calgary Stampede 2008 was about to start, I decided would be cowboys. I've done cowboy postcards in the past, so it feels a little bit like it's just my thing now. I like the image, even though I'm not all that interested in cowboy culture or the West or whatever.

Because I wanted the cards to have something to do with the actual Calgary Stampede, I bought up newspapers during Stampede week so that I could mine them for interesting photographs and images of cowboys that I could turn into silhouettes for the cards. So each of these images actually comes directly out of local papers. I wish I'd kept notes on what was happening in the cards that came from photos of actual people.

This card isn't based on a picture of a real person during the Stampede, but came from a graphic in the newspaper. I found the real photographs surprisingly difficult to work with because often parts of the scene would be blurred out or cut off so that only the most interesting part was showing, but to make them into silhouettes, it often made unrecognizable shapes of the animals. (The card following this is an example of that.)

I've had a lot of mixed reviews about this card. I've been told it looks like a whale with a dog sitting on its tail. I've been told it looks like a turtle with a teddy bear on its head. I've been told it looks like a blob. I think it could look a bit like a Rorschach blot, if only I'd done a mirror image.

I think I knew too well what the picture was to see what the postcard looks like. It is actually a cowboy wrestling a steer. He's got his arm wrapped around the steer's head, with one of the horns rising up between the cowboy's arm and body. The actual image blurred out the steer's legs and tail and the angle the animal was standing at, in reference to the camera, really shortened the body so that it turned into a big blob. It was, if nothing else, a good exercise in looking at the shape of an image, rather than the image itself. At least if I'm intending to make a silhouette out of it.

And then finally there is this card. One of the things that I was trying to do with this series was to use backgrounds made of fabrics that felt sort of country to me - wheat or things that might have been shirting material or something. I think this card was the least successful, but I was running out of options in my stash. (Or at least running out of options that were in large enough sizes to make into cards.) It seems a little too much like an ocean fabric or something, rather than something cowboy-esque. Ah well. The shape of the cowboy itself is quite interesting, so I think it's excusable.

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