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Commute
Rachel Maeves

My name is Rachel Maves and I’m a (super) senior in Communication Arts completing my last semester at VCU.

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I came to VCU with the intent of studying animation. Cartoons have been the motive, the spark, and the start of my artistic interests since I was a kid, fully convinced that the dogs in “Oliver and Company” were real. One afternoon, I was watching the trailers before a Disney movie started and there was a segment that showed “Anistasia” in-the-making. The preview showcased the scene at the beginning where everyone was at the ball, hundreds of people dancing with flowing dresses… drawn in pencil?! To say the least, my world came falling down as I broke the fourth wall into my conscious and realized that all things were somehow hand-made. I was probably only five or six years old.

When I first moved to Richmond, one of the first things I noticed were the power-lines tucked away in alley ways and the mixture of Civil War buildings slowly decaying under modern architecture. The textures of the uneven sidewalks, the bricks fighting the newly installed side panels, and Audi cars bumping up and down cobble stone streets were amusing to me and it wasn’t until recently, I focused such an emphasis on these rugged details in my art work.

In this piece titled “Commute”, I may have had an artistic revelation when I envisioned it in my head. Never had I felt so clear in combining illustration, animation, design, and fine art all in one. I’ve mostly worked in pen and pencil my whole life, so the idea of the “line” has always been prominent. I’ll admit, the line can get boring after a while, so I used negative space and patterns to sort of help me find other outlets to break up the details. I wanted to combine familiar qualities and skew them up like a puzzle so that you’re constantly trying to comprehend the object of a bike existing in different places throughout the space of the composition. Our brains can only remember so much when we observe our surroundings and Richmond is full of immaculate detail, even if it’s somewhat grimy. I chose a bike because the community of Richmond relies so heavily on this form of commute and I think bikes are the most brilliant kinetic sculptures ever invented.

Although I am showcasing my personal work, I do love commercial illustration, photography, painting and typography. I’m about to start an interactive project called “I Will Draw”, where I come up with mad-libs and have friends and strangers fill in the blanks with whatever they want and I will draw them as a cartoon. I got the inspiration from artist Scott Campbell who I met at the Small Print Expo in Maryland (September, 2012) who draws silly cartoons that sort of combine pop-culture influences with a 1920’s style twist. The idea is my own and I’m very excited to start working with the locals of Richmond. (http://willdraw.tumblr.com/)

I believe that I’m here in this world to convey and document my immediate surroundings without words. To strive for inspiration is like walking around the same block over and over again. Inspiration happens when you trip on the sidewalk.

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