Landscapes, Where Stories Begin
Landscapes have been a vital component of visual storytelling and reportage since the inception of illustration. The illustrator is an intimate participator in the landscape through the uniquely singular experience as traveler, observer, and interpreter. Illustrators can decode the language, point of view, and content of their stories through the landscapes that envelope subject matter. Gathering the essence of the location is key to a conceptual starting point. Landscapes support important details such as geography, history, mood, and time – components pertinent and authentically necessary to create the richness and depth of flavor needed for the ultimate perceptual experience in illustration consumption.
How does this information become sifted and synthesized to meet the conceptual needs of the illustrator? This invaluable, and seemingly invisible structure of the landscape and the depth of information it contains, is used to push and pull concepts against, while trying to make sense of the relationship of the compositional components to achieve the ultimate interpretive dialog by the illustrator. These relationships may yield a variety of different outcomes, depending on style, concept, and even semiotics.
For the illustrator, the exploration and complexities of contemporary methodologies that push the boundaries of the landscape can result in a compositional playground. The fabric of the creative process and its relationship to reportage and storytelling is built on the existence of the landscape – real, or imagined. They play a crucial role in giving the information context, through the expansion of their meaning of realism through contemporary spaces. This presentation examines a creative process which explores imagery derived from the landscape, driven by a conceptual need to tell a story. The imagery extracted from the landscapes are a result of travel and observational experiences, synthesized, and composed, resulting in a final narrative outcome.
Robyn Phillips-Pendleton, Associate Professor of Art & Design, at the University of Delaware, is a visual story teller, whose work has been featured in national and international, illustration and fine art venues. Additionally, she is a commissioned artist for the United States Air Force Artist Program. Driven by the human experience and social condition through visual story-telling, her research has taken her to Kenya, Haiti, Cuba, and the coal mining areas of Pennsylvania.