When it comes to photography and art, the team at APC is in the lucky position to see a lot of head-turning works. And every now and then, along comes a project that’s just totally “outside the box.” This particular canvas print fits that description and then some. With the permission of it’s creator – the fabulously creative Amanda Kern – we’re reprinting her 2009 account of the creative process that led to one amazing canvas.
By Amanda Kern, Photographer & Graphic Designer
Earlier this year I discovered I’d have the opportunity to display some work in Valencia’s faculty graphic arts exhibition. The theme for this year’s art exhibition just happened to be “self portraits squared.” I spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas and came to the conclusion that creating a “mindmap” would be a perfect solution. I attribute the fact that my mind tends to think of most things lately in mindmap form to the time I spent training with O’Reilly. Ever since that experience, I suppose you could say I’ve been corrupted by intertwining thoughts on paper. In the past I’ve been known to mindmap for personal ideas and training, as well as research papers  .
After over 60+ hours of work this past week I am quite thrilled to finally share the process I’ve taken to complete my mindmap project which I’ve dubbed, “The Map to Mind.” Here’s a screenshot of the project:
Insight Into My Process
When I first began this project I envisioned this project ending up similar to my very first 365 photo, just a little more complex and better planned out. I designed the project at 24″ x 24″ and began using InDesign to set my type in small sections. My hopes were that some aspects were hand rendered, yet still resembled some of the qualities in the original fonts used. As I worked I would print out small sheets at a time and would use a pencil rubbed against the back of the print out to act as a “transfer” as I traced each of the letters to maintain similar qualities to the original font used, just hand rendered. This became a tedious process – setting type on the computer, transferring in pencil and then drawing the letters with ink. Other things I chose to just scribble my own chicken scratch. Every time I’d create new type I’d photomontage the type using Photoshop. After I got far enough along, I printed out parts of the project and added my own writing to the project. After a day or two my hand was ready to fall off! Here’s a screenshot of many of the words I hand rendered along with printouts.
In my project I chose to make some phrases stand out more than others. Like this one:
Having InDesign to help set the type helped me keep some of the more complex thoughts organized like this one:
I found this mindmap a great way to express the many thoughts that run through my mind like these two:
I admit there were times I thought I’d never finish. I can’t thank my family enough for putting up with me the last week as I juggled this mindmap and final grades. I was completely immersed in this project most of the waking moments that I was not at work.
Of course I had fun at times writing comical things, like my death wish on two of my least favorite fonts. I ended up being tortured hand rendering two fonts I despise – I ended up having to render them much larger to pull off getting the characteristics of the typefaces.
I made sure to include some iconic elements, such as logos, with hopes that it might add just enough interest to make viewers look at this project even more closely.
My Mind Map on Canvas
I decided I wanted to print this project large on canvas but at first was skeptical about how all the detail would print on a textured surface. I had used Artistic Photo Canvas once before for a canvas print and was pleased with the quality and service so I contacted them again about my concerns with printing the fine details. After reviewing my file they assured me every single word would print well and so I rushed my order to get it here to turn in for our faculty show. Less than two days after I ordered the canvas it arrived and I have to say I was thrilled with the quality of the canvas print. Here’s the 36″ x 36″ canvas print that I ordered:
Hope Helps Add the Finishing Touches
When I began this project I mentioned to my daughter Hope how I’d love to include one of her drawings of our family because she has been one of the biggest inspirations in my life. Of course she’s now at the age where I try not to force her to do anything – I wanted to be certain that if she wanted to be a small part of my project that it was at her own will. I mentioned it a few more times over the course of the week I worked on this project. She never created a drawing and by the time I finished this project it was late and, to be honest, I was at the stage that I was eager to be done. Just a few hours after I placed my canvas order, Hope came to me, not knowing I had ordered the canvas, and asked if I still wanted her to draw the picture for her. I had to explain to her that it was too late and as bad as I felt not having her work in my project, I made sure she understood that I never want to make her do anything against her will. She walked away and a few minutes later returned and handed me a paper with her drawing. I felt awful knowing how big of a heart she has. As I explained again to her that it was too late my creative thoughtful daughter became quite emotional as she realized the disappointment that had set in. As she was saddened I told her I had a better idea – that once the canvas arrived I’d see if she might be able to draw her picture directly on to the canvas. We practiced beforehand and I did in fact let her draw her picture directly on the canvas.
Her drawing is definitely one of the most special and unique things in this mindmap project.
I also took a moment to sign my project – which I realized I forgot to do before printing.
I know the entire mindmap is tough to far away, so hopefully you all enjoy the close up shots of a few of my favorite parts.