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Alpine, WY, 83128
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Journal

News from Dowd House Studios: places to find our pottery, exhibitions, classes & workshops, new forms and exciting projects.

Filtering by Category: Illustration

Chalky Characters & Helpful Objects

Jenny Dowd

Last week I tackled my largest canvas yet… the Town Enclosure Pavilion on the lawn of the Center for the Arts in Jackson. This temporary structure was installed last year by Carney Logan Burke Architects with the intention to be a space for performances, gatherings, and also to offer creative space for visual artists.

Jackson Hole Public Art asked me to consider drawing on the panels using chalk. The pavilion can be walked around and through, with the panels changing with movement almost like an optical illusion, so this became an inspiration. I made a rough plan and then just decided to go for it.

Before starting the drawings I could not comprehend the size of the panels. Once a ladder was in place and I could only reach as far as my arms would stretch - I just had to go for it and make the shape fit the space. Suddenly I found it easy to run out of room and wishing the panels were larger!

It was an equally freeing and terrifying feeling to freehand draw these characters and objects. I used both hands to draw and went up and down the ladder and walked back and forth to the street to get a better view.

Some characters feature furniture acting out human scenarios (Bad lamp) and others are embracing their helpful nature - Super chair! (This chair swoops in just when you really need to sit down but there are no chairs nearby.) And the lamp saying “I really like you” to the other lamp. So careful and hesitant, ready to go out on that limb, just not quite ready for the other L-word.

Other helpful and awkward objects include the giant watering can and umbrella. The placement of the panels inspired the watering can and flowers, while walking past the water drops line up so the flowers are getting a good drink.

I’m inspired by the awkward feeling of ladders and nets, as if they are stretching and helping to reach that far-away object.

This was such a fun project! The chalk drawings will remain for a week or so - depends on rain. So if you are in the area be sure to walk by.

Jackson Hole History

Jenny Dowd

Recently the Jackson Hole Historical Museum asked me to create an illustration that would embellish the text accompanying their new exhibition: the History Co-op Corner. This exhibition asks the community as well as visitors to share their Jackson Hole History.

The final illustration is 11 feet long, definitely quite a bit larger than I’m used to working!

This was a challenge to wrap my mind around. A small and very, very rough draft helped me visualize the scale and subject. The drawings needed to add to the text, yet not distract.

I started by thinking in terms of seasons and easily recognizable land formations - from left to right: Winter / Saddle Butte, Spring / Tetons, Summer / Sleeping Indian Mountain, Fall / Snow King.

Since history is past, present, and future I knew it would be important to mix together the contemporary and historical nature of Jackson Hole. After making a list of landmarks, activities, and a few interesting historical objects I translated each into a small cut-out drawing. This gave me something to move around under the text so I could play with relationship and readability.

The scale was a challenge, but since the final image would be scanned, printed onto vinyl and then applied to the wall - I did not need to make the drawing 11 feet long. Instead I made the drawing in 4 sections, at half the size of the final product. The text was printed out and pieced together - so I would roughly know how much space was available around it for the drawings.

After moving around my little cut out drawings I was able to edit and figure out which images made the cut. This was tough - there are so many recognizable images that can be used to illustrate Jackson, plus many activities that people travel to this area for. In the end I had to choose images that would read well from a distance and that could be drawn in silhouette.

I really love this photograph of Jackson’s original school bus, it was one of the first images that I knew needed to be included. It may not be easily recognized as a school bus, however it doesn’t take much research at the Historical Museum to find out what it is!

A few challenges included keeping the line of images from becoming static - I wanted some of the images to break into the space around the letters. Also, there were plenty of items that I had to look up for reference, such as the bus used in Yellowstone National Park.

This is the final drawing with lettering laid over top. And the final version in the museum…

This exhibition invites interaction by asking the community and visitors to participate through answering the question “What is your Jackson Hole History?”

Local Elementary students were asked to draw and write about their Jackson histories and High School students researched and shared an oral history of their families. Postcards are also available for visitors and locals to include their histories in this evolving exhibition.

There is much to explore in this exhibition and it is best experienced in person. I’m honored to have my artwork be part of this display! If you are in the area be sure to stop by and participate.

Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum

225 N Cache, Jackson, WY

Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm