"Using Middle America as her muse, Kowch draws the history of a particular place -- invariably rural -- to the surface as it collides with a new reality in layers of metaphor and moodiness. The faces of her women may remind you of characters in a Tim Burton film."
--Steve Parks, Newsday

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Update. . .

Wow, has it ever been a busy last few weeks! One more action-packed week ahead of me as I prepare for the College for Creative Studies' big Spring Exhibition (opening this Friday!), and then I'll be looking forward to some much needed relaxation - for a little while (then I'll be back at the easel like a madwoman!) Nonetheless, I'm loving every minute of it :-) Below are a few projects I've recently completed:

This is another bookcover I did. This time for John Steinbeck's To a God Unknown, a favorite of mine. A story rich in symbolism and mood, there was a lot of imagery to work with:

Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the Bible all inform this extraordinary novel, which occupied Steinbeck for more than five difficult years. While fulfilling his dead father's dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father's spirit. His brothers and their families share in Joseph's prosperity, and the farm flourishes—until one brother, frightened by Joseph's pagan belief, kills the tree, allowing disease and famine to descend on the farm. Set in familiar Steinbeck country, To a God Unknown is a mystical tale, exploring one man's attempt to control the forces of nature and, ultimately, to understand the ways of God and the forces of the unconscious within. (Summary taken from Penguin Classics)

I wanted to touch on the novel's main point in a subtle way, but at the same time still allow room for some of the basic plot to come through. Book covers should always, in my opinion, just touch on the basic plotline, and leave the choice up to the viewer as to whether or not they want to find out more by reading the book. The job of the image is to be strong enough to arrest attention, and get someone to take the book off the shelf for a closer look. It makes or breaks it, because despite the saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover," quite the opposite is true when it comes to first impressions.

I find that a lot of the time, less is more, so some of my original ideas for this began as just a landscape with a strong focus on the tree. But, it felt a bit weak, and a little too obvious, so this is the result. With the central character being a man who's life revolves around his land - to the point where he sacrifices everything for it - I wanted to present him in such a way that reveals the unity he shared with his environment. Hence my decision to raise the composition of the high fields, so that he almost appears engulfed by them, ultimately becoming part of the landscape. Composing an image is one of my most favorite steps in the picture-making process. There's always so many ways to push an image in order to capture and send the right message. For me, it's always a matter of how much further I can push it each time.


Leyland "Lee" DeVito said...

I like the way you thought about this illustration!

Kaylen Conley said...

Ah Andrea, how did I miss you at the show?? I was bummed I did not get to see you, but I will say I was an avid soliciter of your work haha. I showed everyone, it was great. I am so proud of what we all have accomplished. We have to get together soon! And figure out ICON too. Beautiful wall girl!

Alexandra A. said...

I just wanted to leave you a note here instead of on e-mail..change it up a little bit. haha
I checked out your other website. I love how the website looks now! :]
Congrats on how you did at your show :)