Friday, September 27, 2013

Figurative Fridays: Personal Investment . . . and Robots

Here is one of the original models I found at my hardware store. About 1983.

When I was growing one of my joys was robots. Somewhere I picked up some Japanese robot model kits; strangely, I think it might have been my local hardware store. I was captivated with the beautifully painted illustrations on the boxes. They were painstakingly painted with dirt and rust lines and flaking paint as if they were real well-worn machines. Someone had spent a lot of time and thought painting these non-existent robots. Someone really loved and cared about this imaginary world. Because someone, or a group of people, had spent so much time and energy that they made beautiful illustrations for the humble cover of a four-dollar plastic model box, it made me want to know more about this story.

Look at this guy, wouldn't you want to learn about him?

I later found that these models came from a anime/cartoon. I was living in the american world of Hasbro, where the box illustrations were marginal at best, often not even matching the contents of the box. I think that the difference was that the artists that did the boxes for Hasbro had little personal investment in the image. It was just a pay check, just another toy to be sold. The Japanese robot boxes didn't take the cheap and easy way. They didn't resort to using screenshots of the cartoon or even nice photographs of the models, as the eventual american release of the models did. They were real paintings. The artists that painted the Japanese model artwork were often artists that helped worked on the original series it was created from. They understood the characters, they knew the plots: these scenes lived in their minds. In short, they had a personal investment in the story and, consequently, in the art.

Here's the other original model I found as a boy. I couldn't even read most of the text.and....

This is the eventual American company's release of the same model. Hummm . . . which one makes you want to find out his story?

The lesson I learn from these boxes is this: The artist's love of his subject or his love of painting comes through to his audience. Your viewers will be more likely to engage with your artwork if your own personal investment is evident.
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