Images & Text by Leon Yan
Process for VSCO Artist Initiative Project No. 1
My project for the VSCO Artist Initiative is based around the concept of producing a series of large-format posters inspired by music. The methods involved in the image making aspect are varied and not limited to any one specific technique. Certainly collage, both by hand and in Photoshop, is one of my favorite techniques but because of the experimental nature of the project, I want to stay open to the idea of incorporating hand drawings, digital illustration, painting and using other kinds of materials.
Some of the source materials I’ve used so far include photographs from vintage magazines I’ve found in Shanghai, old architecture and travel books, issues of National Geographic from the 70s and 80s, and some of my DSLR photography. I usually collage a lot of it by hand. Later I scan and assemble them in Photoshop where I can scale things down and arrange things more precisely. The project isn’t just about experimentation with imagemaking though. The posters and the elaborate scenes that I am making are inspired by music that I listen to.
In a way they are semiotic exercises in which I try to illustrate, with whatever technique available to me, musical moods and sounds. For this particular series, the posters are inspired by a lot of Japanese psychedelic space rock, post-rock, ambient, drone, noise and avant-garde music from the 60s. Since my background is in both filmmaking and graphic design, I have always wanted to find a way to reconcile the two and make a project that pushed my interests in both mediums. In particular I’m interested in narrative storytelling and investigating ways to tell a story in a single frame.
I also experiment with VSCO filters and presets in Lightroom to process the elements in the final designs, so that they feel faded, nostalgic, and even more otherworldly. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve encountered so far with this project is time. It’s been admittedly difficult for me to focus and finish a design while juggling full-time agency work over the past year. Working in advertising in Asia can already be challenging in and of itself, but I hope to finish up these designs within the year.
This article was originally published on my VSCO Journal. To view the full post, please visit VSCO.co/leon/journal