Too often do we take graphic artists for granted, these tamers of imagination, never realizing how difficult it is to draw obscure dreams or curiosities from an alien mind. Whether it’s a tattoo artist prepping a permanent artwork for a client, or a painter trying to convey the ‘true nature of cuteness’ for a commissioned oil painting of someone’s beloved pet, being hired to take responsibility for someone’s creative idea is exhausting.
This is the reality of graphic designer, illustrator, and well-rounded tamer of mischief, Rebecca Hendin, an American who currently calls London, England her home. Her artistic pedigree is varied: transferred from California College of Arts in San Francisco to Central Saint Martins, receiving her BA with First Class Honors, now diving into her MA in Communication Design. It all reads impressive on paper, absolutely, but the proof is in the glossy pages of the artist’s portfolio that will make or break a client’s desire to hire.
“Each project is specific to its circumstance, as the projects often stem from client-produced briefs. If I’m doing paid illustration or graphic design work, I work from a brief. If I’m doing a private commission, painting or otherwise, I sometimes am working to a specific person’s vision, if they know what they want. All clients are different, as far as how strict their briefs are. Of course, if I’m doing my own personal work, there is no brief, other than what I’ve imposed upon myself. Then I try to make something that I would personally find interesting or funny or strange (or all of these).”
Rebecca isn’t one that’s all talk and no walk, no. There clearly is a reason why this 24 year-old woman is a successful professional in her trade in jolly old England–she has flair worth begging for.
“Over the course of studying and working in illustration, I have come to see illustration (and communication design as whole), primarily as a social tool– public art in its truest form. One needs only to open a newspaper, book, magazine, turn on the television or computer, glance at a sign, and there it is. In our modern visual culture, the images that surround us also shape us, for better and for worse. Thus, the illustrator is in a potentially powerful position.”
Inspired by the array of galleries, museums, artists and the intense culture of a bustling modern London, Rebecca doesn’t limit herself to being stimulated by the everyday life we often take for granted. Seems nothing is off limits, everything is fair game. How often do you come across such a diversified portfolio, that makes dead poets and arrogant politicians elicit a purring of hunger in your heart to have that print? Her work is challenging, cautiously exploring limitations and is infused with insanity and a spirit of true artistic freedom.
“Ideally, I want to create work that makes people think, and I believe that subversion and food for thought are best and most effectively served with a slight jab to the viewer’s side alongside a cheeky grin. Thus, humour plays an important role in most of my work. So it does, too, for a principle I hold strongly is that life should never be taken too seriously. As such, I think the same of art.”
Imagine a dare, shall we? Find a person who has a desire to have something from their imagination made into a work of art, but has no ability in the artist sense to make it happen. In essence; find someone who can’t draw more than a stick-man and wants a portrait which depicts them as their World of Warcraft avatar in their everyday real life. Imagine the process to make their epic fantasy into a reality, then repeat the process over and over for months on end with many clients lining up. And let’s do this while completing an MA at a prestigious university in London. Rebecca makes it look so simple.