Monday, June 27, 2016

A Note From The Artist

The finish line for T.I.v12 featured the banner made from my original artwork.
Today I am going to share the story behind the original artwork for the header for the Trans Iowa site that represented Trans Iowa v12. The reason I am doing this now is because I was asked via a text message yesterday what I had intended with this version of the Trans Iowa header. Well, here is the answer, and it might be more than was asked for, but this is the story. Here goes....

My daughter, Izabel, is into anime and the Japanese art that goes along with that. There are a fair amount of dragons associated with this genre' and so she likes dragons quite a bit. When she found out that I used to draw dragons back in my high school days, she begged and pleaded with me to draw her one. I resisted until one day I decided that I could maybe do a dragon for the 12th Trans Iowa.

The  connection to Trans Iowa came along because ever since the race has existed, I have heard stories about how riders had to "wrestle their demons", or sometimes one or two folks would put it as "slaying your dragon". A sort of medieval reference to knights and their quests, I suppose. Well, at any rate, that all is kind of a mystical, spiritual sort of imagery, and that also fit in with my personal take on Trans Iowa, or any endurance event I do. In the end, drawing a dragon not only satisfied my daughter, who absolutely loved it, by the way, but it fit perfectly in with what I think several folks think of when they come to do Trans Iowa. That is, they come to "overcome" and what better way to represent that than with the idea of a dragon to slay?

Mike Johnson, (L) shares a laugh with MG. The dragon was made into a hat for the T.I.v12 volunteers.
Artwork for Trans Iowa used to be done by Jeff Kerkove. He had that task up through T.I.v9. When it came time for Trans Iowa v10, which I was pretty damn sure was going to be the very last Trans Iowa, I decided to draw my own artwork on the computer as a "swan song" of sorts to the event. Because of the importance of this to me, I decided to render up a couple of different designs, and actually, I ended up with three. I ran one, the original T.I.v10 header, until I was satisfied with what ended up becoming the T.I.v10 logo and that year's t-shirt design. When T.I.v10 was done, and I was convinced of running another, I just popped up the already finished artwork I had done as an alternative T.I.v10 logo with a modification to make it read "V11". Meanwhile, a t-shirt idea for the volunteers, (see Mike Johnson's shirt in the image), got me to do another design. Okay, so by now my old artistic ambitions have been rejuvenated, and I decided to take on the T.I.v12 artwork task. So, that is where I was coming from in regard to taking up the gauntlet and meeting the challenge of the artwork needs for T.I.v12.

That design was placed on a light blue background to represent a water color sort of backdrop, something often seen in Eastern art. Then I used a Chinese themed font for the lettering, and there ya go. T.I.v12's art work. Meanwhile, a benefactor to Trans Iowa was asking if I wanted a banner made using the original artwork, and hats using it for the volunteers. I agreed to allow this, and then the artwork was digitized, which is what you see on the banner up above. I, of course, was thrilled to have such a contribution to Trans Iowa, and I still am. The benefactor has asked to remain anonymous, or I'd be writing the name all over this post. Thanks again, and you know who you are!

It's kinda hard not to get a little verklempt as an artist when you see your work getting this sort of attention.
So, we had this banner at Checkpoint #1, to more or less identify us and make us more visible to the riders, then we carted it around to the other checkpoint, where honestly, I have no idea if we displayed it there or not. Anyway, it was at the finish line. Someone asked me if we should display it, and I tossed out the idea of attaching it to two of our wooden stakes right at the "finish line", such as it was. Trust me, I had not given this any thought whatsoever previous to opening my mouth and giving the command. Sometimes things don't go well when you don't pre-plan them out. Most of the time, I'd say. Trans Iowa is pretty well orchestrated by this point in its evolution by anyone's measure. But again, there are things I leave to a moment's notice, which may surprise some of you. In fact, sometimes I plan and plan only to have to think on my feet. (Like the meeting notes I "lost" for the Pre-Race Meat-Up that I had all along!) I think a balance of both is ideal. Anyhow.... All that to say that the banner deal at the finish couldn't have worked out more perfectly.

So, why was the dragon drawn like it was? Well, that is a "style" I have employed in drawings for years where I want to convey some sort of spiritual element. Thus the "fire"/"smoke" sort of look to the thing. Everyone's "dragon" is going to look different to them, and I wanted a somewhat ethereal appearance to the dragon to allow for personal interpretation. Hopefully that happened to some degree, but I don't know.

So, there you have it. The story behind the logo/artwork for Trans Iowa v12.

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