It was another full week in NYC and at Spike. Last week was all about Comic Con, (I am definitely going one of these days) this week the focus was Bellator MMA. In preparation for a new season, the creative team has been working on comps and set ups for the the upcoming photo shoot.
One of the highlights of the week for me was designing the autograph cards for the media day! It was a great opportunity to work with the existing identity and add my own design touches. I am learning a lot more about lighting, silhouetting complex figures (especially if they have hair) and image treatments. Projects like this are great for me as I learn best through doing and interacting. The Bellator brand has a really different tone from the Comic Con projects; from cosplay to kicking you-know-what. Despite having to stare into the eyes of some of the toughest MMA fighters for hours on my screen, this project is helping me shape my understanding of the aesthetic associated to sports and its audience.
Watching others work in the department is also a great learning experience. If a specific piece for a comp is needed but does not exist, they just make it. In one ad they are working on for MMA, some of the figures do not have legs because of the way the original image was shot. No problem. I have watched them buildout environments that look like they were shot in-camera. It is always great to watch them work and get a behind the scenes look at how ads and posters for networks are created. It gives me ideas on how to use multiple components to build what I need instead of searching through images on stock sites. It is not always easy, but I think it really makes for a better design.
In city exploration news I had a chance to check out more amazing places. Went to my second Yankee Game – even sat through the rain delay. After the second down pour, I decided to check out the museum. Some really great artifacts on display. Fridays are becoming “museum night” for me. Most offer free or pay-what-you-wish admission. This week I decided to check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have been to many museums, but that was the largest and most beautiful one I have ever seen! There are galleries for just about every major historical era and art period. The Egyptian Gallery was definitely my favorite. Saturday I visited the National September 11 Memorial, Wall Street, Trinity Church and the Museum of the City of New York. The Memorial was surprisingly emotional. Despite the large crowds of people all around, things really slowed down as I walked around the space reading the names of all those we lost that day. Seeing the flowers and flags placed by different names reminds me these names are connected to family and friends.
Sunday I was able to get away from the city for a while. Just a tram ride across the East River brings you to Roosevelt Island, a slither of land between Manhattan and Queens. The tram ride is a great way to get pictures of the city. I have always associated it with Spider-Man, so it was cool to see it in person.
The island has a calm vibe on one end – a combination of a college campus and a retirement village. Strange combination, but true. On the other end there is a possibly-haunted, Shutter Island vibe going on. The island once housed a mental hospital, laboratory, smallpox hospital and pretty much any “undesirable” of the NYC population. If you make it past the creepy areas there is a beautiful walkway along the river that leads to a lighthouse on one end and a memorial park in honor of FDR on the other. At 4 miles long, it really helped me rack up the Nike fuel points. Another great off-the-grid spot. Pics below!
Side note. Have you ever waited a long time for something to come together and then it finally happens? For me, it revolves around figuring out what area of design I want to focus on and understanding that niche. Understanding, in part, comes from connecting and networking. I got a connection boost early last week. I tried to play it cool and be reserved but it is so exciting to have people in your field reach out and offer guidance and support! You wait and wait then “Boo-ya!” Jeter knows what I’m talking about. Exciting times!