Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Wedding Portrait

The customer whose daughter was playing netball in the Maccabiah Games also asked me to make a card for her husband for their 20th wedding anniversary. They happened to be celebrating it on the day of the opening ceremony of the Games. She sent me a photo of the two of them on their wedding day and asked me to recreate it in paper.
I showed the groom in his black suit and bronze bow tie, and the bride in her white dress. I carefully copied the roses and Gypsophila paniculata, or 'Baby's breath', in her hair, and made sure to accentuate his blue eyes and her brown. The observant amongst you will notice that I even changed the colour of his hair from a ginger colour to a darker brown along the way. I like to get it right!
My customer posted the card on Facebook. Comments ranged from "What a GREAT card!!!", "The card is beautiful!" to "Your cards are beautiful. Love them."

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Maccabiah Games

The 20th Maccabiah Games recently took place here in Israel. Often referred to as the "Jewish Olympics", it is the third-largest sporting event in the world, with 10,000 athletes competing. The Games are held every four years, the year following the Olympic Games. The best Jewish athletes from throughout the world, as well Israeli athletes regardless of religion, compete in Open, Masters, Juniors, and Disabled competitions. The athletes compete on behalf of 85 countries, in 45 sports.
The name Maccabiah was chosen after Judah Maccabee, a Jewish leader who defended his country from King AntiochusModi'in, Judah's birthplace and the city where I happen to live, is also the starting location of the torch that is used to light the flames at the opening ceremony, a tradition that started at the 4th Maccabiah.
Several young people who I know played in the Maccabiah Games. One particular young lady, Ma'ayan, was chosen to represent Israel in the Junior netball competition. Her proud Mum asked me to make her a Good Luck card. She was very specific with her request. She wanted me to show her daughter wearing the navy blue dress with a light blue stripe running down the side of it that she was to wear in the competition. I made sure to add the appropriate badges. Her position, Wing Defence, had to appear prominently on the front of her dress. I was also asked to show her holding the "Israel" netball they were going to use in the competition. Finally, I added the Maccabiah 2017 logo and also the branding used for the netball itself.
Apparently the young lady was delighted with her card. Out of interest, I went to see their first game. Israel put up a great fight against Great Britain. Ultimately they lost but they played amazingly.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Dan Reisinger

The award-winning Israeli designer Dan Reisinger has created some of Israel's most well-known graphics, and is renowned for his innovative use of symbols and vibrant visual language. An exhibition at the Israel Museum, In Full Color: 60 Years of Design by Dan Reisinger, opened in June and I was recently lucky enough to see it. The exhibition highlights the wide range of Reisinger's work in both style and size: from business cards and keyrings, to buildings and large-scale supergraphics. It includes the designs he created for private companies, as well as public organizations such as the Tel Aviv Municipality, Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Habimah National Theatre and El Al Israel Airlines. It was a wonderful exhibition and I couldn't tear myself away from it!
Born in 1934 in Kanjiza, Serbia, Reisinger lost several family members in the Holocaust, including his father. He survived the Nazi occupation in a hideout and as a teenager became active in the partisan Pioneer Brigade, immigrating with his mother and stepfather to the new State of Israel in 1949. Reisinger initially lived in a transit camp and then worked as a house painter in order to earn money from almost any source. He later attended Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design as the youngest student accepted to the school at that time.
In 1954, Reisinger served in the Israeli Air Force, where he put his design skills to use art directing military publications. During this time in the Air Force he attended a class on postage-stamp design taught by the British graphic designer Abram Games, who became his mentor and friend. Subsequently, Reisinger travelled, studied, and worked in Europe: from 1957 in Brussels and then onto London where, from 1964–66, he studied stage and three-dimensional design at the Central School of Art and Design. He designed posters for Britain's Royal Mail, and worked for other clients while making intermittent visits to Israel. In 1966 he returned permanently to Israel and established his Dan Reisinger Studio in Tel Aviv. The same year he was commissioned to design the Israeli Pavilion at the Expo '67 in Montreal.

Reisinger soon became one of the most prolific Israeli designer of his generation and won many prizes. He designed a new logo for El Al (1972), and the 50-meter-long aluminium-cast relief of a biblical quotation in Hebrew on the exterior of Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to Holocaust victims in Jerusalem (1978). He designed three Israel Defense Forces (IDF) decorations: the Medal of Valor, the Medal of Courage and the Medal of Distinguished Service. He also created the logos for the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts, Tefen Museum of Arts, and Habima National Theatre, and the symbol and posters of the 9th-15th Maccabiah Games.
Reisinger's widely published self-produced poster, "Again?" (1993), above, features a Nazi swastika (which he incorrectly made to face left) breaking apart to form a five pointed red star of the Soviet Union, in reference to the possible dreaded repeat of the Holocaust. His "Let my people go" poster (1969) was actually a petition to the USSR authorities to let the Jewish people get out of the nation’s borders and immigrate to the Jewish nation. It was used in the demonstrations and served the demonstrators in their struggle.
He had his first solo exhibition at the Israel Museum Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 1976-77, and has since exhibited his works in Israel and around the world in numerous group and one-person exhibitions. In 1998 Reisinger was awarded the Israel Prize - one of the state’s highest honours - the first designer to be the recipient of such an award, exactly 40 years after his first award, the 1958 Brussels Expo first medal for poster design. For his 70th birthday, the Hungarian Government honoured Reisinger with a comprehensive one man show at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest.
There is no doubt that Reisinger's work has had a significant impact on the development of design in Israel, which continues to be felt to the present day. One of his more significant contributions has been to stretch the visual and communicative possibilities of Hebrew letters through his symbols and logos. His unique style is colourful and modern, playful in some posters and making provocative, impactful statements in others.
Reisinger still dedicates himself to painting and design today, and frequently takes part in international events as a jury member and lecturer. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and the New York Art Directors Club, an honorary professor at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, and an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Design, the committee of the International Biennale of Graphic Design Brno, and the Israel Designers Association.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Lily's Bat Mitzvah

Lily wanted me to design a customised invitation for her Bat Mitzvah, just as I had done for her brother Ariel back in 2015. Mum asked for the same format as her son's invitations, with a background box and the lettering, this time saying Lily's Bat Mitzvah at the top and then once again in Hebrew at the bottom. She sent me a list of her daughter's interests which included soccer, art, swimming, the beach, reading and baking. She also suggested that I show Lily wearing a T-shirt and shorts, and was keen for me to highlight her gorgeous curly brown hair too.
I have shown Lily sitting down, with a blue sky and sandy beach in the background. There is a red and yellow beach flag in the sand. In Australia, this shows the supervised area of the beach and that a lifesaving service is operating. If there are no red and yellow flags, you should not go swimming. Lily is wearing a black T-shirt and red shorts. She has a bunch of pencils and a paintbrush to represent her interest in art in her right hand. In front of her is a black and white football, and next to her a small pile of books. I also added a little iced cupcake covered in hundreds and thousands to illustrate her love of baking.
Lily was going to have an an ice skating party as part of her Bat Mitzvah celebrations, so Mum asked me if I could create a little penguin to add to the corner of the text as well. "The penguin is adorable!" she wrote to me. I think he, or she, might have even been more popular than Lily's paper portrait!
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