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Make It: A Library, A Memory, and Illustrator Fredy Santiago

When designer Fredy Santiago (who uses the pseudonym Sugar Coated for his personal work) made his first trip to New York just over a year ago, he couldn’t have guessed the role it would play in an upcoming project. But when he became one of three artists commissioned to create a billboard for our Make It campaign—using assets collected, with our mobile apps, by Vault49—that’s exactly what happened.

Although the location of the billboard, and the area where Vault49 captured the assets, was Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Fredy’s concept was based on a memory of Times Square and of wandering around a place he’d never been. “When I started this project I remembered being in Times Square at 2:00 in the morning. No one was around. I loved the neon lights and the way the colors and the gradients hit the ground. It was so dark. And so quiet. And the colors just popped.”

091715_FredyMakeIt_1An idea takes shape
So he started sketching. And he opened Vault49’s Williamsburg Library. And he launched Google Street View and took note of what captured his attention: “There was a woman in a leather jacket; she was solidly in the scene, but there was so much going on around her.” He paired his observations with his memories and Vault49’s textures, and shapes, and colors. And he sketched some more. Finally he’d laid the foundation of his composition.

091715_FredyMakeIt_2Once his concept began to take shape he began thinking about ways to incorporate the assets Vault49 had collected. “They created a really great library; even after they rendered the art there was still a lot of detail. At that moment Fredy realized how much he wanted to incorporate in his art—the buildings, the bricks, the graffiti, the colors, the grit, the words. As he was moving around the illustration trying different textures, a shape of a street sign/traffic light with a unique perspective caught his eye: “That one shape really influenced how I laid out the building in the background.”

091715_FredyMakeIt_3A little bit of everything and a lot of little stories
Since he was designing a billboard, Fredy continued to try to picture how it would look at a distance, at the same time making sure that some details would be revealed only as people got closer.

“I’d hoped that the woman in the foreground would be the first thing people looked at but that they’d work their way around the piece looking at the background and the layers. I love the idea that when someone takes the time to look at something carefully they see things they hadn’t noticed before.”

Textures and colors and shapes. Some that people don’t take the time to look at deliberately. Others that are overlooked completely. Nevertheless, the essence of a place. Captured in art.

On Adobe InspireBehind The Scenes of A Cartoon Billboard, a conversation about creating art from the shared memories of a city. 


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  • By wolf krusemark - 12:12 AM on September 20, 2015  

    Really cool! I’m loving Adobe CC, the possibilities with the program seem endless.