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Make It: From Stone and Steel and Birgit Palma… The Feathers of a Bird

From gritty streets, graffitied bricks, a lone fire hydrant, steel doors, and shop signs, a phoenix rises above the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn, the subject of a local billboard.

092315_BirgitMakeIt_1 The symbol of creative spirit, composed by illustrator Birgit Palma, is a graceful coupling of her collage style and the captured memories of Vault 49’s trek through the Brooklyn-borough neighborhood for our Make It campaign.

Birgit had been to Bushwick before. And had remembered it as a vibrant, creatively-thriving neighborhood filled with vision and passion and curiosity. But for this journey, it was Vault49’s Luke Choice and Kervin Brisseaux who provided the view into the soul of the city.

092315_BirgitMakeIt_3And the perspective was different. And the assets she got from them pushed her creatively and allowed her imagination to fill in the gaps between what she remembered, what she could research, and what they’d gathered for her: “If I’d visited Bushwick myself, already with the brief in my mind, I probably would have taken different pictures. And the piece would have come out differently. The assets I got from Vault49 allowed something new to happen.”

092315_BirgitMakeIt_2A special graphic solution
Among them were a photograph and the vector art of a graffitied wall she knew she had to find a way to use. “I often work with type/letterings in my pieces and I love when type and design get mixed up. And Bushwick is known for its street art; it’s a prominent part of the landscape and I wanted it to be equally prominent in the artwork.”

She coupled the pictures and textures and brushes and colors “from the eyes (the library) of Vault49,” did some research to gather some hard facts (what she refers to as “the brain” behind her piece) and it wasn’t long before she had a clear picture of what she wanted to achieve: “The library contains so many styles that it demanded a special graphic solution that would allow me to use all the different elements.”

After rough sketching the outline of her composition Birgit began the process of generating the shapes that would fit inside it, and deciding on the textures that would fill the shapes, spurred by the knowledge that the human eye connects elements and uses the imagination to fill visual gaps. “All the geometric shapes together make up the bird; each piece refers to some visual line that is necessary in order to see the animal.”

092315_BirgitMakeIt_4The variety of assets provided by Vault49 not only supported Birgit’s collage style, but her artistic sensibility—that the possibility and potential of art can often be found in unusual visual pairings (“Salvador Dalí was a master at creating artworks from bits and pieces and shapes”).

Her work solidifies the intent of the Make It campaign: To show that the bits and pieces of ideas and memories can together convey the spirit and substance of a subject while also giving those parts new meaning and new life by combining them in ways that are unique and unexpected.

On Adobe Inspire, A Hydrant Flows in Bushwick, how Birgit Palma was inspired by a symbol of the stream of creativity.

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