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Hey everyone. It's been a long year at grad school, but a good one. I have a lot of new work. Some semblance of a new style, or more personal sensibility might just be asserting itself. And you can see it all on my freshly remade website! www.mlauritano.com. Check it out! Raise your hand if you actually even care about me updating here (...!...?). Cheers, all.

-M
  • Mood: Confused
  • Listening to: an AC unit
  • Reading: The New Yorker
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Eating: yogurt and granola
As of writing this, I'm only $65 away from my stretch goal of $5,000! If you appreciated the project at all, now is the time to throw $5 my way and get a cute letterpress notecard. Or more, if you're that into it!

www.kickstarter.com/projects/5…

Hopefully, I won't be posting as much dry, black and white work for a while. In fact, I have a couple lush poster designs, I'll put up soon. Thanks for watching, everyone.

-M
Hi strangers and friends of the internet,

It's been over a year since I've taken the time to write one of these things, but A LOT has happened. I went through a pretty lousy breakup, left the lovely city of Chicago and my amazing job there, and moved back to the east coast. I applied to graduate school at the School of Visual Arts, for their awesome Illustration as Visual Essay MFA program and got in (!). I started to learn about graphic design taking continuing ed. classes at Massart. And I'm moving to Queens in a month.

My current creative project is The Domestic Menagerie. It is a collection of illustrated works on paper that combines animals and vintage household ephemera. You can receive these drawings in the form of letterpress notecards, screen-printed posters, or commission an actual drawing yourself! CHECK IT OUT!!!


I'm going to try and do a better job of keeping this profile up-to-date and show as many beautiful things made at SVA as I can. It's just been a weird year for me. Thanks for caring that I still exist, if you actually do, you mysterious, arty, online spirits.

-M
  • Listening to: Carter Burwell
  • Reading: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Playing: Settlers of Catan
  • Drinking: OJ
Hey All,

So, I've just posted up some of the efforts from my first published kid's book work, Snowmobile. If you enjoy riding snowmobiles or know a young feller who does that also happens to be learning to read, you might want to buy this book on Amazon. The experience of making the illustrations was far from perfect, but I'm happy to have my foot (or at least one crushed toe) in the door of the publishing world.

Yes, it's been a bajillion years since my last post. This is primarily because I got an awesome day job in Chicago. I'm now Jay Ryan's official, solo printer and assistant at a shop called The Bird Machine. Jay is kind of famous in gig poster making circles, so this job continues to be a great opportunity to meet awesome artists and musicians. If you don't know of him, go to www.thebirdmachine.com/ to check out his weird sense of humor, cute animals, and his consistently clear stylistic voice and handmade design aesthetic. We/I print posters with many layers and often in relatively large editions, so it's been a little exhausting and it's definitely cut into my efforts to produce more personal work... that plus getting in the habit of streaming way too much Star Trek and other such geekery on the internet.

But I'm recommitting myself to it all, working on getting a blog started (it's gonna be goooood, I think), dabbling with an L.A. based buddy on a collaborative project, and even thinking about an etsy store for screen prints and any other quirky objects that my imagination spits out. Sleep is for the weak, right?

To start with, I made a Facebook page a little while ago. As lazy as it might sound, it really is easier to connect to people from there and it feels less laborious trying to be all social and promote-y than here. So if you like my work and sensibilities, please 'like' my page on Facebook, and get a slightly closer peek into my little world. Thanks. Every little 'like' counts!

www.facebook.com/pages/M-Lauri…

If this is offensive to you, my only advice is to go fight Mark Zuckerberg to the death, then travel the world from one residence to the next, stealing computers of any kind, locking them in impenetrable safes that you eventually drop into the Mariana Trench, into which you would drop an atomic bomb once your task was complete, finally steering the whole planet into a black hole. Cheers, supervillans!

-M
  • Listening to: Kishi Bashi
  • Reading: Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Eating: baby carrots and hummus
  • Drinking: New Holland Brewing Co. Dragon's Milk
Hey All,

Currently hard at work revising illustrations for the 'Snowmobile!' kids book I was hired for. Discerning eyes, these editors and Bombardier Museum folk have... That's all I'll say about that!

On a brighter note, for those with the mildest of yearnings to see more M. Lauritano traditional work, I've got just the thing! Over Christmas I frantically wrangled up some of the paintings I gave as gifts to my immediate family and scanned them for archival purposes and to share here. Same materials as usual with somewhat looser handling. There are more of these gifted paintings out there than I can remember... The Devil's Punchbowl, The Narrows of Zion Nat'l Park, a mother-daughter gardening scene, My Neighbor Totoro fan art, a set of Fjords in two different seasons, a sheepish cloudscape, and lots of little hints of Italy.. to name a few! The fact that I'm usually in too much of a rush to scan half of them is just sad. Anyhow, enjoy them (if you can/want to)!

Thanks for stopping by!

-M
  • Listening to: EFII Podcast
  • Reading: The New Yorker Magazine
  • Eating: Blueberry Bagel w/Cream Cheese
  • Drinking: Cranberry Juice
Hey all.

As you can tell by the title, things are little rough here in Chicago, even though I'm busier than ever. Working at good ol' FugScreens Studios in Wicker Park has been fun and I've had the opportunity to do a good amount of poster work. Unfortunately, it hasn't paid well enough to really support me when I need it. Don't get me wrong, I've learned to love screen-printing and the possibilities it presents and it's been awesome to have a fresh artistic career venue, more editorial and contemporary, in which I can experiment with new styles and completely unanticipated kinds of content. But it's plain to see, looking through my gallery, that I'm a far better picture book story-teller than I am a designer.

Can I be equally good at both? That remains to be seen, but I'm sure as heck going to try. I'm doing my best these days to expose myself to more poster work, and the old 50's and 60's commercial illustration (with the more basic priniting capabilities that were mainstream) that seem to have a certain presence in a lot of new work.

All that said, I'm going to try and redirect my primary focus to my children's book stuff, which most of you probably watch me for anyways. You've probably been like, 'what happened? This isn't what I signed up for!' Well keep an eye out for more stuff in the vein of my DDs and feel free to complain if they don't come! The good news on this front is that I'm currently working on my FIRST OFFICIAL PUBLISHED CHILDREN'S BOOK! If you read my last journal, you might remember me mentioning sending line art samples to Charlesbridge. Well, I dangled the worm and they bit! It's a set of black and white chapter book images (and cover) about the inventor of the snowmobile. Who knows when I'll actually be able to post anything seeing as the book is to be released in 2012, but still, excitingly real and rainbow-free!

Thanks for any support you've given by way of comments, faves, and watches, and keep sending the good vibes--my survival depends on it.
  • Listening to: My noisy radiator
  • Reading: The New Yorker Magazine
  • Watching: Battlestar Galactica
  • Drinking: Coffee
So we meet again, my good watchers/anyone who spends time reading this!

Chicago has been good and now that the weather is warming up, things are improving. Life after making the infamous 'Jimmy and the Rainbow' has been somewhat cloudy. I went to SCBWI's winter conference in NY and got lots of positive feedback, and lots of incredulous, aghast expressions whenever I informed someone I hadn't officially been published yet. I was hoping to win a portfolio prize, but I returned home empty-handed (with the exception of a pile of books about writing for kids and teens that I won in a raffle). Thanks to a RISD friend, I got into the offices of Farrar, Strass, and Giroux and Macmillan where I got more encouragement and contact info(!). But since then I've been a bit lost, continuing work on some projects that just seem to never end.

My internship at FugScreens Studios, a screen-printing shop in Wicker Park (feel free to look it up. You can even buy a print that I've designed), continues. I've been making a stupid amount of work for free, but I think it might finally be starting to work in my favor. I got paid for a poster I made for a show at the Subterranean (in the heart of Wicker Park!) and I'm going to be the official poster designer for the Mudqueens (a chicago-based girls mud wrestling and rock 'n roll organization for charity) for 2010(!?). I hesitate to post any of these new projects as they feel so separate from my typical illustration work, but maybe with enough enticing, I will. If anything, I hope that a little bit of the hipness of Chicago's indie poster scene will rub off on me and make me a bit more marketable.

A week and a half ago Charlesbridge publishing company contacted me vaguely looking for some samples of line art. I've posted the results of a days work and I'm oddly satisfied with them. Should I do more stuff like this? Anyhow, wish me luck--I might get a book out of this!
  • Listening to: Kalinnikov's Symphony No. 1 in G Minor
  • Reading: The New Kings of Non-Fiction
  • Eating: meatball sandwich, pineapple-plum upside down cake
  • Drinking: water
To all those mysterious watchers who are interested enough to read this: hello once again! Since my last entry I again find myself in a new place: Chicago! My girlfriend is going to SAIC for her master's in sculpture, so I'm here too, pretending to be a freelance illustrator. Upon our departure from California, I was hired to illustrate someone's manuscript that they are self-publishing. The book is called "Jimmy and the Rainbow," and yes, it is about a little boy and rainbows. But, hey, the job pays well and let's just say I'm trying to make the best of it, despite the fact that I would never find myself writing this story. So, in the weeks to come, I'll be posting some pages and spreads that are either somewhat dull and boring OR super-saturated rainbow joy. You've been warned.
  • Listening to: The Brothers Bloom soundtrack
  • Reading: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
  • Eating: Oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, and golden raisins
Greetings to whomever takes time to read this! So I've been living in California for the past month or so, spending the summer with my girlfriend's parents in San Marcos (RENT-FREE!). Seeing as it seemed near impossible to get a part-time job in this town and this economy, I decided to dedicate all of this glorious free time to making as much illustration as possible. After finishing 'La Macchina Perduta,' I put myself to the task of working on some comics for a friend in L.A. (all based on a comic, Plan B, we made together five years ago). But, now, once again I'M FREE to make whatever it is I please! So hopefully a can get a nice group of new pieces finished in the next few weeks!

So, using the power of Deviant Art (and a calculator), I did a little analysis on my piece, La Macchina Perduta. I found the percentage of overall favorites each received in the attempt to gain some new kind of understanding about how the public might view my work. So (these numbers are not up to date, but I'm sure that the percentages won't change too much) in order of lowest to highest:

Part 1: 6%
Part 6: 9%
Part 4: 10%
Part 3: 12%
Part 5: 16%
Part 7: 17%
Part 2: 29%

I was interested to find that those pieces with highest color saturation and those in which lighter values accounted for more of the composition were much more popular. I suppose that this serves once again as an example of how differently I view such pictures than the rest of the world. I found, after a gradual process of self-discovery in Rome, that the general aesthetic of a piece is less important to me than the communication of the intended narrative. Therefore colors are used primarily in service to the story.

Yellow leaves and green grass are wonderful. I love them as much as the next guy. But for me, purply gray highways, hungry distant blacknesses near gas stations, and dull swaths of pinkish land have their own special, telling beauty.

This is why my pieces are often filled with my beloved unsaturated, un-nameable grays and sometimes weighted down with deep-colored darkness. I want to create a world of quiet mystery and surprise within the mundane, full of moments that feel old and half-remembered as opposed to shiny and new. I suppose it is possible that viewers might get lost in the attempted subtlety of a world of images lacking in communicative, clear, bright colors. But why not let them be just a little bit lost, so that they can understand at a slightly slower pace than the usual instantaneous kind, and form new, more complex feelings about an image?

I just hope that I'm not setting out on a road to nowhere...
  • Listening to: Offenbach's Barcarolle
  • Reading: Calvino's: Italian Folktales
  • Drinking: filtered water
Hello to anyone who might happen to read this! It's been an exciting few months here since I've joined Deviant Art! I was lucky enough to receive a Daily Deviation (picked by StigmaTatoo, THANKS!) for my piece, The Vegetable Butcher, and since then compliments have been coming in droves! I'm doing my best to thank everyone who made that such an exciting day, but it's taking a while and if I've missed you or thanked you for a favorite rather than a watch or vice-versa or neither, please forgive me! I think I might have even accidentally thanked someone who hadn't even looked at my page once (oops). To those of you who have provided me with insightful critique and suggestions of how to improve, you are awarded my highest praise and gratitude!

   Anyhow, I've just posted my newest illustration (something I've been working on longer than I've been on Deviant Art, I think). I'm worried as to whether it will make sense to anyone (despite the number of times that my girlfriend has assured me it will). So if any of you talented people out there have neat ideas that you're willing to tell me about how 'A Day in The Life of a Boy' could be better, don't hesitate to let me know (just in case I ever happen to do anything like this again... we'll see).

   Also, I wonder... does anyone have any good working habits/practices that keep them making art while living under the shadow of a boring day job? Because I want to finish my next illustration in less time than I did my last.
  • Listening to: Philip Glass: The Hours
  • Reading: Calvino's: The Baron in The Trees
  • Drinking: Celestial Seasonings Mountain Thunder Tea