Lil’ Herman Melville

Here’s a series of images I created for a proposed window display at 826 Valencia, the renowned children’s writing center and pirate store in San Francisco:

I started this project because I wanted to try my hand at designing a window – I presumed it was about the same as designing a set, which I wanted to learn about because of my interest in theater. Justin, the store manager, told me it would be best if my proposal was period-appropriate to the pirate theme of the store. I started working with the concept of an overstuffed Victorian drawing room (I don’t remember where I got the idea that Victorian drawing rooms would have tons and tons of pictures on the wall) full of portraits of fish and scientists – I equate this era with the classic age of natural history.

I experimented with the idea of pasting labels on every possible item in the display, after glancing at a diagram in a dictionary and seeing how it looked like a pincushion:

Fish_anatomy_(berycid).png‎ (520 × 364 pixels, file size: 72 KB, MIME type: image/png)

(You can see that in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd iterations of the picture)

Although the Victorian Overstuffed Parlor theme was vaguely “period,” I wanted to tie my project in more with the theme of the center. The evening before I was going to the shop to present my final proposal, I sat down to sketch, and right away, I had the idea of putting Herman Melville into the design – Herman Melville as a child, scribbling away, obsessed with sea life like another child might be obsessed with cars or sports heroes. As an homage, I also sketched his adult face into one of the picture frames in the last version.

This piece was never executed, but I was so pleased with the innovations I made during the process that I thought I’d post it as a model for doing one kind of a creative project.


About aquaticbiology

I'm a person from the San Francisco Bay Area. I like reading, the movies, my family, and biology. I think the science blogosphere is really fantastic and this is my blog about aquatic biology and the life sciences - along with digressions into science-art and commentary. Enjoy!
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