Illustration, Science

Lastest Illustration: Botanical Infused Pyrrhuloxia

Sorry I haven’t shown any new art recently. It’s difficult to be the artist, designer, marketer, copywriter, salesperson, finance person, public relations person, brand strategist, web designer and social media person all at once. In fact it can be overwhelming and leaves little time to create art! Over the last couple of weeks I have been focusing on a business plan for Organic Lyricism. I will be launching an exciting crowd funding campaign next month. Hopefully it will help me achieve the goal of this brand, which is to fund conservation efforts. In the meanwhile, check out this illustration I created for a friend today. It was inspired by the Pyrrhuloxia songbird.

Songbird Muse: Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)
Relation: Northern Cardinal
Habitat: American Southwest and Northern Mexico

Learn more about this beautiful songbird here: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/pyrrhuloxia/id

“Botanical Infused Pyrrhuloxia” (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

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Visit www.ArleneEllis.com to see more of my illustrations!

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Illustration, Life Lessons, Marketing and Branding, Science, Work In Progress

I’m a generalist, in other words I’m going to starve!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve realized that I need to reevaluate how I’m branding myself and my company, Organic Lyricism.  Although my friends and family are very familiar about my passion for art and science, I have a nagging feeling that my passion is not resonating online.

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

A couple of days ago I reread one of my favorite books on branding, The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier. In the book, Neumeier forces you to answer these THREE LITTLE QUESTIONS:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why does it matter?

Over the upcoming week, I will try my best to answer these questions. In the meanwhile, this is what I am now…

Arlene Ellis Overview, September 2013

Arlene Ellis Overview, September 2013

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I’ve been told that I’m stubborn. I stubbornly disagree, of course. I’d like to think I’m open to alternative approaches, provided I respect your reasoning. Let’s see, what else have I been told?

  1. “You need to focus, focus, focus!”
  2. “You think too much!”
  3. “You over analyze everything.”
  4. “Well, you’re just interested in everything. Aren’t you?”
  5. “Your illustrations are really out there! Are you sure you don’t take psychedelics?”
  6. “You’re too uptight, logical and practical. Relax a little!”
  7. “You’re definitely a Type A!”
  8. “You have a good heart, but you have to censor your ideas.”
  9. “You’re brave for pursuing your art.”
  10. “You’re naïve for pursuing art.”
  11. “You need to be more humble.”
  12. “You need to be more confident!”
  13. “You’re smart, but how can you help me?”
  14. “You need to stop caring what people think!”
  15. “I admire your passion and idealism, but you’re going to stave.”
  16. “Good luck with your dreams. You’ll need it.”
  17. “Why be anti-corporate, you’re not going to change anything.”
  18. “Stop being so practical!”
  19. “Start being more practical!”
  20. “It’s admirable that you care about human and animal rights, but nothing’s going to change.”

How I could be perceived as both too pragmatic and not pragmatic enough, is beyond me! I can’t get too annoyed by all the concerned opinions people throw my way. Most of the people who tell me these things care genuinely about my survival.  I don’t think I’m that unfocused. Nor do I think I’m interested in everything:

Main Interests Over the Years
Ages 6-14:
Fashion and Visual Arts
Ages 15-17: Biology
Age 18: Fashion and Visual Arts
Age 19: Visual Arts and Writing
Age 20: Biology
Age 21-22: Neuroscience and Visual Arts
Age 23: Medicine and Graphical Arts
Age 24: Graphical Arts and Medical Marketing
Ages 25-27: Medical Marketing and Medical Copywriting
Age 28-29: Medical Copywriting, Visual Arts and Fashion
Age 30: Visual Arts, Fashion, Biology

Call me crazy, but this list of interests does not seem to include “everything.” It looks to me like I’ve always been interested in art, fashion and biology. Over the past few years, I’ve been advised to pursue graduate degrees in these professions. “Have you thought about earning an MFA? Why not pursue a degree in fashion or textile design? You should get your Ph.D. in biology.”

A generalist species is able to thrive in a wide variety of environmental conditions and can make use of a variety of different resources… A specialist species can only thrive in a narrow range of environmental conditions or has a limited diet. Most organisms do not all fit neatly into either group, however. -Wikipedia

As of now, I’m not interested in pursuing graduate degrees in the visual arts, fashion or biology. Why? Because I would be miserable. I understand the need for specialists;  however, I also think generalists are vital too. Generalists are the people who can mine useful insights buried across multiple disciplines.  Many writers are generalists. I suppose one could argue that writers have specialized in the craft of writing, but the craft is a merely a means to an end.

It’s not about writing, painting, sewing, drawing, etc. These are modes of communication. It’s about the idea. Ideas are what change the world.

My illustrations are not simply about depicting natural phenomena through a decorative lens. They are about revealing the interconnectedness among all species. They are intended to inspire an appreciation and hopefully a desire to protect our natural world.

My bird Illustrations over the years (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

I’m not sure when I developed a thing for birds, but apparently I’ve been drawing them since 2010! I thought it would be interesting it to see how my illustration skills have evolved over the last three years.

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Life Lessons, Quotes

Friend-ship. A friend is someone who helps you on your journey.

"Seedy-self-portrait V3" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

“Seedy-self-portrait V3” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

Last night I remembered why it’s so vital to have supportive friends.  My friend Bob (name changed for privacy reasons) has a knack for helping me  pinpoint my irrational fears. Last night while we spoke on the phone, I told him that recently I created a project timeline for someone. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to think strategically about helping this person overcome her obstacles, yet I had such a difficult time doing that for myself. “Why?!” I shouted, “I mean I have project management experience for goodness sakes!

Chess Player Syndrome

Bob said that I suffered from “chess player syndrome.” FYI I’m not sure if this phrase exists outside of our conversation. “What’s chess player syndrome?” I asked. He explained that it’s when you’re able to look over a chess player’s shoulder and visualize the moves he needs to make to win the game; you can see things objectively. But when you’re playing the game, you become so mired in your anxiety that you’re unable to see the big picture. Boom! Diagnoses. Bob recommended that I create a similar timeline for myself.

"Seedy-self-portrait Vs" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013; Original photo by Boris Poletaev )

“Seedy-self-portrait Vs” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013; Original photo by Boris Poletaev)

Wearing a Coat of Fear

Bob then began questioning me about the specific thoughts that mired by objective lens. I explained it was the usual, a fear of failure. Then he asked me to visualize myself without this fear. I couldn’t.  So he said, “Imagine your fear is like a snug coat. You’re comforted feeling its texture press up against your skin. It’s so close to your body that it silences the sound of your heart beating and the murmuring in your guts. Now imagine yourself taking that coat off tomorrow. What would you do differently?” My stomach immediately knotted up. (In fact my stomach is knotting up right now while writing about this.) I knew he was right and the simplicity of it all made me sick.

Friend-Ship

As my conversation with Bob winded down, he suddenly had an epiphany,”I finally get it!”

“Get what?”

“Friend-ship. A friend is someone who helps you on your journey.”

Yes and I’m grateful for the company 🙂

Old Greenwich Beach (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

Old Greenwich Beach (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

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Commissions, Sustainable Design, Textile Design

I designed lungs for Hank and Cupcakes!

"See Through" Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis for Hank and Cupcakes

“See Through” Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis. Commissioned by the band Hank and Cupcakes for a t-shirt design. (For women.)

I recently completed a collaboration the adrenaline-inducing band called Hank and Cupcakes. You really need to check out their live shows. They’re amazing! The band really liked my lung illustration “I breathe patterns”, which featured a cross-species tapestry of organic patterns encased in the shape of lungs. They asked if I could design a set of lungs for one of their t-shirts. In keeping with my artistic theme of showing an interrelationship among all species, I illustrated lungs composed of seahorses, beetles, octopus tentacles, and polyps. We named the design “See Through,” which is one of the songs off their new ‘Naked’ Album.

T-shirt manufacturer: Alternative Apparel (check out their commitment to social responsibility)

If you’re interested in commissioning an illustration, contact me at Organic.Lyricism@gmail.com!

"See Through" Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis for Hank and Cupcakes

“See Through” Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis. Commissioned by the band Hank and Cupcakes for a t-shirt design. (For men.)

"See Through" Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis for Hank and Cupcakes

“See Through” Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis. Commissioned by the band Hank and Cupcakes for a t-shirt design.

"See Through" Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis for Hank and Cupcakes

“See Through” Lung illustration by Arlene Ellis. Commissioned by the band Hank and Cupcakes for a t-shirt design.

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Textile Design, Uncategorized

Fashion Illustration Diary, “Waiting for the right occasion”

"Awaiting the right occasion" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

I’m teaching myself fashion illustration. I still have a long way to go, but I love drawing the textiles!

Conceptual Coat Textile (Designed and Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

The illustration superimposed on the coat is actually for a different project, but I decided to have some fun with it. Look at it as a coat textile!

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