10 December, 2010

What's the Coolest Gift to Give a 20-Something???

What do you get your nephew,
little sister
or 20-something running buddy?

A photo gift that makes them look epic. I'm Nancy Gershman, a digital artist with training in the fine arts, and I can make you a custom photomontage that your 20+ year old can frame, make into a fleece blanket or a photo sculpture.

Here's what you do. Get your hands on your 20-Something's favorite photo from their last vacation. Have them tell you why they love this photo. And what was happening when the photo was taken. Because the cool thing I'm going to do is create a new story that gets its inspiration from another story that's got around in the family. According to Constance's Aunt Cindy, as a little girl, Constance would sneak out her bedroom window. Her mom would notice and then wait underneath her window when Constance would drop out!

So I started with this head shot of Constance.
 Constance loved this vacation photo of herself: tan, with dark sunglasses and a sassy expression. The minute I saw the photo it struck me that I could tilt her head and add the suggestion of a body to give the impression of Constance "flying" over her favorite beach in Antigua.

The other photographs from the same trip to Antigua were a little muddy, like the photo of the Xotic Cafe shack located down the beach. No problem. I did a search for the very same shack, and found another shot at a terrific angle and in sharp, living color!

Much safer than jumping out the window!

I even have a collection of clouds that I tap into every once in a while to make my photomontages look more dynamic. Can you tell which clouds were added and which were already in the photograph of this Antigua beach?

The tethered balloon with flags was another add-on to give the feeling of a refreshing Antigua breeze on the beach. It also picks up all the colors from that crazy shack.

Anybody can throw up photographs side by side in neat frames. But if you can transform a vacation photo into a cool poster -- that's exciting. Especially to young people who have their futures all ahead of them.

Contact me to create a work of art from vacation photos. Email me in my studio, Art For Your Sake. I don't keep banker's hours so you can also call me anytime at 773-255-4677 to reserve your spot.

23 April, 2010

Photo Collage Portraiture:The Most Meaningful Gift in the World

[Jump ahead to find out why these symbols are in Fran and Rick's custom photo collage: a smiley face ping pong ball, an image of the Attaché Motel, a heart made from seaweed, a red MG, a yellow bird in a wine glass cocktail, and a beach in Jamaica]

    Your searching days are over. In my studio Art For Your Sake, I specialize in legacy portraiture not unlike the classical portraits you find in many of the nation's finest portrait galleries. Although they are fine art photomontages collaged together from memories and stories told to me about the subject, they are ambitious attempts to capture the whole person. What was their purpose in life? What was their greatest achievement: their career, family, or a contribution to mankind? What do they want to be remembered for?

Technique. The techniques I use are similar to those Renaissance portraits where the subject is opulently attired holding an object of  religious significance, or representing earthly success and status. Only in my modern-day legacy portraits, meaningful imagery runs the gamut. The objects around the subject, the landscape they stand in, what they are wearing or holding all have special meaning for the subject. For example, in the custom photomontage shown above, Fran is asked for stories about her fairytale courtship with husband Rick:
  • They met playing ping pong in the Attaché Motel where Rick lived since he was 8 years old [the motel no longer exists so I turned it into clouds in the sky and also put the motel logo on Rick's t-shirt] 
  • When they went to the beach together, they formed a heart out of seaweed
  • Rick loved taking Fran for rides in his red MG [I combined 2 photos to create the illusion]
  • Fran loved her yellow bird cocktails [see the bird in her glass!] 
  • Every year they'd go to Jamaica for vacation
     Now note each of the meaningful objects I put in bold and find them in Fran and Rick's "soulmate dreamscape" (as I call these types of digitally-collaged  portraits). Only instead of chronicling royalty, I am giving significant importance to the infinite details that make up a great love.The end result is a whimsical depiction of an enduring relationship - with slightly surrealistic overtones and a touch of humor.

One-of-a-Kind. The beauty of my fine art photo montages is that each custom digital photo collage is completely custom, made for one person and one person only, using the subject’s own photographs. Seeing photos they "had all this time" turned into pure magic is what makes them reach for the tissue box! Truth be told, the person you're giving the gift to doesn’t even have to be one person; they could be a family or even an organization. Or your custom photo gift could be for a roast, or a retirement party. But one thing is for certain: Dreamscape photo gifts are not only perfect for the person who has everything, but also the person who wants to feel deeply, deeply loved. For this reason, and those to follow, a custom portrait is something that never gets re-gifted - and never adds to the clutter.  

   Now let's take a closer look why creating original artwork from personal photos makes such a winning gift.

Affordable. My custom collage portraits are affordable for one reason and one reason only: it’s a cinch to convince others to go in on a meaningful gift. If all you’ve got in your budget is $40, $50 or $60 to spend, three or four friends or siblings or cousins will be happy to chip in to buy something especially thoughtful for your Special Someone. One look at their portrait, and this person will be thrilled that you did all the legwork to find such a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, roast, anniversary or birthday gift idea. And their friends and family will be even happier that you came up with the idea of starting a collection for this unique custom photo gift so that their contribution towards a quality gift could be so affordable. (Example: Fran and Rick's gift cost only $288 because their children gave it as a group gift.)

Expensive-looking. Fine art always looks expensive. Why? According to WIKIPEDIA, fine art is the opposite of "shallow, superficial and excessively sentimental." In other words, fine art is not kitsch. When you commission a custom photo collage portrait from my studio, I treat each assignment as if I’m making a museum-worthy work of art. Everything I make, I make with the same loving attention I give to the pieces that go into my exhibitions (see my solo show at The Loyola University Museum of Art). What's super special about these digital photo collages is that an artist is telling extraordinary stories about your loved one by turning ordinary personal photographs into extraordinary ones. Very often I add imagery from my own photography collection to enhance the story-telling, again, with meaningfulness.

   Here's how Fran described Rick's reaction to his custom photomontage:
"We had a surprise party for Rick. The kids got up to speak and then he saw it, but you know, he didn’t see it. Only after everybody went home and he sat down and looked at the details, did he start to realize what everything was. He’s not emotional at all, but this -- he was really touched by it. First by the picture of us sitting on his MG (which you created out of two photos). Then The Attaché. It brought back so many good memories!" 
     That's why I always start with a little conversation about the vision of the piece before you email or snail me photos. So call me!
 Contact Nancy Gershman at 773-255-4677.
Or email Nancy at nancy@artforyoursake.com

05 February, 2010

Let Me Photo Collage You and Your Valentine as Little Kids

Blow her mind this Valentine's Day. Or his. Have me make you a custom, fine art photomontage from you and your sweetheart's childhood photos for just $88. I call this amazing made-to-order photo gift a "Soulmate Dreamscape".

STEP 1: This is the big idea. In this artistic photo collage, I will take two completely separate pictures of you and your girlfriend - when you were little - and make you look like you met as kids.

To achieve this illusion, I first need you to think about the two of you as you are now. What are the biggest things you and your wife have in common? If you and your partner have a great sense of humor, we can even have more fun with our concept:

  • What games or sports do you both love to play? Or hate to play?
  • What relaxes you both? Or what scares the heck out of the two of you?
  • What sweet things are you always doing for each other? Or what vices do you indulge in?
STEP 2: Collect pictures of you and your sweetheart as little kids, as relative in age as you can get them. The more the merrier because we have to find pictures of the two of you whose facial expressions match the story we're going to tell in your Soulmate Dreamscape.

STEP 3: If you find lots of photographs but are not sure about the story you want to tell in your creative photo collage, let's brainstorm together. (In fact, let's do this after you've sent me your photos.) Most of my customers say they like having a professional digital artist take a look at the photographs beforehand because we're trained to see how different photographic elements will combine together.)
Mail me your old pictures or have them scanned at an office supply store like Office Depot, OfficeMax or at a FedEx Kinkos. Then send them to me digitally to nancy@artforyoursake.com. Once I receive your photographs, I'll help you come up with the perfect scenario for this unique Valentine's Day photo collage portrait.

STEP 4: I’ll digitally extract your kid bodies from your photos and place you and your darling into a brand new background that either you supply, or I suggest ... and you approve.
STEP 5: If you like the idea of putting your kid faces on entirely new bodies that fit the story, I can do that too. As you can see in the examples of Rasha and Bassel seated before a magnificent pyramid, they wanted to be in wedding outfits and were very specific about what they were looking for. The cost of adding each new body? Just $40/image and at that price, I will happily do all the necessary photo research to dig up a great outfit for you and your sweetheart for not another penny!

STEP 6: If you want to add a little extra magic to your digital photo montage, think about adding a 4th image for just another $40. This could be something dynamic , like something you could be holding, or throwing into the air, or which could be hovering above your heads. Something which has special meaning for your spouse and better half.

Often new customers will write me: "But what if I don't like it?" You should know my reputation is built upon the promise to work on your personalized photo collage until you absolutely love it! And besides: 99% of the time my clients say to me: "How did you know what I wanted before I knew?"

So you see, in just a few easy steps an artist for hire can make you a beautiful, affordable piece of artwork that can be popped right into an 8 x 10 vertical or horizontal frame. The cost of putting three images together? Just $88. And all retouching and restoration (unless your photos are very, very damaged) is included in my price!
Let Art For Your Sake whip up a meaningful photo gift for you this Valentine's Day. Down to the wire? My rush charges are affordable too: an additional 10% of your order. Call Nancy Gershman at 773-255-4677 (CST) or email me at