Saturday, 5 September 2009

International Commissions & Ecuador 2: The Return of Ayres to the Amazon

I will hopefully be using this blog to document my journey through 3 years of an Illustration degree, plus all the ups and downs of student life too. In addition, I wish to document my recent trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon, including excerpts from my journal, sketches , photographs and stories from the field. No doubt to my mothers horror, some of the close scrapes I got into. But don't tell her, she probably wouldn't let me go back next year. Which leads me to some news:

I am hoping to ret
urn to Ecuador next year to visit a dear friend: Maximiliano 'Arquimedes' Machoa Tanguila. He has offered me a place to stay, so i hope I can get a better idea of the cultural side of the country as well as the natural side of it. He has a city property and a jungle property, so I hope I will be able to visit both and get a feel for both ways of living. I also wish to learn more Kichwa (his native language) and Spanish (the country's language). So in the summer break between terms in Falmouth, I will be returning to Ecuador (if all goes well with savings) to experience more of the cultural side of the country. I will be situated in Coca, along the Rio Napo. Same river, different place. Wish me luck!

Falmouth; while I was away, I received an acceptance letter from Falmouth, and so I am moving on the 26th of September to student halls at Glasney Park Student Village. I start freshers week on the 28th of September and my course on the 5th of October. I'm excited to finally be starting university, but I am very glad for my 2 years out; I now have a job at the care home I can come back to whenever it suits me, while the job isn't the most pleasant, at least it will allow me to earn some money for my travel. The 2 years out has also enabled me to have my adventure and spark the need to travel more. I have also learned a lot in the way of illustration and art while teaching myself and practicing more.
My work is now in Kaya Gallery on the barbican main street in Plymouth in the form of a range of 4 art cards. They are on sale through me also at £2 per card, including envelope and cellophane wrapper. I have had commissions from international companies including 'The Hive' a Canadian company who asked me to draw up some illustrations for their pitch to Jack Daniels. Yes, the world renown whiskey company. No, I still can't believe they came to me, and that my work has been seen by someone at Jack Daniels. Its very surreal. Which leads me to some current commissions:

I have recently
been commissioned by (to my knowledge)... Yemen. Yes the country. I don't know why, but Yemen decided they wanted a t-shirt. One designed by me. So I did my best, and they have their t-shirt design. They won't tell me what it will be used for, or what company/business they work for. Thus the fact that as far as I know, Yemen is my employer. It has to be said, employment by a whole country is slightly heart-warming. On another note, I hope that my t-shirt design is not going to be used for sinister purpose... whatever that may be. Can you use a t-shirt design sinisterly? So yes, I have been paid by Yemen, and may be commissioned by them again in the recent future. All good!

Froggy field guide
I am currently working (very slowly) on compiling a field guide on the frogs of Ecuador. It is a long a arduous task of first identifying what species exist there, and then building up information and behaviour of said frogs. And finally creating some good illustrations to help the identification of them. Perhaps I will use this project as my dissertation in 3 years time, who knows. I can use the species list of the reserve that I worked on as a start, perhaps to create a preview for publishers. The illustrating I fear, will prove to be the hardest, as there is a lot of variation in frog species, with different morphs and new species/sub-species being found all the time. A classic example is a set of 3 Centrolenids, of which you can only discern their species by DNA testing. Brilliant! So some will remain vague, which is unfortunate, but I deem necessary if the book is to ever be completed. Taxonomists continually debate the place of species within the order Anura, which makes for a neverending job! Lets hope that the book will be of use in the end. I know it will definitely help the staff and volunteers at GVI Amazon, and if it manages to catalogue an extensive list of frogs which are under serious threat of the Chytridiomycosis fungi, then it is not a lost cause. So I shall soldier on with the help of Hassan Vawda, and others along the way.

Savings Total: a whole £28! Goal- £2000
I am selling a lot of my things that I no longer need to achieve the goal- list of things on sale in the next update.

I think thats the end of this update, so friends and family, keep tuned, more Amazon things to come, more illustrations and more news! I'll also keep updated on my savings, so as we know how much I've managed to save and whether Ecuador will be possible next summer!

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