Recently, I was nominated and chosen to create a piece of artwork for Commerce Bank's "What Matters Most" campaign. They believe that art can help remind us of what matters most--and I whole-heartedly agree!
More from Commerce Bank about this campaign:
"Since our founding, Commerce Bank has had a long tradition of supporting the arts. We believe the human connection, inspired through art, is just as important as any financial matter. Life is complex and can be both beautiful and challenging. We are committed to helping people do what they're dreaming of and take care of the things they love."
They asked 8 artists to consider what matters most to us and how our priorities have changed through the pandemic. They asked us to consider what lifts us up, what inspires us, what keeps us going, what matters most and to translate this into a piece of artwork for an online exhibition.
As a reference photo I used a portrait of a family I took during the first few months of Covid when I was offering "Porch Portraits" as a way to capture families and individuals living through this strange time. I took this photo of a family through the glass in their front door. I loved the way the parents were lost in each other's embrace and the kids were excited to have an audience. I think this last year our collective priorities have shifted--our loved ones becoming even more important, taking care of ourselves and each other becoming priority one. This last year was marked by loss--by loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of financial security, loss of social life, loss of major events and celebrations in the traditional way. I wanted to represent that loss--one of the parents in this embrace is blacked out with a galaxy of stars inside to represent the losses we experienced. In the calendar to the right, a happy couple (actually myself and my fiancé) are shown showing off an engagement ring...on the calendar itself is written in various events: wedding, funeral, birthday, no school, dentist, doctor... to include all the ways this last year made us change our approach, postpone, or cancel every event that peppers our daily lives. In the far right, you'll see the edge of a piano, on top of which sits an iPhone... an homage to the ways the arts carried us through this time (by indulging in music, learning a new hobby, watching a TV show, reading a book), and the way technology kept us tethered together while far apart.
Here's the final artwork. I love how it turned out and how every detail has meaning. A special thanks to Caron Settle Parnell and her family for allowing me to use my photo of them as a reference point for this piece.
If you're interested in purchasing any digital downloads or prints of my artwork, or in commissioning me to create a piece of custom artwork for you or your business, smash that email button below to shoot me an email (DesigningIndie@gmail(dot)com). I'm a friendly, fast, sure-thing when it comes responding to emails. I have no tolerance for notifications left unattended!
If you prefer to call, I've made a button just for you. Do you feel special? You should. In this digital age, you're a magical, rebellious unicorn of vocal correspondence.
Teenagers can be scary to adults. They can seem like an enigma. A mysterious energy that can make you feel uncool or dumb. You might find yourself using "youth-slang" like "girl" or "wassuuup" even though kids don't talk like that anymore...even though YOU don't talk like that anymore (usually).
All that to say, this shoot could have been another embarrassing tale of "Andie tries to relate to the youths as if she isn't nearly 35." However, it WASN'T! As it turns out Josef was none of those highly generalized attributes above. He was down-to-earth, an old-soul who loves photography and vinyl, and probably possess the least amount of ego I've ever met in a teenage boy. All that to say, he was kind, personable, creative, and open. The ideal model.
We blasted Red Hot Chili Peppers in my 70's retro studio and worked together (along with his Mama) to create a couple looks based around the outfits and props he brought to express his personality in this, his final year of high school.
I can't imagine graduating high school right now--in the middle of a pandemic. The world in this strange in-between flux just at the moment you're thrust out into it. What a challenge lies ahead for these young adults. And what a joy it was to capture the happiness, the strangeness, the celebration of a big accomplishment, and the interests that helped get this kid through this last year.
Rock on, Josef! We'll be rooting for you. Go out, do good, make smart choices, and be brave.
Josef has dreams of becoming a photography teacher at his old school. I think that's awesome. What an honor to photograph a budding photography teacher. I hope when he is older, he looks back on these photos and smiles--remembering all the highs of his last year as a high school kid and all the lesson that the lows taught him. I hope he carries these with him into adulthood, and into the classroom...and I hope he retains the kind of teenage confidence and cool that keeps him from saying "Girrrrrl" in a panic when trying to relate to his students.
You always want the kids to learn from your mistakes, don't ya? Do you have any wisdom to impart on this year's graduating seniors? Leave it in the comments below.
Peace-out homies. Catch ya on the flip side. Hit me up if you or someone you know wants some unique, vintage, editorial senior photos!
I've been fortunate to work with Culture Flock for a few years now. I love creating photoshoots for them--not only are they my favorite place to shop for gifts for myself and others, but I also just love being able to work with another local, queer, women-owned business! They have always been so encouraging and let me take full creative control with these shoots--what a dream!
This Spring 2021 T-Shirt line of theirs is my favorite they've done yet. I mean--look at these shirts! So freaking cool. The illustrations, designs, colors...love! I can't pick a favorite. Can you?
For this shoot, I spent the whole day at Nathaniel Greene Park shooting back to back with each model. I had a different area of the park, props, and a general theme idea for each shoot relating to the shirt.
The models Trevor, Sheristen, Mindy, Heather, Hannah, Johnny, and Brennan killed it!
I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite shots from this shoot. Let me know if you have any questions!
Be sure to check out Cultureflock.com to grab these shirts.
Emily from Pint-Sized Adventures Dog Training reached out to me to create a custom logo for her company in Massachusetts. She really liked old illustrations of circus dogs and sent me a couple that she liked. She said color wise, she really liked navy, red, and white, but didn't want it to start looking too 4th of July patriotic. She also was interested in seeing the dog on a little podium stand. She wasn't sure if she wanted just a dog image, or if she wanted the name of her company included in the logo. She was concerned that the name would be too long for the logo.
Over the next two days I worked on illustrating a few different types of dogs and created a few different logos, some just with a dog, some with the name of the company in different fonts and styles. Above are just a few of first round drafts I sent her.
These are the top two logos she loved most and felt were most on brand. She liked the one on the right best, but wanted the font style of the one on the left with the bone used as the hyphen in "Pint-Sized."
Once I made those changes, I sent her the final logo and a mock-up of some product examples she could get a sense of what her logo would like out in the world.
As a dog mom to three furry monsters, I'm just bummed that Emily's business isn't in Springfield, MO, but I'm excited that she has the logo she wanted to start introducing her business to new clients.
If you have any questions about my process or are interested in finding out if I can create a custom logo for you, smash that contact button to send me an email!
I found out about the PBR Can Art Contest for the first time this year. What a cool opportunity! The winner is put on cans and gets $10,000! Plus, they commission work from all the top 25 artists.
I didn't make the top 25 this year, but I had a lot of fun creating these nonetheless and wanted to share. It's not all about the destination after all…it's about finding joy in the journey. At least, that's what an embroidered pillow once told me.
The biggest shame of all is that Olive's head on my body wont be reppin' the PBR brand. That golden girl deserves national recognition.
Anyhoozzle. There's always next year!
If you like what you see, contact me to create illustration magic for your business or as a gift to yourself or your loved ones. I create logos, brochures, custom illustrations, portraits, and so much more!
Okay, love you, bye! I mean, bye!
When Chloe at Hey Babe Curated reached out to me to shoot the lookbook for her Valentine Collection of vintage lingerie and handmade fine jewelry...I was instantly inspired and excited. I've shot Chloe in her own vintage finds before and it's always a blast. Ever since she launched her own business, Hey Babe Curated, I've been drooling over her inventory and even snagged a pair of her gorgeous earrings for myself (#treatyoself).
When she dropped off the inventory (which was a lot more than I expected), she said that just wanted me to have options to create whatever I felt inspired to create (god, I love clients like that!) and boy was I ever inspired! Before I knew it, I had pages of ideas and I passionately wanted to create them all! So, I did.
I came up with 8 set ups I wanted to do and styled 8 looks for each of them and planned what props I wanted. Then, I set out to browse the valentine aisle at the local drug store, rummaged my own inventory, and went hunting down the aisles of a few flea markets to get some props.
I reached out to Micayla Storm to model and she said yes. This was her first time modeling and she killed it! Then, I set the shoot schedule for the day to optimize our time. Once the preplanning was done, all that was left to do was shoot. We had a lot of fun creating these looks back to back!
My whole idea behind each of these images was a self-love valentine... feeling gorgeous and sexy in your skin for yourself. Pampering and showering yourself in love... either through chocolates, a facemask, a good cup of coffee, relaxing in pretty lingerie, playing card games, or just plain enjoying your own damn company. Feelin' yourself...you feel me?
I think whether you are in a relationship with someone else or not, Valentines Day can be a great day to show up for yourself and write yourself a love letter of all you've accomplished, been through, survived, and really express your appreciation of all the gifts you have to offer the world.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
YOU ARE WORTHY.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Shop Hey Babe Curated
A few weeks ago, I spent an entire day at Blend Studio withi.V KiNG, her wife Shelby, Emily Edgar (makeup), and Brandon Goodwin (Blend Studio), plus a few awesome grips and PA's who donated their time to help us create a music video fori.V KiNG's new single, "City Girl."
I had the privilege of acting as Creative Director on this video, as well as taking behind the scenes photos.
Shot in one day, this music video had another challenge: we shot most of it backwards! To do this, i.V KiNG had to learn how to sing (or at least mouth) her song in reverse. We had to track everything in the song forwards and backwards to figure out how to execute it.
The one section that wasn't in reverse, where i.V KiNG is playing the drums, is what we shot first. The glitter on the drums was an idea I had that I was super excited about and it didn't disappoint! When I saw the glitter explode off the drums as she hit them, I got goosebumps. It was magical moment. But just watching i.V play drums live is a pretty magical experience--she's a magnetic, energetic, and just plain fun performer to watch.
I love this shot I captured of i.V's wife, Shelby (who plays a toxic badboi in the video), looking on at i.V playing the drums with such pride and joy.
We had to manually spin the disco balls!
Below are two of my most favorite candid shots I've ever taken... The glitter! The disco! Whatta vibe!
Once we finished that, it was time to switch it up and get ready to start working in reverse.
Below you can see some of the set up--on the computer screen we have a video of i.V singing played backwards so she can see what her lips look like and what it sounds like to try to mimic it. To add even more of a challenge--because obviously this wasn't hard enough already--we had to shoot each shot in one take because we were throwing paint and confetti on i.V while she sang backwards. It was a beautiful kind of torture for us all, but totally worth it in the end.
We used black-light body paint for the black-light bridge portion of the music video. Fun fact: we went through ALL the glitter we brought and used every tube of black-light paint.
i.V used the drop cloth to tuck into her newly thrifted pants to keep them from getting paint on them...this hilariously ended up creating the appearance of a wedding dress which Shelby and i.V had fun with between takes (see below). By the end of it, i.V was covered in paint and freezing cold. It was a long day, but we did it! We made something pretty cool.
Without further ado... please enjoy the City Girl music video!
When Season reached out to me to create some photos she said she wanted some couples portraits with more of an editorial vibe. My favorite! She said that they weren't really into traditional couples portraits and wanted something different, more artistic and unique. She sent me a few reference photos so I could better understand the look they were going for.
We started at their home (see photos below) which was a gorgeously decorated downtown loft full of art and large windows. Swoon!
Next, they changed into their second look and we headed out to C-street. We parked at one end, hopped out and started walking, stopping wherever we felt inspired...which was, like, a lot. I swear I could have kept shooting these two for hours...but it was freezing cold and I already had shot about 1,000 images so we called it a day.
I went through all the photos, tossing out the bad apples and redundancy along the way. Then, I edited about 800 of them with a first round color correction in Lightroom and then did another round of zooming way in to find unwanted blinks, slightly out of focus (in the not cool way), and more unnecessary redundancy and narrowed it down to a final count of about 320 final photos. I then exported a few more for some additional retouching in photoshop and then presto finito! I'm done and the photos are off to the client within a week of being shot.
I used the Template app to create these cool collages of the photos. I love how they turned out!
Are you looking for a couples shoot that's a little different? If you like highly artistic, creative shoots...shoot me a message! Let's create some magic.
I've had an influx of adoption day shoots lately and I love it. This session was incredible because these kids were so sweet. They stole my gosh darn heart! I mean... just look at them. What a cute family.
I love offering free adoption day photos for families. It's something I am passionate about. As a CASA I see first hand some of the work families of all kinds do to become a family and I want to support anyone who offers up their heart and their homes to kids in need.
Usually each year in November there is a big adoption day event where the court tries to schedule as many adoptions in one day as possible and a bunch of businesses donate their time and services for the families. There is food, superheroes, build-a-bears, etc. I'm usually the photographer for the event. Of course this year we couldn't hold the event...so I'm glad to have been reached out to by so many families to capture their adoption day anyway.
Plus, I'm a little partial to shooting outside at parks for kids shoots as opposed to inside a warehouse with a mini studio set. I love being able to catch kids while they are playing and in genuine moments with their siblings and parents.
When I have the availability, I'll shoot the family shots, take portraits of the kids, candids, and even a couples shot. It's my way of saying, "Thanks for what you're doing!"
If you or someone you know has an adoption coming up, reach out to me. I'd love to gift them with a free family photoshoot.
Hannah is a dancer, model, and sophomore in High School. This is my second time working with Hannah to help creative some creative editorial portraits for her growing portfolio. I love working with her and her mom, Emery.
Usually for these types of shoots I start by asking if there is any particular style, theme or idea the client already has in mind...if not, I'll brainstorm a couple different ideas and create little collages to help the client visual each idea so they can choose which direction they want to go in.
Then, I figure out the set, lighting and sometimes the styling, hair and makeup looks. For this shoot we went with a combination of three ideas: 1. Colorful car shoot, 2. Water shoot, 3. Outdoor urban night shoot. These were easy enough to combine all in one location (on the roof of a parking garage in downtown Springfield).
I brought one of my regular lights and two color led lights along with a power converter plug for my car so I could make sure I had power to light the shoot. I love how it turned out.
I'm Andie Bottrell, a multidisciplinary creative based in Springfield, MO. This blog is designed to give you an inside peak into the process behind my projects and to share my work.