Jen Mussari


ICON8 Thoughts for HMC

Jen Mussari

ICON8 Notes:


First off, panels generally suck. 
Also, it seems that illustrators who are also art directors are not good at talking about their own work. So a panel discussion of AD/Illustrators talking about their own work feels like trudging through slush. 

Is ICON too big? Why does this feel so...anti innovative?

"It's so good it's such good art I just can't believe that it also serves a purpose!" ...the moderator of the first panel actually said this.

Did I lose my patience for fine art(ists)?

Talking about making work is good, I guess, but if you aren't really saying anything then neither is your work.

Coddling illustrators. As if we don't already have a lawyer to look over our contracts or know how to copyright our work. 

🌟Never ever ask an audience member to stand up unless you know for sure that they are there. 

If I were to change ICON
I would focus on conversations between attendees in the same way that Brooklyn Beta does. You leave BB feeling like you know everyone in the room; like you have a new family.
At ICON they cycle you through talks with short breaks.
I would make ICON more about GOOD TALKS. Just because a speaker has valuable information about best practices in the industry, or is an established artist, or is a sought after art director, does not mean that they are a good speaker. People do not retain information if it is badly presented.

We seem to still be going over "how to be an illustrator" even though this is all basic information that everyone here should know.

Is there room for a smaller more curated illustration conference? For working professionals? 

Sam weber's sketches on Rooney for 8x8 are fantastic

"Among the thugs"

Calef Brown Harriet Beecher's Toe
"Daily sketchbook practice"

Creatures trying to chase away anxiety
"Universal posture of the human being" (on the phone)
Poetics as illustration

Depression not being taken seriously by the audience of illustrators

I'm thinking about an environment that enables drawing (just drawing). It feels almost like Carson Ellis has it easy: to live on a farm with a famous husband and be able to spend all of the time in the world and have all the space she needs. I think about what it would be like to have a massive studio and everything I need to dedicate myself to the craft. Drawing for hours and hours a day, the traditional way, but with no distractions whatsoever. New York is only distractions. However it is also how I've learned to separate my self from my work and how to live and enjoy living.

🌟A sense of humor and social capability goes quite a long way.

Len Small from nautilus mag is in Brooklyn

I'm thinking about the way that Cameron Koczon talks about the design industry and how relatable and honest it feels. Brooklyn Beta feels like a conscious, well-rounded moment in time. That thoughtfulness translates into the talks and creates a meaningful discussion amongst attendees.
ICON seems to glaze over, if not completely ignore, issues in our industry. 
Issues I would like to see discussed: 
-Ethics in style: what it means to copy another illustrator's voice and how to develop your own. 
-social media: why is no one taking about this? It's the most effective way to connect and yet I hear from so many illustrators that they just don't use Twitter or Instagram. It's unacceptable.
-finances. We let artists get on stage and talk about how they make work but never mention the reality of how they afford to live. This is a conversation that freelancers should be having.

Vintage Fortune magazine covers are gorgeous

How does one be a painter for three years and not make work yet afford to live?!

Glamorizing sketchbooks

Any reason why the talks are not recorded???

I'm amazed by the awkward self promotion. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's cringe-worthy. Last night there was a shuttle from an event back to the hotel; some guy pulls a stack of postcards out and asks me to "take one and pass one" around the bus. What are you supposed to do in that situation? That guy is making zero meaningful connections there; basically saying, "here, throw these away for me." Literally no one is going to be like, oh you're the guy who passed out postcards on the bus! Let's do something together. There's this hail-Mary trend in self-promotion that enables people to leave business cards on tables at conventions because "you never know!" But we do know. We know that doesn't work. We know that what does work is making meaningful connections with people, not draining someone in a firehouse of promo materials. 

🌟people need to be ushered. Introverts need to be shoved.

The big question I hear being asked by illustrators: "why is that other person getting jobs that I want?" Because they are friends with the AD probably

We all know about the compulsion to make work. Stories about why we make art with an answer like "I need to" or to "figure out the world" etc. are these unremarkable stories? We all "need to" make work.

Artists with a capital A always ramble on and on about their projects and how they made them and what they were thinking when they made them but never tell the story of how they can afford to spend their time "experimenting" and "exploring."
This has been on my mind with every portfolio presentation so far. 

🌟put a couple inches between the chairs when they are set up

Kelsey Dake reminds me to be proactive about the kind of work I get.  Kate Bingaman Burt reminds me that its ok to say yes to opportunities that come along and see what happens.

The peoples republic of ICON

"People just have to get happy or get the fuck out" Damian from OKGO  

****Make it rain postcards****

Nicholas: Totally rad Portland cabbie: 503-957-8263