Dreamer and Inventor of All Possibilities

April 27th, 2013 by Maria Braun-Perez

"Paradise Pup" one of many Bulldogs on the Square exhibit displays in Crown Point, Indiana.

A Little Bit About Maria

Dreamer and Inventor of All Possibilities

My best friend described me as a risk taker. I think of myself as more of an adventurer who is willing to take risks in order to succeed. A door must close in order to open up room for new opportunities. I’m in the process of transitioning as I become more involved in the areas of study that truly interest me… web development, technology, and coding.

On the lighter side, I live with my husband and my chubby cat Lillie who love’s to eat. I hail from a small family so I tend to like my privacy. My favorite time of the day is early AM and before sunrise when the sound of birds outside my window sparks. I love that sound! Oh, and I am a very good listener.

A recent visit from my brother-in-law resulted in a road trip to an auction house and bidding on some really awesome African masks, reliquary containers and fertility statues. I look forward to expanding on this collection.

BTW, I have participated in a number of public art exhibits including the sculpture above named ‘Paradise Pup’ following a wonderful vacation to Maui back in 2003.

My Creative Journey Into 2013

January 22nd, 2013 by Maria Braun-Perez
Edsel Braun Production Artist

Photo of my father, Edsel Braun, who worked as a production artist at Feldkamp-Malloy, Ficho & Corley, Leo Burnett, LLoyd M. Rosenow, Stephens Biondi De Cicco and Walter J. Thompson in Chicago, Illinois.

Hello New Year! I welcome you with open arms as I take a moment to reflect on the journey that has been my life and the path that unfolds before me. I have been joyfully working at Allegra Marketing in Alsip, Illinois, freelancing during spare time and volunteering with the Taproot Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. Since my last post of 2010, I have accomplished a lot! I even found the missing photo of my father Edsel Braun (pictured above). It is quite old and beautiful!

Three Areas of Focus This Year

  • Take time for myself and enjoy life
  • Continue my education
  • Get more exercise

Representing Designers and the Importance
of Creative Licensing for the State of Indiana

September 16th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez

While growing up as a child I was encouraged to draw, paint and write. My grandmother would sit me down to practice handwriting and perfect my building of letter shapes. My father, now a retired production artist, handed down to me his collection of drawing books, including anatomy for figure drawing and illustration, required during his training in art school.

In this spot I had hoped to post a recently misplaced photo of my father working at a drafting table in a Chicago studio. I intended to bring the same photo to the filming of the ‘Creators Across America’ State of Indiana Meet Designer and Web Developer, Maria Braun-Perez. I have always been proud of my parents and family and it is my family that has encouraged me to become an artist. I asked my parents to join me on the day of the filming as this was, and will continue to be, an honorable moment.

Photo of Patrick Ross, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance and Chairman of the Copyright Alliance Education Foundation.

Patrick Ross, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance and Chairman of the Copyright Alliance Education Foundation.

Patrick Ross (pictured left) was kind enough to supply me with his photo following my interview at the Indiana Welcome Center on Sunday, August 29, 2010 in Hammond, Indiana. He came in hand modestly with a HD hand held video camera and swiftly continued on his way to Madison, Wisconsin where this photo was taken. The Copyright Alliance interviewed over 100 artists state-wide. Catch them all on the Copyright Alliance Channel on YouTube.

My studies in fine arts and printing, publishing technologies led me into the field of graphic arts and, eventually, web design. I am fortunate to be able to form a career as a creator and designer in the Northwest Indiana community. The shoes I have filled in my roles within the community have become more complex, challenging and fulfilling while allowing me to express myself in my work. My work is a reflection of my ethics, my pride and my understanding of utilizing best practices to achieve successful outcomes.

Working with creators in a non-profit capacity has reignited my passion for community arts and experiencing first hand how each individual has the ability to contribute to and positively affect our world. We can collectively build a better community by taking ownership of our inner strengths, allowing our spirits to shine and working together in alliance to reach defined goals. I believe I am beginning to find my niche as a creative member within my own community.

Knock! Knock! …It’s Serendipity

August 27th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez
Maria Braun-Perez strikes an informal pose following an exhibit opening at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana.

Kicking Back After an Exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

As summer rounds out and I think to the past year, I realize how the little, unexpected events have grown full bloom over time. I am sitting at my desk and the phone rings. A familiar conversation begins to take place and one that has been circulating since February of 2009. Perhaps the outcome of what may be called ‘phone tag’ will now produce substantial results in the months to come.

This weekend on Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 9 am (CST) I am to meet with Patrick Ross, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance. I have been watching the state-to-state video updates on the Copyright Alliance ‘Creators Across America’ web page and imagining what my contribution will be on the topic of creative licensing and protection.

I thought I would be prepared for this moment since I have had exactly 1 month to align my thoughts and envision my responses. But I am no more ready than I was when I first received the request for an interview on July 26, 2010. However, the anticipation of the moment exists and I hope to inform and entertain by simply being myself.

I have spent several days contacting corporations by phone and email correspondence while working on a website page for an upcoming launch. I have searched corporate websites for media and press information, called marketing personnel, spoke to legal departments and customer service in order to obtain permission for the use and display of each company’s logo.

Some requests were met with uncertainty of who to contact, some issued corporate release forms, and others complied with a quick response and return rate. To my surprise, a select few did not return a reply at all.

I have to admit, I enjoyed obtaining the artwork and the responsibility of properly displaying each graphic element according to the corporate standards manual provided by the supplier. There is something special about acquiring copyright material and the trust, in turn, that I as a designer will retain the integrity of the design. After all, you don’t turn a logo over to just anybody.

The explosion of distribution over the Internet has significantly expanded the way in which information is obtained and shared. Images, video and audio can be obtained through websites, blogs, e-zines, video cameras, cell phones and emails. Many of these examples are 3-way communication devices that allow you to receive, capture and send to the masses.

Creators are expected to share if they are to circulate in the loop of communication. Today’s technology amplifies the importance of copyright protection and the realization that the Web is not a free zone of access to intellectual property. The question is how do we as creators control it?

On Friday, September 25, 2009 I responded to a request from the Copyright Alliance requesting my participation by signature on a Petition Letter to Obama and Biden encouraging the advancement of policies in recognition of copyrights and protection in the digital age. I am signature #6448.

Yesterday I responded to a delightful request to acquire my image “Clothesline” for a blog after viewing it through a Google search for “clothesline” images. Kudos to Julia Phillips for contacting me regarding her blog Do Small Things.

The image in particular is one of a series of photo montage creations depicting family through photos, postcards, letters and other artifacts from my youth and family history. It is essentially an archive of ancestry and imagination. A series that developed over the summer of 2000 and required hours of learning, experimentation and repetitive labor during the creative process.

This series of photo montage images has brought recognition, an award, continued exhibiting and, now, an upcoming interview and small place in history as a representative of creators worldwide. I am both honored and awestruck at the turn of events that have played out this year.

Serendipity. (2010). Merriam-Webster.com. Franklin Electronic Publishers. Retrieved August 27, 2010, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seredipity

“Illiana Artists Welcome Visitors” NWI Times

August 15th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez
NWI Times Article "Illiana Artists Welcome Visitors" published August 15, 2010.

Digital Art on Display in the Illiana Artists Exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana from August 12 thru September 17, 2010

August 15th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez
Scanned copy of the Post-Tribune exhibit article dated August 8, 2010.

Art Exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana. Article by Post-Tribune Correspondent, Charles M. Bartholomew, Published on August 8, 2010.

Tourist’s first look at NWI will be of region creations :: Lifestyles :: Post-Tribune

August 8th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez
Illiana Artists Promotional Postcard by the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.

Illiana Artists Promotional Postcard by the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.

Post-Tribune article by Correspondent, Charles M. Bartholomew, dated Sunday, August 8, 2010. An informative review of the Illiana Artists Exhibit on display August 12 through September 17, 2010 at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, IN.

In recognition for my visual design and support of artistic licensing, I will be participating in the Copyright Alliance video series ‘Creators Across America’ with Executive Director, Patrick Ross. The interview is scheduled to take place at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, IN on August 29, 2010.

Article Link: Tourist’s first look at NWI will be of region creations :: Lifestyles :: Post-Tribune.

Digital Images on Display June 2010

June 12th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez

Photo Arts II National Juried Photography Exhibit June 1 to June 25, 2010
CornerStone Gallery (in the back of Centier Bank)
1500 E. 119th Street, Whiting, Indiana 46394

Maria Braun-Perez (left) and juror/published photographer Gary Cialdella (Photo provided courtesy of 119th Street Artists).

Maria Braun-Perez (left) and juror/published photographer Gary Cialdella (Photo provided courtesy of 119th Street Artists).

The following images are a combination of Illustrator, Photoshop and RayDream Studio, currently known as Carrara, by Daz Productions. All non-metallic pattern skins used for 3D surface modeling are self made.

Photo Montage, "Dresser", Awarded First Place.

Photo Montage, Dresser, Awarded First Place.
The re-creation of a room scene including an antique dresser displaying family photos, letters, postcards and other artifacts.

Photo Montage, "Barnyard"

Photo Montage, Barnyard
A playful repetition of shapes, pattern and movement into the distance reflect the theme of youth, family and history.

Photo Montage, "Clothesline"

Photo Montage, Clothesline
Childhood photos of my sister Michelle blowing bubbles and my brother Guy playing Hopalong Cassidy through the swaying sheets hanging on the clothesline.

Photo Montage, "It's Magic"

Photo Montage, It’s Magic
Incorporating scenes from images through doors, mirrors and windows connect scenes between sequences. Here my brother Cliff magically transforms dyed eggs into Easter masterpieces.

Using 3D Graphics for 2D Design

June 12th, 2010 by Maria Braun-Perez

My experience with 3D and 2D imagery leads me to believe 3D rendering enhances not only animation, movies and slideshows, it also offers a new level of creative possibility for hyperrealism in a two-dimensional space.

The following image, Life’s A Bowl of Cherries, combines 3D rendering of a simulated environment for print design. The creation of this image is a combination of Illustrator, Photoshop and RayDream Studio, currently known as Carrara, by Daz Productions.

Photo Montage, "Life's A Bowl of Cherries"

Three-dimensional and two-dimensional rendering are complimentary when combined. Aside from the necessary software, traditional principles of animation do apply to the computer generated art form.

Traditional Principles of Animation

  1. Shape and Form
  2. Weight
  3. Line and Silhouette
  4. Perspective
  5. Direction
  6. Tension
  7. Planes
  8. Solidity
  9. Depth and Volume
  10. Staging and Composition
  11. Details
  12. Texture
  13. Positive and Negative Shapes

On the other hand, 3D animation requires basic drawing skills, especially life drawing, for the artist to correctly render the movement of human and animal forms. Life drawing skills help the animator define muscle groups and allow for correct rendering of facial expressions and gestures alike. These skills help create realistic impressions and generate believable scenarios.

Basic Drawing Skills for Animation Principles

  1. Pose and Mood
  2. Shape and Form
  3. Anatomy
  4. Model and Character
  5. Line and Silhouette
  6. Action and Reaction
  7. Perspective
  8. Staging and Composition
  9. Anticipation
  10. Caricature
  11. Details
  12. Texture
  13. Simplification
  14. Positive and Negative Shapes

Applications Frequently Used During Production of 3D Design and Animation

(*Note: This list is a small representation of available software applications.)

  1. Photoshop (retouching).
  2. Flash (animation).
  3. 3D Studio Max (3D modeling and animation).
  4. After Effects (motion graphics).
  5. DirectX (3D/Draw/Music/Play/Sound) application programming interfaces for multimedia related tasks.

The Evolution of Logo Design

December 22nd, 2009 by Maria Braun-Perez
The Illiana Artists' Logo 2009.

The Illiana Artists' Logo 2009.

The logo is a playful design based on a color wheel of cool and warm hues and gradations of tinted color within an abstract design. The new logo is a radiant color spectrum, reaching outward like a glowing ray of sunshine or the brilliance of a flower in spring. The colorful fan crowning the color wheel may even be described as the spreading of a paintbrush as it whisks across the surface, releasing its hues.

The final design is one out of a series of concepts that began in February of 2009. I began my approach with a simple design and an inspiration to recreate the image of a local art group in need of sprucing up what may be called an “outdated” identity. The nitty gritty of concept building and tie in with typography took shape in October when I began using the symbol of the paintbrush as a letterform and embellishment.

The resulting design was rather pleasant but questions arose between a member of the group in regards to the same height and shape of the letters ‘I’ and ‘L’ found in the font ITC Avant Garde Gothic. I was confident that perception and familiarity of the letter shapes, when scanned by the eye, would correct any misinterpretation of lettering, I knew that altering the font or attempting to overcompensate for the lack of serifs would damage the integrity of the current design. It was time to deconstruct and start from scratch.

The entire design process lasted two months and required member input and voting on a general concept, after which I further refined the selected image based on voter commentary. Emphasis was placed on the use of a color wheel or value scale as a design element. My concerns were printing costs for stationary and business cards and felt that a limit had to be imposed on the number of colors used in the design. The final logo would also become the basis for the new website to follow. The color selection had to be easy on the eye for both print and on screen viewing for varied lengths of time.

Working with various color combinations, I arrived at a generally cool color palette of blue and green with the slight warmth of yellow. The suggestion of yellow and blue pigments, in turn, creates green was purely accidental during the process of color selection. I began working with a full color spectrum in various tints and shades for each color and continued to work the value scale into the design as a whole.

The Illiana Artists' Logo on White Background.

The Illiana Artists' Logo on White Background.

The font used in the design is Linotype Centennial. Adjustments have been made to the vertical scaling of the font to accommodate for the weight of the color spectrum pattern. I feel this font is an excellent choice and compliments the design element, reflected in the curly tails of the letter ‘a’ and ‘t’, and is similar in shape to the curved lines of the outer fans.

Concept Design Series for the Illiana Artists.

Concept Design Series for the Illiana Artists.

A series of letter forms were used as a design pattern for this particular design concept. A script font was chosen for the word ‘Illiana’ to lighten the weight of the font as the top tier of the design. The curves of the script font also reflect the letter forms in the design below.

Concept Design Series for the Illiana Artists.

Concept Design Series for the Illiana Artists.

Here we find the ‘i’ in Illiana popping out of a group of many ‘a’ Artists. In this particular design I entertained the idea of the ‘i’ as exclamation point when set higher up in the design. I also see an abstract pattern of an artist’s ink bottle and dropper cap tilted above.