Evolution of the Logo
I've had many great comments about my logo. Like everything, it has been a process to arrive at. I have been using this as my trademark for almost as long as I can remember. Though it has changed a little over time it has a wonderful story.
It started as a pre-school art project when I was living in Fort Defiance, AZ. We had a teacher who one day brought in some art supplies. our assignment was to create a trademark. She said every artist has a trademark or signature that becomes a part of their art. So after doing several sketches, I arrived at a simple "M" intersected with a larger "G".
When I was about this age, my Cheii (Grandfather), had a home studio. He painted. He loved horses. I used to spend hours watching him make long strokes with charcoal across a canvas. Then taking a large brush and running the paint dipped bristles over the sweeping lines. I loved watching it all come together. He used to talk to me and explain how everything could be broken down into shapes. But the thing I thought was most magical were his mugs.
He would paint white cast mugs with a grey-matte paint, then scratch his horses and scenes into the black, revealing the white underneath. Then he would take them away and bring them back a few days later, fired, shiny, and beautiful.
Once he brought home some clay. We sat. He painted his mugs and I made a small bowl. I proudly drew my trademark and signed my piece, of course with the date. My Cheii took my masterpiece along with his mugs to be fired. Unfortunately when he returned home, he told me that my bowl had broken. I was devastated. I think it must have equally broken his heart to tell me.
A few days later, his mugs came back from the ceramic shop in Gallup. He unloaded them and showed them to my grandmother, Mary. Then he held a large brown jewelry box in his hand. He said "come here, grandson." I stood in front of him, seated on his studio chair (an old office chair with duck tape and cat claw marks on the seat). He lifted the lid and presented on a soft cloth was the bottom part of my bowl. He had drilled a small hole in the top and strung a satin ribbon through it.
When I began at Verde Valley School, I signed up for for a painting, print making, and drawing class. I signed most of my work as "Michael Anaya-Gorman". I was a teenager and hadn't been particularly popular in middle school. So I decided that it was time for a rebranding. My nickname was "AG" and several of my pieces from this period are signed that way. But it was short lived. After about 4 months of signing "AG", I returned to my trademark. I moved the date to the side of the "M". I used mostly 2 digit 99. Sometimes with an apostrophe...who knew Y2K would have an effect on ceramics... but around 2000/2001 I began writing out the full year. The "G" became more stylized and I no longer included my full signature.
My trademark remained greatly unchanged for years after this. I switch focus from ceramics to photography (no pun intended) and continued to sign any pieces outside of ceramic with my full name "Michael S. Anaya-Gorman". When I began getting more known for my photography I started to develop a banding called "The World Through My Lens". And Wanted to develop a trademark and brand that would encompass all the mediums of art I was working in. I played with some fun ideas including crossing The World Through My Lens with my signature and "Ag - Silverpoint Photography" where I mixed my love of chemistry with my branding to make a logo & trademark which played the periodic symbol for silver with my last name.
The year playing stand-in for the atomic number.
I found the colors in the rich, beautiful black, the creamy white, and deep red in the pendant my Cheii gave me. I still was wanting to somehow include a silhouette or likeness of myself in the design, but I had the colors. I created a little swatch palette and brand sheet to work with when doing anything that required the branding. But I still didn't have a logo that had that right mix of clean and messy.
I tried extracting my trademark from a few different pieces, and tried building some in illustrator and photoshop, but with mixed "success"....
I had found a way to fit a subtle silhouette into the "G", but I felt the lines either looked too clean or too sketchy. I thought about what made my signature look the way it did in clay versus on paper. How the 3D its in the clay varied in thickness and depth. I thought about beautiful Japanese ink drawings and the calligraphy of I had studied in a Chinese literature class. I went for a oriental brush stroke look. This was a really big step in the right direction.
I think my uncle R.C.'s art, and my grandfather's sketches sometimes relied on what was not there as much as what was. The implied lines between the solid ones let the viewer complete part of the image. Let them interact with the piece. I clipped a few sections from here and there. made several edits before I had a version I was happy with. I started with white on black, then reversed it for printing on a white background. I maintained the year down the side and picked 1999 as a "start date" as that was when I really began to focus on the development of my art. I maintained my signature with the "MG".
I more recently refined it and removed the year at the side. With the opening of the gallery I replace my signature with the Gallery name. I'm sure, as all things do, this will continue to change. But somehow it always seems to come back to the beginning....