What are they doing there and how did they get there? That group of intriguingly weird, artistically cartoonist, sometimes beautiful and occasionally ghastly little Kidrobot Munny figures huddled under the display case in Pomerantz D3. They sprang from illustration Professor Leslie Cober-Gentry’s off-the-2D-beat-and-path class assignment.
Kidrobot is a retail store that carries toys created initially by well-known artists. When Munny is heated with a hairdryer, the vinyl becomes pliable and can be cut away and then molded said Cober-Gentry. “Students get tired of the 2-D thing. So the 3-D project is really exciting. They’re stimulated by the new thought process.”
The instructions went something like this: paint a do-it-yourself Munny from Kidrobot; illustrate a background environment for the Munny — medium of the student’s choice. “After creating and enlarging numerous thumbnail sketches, students created their own custom Munnys in their own environment,” says Cober-Gentry.
Emily Arlington’s Munny was based on a 1960s mug shot with “humor and history.” She chose black and white to represent the time period and for its pronounced quality. “There is a working base where the Munny can turn as if posing for a mug shot, and there is a gun hidden in the women’s cat-covered undergarments,” she said.
- “Ian paints beautifully. His pictures are truly meticulous,” says Cober-Gentry.
“On the East Coast there’s more emphasis on (illustrating) publications,” says Cober-Gentry. “California is more entertainment–movies and videos. This type of assignment shows the students there’s a world of opportunity out there. They will have to go out and look for different directions to show their abilities.”
“Kaitlin took my advise on values and composition throughout the semester. She came up with something wonderful,” says Prof. Cober-Gentry
“The Munny project provided students with a common 3-D canvas to create something unique while working on identical items. A lot of students found their voice with this project. It was a fun way to shake things up at the end of a long semester.” - Emily Arlington
“Making the Munny was really fun,” says Michael Wong “The process took me back to my childhood, cutting papers and fabric, gluing things, molding. It was an exciting end result. I initially thought I would fail, but it actually went better than I thought. I learned new applications for illustration, and that different media is not just paint, ink, papers and canvas; it can be anything!”
“I love that Michael worked within the box. They looked for all kinds of material and came up with incredible solutions,” said Cober-Gentry.
“Students often ask ‘What does this have to do with illustration?’ But it’s not just about 2-D publishing. It’s an assignment-based project. They’re answering the assignment — that’s what illustration is all about. It’s similar to something you’re asked to do,” said Cober Gentry.
“It’s amazing what students do when they really love an assignment — when they’ve been working passionately throughout the semester, taking in critiques, studying established illustrators and noticing what’s being created around them. They become stars in the end,” says Cober-Gentry.
photos: Leslie Cober-Gentry