Jaycee Shanholtzer Part 4: Lyric Series and the Future

The Lyric Series as a concept that came to me in the beginning of the spring semester. I had a challenging time conceptualizing what I wanted to present for my exhibit, what truly embodied me as an artist. I was torn on what kind of art I wanted to present, it was between graphic design or illustration. It was then I had my “lightbulb” moment, what was a medium that incorporated both illustration and graphic design? Poster work, like the works of Wes Wilson and the psychedelic movement. I began thinking about what I wanted to present in the posters, the figures, the typography, and even color schemes or themes. I decided to create a test poster, which became the first poster in this series. 

Harvey, Lyric Series (1/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches

Harvey was purely experimental, compared to the rest of the series, it looks quite different. I decided to use lyrics from a song that I hold dear to my heart, the song “Harvey” by the band HersFor the visual style, I was once again inspired by Wes Wilson’s cell shading style along with crosshatching from my early print work. It was quite different from what I had done previously with digital art, instead of heavily blended elements it was much more illustrative. I will not forget the impact this work had on me, for it was the first time in a while I had felt fully confident in my work. I knew there was potential in this series, and it embodied not only my style, but also my artistic journey at Whitworth. I had started with dry point, the crosshatching. Then the graphic design/digital artwork, through both the typography and visual style. It felt truly representative of my art, and I was immediately inspired to create more of these posters. 

Honey Thighs (work in process), Lyric Series (24/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches
Honey Thighs (figure only), Lyric Series (24/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches
Honey Thighs, Lyric Series (24/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches

My process for making a poster usually started with choosing a song, I would listen to the song fully and reflect. Both through the lyrics and reflecting on how the song made me feel emotionally. A goal of mine through these posters was to tell a story, through the lyrics and design. I wanted to recreate the song’s sound through the posters, through color and line. For example, with my poster Honey Thighs, I really wanted to channel the wavy/fluid sound in the song, it felt bubbly. With the figure specifically, I wanted the eyes to stand out the most in the poster, since the lyrics I chose focused on the eyes. A lot of the design was meant to reflect on the song and lyrics, making it an illustrative representation of the song. The focus for this series was to not only present my visual style, but to represent the themes I have discussed throughout my art career. Identity, individuality, representation, etc. The Lyric Series presents individual figures, with lyrics that tell a story. I wanted each character or set of characters to have their own story to tell. Like with people, we all have our own individual journeys. We all have gotten to the current day, and we all have things that make us unique. I wanted the characters in the series to present that idea too. I find people to be such beautiful creatures on this earth, despite the issues of the current day. We all have things that make us ourselves, despite generalizations or stereotypes. This series is a love letter to the beauty of humans, what we create and how we express. As well as being a love letter to music, and how much it means to me. This series holds such an emotional significance to me, like in my first blog post I discussed how unsure I was of myself. I know myself now, and I know what art I want to create and put out in the world. 

Space Song (sketch), Lyric Series (23/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches
Space Song, Lyric Series (23/25), 2022, Procreate, 12×18 inches

My artistic journey at Whitworth was no doubt an emotional rollercoaster and looking back there are aspects where I wish I did more or risks I could have taken. But I would not have it any other way, for I am happy with the artist I am right now. I am content with myself, and I know that my future will be an eventful one. I have many people to thank. The Whitworth art community, specifically Leah Yand and Levi Wilson, have encouraged me since the beginning. The Whitworth art Faculty, who believed in me when I did not. Finally, I must thank my mom, Julie Shanholtzer, and my oldest sister Darcie. Without them and their continuous love and support throughout my life, I would not be where I am now. I appreciate you, the viewer, for reading my story. Keep being you. 

For commissions and purchasing prints, my email is shanhjay000@gmail.com

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