Symbolic Stills

August 5, 2014

The blend of visual and literary this month are very infused. Focusing on the still visual, my challenge is to capture in three seconds an entire subject.


Sim Street Journal is now a year old. In SSJ#10, I explored a new article format with the DJ interviews: Beyond Music series design. With a lead feature, I asked twenty DJs one question each. The responses were so terrific that I had to divide them, so the other half will appear in SSJ #11. Working in the online version in contrast to the in-world version (pdf download: here) is defined article-by-article to best use the medium.

The variety of responses from the DJs is surprising. Visually, I wished to capture their avatar personalities, but keep their settings graphically common. I feel this gives a visual balance ti emphasize the focus on characters. Much of art is where you choose to draw focus. Here, i wish to support the creative avatar. The fascination of the choices they make in crafting their images has the same fascination as people-watching in real life. I didn’t wish for their surroundings to distract, but yet wished to capture what they do.

FB-SSJ#10-DJ spiker2Spiker Upshaw has my visually favorite of the avatars this month. He has made a very tough biker-guy persona, but the music selections that he plays are top hits—ones many people love. A juxtaposition. My sister said once, as an art college professor, that the weirder the student’s persona, the tamer the values. Hmmm….

Boat series illustrations. Inspired by the graphic look and feel of Sim Street Journal, in several issues, I have discovered boat images that evoke feelings and ideas beyond what is virtual or real, but transformed collages. They use photographs like a palette and interweave time, conditions, and symbolic images.

FB-sailing openerThis is my newest of the boat images, which I have created for the album and has not been, as yet, published in SSJ. Of course, I will look for an opportunity to do so. And it will be the first time I do an image that I then which to place. I am sure it will be useful. But in the meantime, I wished to work with this scene in its simplicity as a way to try some new techniques.

Shot on the Blake Sea, there were some speedboats that would zoom by now and then. Starting with my boat as the center of the composition, I then chose those photos where I was lucky enough to capture one of those fast guys. Not close enough to destroy sailing serenity, they kept a respectful distance. But part of the fun in Blake Sea is to observe who else goes by. Balloonists fly overhead with helicopters and planes. Speedboats zoom around and mischief-makers make battles. Every kind of craft known to man, and some not known to man, show up. For example, below the waves, mermaid colonies collect. Beautiful and serene, they are a friendly and open-minded bunch with a gentle curiosity.

Client portfolio expands with a series for a dental office. Highly symbolic, I have also created a visual style that is flexible and can build a library of subject for the many article blogged and listed on their website.

dental insurance-FB

This is the most recent theme on taking a stand against dental insurance. Using a spread-sheet chart as a shield that treatment must penetrate through, I hope, conveys that system as an impediment to care, rather than assisting. If you see his Facebook page, you can find the series so far.

Also, I am getting more refined in Facebook, though I have to view it more professionally and really tire of frivolous postings. So I don’t spend much time in the general feeds. I participate in select groups and feel the power of the medium lies there. —Always inspired, Liane


Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.






Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.