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An Artist and His Work

An Artist and His Work


Holly M. Stewart
Academic Writing 301

An Artist and His Work

The Words Behind the Image

Sitting across from each other feeling slightly awkward, I leaned in and asked,
Have you ever been interviewed before? Ian, a young man in his mid twenties, came in
closer and replied, Not for this particularly, no. Good, cause I have no idea what I am
doing. I admitted. We sat in the middle of a coffee shop as I began the interview process.
I had researched Ians website before hand and admired his dedication and his talented
work with film and art. Ian Mayta grew up in Honduras to an American father and a
Honduran mother. He traveled back and forth constantly, getting the best of both worlds,
which has helped to influence most of his work. I use to hate it when I was younger, he
said with a smile, but traveling back and forth has taught me a lot about language and
nonverbal communication, which I have incorporated into most of my work. Ian is
involved with his own freelance projects, promoting his paintings and film on his website
as well as supporting another organizations, such as Smile Train in Honduras. Ian knows
that if one wants to become a persuasive writer or artist, one must learn to master
the art of communication through the use of words and images, determine the
audience, and have a clear stance on the subject at hand to market themselves
effectively. These three practices can be found through Ians work as well as his
collaboration with Smile Trains.
Ian uses his work to communicate more than just his talent. Ians personal work is
broadcasted through his website, ianmayta.com. This site contains a variety of paintings

An Artist and His Work


and films that Ian uses as visual communication to his cliental. One painting in particular
on Ians website Elysian Boulevard, for instance, was painted for a family who wanted to
reminisce on a certain architectural tunnels that was once apart of their daily commute.
Ians painting was intended to help keep that moment within the canvas to remind them
of their journey. Ian uses this painting, and many others, as a tool to advertise his
capabilities as an artist. The painting itself, however, would loose its depth of meaning on
its own if not for the title below it. The title holds equal weight as the image further
enhancing its symbolism. Manuel Au-Young- Oliveira describes the importance of
images and text together as he states, Text without figures leads to incomplete
communication and vice versa-- (Manuel, pp.48-54, 2014). Adding context to an image
helps to further establish both depth and meaning.
Ian first begins his paintings by hours of preparation, communicating with his
client to ensure his understanding of their desires and expectations. Ians paintings are not
only meant to capture a specific image but to also tell a story by bring the feeling behind
it. The image then needs to be translated from the mountain of notes to a visual
representation. These written documents are important for Ian to reference back to during
the process of painting. Lastly, a title is worked in to reinforce the meaning and is
displayed as a reminder on his website to further connect with his clients and the image.
Images are a very powerful tool for communication. Ians logo, which stands out
boldly on the front page, symbolizes his journey of carrying the burden of his own art.
PN Design describes the importance of logos and states these guidelines:
It should be distinctive and easy to spot at a glance. The visuals and imagery should be

An Artist and His Work


appropriate for your company. It should work in harmony with your company name. And
finally the logo should look great in black and white as well as color.
Ians logo communicates with his audience a struggling artist determined to push
through to make it to the top. It is used like a signature on all of his paintings, the end
credits on all of his films, and in is unrelated emails as well, to help further promote his
work. His ultimate goal is that his logo will become a symbol that will encompass his
essence. Ian is aware of the popular saying that, people form an opinion of a company
within the first few seconds (PN design, 2015). Ians goal is that his logo will some day
represent him and all of his work over his life time.
Though Ians fingerprints beam through his personal images, he as an artist has to
learn to become some what of a chameleon. Ian has learned over the years to change as
his audience changes. Audience he explained, is a key factor for all of my work.
Depending on who you are speaking to, you must pay very careful attention to how you
address different types of people. Ian has built close relationship with all of his clients to
better meet their expectations effectively. He understands that, success depends, in part,
on how well [his] strategies, content, tone, and language meet the expectations of that
audience (Lunsford, 2007, p.96). By knowing his audience, Ian is better able to meet
their expectations to further his success as an artist. With his audience in mind, Ian has
carefully planned out the look of his website, down to the very format, color schemes,
and position of all of his material. I wanted to keep things simple, he said, I purposely
stuck to a black and white color scheme to bring out the color of my paintings and
photographs to properly direct my audience. For Ians personal website, he has

An Artist and His Work


experience that his clients have often responded better to a simpler look and feel.
Another example of Ians ability to adapt to his audience is when he is not working
on promoting his own art work, he directs his focus to Smile train. Here Ian helps
promote telemedicine through film in the country of Honduras and encourages Honduran
doctors to take better care of their people. This organization helps to provide surgeries for
children with cleft lips, which is a growing problem in Honduras. Ians contribution to the
organization Smile train involves a documentary he did on the ins and outs of the
surgeries that take place. The film is specifically catered to speak to doctors and
therefore, needs to be concise, accurately stating surgeries and operating functions.
Ians personal website and Smile trains website drastically differ from each other,
both in look and feel, as well as the audiences in which they adhere to. Ians website
represents an artist struggle where Smile train addresses a more global issue. How do
you change so drastically as your audience changes? I ask, impressed after comparing
the two together. Well I ultimately have to give my clients what they want. I take time
first to listen to the over all attitude and message that is desired to shine through each
project. Then I draft a proposal and start shooting.
When beginning the documentary for Smile train, Ian used key tactics, of both
logos, appealing to reason and pathos, the use of emotion in debate/
argument (rhetoric p.56) to effectively get the organizations point across. It is important
to consider the emotions of the audience when first starting a project. [In] terms of an
individuals development [people] are followed by mechanisms of secondary emotions,
which occur once we begin experiencing feelings and forming systematic connections

An Artist and His Work


between categories of objects and situations (Meyers, 2007). These feelings have the
power to move an individual in different directions. When beginning a project, Ian as
well as many other organizations, consider these tactics to effectively communicate their
mission to their audience. At the top of Smile Trains webpage is their slogan We want
our mission to be yours. This statement clearly brings the pathos to heart as they push
the burden of the children in Honduras to the people of the world, in hopes that they
would adopt the same passion for change.
Communication is extremely important when starting a projects. Everything needs
to be clearly stated and outlined and referenced back to. When performing
documentaries, Ian first writes up a proposal of exactly what he will be filming.
Proposals involve a lot of writing but also needs to be broken up with pictures/
storyboarding he told me. I asked him why he felt this was. He says it is because people
today have very short attention spans. They often dont have time to sit and look over all
the information and if he writes up a long proposal lawyers then need to get involved and
the process takes longer. It is important to develop different genres when coming into a
project. Ian has broken up the different steps of a single project into categories or genres.
It is important to establish that different materials need to be tailored according to both its
subject as well as its purpose. Ians proposals are short and divided up with pictures to
save time and to effectively move his project along. Though the proposal needs to be
short, it is the most important part of the entire project for it communicates to the client
the expectations of both parties.
As language is constantly changing, our perception of communication both in visual

An Artist and His Work


and verbal is changing as well. There is a need to revive the way we communicate as new
generations find their way of connecting in society. Ians way of connecting to his
audience is in constant revision as he is constantly finding new ways of communicating
his work. He will always be in the process of mastering the art of communication as he
uses words and images, discovers audience, and refines his purpose on the subject at hand
to market himself effectively. His journey has helped to demonstrate key factors of
communicating effectively with both verbal and visual images.

An Artist and His Work


References

Losh, E., & Alexander, J. (n.d) Understanding rhetoric: A graphic guide to writing
Lunsford, A., & Ruszkiewicz, J. (2007). Everything's an argument: With readings (4th
ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Mayta, I. (n.d.). California.
Interview with Ian Mayta
The Importance of Great logo Design. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2015, from htt://
www.pn-design.co.uk/design_blog_design.html
Au- Yong- Oliveira, Manuel, What if Color Images Become More Important than Words,
March 2014, Vol 6 Issue 1 p48-54
Meyer, M. (n.d.). THE USE OF PATHOS IN CHARITY LETTERS: SOME NOTES
TOWARD A THEORY AND ANALYSIS.