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Michael James Estrada, graphic design

Artist Statement

I chose to create a publication for my BFA exhibition because I aspire to a career in a publication. I came up with the idea to create a publication titled “Examine Magazine” composed of eight chapters commenting on sensitive topics in 21st Century America, topics being religion (Christianity), temptation, technology, modern parenting, divorce, abortion, education, and the media. “Commentary Magazine” ultimately inspired my decision to produce this publication. With “Examine Magazine” I wanted to fully develop and expand on an idea of substance so that my future employer can see not only what I am capable of conceptually, but also my ability to dedicate myself to a project of complexity that showcases my capabilities in communicating ideas, stylizing, and problem solving through use of space, type, and image. I created this publication however not only to provide as a portfolio piece for what I am capable of technically, but also to make a positive impact on those that read it.  I created this publication with a hope to captivate minds and provoke healthy conversation, rather than add to a plethora of predictable, and shallow publication works such as Entertainment Weekly, People, Lucky, and Us.
   “Examine Magazine” is eight chapters of commentary that display my technical use of type, space and image.  Each of these chapters has it’s own “spread” which is a 22in x 17in sheet of paper folded in the middle at eleven inches, thus creating two pages. Illustrations are first completed in Adobe Illustrator. They are then imported into Adobe Photoshop where they are textured and/or bitmapped through channels.  Text created in Adobe InDesign is then imported into the Photoshop file where the spread is completed. 3D text is created and rendered in Photoshop with the 3D tool.  

    In “Tree of Knowledge,” the chapter commenting on temptation, I display a culmination of my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences with temptation, including observations that I have made from the experiences of others such as political figures, celebrities, middle class citizens, upper class citizens, and the impoverished.  I feel that what I have to say may enlighten someone and/or answer questions that would be beneficial to be answered.  I have accompanied this text with an illustration of a poor, vulnerable old lady in the midst of being persuaded by a doctor and a businessman to enter a city of sin where they and the knowledgeable can make money from her naivety.  I approached the remaining chapters in the same fashion, offering my personal insight into a particular topic with a body of text that coexists with a relevant illustration.  In displaying these spreads I will utilize the Saginaw Valley State University Graphics Center in helping me print them onto foam-core board.  Mockups of how the spreads would look in an actual magazine will be incorporated into the exhibition as well.

    The general inspiration for creating “Examine Magazine” came from “Commentary Magazine,” an American magazine composed of stories on American politics, social, and cultural issues. The cover illustrator for “The New Yorker”, Istvan Banyai, inspired my implementation of illustration within “Examine Magazine.” Herb Lubalin’s type has had a profound impact on my use of type in the way it is pieced together like a puzzle, as it is in “Playing with God.”. The body of text takes on a unique and interesting shape of it’s own, of which complements the topic the text reports on. The French 19th Century painter, Paul Gauguin, and Ernst Kirchner, the 20th Century German Expressionist, have also influenced my decision to create a social commentary publication, as well as color palettes.  In certain spreads I allowed Kirchner’s arbitrary color choices to act as inspiration, especially in “Treat Yourself”, where eerie moods are evoked through grungy greens and browns.  Paul Gauguin’s color harmonies have inspired the majority of my color choices in their profound sense of mystery.  Inspiration from Gauguin is especially evident in the perplexing atmosphere of “No Education, No Respect,” where tranquil color illustrates an abandoned playground.

    I am motivated to remain inspired and passionate in further elaborating on my palette of choices for approaching type, image and composition.  I continue to grow as an artist by studying those that came before me while simultaneously expanding on the latest trends in contemporary art.  I am always looking to elevate my capabilities while still commenting on the world around me with positive intentions.
I was born and raised in Saginaw, MI.  In the six years I attended SVSU I attained a plethora of knowledge and I learned a lot about myself.  This school strengthened me as a person and molded me into a focused, resilient competitor as a graphic designer.  I will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. After graduation I plan to start working immediately, preferably for a design firm in either New York, New York, Miami, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona or San Diego, California. I have only reached the end of the beginning.  I am excited for the long winding road that awaits me.

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(989) 964-2291(989) 964-2291

UAG Coordinator

Department of Art

Shaun Bangert, Chair


University Art Gallery
Arbury Fine Arts Center
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