As expressed in my previous column, I'm not a fan of vaping. After covering the Healthy Hometown efforts to update nicotine use in the Lakes Area, it's not easy to ignore the headlines. People are being hospitalized with respiratory issues if not simply dying, and there seems to be a link to vaping. Health authorities are being cautious in pointing the finger – at least in my opinion – but they are noting the cases are most likely due to chemical exposure. So, it's all the more disappointing more local governments in our area didn't want to update their clean air policies for public spaces because they were worried about enforcement. That's right, people are dying from this stuff – and let's not forget the Surgeon General said vaping has harmful second-hand effects just like regular cigarettes – but we're going to let it slide because we don't know how to go about enforcing the law. Admittedly, I've never served on a city council, but I'm sure enforcing a ban on e-cigarettes would work exactly like a ban on combustible cigarettes. And I might point out, each of the cities already does that.
What's more, e-cigarette flavoring pods are being marketed to children, according to many critics, just like cigarettes were marketed to children for decades. We jumped on that issue in my lifetime, but we're sluggish on this one. Folks, it's not even that different of a product. It's a new delivery system. Researchers have found a good number of the products which are supposedly nicotine free still contain nicotine. This trend might have started as a way to kick the habit, but Big Tobacco found a way to get you hooked on the cure and make a profit while doing it. I might not have mentioned, but the parent company of Phillip Morris and Marlboro bought $12.8 billion in stock for 35 percent of the Juul e-cigarette company – the most popular on the market – on Dec. 20 last year. Just one day beforehand, it discontinued production of its competing e-cigarette, the MarkTen.
It's the same old song and dance folks – now in a spiffy now package.
Bleed prints aren't always an easy thing to wield. If this panel had been vertical, I doubt it would have had as much power. Color and line quality were particularly important in this piece. That cigarette but is really only recognizable because of the hue and texture of the wrapping. I'm particularly proud of how convincing the bends in the paper are. As for the line work, I needed to make some adjustments to the brush settings in order to give the ash a grittier feel. I found that contrasted very well with the sleek lines of the vaping components (for anyone unfamiliar, vaping pens can't just be attached to a cigarette, but I'm making the statement that they're essentially the same thing).
You'll also notice one of the digital techniques I learned in college (and by college I mean following online tutorials in my dorm room because digital painting had yet to be truly integrated into fine art curriculum). Multiple applications of the wave filter on various settings will still produce one contiguous form, but adding in a fade effect between waves will produce a visual very much like smoke. After getting to that point, I skewed the image as a whole to fit the space I needed and create an element which kept the viewer's eye in a constant visual loop. Still not satisfied, I created a custom brush tip to add speckles of ash to the smoke for a little more scale and texture. Lastly, the bleed print needed something to stabilize it, so I added the blurry indicatoion of a ground plain.
I was able to finish this one in a single, three-hour sitting...I think. I was getting pretty into this one.
Thanks for reading.