The Modern Art Nouveau

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a blog, but finally here it is. The inspiration for this entry is a mini project in the style of Art Nouveau!  I had the realization that this design form is over 100 years old, and I wondered what that would look with today’s technology, using illustration and photo manipulation. After plenty of research, saving pins to Pinterest, and learning about the various style details, I decided to see what I could create in between my other photo projects. These images were created to be 19”x38” and look great in print! Thank you Joe-lynn Design Fine Art and Canvas Prints (facebook fanpage here)

First, I filtered through some of the many images that I already had to find one that would work with this style. A century ago, there was a new Japanese influence (actually termed, Japonism) in the West with the opening of Japan’s harbours for trade. Not only were goods and services exchanged…but also art. Artists such as Matisse, Van Goghs, Tissot, Renior, etc were influenced by the exposure of this new culture’s art and style. It made sense to use an image of our spring shoot that was in the Japanese theme. I had to use lots of nature, flowing lines, the right typeface for the period, tons of detail, making the photo look more like an illustration, plus the addition of texture and brush marks for the glue that would have been applied to an advertisement then. To me, this is the most accurate depiction of that style from the series. Also there was the added bonus of having this done for the birthday of Style Hunter Fox – Happy Birthday Monique! It was handy to reuse the illustrated flowers from my graphic design study with the Edmonton College of Art and Design – students keep those resources and always do nondestructive editing in Photoshop! Check Style Hunter Fox through her fanpage and Instagram.

Art Nouveau - Model, Hair, Makeup, Wardrobe Styling: Style Hunter Fox, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka
Art Nouveau – Model, Hair, Makeup, Wardrobe Styling: Style Hunter Fox, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka

For The Faery Tale – Angel Fox, I modernized the concept a bit by keeping the photo as a photo, not an illustration, keeping the image and style crisp. I enjoyed making all the details. The faery ring that surrounds her took quite a while but I found ways to speed up the processes. Although it’s a dark image, I think it still has a magical feel to it. The night sky, fairy dust, and lots of little faeries achieve that. Thanks so much Alison for a fun photoshoot last October and being a great friend! You can follow Angel Fox through Instagram.

Art Nouveau - Model: Alison, Makeup and Hair: Style Hunter Fox, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka
Art Nouveau – Model: Alison, Makeup and Hair: Style Hunter Fox, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka

Zombiechick – was a play to make something devilish…not as purely wholesome as the other pieces. It happened that I had a selection of slightly evil, but sexy images that I took at the beginning of the year with Alt model Zombiechick. It’s her style and I hope she likes it! Being a bit of a conspiracy enthusiast (I like hearing about the theories, I don’t necessarily believe in them), I added the Illuminati eye, and text written in Babylonian translated from English; David Bowie’s song “Blackstar”. Lots of details, but less of a “nature” theme than the typical style of art nouveau. I think it really works with the added wash and texture effects. Check out more From Zombie Chick through her Fanpage and Instagram accounts.

Art Nouveau - Model: Zombiechick, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka
Art Nouveau – Model: Zombiechick, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka

Tatianna is a stripped down version in its simplicity and the opposite in theme from Zombiechick. The photo was taken from a recent photoshoot, with Tatianna, whom I worked with for the first time. It’s always fun to take action photos of the model in motion, though tiring for her jumping so much! Watch for more of her photos on my Instagram and Facebook fanpage. For this image I added some very simple nature accents for the border. Blowing cherry blossom petals, and windbars seen in Japanese style tattoos. Though it doesn’t have the overflow of details that a lot of art nouveau typically has…I think the simplicity still reflects the style. Please follow Tatianna’s Instagram account!

Art Nouveau - Model: Tatianna, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka
Art Nouveau – Model: Tatianna, Photographer and Photo Manipulation: Dano Tanaka

I loved doing this mini project for myself! It’s great to take creative breaks, try and learn new techniques for improving my Photoshop workflow, and get back to my roots in graphic design using both Adobe Illustrator CS5 and Photoshop CC. Working as a photographer in Winnipeg, it can be bleak and freezing in the winter months…causing me to go outside even less than the rest of the year. This was a great distraction where it was necessary to take hours of research, plus trial and error for finding what works with the style. I’d love to make more images…and feedback from those who had seen sneak peeks, they felt these had a “tarot card” look, which makes sense.  That gives me another avenue to potentially make more related images!

Let me know what you think of this set – and please connect to chat about your personal/business project or photoshoot!

The Mondano Martini

The Mondano Martini

Why we made what we consider the best Martini!

When not in the photostudio, and especially on the cold Winnipeg winter nights, or hot summer days for that matter…The Mondano Martini evolved from the love of burnt, fine gin Martini’s that Style Hunter Fox and myself both share. Plus if you’ve been following my Instagram account, you may have seen that I can be a bit of #MartiniSnob.

DSC_3964InstwebAfter experimenting for at least 6 months – rating, tasting, and exploration into ideas of how to make it better. Style Hunter Fox found a gin the we both preferred…Williams Extra Dry Fine Gin – more fragrant in juniper than Hendricks…and so smooth! I felt that if we combined the Williams with another gin, we could make the bottle last longer (since it is a topshelf gin that isn’t sold in larger than 750ml bottles)… Discovering Gordon’s and it’s long history of fine distillery, it provided a clean additive. Still not completely satisfied, London No. 1 gin was a favourite choice…plus the added benefit of adding a slight blue tint when mixed.

Mondano Martini

Originally using vermouth, it was poured into the ice and shaker then shaken to slightly “coat” the materials…and dumped out. Another method, a small spritzer of vermouth over the glasses adding the vermouth at the end. Finally we decided that vermouth wasn’t needed at all and removed it from the recipe.

There was lots to experiment with the “burn”. I like to add a small amount of the burn alcohol to the glass, swirl it to coat the inside of the glass. Traditionally scotch is used, we tried Johnny Walker Red Label, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, then to Crown Royal. Jamison’s Irish Whiskey worked really well and does not distract from Williams. In the end we went with Drambuie…a far cry from scotch or whiskey…but there was a rare time where we didn’t have lemons for the peal, what was in the fridge was grapefruit…Drambuie seemed like it would add a complimentary flavour to flamed grapefruit peal oil…and it was a hit!

The process of making the Mondano Martini

I start by prepping the grapefruit peal, a thin slice with none of the fruit.

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The peel is thick enough to produce a healthy squirt of oil to ignite over a flame. Personally, the temperature of the gin and glassware is really important. I prefer to store the shaker, martini glasses, and gin in the freezer (I’d love to try a -30C martini sometime). The idea is that we like the small ice chunks that are formed with the shaking process. However with everything so cold, there is nothing to melt…add in a small amount of water to crushed ice in the shaker before the gin, until these small chunks and crystals are formed. The gin is added, shake again – until your hands hurt from the cold (this “bruises” the gin and if you want to read why this might be ok, here is a cool article on that), prep the glasses with the burning process, prep the grapefruit zest, shake the gin again, and pour into the glasses, every last drop! Then ignite the oil from the lemon peel…it makes a bit of a show but really activates the flavours from the peal oil.

From there I expect the glass to be slightly uncomfortable to hold with the stem but not impossible – due to the cold. However indoors you have the first 5 min to enjoy a super cold beverage, then about 10 min of just a cool drink…but we wouldn’t want our lips stuck to the glass right?!

If you think there should be a video for how to make this, comment below!

Torn – Heartache Photoshoot

Nothing worth anything comes easily. Style Hunter Fox and I have had a pretty public romantic relationship…unfortunately the time has come for us to put that aside and find the way to remain each other’s best friend. We’ve been finding the way for the past month, will continue to support each other, and definitely will go out for events together. How could we not, after all, having so much in common?

Why things couldn’t work out is personal, but it isn’t anyone’s fault. When you love someone you want them to be happy even if it means a change to the relationship.

DanoTanaka and Style Hunter Fox - Torn Photo Series
This photoshoot was the idea of Style Hunter Fox the day after the break up. Heartbreak and depression are themes we hadn’t explored before. Coincidentally, I had just questioned if I could continue to do photography, and continue to be a photographer in Winnipeg. So, with a chuckle that she knows me so well, we planned to shoot that night.

These photos reflect the anguish, depression, fear of being alone, strength, hope, calmness, and love that we have. Holding on to the idea that we will remain best friends has been a tough, but important, factor in healing and moving together in this new direction. Usually I like to make clean, 100% properly posed images…this set is raw and not choreographed. It has a disjointed feel but it’s not suppose to be a pretty photoshoot. Shot with an auto-timer, or we took turns hitting the shutter, the hardest thing for us to do in this shoot was to not offer comfort to each other during the process and capture the raw emotions we were both feeling.

DanoTanaka and Style Hunter Fox - Torn Photo Series

People might ask, “Who does a break up photoshoot?! Who does this nude?!” Well…we do! It’s what we do, and how we best communicate thoughts and feelings, through art. This is raw, real, and has helped us work out our demons to make us closer…even in friendship.

Website Revamp!!!

Hello Everyone, after long last the website is not only being updated with new content, but a completely new look! There will finally be a blog area as I keep hearing friends and fans say that I should do one…as well as lots of new areas! For now this is the bare bones template from WordPress, but my good friend Rachael Vondracek from Aeon Marketing is hard at work on the redesign. Her work is fantastic and as someone that’s studied digital design I can’t wait to see what she comes up with, her work is pretty fantastic! For now, this template will do!

Check back often…I plan to upload a lot in the next few weeks! Remember it is a work in progress!