Before I started on my draft logo, the one thing that was unsettling in my mind was the selection of the perfect illustration to be used as my logo in order to represent my passion and pride in Polynesian cultural dances, but most especially my traditional Samoan dance. I kept adding and removing shapes and objects back and forth in hopes to get an idea of what my logo actually would be.
I started laying out a rectangle then some circles to accompany it, and then it slowly got to me that those shapes reminded me of something. I reflected back to one of the previous projects I’ve had in this class, and I came across my final collage project and spotted an image that suited the shapes that I had put together. It was the picture of me wearing the headdress, during my traditional Samoan dance. The main thing that caught my attention for the logo was not the entire image as it appeared, but the looks of the headdress. It was then that I immediately settled for the headdress as a representation of my logo, but most of all, my topic.
With a rectangle and a total of 3 circles I have already laid out, I started building the looks of the traditional Samoan headdress using brushes to sketch the face and solid fills to complete the looks of the objects. To be clear, the headdress is hand-made with feathers, shells, pearls, and human hair. You can add more items to it, but the human hair is a must to be included. As you can see on my draft logo, I have added some starfish using the star shape to complete the headband, and a necklace (made out of a pig’s teeth) to accompany the headdress and the girl’s face. The pig’s teeth were formed from rectangles, which were expanded to form teeth-shaped objects. The headdress logo was then created, but I had finalized it by placing a large circle with a gradient fill behind the headdress to surround it in order to enhance the headdress and give it a more interesting look.
I absolutely love my Samoan culture, but when it comes to choosing one of its aspects that I value the most, I would say, the traditional dance or the Siva Samoa. Siva is the Samoan word for dance, but it also refers to a particular type of dance in which the performer usually stands and enacts an everyday activity. As depicted in one of the images selected for my final graphic collage, the performer usually wears a tuiga, a headdress made of feathers, shells, pearls, and human hair. Growing up, I was mostly selected by the elders and often volunteered to perform the siva samoa and dressed in my cultural attire. According to the picture of myself wearing the headdress, that was actually my last Siva Samoa performed back home, before I moved to Washington for college. I feared the fact that it would’ve been my last opportunity to embrace one of my favorite cultural aspects; however, I was wrong.
When I arrived at Washington State University, the Multicultural Student Services introduced WSU’s Pacific Islanders Club on my last day of my Fall Alive orientation. I was extremely excited and very grateful for the opportunity offered at WSU not only to embrace my cultural dance, but also the cultural dances of the many Pacific Islands. I immediately joined the club, and was recruited as one of the Pacific cultural dance teachers for the Pacific Islanders Club. On the bottom right hand corner of my graphic collage is featured a total of five ladies including myself, posted in front of the WSU sign and dressed in red and black puletasis (Samoan two-piece daily attire for women). That is our team of dance teachers for PIC at WSU. One of the major annual events at WSU that we prepare most of our dances for is the Dad’s Weekend, which occurs usually in the month of November.The top 2 images of my graphic collage were taken at PIC’s Dad’s Weekend Luau events. The picture of me dressed in a coconut bra, hula skirt, and a headband was taken during my fast Tahitian solo number in 2010. The picture of me and my PIC dancers in green was one of our recent performances, the Hawaiian slow hula, in 2011.
In contrast from my draft graphic collage, I have maintained my background image, a picture of my homeland- the island of American Samoa, but I have put more strength into the looks of the image by adding some more vibrance and saturation to it. I have disregarded one of my group performances images with a more interesting one (PIC ladies dressed in green), and focused more on adding creative and faded edges on it. According to the two pictures of myself, I have separated the images from their original backgrounds, so to give a more different, but attractive look to the overall collage. And it is with great excitement that I share this graphic collage to embrace the passion that I have for my Pacific cultural dances, whether or not I am in or out of the islands. For there is saying that goes- “You can take the girl out of the island, but you can never take the island out of the girl.”
Here is an initial setup of my graphic collage composed of 5 images, which includes an edited background image and 4 other edited photos. The main focus of my photo collage is to portray the cultural aspect that I value the most wherever I go, which is dancing. Therefore, I started with the selection of my background image. I chose the map of my homeland, because it gives a bigger picture as to where I am originally from. With the background image editing, I worked mostly with the adjustment levels, basically because I wanted the image to standout since I have chosen it as the background photo. I changed the brightness and contrast levels a lot, and added a little bit of vibrance and saturation to it. I figured that the next step I should take is to slightly blur it so that the images on the collage will stand out a little more. As for the collage images, I thought it would be interesting if I could place an image of a plumeria (most common flower in the South Pacific Islands), a picture of myself in my cultural wear, an image of my Pacific Islanders club (PIC) dancers, and another photo of myself along with the ladies of the PIC (in orange) performing at the Dad’s Weekend Luau held at WSU. I figured that the image of the plumeria would give a more island-look to my collage, whereas the rest of the images would altogether give a clear portrait of how I have embraced cultural dancing wherever I go. I have spiced each and every image up a little bit mostly by adjusting the levels and opacity. One of the images that was sort of different was the picture of myself with the headdress. I wanted to do a separation of the image and the background just because the picture didn’t involve anyone else but me and my cultural wear. I hope to add more touch ups and effects on every image so that it would bring out the best island-look that would perfectly reflect my blog post topic.
Here are my completed tutorials: