The Art of Gifts

My best friend’s birthday recently passed, and I was stuck on what to get him. He just graduated high school, so I thought about getting him something for his dorm next year, but I didn’t want to just get him a poster or a tapestry and have that be it. I wanted to give him something interesting and cool, something I knew he’d really love. The night before his birthday, I had an epiphany.

In the game Cards Against Humanity, there’s a white answer card that simply says “Kanye West”. This is my best friend’s favorite card because he loves Kanye. He loves this card so much that he has taken to ‘collecting’ them, meaning if you own the game and play with him, you’ll never see that card again. When I remembered this, suddenly everything came together: Kanye + dorm decor = unique poster that no one else will have.

It was a race against time. That night, I found a picture of Kanye performing that I thought was cool. Now, I have absolutely no idea how to use Photoshop, and I only have the free app on my phone. I am not a digital art person, so i really had no idea what I was doing. I began playing around with it, figuring out how to extend the smoke from the stage and create an appealing transition into transparency. While I couldn’t figure out how to create a smooth gradient, I decided to create layers of the smoke, with each one becoming more transparent. I actually ended up really liking this because it looks like layers of ink or watercolor. My plan was to put the card on top of it and merge them together. I couldn’t find a picture of the card online, so I waited for my friend to find it and send me a picture of it. She was only able to send it to me the next day while we were out for his birthday. So, in the middle of an arcade, I was on my phone tracing the small letters of the logo so that it would be dark enough to stand out against the image I was adding to it. Once it was done, I raced home to upload it to my computer so that I could get it printed at Walgreens before I had to go back to his house for cake.

It might have been an last minute idea, but I really like how it came out, and so did he. I love that I was able to give him something that he’d be able to use that also included an inside joke. I think the best gifts are those that have some meaning behind it, to show how much you care about them. I feel so grateful that I can use art to achieve this and give back to my friends and family. Here’s the final image of the poster, I hope you guys like it!

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