River City Extension at The Stone Pony 2011 poster

I was fortunate enough to have another to opportunity to make a poster for one of my favorite bands, River City Extension. They’ve sort of made it annual thing to come home and play a show at The Stone pony once a year and it’s been falling on the eve of Thanksgiving, and it’s become something that a lot of people, myself included, look forward to. Joe had shared with me his vision of making this show something people would dress up really nicely for .”Something like a wedding invitation” he told me. Not that this is like a typical wedding invitation, but that was the jumping point.

I started by sketching out a few quick ideas, and when I found the one I wanted to run with, I went into illustrator and started making it happen. I don’t normally post the beginnings of things, but I’d like to start, and no better example than this one.

Definitely proof that knowing what you want to do before you start doing it ALWAYS helps. And it’s sort of funny that things really didn’t end up too far from the original sketch.

Hope to see some of you at the show, wearing something sharp, of course. Get your tickets early, these guys have a bad habit of selling out. Also, rumor has it there will be a few of these posters at the show if you’re looking to pick one up.

Live Free Or Die

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I’ve been feeling very inspired by hand painted signage and all things Americana lately, and this weekend was a perfect time to try to incorporate both of those things into something. I’m definitely not the type of person who believes that just because we live in America we are inherently better than anyone else or worth anything more. I’ve come to look at the phrase “God Bless America” with disdain because there’s a whole rest of the world that needs a blessing as well. Sometimes this kind of patriotism just rubs me the wrong way.
However, I do recognize that America is a great country where you are (for the most part) free to be who you are and do what you like. The areas where I feel we are behind are constantly moving forward, and that stuff makes me proud. New Hampshire’s “Live Free Or Die” is my favorite state motto because of it’s simplicity, directness, and truth. Living free is the only way to live. Now go shoot off a few fire crackers before the weekend is done. But be safe, it’s live free OR die, not live free AND die.

Part Time Studios BBQ Themed T-Shirt Show

Doing group shows in general is always fun, let alone those with a theme set to them. Let alone when the theme is BBQ! And all of those things are happening together at Part Time Studios with this T-Shirt show opening on July 1st.

Gulden’s mustard is the best in the world (deal with it Grey Poupon), and although I certainly don’t limit my use of it to strictly barbecues, it’s absolutely a staple to any decent BBQ spread. I changed the spelling to match my own name, because artists can do whatever they want. Actually just because I love puns. Does that qualify as a pun? Who knows, I just did it.

These shirts are going to be a very limited run, so if you’re trying to walk around with mustard on your shirt in a non slob way, make sure you pick one up.

Music Monday 5.16.11 U.S. Royalty

I discovered U.S. Royalty a few months ago and have been listening to them pretty steadily since. Their album Mirrors is a very impressive debut from these D.C. dudes, and I would certainly recommend checking it out. They also have served as the soundtrack to a few of the Gant Rugger seasonal look book videos, which are amazing in their own right. Check out the summer one here. Really great examples of how music and imagery can make a product exciting. You don’t know that you want the clothes as much as you want to be those people. I guess they are doing a perfect job at advertising in that sense. Anyway, I think U.S. Royalty was a perfect choice for the videos.

Music Monday 5.2.11 Charles Bradley

I discovered Charles Bradley after Paste named him one of their favorite artists from SXSW, then I saw this video, and I was hooked. I don’t know how you can hear that song and not be intrigued to listen to more. There’s a very clear and obvious James Brown influence in the way he looks and a bit of a James Brown meets Otis Redding influence in the way he sounds, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Pretty exciting that something like this is happening now. It looks like his shows would be an absolute joy to be at. Check out his moves in this awesome cover of one of my favorite songs of all time, Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold.

I’m trying to talk a little less about what I’m listening to, because really it’s only reason to make something, and more about what it took to make the poster and the struggles I had and the things I’ve learned. For this poster I knew I wanted to have the silhouette of his head take up the majority of the space, and I knew I wanted it to have a rough, painted-looking edge around some parts, but I also intended to have another silhouette of him dancing cutting in from one of the edges. Well, this idea was just NOT working. I tried it in just about every size, from every side, in every angle, and nothing looked right. I was so stuck on this idea and it was really preventing me from getting it right. It wasn’t until I finally let it go and tried something else that I was able to get it right and solve the problem. It didn’t turn out completely the way I imagined it, but it turned out the right way. Never be too attached to an idea just because you thought it would work. If it’s not working, throw it away and try something else, more often than not, you’ll find the right thing to do.

4.25.11 Lupe Fiasco

Sadly, two weeks ago my cousin’s boyfriend died from complications during a bone marrow transplant, after years of battling sickle cell anemia. Words really cannot describe the devastation this brings to everyone who knew either of them. Lateef, you will be missed and your spirit and essence will live on.
At his memorial, Emily told me that if I wanted to know and understand Lateef further, I should listen to Lupe Fiasco’s new album Lasers, which she described as just being “him.” Lupe was his favorite artist and he never got to hear the new album. I love so much that music has the ability to powerfully become a representation of a time or place, and in this case a person. I was excited and honored to be able to listen to Lasers for this very reason. In this sense, the album is remarkable and was absolutely insightful in understanding who Lateef was.
It’s hard to find the right things to say. Whether that be in trying show comfort, or trying to express your own pain, things can become too difficult to put into words. Music has the incredible ability to sometimes just do all of that for you. How amazing it is that this album be so closely knit to a person who should never be forgotten. Take a few minutes and listen to the albums closing track, Never Forget You.

Music Monday 4.18.11 Wye Oak

I finally got the chance to see Wye Oak this weekend when they played in Philly with my friends in Secret Mountains. They’ve been a band that’s been continuously growing on me, to the point now where I’m pretty obsessed. Jenn not only has an incredible voice, but also shreds on guitar. Seriously, they rocked and if you get the chance to see them, do it, one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. They’re really putting a lot of two pieces to shame, not that they’re trying; everything seems extremely effortless.
Their new album Civilian is a an absolute must have for 2011. Possibly my favorite record of the year so far. So take that as you will.

The idea for this poster was entirely influenced by Kirby’s obsessions with finger spelling and sign language.

Music Monday 4.11.11 Sharon Van Etten

I got really into Sharon Van Etten this week. She’s got one of the prettiest voices going right now, and it was putting me in a bit of trance throughout the week. If you’ve never listened to her, please listen, she’s definitely one of those people who once you start listening you feel like you’ve been missing out all along. Like I said, just one of the most calming voices. Unique in her own way without being obnoxiously strange or anything. Just very good.

I did my best to make this poster look like how I feel she sounds. I hate both of her albums’ cover art, because I feel like aside from being dated (and not in a cool way) it so unrepresentative of how she sounds. That always bothers me.

Wye Oak, Callers, Secret Mountains Gig Poster

Jeff asked me if would be interested in making a poster for their upcoming show in Philly with Wye Oak. And that answer will forever be yes. So here is the result of that. This is looking like it could be the show of the year thus far, so I’d really make an effort to be there if you can. This will be my first time seeing Wye Oak, for which I’m very excited and cmon, Secret Mountains are never a let down. See you there.

Nom Now Poster & Wallpaper

I hadn’t made something that was solely Nom Now focused for a little while. So I started working on this poster last week and finished it up last night. And because I love you all so much I made a wallpaper version as well. If you’re looking at this and thinking you’d like it in a size that I don’t have up here, let me know, a re-size is just a few clicks away. Enjoy!

Music Monday 3.21.11 Delicate Steve

Delicate Steve was the opening act for Akron/Family when I caught them at The Blockley in Philly a few weeks ago, and they totally impressed me. More often than not you’re sort of hoping the openers will just shuffle along quickly and quietly so you can see the band you came to see, but Delicate Steve wound up not being one of those bands at all.

I hate to admit, but the name was making me think they were a jam band or something, and that wasn’t really thrilling me, but it took not more than a minute to realize that was  incorrect, and even more so, they were one of the most unique and refreshing sounding bands I’d heard in a while, opener or not. After the show I immediately downloaded their full length Wondervisions, and I’d strongly suggest you do the same. I’ve been listening to this album pretty much non-stop all week, and I bet you’ll do the same.

The idea for this poster came from my favorite song on the album, Butterfly. The slide guitar on the song is so unbelievably good, that every time I listen to it, as soon as the song is over I just want to listen to it again. They have an amazing video for it, and it should be watched now.

I also found myself (like many of you, I’m sure) checking out the new album from The Strokes, Angles. I’ll be the first to admit I forgot The Strokes were a band, but there’s no doubt these guys are as cool as cool gets, and even though this album sounds different than some of their older stuff, it’s still good. However, the album art is pretty bad, which sucks because all of their other album covers have been great. This comes out tomorrow, so you have the rest of today to be a cool guy and get it a day early.

127 Hours Poster

I finally got to see 127 Hours this weekend, and after I did, I thought it would be good to make something in regards to it. Not that this movie poster was in need of a redesign, the one it had was actually really great, but I just wanted to make one in my own style.

If you haven’t seen this movie, make a point to catch it at some point, James Franco is great in it. The movie’s pretty difficult to watch at some parts, and the fact that this is based on a true story makes it even more so.

There’s a very distinct color scheme in the movie which I hope to have captured with this.

Music Monday 2.28.11 Nirvana

I shamefully admit that up until this week I never listened to Nirvana. I mean, I had heard them obviously, I think Smells Like Teen Spirit put them into a world of forever being known, but I never owned any albums and aside from a few singles, I wasn’t familiar with their discography at all. But after an amazing scene from Six Feet Under in which Nate is listening to All Apologies, which might be the best song ever, I wound up familiarizing myself with all their studio albums and loving it.

This poster is a turn style-wise from the ones I’ve been doing recently, but something didn’t seem right when I tried to brainstorm an iconic or fitting illustration to match the dourness of the band. What makes Nirvana Nirvana? All apologies (pun) to Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, but it’s Kurt Cobain. So what better way to represent this band then by using the face of the guy who represents an entire generation? If you’re in the same boat that I was, do yourself a favor and get familiar with this piece of music history. There. Was that cheesy enough for you?

Music Monday 2.21.11 Tyler The Creator

This week I was again all about OFWGKTA but more specifically Tyler The Creator’s album Bastard. If you’re on the internet, I’m sure you’re getting an earful about these guys, but I have to back the masses and say they are quite deserving of any hype they are receiving. I really admire any artist who’s willing to give what they do away. So I wanted to make a poster featuring his now famous green mask, which was shown off to the world when he wore it on Jimmy Fallon, because this has become a staple of his identity as much as the Supreme hats, the tube socks, and floral shirts. Not to lose sight of what hes actually doing, he’s a really good rapper.

Much like everyone else this week I was listening to the new Radiohead album The King Of Limbs. However I’m going to spare you any sort of thoughts I have on it because if you’re anything like me, you can’t decide which you hate more; people glowing over it simply because it’s a new Radiohead album, people bumming out over it because it’s not what they were expecting, or just people talking about it because they feel like they should. I would definitely listen to it and see what you think.

Yellowstone Pendleton Blanket Wallpaper

I’d been pretty overdue for a new wallpaper for some time, and just honestly been forgetting to do anything about it. So this afternoon while I had it on my mind I decided to make another Pendleton Blanket wallpaper. This is the Yellowstone blanket from their line of National Parks Blankets. Above is sized appropriately for your computer, and below is sized for the iPhone, should you be that far into the future. I’ve also tacked on the iPhone wallpaper I did for the Glacier Park blanket, because I had only put it on my tumblr. Hope these breathe some life into your devices.

(iPhone)

(iPad)

(iPhone)

Music Monday 2.14.11 OFWGKTA

OFWGKTA is one of the most interesting and talented group of musicians making music right now. They make their own beats, they record their own music, they do their own art and promotion, they self release all of their albums and then give them away for free, and they tear everything to shreds. This week a new video was released from ring leader Tyler The Creator, and it’s a really great video. One of the best in the recent years. The whole thing is rather simple but it’s such a great idea and seems to fit everything perfectly. Just watch it. These guys are gonna be on Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night. If you can stay up that late, reward yourself. If not, you can check the internet the following day, like I’ll be doing. I think everything about these guys is fantastic and they’re going to take the music world for a spin.

Update: Thanks to the powers of tumblr, I just got an email from Julian Berman, friend of OFWGKTA and the photographer of the shot I used to start this illustration. I’d like to point out that Julian was totally cool about this and instead of going all AP vs Shepard Fairey on me, he only asked for some much due credit. This guy is taking all sorts of incredible photos, so check him out.

I got Toro y Moi’s new album this week, something I’d been pining for. Get it? Underneath The Pine. This album is different from the last in the sense that it seems songs were written with the intent of being played with a live band. This is somewhere between Causers Of This and the Daytrotter Session he did. If you liked his other stuff, there’s no reason you won’t like this.