The guys from Brick + Mortar asked me to make a poster for their show next month at the always fun Asbury Lanes. For those of you who don’t know, B+M are a two piece band whose music can accurately be described as indescribable. One of the few bands who you can say don’t fit into a genre and not have that be a lame attempt to make a band sound more interesting than they really are. Brick + Mortar are in fact on of the most interesting and talented bands I’ve seen. And Asbury Lanes, of course, is an old bowling alley converted to do shows. The stage is actually right on top of the lanes. Definitely the coolest Asbury venue.
The start of baseball season and the vibe of the retro venue both played parts in the creation of this poster.
In past week I’ve had a series of some very curious occurrences dealing with a band I’ve been trying to fully grasp for years now, Danielson. Ever since I’ve found out that Daniel is from the area I’m living, I’ve been hoping for Danielson to put on some sort of show in town. And this past Thursday, I nearly got the chance to see that. It turns out that Kirby’s friend’s husband is in the band. Which is unbelievable. So anyway, I hear (at the last moment) that this show is happening, but by the time I get there, it’s looking like I just missed it. This is confirmed when I walk in and ask the person closest to the door I entered, who turns out to be Kirby’s friend!? Even more unbelievable. So I got to meet her and her husband Andy, and we talked for a little bit, and he filled me in on the latest and greatest of Danielson. Not the least of which being their new album Best Of Gloucester County. Which rules. It’s been 5 years since the last Danielson album and this all just seemed to come at a perfect time. I have been reminded why I love this band. Another perfectly strange but completely awesome album from the mind of Daniel Smith. They are playing at Johnny Brenda’s on April 17th if you’re interested, I’ll be there.
This poster gave me some trouble for a little bit. I spent a lot of time reworking a lot of things, but I’m glad it finally got resolved. Sometimes everything just doesn’t come to you on the first shot. And being able to work around that is important. Plus, figuring out how something works is rewarding in the same way doing a puzzle is. Hope you dig, and check out the new album, for real.
So upon the recommendation of just about everyone, I gave Kanye West’s new album a few more listens. I’m not exactly sure how my tone came off a few weeks ago so I want to make this clear: I think this a good album, and probably one of the better of the year. But I don’t think it’s this year’s best… I don’t even think it’s his best. But it is good. There’s something to it, that you can get behind the songs that you don’t even really like that much. I think it’s a creative album by most standards, but not all. It’s funny to me that it’s getting showered with the compliments of how unique it is, but in comparison to some truly unique acts, I think it still falls short.
Again though, it’s good.
The idea for this poster came from the couple of Egyptian references Kanye makes on the song Monster, which I just couldn’t get enough of. You may also notice this is in the style of the last poster I did for him. I don’t know if it makes sense to say this or not, but the album sounds very black and red to me, and I think it would be cool to do a few more that fit this style of illustration.
Kirby’s dad lent me a few albums that he loves, that he thought I might enjoy, one of which being Eat A Peach by The Allman Brothers Band. He had told us that he wanted their song Blue Sky to play at his funeral. And even though that’s strangely sort of morbid to think of at this point, the song is pretty awesome, and would probably be the coolest funeral song ever. This album is southern rock, perhaps at it’s finest.
Brick + Mortar, who I know I’ve talked about before, are just one of the most creative and talented bands out there right now. They are emerging from the Asbury/New Jersey music scene and gaining a lot of deserving recognition and respect. If you have the chance to catch these guys, I would certainly not miss the opportunity. I actually had the fortune of seeing them twice over this Thanksgiving break. Once at The Stone Pony, and two nights later at a bar in Seaside. It was awesome to see that even in two completely different venues, one with a stage and an intense sound system, and the other with neither, they still performed great and made each environment work for them. I took some video of them from The Stone Pony, and I think it’s best you check them out. John Tacon is an absolute crazy person on the drums.
So I got to work with NJ funny man, personality, and all around nice dude, Taylor Allen, on this poster for his radio show, Attack Of The Soundtrack. He came to me with not much more than name of the show, the idea of a record with teeth, and the free range to do something cool. I love when clients are so kind.
If you’re into laughing, music, movies, or any combination of these things, check out the radio show. Taylor is a great guy and quite deserving of your attention.
Two nights ago I got into a fight on Facebook. Not something I’d normally be proud of (necessarily ;)), but it was one of those instances where you are unable to hold back and you know you are signing yourself off for a night of back and forth arguing. I’m sure you can tell the nature of the argument by looking at the poster, but if it’s unclear, a girl was claiming that people aren’t born gay, that it’s a choice you make, and on top of it all, it’s wrong.
The fact that people believe this is appalling to me, and so for better or worse I entered into what became a huge debate between me and some future members of the Westboro baptist church. I don’t know if it got anywhere (arguments online rarely do) but I felt glad that I stood up against something I believed was absolutely wrong. My final input to this 80 plus comment bomb, was a single line informing her that I was deleting her as a friend.
You’re not going to talk much sense into people like this, they’re too caught up in their own twisted belief, but one question that no one cared to answer was the one on the poster above. It seems simple enough to answer… or not. But in its unanswerable quality, you kind of see where I’m going with it.
So a few things… I hope you’ve all remembered to wear purple today, it’s a seemingly small action, but anything raising awareness is not only important, but integral. Secondly, be brave in confronting people, standing up for what you believe, and do not be afraid to take the leap and delete anyone on facebook who is holding onto these ideas of hate and homophobia. You’re better off without them.
I’m beyond looking for tolerance and am looking for complete equality and acceptance.
Parades are kind of a funny thing. People walk or drive by, and you look at them. There’s lots of noise and lots of things that you look at and think “this parade would have been the same or better had I not just saw this.” However, marching bands are not one of those elements and that’s the reason I went to this. My sister’s band was marching in it, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see that. The rest of the parade was kind of ridiculous. There was tons of Italian pride, both good and bad, and plenty of people representing what could only be described as “The Old Country.” There was also an unpredictable amount of old men going in circles.
The absurdity of the Christopher Colombus story only grows stronger year by year, and more and more people are realizing he’s not quite worthy of much, let alone a holiday. However, this day is thankfully transforming into a day to realize this and talk about the injustice done to the Native Americans. Hopefully one day the holiday will be completely turned over to a day of awareness. That’s a parade I’d be glad to attend.
This past weekend was my Dad’s 50th birthday. Sort of. Technically his birthday is this Thursday but to make things work we surprised him by coming home for the weekend and got to spend some really nice time together. Saturday we went to Russo’s orchard to do some very important October things. I think of all the seasonal changes, Summer turning into Fall feels the best.
Anyway, this was a really great weekend with my family. Happy Birthday Dad.
Sufjan Stevens released another album. Am I surprised? Well actually, surprisingly, no. By now I’m not surprised by anything he does, or how, or when he does it. He’s producing such a high quantity of quality. So much on both accounts that it’s left him fairly unparalleled. The Age Of Adz is his latest; a proper full length (his first since Illinois some could argue) and it’s on a different page from anything we’ve heard yet. It’s Enjoy Your Rabbit meets The BQE meets All Delighted People. But more importantly it’s just really good. I’m certain that we’ll be teaching Sufjan Stevens to our future music majors of the world, and I’m even more certain we’ll be hearing Chicago at high school football games half time shows in 2050. Probably sooner. I’m sure it’s already happened.
Anyway, I wanted to make something that touched on not only the very electronic side of Sufjan, but also the colorful and layered nature to all his music.
This weekend I got to spend some much needed time with some of my favorite people in the world, including my new favorite family, The Louxs. Jesse is a friend of mine from many many years ago, and now he and his girlfriend have a son. Pretty amazing.
They live in Pennsylvania, but one of the parts where you can go twenty minutes in one direction and you’re in what feels like West Virginia. Quite a different world. Anyway, these are just a few shots from the weekend, but Ian wound up taking a ton and sticking them on his facebook, so if you want to check those out…. here’s the link to do so.
This weekend I found myself back in Beachwood. The caterpillars were plentiful and preparing to make their cocoons in the parsley, and as you can see, they’re quite remarkable looking little guys.
My Dad and I went fishing on Saturday, and while the actual fishing stunk, it was good to be outside in the nice weather. I’m starting to feel convinced that Winding River Park only has one very large fish in it who could care less about eating anything. Nonetheless, I still love being in that park. Another great weekend.
This past weekend I went to my parents house to grab a few things I needed to bring to the new apartment, most importantly: another set of bookshelves. Anyway, I wanted to take a few shots of the cats, the house, the backyard, my trip there and back, just basically anything that made up the little trip. Hope this serves as a peek into what I was up to and gives you a little representation of what it’s like there.
Inspired by some actual good times on the reg and of course the great Kenny Powers, from where the phrase was born (seriously, watch Eastbound And Down if you don’t already) this poster was created. Since I originally heard the phrase, it hasn’t left my mind and it will almost always make me laugh. Plus like I said, this summer has been filled with actual good times.
This is another poster that sold out at the show, and I’m going to make the same offer I did with my Shattered poster, if you think you’d like to see this 18 x 24 hanging on your wall, let me know, and I will keep you in mind when ordering new ones. Anybody own a boat? I’m looking to make “Yachts On The Reg”.
So a few weeks ago, I went down to Ocean City for a day trip to the beach with some of my favorite people in the world. I brought my camera because I wanted to get some texture shots, but I wound up taking a few more pictures than that, and these are some of my favorites.
I’m not sure when the next time is I’m going to the beach, but hopefully soon, this day was one of the best of the summer so far.
This week was all about Wisdom Tooth. John’s long awaited album release show was this past wednesday, which finally allowed me to get a copy of his newest work Baby Neptune. I have to say, he’s really outdone himself this time. In production quality, songwriting, artwork, basically the whole package has been brought to a new level, though I’m not surprised. John is a good friend of mine, so this is going to sound bias, but you need to get his new album, because it quite worthy of your time. Fortunately/Unfortunately this is a record that whatever I say isn’t going to do it any justice, you just need to hear it. Great work John!
As far as the rest of this goes, worthy of mention is Brick + Mortar an insane 2 piece band tearing up the Asbury music scene right along side bands like River City Extension. This band is literally unbelievable and I HIGHLY recommend you listening to them.
I was passed some new Dark Surfers tracks from my boy Brian, apparently before Yapes got them (soooooo VIP), and much like the new Wisdom Tooth album, this is something else coming out of Trenton that I can’t wait for.
Get me on last.fm if you want to check compatibility.
Last weekend I went to a park in Pitman to take a few photos for some projects I’m working on. I was sorting through them a little last night and came across a few that I had no use for as far as what I originally needed. So I used a couple of them and made this. I had been looking to make something involving our mantra of sorts, “Realize. Create. Beautfiy.” and this finally felt right.
Here’s a little poster I made for the Seaside Music Festival, which is actually today. I forgot about this thing until now, and while this isn’t really doing much as far as getting you there at this point (although you still could go), I just wanted to let you have a look see.
Had the pleasure of working with these two fresh bands from the Toms River area on a DIY project they were undertaking. I’m actually really pumped with how this turned out, and it’s a good example of how you can make something look good on a budget. This has started being sold at shows a few weeks ago, so if you can catch either of them live, check this thing out.
In fact, there’s a big show in 2 weeks with these guys, and River City Extension in Baville. It’s on all their myspaces if you need more information. It’s also for my birthday, so I’d like nothing more than to see all of my friends.
This past weekend I took a trip into the city with my brother in graphic design, Mike Smith, along with a few helpful friends to continue the spread of Nom Now. I’m kind of a baby (at least for right now) when it comes to this stuff, but I wanted to help further this idea as much as I could, so I decided to film it and compile a video. It documents the work, and immortalizes the often short life of street art. Nom Now is all about making yourself a better person and the world a better place. These posters are largely inspirational. Those two facts are far from being new notions, but the approach to them is what sets them apart. These aren’t the inspirational posters hanging in your elementary school classroom. I hope this inspires all of you to become active and creative. No one is going to give you permission to make the world a better place, you just need to go ahead and do it.
Keep an open eye for this stuff, it’s popping up everywhere.
Many of you already know who Michael Ritacco is, and are quite familiar with his latest brush with the law. For those of you who don’t, he’s the superintendent of the Toms River Regional Board of Education. In other words, he’s the biggest name in all of Toms River regional schools.
A few days ago his house was raided by both the FBI and the IRS for what we are told is part of an investigation for corruption. This honestly comes as no surprise, and raises more of an “it’s about time” reaction. I know that coming from the perspective of students, parents, and teachers, Ritacco often came off as pompous to say the least. He’s the kind of guy who has an enormous building, that became the centerpiece of the school district, built and named after himself, but can’t provide new books to the high schools. Looking for a few more kickers? In addition to his wife, he’s got a girlfriend…her house was also searched. And oh yeah…that guy Chris Christie? They’re pals.
I found it so fitting how “Michael J. Ritacco” and “Fraud & Corruption” went so hand in hand, both as words and an in real life, that I wanted to make something to show that one was just an extension of the other. Feel free to post this wherever.
Check out the article on nj.com
Since my “Chris Christie Sucks” poster has gotten so much traffic, I wanted to expand on it and create something a little more “school friendly”. Not that “sucks” is particularly a crude word, and there are far worse words he deserves, but I was trying to think of something that could be hung in an elementary grade classroom. Teachers, students, parents, and those who care about the future of any of those… feel free to print this out and show your defiance at your public school. Here’s to hoping for a better New Jersey.