I was asked to be a part of the Penmanship show at Vox Populi, something curated by the very talented Grayhood, Mikey Burton, & Elysse Ricci, which was subsequently a kick off to the Design Philadelphia week, which I also had the chance to do some posters for. Needless to say, I was excited to be a part of the excitement!
The theme for this show was “penmanship”, and one of the only things I had to work from was this quote:
“A man’s penmanship is an unfailing index of his character, moral and mental, and a criterion by which to judge his peculiarities of taste and sentiments.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, Man of Letters
Because of the freedom and looseness to the theme, it left me at a loss for quite a bit. I sketched and sketched which sadly only resulted in failing ideas. I finally revisited the quote and looked outside of the quotations for some inspiration. I imagined what it would be like if there was a club or society called “Men Of Letters.” This took me in a new direction and it brought me to where I ended up. I wanted it to be representative of the act of making lines to form the letters of the alphabet, but also then the idea of taking those letters to form words, and those words to compose letters that you send in the mail.
It was really beautiful to see all the posters hanging together, knowing everyone put some serious thought into how they would represent this idea. For having some many designers take part in this, there was an obvious variety to the work, but also and impressively, a synthesis to everything. The show will be up until the 23rd, and I strongly suggest trying to make it out. I’m also hearing rumors of a closing show??? I’ll let you know if that’s happening. Probably though twitter.
It was also awesome to finally meet some people who’s work I’ve been following and admiring for some time and find out that they are regular people. Okay, some are super humans. But they still occasionally participate in some normal human activities.
(Photo courtesy of Jim Viola.)
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.
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.
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!
Secret Mountains are one of the most booming and sensational bands out there right now, and Kung Fu Necktie is one of the coolest venues in Philly. So make the most of this upcoming Wednesday night and join me in this highlight of the week. If you haven’t gotten a chance to see Secret Mountains yet, you are missing out.
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Sufjan’s yet again at the top of my listening charts this week. The fact that he was a discography the size of the real Illinois certainly helps, but it’s mostly because by the time I’m done listening to to one album, I want to move onto another. This process can go on for sometime as he’s got quite the range of albums stylistically.
Anyway, some of you may know that the name “Sufjan” means “comes with a sword.” And that is the key to this poster. Sufjan’s sword is certainly not literal, but it is absolutely metaphorical.
I also finally got a chance to see Local Natives this past week. And boy oh boy, really glad that happened. They said the first time they played Philly it was for 2 people at The Khyber… all things considered, what an enormous way they’ve come. The Troc was packed to the brim, and it was shaking at times. I would certainly do your best to see them anytime you can.
Here’s another compilation from the man with all the right moves, Biff Swenson. Biff came to me after the success of his first compilation, and asked if I’d like to work on the album art for the next one, and of course I did. As many of you may already know, this is an instrumental compilation aptly named Obsolete Vernacular. The title comes from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums from a scene in which Eli Cash is describing his first novel. The title actually ties in perfectly with instrumental music, as it’s an “obsolete vernacular” in its own way.
While I can’t take credit for the art in the sense of painting the leopard, I will say that Biff graciously gave me complete creative control and I was able to accomplish the idea I had. As soon as I re-watched the scene from The Royal Tenenbaums in the context of this compilation, I knew I wanted to use an old painting involving some sort of wild cat. (If you’re familiar with the scene, this connection is fairly obvious.) This was a great exercise in dealing with public domain images. I was able to find this really awesome painting, and with a few tweaks it was just what I wanted. The type I used for this is different from the stuff I would normally lean towards, but again, I think it fits really nicely is the context of this grouping of songs.
I was also lucky enough to be asked to submit a song to this, which I did quite willingly. It was a challenge writing a song that was intended to be instrumental from the get go. You can’t rely on melodies of lyrics to save you. While this wasn’t the first instrumental song I’ve written, it may have been the first I wrote on purpose. Along with my track comes 21 others, from all sorts of bands with no lack of heavy hitters. Just as the first compilation Biff put out, you would silly to not check it out. It has tons of new music to expose yourself to, and above all, it’s F R E E. Unbeatable. Hope you enjoy the tunes!
You can download the compilation here: http://www.mediafire.com/?bg27sr008hdgo
Or get hooked up on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=136053693112331
I think bought Daydream Nation 5 or 6 years ago on a bit of a whim. I’d not listened to Sonic Youth before that, and knew very little of what to expect. And while I thought it was an okay sounding record, it was really dissonant for my taste at the time and I was never really able to get into it. However, through the next few years, I would occasionally revisit the record hoping enough time had passed and perhaps something would have clicked and I would finally get it. This unfortunately never really happened for me. Not until this weekend that is. For whatever reason, I put on Daydream Nation and got reallly into it. I’m pretty excited that actually happened. Like I said, I’d been waiting years for this day. I also downloaded Goo and Dirty, both of which I enjoyed. I can definitely say I am a fan now, and whatever triggered me to purchase that record 6 years ago, I’m glad that happened.
I also listened to a bit of Weezer, which definitely happened after I heard about their new record. Hurley. That should be interesting. But Maladroit does me right every. single. time.
Listened to Ty Segall after seeing my boy Mike Walsh hyping him a bit, and he’s killing it. Caeser is such a great song. Check him out.
Beach Fossils are decent.
Post Post are amazing. One of the best young bands I’ve seen. Philly locals, 3/4 girl band, impossibly catchy. Just doing everything right to every degree. Catch this band as soon as you can.
Otis Redding kept me sane one night as I was sorting with some old stuff and cleaning some bookshelves. Impossibly smooth.
Belle And Sebastian’s Push Bar Man To Open Old Wounds is my favorite thing they’ve done. It’s a collection of their EPs and singles, which in this case, are some of their best songs. I hadn’t listened to this in a few years, and it was great to listen to again.
Flying Lotus is decent.
Most of you probably already know, I am huge fan of The Wire. I started watching the show because I wanted to watch something that was going to be as good as The Sopranos was, and what I got was something that was even better. In fact, better than any TV show I’d ever seen, or have seen since. Arrested Development comes close, and they hard to compare because they are so different, but honestly, nothing touches The Wire.
There is one now famous scene where D’Angelo Barksdale is explaining the game of chess to Bodie and Wallace after he catches them trying to plass checkers with the game pieces. He goes though all the players, which each are paralleled to some player of “The Game”, the game of the street. When asked how you become the king, D’Angelo replies “It ain’t like that. See, the king stay the king, a’ight? Everything stay who he is.” Watch the scene here.
The design of the poster comes from the ubiquitous British WW2 poster “Keep Calm And Carry On.” Mock-offs of that poster are pretty much every where, good, bad, and ugly. But because of my love for both this poster and that quote, they seemed like a perfect match for each other. Fans of either will hopefully agree.
I’ve got a whole ton of these posters, 18 x 24, and if anyone is interested, just hit me up!
So for those of you who made it out to our show this past Friday at Vesuvio, you probably saw this. It was the first poster I made for the show, and I was sort of an idea I had for a while, but always forgot to execute. I was excited because it got some really awesome reception and I wound up selling out of this print. SO, I wanted to throw this up and make a formal announcement saying that if you were someone who wanted this poster after it sold out, or you are checking it out now and thinking you might like it, let me know on here or on facebook, because I will be ordering more of this print, and I don’t want to miss anyone.
Thanks for all your support and interest, I’m truly touched that anyone cares about this.
The picture below is the long-awaited group picture we’ve always wanted. It’s also one of the best pictures ever. It’s very hard to get us all in the same place at the same time and we needed to take advantage of it. I love you guys, this wouldn’t be possible without all of you doing what you’re doing and I’m so glad to be doing it with you.
After our first run of Nom Now stickers, we quickly realized how fast 1000 stickers can slip through your fingers. So we decided we need to move into the next design, which I had the pleasure of doing. So here they are folks, you voted on them, and this one won. Be sure to pester me or one of the other guys for these, and we’ll gladly hook you. We’ll be giving these out at our art show on the 30th, which if you’re in the dark about that, Facebook has all the details, just look for Nom Now Art Show.
So get these while they are hot, and believe me, this batch is piping!
So I got a text from my buddy Jason Small, who runs XOXO records, asking me if I could turn a poster around for a contest his label was throwing. This was aroud 8 pm, and they needed it by 8 am the next day. The information was scattered and coming to me in bits and pieces, but I was glad to help out anyway. So with the pressure on, and the clock ticking, I started working on this.
The contest itself, named “Contest Name Here”, is a pretty awesome deal and a great chance to catch these 1 of these 3 super bands if you live in or near one of the cities they’re playing in. Apparently this is going on absolutepunk.net, so if you frequent that site, you might catch it on there. If not, I’ll try to screen cap it once it’s up.
In another news, I heard that the ad I did for River City Extension’s new album is in the current issue of FILTER magazine right now. Broken Social Scene is on the cover if you’re trying to pick that up, I know I am.
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.
I promised more roads, and so here is another. Somerdale is the road I take to work everyday. There’s plenty of red lights, and a lot to look at. It’s a long and windy road, and the sun seems to always be setting or rising while I’m on it.
The next is a picture I took when I was leaving work on Thursday. As much as I love being at work, there’s nothing better then going home after a long day, and this scene was doing me right.
Today Mike and I went into the city to meet our friend Leighton for lunch. This guy has the funniest most unbelievable stories I’ve ever heard. After that we put up a few Fresh stickers and went to IKEA, this picture was taken on the way there.