Here is a nice little Vimeo vid we were told to checkout this week. It features one of our favorites, Milton Glaser, doing a sketch and chatting away. A great break for your daily wonderings.
While somewhat in the genre of todays “hipster” drawing style, the work of Josh Kenyon is still mega hot.
Tell us a bit about your background, and the disciplines and media your work comprises. I was born in Missouri the son of Diane and Rick Perry in a typical suburban setting. My parents got divorced and then at the age of 14 we moved to Kansas where my back yard was miles of open land. I once went for a walk in my back yard and found a dead horse that had been killed by a wolf who ate its belly. No joke. We had apple trees and a pond. Horses in the back and cows across the street. Mowing the lawn took all day. I had very supportive parents and grandparents. My grandfather (who is a painter / claims to have made a flying car) when I was very young gave me a painting he made as a gift that I adored. As I got older and started looking at art history books, I came to realize that he had given me a Piccasso and called it his own. At the age of 14 he gave me a tackle box full of paints and that was it; from then on out I spent most of my time making paintings. I went to school at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where I began my education as a painter but quickly realized that design was my path. I fell in love with design because it gave me the opportunity to do whatever was right for the idea I had. ie. if I wanted to use photography I used it. If something called for an illustration then that was the answer. Design seemed to be the medium that allowed me the most diversity. When I graduated I got a job as a designer at Urban Outfitters where I worked for the next 3 years. About a year ago I left Urban to start my own studio and that is where you find me today. I always try and incorporate a variety ideas and techniques into each and every project. I have a particular interest in typography, illustration and story telling. I think about color, texture and tactility.
What kind of messages do you infuse in your personal work beyond visual interest? I would say the messages are usually very simple and honest. I am a positive happy person and I wake up each day excited about the world and I try to infuse that into everything I make. I also try to have fun when I am making things and believe in laughter. If I can make myself or someone else smile I feel like I have succeeded. But in addition to that, process is very important. I have always believed in the generating of piles, and I look at the process of “making” like exercise. The more you exercise the stronger you become. Needless to say I do a lot of making for its own sake.I often times think about water and other natural elements but for the most part I try and just let things happen.
Would you share some artists, authors, movements, places, ideas that you’ve found influential? I think that a lot of my influences come from my peers that are doing exciting things. Talking about making and discussing process and ideas.I love all of the usual amazing things in the world: vintage illustration, american quilts, anything about typography, most outsider art, bodegas, accidents (for instance I was at this bar last night and it had the most beautiful tables and they were a complete accident), music, David Sedaris, diagrams on how the world works, kittens, flea markets and thrift stores. I don’t go to Kansas often enough but that place is amazing like the ocean.
Can you let us know what you’re working on currently? My first book titled Hand Job – A catalog of typography is about to land in stores. I am currently working on a few new books. A book about the use of patterns with Princeton Architectural Press. A book about the midwest that I am shopping around. I am designing a book for Chronicle Books. Planning the second issue of my magazine titled Untitled a… I have been art directing a new literary magazine called “The Crier” that I am really excited about; we are on our 3rd issue. Working on some records and illustrations. I am getting ready for a few art shows. Making tee shirts for myself and for clients. Giving a talk in Kentucky and in Minneapolis. I have an idea for a skate deck that I want to make. Art directing a fashion story for Brooklyn Industries. Just finished up something for Zune. A music video with some friends in LA. And some new typefaces that I will probably never finish.
About Mike Perry
Hello. My name is Michael Perry. I run a small design studio in Brooklyn, NY that has recently celebrated its 1 year aniversary. I am currently working on my second book with Princeton Architectural Press. My first book titled “Hand Job” is due out early fall 2007. I also recently started a magazine called Untitled a… I would love to talk to you about any ideas or projects that you might have coming up. Please feel free to contact me with questions, or for whatever your design, illustration, type, art direction, or art needs may be.
Tell us a bit about your background, and the disciplines and media your work comprises. Like most kids, I started drawing and painting around the age of four or five. I can remember building and painting clay dinosaur sculptures in the 2nd grade with my classmates; handprint paintings were one of my favorites. Later in the 5th grade, I graduated to drawings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters. I was skateboarding a lot more those days- my dad taught me how to skateboard. I grew up in the small town of La Verne just east of Los Angeles, one of those perfectly groomed suburban neighborhoods. My High school art teacher and parents were always very supportive of my interests, and I had a lot of friends who enjoyed drawing and painting. My high school art teacher pushed me creatively and technically; he urged me to follow my art interests and to pursue studies at an art college.
I eventually studied art and design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. I learned a lot about image making and met a lot of really amazing instructors and artists over the next three years. While attending art school, I met Justin Krietemyer. We immediately worked well with each other, and before we knew it, we were working on commissioned assignments, art shows and websites together. It made sense for Justin and I to keep working together on projects, so upon graduation we decided to launch National Forest, a design firm that would exploit our individual talents and our collaborative chemistry. Over the last three years we’ve completed projects for traditional print campaigns, advertising, product design, interior design, art direction and web design.
Aside from National Forest we still find time to work on printmaking and personal art projects. I am constantly trying to find that impossible balance between making personal artwork and client driven work.
What kind of messages do you infuse in your personal work beyond visual interest? Beyond visual interests, I enjoy creating objects that other human beings can relate to- not quite nostalgic, but closer to a personal photograph or memory. I’ve always felt a stronger connection to tangible, printed objects, so that’s what I like to make. Most of the ideas for my personal works are created from past experiences and childhood memories. But I prefer creative freedom in my personal work so the concepts and ideas are different from piece to piece. I feel like my process is very intuitive, so many of the meanings or messages are often revealed after the piece is created.
When creating personal works, I like to keep most of my ideas fairly subtle or ambiguous; I think it’s important to let the viewer make their own assumptions about messages and meanings within a body of work. Another person’s interpretation, according to his or her own experiences, is very interesting and significant to me.
Would you share some artists, authors, movements, places, ideas that you’ve found influential? I just recently took a three-week trip with my brother to Japan and Thailand. I couldn’t believe what we experienced in that short of time. I am so used to working and living in Los Angeles that the entire experience became a genuine culture shock. Transportation alone was extremely different: elephant back, tuk tuk, long boat, speedboat, train, plane, etc. Both Japan and The Kingdom of Thailand are absolutely beautiful countries to say the least, and there is something very inspiring about interacting with a culture on the opposite side of the planet. Japanese printmaking and Asian art have always been of serious interest to me; while in Japan, I discovered a brilliant artisan by the name of Kiyoshi Awazu. I also very much enjoy the complete works of Mr. Tadanori Yokoo.
Although I appreciate many different artists, movements, etc, I always seem to fall back on the timeless- John Steinbeck, Ed Emberly, Paul Rand, Ken Kesey, Neil Young, Little Brown and Company, Saul Steinberg, Bruno Munari, The Eames. To me these artists and their art bridge time.
Can you let us know what you’re working on currently? I am currently finishing up a series of concert posters for the “Be The Riottt” music festival in San Francisco, working on several t-shirt graphics and one all-over pattern design for “Sixpack France.” I’m also working on a couple of artist series T-shirt graphics for Stones Throw Records, a limited-run letterpress print produced by DWRI Letterpress and concepting for a 3-D art/object/wooden/toy/thing with Android8. Justin and I are curating a 12 man poster print show, and working on several new poster prints along with re-printing a couple of older ones. I just finished the artwork for my “Threadless select” t-shirt graphic that is due out anytime now, finished a board series for Burton a while back that’s out this winter, and my contribution to Faesthetic just dropped. I am painting on some wooden objects at home for the hell of it, trying to learn how to cook a little better this month, trying to ride my bicycle more often and buying a drum set for the 3rd time. I’m also adding learning Spanish to my “to-do list”…
About Steven Harrington
Steven Harrington lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Aside from owning and operating National Forest Design with fellow artist Justin Krietemeyer, he still finds time to work on both commissioned and self-inspired art projects of his own. Influenced by images, fashion and graphics discovered in Time Life Encyclopedias from 1965-1972, thrift stores, and The Moody Blues, his art might be termed contextual objectivism. That is, he views each piece he creates as a tangible object that is part and parcel of a larger context; the object helps define the context and the context helps define the object. Whatever feel or meaning the observer takes away from the piece belongs to the observer. Nothing is shoved down his or her throat. Discovery is the key. Some of his most recent projects include a four board series for Burton snowboards, contributions to the French clothing line Sixpack, and a series of silkscreen prints based on the idea of “community.” He has exhibited work in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Montreal, Tokyo, Melbourne and Barcelona.
What are you working on? I was away for three months in New Zealand on an extended surfing – drawing trip and filled a couple of sketchbooks. I have been back for a couple of weeks so far and am just sifting through all of the new material and making stuff out of it.
I am trying to approach my process differently. My usual approach is to think of a project that will take months or years to complete and then wade through a never-ending marshland of monotony and boredom. You know the saying 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration? The outcome is usually exciting and positive for me, but the process drives me mad, and bored.
Instead of doing what I’ve always done, I have been trying a lot of mini-projects that can each be completed in about a day. I wake up in the morning and spend about an hour thinking about the mission of the day. Then I just get down to making it happen and try as hard as I can to finish it in one go. If I don’t finish it then I just store it away as a ‘nearly complete’ work and move on to another one the next day.
A lot of these ‘day projects’ have been animation, and some have been technology sketches. I really like what has been coming out so far.
Do you have any set goals for this work or are you just interested in the creative process? What has been the result? My goal is to not allow myself to get into routine based work. I have a habit of creating formulas in my process and getting locked into them for long periods. The work reflects this and has a stiffness and stagnancy that I am getting picky about. Instead, I am trying to just let my drawings lead me wherever they want to go, whether or not that direction fits into some comfort zone in my process. It is a bit scary because every morning when I sit down to a project I am not sure whether I am going to be able to pull it off because it may be all new to me. I have yet to have one flop though! It just takes more active focus and less monotonous grind.
I also have a bit of an umbrella goal to use this new work as material for some sort of song based animation(s). Not sure what or how yet, but it will probably end up going there. The stuff that has been coming out of it so far has been really light, positive, and quirky. A lot of it has been inspired by the incredible environments of New Zealand and the experiences I had while I was there.
Are you taking a break from client driven work then? How do you think your experimentation crosses over into client generated work? Yes, I am taking a break from client-driven work for now. I had more than I was comfortable with last year and am trying to give myself a chance to make stuff that I really care about now. I make projects for myself and release them on Presstube, and then that personal work acts like a net to snare the interest of potential clients; then I get job offers. That seems to be the cycle. The best thing to do if I have no money is to make as much stuff for myself as I can and just forget about trying to directly get clients. It works much better to set bait with personal work and just let them come to me. That way the client projects I end up doing are based on personal work that I am really excited about instead of some diluted commercial Frankenstein that I made for someone else. That is why I post no commercial work on PT. Generally the only place to see a Presstube made TV spot is on TV and I kind of like it that way.
Your work has been showing up often in the art world this past year. What do you think or hope this next year (2007) will bring you? I would like to say goodbye once and for all to commercial work and just focus on self-initiated projects from now on. I hope this is the year I will be able do it, but who knows.
What is your greatest dream? That is a difficult question to answer; I adore my job and lifestyle and could hardly ask for more. Having a mini-ramp in my studio would be pretty good. Being as good a parent as my parents would also be high on the list.
Have you ever shopped for reptiles? Do you think that if you listen to heavy metal that your chance would be higher to own a reptile? I have never shopped for reptiles, but I used to frequent a reptile shop in an old neighborhood I lived in. They had a really good selection of strange creatures. It smelled really bad and I would try not to breath through my nose. One day it burnt down with all the animals in it though, which I thought was sad. Crispy! I do listen to heavy metal and I still haven’t bought a reptile, so my answer to that second question is no.
About James Paterson
James Paterson is a visual artist who also works as an illustrator, broadcast & web designer. Paterson’s unique synthesis of drawing, animation and programming have attracted the attention of a variety of galleries and clients worldwide. His personal and collaborative works have been shown at the London Design Museum, The London Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Pompidou Center in Paris, The Museum of Contemporary Arts in Taipei, The Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art, biforms in NYC, The Sundance Film festival, and The Israeli Art Museum. He has also done commercial work for clients such as Nike, Burton, Bjork, VH1, Deisel, HP, Apple, Sony & Target. Paterson’s work exist online at two primary sites: Presstube.com (his personal space), and Insertsilence.com (the space dedicated to his collaborative work with Amit Pitaru of Pitaru.com). James was born in England, but has been in Canada since 1988. He currently lives and works in Montreal.
What is your favorite project to date and why (2006)?
I think maybe the titles I did for a Chocolate skateboards video years ago (1994-5?). It was one of the first things I ever did for them. I drew silhouettes of characters on the computer, then cut molds from the drawings. I then went to Girl in Torrance and Johannes and I filmed me pouring chocolate into the molds. We imported the video into Media 100 and made it hi-contrast and I put type over top. That was it. It was done. It ended up looking hi-tech though. It was one of the first times that the idea and the process outweighed the sort of manual effort put into something. Also it was great to work for Spike and Andy Jenkins, heroes of mine. So that project comes to mind.
Also having just graduated Cal Arts I was pretty determined to apply what I was doing there to my own world, skateboarding world. My entrance essay for the MFA program was about design living outside of the design world, hi for low sort of stuff. Around this time things were starting to get focused for me.
What was the concept and goal behind the Pepsi campaign?
To sell lots of Pepsi One? For me doing the campaign was about going through familiar territory and trying to keep it interesting. The campaign was based on graphic work I had been doing about 4 years ago. I still do very graphic work, and sometimes character-based work, but the specific work they were interested in was sort of in the past for me.
So I had a lot of the same concerns I always have when doing very graphic work, but I was also very practiced at it all, so the challenge in the project was to try to make the project challenging.
One of the concerns I always have when doing the simple graphic work is to make the images (in this case characters) have some sort of depth, or heart. I don’t want to put work out into the world that is just heartless simplification, I want to create things that are feelings or thoughts or jokes, distilled into their simplest cleanest form.
I always imagine some kid in their apartment, and one day someone puts up a billboard across the street, and in that low rent neighborhood (like where my studio is) they never change the billboards. So he/she has to stare at this same image for about 6 months, every day. So I do some simple 2 color graphic, and they have to live with it. So I want it to be the image that is understood by the commuter driving by to work, but that somehow grows on the person who lives across the street from it. I believe good intentions work to achieve both goals.
When working with clients, do you find it important your final result still resemble your own ideas and visual aesthetic?
I don’t care at all, but at the same time I like a lot of creative freedom, freedom to makes something the way I want. It has not really ever been a problem, clients generally gravitate to work that looks like I did it. Usually when I do something that I feel looks like I didn’t do it, it still looks like I did it too. If not thats fine too. Sometimes clients get bummed if you did something that looks different from what they know of your work, like as if you are fucking with them. Sometimes what I take seriously, clients do not.
If you could stop doing client work, would you? Or do you find client work is necessary both creatively and financially?
I do much more personal work, but I really like doing client work. Thats the whole game really, at least thats the game I have set up for myself. There is a part of the creative process for me that cannot be done independently. When I take on small client projects much more is generated than they consume, those ideas then have a whole life outside of the project.
It seems a little bit like a public school or home school dilemma. If your kid is super smart, and you are a super smart dad, like my friends Ian and Zoe, you might as well go ahead and do some home school then go to a big High School to meet boys. But what if you are not so smart, and your dads not so smart? Maybe you are better off getting ignored and bullied in public school, with a bunch of other kids learning to survive. Then take that anger and smarts and apply it to the chances you get, if you’re lucky to get a chance.
What keeps you going and motivated from project to project?
Everything. I have to motivate myself not to work so much.
What projects are you currently working on?
The Complete To Do List: I am working with Patagonia (the mountain gear co) on an extended contract branding and creating graphics for their Surf line. A record cover for Erlend Oye (from the Kings of Convenience) for The Whitest Boy Alive. We are also working together on a music/book collaboration right now. A solo show in LA at New Image Art. Work for a group show curated by Aaron Rose that will be in Mexico City in June. I have a skateboard Company called the Solitary Arts. We are prototyping a new board and wheel design right now. Just delivered a Title Sequence for a film called The TV Set. T-shirt designs for myself (running late on these). I did a line of Sunglasses that will come out next year, for a company called COLAB in Australia. I have to work on the packaging now. That is very strange, but I actually really like glasses. I have to get my car registered and smogged. I am late on this too. My daughter wants me to build a foot stool with her. I have the wood, but must perfect the design. Washboard abs by summer.
What hobbies do you have?
I have a lot of hobbies. I do things like surf and skateboard and have a healthy obsession with bicycles and bicycle riding. I like Hi Fi and children’s books, and children.
You ever shop for reptiles?
I live in Los Angeles, and you wouldn’t believe it but there are lizards all over the place. If I could sell a lizard for say $7.00 then I could be rich. My yard is crawling in slow moving lizards. My wife can catch them but they give me the creeps. So no WAY am I shopping for them, sell them, maybe. Also we had a rattlesnake in our backyard that was as thick as your arm. I swear, my friend who grew up in Topanga (lots of rattlesnakes there) said she had never seen one that big.
About Geoff McFetridge
Geoff McFetridge is a graphic artist and director in Los Angeles, California. Originally from Canada, Geoff moved to California to earn his MFA for Graphic Design at the California Institute of the Arts. His thesis project “Chinatown” won a distinctive merit award from ID magazine. In 1996, Geoff founded his own design studio, Champion Graphics. He also worked as the art director for Grand Royal Magazine from 1995 – 1997.
As a designer, Geoff’s artwork has graced magazine covers, clothing, posters, and furniture. He designed a series of t-shirts and home furnishings for Mini, a division of Xlarge Clothing. His “mini-poster packs” won a Design Distinction Award from International Design Magazine in 2000 and are part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts Permanent Collection. Also, he created artwork for Dazed & Confused Magazine’s “Boycott Esso” campaign, which included stickers and animated video. Geoff has had solo shows at galleries around the world, including solo shows at Parco Gallery in Tokyo and Colette in Paris.
The success of Geoff’s graphics career naturally segued into titles and motion graphics for television and movies. The title-design for the skateboard company, Chocolate, was featured in the ACD 100 show, and earned Geoff an Art Directors Club Award. Geoff also completed the main title designs for the Dreamworks television show, “Freaks and Geeks.” His doodle-ridden titles for The Virgin Suicides, a feature film by Sofia Coppola, drew attention to Geoff’s work and led to prints and designs for clothing designer Marc Jacobs.
Geoff McFetridge’s commercials and music videos make use of live action, graphics, and animation. His animated spots for the ESPN Winter X-Games campaign were included in the Saatchi Cannes New Directors Showcase and also won a 2001 D&AD Award. His recent commercial efforts include the Napster Relaunch campaign, HP’s “N is for Nanotechnology” and an animation campaign for Orbitz.com.