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Because I travel a lot, I decided to use old postcards for my Valentines this year. I sent about 480, and the cards range over about 90 years: from 1901 to the late '80s, I think. They are from all over the world and they went all over the world. About 100 of them had writing on the back and had been posted before.
Then, they're all overprinted in silver with my image, which says "From me wherever I am / To you wherever you are."
This is my most recent piece for Varoom Magazine, on the topic of localism. It's a bit post-apocalyptic.
Maybe one day we will all be local
in our small communities structured for survival
we will hew things out of wood
and farm our plots of land for seasonal food.
Our neighbours will be potters, metal smiths,
bakers, weavers and stonemasons.
We'll have a primitive doctor
and a sadistic dentist.
The weather will be our enemy and our saviour,
gracing us with water
or withholding it for too long.
We will be surrounded by the warmth of animals
using them for everything they have to
give us while strugglingto keep them alive.
We'll know each other well and gather
under summer stars and around winter fires
to tell stories of the past.
We'll assist in births and deaths.
We'll worry mostly about food.
We'll draw pictures of each other on skins
and in stone and wood.
Now and then a stranger will come.
Sometime this summer Hemlock Printers contacted me to design their annual set of wrapping paper. I agreed provided they give me carte blanche over the design and they decided to trust me. I wanted to create something that was festive, but completely non-denominational, and not even "Seasonal". So no snowflakes, or Santa, or bells etc., and no red, green or gold. So I decided on a very bright yellow as my dominant colour, with silver.
I had a number of ideas for the theme of each wrapping paper, but I decided on doing something with kittens, trucks and big machinery, cake decorations, and flames. I figured that would cover a wide range of tastes and sensibilities.
They have a standard die of the container/box it comes in, and I designed that too. In the spirit of a surprise gift, there's very little indication on the outside of what's inside. It's very simple, plain white with four symbols on the front.
When you open it up, yellow, silver and black flames come from the sides, while the top and bottom flaps have perforated tags: again something to suit everyone.
Open it further and the whole thing is on fire on the inside, revealing the first of the wrapping paper sheets.
The box contains 2 sheets each of all four wrapping designs:
I've made a separate post for each of the designs so you can see them in more detail here:
Hemlock sent about 2700 of these out to their friends and clients across North America. If you're on their mailing list, I hope you enjoyed this year's wrapping papers. I had a lot of fun making them. Oh, and the good folks at Hemlock tell me they've received an overwhelming positive response!
This is the first of the wrapping papers I did for Hemlock Printers in Vancouver. It might be my favourite. I certainly had fun making it (beginning with ordering a mass of exciting cake decorations). As usual, the cake decorations are not photoshopped, nor are they glued: I placed them in place, shot them and moved on to the next.
Printed in CMYK with a flourescent yellow background with spot varnish.
And the full sheet:
This is the second of the wrapping papers I did for Hemlock Printers in Vancouver. It's a toss-up whether this or "Cake Decorations" is my favourite. It's called "Fire", and it's printed in CMYK and flourescent yellow.
The full sheet:
This is the third of the wrapping papers I made for Hemlock Printers in Vancouver. It's printed in flourescent yellow and black.
And the whole sheet:
This is the fourth of the wrapping papers I designed for Hemlock Printers in Vancouver. I've been wanting to do something with kittens for a long time (this uses stock photography from Shutterstock), so this was my chance: Kittens! Who doesn't love kittens? Printed CMYK with silver background and spot gloss.
The folded sheet as they first see it, above.
Some of the kitten twirls, below:
And the full sheet:
After doing a poster for one of my favourite bands, The National, last year, I was happy to be asked once again to do another one for them. This time they were playing in my home town of Vancouver at the Orpheum. The 3-light-condition design of the first poster was hard to beat, but I've always wanted to print on a mirrored surface, so I worked with Jake Sorensen at the silkscreen printers PrismTech Graphics to source the right material. Vancouver has become known recently as a city of glass, so this isn't as whimsical as it sounds.
This is not just "shiny," it is mirrored, it reflects everything. This is my best shot of the whole poster: that's me reflected in the bottom (this copy is signed to my friends Cindy & Rory).
I printed on it in white ink.
See how perfectly it reflects my hands and the ceiling above me?
It's a limited edition of 225. The National got 1–175, and I got 176–225.
The only difference between the first 175 and the last 50 is that 1–175 were laminated with a clear laminate to protect them, as they were sold at the concert. Mine are unlaminated because they are slightly more reflective than the laminated ones.
They sold for $50 at the show on November 28 & 29th. (Sadly, I was away and couldn't go!) I may sell some of mine in the future but not yet. It is currently impossible for me to get around to put anything in the mail. One day I hope to have a system, but until then it's not for sale.
OK, this is it. This is the best thing I've made in a while ... that wasn't rejected, anyway. When the good folks at Lynda.com asked to do a documentary on me, that was fun enough, but when they asked for me to do an animation for the end credits, I was super happy, because not only did I get to do something I'd never done before, but I also got to honour the great people who worked on the video. (Original music by Reg Powell, as noted.)
I made it by creating all the frames in illustrator, and then handing those files over to Lynda.com to compile into a moving image. Magic! People often ask me about doing animation but usually they're thinking of something that grows organically ... you know, that growing swirling thing. I couldn't be less interested.
However, what I did want to do was show how I work with systems and parts. So the animations on these evolve into and devolve out of letterforms that are created from a pattern system.
The lettering is pretty much illegible until the last frame, when it comes clear, pauses, and then starts to disintegrate again.
There's alos a pattern transition between each credit.
Piles of fun, with thanks, as always to the folks at Lynda.com.
It is not uncommon for people to ask me to design a tattoo for them. My response is always "no" unless they're a personal friend of mine. However, when SwissMiss asked me to do a tattoo for her Tattly tattoos, I said yes, of course! Here it is on my wrist:
Incredibly, it stays on for a week or two ... although it hasn't been so long-lived on hairy arms. It's a strip of 4 tiles, and if you want to be inventive you could pattern it over a larger area, or cut it into smaller pieces for smaller tattoos.
You can buy it here, at Tattly tattoos.
This is my latest piece for my regular "column" with Varoom Magazine. The theme for this issue is "Next", which is one of my least favourite subjects these days, as it's been on my mind. So I created a piece that shows the direction that some of my work is taking, with bold, unusual layouts, and mixed media. Then I wrote a small diatribe about my fears of the subject of "next" and printed them in tiny type in the design.
With this issue, Varoom went to a tabloid size, and as this is on a double-page spread, it's quite large.
This detail shows my true feelings about "next" with "I DON'T KNOW", which i embellished onto a fan with nail polish.
Another detail which almost—almost!—shows the type.
Each year for the annual AGI Congress, members are asked to contribute to a special project. This year's theme was "Modular" and here is my submission.
For our participation in the OFFF Conference in Barcelona this year, we were asked to create a piece on the subject ot "Time", At least I think it was "Time", or was it "Future"? I forget. In any case I made this 2-page spread of Infinity.
Here's a detail:
Under Nike's NikeID project, they sometimes partner with Maharam for the fabric. This year, for the NikeID in the Japanese market, they used my Maharam "Centric" fabric (in all colours) for the NikeID Airforce One. Maharam, those sweethearts, had a pair made for me!
Sarah Habibi from Criterion (YES!) hired me to do this cover for Satyajit Ray's "The Mirror Room" (1958). She sent me the film (which I really enjoyed), and in it there was a chandelier which seemed to represent what we might call "old India" and the ways of the central character.
So I made a simple pattern based on chandelier crystals which I could use to make the image of the chandelier and the type.
Above, the DVD cover. Below, the booklet cover.
To order the movie for yourself, get it from Criterion!
Casey Dillon at Bronze in San Fracisco hired me to do 2 patterns for some wine labels for his client Rivers-Marie.
Then Casey did a beautiful job on the design of the labels themselves. Here's the first pattern:
Beautifully printed ...
The second pattern is similar, but based on a crown for the Corona Vinyard:
I worked with Carolina Soderholm at Bruce Mau Design to develop this patterny thing for the Dorado Beach resort in Puerto Rico. Meant to somehow evoke a luxurious, elegant, lush jungle, it works with their logo both as single, free-form embellishment, and as a full-on tiling pattern.
I believe that they covered a wall in it somewhere, but I don't have any pictures.
And here is the project on Bruce Mau's site.
In this, the 2nd of my regular "column" for the UK Illustration magazine, Varoom, the theme was "Knowledge". So I decided to create a map which refers somewhat to the "known" beyond which lie monsters.
I had a lot of fun making this ...
It's fun to give directions on the map. There are places of elation and places of despair.
All sorts of destinations and paths we end up in in the pursuit of knowledge.
Including Brain Town ...
This was typeset in the font Absara by Xavier Dupré.
Michael Salu, the Art Director for Granta Publications in the UK hired me to do this cover for Chris Adrian's A Better Angel. (Showing front cover and spine.) It's a companion piece for Adrian's The Great Night.
Michael Salu, the Art Director for Granta Publications in the UK hired me to do this cover for Chris Adrian's The Great Night. (Showing front cover and spine.) It's a companion piece for Adrian's A Better Angel.
It's that time of year again, and herewith are my 2011 Valentines. Because this Valentine thing has gotten a little out of control in a covetous way, I thought it would be nice if I was able to give people multiple valentines that were all similar but slightly different, so they could keep one or two for themselves and still have a few to give away. So I created a modular heart with which I could easily make 10 variations, and as well I made a heart that says "Remember when we were young, we used to give Valentines to all our friends." (My best friend's 7-yr-old did not get this at all, repeatedly saying "But we do give Valentines to our friends." Yeah, wait 'til you're older, kid.)
So here's the press sheet:
Each person got one of the following in either blue or pink:
And then they got 4 or 5 different Valentine hearts. As I said, they are supposed to give them away, but it seems people like to hoard them! These are Kim Berlin's at Sterling Brands:
Kirsten Skipp has added one to a shrine:
Mark Mushet might have given the rest away like a good boy ...
Nik Hafermass has added his to his growing collection:
Stanley Hainsworth has made an odd justaposition:
Darling Tan Le is ready to cash in:
But the amazing Stefan Bucher really knew what to do! ... crazy kid!!
The process for making these was documented by Lynda.com. in this VIDEO!
With big thanks to David White and Scott Erickson and all the folks at Lynda.com.
You might be wondering how you get on my Valentine list. The answer is it's tough. This is a monumental effort for me each year so I'm not anxious to expand the list. However, hiring me and paying me gobs of cash is a pretty sure bet. ;)
The excellent UK illustration magazine Varoom has asked me to do a regular gig for them. Starting in November 2010, in each issue (only 3 per year, sadly) I will do something on the issue theme, whatever that might be. This first one is on "relationships".
It shows levels of relationships, intertwined, because of course it's never so clear. But it starts at the top with "unconditionally loved" and goes through various relationships to the bottom with "passionately detested". Then on the left is listed "real" relationships, from "child" to "nemesis", and on the right are the "imagined" relationships which goes from "god" down to the merely known or those who are the furthest from us, the "unknown".
Above is how it printed. Below is the original pencil drawing (bad scan).
Can't wait for the next one!
It's been a long time in the process and making, but here is the first of my fabric designs for Maharam.
Maharam is a very high end fabric company, mostly for the trade (architects, interior designers) with “a strong focus on new technologies and cultural markers, often finding inspiration beyond the textile industry, including collaborations with avant-garde industry outsiders.” That would be me.
This is a fabric built for seating, and is made of 34% Rayon, 33% Cotton & 33% Polyester. Its durability is listed as "40,000+ double rubs", which is a lot of rubbing, if you ask me.
And it comes in 7 amazing colours. I am particularly excited about the red, the red-brown and that stunning turquoise!
To see this and all the specs, or order it, go to the Maharam Virtual Library, click on the first Upholstery binder, click on the index at top right, and scroll through to "Centric" (it's alphabetical). At the moment they don't have a picture of it, but they will soon, I'm sure.
Maharam has released another of my designs as digital wall coverings, to join the first three.
This one is made from an old scratchboard pattern drawing I did, of ...
Spacemen! I've always loved this pattern of spacemen getting into some serious trouble as they struggle with some weird and devious space monster thing.
The original drawing was quite small, so the enlargement shows all the scratchy detail, which I hope isn't a problem.
To see this on the Maharam website, or to order it, go to the Maharam Virtual Library and click on the binder (currently on far left) called Maharam Digital Projects, and then click on the index at top right, and scroll though to find mine. As always you'll be distracted by the many other truly brilliant designs there are.
This is the art for an ad I did for the company Sunday, in the UK, with their tagline.
This number 17, made from toothpicks, was my contribution to a 17th birthday book of 17s, for Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler of the design firm Number 17.
Jen Beckman and Sara Distin asked me to take part in their 20x200 project: wherein they create art prints for reasonable prices by a wide variety of artists, and new work going up every few days (or is it every day? I can't tell).
The art comes in different sizes, and usually you just get a bigger version of whatever the print is. But to me it seemed that the more you spend, the more you should get ... so above is what you get in the 8x10 (inches) size for $20, and below is what you get in the 11x14 size for $50 ...
Big spenders can buy even more, at 16x20 for $200 ...
And if you have a lot of wall space, or you're greedy, or rich, or all three, you can spend $2,000 and get this 30x40 inch baby ...
This cover for Creative Review has my name on it because they wanted it, even over my slight objection. Well, there is a profile of me in the mag, so ...
The theme of the issue is "Dream Studios" so I imagined my dream studio, which is similar in location to what I have, but in a sleek modernist building with lots of windows.
It's printed on an uncoated textured paper with silver foil, so it's pretty bitchin'.
(btw, on the CR site you can also see a page spread which shows a photo of me by my friend Mark Mushet.)
Penguin and the RED charity joined forces on a special series of Penguin Classics, and Jim Stoddart at Penguin Books in the UK, asked me to be one of several designers creating typographic covers from words in each novel. I chose Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence, with the words "I couldn't give her up now." You can read what you want into it.
This is painted in oils, which I haven't done in a while, so I was quite pleased with how it turned out. So was Jim. He sent me an email that was so effusive I thought maybe he was being sarcastic.
I did this in May, but the book only just arrived in my mailbox.
Each year, for the Alliance Graphique International (AGI) congress, members are invited to contribute something to an exhibit. This year, for the Porto Congress, the theme was "Process" and we were asked to make a map of our process. So I documented each step of a project I was working on at the time, and compiled the whole thing into a step-by-step map of my process.