Friday, February 27, 2009

Going green (or lack thereof)

"The case flies open on a new set of work. A hundred-eighty degree turn."

Eco-design. It's one of those fresh new words to enter the lexicon. It conjures up thoughts of cartoon birds singing at your window and fresh greenery sprouting about. Which is fitting, because spring is on its way as is Saint Pattie's Day, arguably the most energy-efficient holiday (hence its association with green ...this is a joke).

However, it can mean different things depending on what context you use it and who you're talking to. For example, an architect might think you'd be referring to the current trend of building a structure using an eco-friendly approach, from how it's powered to the materials used in construction.

Talk to a graphic designer and it can mean a couple things: a.) A more efficient means of printing and working (design studios use tons of paper and toxic materials such as inks, ect.) or b.) a design that alludes to a sense of cleanliness that many companies are looking for to try and portray themselves as a business that is eco-friendly in some way.

For the sake of this blog, I'll be referring to option b.

Every company is doing it, right? "Going green" is everywhere. Green color schemes and leaves everywhere. Well, it's probably not a trend.

British Petroleum: Now when I think petroleum, I think green ...ahhh. Great logo though.

The jobs of the future will likely be jobs that will attempt to make the world a cleaner more efficient place.

Obama's plan is to create a whole new job market for "eco-jobs," ensuring that government buildings are made more energy efficient and new buildings follow strict energy-saving codes. In addition, he is a proponent of paperless records in hospitals, using computerized records instead; saving trees and generally making the health care process more efficient while eliminating human error that leads to lives lost.

So I'm going to jump on this bandwagon (made of recycled materials).

For the month of March I will try and produce only eco-designs.

The catch is that I will do it using NO GREEN! (I know, you're wondering 'How can he go green without using green?') Well, be prepared for plenty of whitespace and sensible designs that will hopefully scream clean and efficient.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For my own peace of mind

With the whole thing that went on with Facebook (they claimed ownership of everything posted on the site, including original work) I wanted to clarify Blogger's TOU.

"Blogger is a free service for communication, self-expression and freedom of speech. We believe Blogger increases the availability of information, encourages healthy debate, and makes possible new connections between people."

"We respect our users' ownership of and responsibility for the content they choose to share. It is our belief that censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression."

- Blogger Terms of Use/Content

Phamily reunion

Ahhh the joys of screen printing. I really need to make myself a screen soon. Everytime I see a screen-printed poster or T-shirt I realize it's the style that I'm looking for.

One of these days ...

Here is a link to a small poster show coinciding with Phish's Hampton reunion concerts. The longtime Phish poster artist and graphic designer, Jim Pollock, will be on hand.

Check it out

If you like poster art like I do, here are a couple links to some of the best:

Higher Ground Posters by JDK

Wilco Posters (unfortunately this is a merch site)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Local Kid Does OK: Umphrey's McNES

(Photo illustration courtesy of Scott's MySpace page)

I faced an interesting situation after posting my last post, which was a story about a musician friend of mine, Scott Hannay, getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

The thing is, I had plans to publish the story in a weekly newspaper I write for. It didn't really occur to me right away that having it on my blog might prior to it being published might (or might not) present a series of unfavorable consequences for me.

So if having it on my blog meant not having it published, I didn't want to take that risk. After all, the point is to reach as many people as possible and I don't think too many people read my posts (which makes me feel a little strange when I sit here typing to myself whoa)

Word has it my story may even run as an abridged version (or at least a refer) in the daily newspaper's Friday entertainment section (of this week I believe) and run in full in a weekly paper that is inserted in the daily Wednesday, Feb. 25.

After it is published I'll get it back up on this bitch in some form, no worries mate.

In the meantime, check out Scott's music!



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shit's Good Stamp of Approval: H.I.P.A.

There is good design everywhere and while it influences what we do and what we buy (check out the documentary film "Helvetica"), I happen to look at everyday designs more objectively. On a regular basis, I will offer my "Shit's Good" stamp of approval to everyday design. When I get a smaller camera I will snap photos of the design in its element, but for now I will try to find the design online and post it, along with the stamp of approval.

I'm glad good design can be seen at the beer store because I'm there a lot. That said, my first stamp of approval goes to Magic Hat's H.I.P.A. design.

Yet another sweet design from Magic Hat and the folks at JDK in Burlington. It's art nouveau too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mucha and hallucinogenics III: Scarlet>Fire

If you've been following you know that I mined a lot of inspiration of late from the work of turn of the century French artist Alphons Mucha. I tried to emulate is the way he used negative space and outline as well as some of the mystical quality of them. Perhaps I veered away from my goal but there are a host of outline drawings and concepts that reflect his work. The above is what evolved.
Disclaimer: Mucha's work was printed on a lithograph machine, which I couldn't get on loan from the museum (although screen printing creates a similar effect). In addition, Mucha painted live models very realistically; I was looking for a more pop art (graphic) style.

As previously mentioned, I had little confidence in my ability to work with watercolors.

Painting with watercolor almost forces you into submission in order to create a form that is recognizable. I learned a lot that will help me in the future. One being that you can't paint over a pencil sketch with watercolor, but rather set the lines with your brush and then the paint conforms to it once you return with more paint; or else you can see the pencil image through the paint and it looks terrible. at this creates however, are vivid lines that outline the form which can be manipulated with multiple colors (stay with me here). I also learned that it is more about what you don't paint then what you do paint. The negative space is half the image.

Techniques such as adding water, taking away water and waiting for the paint to dry (which is quick, but not as quick as acrylic) and then laying more paint or water lines on the page can create some cool effects.

The painting of the naked girl (niiice) is the only actually painting that went into these. I scanned it in to my computer and reflected it for the Dead poster (I decided to call it "Scarlet>Fire"). The others are computer illustrations negated from a blob of watercolor; the process that I mentioned in my last post which I'm now certain is the technique used for the Print Magazine cover.

Anyway, let me know what you think.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Under the Influence

So, my plan to create art nouveau-inspired poster art has taken many turns and the perfectionist in me has gotten the better of my time.

As it happens, while I was checking out gear at EMS I saw a poster for a climbing festival that gave me plenty of new ideas...I didn't have a camera with me or else I would have taken a shot of it.

So I'm approaching the project from a new angle, and, since I'm sick of doing computer illustrations, I've changed mediums to watercolor (as I mentioned in a previous post, I'm an amateur watercolorist, but I can't leave it alone).

The inspiration for the watercolor style I am trying to achieve came from the cover of an April 2008 issue of Print Magazine.
I'm pretty sure it is a computer-generated image (I'm thinking that the artist essentially threw large blobs of watercolor paint on paper, scanned it onto a computer and negated the two images out of it using photoshop). But I don't believe in shortcuts so I am doing it by hand. If I was tight on time I would try the above theory, but I've got all the time in the world.

I've been practicing hard to emulate this technique and I'm actually close to getting it. Here is a detail of one of my better attempts:

Anyway, my Mucha-inspired poster is in the works and each day I throw something out, something better develops.
Definately stay tuned.

(Side note: the cover art for the ski DVD "Under The Influence" looks mighty familiar...)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mucha and hallucinogenics II: Women Wine and Song

As promised: Here is one of what I think will be three. This began as a hand-drawn sketch, scanned in to Illustrator, traced and color added. I wish I was a good enough painter to color it with watercolors but I'm not there yet (working at it). Stay posted for two more totally different takes on art nouveau.

New rule: 3-5 posts a week.