Monday, March 30, 2009

efficient design

Here are a couple great examples of how design and innovation are working hand-in-hand to help reduce our impact on the environment. The following were International Design category winners. Below each image is a brief description so you get the idea.

"Presented with several "awareness" devices intended to make home energy use visible in invasive or subliminal ways, the jury finally decided on Preserve, "a more artistic version of the power meter" as Caplowe called it."

'"If this doesn’t exist already, it’s awesome,' said Caplowe. His fellow jurors agreed that this wonderfully obvious but unrealized invention was not only refreshing but also unique as the only category winner that generated alternative energy.

Starting with the premise that windows account for about 50 percent of the heat gain or loss of a typical house and that window blinds influence that quantity by warming in the winter and shading in the summer, designer Ivan Huber created a Venetian blind system that collects energy from the sun during the day and releases it at night as needed. On sunny days, photovoltaic cells on the blinds’ exterior collect solar energy, which is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack within the valance. At night, the battery powers tiny LED lamps enhanced by a sandwich of materials that spread and diffuse the light: a layer of reflectors facing the window and a network of hexagonal lenses facing the room. The hexagons open to admit air and daylight then close tightly for insulation and privacy. The jury found these blinds to be a bright spot in a tunnel full of some pretty dark, cautionary projects."

Great stuff. It is amazing that the solutions to the environment's problems are right there waiting to be found. Just following the blue prints I guess.

Stay posted for some more original "eco" work to come and photos (and hopefully sound) from an improv recording sesh this afternoon!

- J am on

Friday, March 27, 2009

eco sustainable lifestyle

Here is a logo I've designed for a fictional organization called "eco." eco is a nonprofit organization that works cooperatively with local retailers, farmers and health professionals to help a consumer be healthier and eco-friendly.

Here is a "mission statement" if you will:

eco is a nonprofit organization that is helping conduct the concerted effort to rebuild America at the grass roots level.

Through eco-tourism, survival stores and environmental action, eco is on a mission to help consumers make an impact on the world without leaving a trace.

I will post a magazine spread or brochure soon. Stay posted.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Re-publish: A foot in the door

(Note: This was my first post and I've decided to re-publish it every few months to give people an idea of what my blog is all about and why I created it. Thanks for checking in to cas:ev, I appreciate what little feedback I get)

A few months ago I met with a well-respected owner of a small design firm in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY, named Rich Kline. Rich is principle owner of Shannon Rose Design, which specializes in illustration and graphic design.

The meeting was set up by a mutual acquaintance and was a very informal sit-down; not an interview. Yet, despite the fact that the meeting likely wouldn't lead to a job, I was genuinely excited to meet a man that had built a successful firm with little other than passion, a dream and some good-old ingenuity.
Rich planned on showing me a flash site they'd been working on for a company that manufactures custom crew shells (long, lightweight boats used in rowing competitions) and give me general advice about how to begin a career in design.

Prior to the meeting, I asked a friend of mine, who oversees design for Warren County Tourism, if he had heard of Rich. He told me that Rich was the real deal, a big name in the field and that the meeting would surely be fruitful.
I knew I would have to eat my pride. My portfolio was heavy on writing clips and light on design work. My concentration in graphic design didn't require I take a portfolio building class, which, I've come to learn, was probably the most important class in the design curriculum; it's the culmination of all your hard work and wasn't required to complete my minor.
Needless to say, I'm glad it wasn't a formal interview.

So I arrived at the studio with an open mind and empty hands, hoping to take something away rather than lay something on the table. (Let me just add, design studios are cool places. Maybe it's the laid back mood, the creative energy or the natural light; whatever the case, Shannon Rose was no exception. The hardwood floors, natural light, bold advertising posters adorning the walls, the works).

It was expectantly quiet. Rich was working at his computer. He greeted me, gave me a brief tour of the two floors of the studio then we sat a large wooden table and dialogue commenced.

I told him about my my passion to be a designer and how I was frustrated that a lack of a bachelor's degree in design had been holding me back. He reinforced much of what I already knew: that I needed a good portfolio and that the best way to do it was to essentially do what I'd been doing, which is pro-bono design work and network with other designers.

He also presented to me his theory of how, in today's approach to design, print advertising is only one component in a larger circle that encompasses a brand. He told me that a job starts with a solid plan on paper, and branches off into print and web from there; with an emphasis on web.

He used his current project with the boat manufacturer as an example, showing me draft plans, sketches, ect. We then walked upstairs and I got a look at the designers (a total of four) implementing the plan -- halfway through the web development of an ultra-sleek, super-cool flash Web site.

As we peered over one of the developer's shoulder, a less tech-inclined Rich told him he wanted to see the boats "change color." The developer began effortlessly typing code and, Voila!

The others were working on different aspects of the site, all of them all-stars at what they do. One of the designers introduced himself and politely excused himself from the encounter because he had a concert to go to. I wondered if it was the same one I was going to that evening. Either way, I loved the casualness of it. And, naturally, I was jealous. Here I was working for a company with a design standard that stuffs you in a tight box and strips you of your creativity while designers at Shannon Rose were defining their own design standard each day. It might be presumptuous for me too think I'll land a job like that one day, but as long as I know it exists, it's a level to attain.

Upon leaving, I felt fortunate. I was given an intimate tour of working design studio and saw professionals at work -- something I wasn't able to do at school. I had also extended my network to include a few designers, including the owner of a firm.

One piece of advice Rich gave me that I wasn't expecting, was to create a blog that would showcase both my writing and design skills. He showed me a couple blogs he followed and seemed really excited about what a blog can do for a designer.

Well, here it is. My first blog, I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks Rich for the great advice; it was truly an invaluable experience.

Let the evolution begin...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Displaced Designers

I just read this month's cover story on I.D. (International Design magazine) online about a group of designers who were commissioned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC: the largest conservation agency in the world) to travel to remote TNC preserves and develop prototypes for potential export products that would both draw attention to threatened ecosystems as well as capitalize on what these areas could offer to the world marketplace.

The story was on e of several that went along with the issue's theme, slugged: "Inspired by Nature."

Seven designers traveled to such locations as Costa Rica, Pohnpei and Mexico and some of the things they came up with were far-fetched and stupid but some were pretty clever. The point is that the best designers in the world are being commissioned to develop eco-friendly concepts; a common trend these days and one that I am focusing on this month (making slow, efficient progress).

More to come soon.


This concept by San-Fran-based designer Yves Behar utilizes
a chunk
of Costa Rican chocolate that is shaved into a mug for hot chocolate.
C'mon, is that all they got inCosta Rica is chocolate?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In the works: March (green) madness and Les Claypool art

As the month of March treads on, I will continue to work on a series of designs for a mock "eco-freindly" company. The idea is to create a print ad campaign that conveys this message ...without using green, as I feel it is overused and there are other ways of creating a sense of efficiency.

This is in the works so stay posted.

In addition I have decided to devote myself rather whole-heartedly to creating artwork inspired by Les Claypool for his Web site.

An example of fan art from Les' Web site

Before I get into more of the details about the artwork, a little about bassist Les Claypool:

I beleive Les Claypool to be the most expressive and creative musician going. He is a self-proclaimed and notorious goofball, but listen to him in an interview and you'll realize that not only is he a genious musician, but he also is devoted to his music and spreads himself thin with side projects. He is also much loved and respected by fellow musicians.

Les Claypool

How to describe his recognizable style? ... hmmm. How about, "his bass lines will rattle your skull and his lyrics will turn your brain to mush ..."

Now I was never, nor am I, a huge Primus fan, but I love Les' Frog Brigade (saw them once with Trey Anastasio sitting in opening for Phil and Friends at SPAC in, oh 2001 I think).

But I didn't really buy-in until I got my hands on his live album "Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade: Live Frogs Sets I and II." Set one offers a mind-blowing rendition of King Crimson's "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and other originals and set II covers Pink Floyd's "Animals" cover-to-cover.

I know what you're thinking, "Yeah but he didn't get the job playing bass for Metallica after Cliff Burton died ..." and this is true, Les did audition and was turned away by Metallica. He wept for days following the rejection from high school pal Kirk Hammet (listen to his story about the snub on his Web site - scroll down to videos.

I believe Kirk saw that Les was destined for other things.

"Other things" is an understatement in Les' case. He has ammased a following that I wouldn't call loyal but more "local." He has also created a surreal persona and peculiar realm that surrounds his music. Everything Les is associated with is as it would be after eating hallucinogenic mushrooms (which is why it is fitting that Les wrote music for a video game just released on Wii called "Mushroom Men" where you are a mushroom, given life by alien meteor dust, battling evil - poisonous aminitas and other backyard vermin. Check it out here).

Now, to the point. When you enter his news site, fan art as well as album art is featured in the banner. Some is great, all of it is good and I just noticed that you can submit artwork, which is what I will do.

I have decided the medium will be acrylic but haven't decided on the subject. Whatever it is it will be absolutely bizarre; from there we'll see if it ends up on the site.

Stay tuned (with the sound of frogs cricketing in background) ...


Umphrey's McNES hits The Floor

Glens Falls musician Scott Hannay got some mention on Umphrey's McGee's blog 'The Floor' this morning about his version of 1348 being added to the exclusive Mantis content. This is pretty big time but April 8 is the real payoff, when he will sit-in with the band at The Calvin Theatre in Massachusetts.

Go out and buy Mantis people! And check in to cas:ev for more exclusive info following Scott as he rides the wave to mainstream success (I promise you, this will happen). Check out previous Umphrey's McNES posts to learn more about Scott's fateful meeting and date with destiny.

Editors' note: Saint Pattie's day for me turned into a sick all-night jam out with versions of "Whiskey-in-the-Jar," "Peggy-O" and "Long May You Run" abound. We recorded a bunch; 'll try and get a link soon.

My "Traditional Irish 18-pack" of Guiness, Harp and Schmiticks combined with three guitars (one electric), drums and keys has left me with a vicious headache but it was worth it.

Happy hangover all ; o


Friday, March 13, 2009

Umphrey's McNES invades the radio

Scott Hannay's music will be featured on 102.7 WEQX tonight at 11 p.m. for "Local @ 11" series. Tune your ears and your dial.

EQX is the longest-running alternative music station in the state.

In related news, Scott was contacted by Umphrey's McGee's sound engineer Kevin Browning asking if the band could include Scott's version of "1348" for their online "PUSH" material. It's a new means of marketing where the CD acts as a key that unlocks exclusive online MP3s and other content that can be downloaded. Everyone who owns the album will now have access to Scott's song.

Hannay and two of his bands, Capital Zen and The Whatever Experiment will be playing at The Spotlight in downtown Glens Falls on Saint Pattie's Day. Music starts at 4 p.m.

Congrats Scott, looking forward to the April 8 show. Ride the wave!

Raising a banner

Well the "casual evolution recycled" banner is being raised to the rafters until further use as I welcome a new design that both adheres to my efforts to create "eco-designs" as well as representative of the current economic recession (it kind of reminds me of 1930s dust bowl era).


Monday, March 9, 2009

Dodging flashbacks: A bootleg story

My last post got me thinking about the Phish Hampton '98 bootlegs and how I ended up with them.

Truth is, they were a gift from my older brother, Pete. I'm the youngest of four brothers - Pete is eight years my elder.

He began a collection of bootlegs while attending LeMoyne college in Syracuse. His collection was mostly Dead and Allmans but he got his hands on some early Mule stuff (power trio of guitarist Warren Haynes, bassist Allen Woody 1956~2000 and drummer Matt Abts) and went to their shows often. He also saw the Dead with Jerry a couple times in '94 or '95. His usual road trip was Syracuse>Darien Lake>SPAC (maybe)>back to 'Cuse.

I remember the day he gave me the Hampton tapes rather well. He was packing to move out of the house and called me into his room, which was eerily empty -- all but one poster remained in a room normally plastered with posters (the trippy looking Jerry Garcia "A Long Strange Trip 1942~1995"- which still hangs today) . At the time I was just beginning to discover bands like The Allmans, Gov't Mule and The Dead thanks to Pete and brother, Ted.

He wanted to give me some tapes to keep me busy so he sat me down and we began sifting through the many shoe boxes he had full of neatly organized bootlegs. As we browsed he told me great stories of the many wild 'trips' he had taken to see shows.

All the while I was dodging flashbacks of when we were kids, only instead of tapes it was either his rock collection or his baseball card collection we were poring over. Both were meticulously organized as I remember; that is, until his younger brothers got their hands on them.

You'd think he would have given me the tapes he didn't like, but instead he gave me some of his favorites, the one exception being the four Hampton '98 bootleg tapes (I think he knew how good they were but wasn't concerned with Phish).

The others were:

Grateful Dead. Harpur College, Binghamton, N.Y. May 2, 1970 (a.k.a. Dick's Picks Vol. 8. The best show the Dead played on the East Coast? The late Dick Latvala, GD archivist and founder of Dick's Picks, thinks so)

Grateful Dead. Stanley Theater, Jersey City, N.J. September 27, 1972. (a.k.a. Dick's Picks Vol. 11. This is my personal favorite. The version of "Black Throated Wind" (click to play clip) is my favorite Dead song I've heard to date)

Grateful Dead, Pembroke Pines, Fla. May 22, 1977 (a.k.a. Dick's Picks Vol. 3. '77 is considered the Dead's best tour. This recording is days after the infamous "Cornell show" which is widely-considered the Dead's finest hour - stream it or download it for free here. I also just learned that this show was recorded just six days prior to Hartford '77, the newest GD release from Rhino records -- check it out here)

Bob Marley & The Wailers. Rufaro Stadium, Salisbury, Zimbabwe. April 17, 1980 ( I just did some research about this show and found out that Marley played in Zimbabwe immediately after a ceremony in which it gained independence and a riot ensued the first night during "I Shot The Sheriff." I think this is night two. Check out the video that accompanies this story)

The Allman Brother's Band. Walnut Creek Amphitheater, Raleigh, N.C. July 1, 1994. (Pete now lives in Raleigh and we caught the Allmans at Walnut Creek during the summer '07 tour. Interesting factoid: Walnut Creek's lawn seating is sponsored by none other than John Deer and is immaculate)

The Allman Brother's Band. New York State Fair, Syracuse. August 25, 1997 (which would place Pete at the show because he was at LeMoyne at the time)

So yea, he gave me some real gems. I plan on returning him the favor by giving them back as CD-Rs as well as burning him Hampton '09 which I'm sure he'll appreciate.

Pete is now a successful financial advisor at a wealth management firm in Raleigh, N.C. He lives with his wife Lana and they have two two daughters, my nieces Reilly Elizabeth and Reagan Mattingly.

He still rocks out to The Dead, Mule, Allmans, and Neil Young, only now it's from the confines of his living room littered with baby toys. The stage has taken the form of a 42-inch LCD-screen HDTV and wine is mandatory.

Well Pete, the music I can return, not so sure about the geodes or that Jeter rookie card, sorry.

Me, right, with my brother Pete
and my niece (one of two), Reilly.
Photo taken by my
wonderful sister-in-law (and fellow deadhead) Lana.

Note: I wanted to link all the shows to downloadable music but they remove Dick's Picks from because of copyrights. Guess you gotta buy em!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

FLUUFFHEAD!!! (shaking fist angrily)

I was one song away from guessing the opening song of Phish's Hampton reunion. I guessed The Divided Sky. Well...

Set One: Fluffhead, Divided Sky, Chalk Dust Torture, Sample In A Jar, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Oh Kee Pah Ceremony>Suzy Greenberg, Farmhouse, NICU, Horn, Rift, Train Song, Water In The Sky, Squirming Coil, David Bowie (such a sick Bowie)

Welcome back boys

Go to and you can download the reunion shows for free (for a limited time)!

I wouldn't consider myself a Phish-head but, after listening to Night One, I can hear the same Phish I fell in love with on the Hampton Comes Alive (1998) bootlegs (I still have "Possum" on every mix on my I-Pod). At other times, most notably in "Farmhouse," the vibe just didn't develop and the jams weren't as fleshed-out. But hey, what's to be expected from their first show back? I'll be expecting them to rock "Farmhouse" in the near future.

For the record:

Set Two: Backwards Down The Number Line, Tweezer, Taste, Possum, Theme From The Bottom First Tube, Harry Hood, Waste, You Enjoy Myself*,

Encore: Grind**, Bouncing Around The Room, Loving Cup

Notes: SOUNDCHECK: The Squirming Coil, Funky Bitch

* Started and stopped, and restarted ** Acapella

Enjoy it.

(Do I get any brownie points if they played all the songs I guessed for openers?)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hidden Track

What a great week.

My story about Scott Hannay's date with destiny was a hit and I received a lot of good feedback. I also completed a logo for a private contractor friend of mine that I will post within the next few days.

But here's the best news:

On Thursday I reached out to Hidden Track music blog to see if they would be interested in a first-hand account of the April 8 Umphrey's McGee show with a little background about Scott (I got greedy, which you have to do as a freelancer).

First, a little bit about Hidden Track (from the Web site):

Hidden Track was started in October 2006 by Ace Cowboy and Scott Bernstein to offer live music fans an off-beat look at the scene. We cover a wide range of music from Prog-Rock to Classic Rock to Jazz to Blues to Jam to Indie to Klezmer. Okay, maybe we don’t cover Klezmer although The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band does kick some serious ass. Over the years we’ve developed a more serious tone, but we’re not afraid to drop a fart joke when necessary. In January of 2009, Hidden Track was awarded the 2008 Weblog Award for Best Music Blog, a fair indication of how far we’ve come in just 28 short months.

Yeah, it's the best in the blogosphere and I am hooked. They often feature exclusives with both up-and-coming names in music as well as established acts.

So I sent a snail-mail to and a couple days passed with no reply. I followed up and got a reply almost immediately.

It read:


Thank you so much for following up with me. I had started a response to you, but it got lost in the shuffle before I sent it out.

I'm VERY familiar with Scott Hannay's work and it's amazing. I'm so excited that he gets to mash up with the band. I'm extremely interested in running your account of the evening. Do you need anything from my end?

- Scott

So, yeah, I will tell the nation about April 8 at The Calvin. I will also have a professional photographer accompanying me (Glens Falls native Sean Culligan,!

I have a feeling it will be a memorable one.

P.S. Being associated with anyone named "Ace Cowboy" is pretty sweet. Check out his blog (hilarious)


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Phish's Hampton opener

Alright, I'm entertaining guesses on Phish's opening songs and/or encores for each night of the three-night renunion at Hampton Coliseum.

For those of you who aren't aware, Phish will be playing their first shows since Trey said "We're done," in 2004. The whole summer shebang, including the Bonnaroo headline spot, is sold out to the max, with tickets going for well over $1,000 (No, I don't have a ticket, didn't try and won't seek one). They are also heading to the studio for a new album soon so this "reunion" isn't just a spring fling.
Nice cover art for Phish's "Hampton Comes Alive" album.
You guessed it, the design is another
product of JDK in Burlington.

Here is a great preview/history article that ran in the Times today: "Phish's Breakup? That Was Then, But Tough Times Call for a Reunion"

I will print and ship a T-shirt (men's or women's) with a custom Phish design (that I will design within the confines of "going green without green" month) to anyone who guesses correctly.

Go ahead, take a guess (by commenting on this story). Good luck, there are a lot of choices.

This is nearly impossible but I'm going with:

Friday: opener: The Divided Sky encore: Axilla pt. 1

Saturday: opener: Stash encore: Chalkdust Torture

Sunday: opener: Train Song encore: Possum


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Umphrey's McNES invades the news

The Glens Falls Leader weekly newspaper featuring Scott Hannay's story.