Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yellow Fever, Aesthetic Apparatus, and Radical Face

I was looking through my inspiration folder for ideas today. OK, that sentence made me sound like one of those inspiration/motivation junkies that watch too much Oprah and listen to too much Tony Robbins. If I ever say I've had an "Aha!" moment, then it's time to worry, but I really just keep the folder for when I get designers block. Isaac Newton said it well, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Nothing is new under the sun, and the sooner we cope with that fact and stop trying to come up with something brand new is the sooner we can draw on what the greats who have gone before us have to offer and make it our own.

That being said, here are a few of the contents of that folder that I collected a while back. They are a couple of posters from Aesthetic Apparatus. ANYTIME I'm looking for a creative pick-me-up, I go straight to this site. It's like crack for designers, artists and the creatively inclined. It's an endless black hole of amazing poster after amazing poster. The fonts, the colors, the composition - I don't think there's a bad one on the site. If a black hole were ever something you wanted to get sucked into, this one is it. Once you've clicked on the site, you may have well just sat down in the used vinyls section at Goodwill, because you WILL be there for at least two hours thumbing through page after page of the site. 

Here are four AA posters that were in the running to be included in my room. I love the yellow! And the multiplied overlapping elements. I ended up getting two other ones. It's times like these that I wish I had a house with endless blank walls to hang all the amazing posters and art I find. Enjoy!

- Amy
On my iTunes: Radical Face's "Welcome Home Son"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Danny Lyons, Adventures with Kevin, and Indian Summers

[ "Crossing the Ohio River" from The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon. I have a giant poster of this framed above my bed. ]

Rule No. 1 of being a photographer:
Don't forget the battery.
I'm not a photographer though, I'm a painter. This is my only excuse for breaking the cardinal rule yesterday. Yesterday I met my friend, Kevin Vesely at Kaylani Coffee in San Clemente. Kevin is the bearded man who will be the subject of my next painting. We met at Kaylani's to plan our attack of the photoshoot that was to follow:

  1. Snivel and whine about the unbearable heatwave. I knew this beatifully mild summer was just a prelude to a sweltering Indian Summer. [Author's Note: Indian Summer (n): (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) a period of unusually settled warm weather after the end of summer proper.] 
  2. Make final decision on locations for shoot.
  3. Go to said location and take epic photos to be turned into even epic-er painting.
We successfully achieved points one and two of our attack, and half of three. We made it to the location, but here's where the record scratches and the camera does the three frame zoom (closer, closer, closer) from my horrified face into my horrified eyes because I realize my battery is sitting at home on it's charger. Luckily Kevin has that mellow, easy quality that most San Clementians possess, and my profuse apologies were all graciously accepted. Some great poet somewhere once said, It's not the destination, it's the adventure.

So I rescheduled to meet Kevin next weekend to take some pictures of him, his fierce beard, and his bike. It's going to be such a great painting. I can feel it. I've been looking through my well worn copy of Danny Lyon's The Bikeriders a lot for inspiration on composition. I found out about Danny Lyon through one of my favorite blogs, The Selvedge Yard. Read the post here. You'll be hooked on this blog for life. 

Here are some of my favorite photos from The Bikeriders.

[ "From Dayton to Columbus, Ohio" ]

[ "Outlaw camp, Elkhorn, Wisconson" ]

[ "Renegade's Funeral, Detroit" ]

[ "Jack, Chicago" ]

[ "Racer, Schereville, Indiana" ]

[ "Route 12, Wisconson" ]

[ "Cal Elkhorn, Wisconson" ]

- Amy
Listening to: The scottish lads from We Were Promised Jetpacks, specifically "It's Thunder And It's Lightning." I just found out that they are on tour with Jimmy Eat World and will be playing at The Wiltern for Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday. Who knew? Speaking of Jimmy Eat World, I miss the days of Clarity and Bleed American. Call me old and set in my ways, but the new stuff just isn't doin' it for me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ralph Steadman


I was talking with my artist friend Sonya Ko the other day about how her work reminded me of the great Ralph Steadman. Steadman was the "Goose" to Hunter S. Thompson's "Maverick." They were partner's in crime on many a project: Thompson supplied the words, Steadman made them come to life with his illustrations. If you've seen the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you've seen his work. (If you haven't seen that cover, you should consider coming out from underneath your rock and joining us here in the 21st century. It's nice here.) His illustrations are a hurricane of color and lines, moving 100mph, out of control, ready to offend and disrupt anything or anyone in their path.  They're wreckless, crazed, manic. In short they're awesome.


Some fun facts about Steadman and Thompson:
  1. They met in Kentucky (my old homestead) where Hunter was born. 
  2. When Hunter S. Thompson died, they fired his ashes out of a cannon at his funeral. We're probably breathing in microscopic bits of his innards as we speak.
  3. Thompson wrote a script with his neighbor, actor Don Johnson, for a two hour TV movie called "Bridges" about an ex-druggy cop who works in LA with his latino partner and dates a mob boss' daughter. It was rejected, but NBC bought the script and later turned it into a show my mother would watch religiously called "Nash Bridges."
  4. Thompson accidentally shot his assistant while trying to scare a bear off of his property.
  5. Under the Freak Power Party ticket, Thompson ran for Sheriff of Aspen, Colorado in 1969. He barely lost.
  6. Thompson missed his high school graduating exercises because he was in jail for robbery. Took a writing course in jail.

OK, so most of those were about Thompson and not Steadman, but Thompson just caused so much more mischief and mayhem.

- Amy
On my iTunes: Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." Now there was a hunk-a-hunk of burnin' love.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Even Esquire Makes Mistakes

[Figure 1. Click to enlarge.]

I caught a mistake in Esquire Magazine! [See Figure 1. See it? In the flag tab?] To me, Esquire is the be all and end all of magazines when it comes to innovative, accessible, just damn clever design. So to catch a design blunder between their envy-worthy covers made all those mistakes I've made (how many times can a designer forget to use true black?!) in The OC Gazette over the years feel a little less weighty.

[Figure 2]

That being said, I hasten to add that when you weigh that tiny mistake against the issue as a whole, it's a mere drop in the bucket. One gem from this issue is "The Discerning Man's Guide To Grooming." [See Figure 2.]

If it's something I hate, it's a man who refuses to take care of his hair. Wherever it may dwell. I don't ask much. I pretty much like a man scruffy and grungy and smelling of wood and gasoline. But please... take care of the hair. The hilarious and very helpful guide includes "How to Properly twirl a Mustache" (if I was a guy I'd definitely have a lip tickler), and "How to Control Your Eyebrows." The final step to the latter is: "Lick the thumb and pinkie of your left hand. Starting at the middle of your brows, smooth outward. Proceed with confidence." Nothing like a good Graucho Marx reference.

This section also includes a funny ode to Antonio Banderas' cologne and how it may be the only cheapy, celebrity namesake scent that isn't horrible. The only problem? "The real trick is where you store it: at the very back of your medicine cabinet, turned around, so no one will ever know."

Call me strange, but women's magazine's don't come close to providing the kind of knowledge I glean from the witty and informative pages of this men's magazine. So, step it up Elle and Vogue. I can only read so many "How To Get Smokey Eyes" and "How To Tell if He's Into You" guides.

- Amy
On my iTunes: The Growlers' "Her Command"

P.S.  After posting this blog, my designer friend Leon Ingram (who works for Disney) told me he could totally go for a sawdust/gasoline scented cologne, and so after deciding to add whiskey into the mix, he came up with the ingenious name for our new men's scent: "Dusty Whisk - A fragrance by Hoodgram" (our last names cleverly joined into one). After both agreeing this was a million dollar idea, Leon posted the initial promotional ad for said cologne on my facebook. Here it is:

[Click to enlarge.]

Director of Design for Churm Media, Luke Hodsdon, is raving about Dusty Whisk: "No more rolling around in the garage to get that perfect scent!!"

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Happy Graphic Designer

A fun little illustration I did one day to get the creative juices flowing.

On my iTunes: Tokyo Police Club's "In a Cave"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jason Schwartzman, Painting Progress and Threats of a Salon Des Refuses

I'm so close to being done with my painting of Matt! I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The silver lining amongst the stormy skies. The ray of light shining through the darkness. You get it. It's a long and arduous process. A journey only to be undertaken by the strong of heart. I'm going to try to finish up the background tonight and then all I have left is the halo and the tattoos. Ok, the tunnel is looking a little longer and a little darker than I thought now. 

I've already got my ideas and sketches for my next two paintings. One involves a motorcycle, my friend Kevin Vessely, his majestic beard, the beautiful California coast, and snorkeling gear. The other one will involve some really cool perspective and my musician friend Nick (who also happens to make a mean iced pumpkin spice latte at Peet's Coffee in Lake Forest).  I'm trying to set up the photoshoots this week so that as soon as I'm done with this painting (I still need to think of a clever title) I can get to work on the next. 

I want to get as many hours at the easel in as possible so I can have at least three paintings of this series finished and ready for viewing. The new fall season of all my shows and some epic-looking new ones could seriously waylay these plans. (Is anyone else super excited about HBO's "Bored To Death" with Jason Schwartzman, Zack Galifianakas and Ted Danson? The trailer is below if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) The local Peet's Coffee shops in Lake Forest and Talega hold art shows regularly. I'm hoping they'll let me into their casual "salon." If they don't, I'm pulling a Napoleon III and holding my own "Salon des Refuses." Let's all hope it doesn't come to that. My 16' x 16' room would make for a very crowded viewing gallery. 

- Amy
On my iTunes: Black Sabbath's "Changes"

My Interview With Nick 13 of Tiger Army

Above is a layout I did for The OC Gazette on Nick 13 of Tiger Army. It's an interview I did with him about his new solo project. I thought it turned out pretty good, although I wish I had two pages so I could have given everything a little more space and breathing room. It's always hard when I do these interviews and I have to go through and cut things down. I usually have to cut about 3/4 of what they say so that we can fit it in the layout, and it's so hard deciding which anecdotes to keep and what's the most interesting, because it's all interesting! It was especially hard with this interview. Nick 13 was seriously one of the most interesting guys I've ever interviewed. And so well-read and well-spoken. 

Here's the intro I wrote for the piece. I think it explains him pretty well: 

"Lead singer of one of the most popular psychobilly bands ever—check. Working with some of the greatest country session artists for his highly anticipated new solo album−check. Owner of one of the most impressive vintage horror film collections—check. Perfect cocktail party date/walking, talking vault of fringe information—check. It’s just a day in the life of Nick 13."

He should be one of those music historians they feature on those Vh1 specials. That's how much he knew about country music history and punk. I'll leave you with this video from his set at Hootenanny this year in Irvine.

- Amy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photoshop Magic, Press Week & Ghost Stories

[ A collab between me and Vincent - VanGogh that is. ]

Here's a last minute photoshop masterpiece I threw together for an editorial layout I did for the magazine this month. I was so swamped this month and this got left till the last day... literally the day that I was uploading the magazine to press I was intermittently finishing this layout. (Don't try this at home kids.) In my defense we were down two extraordinary designers (shout out to Jen Hood and Sara Wilkins!) and I was left all on my lonesome.

After pondering the "what ifs" and imagining my boss strangling me (like Homer so lovingly does Bart) for not getting the layout done, I decided to shoot a prayer up to the Big Man and just get cookin. Here's what I came up with. I was half inspired by the spread in this month's Esquire on Keri Russell, which is funny since my topic was Ghost Stories of Orange County. They have nothing in common, but the elements seemed to work for both. That's the beauty of design ain't it? The other half of my inspiration came from finding out that this amazing Van Gogh painting, "Skeleton with Burning Cigarette" was copyright free. I've always wanted to use it in a layout, and with the Halloween themed Ghost Stories article it was perfect! So I photoshopped it together with some other graphics of indian head dresses and feathers since one of the haunted tales featured an indian massacre... a hellofa lot of clone stamping later and voila!

[The Esquire layout. They're such geniuses over there. Sorry for the crappy quality - it's from my iPhone.]

[ My end result. Click to Enlarge. ]

- Amy
On my Sea Wolf's "Leaves In The River." 
If you've never heard it, google it. It's so beautiful and it's about falling in love on Halloween. I have a soft spot for all things Halloween since besides being an all around fun day it's my birthday. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some "Motivation" for Monday

Here's a little "Motivation" to get your Monday rollin' right courtesy of the lads in Delta Spirit. This video cracks me up. Especially once the roosters and the ghost choir make their entrance. They've probably been added to PETA's naughty list for playing a game of catch with the rooster. All I know is that this is what's going to help me get through the final day of press week at the magazine. Enjoy!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Renaissance Man Scott Avett


What's inspiring me right now besides Pink Floyd? Scott AvettYes, the very namesake of alt/country/rock band The Avett Brothers. If you've never heard of these country bumpkins, watch their video for "I And Love And You" here. I have to forewarn you that it took me a little while to fully grasp and understand the glory that is The Avett Brothers. If this happens to you, don't panic. Just open your mind and free your thoughts and give it a couple more listens. What I first thought was slow and lacking in feeling, I realized now was just the opposite. [If this were a Disney movie, this would be a prime place for a lesson on not being to quick to judge.] I've been listening to this CD more than any other album all year [although Glasvegas's self titled is a very close second.] My favorite tracks are the song below, "Laundry Room" "Kick Drum Heart" [another great phrase for a tattoo, don't you think?], "Perfect Space," and "Head Full of Doubt." Once you get hooked on these, go buy I And Love And You. It's their most accessible album across the board in my oh-so-humble opinion. I love their older albums, but if you don't like country or folk then you probably won't like them. 

Well, did you know that aside from being a top notch musician and multi-instrumentalist, Scott Avett is a fine artist? And I bet you've seen his work too. It was on display at every Starbucks last year. Yep, gracing the cover of The Avett Brother's album I And Love And You sitting on the counter in front of you as you ordered your crazy foo foo drink.

 [Ring a bell now?]

I really like his style. He does a lot of portraits and I just love the way he uses color. You can see the full spectrum of color in his skintones: pinks, blues, purples, greens, yellows. His paintings mix portraiture with these surrealist backgrounds. They also feel a lot like modern day versions of the old religious narrative paintings. It's really interesting. Musician, artist, stud - what a dreamboat.

[The Fighter]

[The Underdog]


[A woodcut by Scott portraying The Avett Brothers.]

 [More amazing woodcuts by Scott. These were used as tour posters 
for The Avett Brothers.]

Every time I see him I freak out because he looks so much like my friend dear old friend from Nashville Danny Nicolleto [who also happens to be a top notch musician]. Isn't it uncanny? I have this theory that everyone has a famous twin. I'm also really good and figuring people's out. It's a gift. Give me any person and I'll find their doppleganger, guaranteed or your money back!

[Danny Nicoletto vs. Scott Avett]

Enjoy your Sunday Funday!

Listening to: Avett Brothers' "Murder In The City"
Related Posts with Thumbnails