Soccer fans have seen this before.
The city’s team enters a new league, breaks affiliation with a franchise or exchanges ownership. The team needs a bold visual statement to reflect the fresh start.
The owners unveil a new brand and it flops. Badly.
It fails to capture the character of the city and the hearts of the supporters (and they will let you know). The criticism comes as a shock at first, but the owners conveniently have an epiphany: they are not the only stakeholders in the team. …
PDX Pop Now! is an all-volunteer organization that provides support for live performances and recorded materials that are accessible, contemporary and local to Portland musicians. Through their annual compilation and summer festival, PPN showcases the best up-and-coming music makers.
Last fall, I accepted the job to make the art for PDX Pop Now! Vol. 16.
In July, eBay’s Portland outpost put out a request for proposals from artists to decorate their new third-floor office spaces. The brief suggested themes like The Portland Horse Project, Beverly Cleary, Rose City Rollers, Darcelle and Paul Bunyan.
As I contemplated sundry possibilities, I kept returning to one of my favorite Portland curiosities: the Paul Bunyan statue in Kenton.
In June of 2016, my best friend called to tell me he had cancer.
It made sense in the context of our lives. We had reached our mid-30s and had grown weary of the tedium in our daily rigor. Cancer was a good pick for anyone with a natural inclination toward curious and daring hobbies. A stunt like this could really get your blood going.
You don’t need to make a full synesthetic leap to find music in the words of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Melodic language set to poetic rhythm with a healing timbre—it’s all there.
So when Julia McNamara and I were tasked with creating the promotional poster for Book-It Repertory Theatre’s adaptation of Caged Bird, the Reid Miles’ Blue Note Records oeuvre was at the forefront of my mind. I have long admired his ability to convey the style, mood and tone of music using line, shape, color and pattern on countless album covers.
I have been making Futura Bracket since 2011 and sharing it with wider audiences online (through Tumblr, Twitter and email) since 2012. So long as I enjoy NCAA basketball, it is something I will continue to make in perpetuity, even if the audience is just me.
Futura Bracket is a remarkably dumb product. It contains the same necessary information as literally¹ every other bracket. It excludes basic interactivity built into several brackets offered online. It features exactly zero sponsor logos from which it generates absolutely no revenue. It is black-and-white, generic-supermarket-brand boring.
Futura Bracket’s once broad exposure has narrowed in…
This is a story of syzygy and synergy. Or, rather, the story of the byproduct of that story.
Our heroes aligned and allied to illustrate and design four posters for a theater—whose plays had not yet been written (they were still being adapted from their respective looong books)—regardless of working 280 km apart and despite only affording two weeks to finish and, of course, the mitigation of their own overwhelming personal life obligations.
But in the face of adversity, our heroes forged forth!
For the second time, BT Livermore and I decided to make something together. And for the second time, we were faced with laying out parameters for the project. Over a quick beer, we decided the collaboration would yield:
That’s right, no computers. If you’re thinking, “well, fuck, how are they gonna do that?” then you know exactly how I felt. I’ll get to that in a bit.