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I was recently featured in GDUSA’s annual People To Watch list. I’m honored to be included this year with incredible company such as Tina Roth Eisenberg, Jessica Walsh, Michael Ian Kaye, Ellen Lupton, Natasha Jen, and Matthew Flick. The criteria: individuals with a combination of talent, leadership, success, newsworthiness and community service. Thanks to the crew over there.
My month of guest art directing The New York Times Book Review ran its course last week. When you work for a company like the Times, it doesn’t take much to understand the expectations; a certain level of responsibility to the tradition and legacy. I had the same feeling when I worked at Apple.
Besides working in tandem with well-known editors—discussing literary topics that went way over my blonde head—my favorite thing about the gig was working with amazing illustrators/designers. I hired over 30 illustrators during my stint (I wanted to hire 100 more!)—and when I had the opportunity to package the ‘Politics Issue,’ I jumped at the chance to corral some of my friends and mentors: Alan Dye, Brian Rea, Erik Marinovich, Lotta Nieminen, John Fulbrook, Joon Mo Kang, Mikey Burton, Paul Sahre, and William Morrisey.
I’m super excited to be a guest art director for The New York Times Book Review until October. I’m very happy/busy working with my own clients right now—but when Nicholas Blechman asked me if I was interested in sitting in for him, while he goes to Italy for the prestigious Rome Prize, I just couldn’t say no. I don’t need to explain how brilliant Nicholas is, and working on illos for him over the years as always been extremely easygoing and rewarding. I only hope I can deliver 1/2 of what he consistently does.
Furthermore, the awesome Rex Bonomelli will take over the gig from October until Nicholas comes back in April. See you on the other side, editorial peeps!
New York has the blues!
Last month, like 75 percent of earthlings, I started a Tumblr. I wanted to document (and stalk) a certain NYC epidemic throughout my daily travels this summer. I call them “BBBs.”
Since moving back to NYC in January, I couldn’t help noticing one specific thing as the weather turned warmer. I didn’t notice it coincidentally, daily, or even hourly. No, throughout my daily travels I was seeing it by the minute. Flocks of them. Everywhere. No matter what race, class, height, weight, or style of woman, all of them had one thing in common–they were all wearing blue pants. International Klein Blue, to be specific.
Like most boys, blue was my favorite color growing up. I would draw the ocean and the skies with my blue crayon. I would draw blue jays, blue fish, and blue sharks. My favorite basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, wore the color blue. Furthermore, because I have blue eyes, my mother would throw a blue shirt on me and say, “It matches your eyes!” I felt some sort of ownership of this color. It was mine, I identitied with it more than anyone, and because of that, it loved me the most. Silly, right?
Well, years later, I haven’t been able to shake it. I’m still drawn to blue in a very strong, and of course, very arbitrary way. It finds its way in my designs and illustrations more often than not. People think it’s “friendly” or “welcoming,” yet because of my affinity for the color, I just think it’s fresh.
Apparently, so do New York women.
On Valentine’s Day I attempted to draw a unique valentine for every single one of my Twitter followers (1150 at the time) between 7 AM and 7 PM. This was an ambitious undertaking, and unfortunately I had an array of Twitter problems early on. However, I successfully sent out almost 500 valentines to followers from all over. The goal was not achieved, but the love and effort was undoubtedly there. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this very rewarding 12 hours with me!
Last week I launched a website that documents those efforts. Massive love and hugs to my amazing web friends over at Look North for helping me get this site up quickly.
Below is a lovely valentine that Frank Chimero made me. ♥
As an act of perseverance, and compassion, I will attempt to draw a valentine for EVERY single one of my Twitter followers tomorrow, February 14, between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM. I will draw the valentine on a 4 1/2” x 5 1/2” pre-cut card, take a picture with my phone, and tweet it directly to each follower, real-time. Call it a “Valentine’s Marathon” if you will.
With 1150 followers, I’ll have roughly 40 seconds per valentine (or 96 an hour), so I will have to act swiftly. However, it is my goal to make every card unique to the individual follower. By doing so, I will respond to each person’s handle/picture/bio as seen below. Obviously, with such little time, these cards won’t be mind-blowing, but who doesn’t like to get a hand drawn note for Valentine’s Day?
Why? Well if there’s one day in the year I’m heartily encouraged to show my love and appreciation to someone, that day is tomorrow. Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is spent expressing ourselves with gifts and “valentines” for people we care about. However, interesting enough, in lieu of all the people I care about in my personal life, I spend much more time sitting in front of my computer every day: working, searching, writing, emailing, scanning, printing, G-chatting, and of course, Tweeting.
I have developed great relationships with people in my personal life because of Twitter. That being said, everyday I have conversations with designers and illustrators on Twitter that never go beyond the monitor in front of me. In spite of this, I wonder how I can honor these virtual relationships? Can it be done outside of technology? And besides the typical gifts we give each other on Twitter—like a mention or a retweet—what would it mean to make an analog gift for someone who is following me?
Note: Twitter says you can’t tweet more than 1000 times in a day, and because I won’t have a lot of time, I will have to double up on many of the tweets. Oh, and I won’t create valentines for any new followers than the ones I have now. In the next week or two, I will put a website up so you can see all 1150 together.
15 Red Sharpies
1200 pre-cut cards
5 bottles of water
2 coconut waters
3 pre-made sandwiches
1 Bag of Hershey’s Kisses
Andre 3000’s “The Love Below” on repeat
This is going to be fun! (maybe impossible!?) I guess sometimes you gotta be mad for love!
After a year and a half of living in San Francisco, I’m moving back to the only place I call home. It’s been two months since I quit my job at Apple, and left the branding/advertising world. I like to romanticize my newfound self-employment as if I’m a professional basketball player who’s on strike from the league, playing ball in the neighborhood court, just the way it was played when we were kids: no refs, no fans, and no shot clock. I need to practice on my jump shot, and I’ll stay a free agent until the right team comes along.
I’m also very excited to teach a typography class this January for my alma mater, School of Visual Arts. It wasn’t too long ago that I was nervous design student, pestering all my teachers, begging them to give me a bit of their knowledge. (I still do this, and thankfully most of them don’t tell me to bugger off!)
People ask me why I’d leave a place so beautiful and serene like San Francisco? While California’s culture is just as predominant as NYC’s, neither could be more opposite. The decision to move back East has made me think a lot about what makes California feel so different. Besides the weather, and the slower pace—or the fact that people strangely wait for the street lights to change before crossing the street—there’s a collective essence that is inherently different than New York. But what is that exactly?
Recently, I was discussing this topic with my neighborhood barista. He explained an old comic he once saw that perfectly articulated everything I felt about the two cultures! I rushed home and Googled said comic. After a long search, I unfortunately came up unsuccessful. So I did the only thing I could do. I tried to recapture the spirit of that insightful comic.
See you back in the motherland!
I’m excited to have a photo-illustration on the cover of this week’s TIME magazine. My second cover for them in the past 6 months, and this one couldn’t be more different than the first one.
Social mobility is the foundation of the American dream, but slower gains in education, along with the rise of technology, and the entry of 2 billion new emerging workers into the global labor force has led to a rise in inequality. This is the topic of discussion for an article called, What Ever Happened To Upward Mobility?
With limited time, they picked one of the more time-consuming ideas I presented. I knew this had to be photographed, and I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find a quintessential ladder that the idea called for. Scrambling, I was extremely lucky to find help from my lovely friend / super-awesome-dope-amazing photographer, Thayer Gowdy. This lady couldn’t be more busy, and I probably owe her my life. We rushed to the hardware store, bought wooden poles, broke them in half, and shot them individually at her studio. Finally, I spray painted the “rungs” to convey an idea of stripes, but the editor didn’t go for that.
Massive thanks to D.W. and everyone at TIME!
Design Director: D.W.Pine
I think designing your own website is the closest feeling a graphic designer can have to putting out an album. The making, editing, credits, production, and fault-finding all make for a long, endearing process that ultimately exposes the creative self to everyone. What a self-indulgent exercise, right?
With so many possibilities on the web, I wanted my new site to be a breathing organism. Using modern features, it was important that it feel both substantial and extremely simple. So I contacted my crazy talented web friend, Greg Maher, who runs Look North. He, along with his awesome developer, Vince Nalupta, worked closely with me to plan, design and build a responsive, content managed site. The front-end code is hand-crafted HTML and CSS, and we’re using both jQuery and Media Queries to achieve the responsiveness. And the whole site is powered by ExpressionEngine on the backend. Luckily we were able to roll the posts from my old blog onto here.
I can’t thank them enough for all their amazing and tireless work! I was a bit of a pain in the ass during the process, so they definitely get two gold stars for being so cool. Everyone should hire them immediately!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy! (Oh, and if you find any kinks, please let me know.)
I was asked to contribute some work to a new exhibition at Northeastern University called “We The Designers: Reframing political issues in the Obama era.” It’s an honor to have my work sit next to a group of incredible designers who I admire.
On top of that, I was also asked to contribute to a book that Brian Collins was doing for the show. He asked 55 designers to visually respond to 55 thesis’ that he and his team called, “The Triumph of the Commons.” A beautiful book designed by Matt Luckhurst. Thanks to Brian for this!
And what would a political show be if not for some controversy. Thanks to the awesome curator of the show, Thomas Starr, for asking me to be a part of this!
If you’re in the Boston area, you should definitely check it out.
September 29 – December 15, 2011
International Village, Northeastern
Free and open to public
16: The expansion and extension of play is then, the essence of wealth. John Ruskin pointed this out more than a hundred years ago in discussing the etymology of value: “Valor, from valere, to be well or strong; strong, life (if a man), or valiant; strong for life (if a thing), or valuable. To be ‘valuable,’ therefore, is to ‘avail toward life.’ ... For wealth, instead of depending merely on a ‘have,’ is thus seen to depend on a ‘can.’ ... And what we reasoned of only as accumulation of material, is seen to demand also accumulation of capacity…. Wealth is, therefore, ‘The Possession of the Valuable by the valiant.’”
My piece for the exhibition below. Exhibition designers: Christopher Brand, Alicia Cheng, Collins:, David Comberg, Matt Dorfman, Allan Espiritu, Sarah Gephart, Milton Glaser, Timothy Goodman, Lucinda Hitchcock, Pamela Hovland, Mirko Ilic, Daniel Jasper, Garland Kirkpatrick, Dylan Lathrop, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, Steven McCarthy, Post Typography, Andrew Sloat, Topos Graphics, Winterhouse, Brett Yasko, Edvin Yegir