Friends Adaptations NY have opened a gorgeous little Popup Shop in Brooklyn from July 9 - 13, 12-8 PM, 150 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, BK. If you're in the area you should definitely go check out their lovely curation of beautiful vintage furniture and various curated art and products. I'm also extremely excited they'll be carrying two of my scarf designs! They'll both be on sale through the Popup shop but if you're not in the area and would still like to pick one up, they're still available online through my shop.
For upcoming article and art series about tinnitus (that annoying ringing in your ears). Fun fact, according to the American Tinnitus Association, more than 50 million Americans have it.
A fantastic video summary of good times this year at FITC Toronto! Thanks for having me!
Good times with Sougwen Chung, Irene Pereyra, Anton Repponen, Jared Ficklin, GMUNK, James White, Neil Mendoza, Jason White, Stacey Mulcahy, Bermon Painter, and I finally met Yuko Shimizu! Yuko, you're the coolest. Many thanks to the fine FITC crew who expertly put on a kickass time.
All my time has been occupied with design work for the past several weeks since returning from somewhat of a travel sabbatical, and I haven't been able to illustrate as much as I'd like lately, however I do always fit in some experiments just for fun. This one was inspired by some simple Japanese woodblock silhouettes of cranes I've been in love with recently. As of late, more pared down shapes and compositions have been very interesting to me.
Avers from my hometown of Richmond, VA released their debut album titled Empty Light on iTunes yesterday. It made it to iTunes Alternative New and Noteworthy list, very well-deserved indeed. I've already had the pleasure of giving it a few dozen listens as I got a delightful little sneak peak for research purposes...for designing it's cover! It was an exceptional honor to be asked to work on such a special project as a debut album (not to mention a lot of pressure). After a number of rounds and various experimentation the simplest idea ended up being the coolest (at least I thought so—and so did the band.) The title Empty Light reminded me of certain Sunday mornings I spend lazily in my apartment with a cup of coffee. They are my single day to really get up at my leisure and sit by my window to reflect, listen, and just be. I have a number of ornate rugs on my floor, and in the morning the light shines through my windows masking out their patterns in playful patches diffused across my floor.
My first thought was to try and capture this sense of illumination, reflection and even melancholy in some abstract design and the band had also pointed to similar reference. But after a couple tests something wasn't quite coming together. Roger and I were discussing the idea and we started doing a little more research. We discovered the term "Empty Light" is also a term used in medicine when determining brain death with cerebral radionuclide angiography. The lack of intercranial blood flow shows up in the radiograph image as an empty white space due to the lack of blood flow and is referred to as an "empty light bulb." The real medical images of this were eerie and beautiful—perfect really as it—both sad and romantic, all at once. How fitting too that I often feel like an empty vessel myself when immersed in the experience of listening to a piece music. We'd found our hook and one of my favorite tools of watercolor seemed like a perfect fit to simply execute the concept. Avers had asked that we use color, so instead of a black and white design like I may have otherwise been inclined to use, we went with a glowing red and pinks direction with hints of blues and greens.
Below—some early watercolor tests. I actually really love the simplicity of the left green and grey version, but the band had concerns about it feeling too dark and gothic. Understandable, as I had also worked on their last EP cover release which was also just simple black and white using their logo. The right was a more psychedelic approach which I also was digging. The compromise was blending the two and meeting somewhere in the middle.
Below—some initial abstract, plant-like, organic approaches I tried in the very beginning. While I liked their design, pattern, and complexity, they weren't feeling right for the album.
Just for fun I made a couple tote bags with some a beetle friend. I've been experimenting with some simpler, rougher line art illustrations and wanted to try one as a screenprint. We only have a few at the moment as these were really just for a good time, but there are a few available in the shop if you're so inclined! Just for the funny fun-funs.
The Tiger Scarf is finally here! This piece has been in the works for nearly a year, after long talks and prototyping with new production partners, sample-making, and then finally the long wait for the final hand-sewn pieces. For whatever reason, my imagination often manifests itself in technicolor through my illustration, which over the past 5 or 6 years has been in stark contrast to my own personal style, which consists of an entirely black closet. For this scarf I wanted to make something that I could feel excited about wearing myself—how very selfish I know! But something wasn't feeling quite right about carrying products I wouldn't use myself. The result of this experiment were the the bold black and white patterns of mister tiger's stripes. The chiffon is light and semi-transparent, just in time for this brutal New York winter to end—the first signs of a glorious spring are already peaking around our gotham corners.
I had the honor of an unexpected meeting with Xavier Portela during my visit to Amsterdam last month. He emailed me just before my arrival asking if we might shoot some portraits together. It's a little intimidating meeting a total stranger for something like this, but having checked out Xavier's work online beforehand I had a really good feeling about it and decided to take a chance. By the time I got to Amsterdam though I was already 3 levels of jetlagged after being in Tokyo 4 days before then back to New York for long enough to say hi to my cat, and the back in a plane again. I was a little out of sorts and just ready to curl up into a cocoon for a few weeks, but I knew I might be kicking myself later if I didn't see what Xavier was all about. At the last minute we pulled the pieces together and sure enough Xavier was absolutely lovely in person and put me at ease immediately. He created a portrait story of our morning chatting over coffee in the gorgeous Hotel Estherea about about making time for your work and personal passions. See the rest and read Xavier's writeup here. Also, see Xavier Portela on Facebook.
I ended my crazy February in Amsterdam after a quick stop over back in NYC to join my friends from FITC once again for their annual Amsterdam event. (At this point I as in a state of inception jetlag with no idea what timezone I was supposed to be in.) This trip was a very special honor for me as I also was asked to contribute the key art for the event which appeared on everyone's badges and the event banners. I have to say, I think Amsterdam really stole a piece of my heart. I barely had time to explore, but with the stole moments where I could walk around, I felt the city's spirit and mine had a few things in common. Thank you FITC for being an amazing, gracious host, and thank you Amsterdam for your energy. I'll see you again soon beautiful Venice of the North.