Vintage shoes on bamboo flooring at the studio. Fall 2012.
Every once in a while I need to escape the madness of the city (or that of which I create) and head out to the Farm House. It’s a piece of property owned by my good friend Smitty. The perimeter of the acreage is covered in pine trees and blackberry bushes creating an isolated utopia and making it a choice retreat. I have spent many nights out there under the stars unwinding and clearing my head.
One night at the Farm House while drinking liberty cap tea I made an unlikely best friend, Scratch. Everyone knows my general dislike for cats mainly because I am allergic to them, but also because my family’s email threads consist primarily of YouTube videos, stories and jpegs of them. I simply don’t get it. Cat people are weird.
Let’s get back to Scratch, the amazing little tabby cat that changed my perception of this shithole we call Earth. Late one night while at the Farm House I sat quietly in the tall grass with my legs folded and my hands in my lap. I was staring up at the night sky and admiring the fractals that were systematically dividing the universe into a spider web of dimensions. I had one of those moments where you realize everything is bullshit and nothing really matters on a long enough time line and that our existence is futile (Ed Norton, Fight Club). Then I felt a warm wet sensation in the palms of my hands. I looked down and there was Scratch meowing and sitting up in a very proud stance. She had killed a mole and brought it to me as a gift. This tiny dead creature, still warm with blood was laying lifeless in my hand. It was like the scene from Jesus’ Son where Billy Crudup and Jack Black “save” the baby bunnies… I had a revelation. Besides everything being bullshit I realized that life is about the little moments. These otherwise insignificant times make it all worth it and we spend too much time pondering the grandeur of the universe instead of enjoying it. Humans are idiots.
This leads me to Bambi, Bendi and Baby the three goats that live on the property. They are the most recent addition to the Farm House and have done a thorough job of clearing the brush in just under a few months. Goats are amazing creatures driven by one motive and that is hunger. These crazy eyed little fuckers will eat anything and everything they can get their dirty little fangs on including my shoes.
Bambi is obsessed with my camera and chasing Scratch around. Bendi is a mean old goat and she loves to bully Baby around. Bambi is the youngest and loves to sneak up behind people and not so secretly eat their clothes.
I was at the Farm House this morning reading the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine and enjoying a cup of herbal tea when the goats began heckling me for food. Smitty keeps a giant container of oats that these little suckers go ape shit over. I decided not to feed them and grabbed my camera instead.
The shit show started as soon as I opened the gate and Bendi jumped on my back while Bambi went for my camera. I was not awake enough to deal with these little fuckers. It was 7:30am and the caffeine hadn’t kicked in so I decided the best thing to do was run. I ran up the hill and into the bushes with all three goats in tow (Scratch was high up in the trees watching all of this happen). This became a game. They wanted food and I wanted pictures so we made a deal. I would entice Scratch to come down and play so Bambi could chase her and I would chase Baby around. Bendi decided that we were all idiots and she found a nice early morning sunny spot and laid down. She was not herself this morning.
I got some great shots, but most of all I realized that animals are not stupid, that everyone needs to slow life down. We need a little bit of fun and excitement, a break from the daily grind whether it is a walk in the park or running with goats. We need love. We need someone to play with. We need to laugh at life and feel emotions. Everyone needs companionship. Everyone and everything has needs beyond the basics.
I will be at the 2012 Digital World Expo in Las Vegas at the end of the month representing Assurance Advertising. While I will not be speaking as planned you can catch Shahab Zargari’s two day class on Video Development (Session 1 Thursday 4:30 – 5:30, Session 2 Friday 11:15 – 12:15). Shahab is our Creative Director and Digital Media Guru. I will be on the show floor with our wonderful Mindy Molisee. We are meeting and greeting and I will conduct a free consultation to evaluate the digital marketing strategies of your company. Stop by the Mirage Convention Center on September 28th and 29th booth #205 and say hello. Don’t forget to bring your business card and enter to win a Nexus 7 tablet from Google. See you there.
one night at serene court we had a birthday party…
Finally out of the “Pokey”, Turley came over to paint with me.
One of the most genuine people I have ever met, Cody. Portland 2012.
I bought a new toaster. It is amazing. It toasts stuff. Portland 2012.
Allen Edmonds, Wing Tips.
I handed them the flash and started firing away. Portland 2012.
One bad ass man. Jeray. Portland 2012.
I collect anything related to typography. I scored this set for $5.00.
Best Sake ever.
Legalize it. 2012.
Mad Mike is a good friend of mine. He is the bass player for MDC and No Red Flags. Portland 2012.
Bloody Mary Tuesday…
prepping for a hair cut. Portland 2012.
Johnathan Barnbrook is one of the designers I have looked up to for many years. He has maintained a high level of standards in the design industry and is considered the pioneer of graphic design with a social conscience. I first discovered his work in Adbusters Magazine years ago while I was living in Salt Lake City. At the time I was into the culture of subvertising and civil disobedience. I was impressionable and looking for answers to a world that had turned into an advertising mind fuck. Jonathan’s contributions to Adbusters were riveting and sometimes startling, but they were spot on and made people think about the world around them.It was a time when psychologists were being consulted to create direct marketing groups for toddlers. Sports players were about to take over the world and everywhere you looked there was someone shoving a product in your face. Nothing was sacred and Jonathan decided to stand up to this madness.
It was years later when I finally met Jonathan at a lecture he gave during my time at Pacific Northwest College of Art. By this time, his design firm and foundry in London were well established and he had clients like David Bowie and the BBC under his belt. His lecture was a slideshow of his favorite work and he touched on the ethics of design. He was modest, funny and very passionate about his work. I was inspired. He has turned down clients like Coca Cola and refused to work with companies like Nike and other sweatshop supporters. He made me believe I could be a designer and not feel ashamed of myself for working for and supporting businesses and corporations that I didn’t believe in. He gave me his email address and said to contact him anytime. Perhaps this is the time to do so. I need a good shot in the arm.
I never wanted to use my creativity to sell products to people or make million dollar corporations more money by manipulating people, but it is hard to avoid if you want to make money in the design business. I made a compromise with New Seasons Market because they were practicing sustainable methods and had a great involvement within the community. They also had products I could stand behind and wanted to promote. I felt good working there and giving my talent to promote the company, the many great vendors and local farmers… How could they be such a wonderful company on the outside and such a mess internally? How could they string me along for eight months, promising me a competitive wage and tell me to be patient and then not deliver? I really don’t know the answers. It makes me sad.
I loved the company and the people I worked with, but I had to look back at my roots and my own ethics of design and self worth. The answers were clear to me and the decision was made to stand up for myself. The positive side is that this opens the door for me to do freelance work again and pick the clients I want to work with. It allows me to take the time to look for an employer who values my work and commitment and it allows me to move forward with a clean conscious knowing that what I gave to New Seasons Market was 100% love, quality and commitment. You can read more about Jonathan Barnbrook here.
It is true that I work for a local grocery chain and I am surrounded by amazing products from the Pacific Northwest, mainly fancy food. Samples are delivered to our office daily; I handle New Media and get to take photos on location of some of the best products on the market. It is no wonder that my top picks for the best branding are gourmet food items. Let me introduce you to two of my favorites.
I’m going to start with Jacobsen Salt Co. which is currently my favorite brand. The simple, striking design will grab your attention as you browse the aisles. If you have never tried a finishing salt, then you must start here.
I was pleased to find out that Chloe Steinhoff-Smith, an alumna from my school, PNCA, was behind the branding. She worked closely with Benjamin Jacobsen on launching his first product line. You can see more of her work by visiting her website. Here is what she had to say about working on the project, “We went with a look that’s simple and classic. Hand-harvesting salt is a time-honored process, and we wanted the branding to reflect that. We added the stamp with the location and year of each harvest on the label to further emphasize that each bag had been handled by a real person. We picked cool, blue colors because these are the colors Ben sees when he’s out on the Oregon Coast, which is where Jacobsen Salt comes from.”
This is a solid brand and product. Ben is a very down to earth man with an awesome start-up company and on his way to success.
To help Ben meet the demand for his products please visit his Kickstarter campaign and watch the video.
Next on the list is Chop, a local Butchery and Charcuterie owned by Paula Markus and Eric Finley. I contacted Eric about his brand and then met him at the local farmers market on Saturday for a quick chat and photo op. His website is under construction and there is a simple splash page up, but he guarantees the new site will be awesome. He originally hired Arcade Design to develop packaging and branding for his new salami line. The two employees who worked on the project got so excited about the results they decided to start their own company, Factory North.
When Eric approached the duo behind Factory North, Nicole Sakai and Tyler Segal, he told them he wanted to, “have a feeling of traditional Americana, rock & roll and just to be classic”. I think this was achieved. From black and white to gold on black, the logo says it all; sexy, classy and memorable.
I have a Chop sticker on the center of my fridge and usually have a salami and pate waiting for a quiet night of gluttony. My recent favorite is the Pheasant Pate with Morels & Porcini. Try it and you will have a new addiction.
Nothing beats a good, local, fresh product especially when it comes in a nice package.
I have my eyes set on Salt & Straw next…
Rachel drove me home. 2012
I have finally polished up the No Red Flags article and that will be off to the editors soon. Once I strapped myself down and forced myself to write, it was easy. I also spent more time getting to know the brothers better which helped fuel the integrity of the article. I was reminded of Billy Crudup in Almost Famous during many nights of this journey. It was a lot of fun, but I think I am going to stick to shooting photos from now on.
The new camera is amazing and I am finally finding the time to learn more about all of the technology built into these powerful DSLR’s. My first day in my new apartment proved a great time to play with lighting and settings. This is where I plan on shooting most of the subjects for the new website. It has high ceilings, beautiful wood floors, and plenty of charm. It was built in 1913 and has layers upon layers of history.
Now that I am settled in I am getting everything set up for Kya’s visit in a few weeks. I plan on letting her use my old camera and taking her on urban safaris around town and a short trip to the coast. She is a great photographer and enjoys getting outside with me. Last summer she spent three hours at the Chinese Garden shooting the various types of plants and decor. I love to watch her approach a subject and get absorbed in the creative process. She is the happiness behind my smile.
February has proven itself another busy month full of change. For the most part, all of it has been positive. The not so positive things led me to a little retail therapy. I am very excited about this new asset, a Canon 7D with HD video and I have already started a few projects. One is a new blog style website that will feature photography only and will exist as the home of a very talented acquaintance of mine. We need to discuss further details and I hope to have the site launch during the spring of this year.
I am still working on the No Red Flags feature story and it is coming along well. I don’t think writing for anyone with a deadline will be a good idea for me. I can shoot photos, write short reviews and conduct an interview at the drop of a hat, but sitting down to write anything of length has proven to take much longer than expected.
The next thing I am looking forward to is my daughter’s visit for Spring Break. I should be settled into my new place by then and ready to spend quality time with my favorite person in the world, the Amazing Miss Kya Rae…
It has been a busy new year and I have been working on a lot of fun projects. I did a web banner for Razorcake magazine that was published this week. Check out the full review here. One of the projects that I worked on with Adam Shane was finally utilized by Peelander Z for a re-release vinyl album. You can check it out here at Verbicide. I am finishing up the interview with No Red Flags and hoping that Verbicide will pick it up and publish it in the next few months.
In order to keep myself busy while I take a hiatus from school, I decided to start writing again. I have been dabbling with poetry and short stories for several years, but it has slowly fallen to the way side. I hope that by creating this blog I can get back into the habit again. I have been writing music reviews and working for a few companies in the independent music scene for the past several years. Now, I am attempting to write my first full length piece on a local band and I hope that I can turn this into a fun hobby.
Recently, I was published in Razorcake and Verbicide magazines. Razorcake featured my first printed ad for GC Records and Verbicide published two album reviews, one for HOTS latest 7″ EP and one for Mall’d to Death’s debut album, Can’t Make a Living.
I am more into telling stories through my photographry, but I want to learn the skills of photojournalism. I recently began a quest to interview local bands and take on more live shows to get a feel for what is happening in the Portland music scene. Several months ago I ran into the boys from No Red Flags (Myspace) No Red Flags (Facebook) and we hit it off quite well. They are very down to earth and genuine. We have been doing some casual interviews and I was treated to a rehearsal last week where I shot a bunch of photos and got to listen to them live. It was loud, upbeat and a really good experience.
I am working on the full length interview and putting together a full write up in the next several weeks. In the meantime listen to No Red Flags.
The elements of contemporary design that have influenced Craig Williams. A video project for Contemporary Design with Margaret Richardson. PNCA Spring 2011.
In the Fall of 2010 Liliya Drubetskaya illustrated and animated this film for a final project at PNCA. The film features the song, Bird is Broke (won’t sing) by Indian Jewelry. Original concept by Craig Williams.
A collaboration project between Austin Turley and Craig Williams that explores the result of Urban Decay and the process of reconstruction.
Several years of novice photography compiled to make a narcissistic video. 2009.
Bonus Saves inspired campaign during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (BP) 2010.
This painting was on display at Model Call Salon and Spa in Hillcrest San Diego, CA. My last showing in SD before I hit the NW in 2009. Sold to my good friends Jen n Ben. View the set on Flickr.
Basquiat Acrylic on Canvas 40 X 60. 2009.
Design Studio I Project. Design informational signs by creating Isotypes. PNCA. FALL 2010.
Promotional Sticker designed for Geykido Comet Records. 2007.
Geykido Comet Records. Independent Distribution for punk bands. Magazine advertisement in Razorcake issue #55. Web campaign at gcrecords.com 2009
A total of five versions of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) were done between 2006 and 2008.
Promotional sticker for the nkdby name. 2009.
Humor in design. 2005.
Typography I Project. PNCA. 2010. Use typography to create a positive poster. The quote is from the title of a book written by Charles Bukowski. “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire”. The entire project was created in Adobe Photoshop with only one source image of a flame. View the large scale version here on a Flickr Light Box.
This painting was on display at Model Call Salon and Spa in Hillcrest San Diego, CA. My last showing in SD before I hit the NW. View the set on Flickr. 2009.
My hero, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Wood block canvas, Course bailing string,
Chrome Montana Gold, and acrylic paint. 18 X 36 2009.
Click here to see the source image. Torn Paper Collage. 2D P.N.C.A. 2010.
This painting was on display at Model Call Salon and Spa in Hillcrest San Diego, CA. My last showing in SD before I hit the NW. View the set on Flickr. 2009.
A fast paced sketch book video of the artist nkdby. RIP 2010.
Product of Math and Music theory class at PNCA. Summer 2010.
Models from my favorite fashion magazine, W.
Acrylic on canvas 24 X 36 2006.
My little girl. She knows how to play… something I had forgotten until I met her.
Hand made ukulele made from a cigar box for 3D design class PNCA. Spring 2010.
Illustrated and animated in Adobe Creative Suite. Final project for Design History class. A tribute to the late great Saul Bass. Fall 2010. PNCA.
The first attempt to document artistic process with time lapse photography. San Diego. 2007.