One of the most genuine people I have ever met, Cody. Portland 2012.
One of the most genuine people I have ever met, Cody. 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.
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.
Design Studio I Project. Design informational signs by creating Isotypes. PNCA. FALL 2010.
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.
Illustrated and animated in Adobe Creative Suite. Final project for Design History class. A tribute to the late great Saul Bass. Fall 2010. PNCA.