exploring art and design, one day at a time


Rodarte and Ryan McGinley

Photo by Ryan McGinley


Photo by Ryan McGinley

Photo by Ryan McGinley

Photo by Ryan McGinley

Photo by Ryan McGinley

Blow Up AND Get Down

Blow Up and Get Down

Yesterday was the deadline for the Communication Arts Typography Competition. I decided to enter the image above, an altered version of the Blow Up Flyer I created for the San Francisco Blow Up Forever party. I loved the flyer we created but I wanted to send something simpler and a step more conceptual. The paper letters actually blowing up out of the paper are super fun and I wanted to utilize the natural shadow they create when shooting them in the sun. This is the original, unretouched photo I used:

Blow Up Unretouched Photo

The idea of using the shadow keeps the image simple and natural. If something was literally blowing up out of the paper it definitely leaves that shadow (as proof above). This is what I love about using tangible items to create artwork, rather than making it up yourself on the computer. The one extra step of creating physical letters gives me the 3D image and the shadows to work off of.

The result, Blow Up and Get Down!

Stellar Inspiration

Nasa Image, Galactic Metropolis

Nasa Image, Young Stars in a Blanket of Dust

Nasa Image, Great Observatories Present Rainbow of a Galaxy

Nasa Image, Cassiopeia A: Death Becomes Her

Nasa Image, Chaos at the Heart of Orion

I’m doing research for a personal project and I wanted some amazing space photos. My brother in law recommended looking on the Nasa website, of course! I was not disappointed. There are a lot of amazing images of moons and planets but I’m mostly drawn to nebulas and dust and warped clouds and galactic rings. The above are some of my favorites and best inspiration.

Sean Freeman for Band of Horses

Band of Horses Poster, by Sean Freeman

I was just perusing through this year’s Communication Arts Typography Annual and came across this lovely poster by Sean Freeman. Obviously, there is a lot of typography in the annual to be admired, but this one struck me especially. I love the use of actual objects to create type, such as I’ve been exploring with paper recently. The poster is also a significantly appropriate style for the band.

Check out more of Sean’s incredible work at Levine/Leavitt—it’s all pretty mind blowing.

Stop Motion Prep

Bishop/Tuzin Cloud Test

I’m preparing for a short stop motion film for my friends’ website. They are starting a new brand for screen writing and filmmaking together and we need some imagery. The idea is to create several short videos that are classically cinematic and then use them super-sized, running in the background of their content. One image they’ve created is the well-used flying through stormy clouds, lightning flashing, and coming across the logo floating in the air. I decided to “Michel Gondry” the idea by creating a stop motion video of the idea. I started with the paper letters that I’ve already created and am now creating and test shooting the clouds (seen above). The clouds will keep me busy for a while, then on to the foil lightning bolts.

Profile Pic

Cambria Typeface, Paper Letter

I recently rocked my letter “B” paper construction for my friend’s facebook profile photo. The typeface is Cambria bold, approximately 3″ high. I went for it and added serifs this time to these paper constructions with great success. I have a full logo for Bishop/Tuzin created—I’ll post that next.

Post Brunch Work Day

Sunday Work Day

Poor, Judged Bunnies

"Even the Cutest Things", Diptych

In the essence of completing long past projects, I’ve finished another that I started years ago. I received two panes of glass from a department store in Union Square in San Francisco that went out of business. I wasn’t quick enough to nab any mannequins or really cool stuff, but I was happy with my find. A few days later I spent the evening painting a little bunny on fire. I could never think of what the second pane should be until recently so I repainted the flaming bunny and painted the second pane of two bunnies having a go. Matches our house perfectly.

Chrome Painted Houses

Chrome Painted Houses Huddled Together

Chrome Houses Close Up

Many years ago I created these houses out of clay. They were fired without glaze because our school’s glaze was pretty much of home made quality and I didn’t trust it. I wanted some Dr. Suess type colors—pink and purple and green and red—that were bright and brilliant. Thus, they went uncolored for many years. The other day, I woke up and had the idea to just spray paint them chrome. The next day I bought the paint, the next day they were painted. I love their new color and what a great feeling to finally finally finally finish.

Paper – Cigarette Ash Landscape

Cigarette Ash Landscape

Cigarette Ash Landscape Installation

Cigarette Ash Landscape installation

I love this Cigarette Ash Landscape installation a friend posted from Designboom. The cigarette forms were created by Yang Yongliang. Check out both of their sites for more amazing work.

Smitten, New Portfolio Piece

Smitten Final Image

Smitten Close Up

Smitten About Page

I just posted my final images of this project on Behance, but I wanted to follow up with a blog post (since I haven’t done one in a while). These are the final images used for the Smitten website. The background image was a hard one to get perfect, but fortunately we found an amazing image that looks its actual 3-dimensional style that it is. The last image I used was a little too glowing and not casting enough hard shadows.

This turned out quite nice, I’m not sure how much time this would have taken if I had just built the whole thing in photoshop rather than making custom paper art. Either way, I’d happily spend all of the hours cutting paper than creating fancy brushes hunched over a computer, even if it takes more time.

This website was worth it in so many ways—an awesome portfolio piece and I was paid in private yoga lessons. Portfolio and a new yoga practice? Thank you very much.

Furry Pals Help Me Design

A Common Name, Dog Upset

Cat Declines A Common Name

Fixing My Photo Set Up

While starting photo shoots for my new brand, A Common Name, I got a few distractions. There are a few too many adorable animals trying their own layouts or probably just flat out disapproving my designs. They are way too cute to get mad at, so we happily documented their ideas..

WITHOUT, A Short Film for Purchase

WITHOUT, Short Film Imagery

WITHOUT, Movie Titles Close Up

The holidays have slowed up my posts and my projects, everyone is on vacation or working half-time right now. Luckily, we received some great news today! A short indie film I worked on a couple years ago is now available on iTunes. The film is called Without and was written and directed by Gregory F. Tuzin and Brent Bishop. These two collaborators were excellent clients—they usually tell me their concept and then say, “Go for it!”. They give me free reign on design and let me explore as much as I want.

For Without, I worked with water colorist Beverly Tuzin to create the promotional poster. We selected a few screen shots and asked Beverly to water color the characters and background. The idea was to recreate the scene to really show the dry, arid, and sparse landscape the characters inhabited. After Beverly delivered, I incorporated a logo that I created using india ink and a cut out potato. I also used typefaces that I had printed out, redrawn, and scanned to create brand new typefaces that were now extremely distressed.

You can view the poster on the top left of the above images. The rest of the images are screen shots from the film and title sequence. The inked logo and the newly distressed fonts also appear in the horizontally moving title sequence of the film.

Support our artistic endeavors and purchase the film on iTunes! We are so excited to have the film at a convenient place to purchase and to share, so please direct your friends and family to the film as well.

Paper Type

Cut paper typography

The above photo is the title of a project I’m working on for Gregory Tuzin and Brent Bishop. “The Story of Emily in the Afterlife” is a fantastical script they are currently writing with (happily for me) lots of paper in it. Remember my paper forest? This is part of the same setup. It will live in the outer ring at the bottom. I can’t even think about how these will be set up for photographing.

Playing with Crows and Fog

Perched Crow

Crow Taking Flight

Driving From San Francisco to Los Angeles, #1

Driving From San Francisco to Los Angeles, #2

Driving From San Francisco to Los Angeles, #3

Driving From San Francisco to Los Angeles, #4

I’ve been continuing to take a lot of photos with my iphone and capturing some great moments in my travels. I’m keeping a theme of not caring about clear and crisp quality. These photos find the mood of the world I found myself in which inspired much creativity (the result was not these photos). Sometimes a good 6 hours alone in a car will force some thoughtfulness into your life.

Those of you that know me, know that I adore crows very much. They’re always an omen to me and I’m fascinated by their intelligence. I’m happy my new friend posed so well.

Pie in the Sky

I haven’t posted in a while and only have corporate work to show for myself. Rather than subjecting anyone to what I must be staring at day in and day out, let’s just look at a dreamscape and wish we were there.

These two shots were taken from my crappy iphone on the flight from New York to San Francisco. They actually caught the beauty of what I was seeing, natural gradients and all. Both of them might even be better for the sorry lens on my phone. Commence far-away look.

Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky with Mountains

Proper Planning?

Forest Test Shoot

One corner of the forest.

To fit the final design of the forest concept, I had to create cylindrical setup. I found some great black wire to make loops in order to mount the trees all around. I super glued the trees directly to the wire (sometimes my fingers with it) and most of them stood up beautifully. The ones that didn’t, I had to create an extra single wire support behind, which worked well.

We don’t have the proper setup to do some test shoots, so I did a quick rig on a c-stand to see if I was on the right track at all. The rig taught me a few things: I need a couple more loops of trees, the loops need to get about 1″ bigger each step I recede back, I need to create a sturdier rigging to link all of the loops together, and I was completely on the right track!!!

Most of these things are not too hard to fix, it’s just more hours of work. I’m super excited that I might actually pull this off.

Paper Forest—Work in Progress

Paper Forest Designs

Here’s a quick photo of a work-in-progress. I’m creating a paper forest for a very large diorama. The end diorama will be 4′ x 6′, the largest scale project I’ve worked on (so far).

The whole project is quite a large undertaking and the forest has logged quite a few hours itself. I’m a perfectionist and it’s hard not to cut all of the trees perfectly. They do not need to be, so I’m working on trying to get a little imperfect and filling in the gaps quickly with black marker afterwards. I’ve been experimenting with the right thickness of paper. It started with foam core (ridiculous idea!) and ended with two sheets of text weight paper Super 66’d together.

Next up, how to rig these things up?