Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TIGER BEAT TOUR ZINE

I suppose it would be safe to say that my musical output is really an extension of my personality. I will admit that I have a hard time expressing myself through the various social media outlets available in the universe. I feel more comfortable releasing records and making zines than I do maintaining a strong social media presence. 

I’ve released a good number of solo records. However, many of them can’t be heard online or even really tracked down that easily. My real intention is to extend my own self-worth in a mutated physical art form that is more of a buried treasure than a “google-able” commodity. I’m sure eventually, some of this stuff will end up digitized. I suppose that’s the real the purpose of this blog.

Anyway, back to my musical output. When I took my band, Adam & The Cola Kids out on tour this summer, I wanted to have something other than records to sell. I wanted something that spoke more clearly of my weird sense of humor. And because I had a pretty healthy history with zine making, I decided to produce a sort of pamphlet or program for the tour. Something that told stories and weaved a number of narrative proclamations. A lot of it was downright ridiculous and made up for the purpose of not making much sense. But in a way, that was kind of the idea.The point was to express myself in an arena that was more conductive to free flowing thoughts. Later, some of it was edited down to tie in loosely to the music and the tour, but for the most part, it was a free for all. 


What initially came out, was something pretty interesting. I got a few good chuckles out of it. I made 50 copies of the zine and sold/gave away all of them on the tour. I may print up a few more for my upcoming east coast tour, but for now, here is the digitized version for your reading enjoyment. Enjoy! ….or not. I don’t really care.























Friday, February 28, 2014

RECKLESS HEARTS • GET UP AND RUN CD 2008

I recently rediscovered this project after going through some older files that I had lying around. This might have been the first CD design that I had made for someone other than any one of my own bands. The Reckless Hearts were an awesome power pop mod band from Milwaukee that operated during the latter half of the early 2000’s. By far, they were one of my favorite local bands. The song writing was top notch, the overall sound had a great punch, and they really put on an exciting show. They were certainly a little more polished than most of the bands that Milwaukee produced. At least from the basement culture standpoint. They were punk, but they had slickness to them that seemed to set them apart from the lo-fi bash bash punk that was really popular at the time. 

Off the Hip Records out of Australia had agreed to put out their full length and my buddy Thomas who fronted the Hearts asked me for some design input. I had never done a CD layout of this magnitude before so it was a big learning experience. It taught me the finer points of working within a template and to pay attention to how the files needed to be prepared for printing. These things are like second nature to me now, but back then, it was all really new.

I honestly can’t remember the initial direction of this project. Thomas had a variety of other covers that he really liked and I tried to take as much from them as possible. Most notably, there were some Buzzcocks singles in there that was really appealing. I think we tried to follow that sort of late 70’s pop art angle. Whatever that may be. From there, I just tried to create a really eye catching cover that would appeal to the mod punk audience. I used some cool blues and some stark black and white imagery. The pictures really seemed to pop off that background color. 

The band provided nearly hundreds of photos too. So it was a a little time consuming to go through them and pick out the ones that would work best in this layout. Thomas  helped out big time in weeding out all the photos that we ended up not using. 

The halftone effect was something that I had always cherished, so it was no surprise that I would try and incorporate it here. I was also a big fan of type that was specialized or unique to it’s branding counterpart. In this example because there was so much text to include, I chose a simple font and then rounded all the edges in illustrator to give it a specialized spin. It was sort of a cheat outside of actually creating my own font. 

The rounded edge shapes used for the background also hinted at that sort of 60’s pop art kind of motif. As conservative as the initial layout was, it does have a nice inviting warm feeling. It’s playful without coming off too kitschy. 







Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cutting edge video technology! ……Well, for 1986.

Here is a recent project that I've been working on. Essentially, it's a camera filter app that replicates the nuances of a VHS tape. Remember when the camera bag app came out a few years ago and everybody was flipping out about how cool and easy it was to make your photos look like they were taken in 1972? Well, here is a version of it where you can make your home movies look like they were filmed in 1987. 

The recent wave of antiquated media has been flooding the market lately. Cassette tapes are selling again and VHS tapes are being collectors items. Hell, there were three documentaries released this year just on the recent VHS revival. So why not transform some of that charm onto your mobile device. 

It works pretty simple and operates just like all your favorite camera apps. Just point and record. The app automatically filters your footage with a wide variety of presets that you can select. Say your looking for that distant cruddy 100th generation tape playback with all the glitchy tracking lines. Well, that's as simple as setting the effect and filming your subject. There is also an option to add more tracking manually if you wish. This is to ensure that you get the results that you want. The user experience plays right into that 80's nostalgic look and feel. Big clunky buttons. Grey exterior. Aged plastic. You'll be magically whisked away to that that wonderful year of 1986 when mullets ruled supreme, everyone whore ripped jeans, nintendo was king, and camcorders well exceeded the thousand dollar mark. It's like having cutting edge 80's technology right in your pocket. Tacky for sure. But that's the whole idea!

I've been experimenting with a couple different filters for the footage. Here's an example of a straight forward effect. The photo is just some generic thing from shutterstock.com that I had laying around. Here, we have the vertical hold lines well established with just the right about the color adjustment being manipulated. And don't forget those glitch lines. It's imperative that we keep this dirty and scrambled. You can almost hear the VCR spinning those VHS spindles. 

Currently, I'm tightening up a few things and making sure every piece the UI is accounted for. There are a variety of pop-ups that I've created to ensure the best possible operation for the user. Things like how to export your video, sound adjustments, ratio settings, etc…… It's not as simple on the backend to simply shoot and record. I'll post some more later!









Friday, September 6, 2013

SEPTEMBER 7th • STORK CLUB POSTER

Here is a poster that I created a couple weeks ago for a show that I am helping out with in Oakland. This was a really great project to work on. It allowed me to showcase more of my illustrative side and gave me an opportunity to work in way that was more hand rendered. Although, don't be fooled. This poster was still done 100% digitally. Most of the composition was traced from pictures in illustrator. The type was done freehand in my sketchbook app. The sketchbook app is a great drawing app for the ipad. I use it a lot. The only downside to it is that it is essentially like drawing in photoshop. Which isn't bad per se, but if I want to work in vectors, I have to import the files into illustrator and trace it out from there. Which is okay, but you definitely get some discrepancies in the quality. For a project like this however, it doesn't really make a difference. 

I'm not sure where I got the inspiration for this. I was sort of as looking at those old Dubonnet Liquor advertisements and wanted to somehow capture that look and feel. But as you can clearly see, when I got to work on it, the design took a radical turn. I mentioned this in my last blog. I always take certain things with the intent of copying them but I end up taking other directions somewhere during the process. What started as a straight and narrow design turned into something of a bleak psychedelic mess. 


I was also able to incorporate my new permanent press photoshop plugin from mister retro. It's a great little tool if you want your design to mimic some organic silkscreening qualities. Although, I kept it at a minimum here. It does add a nice little grungy touch.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

SEPTEMBER 23RD • NIGHT LIGHT POSTER

It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to play around with collage elements. This was a medium that I used heavily in my younger days as a punk poster/flyer maker. Since I've been getting more aquatinted with digital illustration, I've pushed it aside for more modern conveniences. For a recent project, I decided to try my hand at combining the two. It's really the best of both worlds here. You get the ease of manipulating images through a digital realm while still maintaining that hand crafted cut and paste look. 

Here is a poster I made for an upcoming show that some friends of mine are putting together. When they asked me to be on the bill, I took it upon myself to create the poster. This poster was actually a strong departure from the inspiration that I had originally picked out. That happens a lot with me. I'll see something really cool and plan to rip it off to a complete tee. But somewhere during the process I began to shift towards something totally different. The outcome is usually nothing like what I set out to steal. I suppose that's a good thing though. It's all just visual experimentation in the end. 

So with this piece, I scanned in a picture of a model I had found in some 60's fashion magazine. What I like about this process is taking a small picture, scanning it in, and blowing it up. It reveals a lot of those grungy halftone patterns that completely drive me crazy. The more the better. Then I illustrated some green slime, created a comp for the text, and manipulated the original scan just enough to take it to another level. After implementing a few elements such as texture and color adjustment, it was ready to be slapped on the the social media outlet of your choice! ….or printed and distributed among various record store windows and telephone poles. 

As a side note, the image of the woman was pulled from an old sewing magazine from the 60's. When I was about 21 or 22, I had a job working for Goodwill. It was awesome. I was able to go through a bunch of old junk and take whatever I wanted. I scored some amazing stuff working for that store. Someone had actually donated a box full of old magazines from the 60's and 70's. Normally we'd throw those out, but I hijacked them and took them home. Those magazine fueled a ton of art projects that I made through the following years. This was before I had an access to a computer so I would cut and paste images and type right out of those magazines. It's a practice that I miss sometimes. 

Anyway, Here is the color version as well as a black and white xerox version. I actually sort of like the black and white version a tad more. If really only for the fact that it creates a a very stark and effective flyer. It's rough and grungy for sure, but holds a special kind of charm.