Tuesday, March 29, 2011

JRF for Surf Chic/Heal The Bay

The folks at Angeleno Magazine recently invited me to participate in their upcoming fundraiser, Surf Chic, to benefit Heal The Bay. My assignment was to create a graphic and apply it to a donated surfboard. My contribution for the exhibit?


Taking inspiration from California Über Alles, the 1979 debut single by the Dead Kennedys, Environmental Über Alles is an intentionally ambiguous and rhetorical commentary on the pitfalls of environmental activism. As a global community, it's important for each of us to be aware of how our actions and choices impact the world around us. It's equally important to be certain that those actions and choices are also informed and responsible, and not conducted from the perspective of blind fanaticism. -JRF

The Surf Chic event happens this Wednesday, March 30th, and if you're interested in attending, you must RSVP to RSVPLA@ModernLuxury.com.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My friends at Fresh Pressed have pulled together to organize a Japan x Red Cross Fundraiser this Sunday, March 27, 2011, noon-5pm. Yield a squeegee to pull your own tees, totes and related items or just make a donation to help the disaster victims in Japan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vans x 4Q x Max Schaaf

Digging this spot from Vans, featuring Max Schaaf and 4Q Conditioning. For me, anything that references For Whom the Bell Tolls is absolutely golden.

Vans appear to be picking/hiring all the 'right' people, staying the hell out of the way, and allowing said people to simply do their thing (ie, OTW collection, Six Stair/Grosso's Loveletters, etc). Not only is it more interesting than the majority of watered-down, collectively-decided, corporate bullshit, it's far more effective.


Thanks to a comment and link posted by a reader, it is now known that MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) has acquired a large portion of the Globe Poster archive, including typographical specimens and assorted cuts. MICA has posted a detailed article on their site, which includes the announcement that Bob Cicero of Globe Poster will be teaching a class on letterpress design in Fall 2011.

And for the record, I have always loved the split fountain backgrounds typical of showcards like the Globe/Zappa shown above, courtesy of Globe Poster.

Highlights of the MICA acquisition include:

  • A significant portion of Globe's substantial wood type collection, which includes more than 350 drawers of full sets of type-including condensed, bold, regular, italic and circus fonts-enough to keep four compositors setting posters at a time in Globe's heyday.
  • Approximately 5,000 letterpress "cuts"-the illustrations, lettering and photo images used to create the posters, including many hand-carved blocks. The cuts show the range of Globe's poster clients, from R&B and hip-hop acts, both famous and long-forgotten to carnivals, circuses, drag races and burlesque. Original posters showing Globe's craftsmanship and long history, from the magician Blackstone to the early days of hip hop to Frank Zappa's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • The materials will be utilized by several graduate and undergraduate departments within the College, including the printmaking, graphic design and illustration fields. Students will be able to study the historical significance of this collection through active artmaking and utilization of the type and cuts, and the posters, original photographs and ephemera will be housed as a research facility.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


...looks like the folks at Kr3w and Known Gallery have joined forces to initiate a new program called Fairfax Titans. For Episode One, Retna rocks his signature hybrid of Hispanic street lettering (ala Chaz Bojorquez), Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Asian calligraphy as an window install at 413 South Fairfax:

Factory 413 and Known Gallery are proud to present the FAIRFAX TITANS project. In conjunction with KNOWN Gallery and Supra Footwear, Factory 413 will be featuring an ongoing roster of artists throughout 2011. Each artist will create a custom installation in 413’s window display space on Fairfax Avenue – viewable to thousands of passerby 24 hours a day. Factory 413’s large dual-sided window display will be cleared periodically and devoted solely to a single installation – providing each artist with complete freedom to create on a canvas viewable to thousands of passer-by each day on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The project is headed up by Los Angeles’ ownRETNA, creating a one of a kind mixed-media installation. The behind-the-scenes 413TV video feature provides a rare view into the artist’s creative process and features his commentary on the one-of-a-kind piece. The Titans project will continue throughout 2011, with new artists contributing installations every quarter. Stay tuned to the Factory 413 and Known Gallery blogs for information on further developments within the project.

It's going to be interesting to see some of the other artists that will tackle this unique opportunity over the course of the coming months.

Photos courtesy of Factory 413

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I seem to be on a trend of pointing my finger at others achievements in the last few posts, so why should this one be any different? Roger Gastman (RRockEnterprises) got a nice little interview in the NY Times the other day. Roger and I have worked on dozens of projects over the past few years and I'm happy that he's officially part of the crew curating/producing/assembling the upcoming MOCA/Art in the Streets show, set to open in April 2011.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Opening this Saturday night, March 12, 2011 at the Robert Berman Gallery, Revolutions: The Album Cover Art of Shepard Fairey. He and his crew have been working hard to finish a lot of new prints and related material for the exhibit. It's a great homage that celebrates the ability of music to influence and inspire.

“Long before I knew about art galleries or even street art, I was excited about album cover art, if only because it was the visual counterpart to the music on the records I loved. Album covers conjured a euphoric association with the listening experience. Most of my earliest home-made tee shirts were stencils based on punk album covers. I’ve had some very moving encounters with art in my life, especially in the street, but almost nothing can compare with the first time I heard the boots marching and first chord of the Sex Pistols’ Holidays in the Sun, or the air raid sirens leading into “too black, too strong” on the intro to Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, or the opening guitar scream of Black Flag’s Rise Above. Those songs did, and still do, make my arm hairs stand up. Music is visceral and accessible, but also has the additional powerful layers of the lyrics, with their content and politics, and the style,politics, and personalities of the musicians themselves. No matter how much I love art, or try to convince myself of its relevance in society, the fact remains that music is a lot cooler and way more able to reach people’s hearts and minds… but I’m a populist and I look at this way: I may not play an instrument, but I’m gonna rock it hard as nails anyway. With my art I try to capture the same energy and spirit that makes music so powerful and democratic. REVOLUTIONS is a celebration of all the great music and accompanying art that has inspired me over the years.”
- Shepard

Photos courtesy of Obey Giant and Obey Clothing.


I excited for fellow creative/skateboarder/East Coaster/SCAD Alum, Benny Gold, as he continues to steadily grow his signature brand. Only a year after opening his first retail location in San Francisco, he's already outgrown his current spot and expanding into a new one. I'm looking forward to visiting again next time I'm up there.

Congrats Benny!

video courtesy The WereHaus.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


For the past few years, Jeremy Dean has been one of my favorite designers out there. He's a fellow East Coast kid, still intoxicated with the youthful influences of DIY culture, skateboarding and underground hardcore. He seems to effortlessly balance the syntax of the digital and analog worlds, countered with the right dose of humor and middle fingers. Among other things, he's responsible for Hardcore Archaeologist, the always popular Flyer Fonts and heavily-photocopied and crusty, Bad Neighborhood. Follow him on the Twitters.

Oh, and he's a great pen pal. Thanks for all the inspiration, JD!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


More proof that the art of woodcuts and typesetting and letterpress is dying. The amazing Globe Poster in Baltimore, Maryland has closed it's doors....from Zio at The Worlds Best Ever.

Founded in 1929, Globe produced bills for almost every soul, funk, rhythm & blues or hip-hop act imaginable. Their designs, chunks of florescent colors and typefaces are now iconic, and it was a privilege to visit Globe before it is gone. Due to financial issues, Globe closed its doors last year, but co-owner Bob Cicero granted us a special tour of the shop and its piles of original posters, hand-carved wood type and vintage print blocks. These are probably some of the last photos you will see of this amazing place. Bob estimated that Globe will be gone for good within the next two months.