Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The History of American Graffiti

New on my bookshelf this week is the recently released The History of American Graffiti, a comprehensive survey compiled by Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon. It's a hefty, 400 page hardcover that represents years of extensive research, rare photos, ephemera and interviews. Gastman and Neelon were interviewed about the book on the PBS NewsHour, and you can watch that segment here.

Gastman writes: "On April 5, HarperCollins released our book The History of American Graffiti, which traces graffiti's evolution from its early freight-train days to it's big-city boom on the streets of New York and Philadelphia and to its modern-day influences. The book features behind-the-scenes stories and profiles gleaned from more than four years' worth of interviews with more than 1,000 photographs. If that's not enough reason to purchase the book, here's what a few more people had to say:

Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon have written the definitive history of the origins of the graffiti styles that emerged in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles in the early 1970s and inspired young artists around the world. - Jeffrey Deitch, director, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art

The History of American Graffiti is the first truly comprehensive history of graffiti's secretive, illegal culture. - Shepard Fairey, artist

On a side note, I designed the above endpapers for the book using Gastman's vast personal collection of anti-graffiti pamphlets, propaganda and ephemera as source material.

Monday, April 25, 2011

DC x Ken Block x Gymkhana Three Drip Poster

The folks at DC Shoes recently brought me back to help with the Ken Block x Gymkhana Three Drip Poster, a limited edition, offset lithograph, individually signed by Ken Block. For the above short, I created the primary set design and dressing, as well serving as an associate producer and consultant.

The release celebrates Ken's amazing and highly successful Gymkhana Three Video:

Special thanks to Tobin Yelland at DC Shoes and good luck to Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino's 2011 World Rally Championship/Monster Energy/Ford Fiesta throughout the 2011 WRC season.

All photos courtesy of DC Shoes©2011.

Friday, April 22, 2011

DC Initials Campaign

Late last year, DC Shoes and skateboarder/director Steve Berra (The Berrics) brought me in to assist/consult with some set design for the DC Shoes Initials Campaign spots. We shot each session on the backlot of California Skateparks, where Joe Ciaglia and his always ready-and-willing crew built each of the obstacles (in between constructing courses for the Street League). It was great to work with Berra, all of the crew and skaters and everyone else I met on set.

Unfortunately, the largest of the all of the collaged and wheat pasted murals that I designed and executed, (which was a loose, visual timeline of the entire DC Shoes brand), didn't make it into any of the final segments.

And for the record, watching Chris Cole skate was nothing less than jaw-dropping. He was a true professional, silently putting forth any effort necessary to yield the best possible takes. Below are the rest of the finished spots featuring Josh Kalis, Matt Miller, and Evan Smith.

Thanks: Steve Berra, Tim Dowlin and everyone else at the Berrics; each of the skateboarders we worked with; Mike Hersey, Stephen Lynd and all of production artists; thanks to Tobin Yelland at DC Shoes and Joe Ciaglia at California Skateparks. We all put in some long hours to make these spots come to life.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

JRF x Morgan Spurlock x The Greatest Stencil Ever Made

Last year, I got a phone call from director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) who was in search of some assistance for his latest project, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. He quickly pitched the concept of the doc (a film about advertising and product placement that was entirely underwritten by advertising and product placement) and needed few tips on the whole self promotion/guerilla marketing tactic schtick. I obliged with a pro bono illustration and a stencil, as well as a brief tutorial on the dangers and dissemination of such materials. Spurlock and his production crew also spent a few hours in my studio documenting and discussing the process, from which a few seconds are shown in the final cut of the film.

Another artist than lent their creative services to the project include the super-talented, master adbuster, Ron English, who created an intentionally crass Last Supper. English is prominently featured in the end credits as The Greatest Living Artist, much to the delight of the audience I was in.

Thanks Morgan and congrats on an entertaining and provocative film!!!

Morgan Spurlock and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Academy-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) hosted an advanced screening of his newest 'docbuster', The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, last night. The feature length film presents a peek behind the proverbial curtain of mass media marketing and advertising.

The film is smart, provocative, and surprisingly funny. There are lots of interviews with industry insiders, including crowd-favorite, Ralph Nader, who steals all of his scenes and delivers unforgettable sound bytes. Of course, I'm biased to the post-modern-pastiche-perspective of the story (about advertising and product placement that was entirely underwritten by advertising and product placement). And as far as I'm concerned, this should be required viewing for creatives working/hustling in the advertising field.

POM Wonderful presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, opens nationally on April 22, 2011.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eske Rex / Drawingmachine

Looks like a couple of trebuchets making Spirographs....but in all seriousness, it's beautiful and the master futurist/post-modern-apocalyptic, Jean Tinguely, would certainly approve.

Eske Rex is a Danish artist/designer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jose Parla

Great interview with Jose Parla by Jeff Staple/Staple Design, for their LetsREDU.com initiative.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tony Orrico/Penwald:2:8 Circles

Beautiful work from Tony Orrico, part academic draftsman, part dancer and part mathematician. Courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. Da Vinci would be proud to see this 21st Century Vitruvian man at work....

Friday, April 15, 2011


Big Audio Dynamite played a secret show in Los Angeles last night as an unofficial part of the post MOCA/Art in the Streets exhibit...great to see Mick Jones, Don Letts and the rest of the crew rock a packed house.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PLINC / Photo Lettering Launch

Attention designers, type nerds, illustrators and related creative people:

The folks at House Industries (along with a few, dedicated associates), have finally brought the long lost tradition of the analog typesetting service into the 21st century with the online launch/archive of PhotoLettering.com. There's so much research, history, craft, preparation and process involved with the PLINC legacy that I suggest reading some of it for yourself...

I'd also like to say thanks to Photo Lettering for allowing me to be part of their Beta testing team for the past 18 months!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Reference Library / Fresh Pressed

A glimpse at a small portion of the reference and inspiration library at Fresh Pressed. Lots of good stuff in there, including the David Weidman monograph and a House ampersand print.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Superstonic Sound: The Rebel Dread Doc on Don Letts

Although this trailer views like a mishmash of archvial (but still great) footage, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing this new doc on Don Letts, Superstonic Sound.

And, as you already know, I'm a fanatic for all things Don Letts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NINKYO at Mister Freedom

A beautiful, hand-crafted tee from the folks at Mister Freedom to benefit Japan and the Red Cross. Fortunately (but unfortunately), the shirts are sold out (as have the first ones).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sagmeister for BMW CULTURE

Stefan Sagmeister is easily one of the most interesting and conceptual designers working today. Thankfully, BMW is aware of this and recently commissioned him to create the limited edition CULTURE monograph.
The internationally celebrated graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister has created the design of the publication CULTURE, a book describing the BMW Group's international cultural commitment. The limited edition of 1488 hand-signed copies, which are not available for sale, is based on an unconventional concept: CULTURE also features an integrated, remote-controlled car, a book that can be driven around. As a whole, the numerical arrangement of all book covers would make a square measuring 7 x 7 metres depicting a graphically abstracted image of the legendary BMW "four cylinder" building - the company headquarters in Munich built by Karl Schwanzer in 1972 - from a bird's eye view. Consequently, each book cover becomes a fragmented, unique specimen.
Notice the parting shot as the book suspiciously rolls away under it's own power...

Monday, April 4, 2011

The History of American Graffiti/PBS News

Co-authors Caleb Neelon and Roger Gastman discuss their newest book, The History of American Graffiti, with PBS NewsHour. The two have been working on the book for several years and it's finally being released next week, which will no doubt benefit from the upcoming major MOCA/Art In The Streets that opens April 14, 2011.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tools of Criminal Mischief

A selection from the cabinet of Roger Gastman's personal collection of Tools of Criminal Mischief, courtesy of the LA Times.