Friday, October 31, 2008

Recollect Dead exhibition

I'm a part of the Recollect Dead custom sneaker exhibition and costume party being held on Halloween night at the Cave Gallery at 1600 Clay Avenue in Detroit (third floor of the Russell Industrial Center, Building #4).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nike/ Richard Hamilton TV commercial

-the fake Richard Hamilton

-the real Richard Hamilton

Ordinarily I get hired to do storyboards for TV commercials, but from time to time I get hauled onto the set to do all sorts of things. Just a few days ago I got the call in the middle of the day to participate in a Nike commercial featuring Detroit Pistons star, Richard "Rip" Hamilton. This two day gig consisted of me replicating Rip Hamilton's tattoos on two stand-ins. I was given photo reference as to what the tattoos looked like and I had to find a way to apply them to the actors' arms. Throughout the shoot I also had to be on hand to touch up the artwork as sweat and abrasion would wear it down.

It's always amazing working on a larger production like this. There were well over 300 actors which included the crowd, two basketball teams (dressed as the Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks), announcers, photographers, scorers, referees, towel boys, and everything you'd see at a real basketball game. Being a part of the crew that helps make this illusion look so real is daunting and yet humbling- turning Detroit's Cobo Arena to look like The Palace of Auburn Hills, making 300 people look and sound like 20-30,000 cheering people and me making two Michigan State students look like an NBA All-Star.

Monday, October 27, 2008

SketchCrawl- Detroit

Last Saturday all across the world was SketchCrawl, a day in which artists of all levels were encouraged to go out and sketch away. I was introduced to this by fellow sketch monkey, Jay Shuster- when he insisted I participate in one or at least start one here in Detroit. Seeing as how trusted teaching colleague, Joe Hickey had already hitched his trusty wagon to this cause, I figured it'd be easier for me to latch on.

While we didn't have the massive following that we both wanted, we did manage to take a few kids downtown to Campus Martius. Amidst the sparrows, pigeons and the great Detroit architecture, we drew away for awhile. Before hypothermia set in, we eventually went to one of my favorite places in town, The Guardian Building. It is by far one of the most visually lush buildings in the area and just a wonderful place for people to meet, draw and just ogle at the splendor of this architectural gem. It is truly one of those places that I would recommend all Detroit visitors check out, grab a bite to eat in, go shopping, and if the mood moves you... sketch!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Sometimes on those seriously melancholy days, it takes something as innocent as the neighbor's cat to come over to sit in your lap to give you a sense of perspective.

"Geisha" is the cat that lives across the street and has found it within her persona to adopt me. She'll come over to just hang out and just chill. In doing so, she'll make me pause my day and look out into the world in her eyes. In such a busy and disjointed world, it's sometimes nice to just look out across the world and think about what's really important in life.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Medicine Hat pennants

Some people collect spoons, postcards, street signs or other items from their hometown. Me? I've been collecting for the last few years these sometimes satin, but more often than not, felt pennants from Medicine Hat, Alberta- my hometown. Utilizing everything from crudely Native American imagery to the day-glow fauna to represent the city has always struck me bizarre and yet intriguing.  The typographic solutions vary and some are repeated, but combined with the silk screened images they represent to me that far off magical place where I was born.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sad day in typography

While I never had him as an instructor during my time in college, we all knew of the legend that Jerry Campbell was. He, along with his friends Dick Isbell & Arthur Spaniola taught the majority of the lettering classes at CCS. These guys could hand letter fonts on a blackboard better than most of us could with layout paper. They could do calligraphy with a brush, pen, marker and probably a broom if given the chance. They designed more car logos for the Big Three here in Detroit than most and had numerous typefaces to their credit.

Jerry Campbell passed a few days ago and we lost a giant in the typographical world.

Here's the obituary from The Detroit News today:

"POPS" A long-time Detroit typographer and calligrapher Gerald B. Campbell, 86, has died in Henderson, Nevada, a week after suffering a stroke. Born in Lansdowne, New Brunswick, Canada, on September 23rd, 1922, he graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1940. During World War II he served with the Second Armored Division and saw combat in N. Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and at the Battle of the Bulge. He became the president of the Graphic Artists Guild in 1968, and taught typography and calligraphy at the Center for Creative Studies for 17 years. His company, Campbell/Isbell Alphabets, designed dozens of typefaces and hundreds of logos and special typography for the automotive industry. He is survived by his brother Earl "Curly" (Jean); daughters Carole (Steve) and Mary; sons Colin, Scott, Matt (Nancy) and Gerry; five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. A life celebration will be held at the VFW Hall in Royal Oak, 214 E. 4TH Street on Saturday, October 11th, from 12-5p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars or the Alzheimer's Association in memory of his late wife of 44 years, Martha (nee: Bieke).

In a world where typography at times is taken for granted, here was a man who created it, treasured it and taught it to us as an art form. He will be missed dearly by those of us in the CCS community to which he is listed as a 1948 graduate.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jay Shuster & his beard, part II

I had way too much fun coming up with imagery for Jay's beard last time (see my August 2008 posting), I couldn't hold off and I had to come up with another series. Part of it is that I know Jay's a good humored lad who can take this sort of ribbing about his facial fuzz and stand proud. Secondly is that I probably secretly wish I could grow a lush jaw mop like him.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Love classic car ads

There's a part of me that wishes that car advertisers one of these days will be bold and daring enough to go back to hiring illustrators to do gorgeously painted car ads and catalogs again. Not that I could even come close to doing what those old time car painters did back then. They were done by truly technically gifted and great artists. These ads portrayed a much more simpler time whereas nowadays people want to see actual photography as proof.

Here's an ad from the May 15th, 1954 Maclean's Magazine that showed my 1954 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe in all of it's glory.