A city of two tales

One week later, Sophie told Norman she’d filed for divorce. He’d changed and she couldn’t trust him anymore. No hard feelings, but it was over. He stood between her and the doorway, slowly shaking his head. His eyes hardened as he placed a strong hand on her shoulder. Incensed, Sophie smacked him hard across the face, her rings cutting a gash on his jaw.

The end of white

I ignorantly assumed that white has its origins in preserving and advancing the interests of light-skinned people. Perhaps the entrenched networks established by and for the Anglo-Saxon colonists sent over from England. But this origin story is not a full accounting. It would be bad enough if white were rooted in a racial purity or a supremacist movement, but the truth is even more repulsive.

Farm Fresh

Had a great time creating this illustration to accompany an article in Selamta magazine. The story is about a program in Rwanda that provides vehicles to farmers in rural areas to help them bring their produce into urban centers. I drew inspiration from Gerd Arntz, Taro Gomi and the lovely Rwandan flag.

Selamta-Rwanda

The River Will Divide

TRWD-FrontCover

Had the opportunity to develop a few album art concepts with songwriter and recording artist Nathan Jay Tingle last year. His forthcoming album layers heavily allusive lyrics with country-western, gospel and folk influences.

Of our ideas, my favorites combined hand-painted lettering and topographic maps of ancient riverbeds.

Moonassi

a-stammerer

bright-darkness

example-of-you

you-are-now

Daehyun Kim is a Korean artist living and working in Vienna, Austria. I’ve been studying the work he’s posted on his website, and have been inspired by the lyrical, storybook quality of the characters and scenes he portrays. Human, but otherworldy: these pieces are traditional and yet completely modern.

Feeling Blue

It was Austin in mid-March. That can only mean one thing: South by Southwest.

After an unusually rainy week, the clouds finally parted. John and I put the developers to bed and slipped out into the balmy Texas night to track down some music. Hours later, we found ourselves perched in the smoky wings of one of the countless blues bars that dot Sixth Street. The sort of place with one bathroom, folding chairs and a drain in the center of the floor. After every song, we’d fist bump and remark at the unbelievable talent in our midst. Suddenly, a man appeared at my side.

Severe in a Miles Davis kind of way, he sat much too close and stared directly at us with huge, unblinking black eyes. Not sure about John, but I assumed this man was a musician and perhaps we’d been made a part of the act. As quickly as he had materialized, the stranger produced a pad of cheap paper and a ballpoint pen. He began scrawling furiously, pausing from time to time to do cartoonishly artistic things like holding up one thumb, closing an eye, and sticking out his tongue. We were being drawn by the Pablo Picasso of the honky-tonks. He finished, and gazed approvingly at his accomplishment. Only then did his intention become clear. With dramatic flourish, he spun around the spiral-bound canvas and offered to sell me this fresh masterwork. I’m sure John and I gave him a few seconds of our tough guy routine, but I caved quickly and went along with the sales pitch. Needless to say, I’d sampled a few of Austin’s buttery bourbons and gleefully handed him a wad of bills from my pocket. I’m a patron of the arts, after all. We ordered our enterprising friend a drink and had a few laughs and he was off to find his next target as the eastern sky grew red.

Now—not even nine months later—John’s body is in the ground, stolen away by cancer. He was my friend and colleague, and in many ways, my mentor. He was, without a doubt, one of the most gracious people I’ve ever known. It’s only been a couple of weeks and I’m still adjusting to a world without him. It’s a little colder and lonelier than I’m used to. Cleaning out a drawer earlier tonight, I discovered a rolled up sketch and fresh tears sprang to my eyes. I have no idea what I paid that bar-hopping bon vivant for this portrait, but it’s suddenly worth much more.

The Ghosts

Recently finished up a series called The Ghosts of North America for a show at a small gallery here in Charlottesville. Inspired by forms found in the prehistoric art of native peoples from the Pacific Northwest, I created illustrations commemorating seven extinct species: Sabertooth Salmon, Giant Polar Bear, Giant Beaver, American Lion, Stag Moose, La Brea Stork and Imperial Mammoth.

For a limited time, 12″ x 12″ giclée prints are available. Printed on archival paper, hand signed and watermarked with the official Ghosts seal in a black wooden frame. Ready to hang for $100. Shoot me a note if you’d like one.

Erik Nitsche

Erik Nitsche’s life spanned the twentieth century. He was born in Switzerland in 1908, moved to the United States at the age of 26 and died in 1998. In the meantime, he created a body of work that is pivotal to any conversation about the modern movement in graphic design. Swiss without being Müller-Brockmann. Playful without being Saul Bass. Clean without being Paul Rand. His style is decidedly Nitsche.

Below is a sampling of Mr. Nitsche’s work for General Dynamics, for whom he created an exhaustive corporate identity between 1955 and 1965. For more on his life and design prowess, check out Steven Heller’s article on Typotheque entitled Erik Nitsche: The Reluctant Modernist.