Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The CW and The Feed

I've got a new post up on (CRIT), the SVA MFAD blog. It's all about The CW network and the lengths it will go to to sell us shit. You can read it here. Toodles.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Design for 3-Dimensions or: How I Learned to Stop Building Models and Embrace the Poo Bot

The MFA Design program at SVA is in a constant state of flux. They tweak the courseload with each incoming group of students to such a varying degree that we have classes our second year counterparts didn't, some mandatory courses they had the option of taking and classes that we all have in common but which are now twice as long as they've been in the past.

One such class, Design for 3-Dimensions, which is now mandatory, is an attempt to get us out from behind the computer and building things with our hands. I had pretty high hopes for this course after an amazing first meeting where we discussed, among other things, sustainability and planned obsolescence in product design. Then we got our first assignment: build a pooper scooper. Pooper scooper projects are the "Hello World" equivalent of the industrial design world, but I was initially game. However, the project went on for a month and my patience wore a little thin. While I was ultimately satisfied with my claw, dubbed "The Power Glove," and was able to use it to successfully pick up a stranger's dog shit near Gramercy Park, I was encouraged to push it further for the final prototype.

But I'd hit a wall. I had little interest in thinking about the practical designs of a pooper scooper, a device that all urban dog owners had told me would never surpass the plastic bag and hand in terms of convenience and efficiency. So I jumped ship. I ran as fast as I could away from the practical world of pooper scoopers and into the loving arms of an ideological sea change. I decided for the last week that I would propose an idea that, if successful, would result in a cultural touchstone, a wealth of merchandising oppurtunities and a generation of kids who would think that picking up dog shit was "totally cool."


Pootomaton uses the latest advances in cybernetics and fecal fusion to convert a pile of dog shit into money. Pootomaton simply places said dogpile into the poop chute in his front panel and in minutes, the shit is converted via the fecal conversion reactor into a dollar bill. EVERYONE WINS!
BritishSteve, my cubicle mate, kindly agreed to play Pootomaton for the day so the exoskeleton was custom-fitted to his fleshy core.
I tailor a panel of sentient pooluminum (cardboard) while BritishSteve stares into the dark, haunting core of his left claw, which just happens to be one of his failed (but fucking awesome) prototypes.
BritishSteve tries on the cowl. We insisted that all people refer to the headpiece as a "cowl". Not a "helmet," not "the head," but a "cowl." People gave us strange looks but we weren't dissuaded. Inside us, beat the hearts of comic nerds.
The morning of, post spray paint enhancements on the sidewalk in front of the school. A security guard gave me a ration of shit about painting it after I'd finished and was sitting waiting for the bot to dry. I told her that I didn't care if I could do it or not, it was already done. Fuck you rules, ART KNOWS NO BOUNDS!
Pootomaton and his own comic make their grand entrance in the classroom.
Pootomaton collects poop. He prints money. And, if prompted, he pops and locks.
At our teacher's request, we stormed the office of Steve Heller, the chair of the MFA program to show off the costume.
Steve's words: "Well, you get an 'A'!"
A boy and his robot.
The comic next to my classmate Kimiyo's shit sculptures. I'm developing a bunch of ancillary products to flesh out the POOBOT-cum-SUPERHERO idea, so I'll post those later. Art school is, like, so wicked.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another (CRIT) Post

I have another post up on the MFAD blog, this one about Dunny Series 4. You can read it here. I'm scheduled to post again next week, so I'll let you know when it's up.

Type Video

For our "Just Type" class, we have an ongoing project that is due at the end of the semester. Were constructing music videos that are black and white and only use type. If you want a background, you gotta build it outta type. You want characters? Type people. You get the idea. I'm animating "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" by Of Montreal. My storyboarding consists of a withdrawn, drug-addled capital "A" taking a magic pill that transforms him into his drug-fueled alter ego. It's full blown psychedelia, baby. After presenting the idea and storyboards in class, I'm fairly confident that many of my contemporaries mistook me for a fan of hardcore hallucinogens. It must've been the bit about the "A" vomiting up a puddle of letters which then sprout insect legs to form a line of lyrics from the song. Below are some storyboards and a very rough screen test. I'll nix the commentary and leave the interpretation to you as this project has a couple of months before it's worth watching.

Type VidType VidType VidType Vid

Click here to peep the screen test. Three seconds of animated motion graphics have never been more exciting!

Just Type

One of the first semester classes were taking is meant to be a sort of primer/crash course in typography. From the curriculum description of the class:
JUST TYPE is an exploration of contemporary and classic typefaces that students will apply to ten short projects over the course of the semester. Every week, each student will be given a font to research and work with on a specific project. In some cases, we'll work in class with printouts and glue sticks. Seriously. At the end, a type catalogue of the fonts used will be compiled, and the class projects shown as examples of the faces in action. There will be no images,color or devices used--JUST TYPE.
The description is a bit out of date but it goes to the heart of what we are doing. Much of graphic design (and the disciplines that grow out of it: motion graphics, print, web, etc.) are built on a foundation of clear and concise type. Words communicate ideas and to be a good designer you have to be "fluent in type," which is a fancy way of saying you understand the laws and foundations of type construction. That's what this class is all about.

Over the past few weeks we've been working on a free-form exercise meant to loosen us up and get us comfortable working with type, letter by letter. Be it modern, woodprint or novelty, the idea is to construct textcentric posters that push our own personal comfort zones into unexpected places. We contacted designers whom we admire and asked them to supply a pithy bit of advice for design students to act as the basis of our posters. The advice was then used for the type compositions. Black and white. Just type.

Wood Type

The alphabets used were based on old woodprinting alphabets. The characters are evocative of old concert or carnival posters with all of the nicks and scrapes of age still intact. Quote: "Simple is beautiful." -Bubi Au Yeung, Illustrator and Toy Designer

Woodtype 1
This quote was a difficult one to begin with b'c we were being pushed to do a lot of crazy, messy stuff. Typically, too many fonts is a bad thing. But this exercise, in part, is about ignoring that instinct. I was afraid too much visual chaos would contradict the advice given in the quote and not really play as a composition. I decided to start by just obscuring some of the word "beautiful" and keeping things simple.

Woodtype 2
Over-scaled letterforms provided a canvas for the straight forward construction of the quote in this piece. I sort of like it. I think my professor sort of didn't. Oh well.

Woodtype 3
I am in love with this poster. It was a great excuse to use all of these cool old woodtype dingbats and call outs. The idea behind this is pretty obvious: there's a lot going on around the simplicity of the white space and text at the center. This one is my favorite for the wood type, no doubt.


Novelty faces are super gimmicky and really only good for one purpose. Imagine an alphabet where all the letters are capped by snowy ice or letters that look like a lasso. Pretty much useless, I suppose, but novelty type is kind of trashy cool. Quote: "Don't worship The New for its novelty or The Old for its nostalgia." -Jason Kottke, Blogger and Design fan

Novelty 1
Starting out, I had some trouble working with the novelty type b'c they are pretty hard on the eyes. I decided to play it safe on the first poster and just use novelty for "The New" and "The Old," softening the edges with the charm of more woodtype.

Novelty 2
It's Type Jesus. Drawing inspiration from the word "worship" in the quote and simultaneously spurned on by this wicked thorny novelty alphabet, I decided to make a crown of thorns with the quote and use the letters in "New" and "Old" to construct a face. My friends and I think Type Jesus is hilarious and that the poster is, of course, fucking hideous. My professor on the other hand liked it and thought the conceit quite clever. Hmmm.

Novelty 2
Here is the quote constructed from most of the typefaces provided to us in a folder labeled "Use with caution!" I threw caution to the wind and used a different face for each word in the quote. The text is meant to be worshiping the bits at the top, but that is hard to convey with letters and words. She "loved" this one. Wicked.


Modern faces are clean, stream-lined and go hand-in-hand with Art Deco styling. Quote: "Designers have to learn that we can't blame our clients for bad work." -Adrian Shaughnessy, Designer and Author

Novelty 2
These were rushed and, as such, I can't say I'm quite happy with them yet. The exercise is meant to be non-cerebral. You're supposed to construct these posters in a rush without worrying the details to death. Still, since this round isn't due yet, I'll likely do a few more passes/designs before Friday's class.

Novelty 2
Nothing says "deco" like the Chrysler building. Need those words to looks more skyscraper-y though.

Proof of Life

Proof of Life
My Dad sent me a letter the other day because my website was down, which cut off e-mail access. And I wasn't answering my phone, nor was I listening to messages. He sent a letter. The kind you, like, post with stamps and stuff.

I get it. The site is back online. I'm alive. I'll start posting work from my classes. OK?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This Is What Happens...

when you're still at the studio at three in the morn.

El Jefe