One of the most rewarding learning opportunities in the MFA program is the weekly guest lecture series. Steve Heller plumbs his social and professional connections and gets the best illustrators, designers, filmmakers and authors working in the States and invites them in for a chat and Q&A. Each week, a first year student in the program designs a poster for the event and hangs them about the studio.
I was assigned the poster for David Rees, the artist responsible for the comic strip Get Your War On and My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, various alternative weekly newspapers and several comic collections.
I’ve always secretly assumed there was a connection between the lecturers and the design students chosen to create the posters. Rees’ lectures are infamous around the studio because he’s “so fucking hysterical.” There was no shortage of people coming up to me and telling how funny he was, how the lecture wasn’t to be missed and how all the second years were sure to return for this one.
I’m pretty sure I got the gig because I’m “the funny one.” I would’ve laid waste to a pile of babies to design the Paul Budnitz poster (Kid Robot), but I got the lo-fi comics artist with a chip on his shoulder and a pension for using the word “fuck” as a punch line.
Nevertheless, I’m really pleased with what I designed. I digitized the clip art characters used in many of Rees’ comics, incorporated an upside down American flag which seemed apropos given our current distressing sociopolitical climate, and managed to condense a 3-panel joke into one poster.
Everyone kept asking me if I wrote the strip myself. I just shrugged and nodded. Comedy isn’t for the faint of heart.
(Click above for a larger version)