CalAcademy Snakes & Lizards

July 16, 2011

My illustrations appear on California Academy of Sciences shopping bags throughout this summer during the museum’s Snakes & Lizards exhibit. The show features over 60 live snakes and lizards (collectively known as squamates) from five continents. The ‘summer of slither’ bags are issued by the CalAcademy’s retail stores through September 5.

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Tuskers Ahoy for Heartwork

June 27, 2011

I’m one of ten contributors to the Heartwork project, an art benefit that launched today for Target House, a housing facility for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Each participating illustrator created an original image that was printed in an edition of 40 signed and numbered copies whose proceeds will go towards providing art supplies to children at Target House.

My piece is titled Tuskers Ahoy, picturing a viking ship of pachyderms on the high seas.
Like the other images in this collection, it takes elephants for its theme in reference to
Target House’s mascot symbolizing family, longevity, strength and playfulness.

Heartwork prints are purchasable from Poster Cabaret, who printed the archival giclees with pigment inks on archival cotton rag paper measuring 11 inches x 14 inches. This year’s other contributing illustrators are: Nate Williams, Katie Kirk/Eighthourday, Johnny Yanok, Scott Thares/Wink, Richard Boynton/Wink, Ryan Clark/Invisible Creature, Don Clark/Invisible Creature, Christopher Lee, and Anna Chambers.

The inaugural Heartworks collection was curated by Don Clark of Invisible Creature, overseen by Ted Halbur at Target, and launched via Grain Edit.

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Timbres de México

May 22, 2011

I always enjoy finding notable examples of illustration when traveling abroad. This block of commemorative stamps is such a find, and comes from Mexico where I recently wrapped
up an art workshop trip.

The stamp set marks the 75th anniversary of Mexico’s AAA Baseball League and features the work of four popular Mexican illustrators.

Clockwise from upper left, they are Francisco Toledo, a graphic artist well known for his social commitment to his home state of Oaxaca; Gilberto Aceves Navarro, painter, teacher, and member of the Academia de Artes in Mexico City; Eduardo Del Rio (Rius), a widely read political cartoonist, author, and activist; and the late Abel Quezada, another leading Mexican political cartoonist and painter. Quezada created over a dozen New Yorker covers between 1981 and his death in 1991.

My personal favorite of the bunch is Francisco Toledo’s esqueletos at play, shown here in close-up.

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A Cardboard Menagerie for the CalAcademy

April 30, 2011

I spent this past month working on an exciting sculptural project titled Handle With Care at
the California Academy of Sciences. The piece took the form of a 16-foot high cardboard
tree populated by cardboard animals representing a variety of species threatened by defor-estation in two disparate locations affected by the pulp industry: temperate and boreal forests in North America, and the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Photos of the work in progress and completed installation are posted on my projects blog.

Here are the animal figures photographed independent of the tree. The first six represent endangered species of the North American forests, and the following four represent those of the Sumatran rain forest.

Moose, back and front; 51″ wide x 49″ high x 2.5″ deep.

Fox, front and back; 26″ wide x 28″ high x 2.5″ deep.

Beaver, back and front; 27″ wide x 11.5″ high x 18″ deep.

Eagle, front and back; 40″ wide x 30″ high x 3.5″ deep.

Squirrel, back and front; 30.5″ wide x 16.5″ high x 2.5″ deep.

Owl, front and back; 11″ wide x 22.5″ high x 2″ deep.

Orangutan, back and front; 33″ wide x 52″ high x 1″ deep.

Sumatran Rhino, front and back; 53″ wide x 21″ high x 7″ deep.

Python, front and back; 20″ wide x 90″ high x 3″ deep.

Sumatran Tiger, back and front; 54.5″ wide x 22″ high x 4″ deep.

The Earth Day-themed project was installed in the museum’s central piazza, encouraging visitors to reflect on the role recycling plays in protecting forested ecosystems and to inspire re-use and recycling of paper in creative ways. My full project statement is here.

Big thanks to Creative Director Rhonda Rubinstein, Marketing Manager Lisa Ricci, collabo-rator Lili Ong, and the many CalAcademy staff and volunteers for contributing to the project’s success.

The tree was recycled at the show’s conclusion but the cardboard animals live on. They are individually for sale and may be purchased by contacting me directly.

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HOW and Ad Fed Awards for Target Bullseye Flyer

March 15, 2011

My Bullseye Flyer GiftCard for Target recently won two notable design awards. One was from HOW’s International Design Awards which showcases the past year’s best posters, packaging, and print advertising from around the globe. My piece appears alongside other winning Target GiftCards in the March 2011 issue of HOW Magazine.

The other was from the Advertising Federation of Minnesota (Ad Fed) where the Bullseye Flyer GiftCard won Gold in the “Alternative / Guerilla Advertising – Campaign” category along with Target GiftCards designed by Don Clark of Invisible Creature and Christopher Lee a.k.a. The Beast is Back.

Much thanks to art directors Ted Halbur and Brian Holt with whom I share these awards.
The Bullseye Flyer is still available at Target stores and online while supplies last.

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New Target GiftCards

February 1, 2011

Viewfinder and Bear Hug GiftCards for Target.

I had a hand in designing two recently-issued Target GiftCards for a younger audience. One is the Bear Hug GiftCard which was timed for the 2010 holiday shopping season. A warm greeting for cold weather, it’s a finger-puppet card with holes to give mini-bear hugs with.

The other GiftCard is a riff on the classic View-Master. Like the well-known toy, the Target Viewfinder GiftCard allows the user to view a set of transparencies on a rotating disk (a non-removable one in this case). My illustrated slideshow features Bullseye, the Target dog mascot, in scenes of Mount Rushmore, the Rockies, the Texas Plains, New York City, Hawaii, San Francisco, Hollywood and Las Vegas, viewable in the “camera” window when held up to light.

Many thanks to art directors Ted Halbur and Scott Gilson for these two fun projects!

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Target Holiday GiftCoins

January 15, 2011

Following the successful debut of Target’s GiftCoins, I was commissioned to design a second set for this past holiday season. This new set features Bullseye the Target dog as a reindeer, Santa’s elf, snowman, Santa, and a holiday gift.

GiftCoins are GiftCards with the twist of resembling currency. These latest medallions are loadable with amounts up to $200 each and offer shoppers, as the packaging describes, ‘a nifty new way to be gifty!’

Big thanks to Julie Hoppner for the awesome art direction. There’s more in the pipeline from the Target mint; look for it here and at your local Target store soon.

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Holiday Greetings 2010

December 30, 2010

Season’s greetings from snowy New York where I’m in the process of mailing out my annual holiday card. This one is issued in a limited edition of 475 numbered copies with the theme of air balloons, inspired by Antarctica’s newest super-pressure research balloons and by the birth of ballooning as described in Richard Holmes’ intriguing book The Age of Wonder.

As always, the card’s year of issue is encoded in the graphics. It’s abstractly represented and designed to be a challenge to find; click on the image for detail and do leave a comment if you discover the ‘2010.’

Happy rest of year and an uplifting 2011 to all!

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Wikimedia Commons Licensing Tutorial

November 26, 2010

I recently worked with the Wikimedia Foundation to develop an illustrated licensing tutorial for its free educational media repository, Wikimedia Commons.

The tutorial was published this month as part of Wikimedia’s Multimedia Usability Initiative enabled by a Ford Foundation grant aiming to improve the multimedia upload interface and encourage user participation.

My task was to communicate the basics of copyright and free licenses to users as their first step in contributing to Commons. As an artist who relies on both copyright laws and free licensing in the course of my work, I welcomed the opportunity to clarify the dos and don’ts of legal uploading to a global audience.

The tutorial’s wording, graphics, and comic strip format were designed to engage readers and guide them effortlessly through the information. My puzzle piece character (since dubbed ‘Puzzly’) was inspired by the Wikipedia logo and functions to lend the artwork more personality.

The project involved close collaboration with the Multimedia Usability team who provided me with insightful feedback at every stage of the creative process. The resulting product was enthusiastically received by the online community whose volunteers translated the tutorial into 20 languages within three days of its original publication alone.

The tutorial's original English version, and the flipped Arabic version.

The various language versions are a fascinating aspect of the project. The Arabic translation, for example, required flipping the layout right-to-left while the German one used more text space than English (which we anticipated and designed for). I’m looking forward to seeing the tutorial’s future incarnations as they materialize.

Much thanks to Product Manager Guillaume Paumier, Head of Communications Jay Walsh, Neil Kandalgaonkar, Alolita Sharma, and the rest of the Wikimedia crew for being a great team to work with.

And a most special shout out to David Peters, consulting designer to the Foundation, for introducing and recommending me to the project in the first place. David’s art direction was significant in guiding the tutorial to graphic and communicative success.

More about the project can be found on Guillaume’s posting at the Wikimedia blog.

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Ninja Tune XX

October 29, 2010

My original Ninja Tune logo is 20 years old this month! I’m proud to have played a part in this venerable label’s history whose design legacy is nicely described in the current issue of Blueprint, the architecture and design magazine.

An early use of the logo is seen above at the upper right corner of the Ninja Tune ‘house bag.’ The ninja character has since been nicely developed by Kevin Foakes, a.k.a. Strictly Kev of DJ Food.

My original logo design followed the stylistic flavor of a wraparound cover I illustrated for Coldcut’s “Stop This Crazy Thing” in 12-inch and mini-CD formats on the Big Life label in ’88. Coldcut were no other than Matt Black and Jonathan More who went on to found Ninja Tune a couple years later.

Both “Stop This Crazy Thing” and the Ninja logo were art-directed by Mark Porter in London who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on other projects since.

Happy 20th birthday Ninja Tune, and thanks for the generous acknowledgements and accolades in the recently-issued XX Box Set — a visual and aural extravaganza!

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