Messages of love. These are a few ideas I produced for an apparel line for Custo Barcelona a while back and couldn’t find the right moment to post. As St Valentine’s day fast approaches I offer a few messages of love longed for, love lost, love lived, and love learned. I was asked to strip my style back for these to a limited palette suitable for screen printing. A little experimentation with some hand painted/printed textures and some vintage hues.
The Love vs. Hate final image (on the left) was put through a halftone to fulfil the brief but I preferred the look of the original ink wash version pre halftone so I've posted that below too.
Right at the bottom of the post are a few detail grabs as these were designed to be printed large and the details seen close up.
Looking back on these they feel quite lyrical. I listen to mostly soul/jazz so some of those punchy yearning soul calls probably influenced these.
I kept this style of working running for a little while for Custo then as is the nature of fashion it was buried as new ideas developed for new collections. A lost love.
I'm currently sharing a trailer with Mike Tyson.
The trailer is parked up on youtube, big thanks to Caitlin at Star Entertainment for pinging over the link to a trailer for the ESPN documentary on the infamous 'No Más' (No More) fight between Sugar Ray Leonard & Roberto Duran.
A few months back Caitlin had sought permission to use a piece I made about the fight several years ago. The illustration is shown in the ESPN documentary tonight - 'No Más', 15th October at 8:00 pm on ESPN.
I was very pleased to design the current tour poster for the Dr Lonnie Smith Octet. Dr Smith has been a favourite of mine since I was in my teens. He's still going strong and he's still got it. A big thanks to the also superb Ian Hendrickson Smith for getting me on board. Ian is currently touring with the Octet, please check him out. He's a real talent, was a Dap King for many years and has played with everyone from Amy Winehouse to Dylan.
The Octet have just recorded and released a two volume album live in New York, revisiting some of the Doc's older tunes. Move your hand? Check that one, FAT barritone! ‘In The Beginning’ is the name of the album so I thought of how the tunes were a part of the doc’s DNA. I have him raising his arms in the poster, his fingers intertwining with the DNA swirling up and around him. The DNA has keys on it, two strands to the DNA so two keyboards. Just like the Hammond organ has, and which Dr Lonnie Smith made his legacy on.
The Natural History Series - Parrots. My ongoing editions project sees the release of three new prints. The editions run in series' of three and feature natural history illustrations referencing the style of 19th Century Natural History etchings.They are worked up in pencil, airbrush, acrylic, and ink before being scanned and worked on further digitally.
This series features parrots - The Scarlet Macaw, The Black Headed Caique, and Major Mitchell's Cockatoo.
Below are two recent editorial pieces I had fun working on. Mark at School Library Journal is one of my favourite AD's, he's full on. This is my second cover for Mark, STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math. STEAM is a teaching method. The idea being that instead of teaching subjects in isolation, that an approach that merges these various methodologies within a lesson or unit, is a more meaningful and effective way for kids to learn. It’s about seeing subjects from a variety of perspectives resulting in new insights and connecting the dots. F dot U dot N.
Bottom is a piece for Crain's Chicago Business - Girl Power. Big companies have a new bête noir, school-aged girls. In the battle between big companies and little girls the winner isn’t who you might think it’d be. I have two girls of my own. I know that voice.
JWT recently commissioned me to produce a series of posters for a mental health awareness campaign currently running at the University Of California's Santa Cruz campus. The campaign uses a series of saccharin animal chracters whose underlying mental health issues betray their assumed mental state. The posters invite the students to take a closer look at their fellow students who may be displaying the subtle signs of one of the conditions highlighted in the campaign.
The first poster in the series highlights eating disorders and shows an anorexic unicorn unnecessarily at issue with it's own body image. The client requested a no holds barred assault on the eye, 100% artificial colouring approach. I bled my mac dry on this one.
Poster 2 highlights the signs of depression with a penguin breaking away from a socially active group to stand near the void and analyze his existence. And poster number 3 draws attention to the signs of stress with a nervous, over active bunny taking out his frustration on his environment.
The 23 posters are being published daily from March 1st leading up to Earth Hour (8:30pm GMT) on the 23rd March and are designed to inspire people to take simple green actions at home, school, or at work.
The Green Thing have a unique take on using creativity to commuincate their message, which co-founder Andy Hobsbawn shares here in an inspiring TED lecture. Anyone weary from the onslaught of green diatribe would I’m sure find their take refreshing and fun. There’s no guilt trip, no enforced policy, no B-movie horror scenes. Just some solid creativity and a new way of looking.
The Green Thing focusses on 7 things we can do to make a change -
There are some great interpretations of those themes in the poster campaign whose contributors include Tom Uglow - Creative director at Google, Patrick Cox - designer of the London 2012 logo, Eddie Opara of Pentagram, and Illustrators Pete Fowler, Andrew Rae, & myself.
The posters are being published daily on the Do The Green Thing blog as well as being promoted by the WWF and other bodies. A limited run of 23 of each of the prints are available for £23 each from their online store & all proceeds go to supporting the Green Thing.
Below are some of the posters published so far. My one is published today and is at the bottom of the post along with some sketches.
DO THE GREEN THING!
Joe Stephenson, Pentagram designer & Andrew Rae, Illustrator
Tom Uglow, creative director at Google & illustrator Pete Fowler
Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram & Dan Norris and Ray Shaughnessy, creative directors at Wieden Kennedy
Sophie Thomas, co-director of design at the RSA and my poster.
My poster for Do The Green Thing
a couple of earlier ideas, one inspired by Lennon's 'Give Peace A Chance' and another taking the route of Saul Bass.