Carl Wiens
A World of Trouble

Trying to make sense of things day-to-day is disorienting enough. Trying to take in the bigger picture on a global scale is an entirely different story.
I was thrilled and challenged when this assignment came through from designer Louis Fishauf, for Global Briefings magazine. The cover image was based on the title feature: To Do or not To Do - Doing Something, Doing Nothing, and Avoiding Breaking. We live in an age of peril and uncertainty, and I wanted to reflect that in a strong, central image. On one side - financial markets (in turmoil) and on the other, contagion and environmental risks. Getting a sense of balance/imbalance and the headache-inducing choices we face was the focus of this piece, and Louis was great to work with. Here's the final:

Designing on a black background was a new challenge - I worked up some sketches directly on the background, and tried to strike the right balance with colours & objects.I also liked the idea of our institutions in crisis, so I drafted up concepts involving a legislative/financial building as a base. Here's a concept I worked up that wasn't used:

Next we tackled the inside feature: "Man and His Economic-Financial Crises." This was about the mechanisms and massive scale of the economic machinery behind the meltdowns. The lowly repairman about to ascend into this massive machine again punctuates the enormity of the issue outlined.

It's a pleasure get immersed in an assignment like this, with it's weight and complexity. I constructed a mechanical globe and populated it with gadgets, gauges, engines and monitors. I also created an alternate, darker version here:

I am happy to be working with i2i Art, and reps Angela Dunning & Shelly Brown. You can see my portfolio and read about this assignment on their website:
i2i Art Website
Global Brief Article
I've had the chance to relax and reflect this summer, always a healthy combination, right? Isn't that what summer should be?
September has hit me with a wave of responsibility and new work. I will be taking my son Jacob to University next week. He is going to Lakehead, in far-flung Thunder Bay, for a combined Outdoor Rec and Science degree, complete with an academic scholarship. New adventures, and real excitement for him. A mixture of nostalgia, anxiety and pride for Mom and Dad.
I got a call from Greg Klee last week to illustrate a book review for Jonathon Franzen's new book, Purity. I didn't have much to go on, but having read The Corrections and Freedom, I know it's going to be a great book. It's about a young woman's journey, looking for her father, and her relationships along the way. Obviously, with Franzen's attention to detail and finger on the zeitgeist of society, it's much more than that. So I wanted to capture that feeling of starting a journey, searching for something. Technology plays a role in driving the story, so I pictured her on her cell phone, in an urban environment where the story begins.

I'm looking forward to the fall, the routines and challenges. Also finding the time to read this book!
Here's a few process shots, taken while I was inking the final. I love drawing detritus.
Here's a parting shot - I framed this print, from my collection for my friend Ruth Gangbar. This used to hang in a local hangout and breakfast joint called Chesterfields. It's a nice tribute to past, preserved, framed and ready for the future.

It's an uneasy subject. Something that we live with everyday. We connect, we locate, search and communicate. Ask any question and a response pops up immediately. Remember that obscure reference but can't place it? It's right there on your mobile device.
On a personal level, I have serious misgivings about carrying around a tracking device that can plot your every move, your shopping patterns and queries, who your friends are and what you 'like'. But it's a part of our modern lives. What are the implications, good and bad?

What's your comfort level?
I worked on this full-page article for Security Management magazine. Thanks to art directors Roy Comiskey and Elizabeth Lankes.
House of Falconer

Alexandre Fida is making a difference.

Alex lives in Prince Edward County. Between all of the projects he has on the go - does he ever sleep? I am impressed by his sense of design and a wilingness to experiment, to take on the projects others long abandoned, and bring new life to old buildings. On top of that, he has redesigned Angeline's and the Walter in Bloomfield, where he is the Innkeeper.

Let's start with the House of Falconer. This building of historic significance was mouldering in neglect for as long as I lived in Picton (16 years), and certainly much longer. The last owner of the building was Thera Falconer, who ran an antique boutique on Main Street. She passed away in 2008.

The house was built circa 1858 by Captain Downes (an accomplished artist). It is a quaint Victorian cottage style building with a towering gable peak at the front. Inside is 12 foot ceilings and large, bright windows lighting the front parlours. As is the case with so many heritage buildings, it stood by while other buildings around were removed and replaced with strip malls, parking lots and a large, monolithic bank plunked directly in front of the former front gardens, blocking the best sightlines of the house. I was expecting the bulldozers to show up, as they have so many times along thoroughfare of Picton, to remove the building and erect another shortsighted retail space or parking lot.

Alex aims to restore as much of the original fabric of the building as possible, treading lightly. Along the way, he has been dusting off old chandeliers, discovering vintage film projectors and quirky retro mermaid wallpaper, amongst other things.

Alex is also working with a team of restoration and landscape architects, and documenting the process with photographer Johnny Cy Lam.

Alex commissioned me to design a logo and identity for the project. I wanted to use lettering with character, a hand-rendered font that reflected history and Alex's European heritage. I did some digging and utililized a type based on a turn-of-the century German script.

Looking at the history, character and scope of the project, I was also inspired to design and interwoven monogram. This design also incorporates a vine, I thought it captured the process of growth and change, and a bit of the 'beautiful decay' that attracted Alex to the project.

The House of Falconer is currently home to artist's studios and is holding an Open House, this Friday (June 12) from 5-9. 1 Walton Street, Picton. Meet the creative residents and visit their studios/shows - food from the Hubb as well.

Alex is also working on restoring a series of reclaimed buildings, including a beautiful log building from South Bay that was meticulously indexed, moved and rebuilt on the property behind Angeline's in Bloomfield. He's dubbed it the Babylon House (it was moved from a property on the cryptic-sounding Babylon Road).

 had the pleasure of working with Alex on the identity for Angeline's in Bloomfield as well. We decided on a two-colour rendering of the Inn - it's a beautiful building with a lot of great detail.

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