Archive for November, 2009

Art of Musical Maintenance VI and Updatery.

First things first, opening a week from tomorrow(Thanksgiving) at the Goodfoot in lovely Portland, Oregon is Art of Musical Maintenance VI featuring the work of the top poster artists in the game today. Full list of artists can be found on the Juxtapoz blog. As of now I’m planning on attending the opening….I just wish it was on a Friday, would be easier on out of towners.

In other news I will be picking up the remaining pieces from the Something’s Better Than Nothing show this week and making a few selections available next week, which will include some one of a kind pieces from the “OUTSIDE THE LAW” print run. Stay tuned for that.

I believe I have found my next interviewee(but I’m keeping it secret until posted this time), pretty big deal as far as I’m concerned. Big fan of his work and it’s not someone I know as well as Todd Slater or Brad Klausen, I’m stretching my wings internet! Fly with me won’t you?

That’s it for now. Have yourself a fine Thanksgiving, internet. And if you don’t happen to be American and want to get in on the Thanksgiving action: take the day off work, pour gravy on everything you eat for the day, wear your most festive sweater, argue with your family, drink some Egg Nog(spike it), take a nap and force yourself to watch the Detroit Lions…you might have to youtube that, Good luck!

M. Ward/Budweiser commercial 11.22.09

I noticed this one watching football this weekend, new Budweiser commercial with an M. Ward track. Maybe you expect me to complain about M dog selling out or something but that would be the opposite of my reaction, I’m excited in a funny way. The guy is awesome, the more his tunes can get out into the greater public consciousness the better(beats hearing another JET song for the billionth time) plus I would assume he’s getting some sweet compensation from Anheuser-Busch.

A lot of people trip over this kind of stuff, all I know is if any beer company came to me and said “hey we like your song, can we give you a truckload of cash to use it in a commercial?” I can’t imagine saying no. It’s free money and odds are you’ve imbibed this product on numerous occasion. As long as you’re not changing your lyrics to suit the product it’s cool ;)

Killed a good shirt today…

Due to my being at the tail end of my laundry cycle I happened to be out of work(dirty/worthless) shirts today so I ended up wearing my best Nate Duval shirt to the shop. Normally I’m packing and such so I don’t have to worry much(rhyme unintentional) but today I ended up reclaiming screens most of the day which lead to the inevitable destruction of said shirt.

Sad, but I have only myself to blame. If you wish to obtain a brand spankin new version of this shirt, or buy me a replacement(XL, thanks) you can do so here.

And for the record, I told Nate to make this shirt from his Spoon poster.

"OUTSIDE THE LAW" (new art print)

INTERNET! I come bearing new art print, behold “OUTSIDE THE LAW” a very short run of only 20 pieces. 4 color screen print including metallic silver, copper and GLOW IN THE DARK WHITE on French Speckletone. Get them while they last.

It’s an art print, I’ll let the print speak for itself plus I gotta get my ass out the door I’m going to be late to the shop again…speaking of which below are a couple process pics from the making of “OUTSIDE THE LAW” enjoy…

Have a great Thursday everyone, must see TV tonight: Seinfeld, Friends, Frazier, Caroline in the City!!!…oh wait, nevermind.

“OUTSIDE THE LAW” (new art print)

INTERNET! I come bearing new art print, behold “OUTSIDE THE LAW” a very short run of only 20 pieces. 4 color screen print including metallic silver, copper and GLOW IN THE DARK WHITE on French Speckletone. Get them while they last.

It’s an art print, I’ll let the print speak for itself plus I gotta get my ass out the door I’m going to be late to the shop again…speaking of which below are a couple process pics from the making of “OUTSIDE THE LAW” enjoy…

Have a great Thursday everyone, must see TV tonight: Seinfeld, Friends, Frazier, Caroline in the City!!!…oh wait, nevermind.

Brad Klausen Interview(UPDATED 11.18.09)

Dig in, internet! It’s the long awaited Brad Klausen interview!!!

For most of you reading this Brad Klausen needs no introduction. But for the few of you who may not know, Brad is a Seattle based designer/illustrator best known for contributing a bulk of great design work including a ton of amazing posters for Pearl Jam. As a designer I have to say the way Brad came out of relative obscurity and hit the ground running with PJ posters when the bar had been established at a dizzying height by the Ames Bros. is pretty awesome.

When you get called up to the majors and you look like you’ve been there before, it’s a Hell of a thing. From that start with Pearl Jam(which he continues to do posters for) to posters for all kinds of bands(Built to Spill, Mogwai, MGMT, The Gossip etc.) Brad continues to be a fucking powerhouse in this screen printed, signed and numbered niche, and a super nice guy to boot.

So with all that said, let’s see if we can’t get to know the fella.

Jon: Alright let’s take it back, where you from? Montana? Idaho? Colorado? Everything east of the Cascades is all the same to me.

Brad: I am from LA basically… grew up in Santa Clarita, Newhall to be more specific, which is about 30 minutes north of LA. But I commuted to school in North Hollywood and all my friends lived in the LA area, my dad lived in Playa del Rey, so I grew up in a car stuck in traffic on the freeways of LA. But Newhall is by no means LA, over the course of years we had a variety of different animals, a couple of horses, 2 goats, 3 pigs at one point, they’ve always had chickens, there were some geese and ducks briefly,…to all my friends in LA I lived on a farm out in the sticks, and while we had farm animals here and there, it was by no means a farm. Since my folks have lived there, it’s changed drastically, the population I think has tripled. Not sure if you watch the show Weeds, but they filmed the first few seasons there, and where the show takes place in the planned community of “Agrestic” with all it’s “little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same”, that’s Santa Clarita now… growing up there you could just watch the development, that’s the wrong word though,.. development implies growth or progress and to me, covering over all the hills as far as you can see with boring, lifeless cookie cutter homes and cramming as many as you possibly can into as much land as you possibly can and then naming the communities something regal similar to  “Agrestic” to make it feel like it’s a fancy area is not growth or progress. How many of the same house can we cram into one hillside over and over again until all you see is houses… but it’s not just Santa Clarita, that’s just California for ya…

Jon: Yeah, “develop” can be good or bad. You can develop a bad habit, develop love handles, tumors develop…

Never would have pegged you for a SoCal guy…but then again most people I know around here are transplants to Seattle.

So how was High School? What John Hughes movie character do you most relate to?

I went to the same school from kindergarten through 12th grade. A small private high school in North Hollywood.. my graduating class was I think 63 students… I got a plaque at graduation for being there 13 years. You can’t really be a loner in that environment, teachers I had in third grade I had in 10th grade, it was a small environment that little did I know had made me socially retarded when I got into the real world. Standard stuff like meeting people and introducing yourself, were not skills I had from existing in the same place for 13 years. But all in all high school was alright… looking back on it I probably thought it was way worse then it actually was because I was an ignorant teenager and that’s what teenagers do. Towards the end I had had my fill of the place and couldn’t wait to move away and get as far away from LA as possible. I was applying to schools in Maine and Vermont but only made it as far as Denver, which wasn’t the opposite coast, but it wasn’t LA so I was fine with that.

As for which character of the Breakfast Club was I? Not really sure… when I was a teenager, I wanted to be Wayne Gretzky, but I wouldn’t say I was a jock in the true sense of the word. I loved hockey, it’s all I wanted to do… but I don’t think I fit the template of “jock”, I was tall and lanky and awkward and not necessarily all that confident, and being that it was Southern California our school didn’t have a hockey team, so playing hockey was something I did away from school and on my own time. I don’t know what label would have really fit for me… the school was so small, there really weren’t the cliche divided cliques of stereotypes… everyone had there core group of a few friends they hung out with regularly, but for the most part we all knew each other and hung out so there wasn’t enough of us to start calling out who was what. Whenever I would watch John Hughes movies I was sort of amazed when confronted with what “real” high schools looked like… we didn’t even have a lunch room or cafeteria where you have to deal with the social hierarchy of what table do you sit at or bullies knocking your food into your lap.

Jon: Where did you go to school after that? Art school, University?

Brad: After that, I went to the University of Denver. It wasn’t an art school but they had a nice little art department. Apparently DU is known for its business school, which shows what I know, I had no idea, even when I was there. I actually didn’t know there was such a thing as art schools, I found out about those after I graduated from college, again showing how oblivious I can be… a friend of mine who graduated from The Art School in Pasadena, CA took me for a tour through the school a little after I had graduated, and it made me wish I had gone to an art school… but the more I thought about it, I was glad I had the experience I did, I had a lot of fun in college and I don’t think I would have enjoyed art school nearly as much as a regular old college. Plus the small art department at DU was bad enough with all the kids in there trying to find their identity by playing the role of “eccentric art student”… those kids drove me up the wall… a few of them, that’s who they truly genuinely were and they lived and breathed it,.. but most of them were just trying on the uniform to see if it fit. You could tell who was for real and who was just searching for their personality when it came time to put art up on the wall for critique days. So I don’t know if that would have been worse at an actual art school, my gut says it would have been much worse. Always made me giggle though, you can make art and be an artist and not be a weird eccentric character, but for some people who they are is far more important then what they make…

Jon: Preach brother! In hindsight I would have preferred to have just gone to regular college, if nothing else you have other kids around who are in different programs who can offer a different perspective.

So were you always artistic, did you know early on that you wanted to do something creative growing up or did you have other interests/options? You’re tall, I’m guessing you had some scholarships on the table to hoop it up for Gonzaga or Xavier or some shit right?…I kid of course, feel free to take this opportunity to vent on the topic of short people asking tall people if they play basketball.

Brad: I don’t get the “wow you’re tall do you play basketball?” comments at all anymore. As a teenager, I got that all the time. I am not good at basketball… I am good for rebounding, but nothing else.

As far as I can recall, I always liked to draw and was always copying comics or cartoons I liked. I would often get in trouble at school for drawing in my textbooks. I can’t say I ever thought about having a creative career as a kid. It never really crossed my mind. When I was applying for college I figured I would try and study architecture, but I think that’s mostly because adults would say stuff like “oh you like to draw, you could be an architect”. I don’t ever really remember being fond of architecture or thinking about it at all really. At some point my mom was at a party and she met a man who was a graphic designer who told her “I know a lot of out of work architects and a lot of graphic designers that are always working”… my mom came home and mentioned this and with that one comment I changed from architecture to design. But neither was really anything I cared about too much, I was positive I was gonna be Wayne Gretzky… which is quite comical when I think about it in my adult life.

Jon: What would you say was your greatest artistic influence as a young lad? For me it was Jack Kirby hands down, comics n shit. I have a feeling for you it was something more photorealistic/detailed.

Brad: It was comics for me too. Loved them. Especially the X-Men. I often expose my inner nerd when any conversation comes up about the absolute horrors hollywood has done to my childhood heros. I couldn’t wait to go to the comic store on whatever day it was that new comics came out. My favorite artists were Arthur Adams, Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane. Lately I wish I had been paying more attention to the inkers then the pencillers, as theses days I am far more interested in the different ways people ink their work. I can’t say as a kid I even knew there was a difference between penciling and inking, they were just rad drawings. But I think not only the art but the stories were a huge influence on my imagination… like soap operas for boys, couldn’t wait each two weeks to see how the cliffhangers would resolve.

Jon: Yeah I don’t really read comics these days, as a  youngan I was into the same stuff though. As I was being pulled away from comics(time and money) after Art School I was really into Frank Millers Sin City stuff, that illustration style is amazing, it looks like he’s jumping straight to ink wihtout penciling first. Sin City is of course the only really perfect comic book movie, I too am quite a harsh critic with comic movies….I never understood why Hellboy was made live action, Mike Mignola’s style is so flat and unique it would have been awesome to see that animated. I’m going to stop here, this is a topic that could go on forever.

Can you tell the internet the story of how you got hired by the Pearl Jam back in the day? It’s an interesting story.

Brad: As for how I started working for Pearl Jam… my first job after college was being a design assistant at a broadcast design firm in Hollywood, CA. They had 4 designers there and I was their bitch. All the boring, monotonous work they didn’t want to do, I did. At first I was just happy to have finally landed a job with a design firm after months of no luck. But eventually it just became less and less interesting. I got a newsletter for the Ten Club and I was looking at it thinking this is the type of design I want to do. Prior to landing the job I did, I went around to every record label in LA hoping to get a job working in the art department. I wanted to do design work for music. So when I got the newsletter I decided I would design a poster/resume and send it in and see if they needed anyone to do posters or art for them. I had no idea who the Ames Bros were or that they were handling all of Pearl Jam’s artwork or that they had designed the newsletter that I was holding. I just saw it and thought this is what I want to do.
So I designed this letter into a corner of this horizontally long poster saying who I was and what I wanted to do. I emailed the Ten Club to ask if they got it, and they said “yes” and “thanks but no thanks”. So I figured at least I tried. 8 months later I got fired from my design-bitch job, and rightfully so, I had stopped showing up on time, going to lunch for longer then I should have, talking to friends on the phone and not doing a lot of the things they wanted me to do, I wasn’t into it and apparently, I was showing that in my lack of effort or concern for my job. The day I got fired was a great day though, I can remember driving home and feeling very happy.
My girlfriend at the time, her mom had these free tickets to Europe through some frequent flier miles scam and they were about to expire. So my girlfriend and I figured “hey we have no jobs, no money, nothing going on.. why not take free tickets and try and travel around Europe with no money”. At some point we were in Italy and my mom called me at the hotel late at night and said “guess who called?” ( at this point it’s important to note after college I moved back in with my folks in Newhall/LA) I guessed a design firm called The Attik because that was the only place I wanted to work and had been quite persistent in calling them and submitting samples of my work and was on the verge of them possibly offering me a job.. my mom says “better than The Attik…” which didn’t make sense at the time, since to me there was nothing better. The Attik was it or nothing else! But then she says “Pearl Jam called you…” which was the last thing I was expecting her to say, it had been 8 months since I sent that poster in. Apparently they had put the poster up on their office wall in the Ten Club, and luckily I had put my phone number on there, and when it came time for them to find an  in-house designer, my number was right there on their wall.

Got home from Europe, they flew me out for an interview and asked if I’d be willing to relocate from LA to Seattle, which I quickly replied to with “YES!” since I couldn’t wait to get out of LA once again and out of my parents house (don’t get me wrong, my Mom and step Dad are awesome, but when you go from living on your own in college to moving back home, it’s no good). I moved up to Seattle in November of 1999, right in the midst of the WTO riots… it was a quite a greeting…

Jon: Ha! Way to date yourself grandpa. I watched the WTO riots on TV in High School, Junior year. I still need to see that movie about the WTO riots, it looks kinda shitty though. Plus Michelle Rodriguez is in it and she renders all things she stars in unwatchable.

Okay we’ve talked about this before in person plenty, without getting too convoluted I think generally people think of Brad Klausen as an illustrator more than a “pure” designer although I find the more designy posters in your catalog just as impressive as the hardcore line art posters…but this is more of a technical question than a design vs. illustration question though. I want to know how often you use, and how much you like or don’t like Illustrator. How do you look at it? The approach, you know what I mean…

Brad: I use illustrator mostly to clean up my hand drawn type. I’ll draw all my letters and then scan them and bring them into illustrator and redraw them in there so that i can make things more consistent.. you know, make the spacing between things more even and make sure each letter is the same height and width where it needs it. But other than type, I don’t use Illustrator all that often. I might use it to make a pattern or a particular shape if I want to make sure that things are precise and even and symmetrical. Mostly I just draw everything in pencil then use a light table to ink the drawing and then clean or alter that in photoshop. I use photoshop far more then I use illustrator. But I like Illustrator a lot, it’s a resourceful tool in the shed.

Jon: I’m sure by the time this posts your Monsters of Folk poster will be out there for all to see and purchase. I had the pleasure of racking this print at D&L, I trust the registration held up and the there were no bugs??? Blend turned out nice?

Brad: It came out great, the graveyard shift did well as always. Blend looked good too…it’s always kinda cool to see how blends can actually start to blend away from the original idea and combine the two… there were a few in there where the brown overtook the orange and the blend went from a brown to orange to a brown to a lighter brown, but those looked cool too… I know both Steve and Cary get mad at me for using blends as frequently as I do… you might be more privy to them cursing me when the blend isn’t working right on a print run of 1500 pearl jam posters that need to be done tomorrow…

Jon: Oh, I’ve been meaning to tell you, you’re targets are too big. To pinpoint the registration it’s a lot easier to work with a target that’s like 3/8″ , so I would say shrink your targets by about half of what you usually use.

Anyway, speak on the future of Brad Klausen, workwise and or personal if you got anything cool going on. I know you just moved, if you’re digging your new place/neighborhood etc.

Brad: The new place is ok. It’s on the west side of the hill of Magnolia near Discovery Park. And while it’s awesome to take the dogs for daily walks through Discovery Park, this side of Magnolia is sleepy and quiet. Mostly just old folks and families. It’s kind like living in a sleepy midwest town, there’s Magnolia VIllage, which is one or two streets of a few restaurants and shops I think there’s a pub, and on a Friday or Saturday night after 8 pm it’s a ghost town. No one comes over here. My girlfriend and I have started referring to it as “Mangolia”.

As for workwise, trying to get through the last batch of posters for 2009… this year feels like it’s been the most poster intensive for me and I think it’s starting to take it’s toll. Starting to get pretty burnt out from having to just go from one poster right into the next one without any time in between. I am hoping in 2010 to work more on a few other things not poster related, like start painting more… I really want to start teaching myself more and more about painting and see where that goes. Would also like to get back into playing music too, not in a band, but making little fun recording projects with protools at home just for kicks. Anything to help break up all the poster stuff, which I will most likely always do, just need to start introducing a few more alternate creative outlets other then rock posters.
Jon: You mentioned Weeds earlier, seems these days with all the cable channels and the interwebs people really only make time for a handful of shows to fit into their life. Personally I’m spoiled with Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office right now, whatchu watchin dog?
Brad: We got rid of our cable and just watch stuff online now, and oddly enough find myself watching more TV online than I think I did when we had cable…dammit. I like Weeds a lot, even though the most recent season is kind of boring. My all time favorite show though is easily It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I love it. It can be hit or miss from one episode to the next, but it definitely had it’s hooks in me from the first episode. The guy Charlie on that show, can’t get enough of him, they need to make a spin off focusing solely on him. I also like the new show Community, so far so good, seems well written.
Jon: Yeah I’ve been watching Community too, you’re not from here so you probably don’t know that Joel Mchale is from Seattle, played Tight End for the Huskies and got his start on the now long defunct local favorite Almost Live.
Community is a decent show, I’m pulling for McHale and Chevy of course. Alison Brie has pulled off a television coup, as she is a prominent cast member on Community and has a recurring character on Mad Men, the second greatest show in the history of man after The Wire.
I was going to get into a thing we have in common, which is we are both grandmasters in the art of blackout….but those stories are best left for in person story telling yes?
Brad: Yeah, it’s quite a skill I have… and sad but true that if I am a grandmaster in anything, blacking out is probably top of the list. It’s quite an honor to be bestowed with such a title. I’d like to say those days are behind me, and as much as I think they are, every once and a while one will sneak up on me from out of nowhere and clobber me in an unfamiliar street and steal my flip flops and wallet …  As for the stories, there are many…and better left for in person… or to be told by someone who actually remembers the whole story, I can only be counted on for the retelling of the leftover clues the next day like a detective at a crime scene speculating as to what took place…
Jon: Yeah it’s real Jekyll and Hyde thing, or like the Wolfman of the Incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner. You wake up, asses the damage, interrogate anyone who has information of the previous evening’s events. It sucks, I too try my best to keep these occurrences few and far between but it still happens sometimes. I’m no doctor but I think blackouts happen because there’s a point where you’re body knows you’ve drank too much and most people puke at that point and feel better. Those who don’t, black the fuck out.
Well that’s it internet, hope you enjoyed our little chat. Pretty abrupt ending there, it really could have gone on and on, hopefully we catch up with Brad a little further down the trail. I welcome your comments and or questions, thank you for reading.

Portland/Ghostland Sunday

Internet, still way behind on posting everything, the Klausen interview, making new prints available etc….I just can’t seem to find the time.

As I predicted, my trip to Portland on Sunday derailed my interweb posting progress. But the trip was tons of fun, we left at noon and got back at like 5AM. Ghostland played a great show at Crystal Ballroom, it was nice to get a little hang time with the nicest guys on the planet: Aaron, Thomas and of course Alex the guru of sound. Much love and respect, reminds me I haven’t been down to Austin in a while….

PDX_WP

And I don’t know what it is exactly but being in Portland reminded me of this:


NEWS:

The Head and the Heart, Lykke Li posters in the store now!!

Print releases and interviews coming soon!!!

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