[Emily Potts] Yann Legendre, Martin Venezky and Ed Fella were featured in last week’s Creative Chain. This week, we lead off with Ed Fella’s pick.
He says, “For the last 25 years I’ve been an ‘exit-level designer,’ meaning I no longer do any commercial work, leaving all of it to the next generation. I’ve had my turn and now it’s theirs. I teach design at CalArts in Los Angeles in the graduate program, where I also have my studio. I’m naturally inspired by my students and their ingenuity and eagerness. It’s their energy that keeps me motivated, and while it may be a bit self-serving, I’m adding one of them to my creative chain.”
Scott Massey of Los Angeles, Calif., is one of my grad students. In the two years he has been here, he has produced a large and striking body of work — most impressive for me, his series of silkscreen posters. Both formally and technically, they are beautifully done. His ideas are clever and complex. They have a slyly outrageous and saucy attitude that appeals to my own past attempts at design and letterforms with a certain impertinence. If my current work is becoming too refined and nostalgic, maybe these posters will inspire me to stay a bit more audacious!
This announcement for the launch of a student Halloween zine is a strikingly structured composition. The more you look at it, the more you realize just how complex it is, and yet underneath it all you still find the basic cadence of the elements, balanced out almost to a “T” — but not quite. Also, I’m particularly attracted to the various collaged forms of halftone dot reproductions the piece contains in its overlaps, with the push and pull of lights and darks. I’ll leave the many meanings it might contain — or actually might not — for another time.
Announcement for visiting artist lecture, 2012
A large poster that is hauntingly intriguing. The first thing you see is a fragmented text that frames an image. A calico cat very directly and forcefully stares at you with an absurd — some might say creepy — smiley face with an actual banana for a silly grin. And the addition of a red graffiti swipe on each poster turns it into a set of vicious teeth. What this has to do, if anything, with the speaker is something you won’t — or can’t — find out unless you go to the lecture, which I didn’t do. I could ask the designer what the connection is, but that’s no fair, so I’ll keep wondering.
Scott Massey is inspired by …
Paul Sahre of NYC has inspired me to never quit on my ideas, to take a project as far as it has to go until you know it’s complete; to infuse projects with personal passion, knowledge and curiosity; to not be afraid of starting your own projects, even if that means paying for it yourself; to hold true to content and let that dictate direction — his work somehow still always looks great and reads well. Visit OOPS; he updates constantly with inspiring work.
They Might be Giants
What started out as two color album covers for Join Us, by They Might be Giants, miraculously transformed into building a life-size schematic — which you can download — of a raised and tricked-out pink hearse that was built life-size out of printed paper and cardboard. This laborious process was all caught on film and later used as the official video for “When Will You Die.”
SVA Senior Library books
Paul designed these books for SVA, titled The Senior Library, Word and Work from the School of Visual Arts. As the editor, he chose to separate the words and work of the students, in one book creating an easy-to-read yet abstract layout full of nicely set columns of Helvetica, empty picture frames and captions to keep the viewer intrigued enough to jump to the next book. Its companion, a beautifully paced image book, is full of brilliant work and white space. While working with Paul at OOPS, I used to check both books in order to find errors, but the man is meticulous with his craft and would never compromise his idea with complacency.
Paul Sahre is inspired by …
One of the reasons I teach design part-time at the School of Visual Arts is the influence of my students, so I’m choosing a particular former student who will to stand in for the rest of them as my inspiration. Suckzoo Han is currently in New Haven, Conn., pursuing a masters degree at a relatively well-known university there. He is a rare combination of funny, type/graphic design geek and punk. After waging a personal war with typography at SVA, he somehow graduated in 2009. He promptly got a job in Philadelphia working at Urban Outfitters. He lasted a few months.
Notice of Violation
I lost track of him for a time until I received an official Notice of Violation from the Public Health and Sanitation Department of Philadelphia, citing a violation involving a sticker — of my design — that had been slapped on a piece of prominent public art. I really wasn’t sure if it was fake or not until I examined it closely. This turned out to be from Suckzoo. It’s a beautiful thing. I love the idea of designing for an audience of one.
What Does Your Blue Album Look Like?
Suckzoo recently alerted me to a participatory web project he is doing called “What does your blue album look like?,” wherein he is asking everyone who bought Weezer’s debut album, circa 1994, to submit a cover. At last check he has a total 51 albums out of 3,146,000 sold.
Tune in right here next Wednesday to see who inspires Suckzoo Han.
Take a look at the complete chain any time.
All line art portraits created by Fred Schaub.