Creative Chain: Connecting creatives one link at a time, week 13

[Emily Potts] It’s hard to believe we’ve featured 36 talented artists and designers on Creative Chain since its inception. Last week we featured Barbara Glauber, Rich Watts and Mike Essl, the last of whom kicks off today’s chain, in his own words,

with …

When I was a kid I remember going through my father’s record collection and freaking out over the cover of Kiss’ Rock and Roll Over. This moment is significant for two reasons: (1) Kiss made me the metalhead I am today, and (2) Michael Doret’s artwork inspired me to become a graphic designer.

Rock and Roll Over
The first time I saw this image it blew my 13-year-old mind. The lightning bolts, laser-beam eyeballs and custom typography immediately grab your attention, but my favorite detail is how the buzz-saw works with Gene’s tongue as a graphic nod to the physical record inside the sleeve.

Zardoz logo
Michael’s treatment for the 1974 film Zardoz is so metal, I have to include it. With razor-sharp edges and custom typography, Doret created the prototype for all heavy metal logos to come.

Michael Doret is inspired by …

Most people would imagine that my inspiration would be drawn from other lettering and typographic artists — true, but those who had the most influence on me in that arena are long gone. But I’m inspired by other living artists in different ways. The person who has had more influence on my work than most others is illustrator Laura Smith. She has impressed me with how many times she has reinvented her work — always trying to explore new ways of communicating her visions, always looking for a fresh angle or a new color palette. Being exposed to her work has challenged me to look for new ways to express my own typographic visions.

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World
This and the following piece are part of a series Laura is doing called “Wise Illustrations to Live By.” What I love about this piece is how Laura can take a subject that might seem obvious and turn it on its ear, how she’s not restrained by color or form, and how she can make an image more playful and whimsical than I would have imagined.

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder
Another in the series, but completely different in feeling from the previous one. She somehow pulls elements from various genres and bends them for her own amusement to say what she wants them to say. I love her spirit of experimentation in how she uses various Illustrator tools and pulls these pieces together in totally unexpected ways. Her typographic treatment here is also totally different from the first piece, but works just as well.

Laura Smith is inspired by …

Over the years my heroes have grown in number. Most of them are people who harken back to simpler times and who are no longer with us. But there is one person whose work I never tire of looking at. Laurie Rosenwald manages to conjure up childlike images that never feel self-conscious or tricky. There is a controlled spontaneity in her work — almost like she tipped over a bottle of ink and, voilà … art!

Groove Dots Chocolates packaging
It’s difficult for me to narrow down my favorite pieces by Laurie to just two. Today I would say these two are my favorites. I love this packaging! And while corporate identity often drives design to be repetitive, this grouping of packages still feels like a family while not looking the least bit repetitive in its design.  I wish all packaging were this much fun.

On-air promo for Sundance Channel
This is a still from an animated short that Laurie created for the Sundance Channel. Her work here, as always, is simple, stripped down, sophisticated, but never too serious. She has a light-hearted approach to her work as well as in her teaching. In her workshop called “How to Make Mistakes on Purpose,” she has taught her theory all over the world on how to be creative to those who never thought they were, or even could be. I’m still learning from Laurie’s example. Laurie says, “It was one of the earlier animations I’d ever done, and I made collages without much of a plan, but it seemed to work out. The art director at the time was Keira Alexandra. It took me a long, long time — a labor of love, colored paper, good music and ignorant optimism.”

Tune in next Wednesday to see who inspires Laurie Rosenwald.

Take a look at the complete chain any time.

Emily Potts is senior acquisitions editor at Rockport Publishers.

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