I recently invited my friend Nate Utesch and his band band Metavari to come play a house show here in Traverse City. Their beautiful new album Moonless demonstrates a shift into techno-synth-pop for the band, and it also draws much inspiration from Twin Peaks. So i couldn’t help but create these Twin Peaks posters for the show.
Maybe that’s why for me the page, the gallery, and the stage became the only places my emotions could be expressed and acted out comfortably. These were the venues where I could exhibit sexuality, anger, a lack of concern for what people thought. The image a lot of people have of me as detached, impassive, or remote is a persona that comes from years of being teased for every feeling I ever expressed. When I was young, there was never any space for me to get attention of my own that wasn’t negative. Art, and the practice of making art, was the only space that was mine alone, where I could be anyone and do anything, where just by using my head and my hands I could cry, or laugh, or get pissed off.
This Ani DiFranco poster is actually the very conception of what would eventually become FUTURALBUM. During my final weeks at my last job, I discovered Flickr Internet Archive Book Images, and since Ani’s show was our next upcoming event, threw together this quick design just for fun.
It was one of those instances where you see some sort of image you can’t help but make something cool with it, even if it only gets a few minutes and you know no one might ever see it. Sadly that was the case here, as this poster never saw light of day (hopefully you’ll still make it to the show).
Sometimes a piece of work without the inherited anxiety of trying to please someone else—even if thrown together quickly—can be the most effective. It is that magical thing where the purity of creating is imposed upon the creation itself.
It was such a simple design and reminded me of my early days as a designer… which got me wondering what else I could do with that Flickr archive… Naturally I went overboard and jumped into plans for FUTURALBUM the next week.
Today it is pretty cool to see all that’s transpired because I took 10 minutes just to do some fun design work.
My favorite albums this year are mostly predictable, but nestled in there among my safe bets of the 2010’s (tUnE-yArDs, First Aid Kit, alt-j, etc) and long-term commitments to 1990’s heroes (Weezer, Beck, J Mascis) are a handful of really fun new discoveries from 2014. Read more
Well no sooner do I post about my exciting new job for a creative startup company, that I’m afraid to announce it has already ended. Anytime you jump into a startup you run the risk of it never starting up at all, and sadly that’s what’s happened this time around.
At least I was able to throw together a few posters this summer. That Brandi Carlile poster with the beer goddess illustration is something I’ll always be proud of, and this concert poster for the Lyle Lovett show in Traverse City turned out pretty cool too.
I started a new job recently as the Art & Design Director for a local event production company. Many friends have asked about it, but I have not had time to share any details about the change publicly, since I began right in the midst of our busiest (read: crazy) season and had to jump in with both feet—which honestly is the best way to do anything. Read more
Pete Seeger will always remain one of my personal heroes. It’s not his political activism that necessarily draws me to him, but rather how much he valued the things in life that really matter; how he truly believed you can change the world by getting people to sing together. I admire his commitment to working people and human rights, but it is his 70-year marriage that places him above others who I respect, into a special group of those I aspire to be.
Every time I hear him speak he manages to say something so wise it moves me instantly and stays with me permanently.
I once heard him say the happiest people he’s met are those who are hurting in some way.
At the time I was hurting pretty bad, and it was incredibly moving to hear someone else who understood how on earth I could be so completely happy.
With new albums in 2013 from favorites Arcade Fire, Neko Case, Avett Brothers, Vampire Weekend, and (after a 17-year wait) Mazzy Star, my list is relatively predictable, but hopefully there are at least a couple surprises in there too.
I’d imagined a new Churchill album on the list this year, but sadly it seems to have landed in musical purgatory after the band disintegrated last summer…
What was your favorite album this year?
You can subscribe to the 2013 playlist on your favorite streaming music service: