Free film showing of: Waltz With Bashir

The Lucent Pheonix presents a free film showing of
Waltz With Bashir an Ari Folman film

"A memoir, a history lesson, a combat picture, a piece of investigative journalism and an altogether amazing film" A.O. Scott, New York Times

Tuesday January 19th
Potluck at 6pm
Film showing at 7pm

at Gallery5
200 W. Marshall St

"In 1982, Ari Folman was a 19-year-old infantry soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. In 2006, he meets with a friend from his army service period, who tells him of the nightmares connected to his experiences from the Lebanon War. Folman is surprised to find that he does not remember a thing from that period. Later that night he has a vision from the night of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, the reality of which he is unable to tell. In his memory (Scene on poster above), he and his soldier friends are bathing at night by the seaside in Beirut under the light of flares descending over the city. Folman rushes off to meet another friend from his army service, who advises him to discuss it with other people who were in Beirut at the same time in order to understand what happened there and to revive his own memories. Folman converses with friends, a psychologist and the reporter Ron Ben-Yishai who was in Beirut at the time.

The film ends with animation dissolving into actual footage of the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatila massacre."

Waltz With Bashir. (2009, Dec 20). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 29, 2009, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltz_with_Bashir

Inspiration, cool stuff, art, etc #23

Luis - Joaquín Cociña, Cristóbal León and Niles Atallah


4th Bin - Recycle a cell phone feed the hungry

Infographic coins intended to help you understand the worth of our currency.

Neda ye Ahura - digital collages by Karbalai Ali Akkassbashi on the green movement in Iran

New Work: illustrations, comics and logos

Click on images to enlarge.

Poster design for a film showing of Beautiful Boxer. The film is based on the famous Thai boxer, Nong Toom. The academy I train at, Richmond BJJ Academy, will perform a Muay Thai demonstration before the film.

Film info:
Free February 9th at Gallery5.
Potluck begins 6PM
Muay Thai demonstration 7PM
Film showing begins 7:30PM

Posters for the SAYLOVE exhibition at Gallery5. The exhibition's mission is to present different perspectives of Love & Hate. The exhibition also involves audience participation in defining both Love & Hate. Designing an interactive poster was the best solution. More info can be found on Gallery5's website.

Exhibition info:
Opening reception 7PM January 8th
Say Love is a project that celebrates the triumphs and struggles of the LGBT community. This month-long event, exhibition and public-arts project is about inclusion and will showcase regional and nationally known visual and performing artists. This event will partner with numerous community organizations, non-profits and businesses to bring awareness to our under-represented GLBT community. This event is intended to not only express ourselves through art, but to inform all demographics across the board of the passions, struggles and triumphs we face.

Say Love is proudly brought to you by:
The Say Love Project
WRIR 97.3
The Rainbow Minute
Gay Fathers Coalition of Richmond

Featuring Works by:
James Robertson
Aaron McIntosh
Lilly McElroy
L Weingarten
Kristina Willemse
Jesse Finley Reed
Eric Russell
William Davis
Kevin Orlosky

First two fully colored pages of The Little Black Fish. I still might make some changes. This is just the beginning stage of the coloring process. Out of the three approaches to coloring I have tried so far, the above version seems to work best. I am also thinking about using Art Rage as a method of coloring with more texture, but I am not sure yet.

The top logo is one of the versions I like, but wasn't appropriate for the client. We decided on the bottom logo since it would be more versitile by only using one color. The color choice is still undecided.


Poster4Tomorrow Posters Released

Poster4Tomorrow.org released their choices for the top 100 posters discussing the topic of free speech. All of the posters are all copyleft and free for you to download and print out to your hearts desire. So post these beautiful and inspirational images up!

Richmond's very own Noah Scalin of Another Limited Rebellion made the cut!


Inspiration, art, cool stuff, etc #22

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

Poster 4 Tomorrow - listing of places Poster 4 Tomorrow will be exhibited and a sneak peek of 5 finalists.

CO2 CUBES - an art project that conveys the hard facts about carbon dioxide.

Bollywood Film Posters - a look at sellers of Bollywood poster originals.

Urbanizing the Mojave - tracing the history of mining miltariztion, tourism and water politics

The Food We Eat Has a Story to Tell - Beautiful motion video from Kris Hofmann which is remake for the German animal rights organisation Albert Schweitzer Stiftung.

Going West With the New Zealand Book Council - video about the art of writing.


New Work: G5 Posters and Little Black Fish Inks

Hand drawn type and illustrations for the "forgetters" show. I was messing with using both pencils and felt tip pens to do line work on the severed fingers. The end result was unexpected, but still appreciated.

Poster for the current exhibition at Gallery5. Not completely happy with it, but it works well for the time constraint.

First stage of inking The Little Black Fish cover. I will be adding lighter "inks" digitally to break up the forms even more. The created shapes will function as a map to use multiple shades of the same color similar to a mosaic or stained glass.

First sketches for an eventual illustration of Nong Toom, the famous Thai Boxer. It still needs a whole lot of work - even for an initial sketch. I intend to: change the flowers to orchids, marigolds, & carnations (referencing the Pong Malai), add hand wraps, add ornamentation/border (also referencing the Pong Malai), and of course change the composition itself.

I also plan on exaggerating the flower explosion and figuring out a way to have the figures overlap more without messing up the perspective. My hope is that these two changes will emphasize the impact more.

The finished illustration will be used for a film showing at Gallery5, but I would also like to do a screen-print of the final version (sans the film showing info).


Free film showing of The Garden

Gallery5 & The Lucent Phoenix Presents The Garden

The Garden is more than the subject of the film, it's about the constant struggle and pitfalls activists run into while organizing in the interest of the people. No matter how righteous the cause, how much they follow procedure, how much press they can amass, how much community support and dialog they can stimulate, in the end, bureaucracy will serve the needs of the capitalist and force those without capital to compromise. As a result we'll lose more than a struggle for (insert cause here), it would likely be the last time a lot of those involved will ever attempt to organize against the rich and powerful. And born from this loss is a new justification for apathy, one which will not be easily shaken. If you take anything from this film I think it should be that nothing short of direct militant action on a national scale will result in a victory for the people.

Tuesday December 8, 2009
At Gallery5
200 W. Marshall St.
Potluck: 6:00pm
Film: 7:00pm


From [ http://thegardenmovie.com ]
The fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community.

But now, bulldozers are poised to level their 14-acre oasis.

The Garden follows the plight of the farmers, from the tilled soil of this urban farm to the polished marble of City Hall. Mostly immigrants from Latin America, from countries where they feared for their lives if they were to speak out, we watch them organize, fight back, and demand answers:

Why was the land sold to a wealthy developer for millions less than fair-market value? Why was the transaction done in a closed-door session of the LA City Council? Why has it never been made public?

And the powers-that-be have the same response: “The garden is wonderful, but there is nothing more we can do.”

If everyone told you nothing more could be done, would you give up?

The Garden has the pulse of verité with the narrative pull of fiction, telling the story of the country’s largest urban farm, backroom deals, land developers, green politics, money, poverty, power, and racial discord. The film explores and exposes the fault lines in American society and raises crucial and challenging questions about liberty, equality, and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.


Inspiration, art, cool stuff, etc #21

Eike Koenig from Hort from Leonardo Mercado on Vimeo.

Visualizing empires decline from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

Artists' Homemade Christmas Cards-A new exhibition of seasonal greetings from artists such as Alexander Calder and Philip Guston celebrates the handmade holiday card.

Beautiful prints celebrating the International Year of Astronomy

Land Mass and Population by Country-nice infographic comparing land mass to population.

LOVE LETTER TO THE LETTER PRESS-editorial from the NY Times

12/12-"In celebration of International Human Rights Day, on Saturday December 12, 2009 United4Iran will facilitate Arts United 4 Iran, a day devoted to worldwide displays of musical, visual, and performing arts highlighting the issues of human rights in Iran. This is a non-partisan event focusing on human and civil rights in solidarity with the people of Iran."


Works in RVA Mag Vol 5 Issue 8

A few of my illustrations - as well as a lot of other artists' incredible pieces - are exhibited in Volume 5 Issue 8 of RVA Magazine. You can have a peek on page 8 at RVAMag.com


Sleight of Hand 2 call for entries!

Sleight of Hand II: National Juried Contemporary
Craft Competition.

The Sleight of Hand II exhibition at Gallery5 seeks craft-makers who push the boundaries and definitions of craft. Craft-making is too often pigeon-holed into traditional definitions of basic utilitarian objects in clay, glass, wood, or metal. In reality, most craft-makers are not unlike fine artists in many respects. They push new concepts, introduce new materials and techniques, expand old techniques and use traditional materials in new ways. Gallery5 invites craft-makers fitting this criteria to submit their works to Sleight of Hand II.

Artists must be a resident of the United States

Up to $1000 in prizes
Jurors: TBA

Submission Fee: $20 for up to three works, $5 each additional work.
Submission Deadline: Wednesday, January 6th.
Notification of Selected Artists: Saturday, January 9th

Accepted artwork must be delivered to Gallery5 no later than Friday, January 29th.
Artwork must be packed in reusable packaging with return shipping label included.

Opening Reception and Award Ceremony: Friday, February 5th.
Exhibition Ends: Friday, February 26th.

Application can be downloaded here.

Repressed V call for entries!


José María Heredia - poet: inspired the Cuban people to stand up and fight against Spain.

Seymor Chwast-designer - illustrator: his anti-war poster "End Bad Breath" indirectly encouraged the anti-war movement
of the 70's.

John Lenin and Yoko Ono - famous musicians/artists: created the powerful anti-war campaign stating "THE WAR IS OVER...if you want it to be."

What makes statement driven art so emotionally powerful? It being witness to a piece of work that creates a bond between you, the viewer and the creator of the piece. A bond that can change the direction of thought and purpose.
A successfully executed statement driven piece can be the catalyst that inspires the average person into an active agent for change. Art exists in societies to create shared dialogues and experiences. No matter the medium, art and artists can be the spark to establishing a commonality, to allow us to empathize with each other and encourage altruistic pursuits for the greater good.

Dedicated to social awareness, Gallery5 invites visual and performing artists to submit their statement focused work to Repressed V: Free to Speak.

More info and an application can be downloaded here.


New Work: ARGS Dance logo design

I was commissioned to redesign the ARGS Dance logo. The criteria was to utilize an androgynous figure that doesn't imply a specific type of dance and exhibits movement. I began with various reference photos of the dance students that focused on movement via long exposures. Above is the first - somewhat working - manifestation of the logo. Garamond seemed like the best typeface to compliment the figures. It has serifs that are reminiscent of a human being's arched foot.

Since the logo's quality at smaller scales would probably be mediocre - due to a loss of detail - I chose to isolate one of the figures.

After speaking with some of the dance students; I began to redraw the chosen figure multiple times. Their main concern was that the figure was just "a little too abstract." Above exhibits a progression from abstraction to a more satisfactory version (I spared you the multiple versions and narrowed them down to three).

This is the close to final version of the logo. I am currently working with the legs by implementing alternate poses and directional strokes. The type is also being reconsidered in placement and image to type ratio. The above version might stay the same or change slightly. Any changes will appear on this blog.

New Work: defacing the local tattoo shop

Here are some work in progress photos of a mural I was recently asked to help paint. It is currently unfinished. The other artists will continue working once it stops raining and they procure some scaffolding. I intend to post images of the finished mural on this blog.

If you would like to take a look at the mural in person; you may at 127 W Brookland Park Blvd. While you are there, you should get a tattoo or piercing. Brookland Park Tattoo hours are 12:00-8:00PM; 7 days a week. More info about the tattoo and piercing artists can be found here.

As always click on images to enlarge.

My contribution to the mural.


Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #20

Nuru put together three in house videos dealing with social advertising.

The End (Jake's Story) from Nuru International on Vimeo.
Nuru founder and CEO Jake Harriman attended the U.S. Naval Academy and served over 7 years in the Marine Corps as an Infantry Platoon Commander and a Special Operations Platoon Commander for an elite unit called Force Recon. During his career, Jake assisted in numerous humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the developing world resulting in what he feels is the best way to combat terrorism; to combat poverty.

Diario De Oaxaca by Peter Kuper
"Painting a vivid, personal portrait of social and political upheaval in Oaxaca, Mexico, this unique memoir employs comics, bilingual essays, photos, and sketches to chronicle the events that unfolded around a teachers' strike and led to a seven-month siege."

Liu BolinChinese artist whom camouflages himself into the urban landscape and documents it

The Great American Hackathon- an event hosted by Sunlight LABS (teamed up with Mozilla, Google, Redhat and Fedora) encouraging government transparency by developing open source government tools

Data visualization of a "choose your own adventure book"
by Christian Swinehart


Inspiration, Art, Etc #19

So I havent been posting for a little while because I have been inking "The Little Black Fish" comic and slowly loosing my ability to use my hands. Enjoy.

Iranian rapper P.Cantell feat. Ian Hooper performs, A Million Shadows (Tehran, Iran), in response to the Iranian election protests.

Start Asking-Ryan Fitzgibbon's solution to the final challenge of Command X: Season 2, a statement about civil rights.

Sustainability Six designers around the world comment on sustainability.

Dieter Rams-10 Design principles.

The Reitveld Academie Blog has been exhibiting an interesing series of reviews on book design via casual walks through the library almost like the Situationist's Derive.

Ways to improve the design of your blog. Kind of remedial, but good suggestions all the same.

Hand cut maps by Karen O'Leary-wow. Just wow.

Anti-smoking campaign with art direction by Shaun Velka, executive creative direction/photography by Sharad Haksar and creative cirection by Anantha Narayan


Gabriel Prosser strikes back! (revisited)

One of the activists, whom helped establish the Gabriel Prosser marker in Richmond, mentioned that the illustration might be a more powerful image if I replaced the soldiers with slave owners and militia men. Since these changes would not be difficult, I made them, but kept the gray and blue to function as a foreshadowing of events. Even though the slave owner/militia zombies and Gabriel's ghost could hypothetically exist anytime from their respective deaths to the present.

Reflection on the new version:

I enjoy the way the added whip breaks up the space, however, I am a little upset about the lack of iconic hats to effectively present the time period. I also decided to keep the bayonets because research revealed to me that they were commonly used to torture slaves.

Anyways, I would like to pose the questions: Stay with the original (left)? Or the new version (right)?

Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #18

Video of D*Face, Artist :: Off The Wall from friendswelove.com on Vimeo.

10 tactic for Information Activism from Tactical Technology Collective on Vimeo.

Photo essay on Iraqi war victims by Mehdi Monem

Video documenting stencil street artist, Nunca

88bikes - an article about an organization that distributes bikes around the developing world.

Hey Jude infographic

Cell Size and Scale- An inforgraphic about the relative sizes of cells, coffee beans and type point sizes. (make sure you pull the slider)


Upcoming local Richmond events!

All The Saints Theater Company presents it's fabulous annual Halloween Parade.
This years theme is a funeral march for the dollar.
When is it? On Halloween dummy!
Oct 31st 7PM
Meet at Monroe park
Come dressed up or come to help out with puppets provided.

Thinkhaus and Zuula Consulting Hosting A Job Workshop For VCU Graphic Design Students
With the current state of the job market jobs are very hard to find these days. Many experienced professionals are finding it hard to find employment, but what about the college graduates of 2009 and 2010? In a attempt to strengthen the local creative community Thinkhaus and Zuula Consulting are hosting a special workshop for VCU Graphic Design Students to assist them as they enter a very tough job market.

“These students will be armed with great design, conceptual, and technical skills as they leave VCU. What this workshop will do discuss the other professional skills they will need such as interview skills and Professional Etiquette. Attaining these skills will help them greatly in landing and keeping a job,” notes John O’Neill of Thinkhaus.

When asked why Thinkhaus is helping young creatives gain success the answer was simple. “What is good for the local creative community is good for our business. As an adjunct graphic design professor at VCU I have the honor of teaching these students. The senior class of 2010 is the best I have seen, I want to do what I can to help them,” says O’Neill.

In this hands-on forum students will have an opportunity to hear straight from Richmond professionals how to
excel in:

Portfolio Presentation
Resume & Cover Letter Writing
Interview Skills
Professional Etiquette

Wednesday, October 28
1509 W. Main Street, 2nd floor
6:30 to 8:00p.m.

Coffee will be provided by
Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream
Light snacks will also be available


Gabriel Prosser strikes again!

Finally, finished this "tongue and cheek" illustration of Gabriel Prosser's ghost fighting Confederate and Union zombie soldiers with his blacksmith's hammer. Hopefully people find the image interesting in it's absurdity and are not offended by historical inaccuracies.

This finished image will hopefully be screen-printed in the next two weeks.


Carnival of 5 Fires this weekend!

Gallery5 and Magic Hat Brewing Company Presents:
The Carnival of 5 Fires
October 30th, 31st and November 1st

Friday, October 30th
Sugar Shack Burlesque Presents:
Dark's Queen's Boudoir: A Burlesque Variety Show
7PM $12
For hundreds of years, The Dark Queen has been collecting her favorite pets - living dolls of mystery and vice. For one night, you are invited into her den to see her collection of Southern Gothic Oddities. Be warned... her enchanted creatures are more intoxicating then the opium dens she often frequents. In honor of All Hallow's Eve, The Queen has granted permission to the citizens of Richmond to attend her yearly festival of lascivious beauty. Come sit at her table, feast on her bounty, and fall in love with the dark arts....

Burlesque performances by:
Eerie Twilight
Deanna Danger
Deepa Dejour
Boo Boo Darlin
Miss RunAround Sue
and all things that go bump in the night.

Saturday, October 31st

Circus of Lost Souls: The Halloween Party
7PM $10 $8 w/costume
Featuring Performances by:
Lonesome Liz's Mojo Sideshow
Spiked Punch and Scona of Sweet Tease Burlesque
Horrorshow Hot Club
G5 Fire

With Card Reading by:
The Aquarian Bookstore

Costume contest, raffle, dance party and more.
Sponsored by Magic Hat Brewing Company

Sunday, November 1st
Gumbo and Ghosts: Dinner Theater and Séance
7PM $15

Séance, Theater and Musical Performances by:
Lonesome Liz’s Mojo Sideshow
Alison Self
Thea Duskin
Horrowshow Hot Club
Annotated Zombie Stringband
Spiked Punch and Scona of Sweet Tease Burlesque

Upcoming exhibitions at Gallery5

Word Play:

Exploring the Human Fascination of Language on the Printed Page
November 6th - 27th, 2009

(This exhibition will be held in conjunction with The Richmond Zine Festival)

Opening Reception: First Friday, November 6th 7:00PM

WordPlay explores the human fascination of language on the printed page. This diverse collection of artists, craftspeople and designers spans the globe—from India to the UK and throughout the US—including internationally recognized artists Ken Campbell and Ed Fella. More locally, work of David Freed and VCU's Bowe House Press illustrates and illuminates the written word. From the experimental and unconventional to traditional methods of letterpress and bookmaking, the artists in this exhibition playfully and poetically mark the page with words that both provoke and evoke.


For more information, please visit: http://goodgoodland.com/


Opening reception: First Friday, November 6th 7:00PM

Recent prints and illustrations from Team 8 featuring the process behind the pieces. Live, interactive screen printing at the opening. Get the chance to pull your own print!

For those of you that don't know, GallowLily's is the small gallery located upstairs in Gallery5 next to their main gallery. They are planning to set up our screen printing equipment and help passersby pull prints all night, so don't miss the opening.

For more info: www.team8press.com

The Richmond Zine Fest:

Sneak Peak: Friday, November 6th 7PM
Festival: Saturday, November 7th 11AM-5PM

The Richmond Zine Festival will have a sneak peak event at the opening reception, their annual Festival will be held the following day on Saturday, November 7th from 11AM-5PM

The Richmond Zine fest includes workshops, readings, food, and over 40 independent publishing companies, artists and more!!

The Lucent Phoenix Resource Center will showcase art by zine artists.

The third annual Richmond Zine Fest will be held on November 6th and 7th, 2009 at Gallery 5. The goals of the Richmond Zine Fest are to create a network amongst current zine writers and distro owners in Richmond and Virginia (plus the Southern/Mid-Atlantic regions) as well as raising awareness and encouraging the creation of zines, independent press, and other D.I.Y. endeavors in Richmond. The 2008 Richmond Zine Fest had over 250 attendees, approximately 45 vendors, and was located at Gay Community Center of Richmond. As with the past two years, the majority of the zine writers vending are from Richmond and Virginia, although there are several vendors who are from the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as New York, and the West Coast.

For the 2009 Richmond Zine Fest we have partnered with Gallery5 to open the Zine Fest to two days, and kick it off along side the November First Fridays Art Walk. In order to keep the events congruent, Gallery5 will be hosting the traveling letterpress exhibit Word Play and will also feature zines on display for a hands-on experience.
There will be workshops this year held on Saturday November 7th, as well as a few people reading from their zines at the Gallery5 First Fridays Art Walk on November 6th.


Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #17

LAIKA-an interactive type design that responds to it's surroundings. from Michael Flückiger on Vimeo.

Multiverso Record: Lust-presentation about overlapping of disciplines and non-heirarchical design (relevant to my thesis topic and I Dream of a Richmond . . ." and TOWAR projects.)

A Note on the Type-information on typography for web.

Partly Sunny-a project exhibiting possible solutions to climate change by students from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008.


Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #16

Living Decay (fairy tales in the middle on nowhere)-a 12min documentary on two Norwegian street artists from nulli versi on Vimeo.

Hand From Above-street art project where people are humbled by a "hand of god."

Change By Design New book out by CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown.

Data Visualizations of CEO Compensation

Message from GyreDisturbing photos of how our waste is hurting those we share the planet with.

Nerdcore Rising-the teaser for a documentary on the advent of nerdcore, a hip-hop genre with content including references to Magic The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Video Gaming culture, Computer Gaming Culture, etc


Stop the leaks!!! at Gallery5

Gallery5 is in need of support to stop the many holes in our roof. On Wednesday, October 21st, Rumors Boutique will donate 20% of all sales made between 4PM - 7PM to Gallery5’s “Stop the Leaks” campaign. Come support a local business while you support a local non-profit!

For more info on Rumors Boutique, please visit their website:

Rumors sells recycling pre-loved clothing

404 North Harrison Street in Richmond, VA

Below is the official letter to the public
as well as other resources to help:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

If you have visited Gallery5 in the past year it is likely you have noticed that the rain has been just as eager to see our great art and events as you have. As much as we appreciate all of our visitors, the rain has not been a welcomed guest. Countless efforts to patch the 160 year old roof has proven that the leaks are beyond repair and continuing to get worse. Unfortunately now the only way to keep the rain out is with a new roof.
We will be applying to the Marietta McNeill Morgan Foundation for a $25,000 challenge grant specifically for the replacement of our deteriorating roof. In order for them to consider funding Gallery5 they want to see that we have first raised some of the needed funds. Our goal is to raise $7,500 by November 1st.
Here is how it will work:
Gallery5 raised first $7,500 through your donations
Gallery5 asks for a $25,000 challenge grant from Marietta McNeill Morgan Foundation
Gallery5 matches $25,000 through private or corporate foundations, and private donations.
By the end we will have raised $57,500 to pay for a new roof! However we will not reach that goal with out your support today.
You possess the opportunity to keep Virginia's oldest fire station, and Richmond's oldest police station a part of your city's heritage. Your generous donation will allow Gallery5 to keep dazzling your eyes with innovative and groundbreaking art through our monthly exhibitions, and tickle your senses with our wide variety of performance events.
Please take this opportunity to show your support by donating $25, $50, $100, $200 or more to protect this national historic landmark and Richmond's most popular art gallery from the damage caused by it's unwelcome guest.
Gallery5 is a 501(c)3 non profit organization, All donations are tax deductible.
Donations can be made through paypal:

Donations can be made through paypal here

Or mailed directly to:

Stop the Leaks!
Gallery5 200 W. Marshall St. Richmond, VA 23220


Bizhan Khodabandeh is awarded Richmond Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40

If you haven't already heard . . . I was recently awarded Richmond's Top 40 Under 40 Award which recognizes young individuals for work they are doing in the local Richmond community. The official article on my work can be found here.

Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #15

10/GUI, replacing the keyboard and mouse? Maybe? from C. Miller on Vimeo.

MILTON GLASER DRAWS & LECTURES about drawing. from C. Coy on Vimeo.

Modern Folklore short commentary on how contemporary images create a mysticism through misconception.

Islamic Ornament an article on Islamic ornamentation

No Way Out well designed poster commenting on global warming.

Sell the Vatican Feed the World


New work in progress . . .

My potential poster submission to the Poster4Tomorrow competition. I wanted to best exemplify the relationship between totalitarian governments and dissenters. Therefore, the image of the hand not only relates directly to amplifying one's voice, but also journalism as a forum to receive international vocal presence. On the opposite end of this dialogue, the baton of a riot police officer attempts to silence the dissenter. However, the dissenter's microphone wire is slowly wrapping around the officer to suggest the future restraint of censors.

Here is the sketch for a "tongue and cheek" illustration of the ghost of Gabriel Prosser, leader of a slave rebellion in Richmond, combating both union and confederate zombie soldiers. Not the most historically accurate - as my friend Kenny pointed out - but we are talking about zombies and ghosts here. The work is inspired by the oil paintings of Frank Frazetta. Still having a lot of trouble with parts of it, but enjoying the journey.

I have assigned my students to make a mini-comic of themselves responding to the statement "What moves a hero?" Each student will then pass along their last panel to another student; who will then to respond directly in the first panel and indirectly in the following panels. Sort of a comic strip version of an exquisite corpse. In the end we will have a zine and a series of posters to exhibit somewhere.

The final for the Carnival of 5 Fires poster - other than anticipated minor changes.


Inspiration, cool stuff, etc #14

KILL THE KINDLE!!!!!! What book cover designer Charles Brock thinks about the new Kindle, a digital supplement to tactile books.

Maurice Sendak is interviewed by Steven Heller

Mind the Map
-Op Ed on the new London Underground Map.

Float House
Article on a floating house design by UCLA architecture students in response to the Katrina floods.

Lecture by Logan Hicks, a stencil artist, on Logan Hicks.

Documentation of efforts to combat American obesity by Livewell Colorado.


To Pro-Bono Or Not To Pro-Bono Recap

Thinkhaus hosted an informal discussion about working pro-bono for non-profits in the current economic downfall. Noah Scalin, of Another Limited Rebellion Design, made some quite profound statements and had good advice for non-profits and creatives about ensuring a better tomorrow.

The open discussion included a dialogue about how some non-profits are so used to receiving free or cheap services from larger ad-agencies, that they are unwilling to pay socially conscious design firms. The problem with this common practice is that many of these larger ad agencies are also benefiting corporations whom are working against the non-profit's goals. This is especially contradictory because advertisers and designers create visuals that promote/represent an organization or corporation. Not only is participating in this practice incredibly unproductive for the non-profit and agency (if the agency does indeed care about the non-profit's goals), but it also ensures that the few socially conscious design firms whom do not work for corporations with contradictory ethics, might eventually become extinct.

In addition to this contradiction, it is common practice for agencies working discount or pro-bono to concentrate their focus on winning awards rather than truly focusing on the mission of the non-profit. It is essentially viewed as "Well, if I can't get money for this . . . than I will receive recognition for it." Let’s not kid ourselves - like corporations, ad agencies are a business that will not necessarily perform random acts of generosity unless they can benefit from it. These agencies also will not commonly devote their full attention to what they refer to as, pro-bono side-projects. Therefore, allocating funds for a socially conscious design firm results in a more heartfelt solution; they are dedicated to the cause as both a business and a citizen with a bottom line that includes social progress.

To top it off, many larger non-profits have CEO's whom make upwards of six figure salaries. This makes excuses such as, "lack of funding," laughable to socially conscious creatives - in certain circumstances.

In conclusion, the general consensus is to provide pro-bono work for the people whom need it. Meaning, work for non-profits whom you are absolutely confident do not have the funding and would benefit from your services. One way of accomplishing this is to ask for a non-profits annual report. All non-profits must have an annual report available to the public - even if this means you must sit in their office while you read it. As for non-profits, think twice before accepting the free work from large agencies and ask them what the vested interest of the agency is, how much time they will be devoting, and how many other projects they are currently working on.

Other resources with info on non-profits:

Some local socially conscious design firms:
Thinkhaus Design
Another Limited Rebellion Design
Free Range Graphics

If you know of other helpful resources, please post in the comments section below.

New work In progress....

Carnival of 5 Fires festival poster still in the works. Just waiting for the go ahead . . .

Snack Truck show poster completed in a record time of 30 minutes!

Carnival of 5 Fires Work

Amanda Robinson produced the sculptures. I designed the banners. The work will be up all month at Gallery5 (200 W. Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23220). More info on the exhibition and the three day long festival at www.gallery5arts.org


Inspriation, cool stuff, etc #13

Harry Smith-Film#10 Mirror Animations (1957) animation short.

Dailey Drop Cap-an illustrative character every day.

Sesame Street Mad Men parody

Forgoten animals day advertisement

Yoobot Game-online game to teach people to be healthier.


They came . . .

First they kicked out the squatters,
I remained silent;
I had a home.

Then they busted the house shows,
I remained silent;
I don't listen to that type of music.

Then they approached the bars and bowling alleys,
I remained silent;
I don't own a small business.

Then they threatened the community spaces
small museums and resource centers.
I remained silent;
They didn't house any information that interested me.

Then they came for the art galleries
I remained silent;
I'm not an artist.

Then one evening, I left my home,
when outside, only a melancholy silence to keep me company.
Where had all the music gone?

Finally, I looked at the expanse of bland empty homogenized buildings.
Where was the color?
Where was the art?
Where was the proof that something was alive?

A parody of Pastor Martin Niemöller's poem, "First they came..."


(blank)LAB does it up!

Bellow is an update for (blank)LAB, a very fascinating design project, that was birthed by Project M. The unofficial update comes from my friend Marc Obrien, whom is now on tour. If you are in the area stop by and say hello for me!

Well, another chapter of my life ends and another one begins. By the time you read this, I'll be heading out of Richmond again. A few months ago, I was a part of a design collective called Project M. During the month of June, we collaborated to produce a mobile design studio called (blank)LAB. In a nutshell, (blank)LAB is a bare bones mobile studio bringing designers and communities together. Building on the idea of Pie Lab, which was created by the Spring 2009 M team as an open forum for neighbors to have informal discussions over a slice of pie, the (blank)LAB's goal is to engage the communities it visits in creative collaboration. The conversations that occur when disparate groups interact, possibly for the first time, will be the catalyst for design projects that will foster positive change.

After receiving various grants and awards for purchasing a truck, trailer, and other miscellaneous equipment to finish (blank)LAB, Project M is ready to put this thing on the road. I was asked to drive/haul this thing along with a fellow Project M'er around the country for 5 weeks while participating in a number of design conferences. We will be going to:

10/2-4, Providence, RI
A Better World by Design

10/8-11, Memphis, TN
AIGA Make/Think

11/4-7, St. Louis, MO
Economies: Art+Architecture

We might even schedule a few stops in between the above conferences.

If you would like to keep track of our travels & happenings, be sure to check out and bookmark the links below.
(blank)LAB website: http://www.blanklab.org/
(blank)LAB blog : http://blanklab.org/blog/
(blank)LAB twitter : http://twitter.com/blankLAB
My twitter feed : http://twitter.com/think5577

So what's after St. Louis? Who knows. I'll drive (blank)LAB to San Fransisco or Alabama to drop it off. After that, who knows... the sky is the limit! There is no telling what will happen during the next 5 weeks. I'm certain this experience will open new avenues for me and my future in the field of socially conscience/community-based design.

"Proceed & be bold." - S. Mockbee

Thank You.


If Obama is the Joker...who gets to be Batman?


Over the past couple weeks, a lot of controversy has been documented in regards to a banner of President Obama as the Joker from the film, Dark Knight. I thought this would be a good time to talk about semiotics.

If you have already seen the image you know that the it normally
has 4 elements.

1.) The President of the United States.
2.) The Time Magazine Red Border.
3.) The word "socialism."
4.) The digitally painted make-up of the Joker.

The Joker and the word socialism - which really should have been typeset "socialist" - have no direct relationship or add to a thoughtful attack on President Barack H. Obama. No doubt, the person utilizing the image, probably thought it was a good way to present the President as an evil trickster. However, the Joker is not a socialist. The Joker's character was thoughtfully developed as a nihilist whom comments on the "arbitrary nature of morality in contemporary society." Not only is this a bad metaphor, but it is also an inaccurate label for the President's economic policies.

Implying that the President is a socialist, is an insult to socialists everywhere. However, I would rather avoid this discussion and stick to the semiotics of posters - which brings me to discuss Shepard Fairey's addition to Obama's election campaign.

Shepard Fairey is known for creating communist propaganda derived imagery. Therefore, if the Obama's Presidential Campaign wanted to avoid accusations that he was a socialist; perhaps they shouldn't have publicly thanked Shepard Fairey for his contribution. I am making this comment, even though I am aware that communist propaganda visuals have been utilized for many unrelated things. However, it is still probably a bad idea for a designer to utilize communist derived imagery for a politician in the United States - even though the process resulted in a very attractive poster.

Note: Communism has a socialist transition period as part of it's realization.

Furthermore, the Obama as Joker image was never intended to be utilized in this manor. It was actually produced by a history student, Firas Alkhateeb, attending the University of Illinois, whom was following a tutorial on how to "Jokerize" any photo. Alkhateeb's image was then taken from his flickr account and turned into a political statement by adding the word "socialism" on the bottom. More info on the student and his thoughts about responses to the image can be found here.

On a less serious note...if President Obama is the Joker, than who get's to be Batman? the past republican candidates whom ran against him? or one of the current targets of US aggression? I mad this quick (Very quick. Please do not judge.) visual response.

Note: I do not support President Barack Hussein Obama or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.