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.