Who needs computers when you have finger painting? Huh? Really, who?
“Celebrate Columbus” came from my own desires and frustrations as a designer to use my abilities to comment on the news, society and culture. I wanted to use my work to make a statement, to work as a visual journalist to comment on culture and society. Priting and wheat pasting 2,000 posters around NYC can be very expensive. As a 29 year old designer, I did not have a lot of money hanging around, except for the dollars earmarked for rent— so I used my rent money. Thus began an obsession with posters (and a bad business plan).
The only problem with the ‘rent money technique’ is that every few months, the doorbell would ring and waiting downstairs was a man in a suit. He would hand me some papers—eviction notices— and say, “You are served.”
These legal notices were proof of my conviction— the price I had to pay to make posters. My girlfriend at the time was not happy about the eviction notices— she, too, was the price of my freedom.
How do you advertise a bottle wine?Further, how do you advertise a $400 bottle of wine? You don‘t. You just try to make imagery that is just as sexy and desirable and complex as the product.
For a subway advertising poster for the School of Visual Arts I chose the ‘soft’ approach. I wanted to take the opportunity to teach— not ‘sell.’ So, I designed this lovely poster around one of my favorite lines from RM Rilke's famous “Letters To A Young Poet.” If you have not read this short book, please make the effort.
Champagne and sex go well together, n'est-ce pas?
Going beyond what is expected of you by society (which is very little) and having the bravery and daring to be creative is an act freedom. Don't wait for permission.
Take your freedom.
The idea to revitalize Times Square had been on the books since the early 1980's. In the late nineties, corporate donations helped make it happen, with Disney leading the way.
Disney? New York, I love you, but you're bringing me down. Becoming bland. Becoming a franchise. Selling yourself short in search of a buck., and the lowest form of a buck to boot— a tourist buck. We can now travel to any spot on the planet and find the exact same crap we have at home. Put a roof over it and call it a mall.
This was an invitational poster for a lecturing I was giving at the AIGANY. The subject of my talk was about my efforts to remain vital and creative during the last 20 years— and not to make a career of "pretty type on pretty pictures" in order to pay my way.
I was asked by a Japanese paper company to make a promotional poster for their paper. I chose to try to do more than extol the virtues of ink on paper, but to make a valid, and funny comment.
The subtitle of this post 9/11 lecture was “Patriot, Citizen, Father, Commie-Pinko-Fag.” I believe these words describe me fairly well. I take my roles as father and American seriously— and I ask difficult questions of my country, sometimes against the grain of the political and social status quo. The paper company that sponsored the event asked that I remove the “Commie-Pinko-Fag” bit from the poster. I declined, but agreed to censor that text with a strike-through— creating an even more harsh statement and proving my initial point.
I hate racism. Do you hate racism?
I had always toyed with the idea to make a pre-graffiti'd poster, so I took the opportunity for a subway poster for the School of Visual Arts.
Asked by DePaul University in Chicago to create a poster for an exhibition of political and social work from artists like Ben Shahn, Alexander Calder, Miro etc, I chose to represent my version of the proud American eagle. A chicken— plucked, naked, embaressed.
For 6 years I worked with a group called The Shakespeare Project. I was even on the board. We made outdoor, free Shakespeare plays in the parks and piers of NYC. There was never much of a budget, but I was given the freedom to make posters that did not have to have a cast list (it changed so often), event times (it rained someday) or where the play was to be held (they were put up the day of the play).
Shakespear Project: Twelfth Night
Shakespear Project: Venus & Adonis
Shakespear Project: Macbeth
I still don't get what we saw in this guy.
A friend of mine has a curious young daughter who once asked what the ‘death penalty’ was. He explained, “It's when a man has killed another man, the state decides to kill that man.” After a few moments his daughter asks, “… and who kills the state?”
The Wolfsonian Museum asked me to design a poster for an exhibition called “Thoughts on Democracy.” My response was to re-design Norman Rockwell's “Freedom from Fear” and update the parents putting their sweet children into bed into wailing, grieving parents saying good-bye to their children.
Hugger, jigger, jogger, digger… So many words can solve this game. Why do most people go straight to “nigger”?
“A pirate walks into a bar and he's got a steering wheel hanging from his penis...
“…the bartender says, ‘Hey, do you know you've got a steering wheel hanging from your penis?’…
“… to which the pirate replies, 'Argghhh, I know, it's drivin' me nuts!””