Design is Everywhere

design, design inspiration, freelance, guerilla art, invitations, outdoor art, weddings

My whirlwind summer has come to a close and I’m settling into some really fun graphic design projects. I just wanted to take a little time to share a few snapshots from my last several months of absence from the blog! Design is everywhere, so as you make your way around every day, seize the opportunity to find the beautiful in the mundane. If you keep your eyes open and your head up from your smart-thing-of-choice, you never know what you might see!

Image

I cannot confirm this as a Banksy – because it seems to lack the telltale environmentally integrative storytelling – but this prisoner of Warner Brothers and Paramount (as indicated on the black balls) was spotted in the Marigny just off Frenchmen Street one evening while I walked on a street I’d not taken before. Either way, it was unexpected, clever and has been deemed important enough by someone to cover it with plexi. I love how ruthless New Orleanians are getting in the fight for decent renegade street art. There was a great live discussion recently at Nola.com with local muralist Brandan Odums and nola.com’s Doug MacCash. You can read my own loud mouth opinions over there too. I was particularly struck by the term “low brow” being tossed around last year at the G40 Art Summit in Richmond, Va and have been contemplating the idea ever since. Why would one type of art be more low brow than another? Is it style, environment, artist, concept, simply personal taste? Where is the line?

Image

This beauty was spotted in the Lower 9th Ward recently, and I had to get a quick, slightly blurry, snap of it. I’ve seen similar work around town and am always fascinated by the amount of detail and symmetry.

Image

Now, is this clarinet “high brow” since it’s on a hotel in the middle of a tourist district? And because it’s there to mark a space of historical importance? I digress… It was well crafted and I love the scale, either way.

Image

I’ll close my graffiti rant post with this one that is probably not terribly new to Richmond anymore, but was new to me last weekend. Greg Mike mural at 821 Cafe. I’d love to have some time to go visit all the new pieces that have been installed in Richmond since I moved!

Changing subjects, now that these items have been mailed out, I can share with you a set of wedding invitations I designed for an amazing couple out west:

Image

And a new set of wedding invitations I’m working on for a fantastic pair of transplanted Virginians:

Image

So much more to come! The fall is shaping up to be really exciting!

If you’re in the New Orleans area, there is a great speaking engagement tonight at Design WIthin Reach on Magazine by the lovely folks who run Good Fucking Design. I’m hoping to be able to check it out!

What’s So Bad About Chalk Anyway?

guerilla art, kids

I have a bit of a bone to pick today. I’m irritated with the way my little City continues to make it hard for Richmonders to have a good time, be out-of-the-box creative, exist peacefully and have respect for the authorities – authorities who I’d like to believe set out with good intentions but seem to get lost somewhere in the process. Richmond is a great place for many reasons. For example, right now, we have the most stunning display of cherry blossoms along our historical Monument Avenue and side streets, along the route for the Monument Avenue 10K Race, which has been dubbed one of USA Today’s Best Races. The race draws over 40,000 participants from Richmond and beyond.

The City is historically important, artistically diverse, a haven for foodies, and has great value for property considering the proximity to Washington, DC. Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) was the only museum/gallery to host the Picasso’s on the East Coast last spring – one of only three U.S. stops. We are now home to an NCAA finals qualifying basketball team, two years in a row, which has begun attracting the attention of many new types of students to our VCU. We’re also hosting the UCI World Road Cycling Championship in 2015. So much good stuff, people! So much!

But many of the things people hear about our town, over and over, do not make us proud, as residents. Just recently, I’m sure you all heard about (or saw on SNL…ugh) the ridiculous ultrasound bill that has made our government, which is housed in Richmond, a laughing stock and drawn protestors from all over the place. I realize this is a major state and national issue, but it took place here in Richmond and local authorities handled things in a distressing way. More than 30 people were arrested for sitting on the Capitol steps. I’m sure there are two sides to every story, but the stories of peaceful events turning ugly when the authorities get involved are growing and growing around these parts.

I’m not much for public protest, personally – I both agree and disagree with a lot of the Occupy movement, but I definitely didn’t agree with the press being arrested for photographing from public space. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about how confused they are by much of the City involvement in the comings and goings of residents. There were police in actual riot gear waiting outside our basketball stadium when VCU beat Kansas in the NCAA’s last year. Seriously? This is not to say I dislike the police. I’m actually a big fan. I’m thrilled that police patrol my neighborhood since there have been a lot of break-ins nearby. I know a few really great local police officers. And last year, the man who gave me my first ticket since I was 17 was exceptionally nice and apologetic, but let’s face it: I was way speeding in a residential area! I deserved it!

Let me get back to the point. I understand a lot of the odd policies the police must enforce come from above, sometimes way above. The folks we see on the ground are merely the enforcers of regulation they are not in charge of changing and/or creating. My beef is with the top. And my beef today is this ridiculous headline I read on my neighborhood blog: Woman Ticketed for Daughter Using Chalk on Belle Isle. What? $300 fine? What? Banned from all City parks? What?! Chalk, people! Chalk! If you’re not familiar with chalk, it’s formed of natural sources, biodegradable and generally seen as a unobtrusive. My husband and I even have friends with kids who have managed to skirt the issue of their kids coloring on the walls by painting a huge wall with chalk board paint and encouraging artistic freedom without sacrificing permanent home aesthetics.

So what’s wrong with this story? If no permanent damage is done, is it graffiti? My thinking is no. We’ve had at least two rains since this incident meaning the chalk, I’m sure, is long gone. For the non-local readers, Belle Isle is a City park surrounded by the James River, with a shoreline of wide flat rocks and lots of wooded trails, popular for bikers, picnickers and sunbathers – very family friendly. And evidently, chalk-free. What are authorities afraid of? That this is going to encourage the child to get into spray paint and paint pens later? What if we have a budding Shepard Fairey, Christo or Andy Goldsworthy on our hands? Wouldn’t Richmond be proud of that? I would hate to be the one that stifled that creative spark.

And let’s not forget that Richmond has had great success with publicly sanctioned chalk-related events. Last year we had Chalk Up the Town and the year before, in my neighborhood they held a Chalk-a-Thon to support a local Waldorf school. Fun times were had! Beautiful art was created. Beyond chalk, the Knitorious MEG has been yarn-bombing the area very near the site of the Chalk Incident and no one is running out to tear that down. It’s pretty and unique and not harming anyone. We have embraced it, in a way. Some of us even get excited to spot a new yarn project.

I’d like to see Richmond grow to be a bit less strict about freedom of speech and expression. Non-harmful creativity should be embraced and we should be ashamed of putting the fear of public art into the next generation.

Fun Bits of Graphic Design

design, film art, guerilla art, outdoor art

Nothing too crazy to report over here in cold Virginny today, but I ran into this interesting article about a street artist in the Northeast whose work I’d love to run into. Stephen ESPO Powers is spreading his large-scale messages on the sides of buildings, often phrases overheard from people on the street. I wish Richmond street artists had some artistic integrity, creativity and, well, balls. Read the article on the Huffington Post here.

20120118-205240.jpg
Photo borrowed from the Huffington Post site. Photo credit Jaime Rojo. Don’t forget to cite your sources friends, or the man will go all SOPA/PIPA on you.

The second thing I wanted to mention is that we saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a bit ago, and maybe this is old news, but the open credits were totally amazing! YouTube it, if that’s your thing. It’s out there, but in the spirit of anti-piracy I’ll encourage you to go see the film for yourself. 🙂