One of my goals this year was (is) to do a large outdoor mural. I’ve been itching to get a large piece in a local city and my timeline is getting shorter and shorter by the day. Fall is here and number of days for good weather is decreasing rapidly. So that’s why I gotta make one last push to get one done. I’d love to do one in Crown Point by my office. Please send out your positive vibes to make this happen. I also debated on waiting until next year and just build up a bunch of artwork and showcase them. But, I can’t wait! Holy Spirit send me a mural. lol.
Picked up this bottle of rum a few nights ago and decide to shoot it. I didn’t have a plan or idea of what to do with it so I just started in the studio with a single light. I love the dark on dark but it needed some light. I started off shooting close up and then got further away.
As you can see I was shooting with a single ring light. but some areas of the bottle needed a bit of lift. I have these small cards that worked perfect. I positioned them in various places to get the light just right. (Excuse the mess behind me.)
I tried sticking stuff in the foreground to give it some depth and a few objects worked and some didn’t. In the end I only took a few shots and here is what I got.
This was the image I decided to start with. This one has some exposure adjustments but thats it. After some searching around and thinking of different concepts I settled on a bottle in the middle of some water and a tentacle wrapping around it. I search the interwebs and grabbed some images and went to work.
I used these images to make the composite below. It was fun creating something just to create it. No direction, no agendas, just messing around in photoshop and keeping the skills sharp. I did a lot of adjustment layers and tweaking. All in all it was pretty fun.
It’s not often that I feel like screaming, it’s somewhat satisfying releasing all of that pent up frustration through a loud yell or scream. I wanted to scream one night but instead I grabbed a few half empty cans of paint and let my hands do the screaming for me. I let the paint go where it was going to go. Channeling my energy into an art piece instead of holding it in or screaming at the top of my lungs is both rewarding and fulfilling. Here is the process of me painting my emotions.
I’ve been asked this question a lot recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that business cards still matter. I was anti-business card for some time and I’ve come around again. Throughout my career I’ve had a few different cards and I’ve managed to keep them all. I thought I’d share them with you, some good stuff and some crap stuff. I guess we all strive to become better than we were yesterday. Here we go.
These were my first cards. Smooth black paper with a fine tooth and silver metallic ink. Like most of my cards, I set them up with different designs on the back side. Business cards are usually laid out with multiple designs per page. I was able to get a variety of cards with no extra cost because it was all on the same sheet of paper. Little pro-tip for you.
These were my first Moo cards. Printed on a 32pt card stock. The back print ended up fading in my business card holder because they kept rubbing together. I really liked these cards.
By far one of my favorite cards. These were printed on neon paper and were super bright. Only downfall is that the paper was pretty thin and they felt cheap. I didn’t use very many of these but got a ton of them with different designs on the back.
These were my business cards for 11 years of my career. They were printed on vintage linen paper and had a light texture to them. I think the 11 years I was there, I never ran out of cards. Fun fact, this is the only card that have my middle initial on them.
These were “oh crap I need cards” cards. Home-made and straight from my printer. I printed these on some really cool paper that felt like skin. It was a Yupo paper from samples I had laying around. Then I mounted them on a piece of super hard soft touch board that I had from a paper sample book. I was able to get 6 cards from the piece of board. They looked better when they were first made and not handled. I’m surprised I still have two. I guess I really need them in the moment. *sarcasm*
I got handed a stack of these right before walking into a big meeting with White Lodging many moons ago. I knew it wasn’t going to go well when I saw that my name was spelled wrong, twice. Still not sure why my name appeared twice on the same side of the card. I had been freelancing for these guys and someone thought it would be a good idea if I looked the part and had some business cards of my own. Good times.
I was back at it again with some new cards and this time they were all one color blue. Not sure why or where that came from, but yeah, they were blue. I over designed them and used a million fonts because that’s what I thought was cool in that moment. I’m sure I was still wearing cargo shorts at this point in my life.
This card is a big contrast to the previous. This is my current personal card. One side simple has my name and the other side has my logos and three forms of contact. I love these cards, they are printed on a bright white, 36pt card stock. They are super clean and straight to the point.
Some years passed and finally got the call to the big leagues. This time my name was spelled right. These cards have a cool painted edge to them and were nice and simple. We used thikit for these cards and I have to say their customer service is great. Free plug.
Lastly are these bad boys. These are my current cards from my current company. Each of my partners selected their own color from our corporate palette and I picked orange. I love how bold and bright they are. No messing around these cards grab your attention.
Hope you had fun peeking into my pocket for a little bit. It was neat putting this post together and finding all of these cards in random places.
So much joy is wrapped up in this block of color. Picking a color family for our new company was both exciting and daunting. With the entire rainbow at our disposal we had our work cut out for us. I love using color apps like adobe capture and the Pantone app. This collection of joyful hue-iness came from the Pantone app. I love the vibrant color, they are so rich and divine. I want to bite the orange and drink the safety yellow.
Below are some examples of what the Pantone app can do with some random images in my camera roll. It’s a great way to play with different color combos and pull colors from unexpected places.
The title of this post hit home the other night as I struggled to get through the past week. It hit me in the way that was so earth shattering and humbling that it took my breath away. Doing what I’ve done for the past 16 years as a profession has created a level of confidence in my abilities that made me look at the title of this post and laugh it off. An arrogance grew in me, that I could get by on my own will and knowledge without the need of a fresh cup of inspiration. That was completely thrown out the window when I watched a video that I came across on YouTube of Denzel Washington giving a speech to a graduating class. His speech spoke about failure and the need for it. Nothing great was ever accomplished without a massive amount of failure. And it’s the fear of failure that is crippling, it’s the fear that keeps us from achieving great things. He spoke of risk and having something to fall back on. But true risk is taking a chance with it all on the line. And learning from failure and the risk that it takes is easier said than done. Throughout my life I’ve tried to manage risk and calculate failure. And much to my effort I’ve always come up short. Denzel says in his speech, if we are gunna fall - and it’s going to happen - fall forward. Fall forward. Such a great concept, simple, direct and to the point. Learn from Your failures, get up and keep going. Again, easier said than done.
It reminded me that when our cup is running low on inspiration we have to fill it up again. We have to create something, anything. I typically find that inspiration through faith, music, experiences, people, art, and rest.
These past few weeks have been filled with stress, anxiety, worry and an overwhelming feeling that this is all to much. As I look for joy in the next week, I’m reminded of all the good things in my life and the obstacles I’ve faced to get to where I’m at. It hasn’t been an easy road, with the help my wife, my friends, my faith and my partners we have managed to take an idea of starting our own company and craft it into a real thing. Vast Creative Co. (more details to come)
I’m not sure where this road will go and frankly I’m ok with not knowing, I can only do my part in listening and following where the Holy Spirit leads me and be open to the pain of growing. But now as I live through this process, my mind will be open to falling, because now when I fall, I’ll fall forward.
I love music, here are some picks that are worth sharing. #vibewithme
I’m super excited to be doing this show with some great artist. None of which I know with the exception of Mike D. We both made new pieces for this show. If you’re in the area and want to check out some great talent stop by and say what’s up and buy a piece or two.
I came home to these sitting on the counter. Green, wonky, silly - asparagus. What a fun and colorful veggie with lots of potential for a neat photo. I took the bunch and set the timer and got to work. I find these bouts of inspiration need to be contained, like any exercise its best to do it with some limits other wise I could spend four hours in my studio. I grabbed one light, a bounce and a couple surfaces. I wanted to see what it would be like to take one subject and shoot it a few different ways. Its challenging when you don’t have a huge prop budget or a stylist and you have to make up stuff on the fly. Doing this helps me face those challenges with confidence. Check out what came of this.
You can download and use these how you like them on my unsplash page. Enjoy!
I’ve had an idea of a mural in the back of my head for the longest time. Its’ defiantly a buck-list item for summer of 2019. I was cleaning the studio tonight and this giant wall keeps calling me. Its the main focal point of the studio and I want to do a large piece here. I started playing around with some ideas on what to do and in the end it may not look like this at all. But it was in my bones and I had to get something in front of me to see what this wall could look like. A mini brainstorm if you will, take a peek.
As I drive around Northwest Indiana there is a lot of room for improvement. The visual landscape of the Region is littered with various brands that live within our communities. I started thinking what it would be like if local brands were beautiful and functional. How would it look around here if companies rebranded with updated logos. We have to interact, absorb and pass through these signs, billboards and locations without any say. Unknowingly, these brands make a subconscious impression on our perception of design. Be it good or bad it’s what we see every day and it starts to seep into our taste levels and tolerance of design. It’s not like we live in Beverly Hills where every store masthead is an award winning typeface.
In a fun attempt to “clean up” the Region I played with some different typefaces that would help elevate the logos of some local companies that haven’t had their logo refreshed in awhile. This was an exploration based on what I know as a customer of these establishments. From a pure consumer perspective I picked typefaces that felt like the company and something that was attractive to me. Let me know what you think of the following in the comments below.
We had an awesome night at the Wndr Museum in Chicago. Dubbed the Instagram museum, as soon as you walk in you quickly understand why. It’s filled with a treasure trove of photo opportunities. It’s a neat way to spend an hour or so and also begs the question is it art or just a background for a photo.
The lobby had a few photo spots but there was also a person doing a live painting, which was cool. There were also these interactive lights that would change color based off of the color of the surface you put it on. They were really neat and we could have played with them for hours. Side note they do not work on skin color lol.
Once you are done in the lobby the one way pah through the exhibit starts. There are workers at each exhibit that will take your picture and look over the exhibit. I’m sure that gets super annoying and their eyes have to hurt after a long day of watching people take selfies.
A giant mass of straws and light were used to make this pile that Merck is standing in front of. It changed color and almost feel like it was vibrating.
I loved everything about this room, from the moment I walked in the space I knew I was going to love it. The ceilings were covered with clouds and the room was filled with panels of clear colored plastic. The panels are used to filter the cloud’s color and if you stood and looked at the clouds from different angles you could see how to the color changes. I really wanted to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling, it was that cool. By far my favorite room.
As we transitioned from room to room my head was spinning with ideas and thoughts on how I could apply all of these things to my own work. From clouds to mirrors and shapes and colors it was an explosion of inspiration.
This hallway was a filled with these colored lights that danced and changed color in a random order.
This next room was pretty neat, the floor would react to your steps and would spray out swirls of color.
Yes we are. I believe that everyone has some type of artistic abilities flowing through their veins. When was the last time you created something? That long huh? Make it a point to make something today because we are all artist.
Last week I walked into Blackbird and the walls where empty. I had a bunch of work at home so I quickly asked to hang my work and Daniel was was equally quick to say yes. I wasn’t sure how he was going to hang it but it looks pretty cool. Take a visit to Blackbird in Valpo on Lincolnway and grab a cup of coffee and check out my work. It’s all for sale so pick up a piece while you’re at it.
Visit Blackbird here
I was feeling the itch to shoot some food again and I started to watch some YouTube videos to pick up a tip or two. I was thinking of something to shoot and pancakes are easy but it was late and I didn’t want to make them. So the next best thing was a burger. Costco sells these frozen burgers that are pretty good so now that I knew what to shoot I grabbed some stuff from the fridge and headed into the studio.
The first thing I did was set up my scene. I wanted to get it all set before I built my burger. I grabbed some props and layered in a couple backgrounds for texture. I wanted to keep the scene monochromatic because I wanted the beer and burger to pop. Once I had that set, I set up a light behind the scene at 45 degrees at 1/8 power. My go-to is f4.0 at 250 and iso 200. I also added a bounce once after I got my burger in place. I like setting the main subject on the plate or in place and then construct it right there. There has been plenty of times I’ve built up a dish then moved and something has fallen. Here is what it looked like.
You can see the addional bounce to the right and a plate i used for a secondary fill. A plate is a great small surface that helps to lift the shadows in small spots. I like the larger fill to get a nice big highlight on the bottle.
Here is the result. I’m loving the highlights on the tomatoes, they help keep your eye pulled into the burger. This image is set up as an editorial image which would have text in the upper left hand corner. If you keep the end goal in mind for your images then you’ll shoot more meaningful photos. I was pretty happy how it turned out. After I took this image I wanted to see what would happen as I moved my position higher and lower, left and right. Once I took some shots from a few different angles I started to move the light. Moving the light was way more interesting then my camera position. Pulling the light away from the scene gave me a different mood and look, to the same burger. I pushed in on it a little more and the result was a lot more interesting.
It really made the burger pop. I added smidge of light to the background and in retrospect I could have back lit the bottle but all in all I like the darker more moodier photo. Overall, it was a good learning experience and something that was quick and fun. I was done before the studio even heated up and I was able to eat a pretty burger and beer too.
The studio is under major renovations and fresh coat of paint helped clear the walls and make room for some new murals. A huge thanks to Jeremy Bustos for giving up half a day to paint and for forcing me to get this done. I’m really excited for the next steps and to put this place back together again and to start painting some monsters.
Check back on progress pictures and stories.