Jan Wilker Lecture

Jan Wilker lectures at Michigan State

I went to a lecture last night in East Lansing sponsored by Michigan State University and the Detroit chapter of the AIGA. Jan Wilker, half of the New York design team of karlssonwilker inc. was the speaker, and he did a fine job. It was so nice to be able to go down and see him speak. To go from a complete barren wilderness of design lectures (with the notable exception of Tasmeem) to a 1 hour drive is heaven. I will be going back down in February to see Stuart Bailey from Dot Dot Dot.

Jan had some interesting work and ideas, and it was a pleasure to hear him speak. I will leave you with my favorite quote from the evening. The context was a story about all of the interviews he and Hjalti were giving in Belgrade, Serbia while working on a project there. “It’s so exhausting, trying to be smart”


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A Fine Farewell

Drawing of leaving faculty

A teacher often wonders if the work they do actually helps their students in life. At least I do. That question was answered a little bit yesterday when a group of my students gathered together to give me and the other faculty of the Art Department and farewell party. They had a cake with the above image (can you guess which one is me?) on the top and these cards that they all signed. It was great to know that they all learned something from me and will miss me when I am gone.

The drawing was done by a student named Kulood who goes by KiKi. Left to right is Michael Rodriguez, Terence Dowse, me and Sean Hottois.

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The Roots of My Profession

Albrecht Drurer print

Jason Kottke linked to a wonderful BBC Documentary the other day on the development of Gutenberg’s printing press. Stephen Fry goes on a quest to discover how and where the original press was created. He also works with master printers and a type founder to re-create a copy of the press and cast some type. I have seen pictures of a matrix used to cast lead type, but have never seen how one works.

You can’t watch it on the BBC website (unless you are in the UK) but it is available in six parts on YouTube: part one, two, three, four, five, six.

I hope to somehow get this all in one place and show it to my students how this whole thing started. Without Gutenberg, I wouldn’t have a job.

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The State Fair Sheiks

Airbrshed Sheikhs

All of the public schools in the UAE put images on the walls that surround the grounds. One of the schools down the street recently switched to a boys middle school and have been putting up new pictures. This one caught my eye because it looks like it is an airbrush image that you would find in an orange and red tent at the state fair. Maybe even a prize if you can pop three balloons with the darts. People in the US want Elvis, people in the UAE want Sheik Zayed (right) and Sheik Kalifa (left). Too bad it’s not on black velvet.

When I have access to Flickr I plan to create a photo group that highlights the images from Emirati public school walls.

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Proof of Ownership

tinted window in the UAE

Here in the UAE there is a custom that many people follow after purchasing a new car. They leave all of the import and pricing stickers on the windows and also all of the plastic on the seats. I have heard different reasons for this, one is to improve the resale value of the car and the other is the status symbol of having just bought a new car. Whatever the reason it is really strange to see brand new Range Rovers, Mercedes and BMWs worth upwards of $90,000 running around town with imports stickers on the windows and plastic on the seats. But the picture above illustrates something I had not seen before today. This person actually had the window film cut to go around the import sticker. Look at this detail image:

window tint detail

It is a bad tint job, but still amazing in that the owner wanted to show that this is a new car AND still black out the windows. Amazing.

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One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Covers for There Will Be Blood

What do you notice about the above covers for There Will Be Blood? Look closely at the title for the cover on the right. The blackletter type can make it hard to see. The cover on the right reads “Where Will Be Blood”

Some friends loaned me this “advanced” copy (doesn’t release on Amazon until the 8th of April) of the movie last night and I had to share the cover. Take a look at the text on the back and see if you can make any sense of the copy.

Funny body copy

You can see a larger version with more of the great text here. I can’t really give a full review of the movie because the advanced beta copy from China skipped around a bit and I am pretty sure that I missed some important parts. I can say however that the movie, in my opinion, is not too bad. I don’t think it is as great as most people claim, but not too bad. The music was very interesting. Jason Kottke has links to lots more information and reviews.

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In the Air

Madelyn and I (mostly me) were bored the other day and I had a great idea of trying to take pictures of each other while in the air. It took a while to get the pictures, but it was fun trying. I think we will start a tradition of catching each other in the air when ever we visit an interesting place.

Madelyn floating

Me in the air.

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