Hey gang! Happy 4th of July.
I had the recent honor to be a part of the super inspiring, (YOU CAN DO IT) Put your back into it! show at Light Grey Art Lab! You can snag a copy of mine as well as all the other fantastic posters from the lab shop! I thought you might want to see some of the process that went into making my typography…
I chose a quote that is very dear to me by Albert Einstein, “You never fail until you stop trying.” I chose it because it a) it has a manageable amount of words to set and b) because it is really positive, impactful, and concise. I think the quote is relevant no matter what you do and wherever you go. The best advice anyone ever gave me is “Just f*ing do it” (that advice was from my pal Mookie). So with those two ideas in mind, I knew that I wanted to create something very cool, something unique to my sensibilities, and yet something that would someone could look at every day and see something new and exciting to encourage them. I used all kinds of brushes and papers, anything and everything that could make a mark.
I wrote all over and constantly over and over and over- just like my quote. I wasn’t satisfied by any of my layouts or rendered type. I could tell that I wasn’t FEELING it deeply enough. The layout needed to be more than on or off the grid, it needed to be breathing and alive and fresh. So I started to draw all over my hands and arms. I even drew on my feet. I used India Ink and a bamboo brush. Each stroke I took, I embedded the ink into my skin and I started to have more harmony with the letters I had. I stamped my hands against thick cold-press watercolor paper, and rinse and repeated for an entire afternoon. In retrospect the process was a bit Stefan Sagmeistery (who is one of my great design heroes and who I also had the fortune to meet at a private portfolio salon this past winter).
The more repetitive my gestures became, the more three things stood out to me: The visceral feel of mark making on one’s own skin, the pleasure that lines evoke, and the words “NEVER STOP.” It wasn’t just a composition choice, it was my philosophy of design. Never stop. Never. … stop. Never stop dreaming, creating, thinking, drawing, improving. No work of art is complete, no life is complete. All these big huge thoughts and swirly ideas, and I’m still painting it on my hand.
Once I felt I had some type I could work with, I set out to scan everything I had made to digitally assemble. I made bitmapped tiffs out of the inks. I also used the texture from my hands as a sneaky base background. Here is a gif that shows my assemblage process. I ended up choosing red because it’s a color that usually means stop, but the yellow means go on with caution, and the white and black lift the message off the page entirely. All in all it is very the Medium is the Massage-ish with it’s perfect imperfections, tumbling and off-putting composition and flow of line. The signature is directly from the hand of Einstein himself.
Bonus: Meet up with the LGAL crew in NYC | Coverage of the Opening