Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tshirts: Bluegrass, Beethoven & Buffalo

     I would frequently stress to my drawing students the opportunities that arise from the confluence of music + art. There's no better pairing of creative energies that has potential for lucrative relationships to emerge.
     One example of a particular long-running client while employed at Trademark Screenprinting as a graphic artist was the annual Anderson Bluegrass Festival. Over the years of doing this particular design the client kept adding more and more to the mix where it ultimately became a visual nightmare, just a mess. This is common as some companies unfortunately don't understand the professional graphic perspective that less is more, especially when it comes to keeping a more clean, simple and effective design. There's always going to be someone who will insist on having the aurora, Denali, the Alaska state flag, a gold panning sourdough, a dog mushing team and a rustic cabin... and then all within a 1" area. Not at all different from an artful plate presentation at a good restaurant, with plenty of breathing room, versus the food-orgy piled up on the average buffet-browser's tray.

     As an aside, the future of this fest is unfortunately in doubt, which sucks as the other popular event in the area, the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival, succumbed to logistical bureaucracy and ended last year. Support local music!

     Another client for a couple years was the Fairbanks Symphony's annual "Beat Beethoven" 5k fun-raiser race. I always threatened to run counter-clockwise with a boom-box blasting Mahler. One of the funnier incidences ever dealing with a tshirt design of mine happened the day after this race: while taking a break outside the art department on campus someone who was obviously late for class came running across the parking lot directly at me, and consequently I happened to notice the unintended effect that the placement of the fists had when superimposed upon a generously endowed female form. The flip side was an increased interest in seeing my work animated. Only one other time has this anatomical oversight occurred, which was so obvious to others that it was assumed to be a deliberate design feature, which I strongly deny. On that my conscience is clean and as pure as virgin snow next to a dog mushing yard.

     And this unofficial Donna the Buffalo logo (a distressed remix from clip art) commemorated a couple favorite festivals I made one summer season while touring Western New York (both the Great Blue Heron + the Grassoots Festival of Music & Dance) with some cousins and close friends. Donna's been my long-time favorite band - for a while there I was the farthest north member of The Herd, as evidenced by unearthing in the storage-purge a case of several hundred live shows on CD (even my Deadhead friends would shake their heads).
     Can't find a live version on YouTube (though it's included on some setlists for full shows) but here's an equally good groove: "It's Love Time."


  1. "Walking talking too far from the light..."
    I love Donna the Buffalo, and I love that tee!