Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Freelance Illustrator Job Opening

Wieden+Kennedy New York is looking for freelance illustrators and/or freelance designers who have an illustrative aesthetic to create original images which are inspired by a pop culture reference and/or story line (which will be provided to them). Candidates must have the ability to create imagery which tells a story, whether it be through hand-drawn illustration, computer-generated design/illustration or collage style image building. 

Candidates must also have the ability to work on site at the Wieden+Kennedy New York office (Soho area), within the time-frame of November 2010 through December 2010 (to start) 

Fluency in other languages (especially French, German and/or Spanish) will be a plus (though definitely not a deal breaker). 

Apply via email to:

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Must-See

I just finished viewing the 40-minute HBO documentary on Maurice Sendak by Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak. This hand-held, haphazard, intricately edited movie lets us get to know the illustrator, writer and man. I laughed through parts of it, and not at the man but with him and I have to say it moved me to tears at the end, not out of sadness but out of joy. He expresses in the end what all illustrators and artists believe, that it's a joy and a privilege to get up everyday to make pictures.

For What It's Worth No. 24

I always wanted to be Seymour Chwast. I can remember the day I got The Push Pin Style in the mail back in 1971. I was like a kid at Christmas, I poured over every image, read it cover to cover and left it on the night stand kind of like when I was a kid I would take my Christmas presents to bed with me that first night—this was that kind of night. The volume was a hardcover, slipcased catalog of the studio's exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris—the Louvre no less. The exhibit travelled all over Europe, South America and Japan. The book reprints over 448 examples of the studio's innovative design work for advertising, book and record covers, magazine illustrations, posters and other graphics by the members of the studio.

Sure it wasn't just Seymour's work I was looking at but his made the most impression on me; I wanted to draw like Seymour. I hadn't felt that way since grade school when Harry Miller was the best drawer in class and I was a distant second; his poster of the Easter bunny graced the third grade classroom wall until I asked Harry if I could have it and then it became my treasure. The Push Pin Style had a major influence on my career as an illustrator and designer, it shaped my view of illustration as a powerful art form, it showed me how design and illustration can work together, it opened doors to all sorts of possibilities. It planted firmly in mind that one day I too would be working in New York. I had just graduated from college in Austin, was starting an advertising agency and wanted to combine strong concept, wit and illustration in all our projects. Push Pin Style showed me that it could be done.

The folks at Push Pin revolutionized illustration—there's a wonderful interview with co-founder Edward Sorel in this issue of 3x3 where he talks about the early, heady days at the studio and how warm the reception was to their new style of illustration and design. I'm not exactly sure how we illustrators arrive at our style—perhaps a series of happy accidents—but you can certainly trace back influences in every illustrator's work. Mine relied heavily on Alan Cober, Murray Tinkleman, Seymour Chwast, Franklin McMahon and R.O. Blechman and yet as I finished copying each style it all melted into something that looked like none of the above. Or perhaps parts of the above.

It was interesting to see that it happens with all artists. Coincidentally I watched a program on Marcel Duchamp this weekend and discovered that Duchamp started out interpreting the styles of the times imitating Cezanne, Monet, Picasso—my art history classes never covered his earler paintings. He moved from style to style discarding one for another until his ultimate triumph: his Cubist-riff Nude Descending the Staircase. Then he stopped painting. He once said that he grew bored with each style once he had mastered it; he didn't become the Duchamp we know until after he stopped copying. The Ready-Made—the non-art is what he's famous for; with this he was totally original.

I'm often puzzled and dismayed when I see work that is so heavily influenced by present-day illustrators, my hope is that these illustrators too are just on the brink of creating something truly original and not just a copy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

For What It's Worth No. 23

Advertising Age just revealed the annual Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey showing affluent Americans—those making more than $100,000 per year—are moving away from print to the internet. Magazine readership dropped 16% while internet viewership increased by 12%. What's ironic is that television viewing remained static at an average of 17.6 hours per week. This all reminded me of what my mother used to say: "Too much television will make you go blind." Now I'm sure she really didn't mean blind, but she did realize it wasn't good for the eyes to stare at the screen for a long time. She spent her childhood without television and her nearsighted vision lasted her all of her 87 years—she really only ever needed reading glasses—while her son required glasses by the time he turned 12 and still wears them. Mom grew up on a farm and I'm sure her eyes got a workout in the field as well as on the front porch, scanning the horizon or watching out for what may be underfoot.

The Ipsos study shows that on average affluent Americans spend a total of 42.9 hours on the internet and television combined. I don't know about you but my eyes are extremely tired by the end of the day to the point of blurriness which is to be expected when my screen is about a foot away from me—that would be like sitting that close to the TV for over eight hours each day. It just can't be good for us. Yet that's where we're headed, away from looking at the distance and only looking at things close up, the internet, e-readers, i-Phones and the like. In fact if you walk down the street in Manhattan you'll see dozens of New Yorkers who aren't looking up they're looking down reading or texting—and we thought tourists were a nuisance!

There's so much of the real world to see I'm continually troubled by how many hours we stay locked in our room in front of a screen. While we may think we're having the foresight to keep up with the latest technology we're actually becoming more farsighted. And that just can't be good for us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Drinks with Phil Wrigglesworth and Jakob Hinrichs

Trying to cram as many portfolio reviews as possible, Phil Wrigglesworth and Jakob Hinrichs had to forgo our usual lunch and instead dropped by for margaritas, guacamole and chips one evening last week. Phil, from outside London and Jakob from Berlin met while they were both attending classes at Universität der Künste in Berlin. Phil had received an erasmus exchange to attend classes for a semester with Henning Wagenbreth. Jakob befriended Phil and the two became fast friends. A graduate of the University of West England, Phil went on to get his MA at Brighton and now lives and works north of London. Jakob studied illustration and graphic design in Berlin and at the Universadad del Pais Vasco in Bilbao, worked in Spain for a time and then Stockholm before returning to Berlin.

Asked if there was much difference between art directors here and across the pond, the answer was no, not really. They have both received welcome invitations to see art directors while in New York—not just drop off their books. Perhaps it's because they have such a good reputation or perhaps it's because they are telling their prospects that they're only in town for a week, whatever it is it is working.

Both enjoy working in the US market. Phil is with Gerald & Cullen Rapp, and Jakob represents himself and both promote themselves vigorously. And they don't see each other as competition so it's natural that they in tandem present their work; art directors get two portfolio views for the price of one's time.

In this photo, left to right, Phil Wrigglesworth, Sarah Munt and Jakob Hinrichs

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Trio of Print Regional Design Awards

We just got word from Judy Grover, Print magazine's Managing Editor that Issue 11, 12 and 13 are winners in this year's Print Regional Design Annual. This makes 3x3 a back-to-back winner, last year we were recognized for our Issue 9 cover, this year our entire issues received the honor. This is a special treat for me since it reinforces my belief that we are putting out a product that gets noticed. The more we can get in front of art directors with quality illustration the better our chances are that illustrators will gain more attention and respect.

Our philosophy about shows is to enter every one simply because we are getting a chance to be in front of creative directors, art directors, art buyers and editors—our message has a built-in audience in shows. While we may not win every time, we are at the very least exposing these judges to what we want them to see, and hopefully get excited about. And when we win we are exposed to an even larger audience. There's never a bad reason to enter shows though every year it becomes more costly.

Congratulations to all our featured illustrators, advertisers, writers and photographers for making us look so good. And thank you to Sarah and Jessica who help me get each and every issue out the door.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Issue 15 Goes to Press

Our international issue is finally out the door and will be on newsstands and bookstores later this month. This issue features the work of Paul Blow (UK), our cover artist; Cristian Turdera (Argentina) and Tatsuro Kiuchi (Japan). It's been a couple of years since our last international issue though we always try to feature someone from outside the US in every issue.

In addition we have David Humphries and Freddy Boo (UK), Jakob Westman (Sweden) and Hiromichi Ito (Japan) in our Showcase. And in our Gallery we have Peter Diamond (Austria), IC4Design (Japan), Timothy Cook, Dante Terzigni, Cathy Choi (US), Tim Dinter (Germany) and Christiane Beauregard and Mathieu Lavoie (Canada).

Our Icon is Push Pin Studio co-founder, Edward Sorel. Andrew Bannecker's Coca-Cola, Copenhagen is our campaign and Tor art director Irene Gallo is our Profile. We continue our Nuts & Bolts CareerTalk special series talking about the all-important business plan in this issue.

Order your subscription or single-copy issues online.

For What It's Worth No. 22

It’s been a busy summer. Business trips and pleasure trips and visits from people we love. Our first visitor this summer was my son, Geoffrey who is a chef at the four seasons in Houston, Texas. He came to New York with the expectation of working in a few restaurants just for the experience. He brought his knifes as any good chef would but ended up being inspired not by the kitchens he worked in but by the visual treats that is New York. Days turned into weeks and not once did he sit foot in a restaurant other than as a customer. He walked the upper and lower east side and west side, uptown and downtown; he took in the sites of Brooklyn and Prospect Park. And he endured the oppressive heat that is so unusual for the east coast and learned to live without air conditioning—something he could or would never do in Texas. It was a good time to bond and as a parent you come to fully appreciate your kids when they become peers especially when they turn out smarter than yourself.

Our second visitors were my daughter and my grandson, the differences and similarities could not have been more stark. Here is my grandson, Quentin, three decades younger than my son yet he seemed inspired by his new surroundings, different from what he sees in his hometown of Dallas. It got me thinking about the decades we live in, the first decade through the last of our lives. When I look back on my son’s three decades I marvel at all the changes that have taken place, then I look at my six decades and all the many more changes that happened.

I grew up in the era of radio and television, newspapers and magazines, the Sunday funnies. Where shopping was done in the Sears Roebuck catalog or at their brick-and-mortar store. Where S&H green stamps could fulfill dreams. Where coffee, tea and milk were hand-delivered on a set schedule. Where transportation was the streetcar, bus or train. Where everyone wrote letters or postcards and corresponded by mail. And libraries were sanctuaries of knowledge. Where magazines were over sized and comics were our entertainment—both providing the color in our lives. Where a radio gave us our music, Popular Mechanics gave us ideas on how to build things and Playboy gave us lust. Where having a typewriter in the home was a rarity and a fountain pen a prized-possession. Our single phone hung in the kitchen connected directly to a pole outside. Our TV relied on a pair of rabbit ears to bring in the blown-out black and white images. Our news came at 6pm every night unless it was bad news, which would interrupt our regularly scheduled program. Where we lived with three painful assassinations and put a man on the moon.

My son grew up in the beginnings of the computer age, today he downloads music, full-length movies, games and videos, he flies when he doesn’t drive—I can’t think of a time when he’s been on either a bus or train. He hand-builds computers. He orders everything online and rarely sets foot in an actual store. He gets his hard news 24-7 and his soft news from blogs and emails and texts. His need for information is just a Google search away. His keyboard follows him everywhere he goes. My grandson begins his journey in a fully-digital era where an iPhone is common and apps multiply like rabbits. Where e-books and i-Pads are becoming the norm. What’s ahead in the next ten years? What, oh what, do the next three decades hold in store for us?