First person accounts by underground music luminaries (such as DJ Marley Marl, Kool DJ Red Alert, Tony Humphries, and Stretch Armstrong) interspersed with vintage audio, photos, and video drops you in the moment when the underground broke above ground via New York radio and germinated throughout the world by cassette tape (I fondly have college recollections of students collecting,trading, and dubbing tapes from New York to Baltimore to Philly to Detroit to Chicago to Oakland to LA).
Great graphic design should stop you in your tracks and demand your attention.
This is what the preceding image did for me early Sunday morning as I fetched my paper off the front porch (yes, I still read actual newspapers). Large as life and in glorious color: a green, one-eyed alien in a metallic spacesuit holding a decorative ceramic dish of what appears to be pork and beans!
I saved the section and made a mental note to read the artist credit— this was my formal (but not the first) introduction to the work of designer Oliver Munday. After visiting Mr. Munday’s archive site and current work on Tumblr, I began to quickly recognize book covers, posters, infographics, and the 826DC design work for the Museum of Unnatural History: the breadth, diversity, and high quality of work is overwhelming and impressive.
Great graphic design should also create envy, jealousy, and above all inspiration.
Last week on vacation I made time to read Austin Kleon’s, Share Your Work and it inspired me to revisit his previous book Steal Like An Artist one year later.
Mr. Kleon’s intelligent, humorous and straightforward observation of the creative process builds a persuasive case for starting work NOW and sharing it with others (one of my professional mentors refers to it as a “bias towards action”). These books are essential reading for any creative professional or aspiring creative. Happy Reading!
Artists draw their inspiration from a variety of sources and the link between design and music is a strong one. It isn’t a coincidence that many Graphic and Web Designers are record collectors, DJs, and musicians (present company included). I am constantly on the search for new and classic music to fuel my creative fire and Tame Impala’s ” Let it Happen” may well be my song of the season.
Kevin Parker’s psychedelic recording project since 2007, Tame Impala is on the verge of its third album, Currents and this opening single finds Parker at the height of his powers. Signaled by the opening keyboard swell and martial drumbeat, Tame Impala’s “Let it Happen” gallops with an energy, insistence, and purpose of creative possibility that seemingly cannot be contained in its sprawling 7 minutes and 30 seconds:
It’s always around me, all this noise But not really as loud as the voice saying Let it happen, let it happen (It’s gonna feel so good) Just let it happen, let it happen
Alternating between moments of brashness and solitude, analog and digital, old school rock musicianship and postmodern electronic studio manipulation, “Let it Happen” redefines the parameters of the modern rock song (Doubtful? Fast forward to 3:49 mark of the song to hear the track deconstruct and reconstitute itself to epic heights).
As Kevin croons to the song’s fade out:
Maybe I was ready all along Maybe I was ready all along
The more appropriate question is, “Are you ready?”.
A Site Devoted to Design, Popular Culture, and the Creative Process