Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nelson's Russian Reportage

Former illustration student (and 2009 graduate) Meredith Nelson is in Moscow on a travel grant she won on the way out the door at Washington University. Her senior seminar work was invested in reportage drawing of abandoned buildings around St. Louis. Her grant proposal argued for bringing the same methodology to World War Two relics in Eastern Europe. Scale and cost resulted in trimming her concept a bit. She's in Russia, drawing and writing. These are two hastily photographed drawings out of 20 such she sent me. They look a little washed out in translation, but still give a sense of her work. Seems like it's going pretty well, no?

She started a blog early in the trip, which gives a little of her circumstances.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For God's Sake, Retire Wahoo! (Season & Decade Over)

I haven't had much to say about the malingering mascot Chief Wahoo for some time. Longtime readers may recall my anguish: a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, I also seek to avoid cognitive wreckage in my personal and professional life. Chief Wahoo is an affront of fantastic proportions, about whose history I have written before. I ascribe many (all?) failures of the Indians to the fiendish karmic vortex created by his presence on hats and jerseys.

The American League won the All-Star game again tonight, in St. Louis. I haven't been paying a lot of attention to baseball this year, though the Cards are leading the NL Central division at the break. I will probably tune in down the stretch.

At the halfway point of the season I can certainly say that I have lost all interest in my boyhood ballclub this year. Which, though stocked with decent talent and some stars (Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, others) has disappointed. At the halfway mark, the Tribe has the worst record in the American League at 35-54. Nineteen games under .500.

Memorandum to Mark Shapiro, Indians GM and VP: now is the time to do it. People are starting to think about the Browns already. The 2009 Indians are toast. Quietly engage a group to rework the Indians' identity. (I'm available.) Wahoo goes. Look through the historical record of Native American iconography from the northeastern United States in the 18th century–at the very end of which Cleveland was founded. Work something up that at the very least makes a pretense of honoring the culture. Then unveil the new look to great fanfare next winter. Understand: this is your sole option. Only at this point will you have a prayer of reclaiming the World Series title, last won by the Indians in 1948, the year after Jackie Robinson (and Larry Doby) integrated the sport. A crappy civil rights record was representative of baseball in the 1940s: Wahoo fit right in. But at this late date, we're overdue for a change.

Alas, I am too embarassed to wear an Indians' jersey, so I will never contemplate buying one. But when you give Wahoo the boot, I promise, I'll fork out the dough for a jersey the next day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coping & Golfing

Each of the last five years I have put together a golf tournament for Project Cope, a St. Louis non-profit organization that helps folks getting out of prison get back on their feet and integrated into adult life. It's an impressive group. Consider that an understatement. Each ex-offender is paired with a congregration partnership team under the terms of a contract that runs a year. The congregation teams (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, the Ethical Society) provide guidance and support during that period. I could go on, but won't.

In collaboration with a few students, I produced a new logotype for Cope (above) in 2007-08. The students were Marissa Dessanti, Amy Guterman and Susan Land, since all graduated. The chosen concept was Marissa's, for which I produced the illustration. Traci Moore Clay did the letterhead work, and Scott Gericke designed the website at the link provided above. At some point I'll post some of my identity work, which I do now and again. I hasten to note that I am an illustrator, not a graphic designer, but I think about pictures and forms in a way that seems to permit me to do junior varsity identities.

At the top of this post, this year's poster, which I finished this week. I'll put up a few other images in the next few days which reflect an attempt to synthesize some of the sketchbook work I've done in the last year or so for print purposes. In this case, I made a key drawing (black) as well as a second color drawing (white) to produce hand-made color separations, like in old children's books. My son Danny was kind enough to pose for a few minutes, and I built the image out of his stances.

If you live in the St. Louis metropolitan area and want to play in the tournament–a scramble, a very forgiving format–give me a shout and I'll fix you up!