Show and Tell

Fallout Brewing 07/20/17

This is a logo I designed for a hypothetical brewery that I made up. Often I tend toward a cleaner style, but I liked using a little more texture in this project. I was pleased with the way this uses vertical space—I think it would look good on a bottle.


Ashi-Magari 07/20/17

Ashi-Magari is one of my family’s dogs—a Shiba Inu with a lot of spunk. She’s terrified of boxes, suspicious of anything new, but she loves her family and her red ball.


Schubert and Ravel 07/20/17

I made album artwork for a couple pieces of music I like that deal with the theme of death in unusual ways.

The first is String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor by Franz Schubert, often called Death and the Maiden—a very intense, beautiful piece of chamber music that I like. It’s based on a song about Death confronting a young, fearful girl. She dies in the end, so you’d think that it was a tragedy, but it isn’t. Instead of dying in a state of anxiety and fear, Death comforts her and takes her gently. It is a melancholy theme, but it’s crowned with a beautiful key change toward the end of the song that is the sun breaking from the clouds.

The second is for Le Tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel. It was written during WWI, and each of the movements is dedicated to a French soldier who was killed in the war. That sounds glum, but the music itself is so lively and light that it is almost whimsical. When confronted about why the piece wasn’t more somber, Ravel is said to have responded, “The dead are sad enough, in their eternal silence.”


Ablaze 07/20/17

This is just a fun little brand identity that I created on a whim. I imagine it as being some sort of tech company, or maybe a music festival. It’s geometric enough to look clean and modern, but it doesn’t give off the hyper-calculated vibe that many geometric logos have.

My favorite element is the single lick of flame on the upper left. Somehow adding it in really seemed to bring the logo to life.


America the Beautiful 07/20/17

This is a fun set of patriotic iconography based off of the lyrics of America the Beautiful. The idea behind them was to capture some of the naturalist gusto of Teddy Roosevelt era with a modern graphical style. There are dark aspects of that period of American history—lots of colonial fervor—but a bright spot is the way people reveled in the natural and man-made wonders of their newly sprawling nation. This was the moment that Naturalism as a concept reemerged in the US—it seemed to have died off with the native americans—which is something we take as grant now. The National Parks Service came directly out of this era, for instance, which remains a nearly universal point of pride for Americans.

I don’t know that these capture the full spirit of all that, but I had fun working on them, and I think they are striking in their own right.


Infinite Jest 07/14/17

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”  —Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest draws heavily on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, making it very fitting that the title of the novel is lifted directly from the play. The scene title is taken from is the most visually iconic of play: Hamlet is addressing the exhumed skull of Yorick, a court jester he remembers from his youth. Despite its macabre subject, the scene is veined with comedy and even a moment of slapstick as Hamlet tosses the skull aside, thumbing his nose at death.

I think that this scene provides an excellent lens for DFW’s vast, beautiful, infuriating masterpiece. It’s laced with sincerity, irony, deep melancholy, and wild humor. It’s an alien book that can overwhelm the reader with minutia, similar to the way Shakespeare overwhelms modern readers with his vocabulary.

This book cover draws on Infinite Jest’s connection with Hamlet and does an excellent job (in my opinion) of capturing the thematic tension of a novel that resists being categorized.