Tuesday, February 20, 2018

La Marzocco 2017 Yearbook—A Florentine Supper

The coffee shop is akin to Rock Music—It’s a very restrictive format but how you creatively play with the form can yield a myriad of surprising expressions and infinite results within its limits. Each shop is a sort of shrine to belief and experience ranging from funky & home spun warmth, to an eye toward high end contemporary architecture and design, and all manner in-between. Partially because of the nature of this Yearbook project Sven Hoffman (design+photos) and I have worked on for the past 4 years, and mostly because of my love of deeply satisfying espresso drinks, when I walk into a new coffee shop I notice the choices in each space, what is added, what is subtracted, and why.

This post includes: Book cover, end pages, spread selections, sketchbook pages, and back cover .

Where a diverse variety of people come together and why has always been a personal interest of mine and the coffee shop typifies this sort of space and experience with the espresso machine is at it’s heart. Some of the favorite shops I’ve visited around the world have simply been a  La Marzocco prominently displayed on the counter with almost nothing else in the space, shown with the reverence of a sculpture on display at a contemporary art museum. These machines are things of beauty, lovingly hand crafted to yield an exceptional and satisfying beverage, and seeing a La Marzocco in a shop is like seeing an old friend as I saw them assembled by hand from pieces on tables the at factory in Italy when I when I was invited to spend a few days to get to know the company, the “global family” feel, vibe, and approach. I was told the company history from those close to the founding fathers of the company, drew images on the factory floor as the employees assembled the machines and had rousing matches of foosball on their lunch-break, and was regularly treated to exceptional espresso and great company at every turn. Enjoy.

I love working with designers interested in playing with and remixing my sketchbook images as it always yields surprising and unexpected results. I’ve worked with some very adventurous designers to explore what’s possible in this regard and Sven is tops.

Monday, February 5, 2018

American Illustration 36 / Charlotte, NC Public Art Project

Thanks to American Illustration—Fun with the unscrew & mix n match (put your image on the cover) edition this year. My image of an illustration element from my Charlotte NC Public Art project to be installed in 2020.

Center detail shows Biddle Hall at JCSU, founded in 1876 as an African American college by Presbyterian ministers, as post-emancipation they realized the worst scenario for former slaves would to be without an education. Above right, local civil rights activist Charles Jones testifying at the House On Un-American Activities trials. Across to his left is a Freedom Riders bus he rode to protest segregation. Heartbreaking to listen to his oral history of the vicious violence and racism that moved his family throughout The South. Lower left, church choir, local churches were separate from white control and places to organize activism.

The oral history of local resident, Marty Johnson Saunders speaks to historic Biddleville as an African American enclave, incredibly warm and open community, were all neighbors looked after each other’s children, folks shared out of their gardens (left) and doors were unlocked. A priceless interview to listen to as she speaks of her father being so respected locally that white bus drivers knew to let his daughters ride in the front of the bus during segregation, years before Rosa Parks, as she tells it. References in the piece to the Million Youth March and the unseen who have contributed to the area history.

Project notes range from hand written notes from Biddle University founding fathers from the 1800’s speaking to how “All truth and all doctrine are of no avail unless they result in goodness” to jotting down info while riding in cars hearing from locals about significant places and persons such as civil rights activist Reginald Hawkins who’s home was firebombed and who’s actions contributed to ending segregation locally.

Significant, site specific, historical and slice-of-life moments are revealed though the research & begin to take shape.

This project’s travel notebook / sketchbook & guiding star. There's one for each new project.