FITC Toronto 2011: Next week

You and me, Toronto. In 2 days I’ll be hopping on a plane and making the voyage to Toronto to take part in the festivities at FITC. This will be the forth time heading to the conference and each time is better than the last. Can’t wait to see some inspiring talks and hang out with my pals I haven’t seen in a while. Also looking forward to meeting lots of new creative folks. Real excited.

That being said, here is a small listing of stuff I will be a part of, including times and places where I’ll be onstage.

Presentation: Back To The Future: Part II
May 2, 11:15am • Room: Kool Haus
For the second year in a row I will be presenting at FITC Toronto, which is always a good time. Last year I presented a talk called Back To The Future, centered around inspiration, art showcase, client showcase, a short tutorial and advice. This year’s presentation will be a more robust version of the previous with new topics, art, clients, stories and advice for fledgling and veteran designers alike. It’s lovingly and sequentially titled Back To The Future: Part II, but have no fear if you didn’t see last year’s presentation. You haven’t missed a thing. More info»

Panel: Source + Imagination
May 4, 2:45pm • Room: Guvernment
This will be a new one for me. I will be sitting on a panel with some other fine creative folks discussing various topics and answering questions from the moderator and audience. It’s sure to be a good time and I’m really looking forward to discussing inspiration, imagination, and whatever else comes up. Panels are uncharted territory, seriously looking forward to this. More info»

Art Show: To Japan With Love
May 4, 7pm • Function13 Gallery (map)
I will be a part of an art show happening at Function13 entitled To Japan With Love, organized by the lovely Linda Nakanishi. In Linda’s words the show revolves around “a collective of artists who have a genuine connection and love for Japan and have created art for the fund raising relief efforts.”. All net proceeds from the show will by donated to the Canadian Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan. My Help Japan poster will be included in the show, and I will be bringing 18×24 posters to be sold. For more information see the website and Facebook event.

For those attending I will be armed with stickers, cards and buttons so shout at me if you want some swag. I’ll also be bringing some Hobo With a Shotgun posters to get them into some hands. Updates during my trip might be a bit slow, but I’ll be sending updates and news out via my Twitter as I go from talk to talk, event to event.

See you soon, Toronto!

Vintage-style Cars 2 posters

The Cars franchise is the only work by Pixar I never got into, probably because it was created for kids who are into racing culture. Not really my thing. But I have to give some props to these vintage-style posters created to promote the upcoming Cars 2 film. I especially like the James Bond looking one, second from the top. Good stuff.

Via The Pixar Times

SNBC:50 – Signalnoise 12th birthday

Here is the recorded version of SNBC:50, a big show! This show was live last Wednesday, as opposed to my normal timeslot of Thursday. The reason for that is because April 20th was the 12th birthday of Signalnoise.com. I registered the Signalnoise domain name back in 1999 when I started my career in the web field. It’s been a wild ride over the last 12 years, so what I decided to do for this show was to tell the story of the website. When it started, why it started, what it was used for at various points in my career, how it changed, etc.

Not many questions were answered, just a sprawling story. The reason for this was simple: I get a lot of questions about my past experience and education and I thought it would be nice to have the full story all in one place for those interested. I had a great time doing this one, and totally needed a nap afterward. And as a capper, my pal Jerko showed up for the second installment of Ask Jerko. Hilarious.

Big thanks to my pal Nick Campbell for the hand-off as part of the 3 Hours of Power. Always enjoy doing back-to-back shows for a larger block of creative talk. Thanks Nick!

SNBC:49 – General Q&A

Here is the recorded version of SNBC:49 for your viewing pleasure. Once again, we didn’t have any specific topic to discuss so we did a general Q&A session and covered topics like my Year Zero type, copyrighting work, some of my personal projects, vector sketches, focusing on design interests, infographics, the weirdness of Illustrator, coping with design failures and lots of other fun topics. Have a watch.

Be sure to tune into the show live, Thursdays at 3pm EST.

SNBC:48 – General Q&A

Here is the recorded version of SNBC:48 which went live a few weeks back, if you missed out on tuning in at the time. There wasn’t any specific topic this time around, just a general Q&A session with the viewers where we talked about SmartObjects, Dave McKean, focusing on your design interests, great inspiration websites, seeing art as a lifestyle, my favorite design books, using natural lighting effects in your work and a bunch of other fun topics.

So have a watch and be sure to tune in live, Thursdays at 3pm EST.

The Art of Drew Struzan

If you grew up in the 1980s then I’m sure the work of american painter Drew Struzan was not far from sight. He started creating film posters around 1975 and worked very consistently throughout the 80s and 90s creating more the 150 posters during his career. He worked with many huge movie franchises creating a visual identity for the movies through his still images and compositions. Where would movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Big Trouble in Little China be without their iconic Struzan posters?

Everyone I introduce Struzan’s work to eventually say the same thing: “He did THAT poster too?!”

I could go on and on about his work, but I wanted to make this post for a very specific and personal reason. I recently picked up his latest book, The Art of Drew Struzan from the kind folks at Strange Adventures and read it in one sitting. The book is packed with process sketches, previous versions of posters along with loads of stories about the jobs he’s worked on, the crazy pitfalls that happened, and those special jobs where he collaborated with directors. As most artists trying to make a living in the creative realm, Drew is no stranger to client nightmares and the silliness of corporate Hollywood. The book is honest, Drew holds nothing back.

It might be odd of me to say that these stories (both good and bad) are inspiring, but there’s another level at work here. Most of the people who visit my blog are artists or designers, like me. We’re doing our best to use our abilities to make nice things as best we can, and in order to do that and get paid we need to be hired. Sometimes that works out well, and sometimes it doesn’t. Drew Struzan is in the same boat as the rest of us. It’s easy to see his work and the people he’s worked with and make assumptions involving thrones and riches, but he’s a working man. Just like us.

Drew is the best in my opinion, and his story is remarkably down to earth. I approached Drew about doing an interview for the blog. He was understandably too busy, but I did receive a very nice email in return. It’s amazing to learn that your hero is a nice guy.

I highly recommend picking up The Art of Drew Struzan for the fantastic art, the insightful process and the stories.

Three Hours of Power

12 years ago today is when I registered Signalnoise.com as my website. I was working at my first job at the time, Internet Solutions here in Halifax when the kind folks there helped me out in setting things up for the first time. I wanted my own little corner of the internet to upload my art and designs. At the time I had no idea what this would grow to be, but I’m happy to say it still feels like that same little corner I was excited about back in 1999.

Also by some twist of fate, today marks the 50th SNBC broadcast. Very strange how that worked out, huh? So I will be doing SNBC:50 a day earlier then usual and will be following my good pal Nick Campbell, going live once he finishes up his GSG Live Cast. But the fun doesn’t stop there because you can tune in later this evening to see my buddy Ryan McGovern live with DesignChat, and his special guest Carolina de Bartolo. So much art and design, love it. All the info and times are on the graphic above.

EDIT: This event has ended. Thanks for tuning in everyone.

Signalnoise Store: Under Construction

For the next little while when you click on the Signalnoise Store button you will be getting a generic Maintenance Mode screen, and to clear up any concerns I thought I’d let you know what was going on.

Over the past 3 years I’ve seen my little store grow from a meager 5 launch posters to offer a wider range of designs and t-shirts. When I launched the store in February of 2008 I had no idea that it would have been as successful as it was, with a pretty consistent stream of orders coming in. I had lots of fun packing all my products by hand, adding the extra goodies and shipping everything myself. If you ordered anything from my store over the last 3 years, it was packed by me on my dining table. No joke.

There was however an unfortunate side effect. As much as I liked doing all that packing and shipping, it took a lot of time away from what I truly love doing … creating things. So I’m at the point where something needs to change in order for me to get my creativity back on track. I’m very lucky (and proud) to have the guys down at Merchline in my corner to handle all the fulfillment once the new store launches. Merchline is excellent and handles the products of a few of my favorite online shops such as ISO50, Hydro74 and the Salvation Army WARdrobe.

I’m sad to see my little Big Cartel store go. It was a real champ, and I still highly recommend their service if you want to start your own online store to sell your goods. No complaints, they kick ass.

So, I will be putting forth the effort over the next few weeks to get the Signalnoise Store set up at the new location. There are a few new designs and products in the works and will hopefully be available at launch. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted when things are ready to roll.