I’ve just finished the poster for this year’s L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, an event to raise funds and awareness to fight childhood cancer. For the event, forty top chefs and mixologists from across the country will serve tastings on the lawn of the historic Culver Studios Mansion. Continue reading
Getting away from the computer and reconnecting with hand-made process seemed an appropriate way to celebrate the spirit of one of Los Angeles’ finest (and most well loved!) artisanal restaurants. A.O.C. owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne commissioned me to create this limited edition, serigraph printed poster to honor the restaurant’s 10th Anniversary.
The Hungry Cat restaurant commissioned me to create this 24″ x 36″ limited edition poster for their famous Crab Fest 2012 . This was serigraph printed (by my old friend and CYCLOPS collaborator Tim Dickson) and signed in an addition size of 200.
The name Monkey Pete comes from an underground puppet theater that I produced (and performed in with other local artists, musicians, and puppeteers) from 1998 until about 2006. Monkey Pete’s Puppet Theater sowed anarchy at clubs, bars, and galleries in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Part of the Monkey Pete experience included a carnival atmosphere, and half the fun of producing the shows was painting carnival side-show banners and signs to enhance the audience experience. Click to read an article about Monkey Pete that appeared in the Los Angeles Time Sunday Magazine way back in 1999.
I like old hand-made signs because they are a peculiarly ego-free art form. While a good sign attracts attention, its purpose is not to call attention to ITSELF, but to direct the viewer to a place of commerce, a service, or another destination. This is where signs diverge from graffiti. Graffiti is a signature. A pure expression of ego. In a beautiful sign, the artist disappears behind the intention which allows us to see it’s beauty more clearly.
The Social communication tidal wave of the last few years has added urgency to the idea that individuals should reinvent themselves as “brands.” “Wrap yourself in a personal brand,” we are told, “or vanish”. This trumpeting points to a profound misunderstanding of the power of social communication. After all, what is a brand and why would you want to be one? Wikipedia says a brand is “the personality that identifies a product, service or company.” The word that is missing here is “faux,” as in a brand is a faux personality that identifies a product, service or company. Products, services and companies do not have personalities, because they are not persons. Branding creates the illusion that one can have a meaningful interpersonal relationship with, say, a sneaker. I have great friends who work for Nike, but “Nike” won’t drive me to the hospital if I crash my bike. What do people have that brands don’t? People have voices. A voice is unique, original, and flexible. A voice has something to say. Tyrannical regimes are overthrown by voices not by brands. Voices initiate change. Brands reinforce stasis. Brands are, by there nature, static, consistent, and unchanging. My Big Mac in Los Angeles will be the same Big Mac in Paris. My cup of Stabucks Coffee will be as pleasant in Portland as it is in Moscow. Don’t be a brand. Strive to be a voice, because voices are extremely powerful. Social communication is powerful, because it facilitates conversations and allows our unique voices to be heard. Before you embark on building your personal brand ask yourself, “when was the last time a sneaker brought down a dictator?”