Adventures In Design

Bang the drum for this week's Shop Talk with Billy Baumann and Mark Brickey rounding out another batch of AID goodness. The Cobra is in fine form today as he immediately strikes on everything from selling single pages out of a book to decoding another artist's layer laden file. Mark uses his deft investigative journalism to pry out some behind the scenes details on the recent Dave Matthews poster Delicious Design League took on. Things can get tricky when you're playing in the big leagues and Billy tells all to turn his experience into a learning one for us all. Don't miss their expert advice on color separations and how planning ahead with your file can save you a few headaches at the finish line. Most importantly, let this Shop Talk act as a much needed reminder to any creatives who feel beaten down that we all can strategically pick our battles as designers and fight for our ideas when the timing is right. Street by street. Block by block. Taking most of it all back.

Talking Points

  • A new bootleg poster scam of jpeg reprints or getting ahead of the vintage ad game?
  • Cart logic. 
  • Delicious Design League's unconventional diptych approach and the world of Dave Matthews. 
  • Buying Chicago or Apple as a long term investment. 
  • Who gets what cut of a gig poster?
  • The problem when unqualified people get a taste of being the puppeteer without any applicable experience in their background. 
  •  Creating for approval instead of what is right and the rationale behind taking it just for sanity's sake. 
  • Finding the rhythm between work and passion. 
  • The art is just the start and the increasingly complex world of color separations. 
  • Getting an education through hands on experience. 
  • Industry expansion from coloring books to mezzotints and transparent inks. 
  • Decoding another artist's file or just developing your own process. 
  • Hitting yellow and seeing red. 
Direct download: AID598i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Every month Mitch Putnam and Mark Brickey pour over to put together a Top Ten Countdown that seems to continually raise the bar of greatness contained between four corners. The month of May was no exception to this phenomena as artists vied for the top spot on the countdown or found their way into Mitch's Treasure Chest for worthwhile comments and observations. Piece by jaw dropping piece is picked apart to show what sets it apart from the rest by two heavy hitters in the design world that have seen every trick in the book and have some behind the scenes facts that illuminate the lesser known semantic side of the work itself. As their analyzation unfolds you can apply the same concepts to further your own career and use top shelf tips and tricks that other industry greats had to discover the hard way. With visionary artists like Daniel Danger, Becky Cloonan, James Flames, and more filling up the countdown its inevitable that you'll learn how they manipulate the two dimensional space to capture unforgettable moments and spark a viewer's imagination.

Talking Points

  • The best and worst designed sports city in the United States. 
  • The watermark of superstar level success and breaking out of our art world in very unprecedented ways. 
  • Intellectual discrepancies between how you see your client and how they see themselves. 
  • Consumer products and marketing objectives pulling art in opposite directions. 
  • Composition, collage, and unique perspectives on familiar themes.
  • Achieving richness and subtlety in screenprinting. 
  • The risks of one color prints, owning official Disney artwork, and screenprints that legitimately look like paintings. 
  • The execution kills the concept that needed an art director to save it. 
  • Getting your heart hooked into your work and albums you should listen to just once. 
  • The leap into the metaphorical. 
  • Becky Cloonan's seamless transition from comic books. 
  • Soaking in a mentor's influence and making it your own. 
  • A quick dip into the Marvel Universe. 
  • Dual format designs and the difference between blouse imagery and poster illustration. 
  • Evolving backwards from the Frank Kozik coloring style as printing techniques improve. 
  • Powerful movie poster archetypes and developing a new approach to old properties.

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • The cover of the novel within the film that became a poster representing the time period it came from. 
  • Watching an artist on an epic journey through space and time as they continually reinvent themselves. 
  • Understanding your market and how you can gear your business model towards it. 
  • Deliberately wonky work made by hand.
  • Walking away from women and building out your poster to utilize the medium. 
  • The difficulty in miniaturizing a film and multiple illustration styles that run the gamut.
  • Client reactions to minimalistic approaches. 
  • Managing your audience's varying artistic demands. 
  • From scratch board to laser etching to continually innovate your medium. 
  • Drawing from the greats to find a style that doesn't allow for revisions. 
  • Living in highlight and a unique take on a fan favorite. 
  • Giant comic book covers and banking off some very rooted hype. 
  • Jim Fire is making the culture of screenprinting look bad with his new artistic direction.
  • Determination, results, and cosplaying as James' agent. 
  • Honoring icons and the murky waters of cashing in on celebrity deaths. 
  • Making toys and more at Mondo. 
  • The thought process behind timed editions. 
  • Beating the game with a dirty little secret successful bloggers use all the time. 
  • Transitioning out of the gig poster world into experimental new areas that highlight your skills. 
  • Taking on ten challenges in one poster and the two voices of Landland. 


Direct download: AID597i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

The Collection returns for its next installment with this year's Designer Toy Of The Year Award Winner, James Groman. Fresh from Five Points Festival, Mark Brickey, Huck Gee, and James look at the state of the designer toy world from a higher perspective as it hits a third wave. Just by looking at James' winning submission, King Korpse, you can see how the world of vinyl and resin toys has shifted to an artists first approach all the way from concept to production. That's just the start as The Collection keeps going through the world of kaiju, American Greetings, and giving birth in front of a live audience. James has been in the game from the beginning as he worked on Madballs, officially licensed Star Wars toys, and developed storyboards for the Care Bears. There's no stopping this juggernaut because he came up in a world where hard work was just the first bullet point on someone's resume. That type of determination is what put him in the same room with mega talents feeding their ideas straight to Peter Jackson and creating new components in the Star Wars universe through his toy designs. Now this episode of The Collection is going to put you in the same room with one of the greats so take notes and pay attention.

Talking Points

  • Seasoned veterans review Five Points Festival and the beginning of Death Star 3.0. 
  • Following the stampede to the gore. 
  • Designer Toy Of The Year Award and the fist fights for King Korpse.
  • From cutting costs to craftsmanship. 
  • How working for yourself let's you fight for what you believe in. 
  • Trailblazers from the greeting card industry that birthed the creativity on the designer toy world today. 
  • The rejuvenation and vindicated success of Gold Life. 
  • Instinct Toys and finding the funding from people that believe in your ideas. 
  • Working big, 3D sculpting, and overseas shipping. 
  • Getting lost in the sketchy days of King Korpse. 
  • The benefits of giving birth in front of a live audience. 

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • The reality of designing and adding to the Star Wars Universe. 
  • Confidence, depression, and intimidating moments in front of mega talents with high standards. 
  • Storyboards for Care Bears and staying relevant in the long run. 
  • Buying into the dot com legend that has shifted younger generations mindsets away from the hard work of finding a job. 
  • A look into the Garage Kit Culture (another Wild West sub culture). 
  • Consumer culture, American culture, and the sad state of creating new intellectual properties. 
  • Bootlegging's dark side with a potentially bright future. 
  • Relating to your audience and the long road to hone your talents. 


Direct download: AID596i.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Bang the drums and bust out your preferred note taking medium because this Shop Talk is so full of chicken nuggets you'd think it was sponsored by Ronald himself. Mark, Billy, and special guest Jason Edmiston leave no stone unturned as they rip through moral dilemmas and motivational hurdles in a creative's career path. Would you pay for likes on social media if it meant a positive uptick in your sales? Are big brands fleecing the public by supporting popular social movements? How do you keep your work loose when you work form reference materials? That's just a taste of what today's trio gets into as they explore each topic with an honest transparency you won't find anywhere else on today's adventure into design. Antics ensue.

Talking Points

  • Buying likes on Instagram (because you're a business). 
  • Overcoming meritocracy in art. 
  • Are you focusing on false metrics that don't align with your marketing goals. 
  • Investing your time or your money into video. 
  • Are you an anonymous artist?
  • Standing at the intersection of brands, politics, and business. 
  • The creative's ego. 
  • Living with the perfect partner. 

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • The integral inside out process of preparation to make incredible pieces. 
  • Keeping your work loose when using reference materials. 
  • Exaggerating the movement. 
  • Tracing secrets the world isn't ready to hear. 
  • Harnessing the power of brainstorming. 
  • The demise of hard work as we shift away from traditional media. 
  • Creating and curating content to use as you work through projects. 
  • You only need one buyer. 
  • Vague emails and the response that takes longer than the question itself.


Direct download: AID594i2.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:41am PDT

As the next chapter of The DKNG Show unfolds we find our favorite design duo busy as ever and actively pursuing new ventures. With so much work still under wraps Mark takes the opportunity to pour over some of Dan and Nathan's business practices as they weave between the last two month's projects. Even as the boys go over their Radiohead poster project, the subject matter skews towards how they reinvented their own process to reflect the band's shifting approach to music and business. In the Circle Of Trust bonus content we get a double dip of insider information about breaking into the wholesale world and a look at advertising through social media channels. Chapter Nine continues to push the boundaries of how much DKNG lets us inside their creative minds and how they have become a premiere boutique agency at the top of their game.

Talking Points

  • Respecting boundaries, uprooting bad relationships, and effective communication. 
  • The challenge to even approach designing for Radiohead's multifaceted sound. 
  • Reinventing your structure from the ground up and keeping things simple for your client. 
  • How much do you initially show your client to allow your project to evolve into its final form. 
  • Live streaming portfolio reviews and the tricky side of constructively critiquing work. 
  • Common pitfalls in portfolios. 
  • Initiative, ownership, and curation. 
  • Diversification for continual cash flow. 

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • Starting wholesale at a local level and giving a little to get to the next level. 
  • Growing your stockist list and the slow march to a smooth, automated process. 
  • Presenting a line that tells a complete story to increase consumer engagement. 
  • Business when you're at the top of the Wild West enamel pin game. 
  • Pin-Pal-Palooza 2017 and gauging pop culture concepts. 
  • Cracking the code of advertising in social media. 
  • Boosts and the initial discouragement of getting into the game. 
  • Understanding the true value of your product and targeting the right people for that. 


Direct download: AID593i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Step into the vibrant world of Esao Andrews. Just as his work reflects, he is a complicated tapestry of darker worlds concentrated around the bright spots of energy. Today's adventure takes us back through the story of his rise through the world of art and the unsteady ground that pushes him towards continual adaptation. With one foot in the gallery world and the other in commercial design, Esao is a renaissance artist not afraid to use his talents wherever they take him. From visually defining the world of Circa Survive across their musical career to crafting oil paintings ripe with contrasts that emotionally resonate with audiences around the world, Esao taps into the core of his message in any medium. Mark discusses facing your fears to cash in on the emotional lottery tickets you've put out into the universe and how Esao's interview is a perfect example of that. Be brave and remember that the true power of your art comes when you share it with the world.

Talking Points

  • The art that drew you in and designing decks in the days of screen printing. 
  • Meat House, the unlikely powerhouse at a defunct learning website, and serendipitously moving into the art world in waves. 
  • Landing on your style while making a living as a fine artist. 
  • Designing with restriction to expand your creativity. 
  • Finding financial independence in a shifting supply and demand economy. 
  • Creative collaboration within your industry. 
  • Planning versus jazz and getting lost in your work. 
  • Capturing the narrative to overcome your reference materials. 
  • A hand in hand relationship becoming the visual aspect of Circa Survive. 

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • The fickle, fine line between fine art and commercial art.
  • Exposure, financial gain, and learning to say no. 
  • Making Esao.
  • Gaining control in the feast and famine lifestyle.
  • Metaphorical opposites between Satellite and World Traveler. 
  • Color, atmosphere, and contrast. 
  • Being a control freak when new opportunities arise. 
  • The struggle to tell your own story and the lifeboats left out at sea. 
  • Humbly handling fame. 
Direct download: AID592i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

If there was only one name that could be included in the art history books to represent street art and youth culture at the turn of the century, Shepard Fairey would be it. From a few wheat pasted posters and a posse rallied around Andre The Giant, Shepard Fairey became a household name in a matter of years by sharing his punk rock ethics with the world and creating iconic imagery opposing the powers that be. The only problem is that fame comes at a cost on both a personal and professional level and this interview takes you behind the hype and inside the mind of a cultural icon who's been on both sides of the coin. From doing time to calls from the Commander In Chief himself to spearheading the next steps in social justice, Shepard Fairey's true story reveals a focused and humble creative using his influence to better the world he came from and the world he wants to live in. Mark opens the episode to get everyone in the proper perspective to understand the weight of first place and the struggle to convey your intentions when you're only trying to help.

Talking Points

  • Being the guy going down in history books without ever thinking you even had a space in the art world.
  • The freedom inside a whole new genre without any past expectations.
  • Red toner leads the way to a unifying aesthetic and developing your arsenal of paper stock.
  • Straddling the digital age and the limits of science.
  • Speaking directly to your audience and the fear of getting too big.
  • The outside inside strategy that can subvert the machinery you're trying to undo.
  • Viral messages and a humble reminder about the responsibility behind creating socially responsible art.
  • Evolving past the pole position of privilege.
  • How does Shepard pick his battles?
  • Celebrating the positive while critiquing the current political regime. 
  • Building a toolset with your life's graphic and philosophical foundation. 
  • The Obama Hope Poster project, being the antithesis of Bush, and risking your street cred to build a better world. 
  • Low self esteem, other talented artists, and staying busy. 
  • Balancing the risks of public art with the people who rely on you. 
  • The AP Trial of the century. 
  • No good deed goes unpunished, standing up for racial justice and equality, and a rainbow coalition. 
  • Exploitive offers, donating to charities, and privileged problems. 
  • Staying cool to people in the face of conjecture. 
  •  The occasional legitimate piece of criticism. 
  • Staying motivated and switching gears when you hit a creative wall. 
  • Building a business with your wife and how Mark becomes Mark after he gets his first tough love from Amanda Fairey. 
  • A couple firsts in Shepard's life. 
Direct download: AID589i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Mark Brickey and Biggie of Good Fight Entertainment look at the music that made them the men they are today on the second installment of the Start Today: Music Business Inspiration Podcast. Minor Threat existed for three years out in DC but their impact was immeasurable in not only the music they wrote, but how their lyrical themes shaped the DIY scene to this very day. Whether you've never heard the name Ian MacKaye or you have a black sheep tattooed on your arm, the first part of this episode brings you the history behind the band and how they built such an avid fanbase in a word of mouth only, underground world. With that perspective in mind, Mark and Biggie tackle the lyrics to the song Minor Threat line by line and look at what it meant to them when they first heard the song and how it still effects them now. The themes of holding onto your youth, finding your own path, and standing by your beliefs are what we all strive after everyday in a world that wants you to fall in line and do what your told so let the words of Ian MacKaye inspire you for the first time or all over again on Start Today... and that's a promise.

Talking Points

  • Something from nothing in DC, Bad Brains, and the Sex Pistols.
  • Iggy Pop, Black Flag, and finding the right attitude.
  • The birth of a Minor Threat.
  • Post-Threat life.
  • Inventing DIY.
  • Being a part of something that changed the world from a baseline of zero. 
  • Literally looking at lyrics like scripture including looking for loopholes. 
  • Three monumental accomplishments in three years. 
  • Two Ian anecdotes. 
  • You can't fake the funk. 
  • Discovering yourself with a larger perspective in mind. 
  • Cyclical trends in culture. 
  • Defying that adult crash in your mind and not aging out. 
  • The ultimate equalizer and deciding how to best utilize your time. 
  • Learning to live in the moment. 
  • Uncovering the proper promotional schedule based off momentum. 

Circle Of Trust Talking Points

  • Learning to lean into your success where you find it.
  • Fighting back for your dreams no matter who is looking.
  • Run at your opportunities and work within your restrictions to make your best art. 
  • Working twice as hard when you live life outside the rails. 
  •  The key to staying young at heart. 
  • Higher education and other templates for success. 
  • Staying optimistic and avoiding the paranoia that will ruin your good times. 
  • Dreams, expectations, and taking your time. 
  • Remember where you came from and grow from it. 
Direct download: AID588i.m4a
Category:Music Business -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

On the first episode of Start Today co-hosts Mark Brickey and Biggie breakdown the 1989 Gorilla Biscuits track “Start Today” and go line by line trying to fully understand the songs greater meaning and influences that it had on their lives. However, before we get to breaking down the walls of this inspiration, first Mark provides a rich audio documentary explaining the influences, origin and history of the short lived New York Hard Core super group the Gorilla Biscuits.


Talking Points

- Controlling your temper, not blowing up like you used to and realizing work isn’t worth getting mad over.

- Understanding that you’re never too old to hangout and the importance of finding your tribe.

- Location, location, location, where you are plays a huge part in how you play.

- Staying one step ahead of your current career and always planning for the next big thing.

- Not just working hard, but working hard toward a focused life plan.

- Procrastinating solves nothing, only creates more work.

- There is no seniority in the arts, which leaves zero room for laziness.

- The importance of movement, keeping moving to keep surviving.

- Trusting your gut, you always know what’s right.

- Put in the hours, it will always show in the work.

- The importance of saying sorry face to face.

- Time is your enemy, friend and greatest love.

Circle of Trust

Mark talks about his lessons learned from both the song Start Today and the creating the first podcast episode. As well as plays audio that didn’t make the final public cut.

Direct download: AID574.m4a
Category:Music Business -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

The DKNG triumphantly returns for its second year still leading the charge on all things design. Dan and Nathan have been busy since we heard from them doing everything from giant catalogues to product design to character development. Mark takes us into the belly of the beast to go over all projects DKNG has pushed out the door since we rang in 2017. How do they determine billing on their projects? How do they interact with their clients across an entire project? How do they plan out their design work? How do they do what they do so damn well? Step back inside the inner workings of one of the hardest working design studios out there and see why Dan and Nathan continue to stay at the top of their game as leaders in the industry.

Talking Points

  • Reinventing the holiday card over the last four years and changing the oil on the Death Star.
  • B2B catalog at epic proportions with tons of data, style guides, and a lot of backs and forths.
  • Figuring out billable hours for developing sixty pages. 
  • Pie slices and pumping the breaks on two hundred and fifty small pieces that make up larger projects.
  • Letting your fans grow up, get jobs, and hire you.
  • Leaning last year's functional system and fixing more surface level design issues.
  • Remembering the purpose of the project.
  • New spins on old to semi old ideas or keeping what works as a standard.
  • A moment on Mark's off brand thighs.
  • Signature style, hand drawn illustration, and discovering the paintbrush tool.
  • Googling thirteen year old girl proportions and the fine line to get it just right.
  • Finding a client that feeds you all their customer facing design needs.
  • Typographic hierarchy and unique purposes.
  • Layering data into good design.
  • Four tiers of confidence that make things easy to read and still leaves some flexible room for change.
  • Treating data in steps and one of the best tricks in the book.
  • Keeping MXPX and The Jesus and Mary Chain the same sizenand the problem solving skills behind typography.
  • The many players involved in working on a licensing deal and establishing first contact. 
  • Tonal lighting to bring your illustrations to life and using two separate types of light. 
  • Showing a feeling instead of the details and turning the lights on in a bar at the end of the night.
  • Logo placement and tangents.
  • Making it all to deliberately lose some of it.
  • Symmetrical elements and layering more shapes.
  • The process in making a DKNG original illustration and the lego pieces they add in.
  • One tiny part at a time and finishing all over the place. 
  • Creating actual space in the classic Star Wars style.
  • How much is enough to make you want more?
  • Are you a painter or a designer?
  • Mark's process on the Fantasyland print versus Dan's process on creating a piece.
  • Going past the threshold on building real world gravity into every piece.
  • Logos and limitations up in lights.
  • The allure of signs that aren't structurally sound and the realistic storytelling behind it. 
  • Setting a bar you're comfortable with.
  • Creating feelings and the science behind it that is our job to understand.
  • The importance of a good mockup to help bridge the gap in your client's imagination.
  • Playing rhythm guitar to improve the feel of the room instead of stroking your design ego o the lead guitar.
Direct download: AID527i.m4a
Category:Art Design -- posted at: 2:00am PDT