Category Archive: posters

Critical Mass poster

I’ve been a rider and active participant in the global bike culture phenomenon known as Critical Mass since 1993. September of this year marks the 20th anniversary since this social bike ride began here in San Francisco. In the years that followed, the idea spread to hundreds of cities around the world, and it is now a global movement.

In 2002, I and several other artists created posters to mark the 10th anniversary. This year, we continued the tradition. Here’s my contribution:

CM20 poster

With this type of work, I always try different color combinations. There were two “runners up” color options which I liked a lot, so we decided to run these as handbills alongside the poster.

CM20 handbills

Here’s a shot of the poster as it came off the press today. I’m telling the press operator, “Ease up on the cyan, please!”

press check

Check out the awesome Critical Mass 20th Anniversary posters by my friends Mona Caron and Jim Swanson. I’m so pleased to be part of such a long-lived and inspirational movement!

You can buy my poster as well as the others at this link — as well as a copy of the new book, Shift Happens, which includes an essay I contributed about my involvement in Critical Mass over the years.

Rupa & The April Fishes poster

My friend, singer/songstress Rupa Marya asked me to do a poster for a great project last month. She and her band, the April Fishes, were doing a tour around the entire Bay Area on their bikes, culminating in a show at the Independent here in SF. We did two versions, one for the tour and one for the Independent show.

I’ve done a lot of illustrations of people on bikes in my time, and one thing I can say is that it never gets easier! It’s a very tricky thing, all the gears and pedals and weird angles that never seem right. But this poster was a lot of fun. And I’ll be doing another shortly for the upcoming Bicycle Music Festival!

Both posters are for sale in my shop! Bay Rising Tour poster & Rupa & the April Fishes at the Independent.

If you haven’t heard Rupa’s music, check it out! Free download a track from her new album here!

May Day! My Poster Goes Viral

May Day was a big deal this year. While this holiday is a huge in the rest of the world, with giant rallies and celebrations in every country on Earth, it’s rarely celebrated in the United States. So I was glad to hear that there were protests and celebrations planned in cities around the country. This is, after all, the country that invented May Day, a holiday born of the struggle for the 8-hour day in the 1890s.

I made this poster to mark the occasion, and I was glad to see that it went viral! It’s been shared over 200 times on Facebook, has been featured on the Occupy Wall Street page, Wonkette, and multiple other blogs, and I have reports that it was put to use as far away as Italy, Spain and Australia!

I posted the image, on my Flickr page (you can download a hi-res image if you like), and encouraged people to download, copy and share it, keeping in mind the image is available on a Creative Commons Non-commercial Attribution license. I don’t have much time for activism these days, but I’m pleased if I can contribute to these movements for positive social change with my artwork. (Way more fun than sitting around in endless meetings or other “activist”-like stuff!)

Many people have written asking for a print of the poster, so I’ve made it available in my shop at the low working class price of $20. Get one today!

Also, you might be interested in the inspiration for this poster, which is the wonderful classic from 1896 by Walter Crane. What an inspiring image!

Anarchist Bookfair

I did the poster again this year for the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, which is taking place this weekend!

This is the 9th poster I’ve done for the Bookfair. Each year I try to do something completely different — something outside my usual style. I’m always amused when people don’t realize that I’m the artist behind all of them!

Each of the Anarchist Bookfair posters I’ve done are available on a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial license. You’re free and encouraged to download them from my Flickr page* and print, publish, remix and re-use for your own purposes.

Next year will be my 10th and most likely my final poster for the Bookfair. Maybe someone else will want to step up and do some? I hope so! It’s a fun project.

* To download the hi-res image, choose the “Action” tab above the image, then choose “View all sizes” and choose the size you want.

California Design & Illustration Show at Los Medanos Art Gallery

I helped curate a show with some amazing artists that opens this Thursday! The show is called “California Design & Illustration,” and it features my work as well as three other artists — here’s the invite that Mati and I created for the show:

Check out some of the photos from the installation!

My incredible talented wife Mati McDonough is the star attraction (IMHO). In addition to some recent paintings, she installed a whole wall of her inspiration — replicating the beautiful creative chaos of her working space.

Our good friend Lisa Congdon is in the show as well — she installed a series of her beautiful animal paintings that are a wonder to behold:

In addition to us three, we also included Jason Munn of the Small Stakes, who is one of our favorite artists working today. Jason’s rock posters combine incredible design savvy with conceptual brilliance. I really want to own this Dr. Strangelove piece, but think it is sold out!

I displayed a bunch of my own poster and book work:

My poster work and books!

But to really make the show special, Mati volunteered me to design a mural for the show. It took two days and three of us working to do it, but it came out great!

Los Medanos Art Gallery is on the campus of Los Medanos Community College, way out in Pittsburg (at the end of the BART line). Here’s the info in case you’d like to make the trek to join us!

Opening: Thursday, February 3, 2011 · 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Through March 3, 2011

Los Medanos Art Gallery
2700 East Leland Road (map)
Pittsburg, CA

SFAI Student Work

When I was in art school at CCA(C), I never quite fit in, artistically speaking. I had lots of friends, but since the classes I was taking were all fine art classes, I was sort of out of place. My work was always being called “illustrative” — a grave insult in the world of the fine art academy!

That's me in my art school days, looking scared of my own work.

Now I’m back in the academic world, doing a little teaching at the SF Art Institute, and just finished my first class, an introduction to illustration using digital tools. And I guess it’s appropriate that most of my students were people just like me — born illustrators working in an almost exclusively fine art-oriented school. Which, it turns out, is not such a bad place to be if you’re an illustrator!

To give them a sense of the “real world” of the working illustrator, I made each assignment a “job” from an art director — and for extra realism I attached an imaginary dollar amount tagged to each assignment. The students did a total of five jobs, ranging from editorial illustration to fashion illustration to my favorite assignment, the gig poster, which I saved for their final. They did some great work!

Read on to see some examples of their work… Click here to read more »

Sticky Webs

Another poster last week… They’re coming in waves! This one is for my friends at CounterPulse, the amazing performance/community space. It’s hard to believe it’s been 2 years since they opened on May Day 2005… Now it’s their second anniversary, and I was given pretty much free reign to do as I liked for the poster and postcard.

What’s weird is that this poster is a return of the repressed. For one thing, the design is very similar to a sketch I submitted for Cat Power a few months ago. What a disaster that was! I did a total of 11 sketches, and they were all rejected. This one I really liked, so I was glad to finally pull it out of cold storage and put it to good use.

But even weirder is the fact that I’ve gone back to high school. As a teenager, I drew endless doodles that looked sort of like spider webs covered in oil — and now the sticky web forms have returned. I guess it’s true that what goes around comes around.

Speaking of high school, I was in San Diego for an EFF event — that whole city for me will just always be in a time warp of the 1980s. I guess it doesn’t help much that people in SD still dress like it’s 1987. The last time I lived there I was 18, and I was such a different person. But maybe I wasn’t… On this trip, I looked up my old friend Chris Whittal (who does not have a web page and so I cannot link to his amazing industrial design work!). Chris and I were buds in 87-88, and ever since then we’ve kept in touch sproradically. But it’s interesting how easy it is to reconnect with some people. The only way to explain that is to say that we probably haven’t changed as much as we think we have.

One quick thing to say about my friend Chris: He really embodies the word magnanimous.

While I was down south, I drove up to LA to see the AMAZING Mark Ryden show. I had to drive all day to do it, but it was entirely worth it. I love the way he references science and mysticism, and slaps them right up against crass pop cultural goofiness. He’s my hero, even though I’m sure that if I ever got talking to him I would not agree with his spiritual take on the universe.

There is a store I like to visit in LA called the Cowboyz Shack. It’s a kind of nirvana for fans of vintage western shirts. Whereas in San Francisco, I have to search fruitlessly for weeks to find a good vintage western shirt, down in LA they have a whole store with way too many options. Anyway, it just happened to be directly across from the Ryden show. If you’re in LA, it’s on the corner of Beverly and Laurel. Lucky thing I don’t live there…

Big Fish

My friend Ara Anderson asked me to do a poster for him about 5 years ago, and now it’s finally done.

Ara’s band Iron and the Albatross is playing the Red Poppy Art House on Friday, along with his girlfriend, Katy Stephan. These two are both so amazingly talented that I had plenty of inspiration, which I guess is the reason I like doing music posters in the first place. Katy had a project a while ago called Every 7 days, where she wrote a song every week. Now she’s in the studio recording the fruits of her labors. And Ara is a maniac. When he is on stage, he literally glows, like he’s radioactive. It’s weird. I love Iron and the Albatross, and also his other project, Boostamonte.

I’ll be at the show with a stack of posters. It’s a small venue, so if you’re thinking of joining us, you’d better come early!

Meanwhile, out there in Internet-land, someone has finally taken on Stephen Colbert. It’s about time someone stood up to that guy. He talks about “truthiness”, but as this site points out, it’s really “falsiness”. (You might not be able to view the video through YouTube, but the QuickTime link on the site works.)