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Tag: art

Flying Tiger Brewery

So for a long time now, I’ve been working on a commercial project, an ongoing project that I wasn’t including on this blog. In fact, that project was keeping me off this blog due to the secrecy of it. Secret because I didn’t want to reveal the designs until the company had a chance to do it first. Well now the work is everywhere so finally, here I am to talk about it and show off some of the work. It’s for Flying Tiger Brewery in Monroe, LA. I designed their logo, their beer cans, and some social media and swag along the way.

By the way, nowhere in this long post am i going into any detail about what a flying tiger is or was, or what historical significance the plane and the pilots hold – suffice it to say, they made a difference and one outstanding man has ties to the region where the brewery is located, hence the name – alas, this isn’t a history blog. If you want more insight, there’s wikipedia.

The logo. Here’s the original “approved” logo…

flying_tiger-logo_frame

The shark-mouth-circle, based upon the traditional flying tiger nose design, was supposed to go along with the word mark as a secondary image to make up the logo.

flying_tiger-logo_HAT

It’s a cool, little illustration and while we still use it here and there (shirts, hats), it ended up not being the final logo. Nope, the final logo happened as I was designing a possible sticker or coaster to add to their collection of goods. But once the powers-that-be saw it, they preferred it over mr. shark mouth and the rest is history. And here we are…

flying_tiger-logo_variations

See how the propeller cuts into the red circle? Originally it cut into the letters too but that just didn’t translate well. Also, the original design had blasts of fire near the 2 guns (barely visible) on the wings, but somewhere along the way those were removed. But the real meat of this project is the can designs. I had never designed anything for cans before and began the project without realizing there are certain limitations within the medium. Which is a good thing, limitations are anti-creative.

I knew i wanted to give the cans some common elements other than colors so the stripes were implemented early on; they changed shape and color a time or two but remained until the very end. Also, from nearly the very beginning, I thought of using different “characters” to represent different beer styles/flavors. And while this idea also stood the test of time, the characters themselves changed radically.

The following are a few preliminary attempts/roughs, including the original sketch for Mr. Heroic Hops himself when he was single (and also before he grew his exquisite facial hair). While we figured out what look we wanted to give the cans, things naturally evolved and developed, essentially creating the look of the company. Enjoy.

 

One of my favorite flavors to work on was the Burma Blonde. But while i was figuring out the look, somewhere along the way i should’ve zigged instead of zagged or something and i produced this homely specimen:

Print

Yea, i’m not sure what happened there. But then when i was finding my footing again, i over-rotated and went a little too far on the sex-appeal meter. Exhibit A:

can_design3_REV

I like her.

But they thought her face was a little too cartoony. And when compared to the other designs, it is. So you’ll see below that her look is a little more realistic and her shirt is a little less revealing.

I want to mention the dots real quick. I was using dots, or a halftone pattern, or both, a lot on the first designs. It reminded me of old news print, which i thought reflected the era i was going for somehow – but due to color limitations, those were eventually lost.

burma-blonde_BALL

Above is the final burma blonde design in all her glory, with her Indian motorcycle and white as a ghost complexion (color limitations and all, i’m hoping to add a little pigment once we put her on a shirt).

And here are the other two:

burma-blonde_BALL

burma-blonde_BALL

And here’s the Nitro Bomb Milk, along with the illustration before all the bells and whistles were added:

nitro_pilot

 

nitro-bomb-milk_rev

The nitro bomb has yet to actually be printed (and it may not as a nitrogenized beer is hard to replicate in a can i’m told) which is why the design looks so much different than the other three. I never got to the point of finalizing it for the manufacture’s specifications.

There’s also a fifth design that i’m very proud of featuring a tank. I’m not including it here because it’s yet to be printed. Hopefully it will see the light of day because next to the nitro design, it’s my favorite.

Now that i understand the methodology a little better regarding ink on cans, i would probably do things a little differently. But with that said, i’m very happy with the outcome. And luckily, the beer is fantastic. It would suck to have my designs on a product i didn’t care for. If you’re in the Monroe area, check out the brewery. I can’t recommend the nitro bomb enough… so good.

And i would be remiss not to thank Rob Brewer and James Simpson for coming to me with this project in the first place. Thanks guys. You have a stellar product, I hope you enjoy the designs as much as i enjoy the beer… probably depends on how many i’ve had… moving on.

On a side note, because i feel the need to mention it – there are several band posters that follow this post -I did those when i just needed to take a mental break from the Flying Tiger stuff. If you feel the need to continue reading after all this, you’ll see them below. I designed each of those with some rules in place – the first being that i had to use the same color scheme, and the second is that i only gave myself an hour for each. Why rules? I don’t know. Maybe i liked the challenge. Maybe i’m lazy and an hour was all i was willing to give to a non-paying project. Do we have to question everything?

Thanks for reading.

DEATH GRIPS

Print

P.O.S.

Print

IDIOT PILOT

Print

PORTISHEAD

portishead_poster2_jbn

KANYE WEST

Print

TWENTY ONE PILOTS

Print

RUN THE JEWELS

Print

DEFTONES

Print

RESTLESS

Okay, new painting. Yay that. I’m back in the studio for a bit, not sure how long this time though. Making art, as crucial as it is for my sanity, is a money and time eater. Two things i don’t have. Alas, since i’ve been painting again, i’ve completed two and sold one so not too shabby i guess. As i get older, my ceiling for the perception of success gets increasingly lower. Anyway, the one you’re about to see is the one I sold; I’ll post the other one in a few days.

My cycle of creative pursuits is nearly always the same. I work in the studio for a few months, creating a solid body of work with a similar theme. Then I have a show and try to sell the work before leaving the studio to pursue something else – for example, last time, that “something else,” was my book which you can purchase or read about in the posts below this one. Working this way allows me to reset my brain, creating chapter breaks within my fine-art production – these breaks allow for me to come back to the studio with a new set of ideas so my work stays fresh and i don’t get bored. I mention this because for the first time in several years, this break method didn’t work. I came back to the studio with several ideas but no real direction. I wanted to try to create a body of work that would appeal to the art-buyers of the world without compromising my own style and interests. Finding that blurry line has been easier said than done. The first piece I did, the one you’re about to see, was a success. The imagery had enough of me in it that i was happy to sign my name to it while the subject was broad enough that i felt it would sell easily. However, i’ve found that line is not an easy one to walk while simultaneously keeping my interest.

Yesterday was an event here in my hometown called Blend of the Bayou – a nice little gig with food and drink and general merriment where local artists try to sell their digs to a crowd of mostly well-to-do types. Fine by me. In fact, this event is what sparked me to get back in the studio and what put me on the path to try to create some crowd-pleasers that still maintained my personal style. I intended to have more than one finished for the event, but as i mentioned above, walking that line wasn’t easy. The second piece i finished has a lot more of me in it – not entirely on purpose – which took it out of the running for Blend of the Bayou. And i don’t mean to segregate or stereotype, this is simply a case of knowing your audience. I’ll show the other piece at a gallery soon where a more diverse crowd will have a chance to see it. Moving on…

So, as usual – my backgrounds are semi-controlled, educated-accidents of chemical reactions and gravity. I work on the floor, not on an easel. I use my hands as much as i do brushes. And i use spray paint and wood stain in ways the manufacturers never intended. Also, i like using words in my paintings – always have, probably always will. Choosing the right word(s) isn’t always easy. But for this one, I was working with the idea of idle hands so the word “restless” just seemed like a natural fit. Plus it’s a word i just like – it defines me more than it should. Okay, before i turn this into a counseling session – here’s the background.

restless_bg

“REST” was done by scraping the wet yellows off, to show the dry oranges underneath, using stencils i cut out of old art-prints of mine that never sold. Was that the saddest thing you ever read? Two tears in a bucket. “Less” is straight-up orange spray paint (i know it doesn’t look orange in the photo but trust me). The top area, the blue, is made up of several things including chrome spray paint and even some oil paint. The darker spots are done by mixing in some wood stain. I’ve always liked the look of weathered textures – i’ve been perfecting this vibe for years – so background done. Time for the foreground, an illustration of hands that i originally planned to do in chalk but ended up doing in oil pastels. I’ve always loved drawing hands, mainly because it’s always been such a challenge. I did the following piece a few years ago:

gesticulibrary

You can get that badboy off society 6.

So, the hands – and the finished piece:

restless_painting

I’m happy with it. Hopefully the nice couple that bought it will find a good spot for it. It’s 36 X 48 inches for those interested. And speaking of society 6, if i can get a good quality photo of it, i may put it on there. I originally planned on doing several pieces with hands or other various body parts but i really only have one more planned to do, making it the shortest run of any themed work i’ve ever done. What can i say, i get… restless.

Until next time true-believers.