Comic Con 2019

The main artwork for Comic Con 2019 was inspired by the “Chrome on the Range” statue in Downtown Grand Junction.

Mesa County Libraries Comic Con 2019 is wrapped up and in the books! It was another great year and we saw the event grow in both attendance and quality. This year I expanded my role with the event. I created the marketing strategy and design work for the event, ran the official merchandise booth, and hosted a panel presentation / podcast. 

The main artwork for this year’s event was a blast to work on! I took inspiration from an iconic statue downtown and turned it into a super hero. The goal was to create a dynamic poster that ties the event to the new creative district in Downtown Grand Junction. Between the bison and the Two Rivers Convention Center silhouette in the background, I think I accomplished that goal. 

To help make the connection between the Comic Con poster artwork and the “Chrome on the Range” statue, me and another artist Emmi Farris, installed a red cape on bison for Downtown Art Fest.

The other major design element of this poster was the “Kirby Crackle.” I wanted to pay tribute to one of the greatest comic creators and artists ever, Jack Kirby, by using these circle patterns in this illustration.

Overall, this is one of my favorite posters ever.

Copeka Coffee Show Posters

Show poster for Denver band American Culture, featuring Bronco Country, Natural Violence, and Wrestle Mania.

Copeka Coffee is a coffee shop and performance venue focused on serving delicious coffee, organic pastries, and killer concerts. Copeka is also committed to being as inclusive as possible and building community. 

As a designer, musician, and an occasional coffee drinker, I totally support their mission. I also love making posters and encouraging people to check out their events. Here are a couple recent designs. 

Show poster for a collection of local artists and musicians.

Zine Party Pt. 2

Self portrait.

In July 2019, the Fruita Zine Party put out a special edition for the DIY Noise Collection, a concert and art series featuring several bands and artists. Here are a selection of pages I designed for the issue.   

Zines are fun projects to work on. As you can see from the images, pages can be about any subject matter, and the publisher encourages artists to be as creative as possible. These pages were inspired by a bright color palette, and the endlessly hot days of summer. 

This screen print was inspired by the cult 90s film “Encino Man.” Always wheeze the juice.
Tribute to Jon Contino, a great designer known for his hand drawn work.

The Grape Gatsby!

“The Grape Gatsby” is the latest wine from the Mesa County Libraries Foundation.

Mesa County Libraries Foundation has once again partnered with Grande River Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado to create a private label wine.

The Grape Gatsby is the second specially branded wine to bear the Foundation’s name. Well Read, a red table wine, was launched last year. Both wines are produced and bottled by Grande River Vineyards, and both are available for tasting and purchase.

“The Grape Gatsby” is a white table wine inspired by the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic “The Great Gatsby.” The label uses the same general layout as Well Read to help reinforce the brand. The design is made in an art deco style with plenty of gold to help bring out the tones in the wine. 

My favorite elements are the art deco wine glyphs I made for the side panels. I’m also not a huge fan of gradients but here they help give the label a subtle glow and add some depth to the design.

Mesa County Libraries Foundation “Well Read” and “The Grape Gatsby” wines. Wine bottle photos by Sean Edens.

Along with designing the wine labels, I also helped organize a launch event featuring The Doubious Brothers band. Here is the show poster. It’s inspired by a recent visit to the Hatch Show Print, a letterpress print and design shop located in Nashville, TN.

Show poster to promote “The Grape Gatsby” wine launch.

Cactus Bloom Therapeutics

Cactus Bloom Therapeutics is a physical therapy business run by Dr. Andrea Marchese. Cactus Bloom combines a number of disciplines, including massage and Thai yoga, to treat her patients. 

Cactus Bloom’s logo redesign was a simple process. Dr. Marchese wanted a logo inspired by a cactus flower growing in her yard. She also wanted it in a color scheme that invoked the desert landscape.

Dr. Marchese provided a number of photos of the flower, and a painting that helped develop the color palette. The end result is a simplified, colorful version that Cactus Bloom can be proud of.    

History Alive! Chautauqua

When the Museums of Western Colorado approached me about redesigning the Two Rivers Chautauqua brand, a number of questions arose. Primarily, what is chautauqua?  

The Two Rivers Chautauqua program is a Colorado Humanities supported project where a scholar portrays a significant historical figure and delivers an unscripted dramatic monologue in costume and in character. It’s a unique opportunity for an audience to have a conversation with Mark Twain or George Washington. 

In the past, the group had a number of issues come up with their brand. Where is this chautauqua group located? What is chautauqua?  Part of the goal of this project was to rename the program.

Those living in Western Colorado immediately know that “Two Rivers” refers to the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. That fact is unclear for people living outside of the region however. Correcting that was relatively simple. Two Rivers became Colorado West.  

At its core chautauqua brings history to life. With that in mind we decided to call the program “History Alive! Colorado West Chautauqua.” 

With the name settled it was time to work on the new logo. While this chautauqua group primarily focuses on historical figures from the old west, it also includes characters from all time periods and all parts of the world in their presentations. We had ideas to take inspiration from historical figures like John Otto and Chief Ouray, or even more generic figures like pioneers or miners. Those felt too limiting however, so we settled on a more generic look.

The new logo is inspired by western signage and woodcuts from the old west. The logo is meant to invoke memories of the past without being specific to a region, time period, or culture.

The ornament piece balances out the layout and has three swirls, each swirl representing the a Museums of Western Colorado museum location, downtown, Cross Orchards, and Dinosaur Journey. The logo colors also tie into the museums current branding standards.

All in all the project was a fun challenge to work on and does a good job rebranding the program for the museum and the public.

Goodbye Mount Orchid

For the past 10 years I’ve had the absolute pleasure to play bass with Mount Orchid (formally Dreamboat). Last Friday, April 12, we played our final show, a bittersweet moment for sure. Playing music with Billy Pogany and the band has been so rewarding. Together we recorded, three albums, played countless shows across Colorado, opened for Collective Soul, and were the first band from Western Colorado invited to play the Open Air show on Colorado Public Radio.

Playing in the band as a designer has also been a lot of fun. I’ve made countless band posters, buttons, and album designs for all iterations of the band, from Dreamboat through Mount Orchid. It’s some of my favorite work, primarily because it was for my own passion project. Here’s a collection of my favorite band designs.

MO pins

MO BC

We-Speak-Imaginese-18x24

Notes:
• Mount Orchid Smokey the Bear button design by 464r7h4
• Bronco Country / Mount Orchid poster design by Andrew Watson

Read! \m/

Every year libraries across the country participate in Summer Reading, a program designed to encourage reading during the summer and keep kids from having setbacks. The 2018 Summer Reading theme was ‘”Reading Rocks!” An offshoot of working on that project for Mesa County Libraries was this limited run of “Read” metal shirts.

Inspired by the ubiquitous Read posters, my version is a take on totally brutal metal band logos. Obviously not a great fit to promote reading to little kids, the natural use of this art is to throw it on a black shirt and sell it to music nerds like Colorado Public Radio Open Air host Bruce Trujillo.

IMG_8461

 

Local Crews Help Build Country Jam’s Success

This article originally appears in the Spring 2019 issue of Spoke + Blossom magazine. 

Each year in early June, semi trucks filled with concert equipment descend on Jam Ranch in Mack, Colorado. Awaiting their arrival are small crews of sound engineers, stage hands, and festival organizers. They’ll spend the next several days busily sorting and assembling the main stages, sound systems, and general framework for Country Jam.

For nearly three decades Country Jam crews have transformed the open ranch land off I-70 exit 11 into one of the largest country music festivals in the U.S. Featuring top country music stars and attracting thousands of music fans from across the country for a four-day honky tonk, Country Jam is the premier live music event in Western Colorado.  

Thousands of work hours go in to pulling off the Jam, many of which are supplied by local crews tirelessly working behind the scenes to make sure every aspect of the event runs smoothly.

This year, for the first time in the festival’s history, Snob Productions, a Grand Junction based production company, will handle all aspects of Country Jam. Audio, video, lighting, and staging will all be assembled from the ground up by Snob.  

“We are super excited about Country Jam,” Snob Productions owner David Wall said. “It’s one of those events we’ve been working towards for a number of years. We’ve built up our reputation with the organizers and they’ve put their trust in us to run the event. It’s also cool to keep that contract local and that money local.”

Planning for this year’s Jam has been in the works essentially since last year’s event. Wall and crew have been meticulously ramping up effort as the event date gets closer and will use roughly 20 – 30 employees, a majority of which are local based.   

“I’ve worked some different [live] events and have seen it all, good and bad,” longtime Country Jam stagehand and stage manager Vernon Walker said. “We are pretty lucky to have a solid local crew that’s been doing it for a long time. Without them the show couldn’t happen.“

West Middle School principal by day, music fan boy by night, Walker has been working the Jam since 1998. Building the main structure, providing grunt labor for the performers’ tour crew, troubleshooting tech and audio issues, even playing tour guide to Chris LeDoux and suggesting which local golf course to play, is all part of the job.   

“Being around live music really attracted me to the job. There are few things cooler than live music. Seeing what goes into putting off a show like this is addictive,” Walker said.

Once all the structures are built and the festival gates open, local crews stick around to help shuttle gear during set changes, protect equipment from inclement weather, operate spotlights, and take on any unanticipated task that needs to be completed. While the performers get all the attention, it’s the anonymous local crews who work to ensure fans and performers have a great Country Jam experience.  

Country Jam 2019 is June 13-16, and features headliners Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, and Alabama. Tickets are available at countryjam.com.

Country JamPhoto courtesy of Country Jam.