Howl! Arts Festival
I’m very excited to announce the upcoming Howl! Arts Festival—les voix survolent la ville, a celebration of art and revolution. This first edition, taking place over 6 days at the end of April, brings together a host of local artists and events committed to the deepening of community engagement and grassroots activism, with a focus on the struggles of First Nations, Inuit and Metis.
The festival opens with a benefit concert for Missing Justice featuring Odaya, Sarah Pagé and AurorA, followed the next evening by Regards sur le 7eme feu. This 11 musician ensemble performance presents a conceptual work envisioned and composed by Xarah Dion and Stefan Christoff, exploring issues around the future of the North. Other events include a fundraising concert for those arrested under the unjust Montreal bylaw P6 during (and after) the Quebec student strike of 2012, a screening of Alanis’ Obomsawin’s documentary film Hi-Ho Mistahey!, and a panel discussion on the relationship between art and gentrification.
The festival closes with the launch of the 13th issue of Four Minutes to Midnight, which has been almost two years in the making. Much more on that very soon!
The visuals and poster for the festival were created by LOKi design, and printed by Chris at la Presse du chat perdu. The graphic approach was equally inspired by the explosive force of Vorticism, the imagery of a dense city seen from above, and a personal attempt to work with abstraction in a politically coherent way.
More details for the festival on the Howl! website, and on facebook here.
Contre la Charte des valeurs
Working with the FARD (Féministes anti-racistes détonant.e.s) collective, I designed a series of typographic posters in opposition to the proposed Quebec Charter of Values and its inherent racist agenda. Produced as part of the latest issue of the .dpi journal, the goal of the series is to render public opposition more visible within the city’s cultural venues and in the streets.
Interviewed by Papirmass
Papirmass is an amazing art subscription project run by the talented Kirsten McCrea. I was honoured to have Kirsten invite me to contribute to the upcoming issue, as both writer and designer (with art by former Four Minutes contributor Kevin Ledo on the flip side). In lead-up to the issue, Papirmass has just posted an image-rich interview with yours truly, and I couldn’t be more chuffed to share some thoughts on design, typography and activism!
Read the interview here.
P.S. For those that make it all the way to the end, there’s a little surprise in store on the studio front. More on that very soon…
Issue 13 WIP
Things are coming along slowly, but surely, with the next issue (13) of Four Minutes to Midnight and I wanted to share some work in progress images. Alongside a much tighter conception of what we want to do with the issue, I’m very excited to announce that Howl Arts will be officially supporting the project with production and distribution. With this support, we’ve decided to print an offset run in colour for the first time ever! We also plan to engage the talents of local craft printers, and employ letterpress, silkscreen and risograph printing for covers and inserts.
Brahja Waldman’s Quintet Street Poster
Street poster designed for Brahja Wladman’s Quartet (Quintet for the show) double album launch this Friday at Café Resonance. Howl co-produced the album, and I also designed the CD packaging, images coming soon.
Facebook event here. Photo by the city’s best poster paster-upper, Stefan Christoff.
Some thoughts on “Critical Graphic Design”
Last weekend I was invited to participate in a small symposium/dinner at the N/A space in Toronto on the subject of “Critical Graphic Design”. Organised by Chris Lee and Patricio Davila, the dinner brought together a diverse group of (mostly local) designers, educators, researchers and activists to chat informally about what critical graphic design might be, with the goal of moving towards a series of workshops in the summer.
I was honoured to be invited amongst the numerous guests, which included a couple of old friends, a couple of design heros, and generally all people I’d like to get to know better: JP from Paper Pusher, Anouk from Studio Feed, Sheila from The Public, Abake, Michelle Champagne, members of the Beehive Collective, and many more.
It was a pleasure to meet everyone around a delicious potluck, and I was really excited by the prospect of this re-engagement with design discourse. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay very long, and I wish I had had a chance to speak with people more in depth. Nonetheless, quite a few interesting ideas emerged from that night, and I’ll sketch a few of them out here.
SSENSE: Beyond Control Editorial
I’ve sadly neglected this blog for a while now, due to some big changes and challenges in my professional and personal life. To my “loyal readership”, my sincerest apologies. The big news is that after a very introspective January, I decided to take on a full-time position as the Art & Design Director at SSENSE, a leading Montreal-based fashion company. The images above are from my first ever fashion editorial!
This is my first in-house job, and I’m quickly learning that the challenges are quite different than those of agency or freelance work, but I’m really excited to be able to dig so deep into, and feel ownership over, a single, unique brand. I’ve also been impressed by how different the fashion industry is from the advertising industry. Obviously, there are a lot of overlaps, but the attention to purposeful craft is very refreshing. The creative team at SSENSE is very talented and there are big plans for the company on the horizon, so please stay tuned. Here’s hoping my immersion into the world of fashion might also improve my wardrobe as well!
RIP Ian Noble
On January 30th, designer, educator, and author Ian Noble passed away. Ian was my professor during my MA at the London College of Printing and I was deeply saddened by the news. I first met Ian back in the fall of 2001, during the Declarations conference in Montreal. I participated in the We Interrupt the Programme workshop that he and Russel Bestley were leading, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that my experiences over the course of that week changed my life. It carved the path for both my career as a graphic designer and my activism as an engaged, politicised, individual.
At the time, I remember clearly being impressed by Ian’s presence and generosity, his no-bullshit attitude, his acerbic humour. I remember smoking cigarettes with him and Sandy Kaltenborn in the courtyard of the VA building, his AK-47 t-shirt, and his contagious love of punk rock. Equally contagious was his deeply held passion for graphic design, as theory and practice, from which I learned to understand design as a language, one with an important social responsibility.
New Year, New Portfolio
With the passing of the new year, and all the attendant reflection this entails, I’ve finally taken the time to revisit my portfolio pdf. The main goal of this redesign was to represent the growing diversity of my practice while highlighting the common threads (typography, poetics, collaboration, etc.) that tie my work together.
The process of thinking through my work was surprisingly difficult. Though it’s a new portfolio, it doesn’t actually feature very much new work. This is partly due to the honest fact that my newest work isn’t necessarily my best (something I clearly need to work on), and also due to the desire for the portfolio to act more as a signpost, rather than a comprehensive collection. Nonetheless, there are several exciting new projects included, alongside new documentation of older work. I’ve cherry-picked through my output over the last few years to select pieces that point towards the type of work I want to be doing.
Download the portfolio here