I was able to attend the ICON8 Roadshow Bazaar last week and it was awesome! There were so many amazing illustrators with their booths all set up, selling prints and other beautiful merchandise. It was pretty packed so I made the rounds, took some photos, made some new friends, and had a good time!
Brecht Vandenbroucke made a book called White Cube, and I had to buy it. I loved all the commentary on the High Brow Art World.
There was so much talent packed into this room!
I was hoping to find some illustrators to collaborate with so I made a zine on the day of the Roadshow. We will see if any fun collabs come of it.
Recently, I hand painted my first chalkboard for Sam's Cafe.
There are metal plates that hang from the board to switch out the featured menu items.
I'm starting a new project titled We Lived There. Inspired by the beautiful homes of Portland, Oregon—this series will develop into a zine that I will create at the end of summer. This is a fun summer side project for me. Along wtih the illustrations will be a brief paragraph, or a couple of sentences, that describe the fictional history of the people who lived in these places.
Tonight is the opening for THEY LIVE, at White Owl at 7pm.
I thought I would go ahead and post my process for my pizza peel.
After completing the illustration, I uploaded the file to the laser etching machine to transfer the exact original illustration to the pizza peel. I had to temororarily remove the handle to fit it into the machine.
Then I filled in the colors.
The I reattached the handle and disguised the break with cheese!
Texture was added with my sander along with the lettering on the handle.
On a side note, I have been getting more emails from people who have been getting PIZZABAT tattoos! That is crazy awesome!!! I like the different interpertations of PIZZABAT that are happening.
It's a bust of me, spinning! and I am a really saturated with pink and black.
I'm experimenting with more outrageous colors and wondering where that road leads.
This past week, I've found myself creating more .gifs and it is a lot of fun.
I want to make enough .gifs to have a section of .gifs so that will be a goal for this summer.
I've recently discovered how to export .gifs as .mp4 format.
I'm working on developing this further but it may take some time.
(Poster by Metal Matt Stikker)
• Brent Gentile
• Burrito Breath
• Justin Wright
• Stuart Harmer
• Ben Jensen
• Alex DeSpain
• Sketchy Tank
• Jon Werrin
• Seth Ciferri
• Mark Kowalchuk
• The Legendary Mike V
• Craig Wheat
• Sean Äaberg
• Michael Ewing
• Matt French
• Casey Ramsey
• Orion "Castle Landolf" Landau
• Metal Matt Stikker
My inspiration comes from being exposed to things I have never experienced before. I observe design trends and what is going on with the fine art world too. Design gives representation to an idea and communicates something for a purpose. Good design can be logically explained as well as evoke emotion.
When I am browsing online, I tend to look at a lot of design but with a fast eye. If the design catches my attention and I find myself investigating the details of the work, then I backtrack and try to pinpoint why I felt that way.
At the top of my mind, when looking at design, is “so what” and “why?” Why did the designer use that shade of blue? Why did they use that typeface? Usually there are references and meanings that most people won’t notice immediately. Finding those invisible connections is very inspiring.
There are superstars in the design world that I look up to because what they do resonates with my own thinking. Some websites I am looking at often are,FFFFFFOUND, Collate, Mondo Illustration, It’s Nice That, Fab, Designspiration, as well as many others. Magazines are another source of inspiration as well as books. I like seeing design in print because it has a different tone than online behind a glass screen.
Geoff McFetridge spoke at the Walker Art Center in 2013. I watched this video and it really sparked something in me. Something changed in the way I thought about the formulation of ideas.
Paul Rand is another hero of mine. He does a good job of simplifying big ideas which is something I strive for in most of my design work.
Paul Rand said “Don’t try to be original, be good.” It is something I tell myself when taking on big design projects. I find that to be very inspiring because when something is original for original sake, it may not communicate the message as effectively. Good design has a function. The goal is to get the idea of the content across effectively. Research reveals a lot of clues on how to execute a design, but also understanding the environment in which the message is delivered is important.
Keeping an open mind and having critical thinking skills are essential for me. I pull inspiration from culture mostly and by paying attention to the world around me. Often the details reveal a solution.
I got an email from the Art Director of Willamette Week, Kathleen Marie, inquiring if I would want to do an illustration for them. Of course I said yes! I hope to do more with them in the future.
This morning, I woke up and saw this email in my inbox.Dear Alex,Thank you for the rad illustration. I had to get it tattooed. I love it.
WendyIt really made my day.
Photos from Taxonomies at Land Gallery
The show is up through June 8th.
Thank you to everyone who came to the opening!
3925 North Mississippi Ave
Portland, Oregon 97227 [Map]
We are open:
Monday - Sunday, 10a-6p
You can contact us:
Opens May 22, 2014 at 6pm.
Runs through June 8, 2014.
To understand our world and beyond, scientists create taxonomies of natural phenomena. They classify everything from plants, to stars, to insects. Similarly, we create classifications as a society, and as individuals, in order to wrap our heads around various unscientific phenomena. Come see the taxonomies of this talented group of artists and designers!
Here's a sneak peak at a small piece of the poster that I will be showing.
More info here.
Most Saturdays are spent hanging out with Kate Bingaman-Burt at her Studio. She has really taken me under her wing and has been teaching me a lot about freelance work this past year. I like to pay tribute to those people who have had an influence in my life and KBB has for sure.
I built a workspace desk out of a piece of maple and some metal piping. The lamps were found at REVOLVE and they remind me of microscopes. That's my pencil sharpener there and to the left of that is a metal carrier on wheels but the picture is too dark. Usually the room is lit like this when I get in my "zone" and work.
I'm going to be in another group show at Land Gallery next month. The theme is TAXONOMIES and I am illustrating a bunch of camping gear in the newer style I have been exploring more of (no outlines). Camping gear is some of the coolest shit and also, I love camping. It's kind of funny to me how we bring this very unnatural gear with us into nature.
Also, I've been considering becoming more active with the Odd Fellows again. I miss my Denton Lodge and wonder what the Lodges in Portland are like.
We just moved to a new house and the new term has started too. It's a real challenge to have so much going on but I love that I spend so much time designing or illustrating these days. I'm excited to be working on projects with Kate Bingaman-Burt, Jen Wick, Sock It To Me, Skate Season, and Widmer Brothers. The opportunities are really picking up and I couldn't be more greatful and excited!
Alright, this is a short post because time is limited. Stay Posi!
Lately, I've been really inspired by illustrators like Blex Bolex, David Plunkert, Geoff Mcfetridge, Clare Rojas, & Margaret Kilgallen. I've been a fan of their work for a while but have usually stuck with my comfort zone of using outlines on my illustrations. I like that outlining an object helps define it, especially when converted to grayscale. It works for many applications.
However, there is something really nice about not using outlines and letting the color contrast define the parameters. For me, it has a nostaligic quality that brings me back to the childrens books I would look at and love all growing up. It seems friendly and I'm really excited about exploring more of this direction.
This is one of the recent portraits I've done of my instructor and friend Jason Sturgill.
As you can see, I sign my work now. I used to be opposed to it because I thought it distracted from the image, but I think it is not a bad idea to have that authorship present on an illustration. This way, if someone Pins my work on Pinterest, or reposts it on Tumblr, there is a link back to me. It serves a purpose so I'm going with it. Also, my signature is highly calligraphic. This is because I've been practicing calligraphy, a lot. Mildly obsessed with it? Perhaps.
I think I will incorporate this new direction in the pizza peel I am designing for a show at Sizzle Pie.
Two weeks ago I saw a job listing posted on the Friends Of Graphic Design Facebook Page that Co-Creative placed. The position was for Production Manager and that really appealed to me so I applied. A week later, I went in for an interview and anxiously awaited a call back. The following Monday, while I was reading The Shape Of Design, I got a call from Curt Allan informing me that I got the job! Yeah!!!
I start on March 10th and I am counting the days.
ZIIBRA asked me to be a part of their online community a few months ago and my profile was just launched today. I'm not used to being in front of a camera, so I may have been slightly more nervous than usual. That said, I think it turned out pretty good! The video I mean.
If you want to subscribe to my profile, or help spread the word, that would be much appreciated!
Here's the link: https://www.ziibra.com/alex-despain/
I had the honor of being part of a group show (over 70 artists) at Land Gallery this month. The theme was Valentines inspired by Talking Heads. The research phase of this was particularly fun for me. It involved watching as many Talking Heads music videos as I could, listening to their albums on repeat, watching interviews, reading articles, and gathering inspiration through conversations I had with my friends. What I gathered from all of the research is that David Byrne (Talking Heads Frontman) has a lot on his mind and is a creative genius! His lyrics evoke many images in my head and it made me wonder what was going through his head when he was writing them. I included four dancers wearing fur pajamas and included other ambiguous elements as a nod to his writing style. The turnout was great on opening night and just an overall fun experience! Special thanks to Kate Bingaman-Burt, Frank Chimero, Pat Castaldo, and Will Bryant for putting the show together and inviting me to be a part of it.
The prints are for sale this month online too.
A couple months ago Collected Works Co. asked me to do an illustration for one of their commercials. The idea was to utilize a chalk board and chalk to create a visual that depicts the early stages of conception for their Military Duffle Backpack. It was a lot of fun and they are the nicest people ever. I got one of their canteen cord pouches myself and I love it!
Check out their website!
I have an account with Society6!
Also, we are going to be part of a group show at Land Gallery in February. The show is called Love For Sale (valentines inspired by the Talking Heads) and we are really pumped about it! We hope you can make it to the opening on Thursday 02 . 13. 2014
On Friday night, Vanessa and I had discussed taking a weekend getaway to Seattle. We decided on Saturday morning that we would go and stay for two days. One of the places that I had never heard of before was Totokaelo and it was a pleasant surprise! The design of the place was so smart!
What in the hee-haw?! These are so cool! They were displayed with note cards that describe them in detail and include the prices. Whoever arranged these on the shelf thought about the color scheme of the presentation and I can really appreciate that.
Put anything on that table. I will buy it! I really want that table.
These decorations remind me of the movie Where The Wild Things Are. Meaning, they are very whimsical and the simple way of displaying them. A little white paint goes a long way.
Then we went downstairs to Totokaelo MAN. I think they call it that because when a person walks into this place they go "MAN! THIS PLACE IS AWESOME!"
Great magazines are being sold in stacks in a few lounge areas. The white floor, white walls, bright lights, great taste, all of it is very styish in the best possible way.
That's an awesome shirt Vanessa!
If you are in the Seattle area, check this place out.
They have a well designed website too! http://totokaelo.com/
There is more to write about but I will finish unpacking first!
This video really has me inspired. Either it is a total hoax or genuine.
More information from them here http://www.hansonrobotics.com/
Tad Carpenter hosted a branding workshop today at PSU and it was loads of fun! He gave us insight to his process and taught us about creating logos in a short amount of time.
He provided us with an animal and a US city with the goal of branding a restaurant using the animal, in that city. My animal was crab and my city was Phoenix, Arizona. I thought a Mexican Seafood brand would be a good choice and came up with Pinche Caliente! I may develop that further.
Tad also gave a great presentation at Be Honest this year. Come back soon Tad!
photos by Kate Bingaman-Burt