Flickr Set of The Month

Here is the second in The Murketing Organization’s series (explained earlier) of occasional mini-portfolio/short Q&As, relating to a particular set discovered on Flickr that has some relationship to this site’s subject matter. Once again Tom Hosford, of Washington & Lee University handles Q&A duties, this time interviewing the photographer who created this set of Vernacular Typography Polaroids. (This Q&A was delayed due to my technical difficulties; apologies to both interviewer and interviewee.) Take it away, Tom…

This set features the work of designer/photographer Douglas Wilson, who traveled across the U.S. and documented the hand-painted signs he encountered along the way.  His Polaroids captured a broad range of communities, each represented by the signs they possessed. — Tom Hosford

Q: From looking at these photos, it seems like you’ve managed to see a lot of states across the U.S.  Were you in these places for any given reason, or did you just want to explore small towns across America?

A:  Simply put, I love traveling. I have been blessed to visit 48 of the 50 United States (minus Alaska and Idaho). Many of my Polaroids were taken driving to visit my wife’s family in Jackson, Mississippi. To get there, we have to drive through many small towns in Missouri and Arkansas and they have some pretty amazing hand-painted signs. I have to admit that many times, I have turned the car around just to photograph a particular sign — you never know when these signs will be painted over or replaced!

What made you to decide to document your travels through photographing local signs, instead of landmarks, people, etc.?

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Flickr Set of The Month

The Murketing Organization has been receiving some valuable assistance lately from Tom Hosford, of Washington & Lee University. Among other things, Tom has made possible something I’ve long wanted to add to the Flickr Interludes mix: A mini-portfolio and short Q&A, relating to a particular set discovered on Flickr that has some relationship to this site’s subject matter.

Example? A set of images that makes a Dave & Buster’s location, of all places, look carnivalesque and exciting and maybe even seductive. Or that’s what I think of the first Flickr Set of The Month: Dave and Busters. Over to you, Tom…

The Midway, originally uploaded by SA_Steve.

The Flickr Interludes displayed on this site are of a pretty all-inclusive nature: “Anything about consumer culture, defined as broadly as possible.” But you can go beyond just the photo, and look at “sets” of similar themes, which can often say a lot more. The photo is just one track; the set is the whole album.

So for the first Set of the Month, we decided to look at Flickr user SA_Steve, who shot every bright light and strange sign he saw inside the restaurant/video arcade Dave and Buster’s. What resulted was a great set, capturing a truly electric environment. — Tom Hosford

Jumpin’ Jackpot, originally uploaded by SA_Steve.

Q:  How did you ever get the idea to invade a Dave & Buster’s

A: I went on a team outing with my former employer to Dave & Buster’s; I of course had my camera since I carry it everywhere. I took some photos while we were playing games and such, after they left for various reasons, I figured it would be a great place to go wild shooting (and it helped I was out of money by that point.:))

Neon Fandango, originally uploaded by SA_Steve.

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Q&A: 4th Street Bikeway Project

[Today: The return of guest Q&As to This one comes from Nate Schulman, a master’s student at California Institute of the Arts. He brought to Murketing’s attention a recently completed graduate thesis project that you can read about below. More about Guest Q&A’s, and how you can submit ideas of your own, here. Take it away, Nate.]

We all know about things like customizable shoes or DIY silk-screening outfits, which charge and assist you in the co-creation of “your” product. But those examples of “collaboration” are more about an end product than an end system. A thesis project by Joseph Prichard of the MFA graphic design program at the California Institute of the Arts offers a look at a different form of collaboration: Working with cyclists on a mapping system for cyclists.

His 4th Street Bikeway effort created an informational graphics system for a Los Angeles bike route, and involved Angeleno bikers in the process. I had a class with Prichard, and what interested me about his project was that the end-user/consumer of the program he come up with had a role in its creation — but in a new way. And I had a few questions. Those questions, and Prichard’s answers, follow.

— Nate Schulman

Q: Tell me how this project came about. Those not in Los Angeles might be asking: “People bike in LA??”

A: It started out with the vague notion of wanting to design something that would address some of the transportation problems we have here in Los Angeles. I’m not an engineer or an urban planner, but I feel strongly that there is a role for graphic design in encouraging alternatives to car use in our city.

The initial idea was a speculative redesign of the signage for Los Angeles’ 4th Street bike route. The goal was to design a comprehensive system that would make the route more attractive to potential cyclists — something that would address the shortfalls of current signage and hopefully serve as a model for future route planning.

To create a system that really spoke to the needs of the cyclists, it was important to me that I have members of the cycling community contribute to the design process. To that end, I held a series of participatory workshops where I worked with local cyclists to determine the form and content of the final system.

As the project progressed, a second component emerged that came to be as important as (or more important than) the first. In addition to the proposed “official” signage system, I designed a set of tools and templates that would allow cyclists to easily create their own DIY bike route signage. My aim was to involve cyclists not only in the design of the system but also in its eventual implementation and expansion. By providing a set of open tools, my intention was to give people the ability to design for their own needs.

What was the most exciting moment of the process? Likewise, were there moments of panic (a true testament of a thesis ;0)? If so, how did you work through them? Read more

Q&A: Harriete Estel Berman

On a brief visit to Portland back in April, I had a chance to stop by a pretty cool show at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, titled “Framing: The Art of Jewelry.” Among the pieces that I found most interesting were some by Harriete Estel Berman, a jewelry maker based in California. So I was really pleasantly surprised when Berman coincidentally contacted me a few months later.

After learning a little more about the breadth of her work, which is consistently fascinating both in terms of her actual mastery of craft and materials, and in terms of its thematic exploration of consumer culture.

I immediately figured she’d be a great Q&A subject here, and after some delays that were entirely my fault, I got some questions together for her. Her answers did not disappoint. And here (after another delay that was again my fault) they are. Read on for Berman’s thoughts on advertising language, on where she gets the raw material that she converts into art, about consumer culture and identity, trying to imagine sexy furniture at Ethan Allen, and her take on the impact of Etsy/the DIY scene/the Internet on creators such as herself, so far.

[Plus: It happens that she also has work at a show that opened more recently at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, called Manuf®actured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects, which is up through January 4, 2009 and sounds pretty interesting.]

Q: We’ve been in touch for a while, and I’ve wanted to do this Q&A for a while, but part of what’s slowed me down is that you’ve done so much interesting work and I don’t know where to start. So I’m actually going to start at the end. What are you working on right now — and how does it fit into the general themes you’ve been exploring since (I think I have this right but correct me if not) about 1980.

A: Usually, I am working on several different pieces at the same time, all at different stages of progress. Generally, this is a necessity, as ideas often gestate for months to years or time is needed to collect the right tin cans for a specific idea.

Currently, I am in the middle of a series of work called, Bermaid, the California Collection. (Image above.) These three-dimensional fruit crate labels and bracelets are constructed from recycled tin cans providing layers of images and symbolism. The images and repurposing of post consumer material to construct the fruit crate labels and bracelets reflect upon California as both the archetypal consumer culture and a leader in the recycling movement and green design. Read more

Standing up for more seating

Take a Seat Drop #23, originally uploaded by jasoneppink.

Take a Seat” is described as “an ongoing series of public furniture installations aimed at increasing the availability of seating options in New York City subway stations.” Basically if you spot a discarded chair, you’re encouraged to take it into a subway station. Why? Because most subway stations offer very little seating.

That’s true, although there are some stations where there’s barely enough room to stand at rush hour, and I’m not sure a bunch of chairs would really be helpful. Still, there are plenty of others where that’s not true, and I like the general spirit of the project. Just don’t forget the PATH, y’all.

Via Wooster.

Little Friends of Printmaking: The Q&A

Here, then, the third Q&A connected to artists I commissioned to create posters related to Buying In. This time it’s The Little Friends of Printmaking, who I believe I first heard of from Faythe Levine; then I checked out their site, and saw their work in person when I happened to be at Renegade Chicago a year or so ago. I was thrilled when they were willing to make a poster in connection with the Washington D.C. Buying In event (see below; there’s also a version of this poster that’s sort of like a “tour blank,” but more on that some other time).

As with F2 Design and Amy Jo, the other esteemed creators I was fortunate to enlist in my largely ego-driven cause, I asked The Little Friends of Printmaking if they’d be willing to do a Q&A here, and they said yes. Read on for their thoughts on working as a team; on getting applications from hopeful Brand Managers; on the inspiring effects of crippling student debt and no particular professional prospects; on the effect of so many poster-makers; on how their life is actually not that much like a sitcom; and on which of their cats is less helpful, among other topics.

Very briefly: The Little Friends of Printmaking are Melissa and JW Buchanan; they are based in Milwaukee; they make posters and art prints and illustration work and apparently even at least one toy. (Blog; Flickr stream.) And as you’ll see, they’re very funny.

Q: So you are a married couple who work together as Little Friends of Printmaking. At what point did you decide to take a team approach? And do you think it made it harder or easier to establish yourselves as Little Friends of Printmaking than as two separate artists? Do people ever think that you’re more of a company than two collaborating artists?

Melissa:  We started working together when we were in school. We were both studying art at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and we had met early on. I don’t know when exactly we started to work as a team, or if there was a specific project that made us want to pool our resources; I think it was a gradual extension of us working side by side. When you’re a printmaker the work goes much faster if you’re working with a buddy. That kind of relationship, where you help someone else print their work, that wasn’t unusual. What we did, collaborating from beginning to end, was unusual. Our professors didn’t really encourage us or even approve of our partnership, probably because it was harder to grade us as individuals. We made their lives 0.15% more complicated, which of course was unacceptable.

JW:  It’s a big step to throw everything together into a partnership the way we did. Maybe we didn’t have the sense of propriety that other people had for their own work, or maybe we just liked each other’s work a whole lot. Who knows. As a team, we have had an easier time establishing ourselves in some respects. When you work under a name that isn’t your given name, or from under the umbrella of a collective, you kind of get to invent and define who you are as an artist without sounding too much like an idiot or an asshole.

It’s been much easier for us to promote our Little Friends projects because our names aren’t front and center. I don’t think we would have made it very far if we had to rely on reserves of self-confidence that we don’t have. We can hide behind the name, use it as a bully pulpit, whatever. It works for us. There’s still a lot of glamour attached to the idea of the artist as a genius with a singular vision—we don’t get any of that. We’re glamour-deficient. Read more

Q&A: Amy Jo


As I’ve mentioned before, the one indulgence I allowed myself in the promotion of Buying In was the decision to commission a few promotional posters. This was totally impractical, but for me it was a chance to work with some really great creators whose work I had silently admired from afar. One of those creators is Amy Jo, who I commissioned to make a poster for an event in Boston (see below). I was, obviously, thrilled with the results.

I have a bad memory for this sort of thing, so I don’t recall exactly where I first encountered her work. But what had struck me was her range as a designer, and of course how much I liked just looking at the images she came up with. Aside from posters for bands from the Black Keys to Joan Jett, she does pretty much any kind of design work you can think of. (Many of her screenprinted posters are for sale, as are some of her art prints, like the one above.) I also hoped I could get the Minneapolis-based Amy Jo to participate in Q&A here on (Earlier: Q&A with F2 Design, which did the other Buying In poster I’ve commissioned so far.)

Happily, she agreed. Below, she talks about the positive effects of, when to turn down work, her Etsy store(s), the upside of having health insurance and paid-vacation time, and where to find musical inspiration when all else fails. Here goes:

Q: I guess that I’m assuming that a majority of your business comes from making rock posters. Has the rise of and the onslaught of poster-makers of varying backgrounds promoting their work the net and so on been a problem, or has the Web been mostly a good thing?

A: That is exactly right on. The majority of what I do is rock posters, which draws in clients to inquire about other types of design work. More posters: festival posters, film posters, beer posters, and a book poster(!), just to name a few. I also design album/cd artwork, merchandise design, wedding invitations, wine labels, logos, business cards, etc. pretty much anything that needs to be designed, I can probably try do it. has been a huge boon to the recent rise of the poster. What’s great about gigposters is the core community… there are a ton of great (some even legendary) poster designers, a wealth of information, and great inspiration to draw from there. Some of my closest pals are people that I have met through, and I am lucky enough to get to travel around and enjoy their company at most of the Flatstock poster conventions. Read more

Q&A: F2 Design

A few months ago, in what has got to be among the most indefensible financial decisions I’ve ever made in my life, I decided I wanted a really great custom poster to go along with one or more of the events that will promote Buying In. I told myself this might help with “buzz,” but really I know that it’s simply the closest I can ever come to even pretending to be a rock star.

I make it habit to peruse the sites of many letterpress and other poster-makers anyway, so when the time came I had a few folks in mind, and the first one I reached out to was F2 Design, in Lubbock, Texas. Can’t remember how I first found the site, but I loved the work. And I was pleased to find, when I inquired, that co-proprietor Dirk Fowler (his wife Carol Fowler is the other F in F2) was willing to do this slightly weird job. The design he came up with was, in my view, fantastic, and having received actual posters in the mail the other day, I can tell you they’re even more impressive in person.

In fact F2 was such a pleasure to work with, I thought it would be cool to do a Q&A with Mr. Fowler here, and he went along with that, too. In addition to posters for bands like Wilco and Spoon and many others, F2 has also done a variety of other striking design projects, from identity to apparel. But my questions tended to be about posters, and letterpress.

–> Please note: We’ll be giving out about 40 of these F2 Buying In posters (above; they are 18X24 inches), for free, at the event in New York this Friday night.

And yes, this is a weird time of day to post, but I’m out of pocket most of tomorrow. So here goes:

Q. So I believe you work with “an antique letterpress.” Without making you tell your entire life story, I’m curious about what first attracted you to letterpress, and, if the setup you have now, studio-wise, is close to your ideal?

A: I have a Vandercook No. 1 proof press and an unmarked sign press. The latter being the one I do most of my work on because it allows for a much larger print size.

I was first attracted to letterpress after a visit to Hatch Show Print in Nashville in the late 90s. After spending years as an advertising art director, I really wanted to get back into what drew me into graphic design in the first place, making art with my hands. I love the tactile quality and feel of letterpress and wanted to make advertising or design that people might actually want to keep.

I wouldn’t say my setup is ideal. It is a small room (once a sunroom) in the back of my house, really only big enough for one person. I’m a small guy, so it works for me, but ideally, I would like a larger space so I could add more equipment. The danger in this is that I would keep adding more equipment. What I have now allows me to be at home with my family, print until I can’t stand anymore, and go fall into bed. Plus, it keeps my operation small, which I think is a good thing.

On a similar note, I don’t know exactly how long you’ve been interested in letterpress, but I feel as an outsider as though the form has become steadily more popular in recent years — possibly as a result of rising interest in things that have a handmade touch, partly as a result of the Web. So that means more interest — but maybe also more competition? I also feel like there’s a rock poster renaissance afoot, and letterpress is part of that. Is it good or bad for you if there are lots of letterpress folks around? Read more

Q&A: Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching

And now, the last of’s series of three Q&As with Austin Craft Mafia co-founders who I interviewed for one of the closing chapters of Buying In. Jenny Hart is the founder of Sublime Stitching, a successful business that encourages people to do-it-themselves with embroidery patterns, kits, and books, and she is also a widely respected creator and artist in her own right.

Here she talks about her Crafting A Business column in Venus Zine; about getting asked for business advice; about dealing with big companies (including when to walk away); and about why it’s hard to explain the DIY movement. Check it out:

Q: As with Jennifer and Tina, I’ll start with the Craft Mafia(s). How do you see the ACM at this point, and all the new Craft Mafias that seem to keep forming?

We constantly struggle with the best and most effective way for us to organize, and recently we had a meeting where we made some really important decisions about who we are at this stage. Because, several of us are no longer running businesses or have moved on to other things. We decided that at this point the group needed to continue to support the other mafias in terms of being an administration of the hub site, but we’ve never sought to be a group that dictates the structure or activities of other mafias other than some general guidelines.


Q: One thing that’s happened since we talked for the book is you’ve started writing a kind of business-advice column for Venuszine. I get the impression there’s a lot of hunger out there for business advice as people look for the way to turn their creativity into a way to make a living. Is that sort of how this column came about? Are there things about being an “indie” entrepreneur that are different from being a “traditional” entrepreneur? Read more

Q&A: Tina Sparkles

Today, Murketing is pleased to present the second in a series of three Q&As with Austin Craft Mafia founders who are in Chapter 13 of Buying In. Tina Sparkles built a considerable following with Sparkle Craft, which of late has been best known for her handmade, Earth-and-animal-friendly guitar straps.

Aside from the ACM, however, here she addresses a few surprising developments: On May 9, 2008 she announced she was taking her last orders for guitar straps and moving on to new things. More on that (including what went into the decision), below, as well as her thoughts about crafting and doing-it-yourself and consumption and ethics; about the pleasure of teaching others crafty skills; about why she stopped buying new clothes three years ago; and about a new book she’s working on that ties all of the above together. Here goes:

Q: Let’s start with the Craft Mafia(s). One of the things that really interested me about the ACM is I’d never quite seen an arrangement like this — you’re all independent, and your affiliation seems, to an outsider at least, to amount to sort of quasi-formalized mutual support. How do you see it at this point, and how do you think a setup like this helps the new Craft Mafias that seem to keep forming?

A: The Austin Craft Mafia is an odd magical little creature. Mostly, we are just a group of friends, a family. From the beginning we have always made decisions about our group as we went along, without any big grandiose plan about what we are or what we wanted to be and I think that has really allowed us to grow as a group organically. We tackle issues and opportunities as they come along and keep communication open and fair.

As far as other Craft Mafias are concerned, I feel like the whole bonding-together-to-have-a-bigger-voice is what attracts people to form their own groups, as well as having a localized community to support their individual endeavors.

Q: When I spoke to you while I was still writing the book, more than a year ago, you mentioned that you were considering trying to find a local manufacturer, so you could focus more on design. But now you’ve got a whole new direction — what went into your thinking on that? Read more

Q&A: Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club

jen and burt, originally uploaded by Naughty Secretary Club.

Here, as promised moments ago, the first of a three-part series of Q&As with Austin Craft Mafia members who pop up in Chapter 13 of Buying In. Jennifer Perkins makes and sells jewelry through her Naughty Secretary Club, and like the rest of the ACM is one of the crafty world’s more impressive success stories.

In addition to the Austin Craft Mafia’s unique small-business support-system model, she talks here about her TV hosting experiences (and whether she would do that again), about the Etsy impact on the DIY scene and crafty businesspeople, about how much she loves Twitter (among other social-networking tools), and about the future — which for her includes a book she has coming out later this summer, The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl’s Guide To Handmade Jewelry. Here goes:

Q: Let’s start with the Craft Mafia(s). One of the things that really interested me about the ACM is I’d never quite seen an arrangement like this — you’re all independent, and your affiliation seems, to an outsider at least, to amount to sort of quasi-formalized mutual support. How do you see it at this point, and how do you think a setup like this helps the new Craft Mafias that seem to keep forming?

A support group is exactly what the Austin Craft Mafia is. We have an understanding that if we do an interview we are sure to mention the Austin Craft Mafia. If any of us take out advertisements we mention the Austin Craft Mafia. I have the Austin Craft Mafia printed on all my products packaging and more! It is a very reciprocal relationship where it behooves everyone involved and their businesses to be a part of the Austin Craft Mafia.

In the early days Jenny Hart, Tina Sparkles and I could not afford to place ads in magazines like Venus and Bust alone, so we split the ads three ways. When we started branching out and taking out individual ads, we decided to mention that we were the Austin Craft Mafia. That way the members of the Austin Craft Mafia still benefited from our individual ads in some way. If Jenny was taking an ad out in Ready Made and I wasn’t, as long as the ad said “Austin Craft Mafia” it helped my business in a roundabout way. If Vickie Howell sends out an order it has a Naughty Secretary Club postcard inside the envelope as well; when I ship out an order it has a Sublime Stitching postcard inside. We are like a small-business support system.


We don’t regulate to a great degree what the other Craft Mafias do with their groups. We have a few guidelines, but how they run their show is up to them. We are very open about our structure and how it works and some groups have started a similar thing and others have taken it in different directions. Some craft mafias are interested in using their group to help their businesses along and other mafias use the group as a form of crafty camaraderie. The Austin Craft Mafia only meets as a group once every several months (though we see each other socially constantly) we use a Yahoo group as our main form of communication to make life decisions. Some other mafias get together and craft together weekly and monthly. Either way it is supportive.

Q: You’re among the ACM members who have dabbled with television, on the DIY Network (where oddly they don’t seem to identify you as Austin Craft Mafia members — odd given the recognition that the name has in the indie craft movement). Is that something you see being part of your future, either in a bigger way, or a different way? And what did it mean for your career/business? Read more

Guest Q&A: Buy-By Brian: Losing all, starting over, learning much

[Today brings you the latest guest Q&A, conducted by Ada Puiu, a senior at (or actually, I believe, a recent graduate of) the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Her earlier Q&As are here and here. More about guest Q&As here.]

I got my baby back, originally uploaded by BrokenStar57.

Imagine going to bed one night, waking up, and discovering everything you owned (from the sentimental to the practical to the luxury) is gone. This is exactly what happened to designer Brian Jones. After waking up on the day of his big life move from San Francisco to Chicago, Brian faced the harsh reality that the van sitting outside his home, filled with all all of his possessions, had been stolen while he slept. After trying in vain to recover some of his life, he decided to look at this tragedy as an opportunity — a way to reach a better understanding of what it means to be a consumer.

Since late-August 2007, the Buy-By Brian Blog ( has been a virtual diary of every item Brian has had to purchase (and repurchase) in order to rebuild the material part of his life. Some things (like pictures or his work) cannot be bought back. But in the more than 100 entries he has written over the past 9 months, he has chronicled every non-disposable item he has bought, and has given his readers an insight into what factors influence his buying decisions (need/want, price, sentimentality, etc). In reading his entries, I’ve actually found myself becoming more aware of how much we consume as a culture, and how easy it is to fill our lives with “wants” rather than ‘needs’ – something I was always aware of as a business student, but rarely got the chance to see illustrated in a real-life way.

Brian was kind enough to answer some questions for this Q&A, giving a little more insight into what this project means to him.

– Ada Puiu

Q: If it’s true that “you are what you buy,” you’ve pretty much opened up your entire life to your readers. You even make a point of recounting things you’ve bought that may be out of the norm, or even embarrassing (the tweezers, for example). Have you noticed your buying habits change at all with everything being so out in the open?

A: Ha, yes. I debated with myself about the tweezers for a while. Surprisingly that’s probably the most personal thing I’ve purchased. That and all my readers know that I prefer briefs to boxers. A lot of the personal items people buy usually fall under the “disposables” category, which I decided in the beginning not to include in this project.

What the pluck, originally uploaded by BrokenStar57.

As terrible as it was to lose all that I did, it was extremely liberating. I actually don’t like buying things now. After seeing how simple and clutter-free my life can be, every purchase makes me feel that much more weighed down. However, this conflicts quite a bit with me writing a blog about the things I buy. Sometimes I actually feel like I should go shopping just because it’s been two weeks since I posted something.

How much of what you’ve bought has actually replaced what you used to have, and how much has been things you’ve always wanted but never got around to purchasing? Read more

Guest Q&A: The Shirt Project

[Today brings you the second guest Q&A, conducted by Ada Puiu, a senior at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Her first Q&A is here. More about guest Q&As here.]



Louise Ma and Richard Watts were both design/printmaking students at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York when the idea for The Shirt Project came to them, somewhere in the East Village in the spring of 2007. That idea was to “diagram the news, on shirts.” They were awarded the Rhoda Lubalin Fellowship later that year (an annual design grant from Cooper Union), and set out to produce 10 breaking-news shirts. For a $75 subscription (or, alternately, paying $15 per shirt), The Shirt Project provides 5 diagrammatic tees detailing a story that’s making news – for example, one charts the correlation between the declining US dollar and sunspot activity, while another points to just how little of the sun’s energy we’re actually utilizing.

Aside from clever graphic design, their aim is to reach those who may not always read the headline news. I find it really cool that you can raise awareness about Myanmar just by rocking a regular ol’ Jersey T. With 24-hour news channels, e-mail updates available from all major newspapers, and shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, all constantly increasing the flow of information and awareness, wearing a news item on a shirt in place of a brand seems like a logical step. I contacted Louise and Richard, curious about their inspiration and goals for the future with The Shirt Project. Below is our brief Q&A. – Ada Puiu

Q: What is your goal with these t-shirts? What was your inspiration?

Louise: There are a few goals. The main one is to inform people who may not pay much attention to the news or have the time to read newspapers. The T-shirt as a format presents some limitations, but also a lot of interesting ways of sharing information. So this experiment explores those different ways of story-telling.

As for inspiration, Rich was a Threadless subscriber — he was a big fan of their shirts. We actually had our first kiss while he was in his “Dog ate my homework” shirt. Our professor, Mike Essl, teaches a class at Cooper on information design, and that really got us hooked on maps and interesting educative visuals.

Q: How do you decide which news articles should be printed on your shirts? Read more

Q&A: Glennz: A Threadless star goes solo

A few weeks back I noted that Glenn Jones – a Threadless star I first interviewed for a July 8, 2007 column on the famous T-shirt company; he’s had 20 T’s produced via its contest system – had announced he was leaving his day job to do his own thing. He’d started selling some greeting cards and prints, but it seemed obvious that before too long he’d be bringing out some T’s.

And now, he is. has just launched. Seemed to make sense to use the occasion to ask Mr. Jones a few Q’s. Here they are, with his A’s.

So what are the basics of the new project? I gather it’s six designs to start, will they be sold mostly online, or retail, or some combo?

Well, as you know I’ve been submitting designs to Threadless for a few years now, and I’ve had a lot of designs that scored pretty highly but weren’t winners. That’s led to a lot of requests from people over the years for me to make available t-shirts of some of those unreleased designs.

So I’ve taken four of my more popular unprinted designs, like Rock Me Amadeus, and refined them taking advantage of more colours I’ve got available to me now. Plus I’ve added a couple of new designs that haven’t been seen before.

For now these will just be available at

You mentioned to me that you’re working with some folks in Austin, TX on this. And they got in touch with you via Threadless? So who are they, and when did they get in touch? How did this come about, in other words? Read more

Guest Q&A: Davey Dance Blog

[As noted earlier, today brings you the first guest Q&A, suggested and conducted by Ada Puiu, a senior at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Take it away, Ada…. ]

I was introduced to the Davey Dance Blog by a friend, last spring. A 27 year-old Minnesota native, David Fishel came up with an idea involving a basic formula: historical monument, Canon Powershot, and an improved dance to a pop song. His first video was posted last March — leaning tower of Pisa to the Beatles’ classic “Don’t Let Me Down” — and 43 entries later, his dance blog has gained quite a following. (It sure spread like wildfire for a while among friends of mine). His most popular YouTube posts have topped 10,000 views. He also posts on Vimeo, and of course his own site, He’s been featured on a France 2 Channel program dealing with Internet celebrity, as well as in the New York Metro. And he’s even started spawning fan videos!

Personally, I love that he does what me and my friends have always wanted to do – dance our hearts out to our favorite songs, in public. Plus, I tend to really dig his music choices. So while there’s no real message behind the videos (short of some tonge-in-cheek song selections), I keep checking his site because it’s amusing and fun and funny — and pretty brave. So I was curious to find out more about him and why he does this. — Ada Puiu

Q: What do you hope people take away from your videos? More importantly, what do you take away from not just doing them, but making them public?

I really don’t have a defined message or purpose with the project. But I think people have responded to the images of a guy simply having fun in public, which is great. They can see that I surely do not have any kind of formal dancing skills, but I think that certain moments of emotion translate through the movements. I guess the most I can hope people take away from the project is a smile.

For me, the reactions from people are the most rewarding, both the Internet comments and also seeing how people at the locations cope with a man dancing to music on his headphones. I am drawn to the fact that the people who see me dancing live have no idea what sound (if any) I am moving to, and then occasionally their reactions are captured in the video, which is displayed synced to the music for an entirely different audience. The implementation of a performance and the documentation operate almost as separate works in the way. I guess I like that.

Q: In some of your videos, there’s an interesting sense of irony with your song selections (like “Milkshake” at Harvard Yard; link here). How do you decide where to film and how do you pick the songs? Read more