Getting excited for the shred season ahead here in the upper-right US!
This morning, Mitch woke me up at 4am for my first morning mission to take advantage of the season's first big dumping.
The climb was up Sterling Mountain on Smugglers Notch, with starting temps around 5 degrees. Using jump head lamps, it felt pretty weird and wild to be sweating out in the snow before the sun came up.
For this trip, I used snowshoes while the other lads had their splitboards. Mark my words: My next investment will be a splitboard of my own. Eughh, snowshoes weren't optimal.
Regardless, the long haul up made for one hell-of-a-ride down!
So excited about this! My two roommates loaded up the Honda Element during yesterday’s flurries to teach me the basics of backcountry skiing and snowboarding, a discipline of the sport this southerner has only ever dreamed of...let the games begin!
A few summers back, before I made the move to Orlando, I remember cleaning out my room and finding my old stash snowboard and wakeboard magazines over the years. Being the sentimental person that I am, I thought it'd be cool to keep them all to look back on, but also being the perfectionist that I am, not having the full collection I knew I once had left me with a mixed-matched batch of mags that were all out of order and disorganized...so I trashed (eh, recycled) every single one. (And maybe I was pledging allegiance to Wake Journal at the time too, I don't know).
But flash forward a few years to this past summer, and as I prepped for my move here to Vermont, I found one single Wakeboarding Magazine that had slipped through the cracks after all these years.
It was a Gear Guide Issue from 2013 I believe with Jeff House on the cover (coming off his laundry list of injuries if I recall correctly). As I sat back and flipped through the issue, seeing BP with long hair, Twelker with short hair, and the initial hype of the first ever G23s, the memories and pure joys of squeaking in every ounce of ride time back in middle school and high school as a teenager hit me real hard.
Those riders, their gear, and the photos that brought it all to life in that magazine (and others like it) were the only source I had to the world of wakeboarding outside my own little rural river in Virginia. And because of that, there was nobody to tell my brother and I the right way or wrong way to interpret what we saw in magazines. No advice, no trick tips, and certainly no pressure. We simply gathered what we had, got stoked, filled up the gas, and played as much as we could.
And it was the most raw and honest state of play we knew.
So, as I'm holding the long lost and last remaining Wakeboarding Mag in my stash, I decided to recreate that journey of play through a series of collages.
I've never really been an artist, but as a kid, I used to always cut out bits and pictures of these action sports magazines and rearrange them on my doors, or slap stickers on my board setups in clever ways, or even hang posters with some sort of design system in place. It always fascinated me that you could take a photograph, sticker, or poster and rearrange it yourself to create something that not only looked different, but said something totally different by placing it next to or on top of something that felt new. It's no wonder why I found collage to be my favorite medium while I was in design school. And looking back, that same playful spirit was there for me in collage as well.
So together, with the two most natural forms of "play" I knew as a kid, here are four original collages created only from that sole surviving Wakeboarding Magazine I found this summer.
The visual inspiration for this came from one of my favorites, Jesse Draxler. Not only am I highly drawn to the emotion and style shown in his work, but I love the clean and minimal approach he uses in this medium that can sometimes be stereotyped as "messy" or "random". Also with each collage I brought in a piece of nature, as to represent and symbolize the raw and organic state of play throughout this artistic process and the emotion behind wakeboarding itself. (They're not perfect, and neither is the scanning I did, but enjoy! More to come for sure.)
Would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and which one is your favorite!
Josh Twelker — Wakeboard: Boat
Aaron Reed — Wakesurf
Raph Derome — Wakeboard: Cable
Reed Hansen & Brenton Priestley — Wakeskate & Wakeboard: Boat
Made it to Vermont!
Naturally, had to soak in my first beautiful sunset back at one of my favorite spots, Charlotte Beach. (Pronounced: Char—lot, like "parking lot. Idk, apparently it's French). The dancing duo of Lake Champlain in the foreground and the Adirondacks in the background never gets old. In awe as I'm beginning to call this place home again.
The Brief: Develop a single-page desktop design for a personal loan business tailored towards tech-savvy grandparents.
(Responsive design in mind | Student work | Tools: SketchApp | Deadline: 1 day)
Fitzwood: Personal Loans
"Honest, Simple, Caring"
(Name derived in combination of Fitzroy and Collingwood; two side-by-side neighborhoods in my old stomping grounds of Melbourne.)
Getting a personal loan may not be the most exciting thing in the world, sure, but lets take a look at some of the body copy and see if anything emotive sticks out as design inspiration...
"Helping you take control of your finances"
"Getting to know our clients"
"Very low rates to financially responsible people"
"It is an easy but in-depth process"
"We look at data other lenders don't"
"Don't hesitate to ask"
Now, combining the established values from deeper research (honest, simple, caring) with the target market in mind, here are some design notes and directions at play:
Navigation — Easy and intuitive, legibility and hierarchy similar to a newspaper.
Demographic — They don't mind reading chunks of text.
Trust — Needs to be immediate. Think narrow padding, gives the illusion of grip and control.
Step by Step — Predictable flow of content.
Connect Early — Appeal to the small-town voice.
Branding — conversational and relatable.
And now for the design elements and brainstorming (followed by the final product).
An early autumn morning along the Floodwall Park in downtown Richmond, VA : Perfect recipe for an engagement shoot.
Having met in college, Jake and Robin began dating their senior year and are have committed their lives to serving the people and surrounding communities of Richmond; Jake as a teacher in a local elementary school and Robin as a master's student in Social Work. Between Jake's music and Robin's poetry, the duo have also built up a rolodex of creativity and talent.
Having the pleasure of getting to know these two fun and sincere souls and over the past year has been incredible and wish them the very best for the future. Congrats you two!
(A collection of a few favorites from our shoot):
Considering popping the question soon, or still grinning ear-to-ear from your recent engagement? Let's chat!
Typesetting is definitely on of my favorite mediums within the disciplines of graphic design. It's the bread and butter of every legend out there. And more specifically, the Swiss designers. For this corporate report concept brief, I wanted to capitalize on the similar features between Mercury Logistics's business nature and Swiss designers' visual principles. Elements include infographics, bulleted list items, headers, sub-header content, and body copy. Execution includes simple hierarchy, the Helvetica family, bits of handmade, and a color palette driven by brief research and values.
Tomorrow morning, I move to Burlington, Vermont. Full-time.
If you've followed me for a while, you know that I've moved around a lot these past few years for various schools, internships, and gigs. But this move is different. This time, I'm not setting up a tent. Rather, I'm digging the footings and laying the concrete for a new solid foundation.
It's interesting to me that I landed on Vermont. Last summer I scored my dream internship up there and wasn't sure I'd ever return. (Here were my thoughts from that time. I'd say we've come a long way.)
Logistically speaking, Burlington checks a lot of boxes for me. Shred scene, art scene, mountain town, tight community, incredible landscapes, bangin' sunsets...but I was never emotionally drawn back to Burly. (Which, for me, is a big deal). Attached to it? Maybe, in a weird way. But a fear of missing out on a life up there? No way.
Sure, the Northeast is very different than where I grew up in the Southeast, (duh, I mean, no Chick-fil-a, still bitter about this lol), but I believe that this lack of intensity and density pulling me back to Vermont has created the space and freedom I need to press into and be molded by something new, something uncomfortable, something extraordinary, and something bigger than myself.
Currently, the two things on the table eagerly waiting to be discovered are:
- What my career as a graphic designer looks like.
- What my roles and contributions in this city will be.
I mean, who knows how long my life in the upper-right-corner-of-the-US will be, but after returning from Australia and spending a long summer exploring through old landscapes and the growing pains of freelancing, I am ecstatic to get this fire roaring, day by day.
So, (besides my family of course), these images showcase two things I'll miss most about my home and growing up on six ten colony trail: the Chickahominy River and my doggies.
Today I played around in the archives and rolled out this typeface I initially designed for my Spike Jonze Shillington project. Titled "High Quality VHS", the purpose of this custom display font is to showcase the early videotape and camcorder days of the 90's. Unique characteristics: sans serif, condensed, moderate contrasts in weights, and variant rounding throughout each character. Oh and of course, seeking inspiration from the arsenal of brands inside dad's camera bag.
This dude is the next Travis Propst, I'm calling it.
Josh has been single handily pushing wakeboarding here in Lanexa, VA. Seeing this guy progress alone in our small town with no wakeboard community is so awesome. His continued passion and drive for the sport in such an isolated environment is inspiring and a breath of fresh air from the industry saturation in Florida. Keep at it brother!
Oh yea, Solar Eclipse 2k17 baby!
Couldn't forget to break out the camera this afternoon (which also doubled as a shield for my eyeballs).
Here in Virginia we didn't get the full effect, but pretty dang close to it!
Despite my very basic camera gear, mother nature pulled through with some light cloud cover here and there, which actually helped crisp up some of these shots and pull in a spooky vibe!
Super crazy experiencing this today. Will be cool to tell the future about one day.
Here's what I saw today.
12:51pm — 1:38pm
This is not okay.
This has to stop.
Woah, what a trip.
May 28 - June 11
Top to Bottom, my dear friend Simon Watrous and I drove down the entire country of New Zealand.
Wake up and pack up
Get get coffee and eat breaky
Drive a few hours to the daily destination
Hike something freaking massive
Stuff our faces with Tim Tams
Find a hostel
Places We Went:
Such an insane country. 98% of the time, my eyes were wide and my jaw was dropped. I'll be back one day for sure, mark my words.
Collection of Video Clips (including bungee jumping):
May 19, 2017 - Graduation day at Shillington College in Melbourne, Australia.
From our first brief to portfolio week, and all the tears (I mean beers) in between, we f*cking made it!
And after drowning in graphic design for 585 hours, pixels came to life and these strangers became my family.
Love y'all and miss y'all!
Canon with Kodak TRI-X 400 film
Don't say it...
Unfortunately my time in Australia has come to a close.
But what a ride!
I came to Melbourne in hopes of laying a foundation for a lifelong pursuit towards design, and ended up with more life lessons and friendships than expected. As many great things do, this chapter flew by, leaving behind what feels like a dream.
A few things I lost count of:
- $5 souvlaki orders
- long black espressos
- trains missed
- podcasts played
- terrible designs
- command + z's
- better designs
- belly laughs (I'm looking at you Kate Mack!)
- happy hours
- heel flips
- tim tams
- beautiful people
- and of course, beautiful art
This city has successfully stolen my heart (and my bank account).
A big fat thank you to Joel Cogger for opening his home to me, showing me the ropes, and welcoming this stranger into his life.
For my final hours down under, My two best mates Miguel Lugtu and Belle Perez took me on one last lap through the neighborhood streets, a road trip to the Werribee Zoo, a sunset gaze at Bell's Beach, and a weekend mission to Byron Bay (all pictured below).
While my future remains a WIP, what I do know is that I'll be returning to the states mid-june.
Until then, I'll be busting around New Zealand with my hometown lad Simon Watrous! Stoked to be in kiwi territory checking out some of the world's most insane terrain. Stay tuned.
Also, a psa: I'll be launching a new site soon featuring my graphic design portfolio I made here in Melbourne! SO pumped to share, and click on my friends names' above to see their portfolios! So much talent.
Cheers, see you soon 'merica
Last weekend, I slipped away from the cafes of Melbourne to explore the coastlines of Sydney. My first time. I decided to do it that morning, and by dinner time, was on a flight headed for my Airbnb. Party of one.
I knew I had to see Sydney before leaving this country, but was not expecting to experience such a beautiful city! It reminded me of my recent visit to San Diego. Clusters of neighborhoods and the smell of sea salt in the air. Public Parks and Beaches are the same thing. Oh, and good coffee per usual.
All on Saturday, I started with a sunrise walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach, spent the afternoon browsing the city, then ended with a sunset cruise through the famous Harbour and around the Opera House. 11/10 would recommend (thanks for the itinerary tips Laura!)
Despite the jam packed weekend and last minute planning, Sydney proved to be a very relaxing and refreshing solo trip. Just in time to crank on the heat to build my final Shillington graphic design portfolio. (And, because its getting freezing cold here in Melbourne).
Here are some of my favorite shot from the weekend
Last weekend I journeyed north to Bangkok, Thailand.
And what a ride.
Because of the type of visa I have here in Australia, I needed to leave the country for a few days. So I decided to take the opportunity to meet up with an old New Kent homie, Kyle Mechling, who currently lives just next door in Vietnam.
I had never been to Asia before. Both excited and nervous, I wasn't sure what to expect. Especially in a city as full-on as Bangkok. Despite the many variables, we had a pretty rad time. Made some cool Thai friends, rode at Thai Wake Park, ate heaps of Pad Thai, and wandered through beautiful temples & palaces.
Not only did we pick a long holiday to go on, but turned out that the Thai New Year "Songkran" was the same weekend. And to celebrate, the country puts on a huge Water Festival. In short, we waltzed right into a nation-wide water gun war. Crazy.
In short, jumping into Bangkok for 2 days revealed a whole archive of senses I had never experienced before, with a newfound love and respect for Asia and all it has to offer. With that said, I'm glad to be back in Australia safe and sound, ready to finish up my Shillington Graphic Design course in a few weeks.
A few highlights: