Morning Mission — Sterling Mtn

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!

PLAY: A Wakeboard Collage Series

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!

Cheers,
Ben


Josh Twelker — Wakeboard: Boat

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Aaron Reed — Wakesurf

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Raph Derome — Wakeboard: Cable

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Reed Hansen & Brenton Priestley — Wakeskate & Wakeboard: Boat

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Fitzwood

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).

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#GetMooned

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.

Graduation Day

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! 

#shillomel #shillumni

Canon with Kodak TRI-X 400 film

An Easter in Bangkok

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: