Working as an Art Director, your digital (and regular!) inbox is constantly full of cards, letters and other great promos from hopeful talent from all over the globe. It’s quite an honor to get to sift through the endless array of amazing portfolios and find the right person to fulfill your vision for a story or service feature on a monthly basis. One such portfolio has been the work with Ontario-based illustrator Joel Kimmel. Joel has been on a very short list of “go-to” illustrators I’ve had the honor of working with and feel like I’ve had in my back pocket since joining the Seattle Met crew. Now that’s not to say he’s always available (he’s one busy, busy dude!), but when you have an assignment for Joel you always know what you’re going to get: top-notch illustration with very few rounds of edits. Seriously, this guy always seems to kill it.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Joel about his life as a full-time illustrator and what inspires him in the process. Hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.


Yep, I’ve wanted to do this a few times…

Special thanks to whoever you are out there in the tumblr-verse who made this.


Exciting News! My poster was picked to be a part of the “Forces of Nature” themed Hello Poster Show for 2012! This being my first year living in Seattle, it was my first time to enter, and I was excited to see my poster selected as one of the 16 they will be featuring and selling at the show (small thumbnail teaser above). All proceeds are going to charity, and you can read more details here. Hope to see some of you out there, and there will be more pictures and news to follow! You can also find more information at their Facebook event page as well.

UPDATE: Following the show there are still posters available for purchase here. $20 each, and all proceeds go to a great cause supporting Youth In Focus here in Seattle. Pick one up and add some love to your wall.


Several weeks ago on a beautiful Seattle Saturday (I know, rare!) I was doing a little bike riding around the neighborhoods near my home and came across an awesome art exhibit at Evos in Fremont. What caught my eye most was the work of Jason Lee. No, no, not that Jason Lee, but Jason Lee the former Art Director for Transworld Skateboarding, currently working as a designer for Brixton apparel. The truth and honesty to Jason’s photography was really what caught my eye. It was like scanning through a glorious montage of the care-free, California underground hipster party lifestyle, reminiscent of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, minus the cheesy 80′s overcoating. The photos seems real, factual and downright fun. Upon discovering Jason’s flickr sets, I found that this wasn’t just a single-show fluke either. Days and weeks and most likely years have been spent documenting what looks to be California underground culture at its finest. You’ll notice from the samples above that I’m a bit drawn to the movement and action of some of his pieces, but that’s just a tiny sampling from his enormous library. Jason’s work was just too good not to share—so enjoy. You can also check out more awesomeness on his great tumblr here.


Guess Who…

Again, I felt another nightmare was about due.


Yesterday, on a recent “adventure down the internet rabbit hole,” I stumbled across the work of Portland’s Jim Kazanjian and his epic architectural monsters. It’d be an understatement for me to say that I was impressed. The detail and craftsmanship in each of his photo-illustrated pieces is absolutely mind-boggling and executed to perfection. Love the dark, almost steam-punk feel of these pieces—yet the rich detail in black and white really makes them come to life. For some reason these struck a cord from my childhood—as if I’d been digging through my parents garage and found these in the bottom of an old, dusty army trunk, covered in dirt and grime beneath stacks of vintage comic books and original monster models (and yes, my father actually does have stacks of both saved from his youth). Sidetrack excluded, Jim’s work is great and needed to be shared. Please note that many of Jim’s pieces are for sale here, and you should probably pick a print or two up for yourself. I know I’m going to be adding these to my wish list.


When I recently came across designer Jontue Hollingsworth and his site Headron Collider I thought to myself, “Headron Collide-whaaa? What the hell is that?!?” But after poking around a bit (and admittedly googling it and researching the hadron collider) I found there was definitely thought and intent into his branding. On his site he says:

Like the Large Hadron Collider that smashes together particles that are invisible to the naked eye, creating new and different elements. Similar to the creative process. We all know ideas exist. We can talk about them but we can’t see them or touch them, until they gain momentum, collide with other ideas and we bring them to fruition. This creative process takes place in the head — thus headron instead of hadron.

Whoa. Okay, this dude is deep. And I dig it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s located in Alaska (Yes, you read that right. That Alaska). Or maybe it has something to do with all those months of cold, dark weather—but there is something definitely brewing in the water in the great white North. Jontue has an amazing eye for typography, which is what originally drew me to his Beauty Mark self-promotional posters (pictured above). But upon further inspection it became quite evident that it wasn’t just some fancy type work that really makes these posters great—it’s the mix of excellent vintage  photography, use of color, attention to detail (did you see the back of those suckers?!?) and most importantly—the creativity. Here’s what he says about the set on his site:

(It’s about)…the idea of brand identification and what we as humans determine as beautiful. A beauty mark sets you apart from the rest in an instant. It makes you more interesting, more attractive, more memorable. Using the logo as beauty mark, these posters subtly express that the work I do, carries the same attributes.

But the great thing about Jontue’s work is that it doesn’t just stop there—his whole site is littered with detail and creative goodness. From posters to illustrations to apparel to web design—this guy seems to do it all. Heck, he’s even got a whole page of freebies! Jontue’s work is pretty inspiring, and I just had to do a little shout-out and give him his due respect. Be sure to visit his site and drool along, or hit him up if you’re needing some serious talent for your next big project.


11 on 11: A Chat With Coverjunkie Jaap Biemans

Jaap Biemans of Coverjunkie.comWorking as an editorial designer, I’m constantly impressed (and influenced) by my industry peers. Nowhere is that more true than sifting through the magazines (and covers) at the local magazine stand. Problem is, there is not a stand in town that has the volume that I—as an admitted “Coverjunkie”—wants or needs to consume. Thankfully, that’s where Jaap Biemans and his creation Coverjunkie.com comes in. As a permanent member of my internet browser “bookmarks bar,” Coverjunkie.com has been digging up covers from all over the world for the last few years. More recently, Jaap designed and produced a 96-page Coverjunkie magazine jam-packed with many of the best covers of 2011 and interviews with industry greats such as Arem DuplessisRichard TurleyMatt WilleyRodrigo SanchezFrancesco FranchiRobert Newman and legend George Lois. Jaap seems to be having so much fun interviewing these days I thought it’d be fun to flip the script and dish a few questions his way. His answers may (or may not) surprise you.

A couple of months ago André Mora and I had the pleasure of working with photographer Mike Kane on the avalanche feature for our December issue of Seattle Met. I’ve come across Mike’s portfolio several times since arriving in Seattle back in July, and I’ve been a big fan since day one. Mike does a fantastic job of capturing a moment in time in such a beautiful and simplistic way that it looks effortless—and few editorial and documentary photographers can hit that note just right.

While all of his work inspires, what I’d like to focus on with this post is his documentary projects Gangland, USA and Generation Homeless (samples pictured above). Both of these projects (as well as several others on his site) really blew me away. It’s great to see a photo essay of this sort where the photographer gets so close to his subjects and conveys such raw emotion in a reality setting. When I asked him how he gets himself so immersed into their world he replied:

“I guess I’ve always been drawn to social documentary stuff. For me pictures need to express something real, something true. If there’s no significance to that truth then the pictures matter less. That’s where the power lies. And I bet that perspective came from my first serious foray into photography—I was 19, teaching English in a really remote part of Nicaragua. Taking pictures was how I made sense of all the cultural craziness I was experiencing. I could behold it, and think about it, and then ultimately share it and talk about it. I would go from a place of feeling awkward and foreign and find my way through that by taking pictures and thinking about those pictures. So doing gangs, and homeless kids, or whatever, it’s the same thing. It’s recognizing some complicated, unfamiliar situation and wanting to jump in, wanting to work through that confusion and come out with some sort of tangible representation. I think there are definitely some altruistic motivations there—I fully believe in the social benefits from understanding marginalized, disenfranchised groups, for example. But I also think a lot of what drives me is just my own personal curiosity and sense of adventure.”

That sense of adventure must work. The photos are thoughtful, emotional, intriguing and powerful. Its a perfect example to young and aspiring photographers on how you don’t necessarily need a gigantic budget, studio space, complex lighting or hired models to take an award-winning and inspiring work of art.

I highly recommend a flip-through of Mike’s current projects. It’ll probably be the best 10 minutes you spend all day.


Kevin Dart Persol Video

A Year of Sun with Mr. Persol - HD from Yuki 7 on Vimeo.

Not much to say other than this video is awesome. Kevin Dart is one impressive fellow.