Iteration Zero

Hello there and welcome to the very first installment (we could even call it a public beta, hence the "Issue 0") of ITERATIONS, my mostly weekly brain dump of thoughts, inspiration and ideas. I'm not exactly sure what it's going to look like, but I think what appears below will give you an idea — an anecdote, one or two items that I may have some commentary on and a few links to help get your creative juices flowing. Regardless, I hope you'll give it a shot and maybe stay a while and see where it goes.

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For years, it seems that my personal work has been created in a series of fits and starts — a staccato melody of inspiration that ends as abruptly as it begins. In 2008, I picked up a brush for the first time in a decade and over the next year or so created a small body of work, partially inspired by the propaganda of the 1940s. When my mom died in 2009, I stopped creating personal work altogether until 2013 when I began a short series of paintings inspired by the ideas of espionage and covert operations — more narrative than the previous series, but similar in tone. There were a few experiments in more abstract styles in between, but certainly nothing you would call prolific. Much of the work that I began in 2008 was based on exploring new processes and trying to figure out my own digital/analog workflow, with the help of artists like Dorothy Simpson Krause and Bonny Lhotka whose work with printing on a variety of non-traditional substrates has proved invaluable.

A month or so ago, I began sketching out some ideas for a new body of work — something more than just a few pieces — and in many ways a continuation of my previous work. This time, the inspiration is not so much the process behind the work, but the imagery that will be contained within it. I've been collecting vintage ephemera — old Russian passports, foreign currency, stock certificates and all manner of official stamps and seals. I'm not sure whether now living in DC is a part of it, though I can't imagine that it hasn't crept into my creative subconscious somehow. Privacy, surveillance, power and corruption are themes that have fascinated me for years and living so close to the eye of the storm where these issues are fought for and against is fuel for the type of imagery I find myself wanting to continue to explore. I'm excited to see where it goes and to be able to share it with you.

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Instagram has grown from a favorite of hipsters and foodies into a fantastic platform for creative discovery. It's no longer just for photography either. In addition to photographers, I follow artists, designers and musicians and I am consistently amazed at not only the incredibly inspiring work, but also the creativity with which that work is being shared.

Jason M. Peterson is a brilliant architectural photographer based in Chicago whose images capture his city and the cities he visits from astonishing perspectives.

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  • One of my new favorite podcasts interviewed one of my all-time favorite book designers. Check out Chip Kidd on Longform.
  • Twenty-two year old Russian designer Artem Troinoi has created a hypothetical redesign of The New York Times and the results are simply brilliant.
  • If you're a fan of film scores, you'll love this conversation called "Art of the Score" between Carter Burwell, Alex Baldwin, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and neuroscientist Aniruddh Patel.
  • I have sort of an obsession with notebooks, so getting a glimpse into the notebooks of some of the top designers in the world nearly made my head explode. Reading their thoughts of what makes a notebook great is icing on the cake.
  • Pixar's 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling are probably more geared towards writing fiction, but there are some great points in there for creating all sorts of narratives, especially number eight: "Finish your story, let go even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time."

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That's it for this preview edition of ITERATIONS. If you'd like to subscribe, use the button below. If newsletters aren't your thing, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram or you can listen to my podcasts, Process Driven and On Taking Pictures. Thanks for reading.