Friday, June 27, 2008

Wax Paper

The new issue of Wax Poetics is out this week. I consulted on issue 28, and with no.29 they brought me in as senior art director to tighten up the magazine a bit. For the cover I put a spot varnish on the people (Herbie on the front cover, Spoonie Gee on the back) and the background is matte, so there's a textural difference to catch your eye. On the inside, I re-did the grid so it's all based on squares (i.e. the shape of a record cover), set some new styles for typography (the body type will always be the same, but the display font will change every month) and unified the color (there will be four accent colors per issue; they'll appear on the spine so when all the issues are lined up in the future you'll have a big spectrum of color on your bookshelf).

Designing a magazine from month to month is always a work in progress and there are some things I will change a little bit for the next issue—but overall I'm happy with the way it came out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I recently found out that the Smithsonian has the entire library of Folkways releases on its website for digital download. I would actually just prefer to wait and pick up the vinyl whenever I find it. (Plus, isn't it some sort of twisted mercantilism for the government to collect the people's music and then sell it back to them?) But the website has another useful feature: you can download PDFs of all of the liner notes and album covers.

Folkways' packaging is always impressive—the heavyweight paper; the high standards of art direction; the extensive liner notes, often in booklet form—and it's pretty cool to be able to preview that stuff online.

Here are selections from a couple favorite Folkways records in the crates:

Rev. Lewis Jackson & Charlotte Rucell
(New Orleans, LA May 25, 1954)
Tallest Tree in Paradise mp3
George Herod (Near Scott Station, AL May 8, 1954)
O, the Sun Don't Never Go Down mp3
Richard Jolla (Pond, MS June 25, 1954)
I Heard My Old Mother Call mp3

Riding Hood Boogy Man mp3
Sister Suki mp3

Click here to check out the Folkways site.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Year of the Cat

Taco Cat! I completely forgot to mention that Taco Cats won the Wooooo mag t-shirt contest. Get 'em here for 30 bones.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NW/NY 2: Trace Elements

I'm starting a new series on ye olde Pacific Standard wherein I interview people who are from the Northwest and live in New York, or vice versa, or are interesting people who should be interviewed regardless of where they live, if they moved, or where they're from.

So basically it's an interview series. You might be next so get ready.

First up (well actually second, if you count my interview with Byron Kalet from the Journal of Popular Noise) is Mexico City-born, Northwest-raised Brooklyn resident and Creative Director of Trace magazine, Katie Constans.

She just launched a website to show her work, which is truly impressive.

Being a rule-breaker, Katie didn't really answer all my questions—but the good news is that she sent back a bunch of photos, and a picture is worth 100 answers, so we'll just run with that.

Tell me about your path from the great Northwest to becoming Creative Director of Trace in New York City—what's your background?
I spent a lot of time in high school with fashion magazines—this is my closet [in Edmonds, WA] pasted with magazine images of Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.

All the walls of my bedroom were always an ever-shifting magazine collage.

This is my Grandmother and me standing outside the house she was born in [in Anacortes, WA].

Right after I graduated high school in Edmonds, I won a modeling contest in Bellevue Square with TCM models, a local modeling agency. I won a trip to New York with Terri Morgan the owner. We went to all the fashion shows and my favorite part was getting Cindy Crawford’s autograph. It looks like it’s gotten a bit moldy now.

I ended up modeling for 10 years all over the world. I spent a lot of time in Europe and Asia. This cover from Seattle Bride circa 2001 was my last modeling assignment. It meant a lot to me because it was shot by my favorite photographer based in Seattle, Jim Henkens, who also shot my first test shoot ten years earlier. It felt like I had come full circle.

I studied graphic design at Cornish in Seattle and started doing assistant styling work locally for The Bon, Eddie Bauer and I was always inspired by French fashion magazines and by American artists in the ’20s and ’30s that moved to Paris to pursue and develop their art—Man Ray, Lee Miller, Edward Steichen, and Alexander Calder. I decided to do the same—I moved to Paris to study photography at Parsons in Paris and pursue styling.

This is an example of the type of styling work I was doing there.

I was hired from Paris to come to New York to work at Trace magazine. I started working as the photo editor.

Who and what are your influences?
My biggest inspiration of course is Alexey Brodovitch. I often think about how he used to say “Éttonei Moi!” (surprise me!) when commissioning photographers. I wish I could get away with that but it’s just not the same coming from a Seattle girl without a French accent.

Last question—what are your plans this summer?
This summer I plan on doing a tour of all the beaches near NYC. Visiting my family on Whidbey Island and collecting more of those rocks with the white ring around them. I will be talking on my phone from New York to Seattle and Seattle to NY a lot. Going to as many photo openings, art galleries and museums as possible. Dreaming of images, design and cinema while on the subway. Dancing, dancing, dancing, laughing, riding my bike, going to outdoor concerts, making fun videos and staying inspired.

Check out Katie's work at

Monday, June 23, 2008

You Missed It All

I haven't been going to the flea market recently—yesterday was the fourth one I've skipped. I haven't been in the mood to acquire new stuff, and I'm actually trying to pare down my collection a little bit. Last Sunday I went to Academy Records in Williamsburg and traded in maybe ten records for three. Here are a few cuts from the best of the records I picked up, some poppy psych from London ca.1968.

July Jolly Mary mp3
You Missed It All mp3

That second one reminds me a little of this Poets of Rhythm record that came out on Quannum several years ago—I was really into it at the time.

The Poets of Rhythm Smiling While You're Crying mp3

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Someday the Waves

Andrew Bird "Lull" (2008 version) via LineOut and Pitchfork.

I don't mind admitting that this video made my eye holes slightly watery this early Sunday morning. Probably just need some more coffee.