First the penny farthing, then the steam-powered locomotive, and now we’ve got make-ready mini prints featuring a pirate ship with a VL flag. We like pirates — not contemporary pirates, who are just seafaring terrorists, but the kinds of pirates who shop at 826 Valencia in San Francisco, the pirate supply store.
Reusing our test screenprints is slowly turning into a print series on modes of transportation. Can you recognize any of our old print projects?
This ship thread actually started about nine years ago, when I was asked to create an ad promoting the Herron School of Art on the back cover of Arts Indiana magazine. No content, no direction, just something that used up reserved ad space. Since it was the beginning of summer vacation, I created a map showing students escaping from the school — rocket ship, bicyclist, skier, deer, bird, and a ship. At the time, including a ship was a little dig at Indy’s landlocked location.
A few years later, living in Boston, I was tasked with designing a poster for a lecture by Alston Purvis at Montserat Colle of Art. I had no topic for his talk and, since Purvis is a distinguished graphic design historian capable of discussing any topic in the field, I focused on turning his name into one big typographic atrocity, juxtaposing blackletter, infographics, the Metallica logo, and 19th century wood type. The ship symbolized his commute from his Boston office to the North Shore art school.
At the last minute, I received the topic [“H.N. Werkman: A Dutch Design Maverick”] and added it along with a Dutch tulip and a butterfly that was strangely attracted to my crazy type treatment.
A few years after that, I found myself in Cincinnati, designing a craft how-to book entitled Anticraft [photos seen here]. My design concept was a kind of graphic clusterfuck, so I brought back the ship on page 40. This book may well feature the largest page numbers ever committed to paper.
So, that’s the story of the ship in VL work. What started as a little jab at Indianapolis has turned into a nine year-old running joke. Maybe our little upcycled prints are the end of the joke? Maybe we’ll keep finding ways to take the joke further? Only time will tell.