I’m excited and honoured to be a judge at this year’s Ad Rodeo – a celebration of the best design and advertising work from Calgary, Alberta. Lucky winners take home an Anvil award. Awesome, right?
2012 was a great year. I participated in various art shows; created posters for Mondo, Acme Archives and DHM; attended New York Comic Con for a poster signing; and even managed to win a few awards. I was really killing it.
It’s been close to a full year since I’ve released any new artwork.
So what’s the deal? Where have I been?
Truth be told: I needed the break.
I didn’t recognize the signs at the time, but I started to burn myself out. The toll of working so many ‘side projects’ while simultaneously working advertising contracts caught up with me.
What started as a hobby, suddenly grew into a second full-time job.
Design. Print. Sign. Pack. Mail. Repeat.
I was working ALL the time. It became too much for me to handle by myself.
Subsequently, I backed out of all art shows and poster commitments.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to design posters for a living; but sadly, this avenue of my career never reached the point where it could pay for all the bills.
That’s not to say 2013 has been a quiet year; on the contrary. I actually managed to cross off two major milestones: I got married and bought a house. Now on weekends, instead of crushing it on my computer, I’m crushing my wallet at Home Depot.
I’ve also taken the time to explore different avenues of my career.
Over the summer, I took on a Design Director role at Tribal DDB. I managed a design team on digital projects for brands like McDonalds, AVEENO and Canadian Tire. It was a huge learning experience.
Recently, I came back to work with my friends at Juniper Park. I’m on various accounts, including eos, where I’ve been designing patterns and illustrations for different types of packaging (dedicated post to come).
Do I miss art shows and licensed posters? Definitely.
Will I get back into it in the near future? Absolutely.
In fact, I have a handful of ideas that are waiting to come to life; including one big idea that is starting to take shape.
That being said, 2014 is quickly approaching. I look forward to starting a new year with something that I lost focus of: BALANCE.
I want to continue to explore different paths of this crazy industry, but more importantly, I want to live. I need to make more time for myself; to relax and recharge, to read a book or two, and spend more time with family and friends.
Ferris Bueller said it best:
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Our officiant, Daniel Brereton, was remarkable. He willingly played along with our vision right from the start. He came dressed head to toe in a full pilot uniform, which we rented from Malibar Ltd.
He also customized his opening speech:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard. I am your Captain, Daniel Brereton and on behalf of Shaun, Michael and the rest of the crew here at Love at First Flight airlines, I want to welcome you aboard flight 09/03/13 service from St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto to Who Knows Where! We are currently flying at about 249 ft above sea level, however our ultimate cruising altitude will depend on you….and how much you enjoy yourselves this evening.
Our flight time will be about 15 minutes, but remember, this is only one leg of a journey that will last a lifetime.
Please ensure that any baggage you may have brought with you is safely stored. (Looking at Shaun and Michael) Let me repeat….please ensure that any baggage you have brought with you is safely stored!
Wrapped inside square kraft paper boxes, we gave away our favorite treat, Bounce Spirulina & Ginseng Balls.
Acknowledging that most people have no idea what the hell spirulina is, Shaun wrote a mini three panel brochure explaining the benefits of this foreign dietary supplement. We held it together using airplane shaped paper clips.
The two of us were styled by Hudson’s Bay style guru, Vaughn Stafford Gray. We wanted to match, but not wear the exact same thing. Vaughn helped us choose the perfect colours, textures and fit. #bespoke
Jacket: Biella Collection from Theodore 1922
Pants: Surface To Air
Shirt: Brooks Brothers
Shoes: Ted Baker
We set up a station where guests could take their own professional-style ‘passport’ portraits.
Our cat, Abby, came dressed to the nines. We had to find someway of including our little beast in the evening!
I bought her a dress; had a photoshoot; then printed a life-size cardboard cutout.
She hung around the photo station for most of the night.
I’ve always been a firm believer that if a drag queen shows up at your door, you know it’s a damn good party. Which is why we surprised guests with Toronto’s own, Katinka Kature.
At the stroke of midnight, she burst onto the dance floor dressed all in black as a sexy flight attendant, lip-synching to Toxic by Britney Spears.
Yes, she even had a costume change.
DJ Kevin Ritchie doing his thing. Best. Music. Ever.
There was laughter. There were tears. By the end of the evening, every last (e)motion sickness bag was consumed. Honestly, the night was a huge success.
A week after the wedding, I received a handwritten letter from my Aunt, Debbie, thanking us for the wedding. Aren’t we the ones who are supposed to send out thank you cards!? I’d like to share part of it:
March 9, 2013 – A day I will never forget. What a magical, beautiful and wonderful event. I have never been to a more moving wedding in my life. You couldn’t have done anything different; the venue, decor, music and food; everything was so unique. A true reflection of Mikey and Shaun. You have a bunch of wonderful friends who love and care for you both so much. Thank you for letting me share your special day with you. I will never forget it.
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into our special day. We truly are blessed with the most loving family and friends anyone could hope for. I consider us both lucky for not only the endless support from those around us, but to live in a country that recognizes marriage equality. All you need is LOVE, people.
Thanks for reading. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to hear about more fun designy projects in the making!
It’s a gorgeous venue with a lot character; equipped with high ceilings, exposed brick, wine barrels and giant arched windows that overlook downtown Toronto. It was the perfect space to accommodate our theme.
Right before the start of the ceremony, I thought it would be fun to hand out airsickness bags filled with facial tissue. You know, in case of any (e)motion sickness. Har har.
Shaun is a nutritionist, so he was very particular about what we served. Most of the food was gluten and dairy free.
Originally, we envisioned simple grazing stations; however, as the theme evolved, we asked the catering company, Daniel et Daniel, if it was possible to serve ‘in-flight meals’ packaged in kraft paper boxes.
We sealed each box with an MVD>SSR sticker. These were handed out to all the guests by the caterers at the beginning of the evening.
My sister, Jaime, decorated our cupcakes with little handcrafted airplanes.
For a relatively inexpensive alternative to wedding flowers (that shit ain’t cheap!), we opted for simple greenery. We bought various types of plants and cacti from IKEA, and repotted them in mason jars.
We stacked vintage suitcases and crates throughout the venue, which we rented from various antique stores, and dressed them up with vintage cameras, globes and books.
My mom handcrafted paper flowers made out of old street maps, which we scattered throughout the decorations.
I designed a number of posters with old photographs, facts and personality insights of Shaun, myself and our wedding party, that were mounted on foamcore and displayed throughout the venue.
For a relatively easy and inexpensive way of branding everything in sight, I had a couple custom stamps made.
Next up: Ceremony, Wedding Favours, Attire, Passport Station, Entertainment & End Result.
March 9th, 2013. The day I married Shaun was the best day of my life. Honestly, I can’t put into words how perfect everything turned out. It was incredible.
Although, I can’t say the planning happened overnight; there was a lot of work involved. But come on, what designer wouldn’t love branding their own event!? I thought I would share our overall vision, including all the fun designy projects we made to create a unique, memorable and affordable event.
We had just a little over two months to bring everything together; invitations, decor, venue, attire, entertainment, food; the list goes on and on. Neither one of us planned such a big event before, so we were more than intimidated of how and where to get started. From the get-go, about all we knew was that we wanted to keep it small and intimate.
I have to give serious props to our close friends, Muqu, Preeti, Ryan and Tyler. We were lucky to have a wedding party that all helped tremendously in different ways. As well as dozens of other friends & family members we tapped in to for help along the way. They all made it possible to make all my dumb ideas come to life.
True story: five years ago, Shaun and I met at Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) on Christmas Eve. This is an excerpt from our invitations:
Unlike most love at first sight tales, ours began at an airport one Xmas eve. We each were traveling alone, set to see our families. We shared a few glances. An introduction. Then somewhere between poor weather conditions, fate and a cancelled flight, we found ourselves seated side-by-side as the plane took off. And that’s how we plan to stay.
Thus, the perfect theme was born: Love at First Flight.
Unfortunately, because time wasn’t on our side, there was no save the date. We just sent an email to our guests that said, well, just that. It was fast and it was cheap. Why do it any other way? Instead, I designed the invitations into two pieces and sent them out together; a postcard and an airline ticket.
Both the postcard and ticket were packaged together in an A4 kraft paper envelope.
On the front of the postcard, I drew Shaun and I when we met at the airport. On the back, was an introduction to our story (excerpted above).
As an ode to my collectible poster designs, the silkscreened postcards acted as mini limited edition art pieces; both hand numbered and signed.
Paper: 100% cotton 245gsm Wheat
Printed by: Kid Icarus
We wanted the evening to come across as laid back, natural and unrehearsed. The copy on the ticket reflected just that; from the suggested start time, “7:30-8:00 pm ‘ISH’”, to the cheeky footnotes reminding guests not to bring randos. A true reflection of our quirky relationship.
Paper: 35 Pt. Chipboard
Printed by: Lunar Caustic Press
The MVD>SSR graphic; our initials made into airport codes; ended up becoming the logo for the event crossing all platforms/materials.
Next up: Venue, (e)Motion Sickness Bags, Food & Decorations.
I finally made time to go through the monstrosity that took over my closet (that was once for my clothes). Each box contained unopened artist proofs from various shows/galleries from 2012. I need to make room if I want to create new art, so here are the last remaining copies that I have been selfishly hoarding.
Please note, the prices reflect the extremely limited quantities I have in my possession. This is it folks! The rest are sold out and selling for much more on ebay (if you can find them).
Ok, here’s what I found.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Standard (AP)
Only 5 available • $60
Fantastic Mr. Fox: NYCC Exclusive (AP)
Only 5 available • $80
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Standard (AP)
14 available • $60
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Variant (AP)
9 available • $100
“Hair-Raising Hare” (AP)
Only 4 available • $60
Zoot: Saxophone (AP)
Only 3 available • $150
Floyd: Bass (AP)
Only 3 available • $150
Janice: Guitar (AP)
Only 3 available • $150
Dr. Teeth: Keyboards (AP)
Only 3 available • $200
Electric Mayhem: Complete Set of 5 (AP’s)
Only 3 sets available • $850