Los Angeles

Illustrator and Entrepreneur Scott Gandell on the Tools of His Trades

Scott Gandell is an illustrator and printmaker. He also co-owns and operates the South Pasadena Mercantile Co., which is packed with an eclectic assortment of home furnishings, folk art, books, original paintings, and other merchandise. I first met him when I was interviewing attendees at 2010′s ICON Conference in Pasadena for an Imprint story. He...

How Sean Adams Transforms His Childhood Insecurities into Brilliant Graphic Design

If you’ve seen Sean Adams at design functions, you’ll recall a bright and friendly guy who makes grinning 1960s-era stewardesses seem positively dour by comparison. In fact, in a behind-the-scenes story about my Imprint coverage of an event last year I noted, “Throughout AIGA National’s Pivot conference, none of the on-stage staff smiled anywhere...

California Dreamin’ with Marc Shur

Last year, the advertising art director and designer Marc Shur found himself needing to do something “creative” in his free time. So he started photographing signs—not your average Dunkin’ Donuts signs, mind you, but the coolest signs imaginable. “Photography has always been a serious hobby for me,” Marc says, “but it’s never had a...

A Report on Comic-Con… and Covert CIA Actions

Last week’s Comic-Con at San Diego’s Convention Center was overloaded with activities. If you were a Hollywood celeb–obsessed fan you may have spent much, if not most, of your time stuck in lines. But if you were a lover of well-designed graphic narratives, you needn’t have wasted one idle moment during the five full...

A Designer’s Midcentury-Mod Music-Graphics Mashups

Graham Moore creates fine-art pieces that put you in a dancing mood, just by looking into them. In fact, many of them began as vintage LP record album covers, several decades pre-mp3. Then, under his knife, texts lose their legibility, images lose their identity, and those often dull cardboard sleeves are reconfigured into visual...

Bare Bodies, Mud Baths, and Beyond: Wet in Retrospect

In the late 1970s, bohemian hipsters on L.A.’s west side were getting Wet. Despite its small circulation, it became highly influential among local artists, designers, and architects. And now, “Making Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing,” provides a sampling of its spirit. Leonard Koren admits in his book that when he launched Wet in...

Chip Kidd's Vertical Adventures: Talking Book Design and Publishing Smut

“Penis!” It was the first thing out of the book designer Chip Kidd’s mouth, and without a moment’s hesitation. He and Gary Panter had just been asked: if you could create a magazine of your own, what would you call it? The Pee-Wee’s Playhouse designer was more circumspect, eventually considering the title “Smurfy Beaver Shots.”...

Black Dahlia Murder, Part 2: The Victim’s Makeup

Wrapping up my interview with crime historian Joan Renner, we delve deeper into an unsolved murder mystery. Joan explores her theory that the victim’s Black Dahlia persona began when she was still alive. Read part one, with more details of the Dahlia investigation, here. Our conversation picks up with Joan describing her passion for...

Anarchy in L.A.: The Sex Pistols' Designer, Reloaded

Never mind the Shepard Fairey criminal contempt conviction, here’s Jamie Reid. The designer who branded the Sex Pistols so indelibly by ripping across Her Majesty’s face now has his first solo West Coast exhibition at  Shepard’s Subliminal Projects Gallery. Shepard was still living in San Diego when we first met in 1999 in Silver...