Obsessions: December 7th, 2009

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For the print designers who don’t make it online all that often (how’d you find this column?), there was an amusing development in You Tube parody videos last week: A handful of wiseacre designers remade Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” into an ode to Neutraface. Herewith!

It amused me a couple of times, but not much more, as I have never found typography or in-jokes about typography funny. At all.

Typographers are funny (jokes about Eric Gill will never stop being funny); typefaces are almost never funny. Well, maybe except for this one, which is hilarious.

After the second time watching the video, I paid more attention to the credits, and began to dig. These folks are decidedly talented, and I would suggest a look beyond the initial joke.

The entire production was spearheaded by one Jason Kinney, who lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. He’s a talented photographer, but his silk work is what really caught my eye (in fact, I immediately blew a small wad of cash for Christmas presents). He prints with wood block and screen printing on large, gauzy cotton and silk panels with hand-rolled hems. The pieces all portray a yearning for a poetic imagined past, full of romance, manly feats, and folk tales. There are heavenly scenes of birds circling cathedral ceilings (sometimes embellished with bold geometric shapes to contrast with the delicacy), portraits of sailors against crashing waves with declarations of freedom, and retellings of the Sleeping Beauty myth.

Jason’s partner in crime is Mark Searcy, who’s a jack of all trades on the web with a distinctly retro sense of humor. He creates for the web and for print, he writes and releases his own tracks, some of which are here, and he has some wonderful ideas about collage.

Mark has a gorgeous visual blog which you should experience. It’s simple blogging, but such a smart re-think of the format.He writes at The Nowhere Special, an interesting poetry blog to me as the typographic composition is every bit as considered as the words (which is usually not the case)

I scout, you reap the bounty. see how this works? Enjoy, until next week!