So, since I'm the new guy here at 97 Degrees West, I figured it was a chance for me to start things off by giving you, the reader, an idea of what inspires me, and helps with my creative process. Sometimes the 'ole brain doesn't want to connect point A to point B and point Z is nowhere to be found. In these instances, I turn to some trusted sources for help in an attempt to put something on paper, or screen, that I'm actually satisfied with. Usually, I do 10 versions of whatever I'm working on, throw them all out, and wish I had kept the first version. All that aside, here are a few artists and things that help me organize all the static inside my head:
This designer is the epitome of a bitter, sarcastic, jovial, intimidating and unbelievably talented artist, that just wants to do the best work possible, and not get caught up in design trends, faddish styles and the flavor of the week piece of art. He's dedicated to solid design, exceptional use of typography, color palette choices, and he has a sense of humor that will make anyone smile. Well, that is, unless you're offended by copious amounts of profanity – if that's the case, you might not like him. Watch his video.
He's a huge inspiration to me in regards to painting, illustration and graffiti. He is one of them most prolific, volatile and charismatic contemporary artists, and his story about getting arrested, and thrown into a Japanese jail for more than three months is pretty entertaining as well.
Shane is one of the founders of VICE magazine, and subsequently has turned this small magazine into a worldwide media outlet. VICE reports on some of the most dangerous, heart-wrenching, terrifying and hilarious pieces of news that most main-stream media won't even approach. He's traveled to places like Afghanistan, North Korea, the SOFEX arms conference in Jordan, and has risked his life many times in an attempt to go beyond the surface journalism that most networks participate in.
This photographer uses medium and large format film, and takes extremely long-exposure photographs at night, mainly of houses and apartment buildings. The long exposures allow for unparalleled detail, and the amount of light that is captured during this time (sometimes up to an hour), gives each image a surreal, un-earthly quality. Most of these images are of nondescript, normally un-impressive structures, but somehow his process of taking the photos changes them into dreamlike memories from a past life that you can barely remember.
Music has always been a big part of the creative process (I hate that phrase) for me, and Radiohead is one of those bands that will always be there to put me into the right mindset, or at least push me in the right direction, for whatever project I'm working on. This band has evolved from an early 90s alt-rock outfit to an international, god-like group of musicians always surprising their fans with an intensely saturated and painstakingly crafted sound.
I feel like a total scumbag admitting this, but on many occasions, when I have very little drive, or I'm falling asleep from waking up in the middle of the night several times to help my infant son go back to sleep, Red Bull has helped me get through those last few hours of the day, or helped me finish off that last bit of a painting. Their marketing is incessant and caters to Axe-Body-Spray clad frat boys who want a little kick with their vodka. But apparently it works, because I'm drinking one right now.