Sunday, October 7, 2007

"You Don't Need Two Mics, You're Not LL Cool J"

Greetings! Five of your faithful (Jenny, Colin, Ally, Justin, and myself [Dylan]) have been attending the illustrious AIGA Design Camp 2007. Oh, what splendors! What networking! Do you know about web to print? We do, now.

The theme for this year's camp? The Entirely True FACTUAL ACCOUNT of Design Camp. Let us shed some truth on you, as to maintain continuity. We're all about that, correct? The events have been both stimulating and jarring for us. We can't say readily if this is because of what we do at MCAD as a whole, or who we are as individuals, but it has been both an awkward yet rewarding adventure. We have met with other schools from around MN area who are working towards a life in the design world. Beyond the scope of us as students at MCAD, the greater body of students in Minnesota seem just as ripe with passion for design, but we all have our respected guards up. Still though, it has been nice seeing what other schools and students are doing in terms of design and education. We will be bringing back these thoughts for detail during our spicy post-camp meeting this coming Monday.

Onward! We arrived bleary eyed to a drizzled Niswa, MN, a town sparse in nature, but rich in wood. Safely getting there–through poor U-turning, near accidents, and giggle seshes–we found our way to the GrAnd (seriously, the "A" is like that) View Lodge. This is a sprawling cabin laden resort nestled in a thick wooded area. Checking in was no prob, save for Justin assuming the name Zoe and Ally somehow slipping through and getting meal privileges (what luck!) but, alas, she has not yet taken advantage of the mishap; for her or our collective hungry tummies. We then found our way through the professional (old) crowd to find seats for the first lecture. On deck was Jason Munn (otherwise known as The Small Stakes) who is a sheepish but funny poster maker based out of San Fran. He is mentioned often in the same breath as Minneapolis' own Aesthetic Apparatus, so if you enjoy one you will most likely enjoy the other. His lecture was filled with his past as an undergrad student in Wisconsin, to how he developed friends in bands by way of allowing them to crash on his floor, to meaningless jobs, to finding his way to Oakland where he discovered the art of screen printing. Using his leverage and connections through The Ramp, a short lived venue in Berkley, he began supplying them with posters for the shows. With a grounded sense of DIY nature, Munn has become a well known and hard working screen printer, and has moved on beyond just posters to CD packaging, shirt designs, among other work. He went through his entire printing process in his presentation, allowing us to see not just the work as it stands, but we saw how it all comes together. We all think Jenny has a secret crush on Jason Munn. Don't tell her we told you though.

Following Munn's presentation we embarked to gawk at his mad-good looking posters. I believe we all purchased one (maybe not Colin, but he's saving his money for a sword) and then went out to see some of what Nisswa had to offer. It is a sleepy little tourist town with some fascinating kitsch shops. In the previous post you could see some of what we found in the Totem Pole, the shop that exclusively sells both butterfly knifes as well as "Pull My Finger" pens. Truly, it was magical! I must admit, I purchased "Wyoming" (307 repping!) driver's license featuring one Butthead, of Beavis and Butthead. I will show this at the meeting.

Back to camp! We sprayed ourselves with bugspray, sun-blocked our beautiful skin, and went inside the lodge to workshop. Now, some might say Justin got the better workshop (Non-Computer Aided Binding) just because he got to learn how to make books. Pfffffft. PASS! said the rest of us. WE wanted to learn about web-to-print process. What is web-to-print process? Oh ho ho, let our friend's at The Bureau tell you ALL about it. Oh, we can't embed their trucker-hat heavy presentation in this blog because most of us were slipping into doodle-ville. We're not saying it's not important; it very well could be. The idea of detailing printing of works over the internet is time savvy as well as cost-effective–so they told us–but it was more about the product of the Bureau, not so much about ALL printers. Essentially, the world is moving into the internets (irony! we have a blog!) and most everything is being dictated electronically, and so why not print that way? I think Jenny, Colin, Ally and myself felt that maybe we should stay old-fashioned and actually meet with our printers. Justin, however, made two cute little books and now knows how to effectively make a mock up. Like I said, laaammeee.

After the workshops we met up and discussed attempting to sneak into the mixer dinner, seeing as how none of us had paid for the meal plan. We thought maybe we could run in under the radar due to Ally's lucky food-stamp placed on her placard, but we then saw that they had a pretty strict hold on their fancy shmancy dinner. Instead, we made fun of some incredibly awesome bear statues (pics below) and remained laughing entering my Lumina. We then went to get dinner at a place that Justin called Flahtery's, which is actually named Rafterty's. It was an Irish themed pizza place serving delectable goods to us, the hungry city folk. Jenny was asked about her eye-catching sweatshirt from one of the endless blond-haired blue-eyed teen service industry girls. I was then asked if I purposely matched my glasses to my sweatshirt. This just shows how we instantly livened the look of tiny Nisswa.

The night brought trepidations about returning to the camp and experiencing old folk singing old songs poorly via karaoke. We were all incredibly tired and opted to drive to our 2.6 mile away hotel. SIKE! The hotel is 15 miles away from the GrAnd View Lodge, which baffled me since I am both an awful driver and confused easily by direction. Still, we arrived and basked in the haunting pink glow of Econo Lodge, the only way to stay. YouTube mayhem ensued, causing fits of giggles, then sleep.

Awake! We needed to be at camp bright and early for a lecture by Joel Templan of Hatch Design, also based out of San Francisco. After pounding down some continental breakfast we moved through the fog towards the campgrounds. Alas, we are slow wakers, and showed up about 10 minutes into the lecture. Templan, however, was so brief that his entire lecture was 20 minutes in length, meaning we missed half of it. Hatch Design is much like Duffy or Pentagram. They work on large scale design campaigns for larger corporations, the likes of Apple, Coke, American Eagle and Pepsi. We did get to see some of his work on a recent Pepsi energy drink, showing what seemed like an endless line of variations on the theme for Fuelosophy. Really. He had at least 8 different versions of the packaging scroll through, and said that there were countless more. Interesting process. He was almost the complete antithesis to Jason Munn, who worked on one solid idea, seeing it all the way through. Templan made variation after variation after variation to show to his clients. That might be his strength, but it was a little crazy seeing that much process. Definitely interesting.

Following that we decided to check out the beach, duck through the woods a little, and settle on the moist decks of the Lodge. Then came the morning workshops. Jenny, Ally, Justin and myself attended a workshop detailing the right paper to use in various printing situations. Relevance! The lesson was informative and so different from the sales shtick of the web-to-print seminar we had attended the day previous. Led by two classic Minnesotan women (middle-aged with dyed blond hair full of MN nice spunk) from Duffey Paper. They led us through the latest paper trends, discussed what is truly cost effective in terms of overseas paper as opposed to domestic paper, as well as the process now being refined for a more sustainable future. They led us through what to print on what paper and gave us some fine examples of how the the different papers worked with certain design items. Definitely a stimulating experience, though one for primarily professionals working out in the big bad world. They DID offer us a sweet free sample stand. To be discussed Monday!

Colin, however, attended a completely AWESOME!!! lecture about a woman's journey with photography and design. Maybe it was the music selection, maybe it's because Colin is a deep down misogynist, or just maybe it was as bad as he says it was, but he didn't make it through the whole thing. Man, what a b-hole, right?

Lunch break! To Chillabrate! DQ!

At 1:30 pm today we met with the other students and faculty from various schools around Minnesota. Some on hand were CVA, Minnesota State at Moorhead and the UofM Twin Cities. We seemed to stick out like a sore thumb, though primarily due to Colin's rat tail, as we introduced ourselves to our large design student community. We discussed a few pros and cons of AIGA and then split up into mixed groups to discuss items relevant to us as design students. I think I speak for everyone on this journey, but it feels as though most schools are teaching based on practicality, not on design theory or experimentation. Almost all of the issues facing the other schools was about networking/professional practices. These things ARE important, and we understand that, but it seemed as though this was all that was discussed among our collective groups. When sharing experiences it seemed as though many people were into the idea of real world connections off showing off their work, and I felt as though there was so little in dissection of design process, work as ephemeral, and opening up dialog about education between institutions. I also made incredibly bad jokes, so what do I know?

Our final workshop! We decided to rep up MCAD and attend the Sustainable Design workshop. Colin, Jenny and I went to it and had a good time. The Sustainable Design online program is cutting edge and it showed in the workshop. Everyone who wasn't familiar with the Sustainable Program seemed to take to it really well, showing that sustainability in design is reaching all across the state. This program is something we should all look into.

Justin attended a True Color seminar and all I could get out of him was that it was cool, but also something he will most likely forget by the time it is needed in the real world. The man speaks my language. Ally snuck into the bookbinding workshop. She seemed happy with the results.

The final lecture for the day was Carin Goldberg, primarily a book cover designer and educator based out of New York. Her presentation was the most engaging in design theory. Detailing the ideas of "truth", she discussed her work in juxtaposition to the world status around us and the amount of truth being manipulated or just the idea of flat out lies. Political in nature, but sound in presentation and design, Goldberg was often funny and almost This American Life-esque in her delivery of information. I do have to admit though, I fell asleep for part of the lecture. According to my compatriots, I began a slow soft snore. Embarrassment! But, alas, I am but an easily sleepy boy, and all the Design Camp splendor really tuckered me out. I still did manage to catch the majority of her lecture. I think the most interesting aspect was how much it reflected the article that Kevin had posted before our last meeting. The primary difference between the two was the idea of the articles take on the idea of making the world a better place through personal morals, and how Carin felt the morals are based on natural truths. Very intriguing stuff. I hope I didn't piss her off with my snorez.

Dinner was had at 371, an off highway 50's throwback diner. The colors were neon-extreme and blinding, but also a nice change up from the subdued nature of the wilderness infused locale we had become accustomed to. Then, we realized the greatest thing! It was Baxter, MN's homecoming weekend! Oh, the memories flooded back and we discussed attending their football game, or crashing the PHAT high school parties surely to be taking place. As we left, our resident extrovert Justin asked our server where the homecoming after party was at. She sheepishly admitted near the high school. Then Justin outdid himself asking where the after-after-party was. She informed of us that there was one she knew of, but we didn't get the details. This is foreshadowing!

Back to GrAnd View, back to design dorks. We sat in on Design Trivia, opting not to engage due to our tardiness, but also because we would have answered everything with E___ Doogie Howser jokes (fill in the blanks!) or just name dropping MCAD. Yes, we are this irresponsible. It was interesting in that it was so boring, but in that cute awkward way. Enjoyable, but not something we needed, ya know?

Then came grown up drinks for grown up times, making us feel out of place. We did the only thing we knew how to do in cases like that; we started singing 90's classics and dancing to the bluegrass band humming along in the outdoor bar. Pics were taken, stories shared, a girl accidentally touched my butt with hers and that was about it. We decided adventure was needed!

So, back to Baxter, our favorite high school town. We stopped at a gas station, filled up my car and Justin went on the hunt for party info. Yes, we are serious. Dead serious. Who wouldn't want random, dirty looking design kids crashing their homecoming partay? Justin luckily found a girl who was driving to a party and we, under the radar, followed her deeeeeep into Baxter's lakey belly. To say the adrenaline would be an understatement. Letting the radio roll song to song we listened Bon Jovi, Journey, and Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching me". It seemed like destiny was in our favor! As we followed the line of cars, we tip-toed along, inching our way towards awkward interaction. Oh, and what hilarity ensued! As we followed the cars up a dirt path we neared them as they parked at the top of a hill. The realization? They were having a CAMP OUT SLEEP OVER! Not something to be crashed, we buzzed our car near them, then backed up (only to run into some wood) and than laughed maniacally as we burned rubber out of there. They followed us this time, only as to shew us, which made for the greatest time ever. You are all jealous of how much fun we had, trust me.

Now, we are at the Econo Lodge, slowly rolling to slumber. Let it be known; we represent you with utmost dignity. Really. This has been such a great time. More tomorrow!

No comments: