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So the new Batman movie opens tomorrow: The Dark Knight.

And to herald this event, here are a few choice looks back at this incredible franchise.

Hey, who IS doing the new theme song, anyway?

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That last one is dedicated to our dear departed Peter Fries! We miss you, buddy!

 


Posted by Jason Geyer [3] Comments
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I’m not a very good artist.

I mean, I’m OK as far as it goes. I can get the job done or at least figure out what needs to be done. But when it comes to guys like Matt Cauley or Kerry Gammill or Dave Hudnut (all guys I know and worked with) there’s just no comparison. And I’m cool with that.  To be honest I never wanted to be an artist; I’m self-taught in the sense that I doodled in the margins of my school papers, and taught myself how to paint just for fun in high school, but I was never one of those guys that just HAD to draw. The ones that spent hours practicing, or laboring over tiny details, or studying the great artists to figure out the secrets

Nope. I just did it until I got bored and then I’d rush through the rest to finish it. I didn’t want to grow up to be an artist, it was just a hobby. It relaxed me, and I wanted to keep it that way. Sadly, life decided that I would end up having no marketable skills and I somehow backed into a career as a designer, first of toys and now of promotions.

The good news is that I’m quite good at computer programs like photoshop and illustrator. With those, I don’t need to be a good artist, I can fake it. But it is somewhat of a regret that I never really learned how to draw well. Now that I’m in my late 30s new skills don’t come quite so easily anymore, and I sometimes really struggle to get something looking how I want it to. It was much harder when I was a toy designer, as my puny skills meant that while I designed a lot of stuff, someone else would do the final artwork. Oh, I was able to design some nice display pieces, but they were almost always not my style or done by committee (which is kind of the default in any graphic business these days). Still, I was able to put my stamp on things by slipping in the random otter or hyrax onto the item.

Once I moved to doing promotions for big companies I got a lot more freedom to design display pieces, but it was still directed by multiple people within the agency and the client.  It was my art, but not necessarily what I would have done given free reign (but then, given free reign I wouldn’t be making ads, either!) But most of what I do serves the client, and not me, which is how it should be.

So what’s the point of this post, you ask? Well, I was in Wal-Mart the other day and for the first time I saw some of my own artwork, in my own style, there on some product! It turns out that a while back I was doing some design options for a pool chemical company. They wanted some pieces that would evoke "summer fun" and I presented the usual stuff- photo montages of kids playing in the water. But literally at the last minute, I decided to slip in an extra option that no one had asked for: just some very retro style kids on a stark graphic background. At that point, I was moved to a new account and handed that one over to another very capable designer and didn’t think much about it. Well, it turns out they liked my concept and ran with it!

Which leads me to the bittersweet part. I mentioned before how I wasn’t a great artist. But I can fake my way through an awful lot. I did those designs in about 25 minutes, with the thought that if they didn’t like them it was no sweat and I didn’t waste a lot of time but if they got chosen then I would redraw everything to be really nice and very tight. But everyone really liked the art as it was! So the only modification that got made was adding goggles to the dog. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not ashamed of these or anything. But here is my own artwork untouched by anyone else, finally on store shelves (more or less) and it’s the equivalent of a rough sketch! Ah well…

BTW, you can find these on the neck of some bottles of pool chemicals in Wal-Mart, just over from the toy section. It’s a fold-out brochure on how to treat your pool. Whee!

 


Posted by Jason Geyer [8] Comments
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Happy 4th of July, all!

This holiday always makes me think of being a kid back in the 1980s, hanging out with my friends for backyard grilling, then going to another house for more grilling, then another house for even more grilling….you get the picture. Since I moved away from home in 1990 I’ve rarely been able to reconnect with old friends for the 4th or even family: if I do anything special it’s usually hanging out with local friends or catching up on old movies and documentaries that I’m normally too busy to watch. We had fireworks here last weekend (and Three Dog Night was playing) but nothing can compare to when I lived in Marina Del Rey the past few years and they fired off this huge show from a barge in the middle of the marina only about 300 or so feet from my apartment. The first time it happen I thought we were under attack; my windows literally shook with every blast!

Anyway, today I’m off to visit some of those old friends from 20 years gone by, and it puts me in a nostalgic mood. I really enjoyed the 80s at the time, and still like to look back on what I think was the last "innocent" age to grow up in: we had the dawn of MTV, Saturday Morning Cartoons, only 4 channels for the beginning of the decade (for a big part of the country, at least) and no internet. I think if I had access to the internet growing up I would have turned out a much different person than I did. And that’s a very good thing.

So to celebrate the holiday, here are a few random, but fondly remembered bits of nostalgia from my youth:

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Music videos next time!


Posted by Jason Geyer [8] Comments
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Ottertorials 2008 July