Solstice Sunglasses Photoshoots (January-May 2017)

Photoshoots are fun! Stressful, but fun. And here's some samples of a few shots I've directed so far this year for Solstice Sunglasses. Huge kudos to my amazing team that helps make these shoots come to life!

Models: @kellymariehays and @elizabethbeals
Photographers: @benbrinker and @cellacinema
Editors: @aimeebrinker, @intinylines and @cellacinema

All photos are property of Solstice Sunglasses, as created by @daggeragency.

Welcome, 2017.

2016 was a gigantic year, in all ways — good and bad. And rather than revel in its ending (which I am afraid I've done too much already), I humbly, excitedly, and wholeheartedly welcome and wish only the best for 2017.

An image retrospective of 2016 — a year of changes, travel, and unwavering love and support from the best inner circle a girl could ever ask for.

An image retrospective of 2016 — a year of changes, travel, and unwavering love and support from the best inner circle a girl could ever ask for.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Everything

Happy holidays, y'all. Here's a little ditty I made for the season. It may or may not also function as a self portrait.

Trying my hardest, despite 2016's best attempts, to be less of a black banana with a (bomp bomp) greasy black peel.

Trying my hardest, despite 2016's best attempts, to be less of a black banana with a (bomp bomp) greasy black peel.

Spill Canvas Merchandise Designs

The always-lovely Spill Canvas and I worked together this year on some super cool merch designs. Huge thank you to Nick and the boys for letting me be a part of their music-making magic. Some of these designs are still available for purchase here, so swing by and grab some!

Side Project: Animated .gifs

Here are some fun ditties I made in the great (pfft) year of 2016. Some are featured on dagger's Instagram, so go give us a follow for more 30 second fun.

Side Project: Wrestling Posters (Part 1)

In agency/startup/freelance life, there's not a whole lot of extra time or excess energy to devote to many things outside the business. However, for the last eight years, and most passionately in the last five, I have followed, supported, and wholeheartedly loved professional wrestling.

Without giving you a full case study on how WWE is one of the greatest examples of an international brand creating long-lasting, engaging multimedia content for over half a decade, know I am a devout fan of WWE wrestling, and find within its stable of Superstars many characters, athletes, and heroes worth celebrating.

And that's what this ongoing side project is about: celebrating the storytellers and characters that, many times, get me from day to day and week to week. Judge not, lest ye have been to a Pay-Per-View. I say, "life changing" with a non-ironic grin.

Oh and by the way, expect a full case study on WWE soon enough. It's that good. Don't believe me? Then tune in for @StephMcMahon's Cannes talk this year.

And check out these posters I've created. More on the way, just couldn't wait to share.

Inspiration

I get asked a lot in introductions and interviews, "What inspires you?" I tend to start off with answers to what they're really asking, "How do you stay relevant?" and I name off design blogs, Twitter handles, and local gallery-bars that I infrequently frequent. However, I find I most often get my visual inspiration from music.

As a teenager, my first life aspiration was to be (stay) in the theater. Through high school and college, I starred in musicals like Once Upon a MattressLittle Shop of HorrorsGrease, and Into the Woods. Musical theater creates the raw emotion of face-to-face performance and amps up the volume with a fully orchestrated (sometimes omnipresent) soundtrack. Shows like The Last Five YearsFun House, Les Miserables, Company, The Book of Mormon, and Sunday in the Park with George have been go-to's in this first decade of design. I find the music of these shows creates a safety net for me, opening up my brain to receive new ideas, no matter how foreign they may seem to me. Safety is a large part of my emotional requirement foundation. Designing something new usually doesn't mix well with watching a new movie or tv show, or listening to something I don't already know the lyrics to. It's limiting, but it works.

I am inspired by emotional moments, and rarely a medium expresses true emotion to me better than musical theater.

Finishing the Hat — Sunday in the Park with George

The dichotomy between what must be done and what else is being ignored in that time? The dichotomy of thinking, speaking, and living in design and the sudden drop off when transitioning to living back in the real world? Whew.

On days I need to heads-down focus, there's really only one album that gets me there. It's NSFW, but in the world of headphones, no problem. A long, immaculate mashup that pairs Black Sabbath with Ludacris, Simon and Garfunkle with Lil Jon, Eric Clapton with B.O.B., Wiz Khalifa with John Lennon, and more? Yeah. It's intense. And perfect. Here's the whole album. Girl Talk's All Day. (All day, indeed.)

I made an observation this year that the art that most profoundly affects me all has one thing in common — its subject, creator, or message seems to feel the pain I have once felt before. Returning to the idea of musicals (which I am prone to do incessantly) The Origin of Love from Hedwig and the Angry Inch observes:


I could tell by your expression
that the pain down in your soul
was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain
that cuts a straight line
down through the heart.

And we call it love.

In my teens, I obsessively clung to singer-songwriters. With longstanding love affairs with Jim Croce, James Taylor, Don McLean, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard, in 2005, I found a contemporary obsession in the South Dakota based "desert rock" band The Spill Canvas. After (finally) finding their debut album Sunsets and Car Crashes in the Haight Asbury Tower Records in 2005, my true connection with writing poetry began. One of my earliest journals is full of Spill creator Nick's words, and I spent a lot of time crafting my emotional responses to life's occurrences in a similar fashion to the way he did. And I think the reason is because he, more than any artist, seemed to have this Hedwig-esque understanding of what was happening, despite our ages, geography, and circumstances being much, much different. Many years, miles, and albums later, I am so proud and honored to call Nick my friend. And I hope our short, disparate conversations have adequately let him know that his years of distant support through just creating his art have offered me more comfort, inspiration, and perseverance than any other artist, visual or otherwise. In essence, I have never found an artist to impact me more profoundly than he, and I continue to find a safe, profound, and deeply moving message in his music.

This song resonates with a time in my life I had to make a difficult decision about myself. When taken literally, the song is quite sad. But I find strength in remembering this specific moment and deciding to become something greater than the circumstances that were attempting to narrate my life for me. Thank you, Nick. For this and everything else.

The Spill Canvas — Bound to Happen

Other albums and artists I use for inspiration are below. My music tends to change with my moods, and I like to cater my input to my output sometimes. I would apologize for the absolute absurdity of this collection, but honestly, I'm not at all sorry. 

I leave you with these. Choose wisely, enjoy, and come back for more.

The best way to do it is to do it.

I wonder what Amelia Earhart felt like in her first solo flight. I can see her buckling her boots, almost forgetting her goggles as she rushed to the runway, smiling big for the cameras, and then giddily belting out her favorite tune over the sounds of the roaring propeller once she was finally soaring high.

At least, that's what it would look like if it were me. (And with my recent paradigm shift on past lives, I'm inspired at the idea.)

I just completed my first week as a solo artist. Flying a clunky but beautiful machine into no-woman's-land. And it's been fantastic. The work is beautiful, the schedule is far more responsible (more on that to come), and I'm more present in my own life than I've probably ever been.

I'll be using this space to discuss this. I'll talk about inspiration, process, work (the stuff that thrills and the stuff that pays the bills), and anything I'm really loving along the way. I'm hoping to branch out into some side projects along the way, so I'll post WIP's (and probably some WTF's) here as well.

Hope to see you back soon. Godspeed.

"Haters gonna hate." -Amelia Earhart [paraphrased]

"Haters gonna hate." -Amelia Earhart [paraphrased]



Welcome to ARCD.

Whether this is our first introduction or you're an old friend, I warmly welcome you to my newest design venture. I'm excited to be embarking on something so momentous.

This is the place to keep up with every step on my personal design journey. I'm so happy you're along for the ride.

Now let's get started.