Kevin Tong Illustration Kevin Tong Illustration

UPDATE: Both the ROBOCOP AND MATRIX posters are currently for sale

Lots of little cogs are in motion over here, but I thank you all for being patient. New things have been added to the store!

ROBOCOP, Regular and Variant

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The ROBOCOP Regular Red Color Version (left) will be $60 and the Gold Variant Version (right) will be $70. The posters are 5 color screen prints on 100 lb White Cover Paper. All copies are signed and numbered APs in a limited edition.

Both will be available in my online store at a random time on 8/13/14.
- Link to Robocop Regular
- Link to Robocop Variant

The small metal edition is completely sold out.

THE MATRIX, Regular and Variant

MATRIX_REGULAR

The MATRIX Regular Color Version (left) will be $60 and the Variant Version (right) will be $70. The posters are 5 color screen prints on 100 lb French Paper (Regular is on their Blu Raspberry color and the variant is one their Steel Gray color). All copies are signed and numbered APs in a limited edition.

Both will be available in my online store at a random time on 8/13/14.
- Link to the Matrix Regular
- Link to the Matrix Variant

DEATH OF LOVE and CITY ROBOT T-Shirt Presale

DeathOfLove-1

Both these shirts have been a hit and I sold out of most sizes in both designs, but I’m restocking and doing a pre-order, so everyone can get the size and quantity that they want. Check out THE DEATH OF LOVE and CITY ROBOT, for sale now in my online store.

NOTE: The pre-order means that these shirts most likely won’t ship until early September 2014)

SKETCH BOOKS!

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Lastly, sketchbooks have been restocked in the thousands with single and multi-packs, as well as a choice between REGULAR SIZE and MINI SIZE.

The sketchbook covers are made from misprinted or damaged posters, so each one is unique and the covers are random.

CARDS FOR HUMANITY?

August 27, 2013

Thanks for taking the time to read my treatise and analysis of the psychological, sociological, and philosophical implications of a business card.

Since I started out as a professional illustrator in 2005, I have directly helped people with their freelance illustration/design careers to varying degrees of success. The help has ranged from a few words of advice to pretty much having an apprentice to giving lectures/public meltdowns at universities.

It’s no secret that many art students don’t go on to pursue a job related to art. One could read into this somber fact and assume that they got an art education, went into the field, things weren’t cutting it, so they moved on to something more stable or less competitive. Brace that brain of yours, because even that person I described, the one who tried and failed, is in the minority.

I can say with confidence, that many art students don’t make it because they never tried in the first place. Many, never even get past…

…THE BUSINESS CARD.

Even when I was a student, I had a business card. It linked to a website that was hosted by the Republic of Nauru (Pleasant Island on some maps) for free, touted my email address, and lauded my phone number on it.

Succeeding in illustration was very important to me. Without question, as soon as I could afford it, I got business cards made. Before that, I actually remember dreaming of them and even took advantage of the school printer malfunctioning and printing 8.5 x 11 sheets for free. Using the school computer lab, I scanned my work in and used Blogger as my very first website. I didn’t even have a phone at the time, I put my landlord’s phone number on there and asked her everyday if I had any calls.

That’s why it always seemed odd to me when I tried to help people and I suggested they get business cards, they never did. Every time I saw them, I’d ask if they made cards and the answer was always some overly explained and unimaginative version of “I don’t have time/money”.

How hard can it be really? If the art is already made, just resizing it and adding contact info on the back is all it takes (hell even a blank card with just text on it is fine). Plus, I would see these people who professed to have no time upload pictures to myspace (it was that long ago) of themselves partying or going on trips. As for money, that excuse dissipates more and more since business card printing is so competitive that bargain shopping on business cards is a waste of time, any deal usually nets the cards for less than a cent each. For everyone wondering, I use gotprint.com for all my commercial print needs. Most places can print 1000 business cards that cost as much as one night of mixed drinks. This is a far cry from my father who was a graphic designer in the 70′s and having a business card with color on both sides was a sure sign of being successful.

As time wore on, it would get upsetting because I would help friends only to find that they couldn’t even help themselves by spending 30 minutes on a basic design (some business card printers offer online pre made templates for Christ sakes) and $40. Seriously, I had a friend who was with me two separate times and was asked by a major band and director if they were available for freelance work and they didn’t have a card. Again, someone who asked for my advice, to whom I suggested getting a business card , and they didn’t for months on end despite my constant inquiries. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, because you can always enter info into a smart phone or get a scrap of paper, but it sends a message about you.

True to my nature, I try to develop possible reasons behind seemingly non sensical behavior.

The question I posit:

“What is so terrifying about getting a business card?”

My theory:

A business card isn’t as simple as I was suggesting earlier. That “simple” 2.5 x 3 inch rectangle (or rectangle with rounded corners if you’re a baller like me, woo! woo!) is intimidating and unattainable to the uninitiated. In many developed cultures, like America, fears and limits are often more imagined than real.

Getting a business card makes it all too real. Most people in the situation I have described previously have never truly been on their own or had to work to survive. Most have never built something on their own, something that being a self employed artist is all about.

You can only have a business card if you feel like you have something worth while. Not to say that everyone who has a card has something worthwhile (I have a pile of cards that lead to creative voids), but they think they do. Many people who can’t get to that business card stage might actually have something worthwhile, but don’t think so or let fear turn them. The card has to link to something, usually a website. The website must have content and inevitably, that content must lead to you (contact page).

Think about business cards from the point of view of a person who isn’t totally serious and confident in their abilities but isn’t aware of their own lack of commitment or self assurance. People have difficulty lying to others, hence the various “tells” that police interrogators pick up on, yet we can flawlessly lie to ourselves. What is the lie? Not wanting to admit to being afraid or weak.

If you get a business card, that means a few things. You need to go to ad agencies, conventions, art shows, client offices, etc to hand them out. If you don’t do that, the business cards will remain in a box, tucked away in a closet. Despite being out of sight, that box of unused cards can reflect your guilt and shame through lead doors and concrete walls.

You can’t quit your art career though, your parents had a going away party when you left for college and your arthritic aunt traveled from some state that teaches Creationism to wish you good luck. Maybe even your parents paid for your education, so the pressure is really on. What’s the other choice? If you try to succeed, that means standing among people who are better than you, making a case for yourself, making a bad decision when bad and worse are your only options, making compromises, breaking away from friend groups, changing your lifestyle. All that for absolutely no guarantee you’ll make it. So what do you do? I channel Fyodor Dostoevsky in my belief that people at large don’t want freedom because they don’t want the burden of making decisions and being responsible for those decisions.

You do what is plaguing this entire country. You do absolutely nothing and hope something happens to guide you along (when you expect those things to happen, that’s entitlement, another thing ruining this country). People with bigger elbow patches than I have written extensively on the prolonged adolescence of the American adult. Lacking commitment and indecisiveness are becoming more and more acceptable, but that type of person needs a salve to heal the gash that is the void created by their inactions. To convince themselves they haven’t given up, they seek advice from successful people, because that’s the next best thing to actually doing something. As I said before, you can lie to yourself, but as time progresses and more and more friends start getting jobs in art, the fracture that is the lie becomes a canyon. So when those friends discuss their design jobs, that person can say they are still trying by asking for advice from successful people who are a few times removed. If they asked their friends for advice, the lie would split open. Asking a person like me doesn’t reveal the lie, because I don’t know them too personally, so there’s no context.

In short, a business card is the blade that can cut open that lie, for others and themselves. If they don’t use those cards and they sit around unused, they reveal the lie to that person. If they actually use them, then their perceived fears of rejection, not being good enough, etc might be realized if, Heaven forbid, a client should contact them.

For me, I can’t remember a time I ever got work from business cards. Most of my work comes from my work (ad agency emails usually start with “We have your ______ poster in our office and thought it was about time we worked with you!) Usually my business cards are for these groups of people: 90% People who are cheap and/or want free things, 7% Human parasites that sign people up for their newsletters/junk mail which is why I don’t have my email address on cards anymore, 2% People who stepped in something that need a scraper, 0.5% People who compulsively steal things, 0.5% Die hard fans who like and support my art. Most business card interactions are for people to try to act like big shots to their friends or some girl they want to do sex on who probably just wants to be friends (Hey, my company is exploding and we can pay you big time. Rather than discuss actual numbers or make a deal in person at this trade show exhibition that I paid money to get into, I’ll just take your card). Using Google analytics, I can see where traffic to my website comes from and it’s 97% blog, social media, and womenwholikesociallyawkwardmen.com links. The remaining 3% is from people directly entering my domain name or doing a search for my name. I did loose math and determined based on this that if I hand out 1000 business cards, only a handful of people at most will use it to go to my site.

Despite how useless a business card is compared to everything else in the world of self e-promotion, it’s still crucial. It’s about sending a message. A message that you can afford to have something REAL to give away that costs money yet is superfluous. That when you’re at a convention and everyone pulls out their cards and trades them (think American Psycho, but we’re all wearing t-shirts with comic book characters on them), you’ll never be that guy who says he left his at home, but we all know he doesn’t have one and judge him for it. That you can look a person in the eye and confidently hand them something that will lead them to your achievements. It sends a message that you make decisions and stick with them.

In summation, I would like to hold up the business card as a rite of passage for those in the artistic professional field who have started from the bottom and worked their way up. If you see me at a convention, trade your card for my card and in an instant, we’ll both have a baseline amount of respect for each other. Don’t get cocky, I said BASELINE.

It’s that time of the year again, where many of us come close to dying, but feel more alive than ever. Kevin Tong Illustration will be exhibiting the entire time at San Diego Comic Con international 2013.

KEVIN TONG ILLUSTRATION, BOOTH # 631, (Lobby A Entrance)
SAN DIEGO COMIC CON INTERNATIONAL 2013
San Diego Convention Center
111 W. Harbor Dr.,
San Diego, CA 92101

Wednesday July 17 (Preview Night)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

In addition to being there, I’m sporting a full booth with some fresh new posters and some that were previously sold out.

“BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL”

Some of you may remember my “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” print for the book by Friedrich Nietzsche that was part of the “Required Reading” show. I still get compliments to this day about that poster.

Well, me and ‘ol Freddy have teamed up again for the exciting follow up! (Now imagine me and Nietzsche in a 80′s buddy cop film, you’re welcome). I’m really excited about the symbolism I managed to work into the imagery.

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“Beyond Good and Evil” is a 12 x 36 inch screen printed poster, signed and numbered in an edition of 200. Click here for some closeups. It will be available at my booth (631) at SDCC 2013.

“METROPOLIS”

You could say I’m on an all German kick at the moment. The Deutsch train rolls along with this poster I created for the 1927 landmark science fiction film Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang.

Metropolis_0003_Background

This poster will be released at a random time at my booth (631) at SDCC 2013. For now, I’m playing all other information close to the chest. (I know, I know, I’m a terrible person, just roll with it) Click here for some closeups. It will be available at my booth (631) at SDCC 2013 at a random day and time.

“PACIFIC RIM” (For sale 7/17/13 at the Mondo Booth (936), not my booth)

Being able to work with Guillermo Del Toro and to create a poster for such an incredible film is what would happen if an honor and a dream mated and their kid had a kid with destiny. Not since Avengers have I been floored so hard by a film. It took me a whole night to fully process everything I had seen.

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There’s a regular color and gold variant version. Both are 24 x 36 inch screen printed posters with metallic inks and possibly glow in the dark inks. (no one tells me anything)

Click here for some closeups.

“THE CHEAT SHEET”

I took the liberty to make a Kevin Tong Illustration Cheat Sheet for SDCC 2013. It gives a limited preview for some of my releases and the day they’ll be released. Hopefully it can help organize the madness we’ve all come to know as COMIC CON.

CCI-CHEAT SHEET-FINAL

Download a full size hi res version HERE.

I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Intro: In these Q&A Sessions, I post emails that I get from people if I think my response could help others. Only with permission from the sender of course.

THE INITIAL EMAIL

Hi Kevin,

I am a huge fan of your work and design. As an aspiring poster art designer, I was wondering how you go about finding clients to work with?

I would love to get my foot in the door and try my hand at designing a print for a band.

Thanks for your time,
(Insert Fake Name Here)

MY RESPONSE

Hi Fake Name,

Thanks for the kind words. It’s always hard to be a designer in the early stages, so I can appreciate your struggle.

These days, I don’t look for work, work finds me and I find myself turning away clients. When I got started doing band posters, I would email the bands and ask if they’d like posters. With enough online sleuthing, you can figure out how to contact anyone (soon Anne Hathaway will be mine!). It didn’t work a lot and only 1 in 12 emails even got a response, even less turned into actual work. Many of those conversations were about how I was talking to the wrong person and needed to get in touch with some other person. This was all back in 2007.

But, I kept at it and eventually, I got some decent poster work for Built to Spill and the Shins (my first two band clients). Those got me noticed by Wilco and I did some tour posters for them and eventually, that led to work with Rilo Kiley (which led to working with Jenny Lewis as she was their singer), which led to some bigger acts like Beck. Once I got contacted by the Black Keys to do a poster, the jobs just came pouring in. Another thing that helped was I did a Bon Iver poster before they were HUGE and they really liked it, so they had me do four more tour posters which also got me lots of attention since now they win Grammys and starting selling liquor.

The bands posters led to people at LOST (TV series) and various movie poster folks (Mondo, Gallery 1988) taking notice and realizing they could use artists like me to create specialty items for their fan bases. Since then, I’ve done work for Lucasfilm, Breaking Bad, MOON, Avengers, you name it.

The point of that long story is that was started as a hobby to offset the lack of creativity at my toy design job led to a career that has taken me around the world, connected me with celebrities and huge properties, and earned me a decent sized following. I’m nowhere near the biggest, maybe not even in the top 50, of poster artists, but I really enjoy what I do and the friends I’ve made. Not everyone likes everything I do, not everything sells out like crazy, but no one has ever accused me of phoning it in or copying someone else. That’s the point of this long paragraph that was explaining the long story. The best way to get good work, is to do good work. If you’re putting yourself out there and you’re unique, people will notice, just like they noticed me. I can’t promise it will easy. It wasn’t for me. It sounds like a cowboy speech (imagine me in all denim, looking off into the sunset as I say these things to you) and it is. Sometimes, you work hard and nothing happens. This world just ain’t big enough for everyone to be a winner, partner.

A second thing I would like to point out to you is your approach to asking people like me about getting work. I’m going to be brutally honest because I want you to succeed. Not everyone is going to be like me and share things with a stranger. Your email could be misinterpreted. I don’t think you are that way, but it comes across that way and I want to help you in that arena.

First, there’s nothing particularly directed at me in your email. You mentioned my name, but for all I know, you have BCC’d a dozen other people and just changed the names. When you email, say something specific like a piece you like or what my kitchen looks like through high powered binoculars. No one wants to help someone who’s just using the shotgun method.

Second, you’re just asking for information. You should give some. It comes off like you haven’t even tried, like you just felt like being a designer and went for the easy button approach to just ask someone who’s done all the work already. Let people know where you’re at in your career (do you work a job in design, how long have you been designing, are you in school?). Tell them what you’ve tried in terms of getting clients (they might learn something too) and whether or not you think it’s working (well, why would it be working if you’re emailing right?).

Third, be courteous. Your email was polite and short, which is good, but in principle, a bit off putting. Depending on how it’s delivered and who’s listening, “How do you get work” can translate as “tell me, a stranger, how you, a successful designer, earn money, so that I, the stranger, can work for possibly the same clients and direct future clients from you”. Even though I sarcastically inflated it, that is what it is at it’s very core. I accept it and don’t mind, you should too. We all need to start from somewhere, just realize what you’re asking.

Fourth, be more specific. Asking how I get clients is a broad question and it relates to the third point of yanking work. I don’t know if what I told you is helpful because your question is broad and I don’t always want to type out full pages for answers like I am now.

Here’s an example of how I think your email could be improved. Please keep in mind I don’t think you’re a bad person, I’m just sharing a way to get the most out of your correspondence based on what I know.

————————————————————BEGIN

Hi Kevin,

My name is Fake Name (website or portfolio) and I’m just starting out in what I hope to be a consistent career in design/illustration. I’ve been a big fan of your work for the last hour and the designs you’ve done for porn are easily the best out there. So far, I’ve signed up for every artist representation site I can think of, made numerous cold calls, and emails, but to no avail. My goal is to design posters for bands, so I thought I’d ask you if you had to try any of that stuff and did it pay off?

Best,
Fake Name

————————————————————END

See what I did at the end? you don’t have to come out and ask directly how someone gets work. Just share what you’ve been trying, they’ll sympathize, and either choose to share new information with you or not. If they weren’t going to, then they weren’t going to anyway.

Anyhow, that’s my take on this insanity I call a job. Don’t be a stranger. My pet peev is when I answer these emails and get no response (all the time, I hate the student interviews that teachers assign them, I want to beat the teachers that give those out because there’s no way those teachers are successful designers if they encourage students to send page long questionnaires to real working designers; you know I once got the same questionnaire from 8 people in the same class? Those students must be so lame they even copy each others’ artists to contact). You don’t have to buy me a sandwich, but any response is nice. Even if you’re upset at me because you think I’m coming down on you, just email: Kevin Tong yur a dik, u dont kno me, shut fuck up & die pleez. That would warm my heart on those cold Los Angeles nights.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this email on my blog, your initial email and my response, so that it might help others. I can blank your name if you’d like. Good luck, please let me know how things go.

Kevin

UPDATE: The Black Keys Poster is sold out.

UPDATE: The Iron Giant Jointed Figure is sold out.

UPDATE: The Black Keys Poster, LEGO Lord of the Rings Poster, and Iron Giant Jointed Figure are all up for sale now.

Niceties!

BLACK KEYS LOLLAPALOOZA

This limited edition poster is a four color screen print on 18 x 24 inch 100 lb Cream Cover Paper. I am selling signed and numbered prints (edition of 285, the majority of them were sold at Lollapalooza) in my online store for $45 each at a random time on 8/23/12. Please make sure your paypal shipping address is updated and accurate.

To see more photos of the Black Keys Lollapalooza poster, please check out my Flickr photo set.

LEGO LORD OF THE RINGS

This limited edition poster is a four color screen print on 24 x 36 inch 100 lb White Cover Paper. I am selling signed and numbered AP prints (edition of 225) for $70 each at a random time on 8/23/12. Please make sure your paypal shipping address is updated and accurate.

To see more photos of the LEGO Lord of the Rings poster, please check out my Flickr photo set.

IRON GIANT JOINTED FIGURE

This limited edition figure is fully jointed, glow in the dark, and includes accessories (Hogarth, screw, Superman S), bag & header card, and a swivel head that goes from good to evil and back again. It is a 15″ x 32″ screen print on Chip Board. I am selling these in my online store for $85 each at a random time on 8/23/12. The figure and accessories come prepackaged and will be shipped flat (no additional shipping fees). No international orders. Please make sure your paypal shipping address is updated and accurate.

To see more photos of the Iron Giant Jointed Figure, please check out my Flickr set.

Mondo also posted some really great process photos on their blog.

If you haven’t listened to Adventures in Design yet, it is great podcast about all things design and illustration, and I was interviewed for the most recent episode (Episode 13). Check it out!

Hello, Jessica here. I’m happy to present the final two interviews in this series. I’ve had the privilege over the last few years to be introduced to many poster artists, and have found a welcome home in this community. It’s quite interesting and entertaining to hear what some of these guys did “before they were famous.”

See the previous interviews with Dan McAdam and Jon Smith, Rob Jones and Justin Santora as well as the interviews with Tyler Stout and Todd Slater.

JAY RYAN INTERVIEW

The seventh interview is with Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine in Chicago. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jay a few times and in addition to being the nicest guy in the universe, he consistently produces amazing work. The whimsical creatures and playful hand lettering that inhabit every one of his posters never fail to amaze me.

She Protects Us

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: During my adolescence, I was a “typical” suburban kid, hoofing it back and forth between babysitting and lawn mowing jobs, but when I was 15, I got a “real” job selling sporting goods at a medium-sized family-owned sporting goods store in a northern suburb of Chicago. The owner was the local scoutmaster of a very active boyscout troop (of which I was *not* a member), and the customers were wealthy local folks who were usually greeted by name as they came through the door.

I was one of a staff of about a dozen, and we sold sweatpants, gym shoes, hockey skates, basketballs, athletic cups, ping pong tables, swing sets, swim goggles, and had a small but full bike shop in the back of the store. We also offered UPS shipping services. I worked there regularly, a couple days a week, for something like a year and a half, then on and off during the holiday rush right up to the end of high school, I think. I took the bus from school to the job, then caught the last bus of the evening out to the other little town where I grew up. The bus driver would go off his route and drop me at the end of my driveway, on his way to the garage.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A: A close friend, named Donald, worked there. He was a boy scout, like many of the other employees. We thought it would be fun to work together, and it was.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: As this was my first “job”, I wasn’t sure which parts I wasn’t supposed to enjoy. I hated basically anything where I had to talk to customers or try to convince customers of the appropriate fit of their prospective sporting gear. I put a lot of Chuck Taylors onto a lot of different feet, handled a load of athletic cups, and I folded a crap ton of sweatpants. I also never really understood how to do the paperwork for the UPS shipments for customers, which resulted in a number of supposed rush packages arriving very late, and some very tense moments of customers giving my boss hell, due to my errors.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: I faded away, then went to college. I think my interest in working this job was inversely proportional to my ability to talk to girls, which started the summer I turned 16 (1988), between sophomore and junior years of high school. This probably also had something to do with the time the manager was looking at my paperwork (after I had been there maybe about 18 months), and he says “oh wow, we’re still paying you $3.25?” I had never thought to ask for a raise.

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: By the time I was in college, I swore I’d never work retail again, based on this job, but to a small degree I am still doing that now when we show at Flatstock or Renegade Craft Fair. I have an easier time doing that now, as I believe in what I am showing to people, whereas I had a very hard time believing that THIS pair of hockey skates was MUCH BETTER that THAT pair of hockey skates.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A: Well, I DID get regular paychecks when I was selling sweatpants, so I guess that’s one vote in favor of going back.

KEVIN TONG INTERVIEW

For the 8th and final interview in the series, I turned the tables and put Kevin in the hot seat. You probably already know a little something about him (since you are here on his blog), but if for some reason you stumbled upon this post blindly, I’ll give you some insight. Kevin is a poster artist with many-a-notch on his belt, working regularly for Mondo, and for bands like The Black Keys, Mogwai, At-The-Drive-In, Explosions in the Sky, and Bon Iver, among others.

He’s also a good cook and a pretty sharp dresser.

The Black Keys Coachella

Forbidden Planet

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: I’ve had lots of jobs before doing posters and art for a living. Customer service jobs dominated much of my early working life and I worked through much of college. Fast food, Starbucks, comic book store, art store, caterer, political canvasing, you name it, I did it for a living.

The job that I remember the most is probably Starbucks because I worked there for a few years, mostly while i was in college. I was a barista, but everyone below management pretty much rotated the work, so I also did cash register, cleaning, stocking, kicking homeless guys out of the bathroom, you name it.

My hours were varied. That’s why I worked there so long before and after college. At Starbucks, you can manage your own scheduling. I would often give away my shifts to coworkers at my store or other stores and I would pick up their hours, sometimes working at different stores with a different team. That way, I was able to work full-time and do school and pick up freelance jobs on the side.

My uniform was usually a collared shirt, black pants, and black shoes. I would usually wear a white dress shirt and a tie. Of course, we all wore the trademark aprons. I kept my apron and would wear it while screen printing. My former screen printing partner Danny used to work at Starbucks as well, so one the first day we showed up to print together, we both had the green aprons!

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, familybusiness, indentured servitude)?

A: I had a friend that I went to school with. She was working there and put in a good work for me.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: It’s easy to complain about things and part of the job is dealing with unpleasant stuff. Dealing with customers has always been my least favorite part of the job. I preferred to close the store, rather than open it, so I wouldn’t deal with the morning rush. I preferred to make drinks, stock, and clean rather than talk to the customers. Most of the customers were great people, but many were just horrible.

There were different tiers of horrible. Most of the bad customers are the ones that are just grumpy or in a rush. They act like only they have problems and treat you like you’re not a human being. Then there are the ones the talk down to you, telling you that they normally get whole bean arabica and that our coffee was inferior. Sure, it’s not gourmet, but for some odd reason, they tell you how bad Starbucks is while buying some candy assed latte, because extra caramel equals distinction apparently.

Then there are kids, in middle school. At times, it feels like all kids are terrible people. They dare each other to steal your tips (all five dollars that four people have to share by the way), they try to impress girls by making fun of you, or they come in with eight friends and they all get water (getting water was usually a ruse to get your to turn your back so they could steal your tips). Sadly, some adults behave that way too, trying to impress girls and steal your tips.

Next, are are the bums. Homeless people who try to steal, use drugs in the bathroom, or just hang out. They usually buy a small coffee so we can’t kick them out and just sit in a comfy chair and sleep for four hours. Once we got rid of our comfy chairs, we got ride of the homeless people because they ceased coming into the store. I would later learn from the police that many of them weren’t actually homeless. They were being supported by someone and just didn’t want to work or were hooked on drugs.

Homeless people at Starbucks brings me to my interesting story. Once, I was closing the store with my shift leader, Lindsay. Right as we closing, a homeless man tied his dog to his shopping cart outside and went straight into the bathroom. The store was closed, so we asked the customers to leave and I noticed he was still in the bathroom. He didn’t respond to knocking, so I went into the back to get Lindsay. As we both came out, we saw he had exited the bathroom. He was standing in front of us, with his penis out of his pants.

He proclaimed “help me, it hurts!” and we saw that he was profusely bleeding from his penis. We were stunned. Nothing in our barista training handbooks had covered this. Lindsay and I both said “oh my god” in stereo except mine had the word “fucking” between “my” and “god”.

Turning, he bolted back into the bathroom, Reflexively, I went to pursue him, but stopped myself as my eyes surveyed the pool of thick syrupy blood where he had been standing. There was a perfect arc of droplets around the main blood pool from when he turned. The blood was everywhere. Lindsay told me to not let him out of that area (his blood was a biohazard and we worked in food) while she called 911.

As I stood there, listening to Lindsay getting put on hold and reconnected to another five minute hold session, I looked at the blood. Never had I seen so much. It looks very black and I could clearly see the pattern of the ceiling lamps in the reflection. It was hypnotic, like a campfire. His moans lofted from under the bathroom door and I could hear him shuffling around. Fortunately for me, he never came out.

The paramedics, police, and fire department showed up about half an hour later. He was carried out on a stretcher. Lindsay told me to clock out and go home since I was massively into overtime. As I left, I saw the clean up crew that Starbucks contracts out to, pouring some powder that smelled like ammonia over all the blood. Lindsay stayed to supervise things and close up. As I walked out, I passed the sorrowful eyes of the homeless man’s dog. I heard a slow canine whimper, but I dared not turn to face the source, my heart had been through enough the night.

The next day, I found out that man, prior to his encounter with me and Lindsay, was a patient at a hospital nearby. He had left even though he wasn’t supposed to discharge himself and removed his catheter (a doctor or nurse needs to do it correctly), which is what caused the bleeding. The better part of a decade has passed and at times, I wonder what became of his dog.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: While I was working there, I also took a job as a cashier at an art store to support me while I took as much freelance work as I could. While I had those two jobs, I started getting contracted full time to work for Lakeshore Learning materials, doing product design and illustration. I held onto those jobs for as long as I could because I was worried about stability. I started working at Starbucks on Saturday and at the art store on Sunday. After a while, I was giving all my shifts away at Starbucks. Eventually, I quit both jobs and started freelancing full time.

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: Interestingly enough, I did learn a lot. Mainly from the customer service end of Starbucks. I do lots of events where I sell my work, like Flatstock and Renegade Craft Fair, so my customer service experience came in handy. At those events, I see other artists looking uninterested, texting, or just looking upset, which scares would-be customers away. I learned to always look positive (it’s hard, because I feel so worn out at times), greet everyone, and to how to interest people who are unfamiliar with your products without sounding too sales pitchy or high pressure.
Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was thatjob your true calling?

A: I love what I’m doing now. It’s what I always wanted to do and things getter better every year. I try to maintain a sense of amor fati, in that every experience shapes who you are, so nothing is completely bad.

At times however, I wonder how my life would have been if I could just have been a team player and stuck with my last day job as an illustrator.

For as long as I have been doing posters, I have been getting to know the various artists and their back stories. Poster artists are a great community and we share a lot of experiences together. It would be nice, I thought, to share some of that with everyone.
I’ve decided to start interviewing people involved in posters about what they were doing for work before going into posters full time. The stories are quite interesting and I plan to start posting a few interviews periodically as I get them. See the previous interviews with Rob Jones and Justin Santora as well as the interviews with Tyler Stout and Todd Slater.

DAN MACADAM INTERVIEW

The fifth interview I am pleased to present is with Dan MacAdam of Crosshair Silkscreen Printing And Design in Chicago. Dan’s prints, largely of Chicago locales, have a lot of character in the settings that he chooses. The printing is exceptional and his separations are seamless, nothing short of someone who has been printing since 1996. For years, he faithfully served the American Poster Institute by administrating the Flatstock Event at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Please check out the goodness at www.crosshairchicago.com

Wilco

The Printers’ Ball

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A:  I taught SAT and ACT prep courses to high school students, for Kaplan Test Prep.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A:  I had worked for an upstart company doing a similar thing, but for underprivileged youth in urban Chicago schools.  They went belly up, and I moved on to Kaplan, who are the Death Star of test prep.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: I came away with a very negative outlook on this sort of testing in general.  They basically teach you how to game the tests, by deciphering the way they are written.  I taught the math course, and I can tell you that if you are actually calculating anything, you are a fool.  The SAT and ACT do not measure your knowledge, they measure your skill at test taking.  And if your parents have the money to afford this expensive class where they teach you all these tricks and cheats and drill you on them… Yeah.  You are going to get a higher score than the kids who couldn’t afford the class.  Regardless of how well well you have applied yourself in school, or how much you have studied the actual material the SAT and ACT purport to test.  It completely works, and it is completely fucked and unfair. 

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: Unclear.  Students in the classes I taught consistently improved their scores, but they kept giving me worse and worse assignments that required me to drive ever further out, with that time and mileage uncompensated.  So I quit, but I think they were hoping I would quit.  Call it a ‘soft fire.’  I think my scruffy appearance and bloodshot eyes made Kaplan uncomfortable.

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: Not a damn thing.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A:  To be fair I was making prints and posters then too, just not as a full time pursuit.  That job was such an utter waste of time that, until Tong asked the question, I had forgotten about it completely.  I met some people there for whom perhaps it was their true calling by default, and they were sad sad souls.  They’re probably dead now.

JON SMITH INTERVIEW

The sixth interview I am pleased to present is with the one and only, Jon Smith (that’s actually not true at all, Jon Smith is an EXTREMELY common name). I’m a big fan of Jon’s work. I got to know him first when he worked for a printer that I use and later as an accomplished designer. Jon’s quirky personality and humor (he’s kind of funny/miserable in a Louie CK kinda way) really come through in his work, as well as a refined sense of geek/nerd/dork culture. His work is a regular fixture at Spoke Art, Nakatomi, and dozens of bands. Let’s hope we see more of him in the years to come. Check out his portfolio at www.smithbellcraft.com

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, thehours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: Well I just had bullshit part time jobs from high school through Art school then I had a job at a start up web game company. Then I got into posters and worked at D&L Screenprinting for roughly four years, part and full time.

Any jobs outside of design have all been circumstantial, not jobs I could ever see myself making a career out of.

I guess I should focus on the most interesting or funny job which would be Ernie’s Truck Stop in Kent, Washington: Wretched hive of scum and villainy.

I was “the lot guy”, I got a white jump suit, broom and dust pan, pressure sprayer, bucket of soap and brush to scrub diesel off of concrete (how futile is that???) and whatever tools I needed to do whatever crap needed done around the entire parking lot and the endless gas pumps. Also it’s a 76 Station so I got a bitchin white short sleeve work shirt with the 76 logo on the pocket BUT the one I got had been bleached to shit so the orange was kinda yellowy and the blue was purple.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, familybusiness, indentured servitude)?

A: I worked there for about a year and a half. I was hired on a whim because I was friends with Ernie’s grandson. Ernie’s was a place that a handful of guys I knew got jobs just because they were young, dumb, needed work and didn’t have a lot of options, I was no exception. I had just been fired from Safeway. I was 19 and still living with my folks (while going to art school) and I had no plans on telling them, I just needed a new job fast.

They told me the last guy that worked the lot got fired for selling the truckers speed out of the parking lot AND so did I….hahaaa, no, just kidding but I heard that the guy who replaced me was fired for the same.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: Least favorite part? PISS. Picking up containers of urine. It’s a truck stop, it’s the first thing they warn you about. These guys are on long haul they don’t stop until they absolutely have to so they fill up gallon milk jugs, Apple Juice containers, anything with a lid and leave them anywhere they please. They mostly don’t give a shit, they’re truck drivers, it’s a truck stop. The considerate ones will put them in the trash, some leave them on top of the gas pump and some just kinda drop them out the window anywhere.

So there’s that. I guess I was too young to be on the look out for “Lot Lizards”(hookers). People ask if I have any funny stories about skanky ladies visiting the trucks staying overnight and as a growns up now I’m kind of surprised I don’t remember seeing much of that but it was probably cuz I only worked during the day, never past 4PM….the freaks come out at night, yknow.

Found a syringe or two in the garbage which made me deathly afraid I could accidentally get stabbed by one while collecting the trash which is kinda half the job. There were 8 trash cans to change out every day, which were big ass steel drums. Took two hours to change out sometimes.

One time some idiot flicked a cig out the window on the way into the lot and it caught the beauty bark on fire. Not major enough for the fire department, just the perfect size a fire to keep Jon busy for a couple hours. It’s a long lot so I had to go around and hose it all down, make sure every inch of bark was wet and not smoking.

The fun part of the job was hiding. I had this little storage/office/booth in the middle of the rows of diesel pumps and when there was a truck parked at my pump I could hang out in there and the upstairs office (where my boss was) couldn’t see me. I also figured out how to position the milk crate in there so I could sit comfortably while keeping my head under the window so from the office you couldn’t tell I was in there. I read a lot of comics in there. In fact the first day I worked there it snowed, which was weird as Hell cuz it was May. Because it snowed no one was going to come out and bug me in my booth. I read like 40 pages of a book that day…which is probably the most pages of any book I’ve ever read…ever!…I mean, in one day.

So the job was, get my shit done and then kill as much time as possible hiding from my boss the rest of the shift. I listened to a shit load of sports talk and classic rock radio, that and the free soda and or hot cocoa got me through that job, comics and sketching shit, OH FUCK I just remembered I used to write  these lame, half baked songs in there too!! My friends had a band that I was trying to weasel my way into….I am not a musician by any means, embarrassing(funny) stuff.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: I got “phased out” they just slowly cut my hours down a few every week until I said WTF and they’re like “OMG we’re just gonna hire the Mexican guy who does the leaf blowing for the station and pay him under the table to do your job.”

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: Good question. I feel as a creative type it’s all about perspective. The stories and experiences you have make you unique and hopefully somehow make your voice interesting as a writer, painter, comedian, designer, whatever you’re doing. I was exposed to an interesting lifestyle and a walk of life I wasn’t going to get anywhere else and it gave me time to daydream.

It was really gross and a pain in the ass but I made it work for me. Kind of like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank…not that dramatic of course but you get the point. I came out unscathed with a handful of stories, that’s a positive.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was thatjob your true calling?

A: Of course I’m in a better place now, I was picking up piss jugs ;)

For as long as I have been doing posters, I have been getting to know the various artists and their back stories. Poster artists are a great community and we share a lot of experiences together. It would be nice, I thought, to share some of that with everyone.

I’ve decided to start interviewing people involved in posters about what they were doing for work before going into posters full time. The stories are quite interesting and I plan to start posting a few interviews periodically as I get them. See the previous interviews with Tyler Stout and Todd Slater.

ROB JONES INTERVIEW

The third interview I am pleased to post is with Rob Jones. For years, he’s been behind the scenes of a lot of things and his strong direction is a large part of Mondo’s driving force. We’ve had some great discussions about many things, often at 3 AM, so I hope this interview can give you a taste of this very unique individual. His extraordinary work has won him a Grammy. Please check him out at animalrummy.com

Avett Brothers

The King’s Lead Hat (Star Wars Print)

Rob Jones winning the Grammy (Box Package Design) for The White Stripes’ “Under Great White Northern Lights”

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: After college I did storyboard work. That was shitty but not very interesting. The worst job I had (and I was happy to have it) was working the line for a summer at the Combos factory in Albany, Georgia.

I squatted on a little catwalk that spanned the width of the dough extruder. It was like 50 or less little Play-Doh fun factories pushing out tubes of dough to make Combos. They were cooked a little so they would keep their shape, so I’m squatting in front of an oven. What’s behind me. The cutter and another fucking oven giving the dough the big bake. My job was to make sure the dough came out right for each of the 50 or so lines. If it didn’t, I broke it off and let the extruder shit itself into a giant plastic bin (there were a few of them lined up under there. When the dough corrected itself, I fed it back into the cutter.

I’d do this all day. At the end of my shift, I’d have to empty the waste barrels.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A: My pop was the manager of the plant. Plant employees could get summer jobs for their kids. I was happy to work there because it was good pay.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: Some weeks there would be special flavor productions that required 12 hour days. Breakfast, drive time, lunch hour, and a couple of smoke breaks off the clock meant I was doing shit for about 15 hours before getting home. My weeks during these periods would be work, watching an episode of Simon & Simon, sleep, repeat. I really looked forward all day to seeing that episode of Simon & Simon.

Another thing, that pizza flavoring is in giant sacks and just permeates your hair when you walk by it.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: Summer was up and I went back to school. The next summer I got bumped up to an office job. I wrote a check writing program and played Nancy Drew and discovered a undelivered 100K bag of almonds that the plant had already paid for (the Combos plant was also responsible for nut processing for all other Mars plants).

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: It really made me hate that blue grey luminescent color the sky turns right before sunrise. That’s when I’d be driving to work. I block out the windows in my office so I don’t have to see it when I’m up through the morning as it still bums me out. It’s like the color of Nico’s voice.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A: I’m set doing this. I can masturbate in my office and no one cares.

JUSTIN SANTORA INTERVIEW

The fourth interview is from Justin Santora. He’s been a good friend to me and hanging out in Germany with him was a real adventure. Recently, we were both surprised to learn that our families knew each other, as my parents were friends with his aunt. Justin is one of the loudest voices in posters and his work is outstanding. He’s earned the respect of everyone I know in posters and I eagerly anticipate his new work. Seeing is believing at justinsantora.com

Iron & Wine

But Two More Will Take Its Place

Ween

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: This was a few years before I started making posters, but one of my jobs in college was that I worked at a fishing store. I worked behind the counter for usually something like six to eight hours at a time, four days a week. Other employees would take turns doing stock work, taking out the garbage, miscellaneous cleaning, and things like that. It was a pretty relaxed job for the most part, and I would daydream about skateboarding or draw on the backs of repair slips when things got slow.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A: I walked into the place and asked if they were hiring. They gave me an application to fill out, and they asked me when I could start. There was a pretty fast turnover there because they hired a lot of bored teenagers who would quit or get fired pretty often.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: One thing I really disliked about the job was the sometimes pervasive attitude of sexism and racism in that environment, which admittedly should come as little surprise. People who have such stupidly unsatisfying lives that they actually hold racist beliefs tend to assume that everyone has such a worldview, so I had to put up with some pretty annoying comments from time to time.

Most of the people I worked with were easy to get along with for the most part, and there are even a few that I still remember as being really, really cool people. I remember this old man named Chuck who used to work there one day a week. He had all these old stories about musky fishing, and everyone loved him.

There was also a kid I worked with whose weirdness cannot even be described here. He once called into work saying that he would not make it in because he had gotten into a fight with his (also creepy) uncle while he was driving him to work and he had jumped out of the car. Cars could be heard blowing by him in the background on the phone. He made up a lot of stories, but we were pretty sure that day he actually called the store from the side of the road.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: As I was trying to prepare for finals and book a month long tour for my old band, they began scheduling me more hours than I wanted to work. That, and that whole atmosphere was starting to get really old. I ended up quitting and feeling extremely relieved.

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: One thing I’ll always remember about this job is how irritating hierarchies are and how being an adult doesn’t necessarily make you mature. I think encountering things like being condescended to and treated as an entry level employee long after I’d been working there and getting paid a rate that was disproportionate to how much I was expected to care about the work have all been integral to the path I’ve chosen in life. Figuring out what you don’t want can help you determine what you do want.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A: The fishing store job was never supposed to be much more than a stop along the way. I was twenty years old and still earning my degree. At that time, I wasn’t really sure what I would do after college other than vague ideas about being a high school art teacher (which I didn’t end up doing). I never would have guessed I would start making screen printed posters and paintings for a living, but I most certainly can’t complain. Incidentally, I would start learning about vegetarianism and become vegan about sixth months after quitting my job in the fishing store.

For as long as I have been doing posters, I have been getting to know the various artists and their back stories. Poster artists are a great community and we share a lot of experiences together. It would be nice, I thought, to share some of that with everyone.

I’ve decided to start interviewing people involved in posters about what they were doing for work before going into posters full time. The stories are quite interesting and I plan to start posting a few interviews periodically as I get them.

TYLER STOUT INTERVIEW

The first interview I am pleased to post is from Tyler Stout. For years, Tyler has been at the top of many a poster fanatic’s pile and will probably continue to do so. He has done posters for some of the awesomest movies and bands, as well as some great art prints, shown respectively below. Please check out more of his work at tstout.com

Iron Man 2

Flight of the Conchords

Le Loup de fer

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)?

A: I was a video store clerk. I worked for 2 years at Moyer’s First Stop Video, then another few years at Blockbuster. Which was less cool.

My responsibilities . . . I checked out videos to people. I examined their photo i.d’s, I recommended films based on films they previously had seen and enjoyed. I organized videos according to category. We had both thriller and horror. Both sci fi and fantasy. Cult was the wildcard. Family. Kids. Drama. Documentary. Foreign. We had it all.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A: I rented 20 videos a week until they eventually said ‘you seem lonely, would you like a job here?’

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: When Blockbuster bought us out, that was very sad. They dumbed things down a bit, were much more strict about things. We used to be able to play videos in the store, any video we wanted. They made us play prepackaged demo reels that were terrible. They got rid of movies. Just a sad dumbing down of a nice little video store.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: I quit, due to moving 250 miles away. Then I got a job in my new city at another Blockbuster, and quit because they wouldn’t let me have Christmas off. Which was typically their busiest time of year, so it was understandable that they’d want me to work. But I was young and foolish.

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: Hmm…..well I guess working at a video store isn’t completely unrelated to my current job. But I did learn how to fix vhs tapes quite easily, a lost art. I also learned the importance of dusting and organizing.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A: It was a much more fun and carefree job than being self employed. Plus I got all the free movies I wanted. Which was something back in the nineties / early 2000’s. Now its no big deal, but back then, it was a golden ticket opportunity.

TODD SLATER INTERVIEW

The second interview is with Todd Slater, someone who has been in posters for a long time. In addition to being a stand up guy, his work output is very impressive. Some great examples of his work are posters for are shown below. Please see more of Todd’s work at toddslater.net

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Interpol

The Dead Weather

Q: What kind of job did you have before becoming involved in posters (please explain the position, the responsibilities, the uniform, the hours, how long did work there, etc)? 

A: I’ve talked about being an assistant to the assistant at the Movie Theater with my wife Kristie in an interview with Mitch from omgposters.com.  And I’ve also talked in several interviews about working at a t-shirt shop in Nacogdoches after college so I’m gonna have to go back further for this one.

I wore my share of hats while in high school and college.  The summer that I turned 16 my father said to me: ”Alright, you’re getting a job today. Do NOT come home until you have a job, understand”? No one would offer me full time summer work so I ended up working 25 hours a week at Pacific Sunwear and Bealls department store. I think working 40+ hours a week was my parent’s way of keeping me out of trouble.  To say I hated it would be an understatement. Due to a lack of (failure of) training, I never fully understood how to work the cash register at Bealls. It was so bad that if I ran into any resistance and no one was there to assist me I’d  just remove the sensors and throw everything into a bag.  Then I’d just send my happy customers on their way.  Sometimes people would just stare at me like, what the fuxx is wrong with this kid?  But, no one ever complained about their free clothes, bras, ties and what not. I didn’t even know how to tie my own tie, but I was supposed to measure men for suits. I laugh just thinking about it. After 3 months my sales were so bad that I was informed I would be getting a pay decrease.  I started off at $5.50 an hour and was taken down to $5.25 which was the minimum wage at the time.  My mother was pretty mortified by the whole thing and still won’t shop there.

Q: How did you get that job (apply, friend hooked it up, family business, indentured servitude)?

A: My mother shopped at Bealls and was friendly with many of the employees, she got my foot in the door.  I still feel bad for embarrassing her.  I totally get the idea of teaching kids responsibility, I just don’t think most 16 year old boys are ready for that.  My friend Wedge Smith and I actually made a sincere effort to get hired at Victoria’s Secret.  We took the applications home, filled them out, proofread each other’s work for spelling and grammatical errors. We then headed back to the mall to turn them in wearing casual suits, made no jokes and were very polite.  Again, there are very few jobs 16 year old boys can do successfully.

In 2003 my Dad got me an interview at GSD&M in Austin (big ad-firm, handles Southwest Airlines) and I was absolutely set on doing the interview in bare feet.  I thought it would somehow how set me apart from the crowd.  I’d be memorable (for all the wrong reasons).  Luckily, my father managed to convince me that it was a terrible idea.  Now that I think of it, I probably currently work at the only job in the world that I’m qualified to do.  

Q: What was your least favorite part of the job (douchey boss, lame customers, hard labor)? Any interesting stories?

A: Twice a year we did this huge store wide inventory at Bealls. It was miserable and it lasted all night.  The employees literally had to count every item in their sections to ensure the place wasn’t being robbed blind.  There was literally thousands of items to count by hand.  The people who were doing the auditing were miserable people too and just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.  I’d count like 336 ties and they’d inform me that there should be exactly 441 of them.  I knew there was no way I gave out over 100 ties, I still don’t know what happened to all that missing stock, but, I’d ‘count’ them again and ‘magically’ end up with 437 ties.  (Some shrinkage was acceptable so I would never give the exact amount that we were supposed to have.)  The saddest part is that someone after me probably tried to do it right and was left with a total train wreck.  Or who knows, there’s probably another 16 year old carrying the torch for me right now.

Q: Did you quit or get fired?

A: I think technically I quit Bealls although it was sort of a mutual breakup.  Both Bealls and Pacific Sunwear had one day a week where you were “on call”.  It meant that you were supposed to call in an hour before the start of the shift to see if you needed to come in.  It was rare that either store would need you to come in but when they did need you they really needed you… maybe someone had flaked on their shift or maybe the crowds were heavy that day.  Since I was working 50 hours a week I usually had to call in while working a shift at my other job.  I called Pacific Sunwear while working at Bealls and on this particular day they really needed me.  I told my manager at Pac Sun, that I couldn’t come in since I was working at my other job.  She was pretty confused on why I even bothered calling in and just let me slide.  I was worried that I might actually lose the job at Pac Sun so when I went to lunch at Bealls I never came back.  I went straight to the Mall with hopes of mending fences with Pac Sun.  You’d think that would be enough to get me fired at Bealls but they were so desperate for workers that they said I could stay.  I reluctantly said okay, but never came in for another shift there.  They called me at home a bunch and I finally let them know I was done.  I think they were ready to be done with me that point anyway.  My parents still required  that I work full time so I made myself very available to cover any and all shifts at Pac Sun and usually ended up making up the hours.  Some weeks I even exceeded the hours that the managers worked.  Ultimately, I choose Pac Sun over Bealls because the females were closer to my age there and I didn’t have to wear a suit and tie.  

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”  - Henry David Thoreau

Q: Despite how unrelated that job was, is there anything that you learned on that job that you still apply to what you are doing in posters/prints today?

A: Nothing.  I knew that I didn’t want to pump gas for the man.  But I knew that before I started those jobs.

Q: Are you in a better place now, doing posters and prints or was that job your true calling?

A: Absolutely in a better place now.  I’m passionate about making prints and am focused on having a long art career.

Before the show ends, I want to publish my theory of what will happen.

Jack will end up in the jungle where it all began, in the center of the bamboo jungle. I am very sure of that, because Jacob references that spot when telling Jack how to get to the Cave of Light (Heart of the Island). He and the Man in Black will have some sort of battle over that spot. Jack will obviously win, but he will make some kind of sacrifice.

Below are some of my thoughts that are a bit spotty, but I wanted to get them out there too. I know the events don’t seem to match up, but LOST deals with time warps, time travel, and alternate realities, so I can see how those things can be negotiated.

In the pilot episode, opening scene, Jack wakes up and there’s a metal cylinder next to his head. He never acknowledges it. He just gets up and goes off to rescue people. That cylinder looks a lot like Ben Linus’ baton that he keeps in his pant leg. For all we know, that baton is still in Ben’s possession and now he’s evil again and working with the Man in Black. When we see Jack wake up in the jungle (pilot episode), he has some cuts on his face. Perhaps Ben Linus did that to him.

Since I started watching LOST, I wondered how Jack, a supposed passenger on the crashed flight 815, ended up so far away in the jungle. He had to run a long way to get to the wreckage. At first, I thought he was one of the Others and had placed himself there to infiltrate the group, but that became obviously not the case. Now I am sure he did place himself there, but maybe his memory is wiped or something.

All the characters are coming together in the alternate reality, perhaps they are going to get on the plane and become the crash victims again? Like it’s a cycle that keeps repeating itself to defend the island. Jack places himself in the jungle, wakes up, becomes their leader, and the group, through their trials and tribulations on the island, set off the chain of events that place them on the island (from their alternate off island realities) and Jack in the position to place himself in the bamboo forest. Remember, with time travel, cause and effect can be flipped around.

If the above is true, then after rounding everyone one up in the alternate off island reality, Desmond would get on his boat again in order to get stranded on the island again.

With LOST, you can’t know anything for sure, but I just wanted to get in on the action. We’ll see who’s right.

Feel free to insert some thoughts in the comments area.

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