I first met Michael Evashevski – one-half of the talented duo behind Roo Kee Roo – when I was working as a copywriter for Tribal DDB. We were the creative team assigned to a skin care campaign, and bonded over our unsuccessful attempt to keep a cool project from devolving into a cheesy mess. We lost. Big time.
But these days, Michael and his talented brother Forest are collaborating on a very cool project: Roo Kee Roo. Roo Kee Roo is a nod to their upper Michigan roots and celebrates the relationship between land, livelihood, and the simple life.
According to Michael and Forest, “The name comes from a beast that lurked in the shadows of the forest. Our father warned us about the Roo Kee Roo around the campfire; a legend the French brought to Michigan first known as ‘le Loup des Loups’ or ‘Wolf of Wolves.’ He’d tell us ‘After sunset he’ll come to eat you! But if you stick together you can defeat the Roo Kee Roo.’”
I love their simple, elegant illustrations and bought a few for our son’s rooms. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and many of the tools and outdoor gear reminds me of my own childhood and simpler times.
Congratulations to #35 Erin and #229 Gail. Thanks to random.org, you’re the winners of our “biggest giveaway ever” promo. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know which print you’d like (you may choose from either shop below).
We wish everyone could have been a winner, so for a very limited time, we’re offering 25% off all large format prints. Simply enter the code “GOBIG” at checkout.
See all prints in the Paris Print Shop.
Thanks to all who participated! We hope you like the new larger prints.
Ever since we began making prints of Nichole’s photography, we’ve been adamant about producing the best quality prints we could. We’ve never been fond of most photo papers – especially the glossy kind that feels like plastic and sounds like rubber when you shake it. We quickly learned through trial and error what paper, ink and equipment yielded the results we were after, and have been using Epson large format printers and fine art, 100% cotton papers ever since.
Last week, our printer of two years finally kicked the bucket. As Murphy’s law would have it, we received a big retail order on the same day, and faced a tough choice – upgrade to a new printer and risk running out of time or pushing our schedule back into a frantic corner, or admit defeat and move on to traditional lab paper, which we don’t like. A few samples from the lab later, we were determined to stick with our slow, high-maintenance, but oh-so-worth it printing process.
So I upgraded our equipment to the latest tech from Epson, and went up a size in format so that we can now print up to 24 inches wide. We’re now printing with 11 separate ink colors, and the results are fantastic. The best part is that we’re able to print large format prints in our own studio – something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.
To celebrate, we’re having a huge (literally!) giveaway. Two extra-large prints are up for grabs:
To enter, simply leave a comment below. We’ll pick two random winners using random.org on Monday morning.
PS. More chances to win on our Facebook page.
I recently completed two new designs for the Illustrated Quotation Project - inspired by quotations from John Locke and Omar Khayyam. As far apart as these gentlemen were, I enjoyed alternating work on these two designs over the past few weeks. The ideas behind them are a bit like two sides of the same coin.
“The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.” – John Locke
My sons and I recently started reading The Story of The World together at night. Great fun but also challenging. We’re only up to about 1500 B.C and already, their curious minds are asking all the big questions: Where does language come from? Why do people listen to dictators? Are there cats in heaven? It has been fantastic, but a little nerve-wracking, too, especially when deciding how much information is too much.
I found this quotation in Locke’s “Some Thoughts Concerning Education,” and instantly took to it. The entire quotation reads “The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it, into which a young gentleman should be enter’d by degrees, as he can bear it; and the earlier the better, so he be in safe and skillful hands to guide him.”
My illustration plays with this idea of knowledge as a process of mastery and a means of protection. In it, a series of pens progressively write the words of the quotation, perfecting them through repetition. Through this repetition, the words and pen outlines quietly create a protective fence in the empty space.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam
From The Rubaiyat, as translated by Edward FitzGerald. People point out the liberties FitzGerald took with his “translation” of 12th century Persian poet and astronomer Omar Khayyam, but what can I say? I absolutely love this poem. My illustration depicts two superimposed glasses – a wine glass and an hourglass – representing the two opposing ideas that dominate the poem: the brevity of time and the sweetness of life.
I hope your summer is off to a great start.
We’ve been quite busy with the kids’ end-of-year school stuff, vacation, producing Volume 2 of The Paris Journal, and launching a few new lines of paper goods, including the notebooks above.
The mini journals are made here in the USA with recycled paper and vegetable inks and are sized for your pocket (and purse). You can see the current collection here, and more are on the way.
Many of us celebrate father’s day, but what about Bloomsday–the day James Joyce fans celebrate Ulysses?
My ode to Joyce is above, and was inspired by a portion of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in the book.
For anyone who believes that James Joyce wrote Ulysses as an intellectual exercise designed to torture English majors, I appeal to you to re-read the last lines of this incredible story, which in my illustration form the wings of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. The additional details of the illustration (the body, hindwings and the cocoon below) are formed from the dominant word in the monologue, “yes.”
“I was a flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”
I knew I was going to like Cameron Matthews right away because his band’s name – Bear Ceuse – was completely improbable. I met with him and guitarist Adam Home in NYC to hear some tracks, and instantly loved the hard-hitting, smart fuzz-pop sound of his demos and ended up doing the artwork for the album. So I thought I would share the final work and the first two releases.
[soundcloud url="https://soundcloud.com/bearceuse/entertain-me" params="" width=" 100%" height="80" iframe="true" /]
[soundcloud url="https://soundcloud.com/bearceuse/03-dixie-brothers" params="" width=" 100%" height="80" iframe="true" /]
From an artistic standpoint, I love that everything about this band is a contradiction. First off, their name is a play on the term “berceuse,” a classical lullaby. And while their songs have a heathy dose of sweet, soothing pop melodies, they definitely bring the bear to it.
Cameron told me that the album name, Don Domestique, is about being the man of the house, and owning that responsibility. So aesthetically, I wanted to capture something solitary that was at once familiar and menacing. We joked about avoiding something silly – “no honey bears?” I asked. Cameron thought about it for a second and then replied, “well, if it was a particularly bad-ass honeybear, that could be cool.” I came up with the idea to draw a simple icon of a house, and then fill every crevice of it with a grizzly bear you can just make out. We played with what the bear may be holding – a broken guitar? a beehive? – and ultimately decided that since the main theme of Don Domestique was solitude, he is holding the door, removing the only way in – or out.
The full album will be released July 8th via Medical Records.
I’d love to hear what you think about the artwork, and of course the music.
Recorded at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn, N.Y. | Engineered and mixed by Patrick Crecelius | Produced by Patrick Crecelius and Bear Ceuse | Mastered by Paul Gold at SALT | Written by CT Matthews | © Bear Ceuse 2012
I had some time this week to complete several designs for the Illustrated Quotation Project, and would love to share them with you.
“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The roaring twenties, when booze was illegal and dresses were flappy. I love this quotation from This Side of Paradise; it reminds me of the headlong intoxicated rush into mutual obsession, the kind of love that usually ends badly. Here, I’ve illustrated a flapper dress that transforms into a martini glass as it is unzipped.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I first read Emerson in high school, when cynicism was practically required. But with every year, I feel a stronger connection to his writing. After a long winter of indoor activities (ahem, sitting at my computer), Nichole and I have been looking forward to more outdoor time. I’m always recharged and awed by the stillness in the woods, and it makes me think of Emerson. In this illustration I wanted to explore nature as an animated, living thing, in this case the hill is also a buck hiding in plain sight.
“Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.” – André Gide
This André Gide quotation has always struck a chord with me, but I wasn’t sure how to visually represent what I think it articulates – that there is no shortcut to wisdom, and that the roundabout way is really the only way there, and that anyone who offers a shortcut is selling something. I take the phrase “find it” to be ironic, since the big questions are bigger than us. When you stop searching, you stop growing. I divided the illustration into two parts, the entire shape of a puzzle-piece-shaped question mark (“Believe those…”) and its severed tail, which now falsely resembles an exclamation point (“Doubt those”). In the end, I feel the quotation is actually quite positive, with a little warning, and I will be putting it on my wall as a reminder to keep investigating life.
I’d love to hear what you think of them! Prints here.
This is a favorite Dickens quote, and one that’s especially fitting for me today since I just returned from Paris – a place I visit, leave and revisit often. The design is based on a cobblestone street in Paris that has always fascinated me. Unlike other cobblestone streets, wihch typically follow a grid pattern or progressive arcs, this one appears to have been made by first laying out wandering paths that seem to stray every which way, then laying the rest of the stones to conform to the remaining space. The main paths generally head down the street, but hit a few dead ends along the way. I don’t think the builders intended anything metaphorical (I kind of imagine them drunk to be honest), but there it is. You wander to and from places, grope your way forward, and the rest of the details fit themselves to the random events that shape you. And then in hindsight, the toughest places and experiences become the most valuable.