Monday, January 16, 2006

The Sherman Interviews Vol I

Today is a very exciting day for Sherman Jr. It is the publication of his very first interview on this blog. His choice of interview was an easy one. You have seen his work on CD cover art and concert t-shirts or even with Victoria's Secret, but may not be familiar with all that he creates. Sometime ago, Sherman discovered an amazing graphic designer who at the time was based in Los Angeles. Now a resident of Brooklyn, Christopher David Ryan's work is not only eye-catching, but much of it is musically related. His ability to blend the past, present and future in his work truly sets him apart from anyone else doing design work. His choices of color, imagery and song lyrics result in something not only visually appealing, but touching on an emotional level, as well. I believe his gift is the ability to convey the power of music through his art. One of his pieces hangs over Sherman's workspace and motivates him everyday. More of his work can be found at Atmostheory.

Here you go! Enjoy and expose yourself to a new friend.

Sherman: Much of your work focuses on music. There are song titles, lyrics, and general music related imagery. What does this stem from?

CDR: (see photo) There is very little time in the average day when I’m not listening to music. Music and I have a wonderful, loving relationship. I give it the attention it desires and in return it gives me energy, wisdom, inspiration, warm fuzzies, melancholy bliss, joy, sadness, insight, history, foresight, rage, delusions of grandeur... etc, etc. Seems like I’m getting the better end of the stick, but I give it a LOT of attention. Music is my muse, hands down.

How much inspiration comes from where you are living? I know you have spent time in San Francisco, LA and now reside in New York.

Location does make a difference. Although I have always aspired to a certain aesthetic regardless of my environment, I have noticed that my influences have evolved since my move to Brooklyn... just as they did when I move from Dallas to SF and from SF to LA. I believe that this is unavoidable for anyone, especially those of a creative nature... unless of course you live your life in a bubble or focus your energy in being part of a specific clan. In my case, my senses are always open to my immediate surroundings, but I try to never loose track of where I’ve been and we’re I’m going.

How did you get involved with Beck and his t-shirt designs? How about album cover art that you have created?

The Beck work was totally unexpected. It was something that came about through Obedient Sons, the menswear label that my best friend Swaim Hutson started back in 1999. He and I became partners in 2000. We actually did the Beck designs under the Obedient Sons name. We had a friend who was Beck’s tour manager. We were able to meet Beck after an SF show... and the rest is history. It was great doing the work... although the Guero designs we did were not produced... but they were well received.

As with the Beck work, most projects just kind of materialize. I prefer to let things happen naturally. I don’t chase people around begging to do work for them. I did well designing for the SF house/electronic scene because I was a DJ for quite a few years. I had my own ideas about how the imagery for those sounds should look. I started getting it out there and then people came to me.

Is your personal work what drives you and the commercial work provides the means with which to pursue that?

Absolutely. I was trained as a painter. That’s all I ever wanted to be. By the time I was in college. my painting took on very graphic tones... which did not impress my instructors one bit. At this point Graphic Design was called “Commercial Art” and I could have cared less about it. All I knew is that I loved record sleeves, posters, and t-shirts, etc... as well as fine art. It was all creativity to me.

Several years later I began to put my personal work into commercial forms. This was monumental to me. Suddenly my work was out there... in mass... in people’s pockets, wrapped around their music or their bodies, on their walls and their desktops.

I guess what I’m saying is that all of my work is personal... with the ability to be used in a commercial realm.

What is Obedient Sons?

Swaim Hutson and I designing the clothes we’d like to wear. The clothes that girls and boys wish their boyfriends would wear! The best menswear that you’ve probably never heard of.

Do you have a list of favorite music releases of this past year?

Here are some (old & new) that have been very close to me in the last year. Right now I can’t quit listening to Squeeze’s “Up the Junction”.

* The Clientele
( “Suburban Light”, “The Violet Hour” )
* Teenage Fanclub ( “Man-Made” )
* The Action ( “Rolled Gold” )
* Paul Weller ( Anything he’s ever touched )
* Wilco ( “A Ghost is Born” )
* The Trashcan Sinatras ( “Weightlifting” )
* The Silent League ( “The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused” )
* The Boo Radleys ( Every last bit of it )
* The Charlatans ( “Us & Us Only” )
* Doves ( “Some Cities” )
* Engineers
* Felt
* Amusement Parks on Fire
* The High
* The La’s
* Calla
* Ride
* Stone Roses
* Boards of Canada
* The Small Faces
* Autechure
* The Impressions ( “The Young Mod’s Forgotten Story” )
* The Warlocks ( “Surgery” )
* The Verve ( “Northern Soul” )
* Toots & The Maytals
* Soft

What music inspires you?

The ones that paint a picture in my mind. The ones with soul. The ones that are poignant, triumphant, witty or touched by madness.

"Hi-Fi Lovers" is a personal favorite of mine. Any thoughts of a t-shirt line
based on some of your work? T-shirts have become such a cult form of
expression nowadays.

Actually, I’ve done it here and there... and will most likely do it again. You may be right in saying that tees have become a cult for expression. But I might argue that it’s way beyond cult at this point. I personally think it’s a bit out of control really. I used to wear graphic tees... now, not so much. Maybe it’s that I’m getting older... but I kind of feel like the last thing the world needs is another t-shirt! I’m going wait it out just a bit longer.

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

Def Leppard

Describe a one of your favorite live music moments/events.

Spirtualized at Bimbo’s SF... Amazing Grace Tour. Although my memories of the night are expectedly blurred a bit... I can remember that I seemed to be hovering several feet above the floor for the entire show.

Thanks so much Christopher and best of luck in all you do!

Before we sign off today, please take a moment for Martin Luther King. Maybe make it a musical one. However you choose to do it, just remember how far we have come because of one man and how far we still need to go.


Blogger jeremy said...

Great interview, Sherman!!

3:14 PM  

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