by Art Chantry (email@example.com)
i’m always fascinated by where old punks end up. for instance, a lot of folks already know that gillian anderson (of the x-files) was an old butthole surfers fangirl who followed the band around. but, not as many people know that the guy who is the editor of CA magazine (communication arts – the graphic design bible) used to play drums in a punk band called “idiot” (they played the fab mab in SF in the early daze). even jon stewart (yes, THAT jon stewart) gets a shout-out in bob mould’s autobiography as a cool guy who tended bar at a nasty punk club in (i belive it was ) boston. he and his head writer from the daily show were a couple of smart ass punk rockers running a club hosting their favorite bands. go figger, eh?
well, i want to point out another amazing odd story along these lines. i know a fella (i imagine a lot of you also know this guy) named Josh Higgins. josh is a graphic designer down san diego way. i met up with him at a conference speaking gig down there and he and i hung around. you see, it seems that josh played the base in a prominant band called “FLUF” (along with “O.”, the FLUF guitarist who is also another graphic designer dude). you see, in the alternative music world just about every band out there had a graphic designer playing in it. freelance design was a good way to have a “job” and still had enough flexibility to set your own work hours. it wasn’t easy, but it was better that having a 9-to-5 if you were also in a musician in a working band.
i got to know josh both through the graphic design world (where he became very active) as well as through the alt music world (where he was a well known and well-liked personality.) he was also heading up some design organization down in san diego and was trying to figure out a way to drag me down there to give one my patented “art chantry” lectures to his group. things were moving along, when i suddenly got an email from him telling me that he was sorry about the plans, but he was having to stop working on that stuff because he was offered a gig that would require that he move away from san diego. what? san diego without josh higgins? is that possible?
he went on to tell me about a job he was offered and wanted my opinion on whether he should take it or not. it seems that somehow he got lined up with some guys that wanted him to move to chicago and take over the whole re-election campaign graphics department of this candidate running for office. working for political campaigns are a notorious ‘go-broke-fast’ scenario in the graphic design world. it’s tradionally a “cash up front’ type of endeavor (if you den’t get your money up front, you don’t get it at all). most graphic designers don’t touch them. so, i was a little dubious about josh dropping his entire life and running to a new city for a job on a political campaign. but, then he dropped the candidate’s name on me (like a bomb) – PRESIDENT OBAMA! yup. this old punk rock dude was being asked to take over the graphic identity and branding of the re-elect obama campaign!!! amazing, but true.
this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will NEVER come his way again and told him he’d be crazy to NOT take it. he was actually still on a fence whether to leave his beloved san diego or not. in the end, he went for it and moved to chicago and is now doing all that great swag for the obama campaign. i get FB™ notes showing him de-embarking from air force one and sharing little jokes about having lunch with ‘the boss”. crazy stuff.
frankly, josh is producing the best political swag to come along since the 1960′s. his designs are already raising eyebrows and gathering media attention and public popular acclaim. it really is wonderful stuff he’s doing. keep your eyes open and see what he’s up to. it’s punk rock as politics, folks. the stuff is brilliant, snarky and deeply clever. this will be a political campaign for the design history books, if josh has any say-so in the matter.
exhibit A: this is the infamous barack obama birth certificate mug. i don’t know if josh actually came up with this idea or not, but i don’t care. it’s just plain brilliant! it’s iconic! and, it’s already available online at the campaign webstore. there are also posters, tshirts, patches and all sorts of amazingly cool junk you can get that you will actually want to have and even keep for a looooong time. great world-class swag all around. excellent work, josh. i’m proud to know you.
like i said, it’s always amazing to see where old punks end up….
AC:i take the big picture stance (i’m a designer). those details are just crap to fix, ya know? oba
as pulled off stuff that would have been impossible for anybody else to accomplish int he face of the racial/conservative backlash the opposition has launched at him. even a white guy would have had no chance against the conservative full-tilt resistance. but a black guy? impossible. yet, he’s turning the supertanker. we’ll just have to wait another 5 years to see where it’s headed….
…obama HAS to have corporate backing now. with the conservatives (read ‘fascists’) stacking the supreme court card deck AND creating a brick wall with congress, he has both hands tied behind his back. i dare anybody to try it. obama is still surviving and making a BIG difference. it’s really amazing when you step back and look….