Postcard quote: React to changes in light, pressure, and temperature.
I have a running list of ideas for alternate media to use for postcards [glow in the dark, scented, lenticular], but it’s always been beyond the budget I have for the printing up until this point, so I tried a few experiments to emulate it using the printing budget I currently have. In this one, both the quote and the art was based on the the idea of printing a design in thermochromic ink, like the Hypercolor shirts I had as a kid. The clipped gradient image showing its edges toward the corners of the card was a total mistake but I rather liked it, so I kept it.
Postcard quote: Go farther. Then go further.
I have come back to the idea of drawing pyramid studs many time over the last ten or so years. I wanted to do something really simplistic here so this took very little time – the studs were drawn in Illustrator, cloned, and brought into Photoshop as a single layer. Originally they were gold because I’d used some gold ones in a fashion project and jotted off the drawing really quickly, but the pink seemed better for a postcard.
The quote was largely motivated by an editing mistake in a work assignment, where I confused these words, but later deciding that I liked the meaning of both together – go to a place physically far, and then go to a place metaphorically far.
Postcard quote: No pretext. Just action
I used a version of this artwork as a cover image for a song I released on Soundcloud, but adjusted the colors [I believe the original may have been neon pink instead of neon green]. I made the white spray-painted design using a few different brushes, then applied a pixelate/color halftone effect that I can’t really remember specifically to get the confetti. The dots were drawn in Illustrator and then brought over as separate layers.
Postcard quote: Use an old technique.
I have no idea what drove me to create this. The purple/blue background with the black blobs was probably inspired by retrofuturist furniture, and the yellow squiggles were just scribbled into Illustrator [all the components were made in Illustrator].
Postcard quote: Make something, then eat.
Another monthly card. This one was created entirely in Mirror Lab using the Generate function, then a stripe effect and a shatter/puzzle effect. It was a quick piece, made during a time that I was doing a lot of small images in Mirror Lab and other phone apps that I would post on Instagram or Facebook or repurpose to make other things.
I don’t remember what motivated this quote, but it was probably peckishness.
Postcard quote: Draw the sounds of your childhood.
This was created as a direct copy of those paper weaving projects that we all did in grade school. I created the squares pattern in Illustrator using the Pathfinder divide tool, then brought both sets into Photoshop as separate layer before clip-masking them with flower photos. The photos are Creative Commons-licensed flowers I found on Google image search – I picked asters and tulips – and then adjusted the brightness and blue levels on each.
“Draw the sounds of your childhood” is a line that came to me in a dream; I have never experienced synaesthesia but it sounds like a lot of fun [if overwhelming].
Postcard quote: Less specificity. More ambiguity.
Briefly in 2018, I started a series of monthly postcards. I’d been covering the cost of printing and postage myself, and some very generous people offered to chip in and help me cover the costs, so I made some monthly cards for these folks as a thank-you for a few months. They weren’t widely available, but I still consider them a part of the body of work, so I’m posting them here. These shapes were informed by the shapes found on nautical flags, layered double and overlaid with marble patterns in saturated pastels and then backgrounded with more marble.
The quote was about my ongoing grappling with uncertain futures, undefined values and standards, and general nebulousness of living and making artwork. It still speaks to me today.
Postcard quote: Find what no one else sees.
In keeping with the “Finish in 5 min or less” ethos of last quarter’s card, I did a series of quick drawings in photoshop every day for about a month – mostly in black and white, using a variety of the approximately 29348987234 brushes I have, but every brushed object was its own layer, and for every one, I made a copy and reflected it horizontally, creating a symmetrical mirror image. I really just tried to make something that looked cool. Sometimes I applied layer styles to the brush layers, sometimes not. In this case, I overlaid each mirrored pair of brush layers with the same color/texture, and applied the same layer style, and played with the colors a lot before coming up with this very Halloween-y version.
I don’t recall the motivation for the quote, but I have two friends who received these cards at work on the same day, and both of them tried to figure out what the drawing was supposed to be before flipping it over and seeing the quote, which was really funny to me when I found out.
Postcard quote: Finish in 5 minutes or less.
In the summer of 2018, I bought a house, most of which needed heavy renovations. I spent a lot of time looking at decor blogs and really wanted to have a bedroom with Moroccan-style tiles stenciled on the floor. I bought a set of tile vector images on Creative Market and intended to cut them from car decal vinyl using a Cricut machine and then seal the floor with polyurethane after applying, but I didn’t follow through with it [I regret that decision every day, so I guess there’s still time!]. I repurposed the tile vectors in this design, creating a repeated pattern and overlaying it with a couple of different concrete textures in gradient patterns. The top layer of green squares were a side effect of experiments from the Winter 2017-18 card, with the 3d yellow pipes.
The “Finish in 5 minutes or less” text was an urge to myself to actually do artwork and music in the midst of overwhelming renovation and a fairly busy job. I mostly succeeded.
Postcard quote: Make something unappealing first.
The navy blue layered background was created in Mirror Lab, an Android app that allows you to edit existing photos or generate your own from color blocks, gradients, or shapes. I started with a navy-to-white gradient and ran it through a couple of shatter functions and then a fractal function. Then I brought it into Photoshop and put the bokeh on top. I can’t recall whether I hand-made the bokeh objects, but looking at it now, the layer is flat, so I guess we’ll never know!
Postcard quote: Your first memory is the correct answer.
This one was pretty quick and low process. The background was a random gradient that I had found someplace; and the web of points was quickly made in three.js in a codepen.
Postcard quote: Boredom is permissible, and often preferable.
There is a storefront on North Ashland Ave [It still exists at the time of writing, in late 2020] with big picture windows, and those windows have some white wooden planks running vertically, with some meandering right angles, in the front and side window [you can see them on street view here]. The shapes of the yellow pipe-like things were directly inspired by this; the styling was inspired by early attempts [ie, in the early 2000s] at 3d-like design (how everyone’s blogs had beveled buttons and shadows that switched direction on click), as well as a sort of low-res version of everyone’s favorite screensaver.
I don’t recall the headspace I was in at the time that caused me to want to write about boredom, but I find that my funniest and coolest ideas always happen when I’ve got time to be bored, so I try to make it a part of my day.
Postcard quote: Make a single copy of something that already exists. Or make 100 copies of it.
Again with the speed lines. I drew the horizontal lines and then used Illustrator’s “dotted line” functionality to space each out randomly. Then I used a clipping mask to overlay a marble pattern in a pastel colors on the lines. Finally, I adjusted the saturation of the whole thing to make it darker.
I can’t say for sure, but the quote was probably informed by looking at loop pedals and working on long-form repetition-based ambient music compositions. I didn’t get a loop pedal until nearly a year later, but I’d always done loop-driven music in GarageBand and sometimes Ableton.
Postcard quote: Take the structural and turn it into the ornamental.
I can’t recall what drove me to create this particular design. The random gradient is something that I think about and play with now and then, and I think the mezzotint was something I’d been experimenting with at this point. The cloud overlay was a found image that I applied a clipping mask to.
Postcard quote: Silence is as important as noise.
The background was created in Illustrator, based probably on something I found on Instagram or Pinterest. The drip vector was from Creative Market, recolored and adjusted for size. I picked the colors because blue and orange are my favorite complementary pair.
I haven’t written as much about the messages on each postcard. Many of them are informed by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. I’m sure there’s at least ten strategies in that deck like this [ope, there are], but this one came from my memories of being a young pianist and hearing my dad [a professional musician and teacher] talk about the space between notes being where the music really exists. Turns out he was quoting Miles Davis and/or Claude Debussy.
Postcard quote: Don't wait until you're ready.
I had long been a fan of the Twirl tool in Illustrator to create weird spirals – not unlike that spin art station that I wanted so badly when I was a kid but never got because it undoubtedly would have turned into a total mess. For this piece, I took a screencap of a picture of an oil slick that I found on Google image search and used Illustrator’s Image Trace function to reduce it down from a photo to solid objects. Then I created swirls with the Twirl tool on top of it. The eye, which is partially obscured, was a found image as well – it looks now like it might have belonged on a tarot card.
The card’s message, “Don’t wait until you’re ready”, reflected where I was at the time – I’d recently been laid off and was lacking confidence in my next step. [The shift to quarterly postcards, from monthly, was related to that, as was the several-months-long break – between May 2016 and Jan 2017.]
Postcard quote: Every accident is secretly intentional. Let it happen.
This was inspired by those silly laser background school pictures that everyone loved, and 80s-era Trapper Keepers with 3d-looking objects on them. The base jewels were from a “wireframe gemstone” illustration kit, and the background and the jewel treatments/styling were made in Illustrator. If you work for Mead or any similar organization, please hire me to design school supplies for the retro-minded among us all. I’m serious.
Postcard quote: No one is unqualified. Everyone is an expert.
I love anatomy and I also love creepy things. These skeletons came from an illustration kit on CreativeMarket that is no longer for sale; I can’t remember whether they were initially gold, or if I painted them with a gold glitter brush in Photoshop, but I think they’re droll and hilarious. The background splatter paints were made by me in Photoshop using brushes; the gentle geometric pattern was from a repeating background kit that I’d liked but never had a reason to use before.
Postcard quote: You don't have to choose. You can do both.
At the time that I made this, I was learning to do bitmap glitching – where you open a .bmp file in a text editor and alter the text, then see what that does to the image. I was also heavily using the Glitch Android app, along with other phone apps to create easy artwork on the go. I can’t remember the specific process I went through to get this, but I’m fairly certain the only alteration made in Photoshop after was to resize it.
Postcard quote: Take it apart. Then put it back together a different way. Then start again.
I made this in Illustrator relying heavily on the “transform each” function. Each transform adjusted size and rotation, and in some cases position. I had previously used this function to create spirograph-like images for an art coloring book, but I wanted to try it with solid shapes. I don’t recall how I chose the colors, but I probably went back and colored the objects manually after the composition was done.
Postcard quote: Photograph, record, draw, or write about the thing you fear most.
I vaguely recall having the idea of “speed lines” in mind when I made this – lines in a cartoon or animation that indicate quick motion. I created this in Photoshop; each of the rectangular lines was an object, grouped into folders by row. I chose the color palette in advance of starting the piece; a long time ago I’d had the idea of sewing a really dynamic set of formal dresses in structured shapes in a limited color palette – think Dior’s New Look meets 80s Valentino, but SUPER bright, lots of structure and enormous bows and asymmetry – but I’m not much of a sewist/fashion designer, so the palette was the strongest part of this idea. I repurposed the palette for this piece – reds, pinks, oranges, blacks, blues, all very saturated. I recolored the lines randomly as I went. The halftone dots behind the lines and on top of the background were probably from a vector illustration kit.