Tuesday, January 13, 2015


#JeSuisCharlie, for Anna, 01.11.15
With deepest respect for the writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo, we see the world as you did. DECcommunications and the #iThinkOutsideMyBox project were founded on the concept of freedom of expression and will continue #EngagingThePublicInPublicArt℠ so long as we remain alive on this planet to do so. Long live Charlie Hebdo!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Outside the #iThinkOutsideMyBox™ Project

Annual Report cover pen and ink drawing

One of the most frequently asked questions of visitors to #iThinkOutsideMyBox regards whether all the small paintings have been done by me, and the answer of course is 'no', but I do tell people that the signage is mine and that brings into question the fonts, styles, and execution of such. The drawing above is an original font in mid rendering but much tighter than any of the work on cardboard seen on the iTOMB exhibit. And the reasons for that come in translating hand painted work to hand lettered typography for printing, something that is done primarily by computer these days.

I began as a self taught hand letterer in my teens and eventually found my way into the professional sign painting business by the time I was in college, working for established sign companies and learning from the masters, painters who learned how to 'letter' with brushes as opposed to 'caligraph' with pens and quills. Eventually I graduated in graphic design, but have always had a love of fine typography over the many other 'crafts' of the design world.

Annual Report cover pencil drawing

A sample layout
made with Adobe
Illustrator from my
pencil drawing
Of course today, 99.9% of this work is done in Photoshop and Illustrator, but not always necessarily well if the person doing the work has never learned it by hand in the first place. 

As I was once told, as an apprentice sign painter, "The letterform was originated by the human hand - but then the machine took over, Gutenberg and all that. Now that you are taking mechanical forms of what were once products of the hand, you must put the hand 'back' into the form - for there's no point in doing it by hand if you are just imitating something made by a machine."

And to this day, that continues to be my philosophy in font design. Above was inspired by my more free sign work - quickly sketched out in thumbnail form, then tightened in pencil and pen in a drafting form, and finally tweaked (not twerked) in illustrator. Yet it maintains the personality of the hand in that you couldn't make the design inset from a convention al font - or if you did, it would be a relatively painful process. Sometimes, at least in art, less tech is better.

The work here was commissioned by a graphic designer for his client, a non-profit working in healthcare and I was asked specifically to provide typographical solutions for the project. Should you be in need of hand lettering in any form, from simple sign design on cardboard, to painted permanently on buildings or items, to typography and font design, please feel free to contact me. It's one of the many things I do that's well outside the #iThinkOutsideMyBox project.

Friday, July 18, 2014

"The Fog of War" – Do You Agree With Our Country's Priorities?

Infographic courtesy of War Costs

As an artist/activist it's important to me that no matter how much our respective jobs need to be handled in a politically neutral manner, that we keep close to our hearts, matters of humanity that are most important to us. The issue above is one of my life issues. As an alumni of the first year of Americans not to be drafted (1974) it has always been important that we find ways other than war to handle our disputes.

But we haven't.

40 years later we are more entrenched in international conflict than ever before – and we spend virtually 1/2 the world's military budget while millions of Americans go homeless and nearly 50% of our population is on some form of public aid because of a war economy winning over a peace economy.

So what can you do?

50% of your tax dollar goes to the war machine.

a) Write your senators and congresspeople and demand a reduction in military spending by redirecting funds to job creation and the arts.

b) Spread this info graphic to everyone you know – and let our politicians know that we are not the heathens this kind of war making implies – but a caring, forward-thinking, compassionate society that values human capital over all other forms of capitalism:)

c) Do something other than just reading this and saying that that's just how things are.

Note: The Fog of War is a 2003 documentary film by Errol Morris using archival footage and interviewing Secretary of State Robert S. McNamera on his involvement in Vietnam and the Cold War. Excellent.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What is 'new'?

Kendall Shaw, New Iberia, Acrylic on paper, 1972

This sketch called New Iberia was done by Kendall Shaw in 1972. So in some sense, it is old. But it was new to me as I viewed it in a gallery on Saturday. It precurses the work of Cajun Minimalism Mr. Shaw has developed over the years and how I came to have met him just a few months ago... (cont.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

'Inequality For All': Another Inconvenient Truth

This documentary made my viewing list this week and it brought to mind the reality that as the middle class shrinks, advertisers will have fewer people to advertise to. 

Last year I made a presentation to America's largest advertising agency and my charge was to wake up their top creative staff - people in the top 2% income bracket - and it was amazing how hard they didn't have to work to not hear a single thing I said regarding America's income gap - and how it might affect them, negatively,  if they didn't tune in to it.

The film, "Inequality For All", a sort of economic "Inconvenient Truth" features economist Robert Reich in a fascinating expose on how America's extreme income inequality is bad for everyone. The key graph from the film (above) shows how income inequality in 2007-2012 nearly matches that of the US before the great depression and explains how America ranks worst among developed countries in economic fairness - even worse that Iran and Nigeria, countries much less developed...(continued here.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Everyone Hearts NY in Their Own Way

Anon family (Spain) 08.26.13
Everyone sees New York a little differently. Some from afar, some from deep down in the bowels of the beast and others from other places. But all from some point of awe or amazement or sometimes confusion. It's just that way. It's so New York.  Cont...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Make Every Friday a Black Friday!

Bryony  04.04.13

As you can see, there's still plenty of black art available on Cyber Monday – or yellow, blue or red – many shades of red actually. Today we feature #iThinkOutsideMyBox's Monochrome series (below). And these are some of my favourites. As usual, any contribution of $100 (add $10 for shipping and handling) entitles you to a signed, numbered print of your choosing on museum quality, acid-free paper. 

To order, simply choose your donation method, tax deductible (Fractured Atlas),  or standard (PayPal), then email me with your print title and mailing information. 

 Your contributions help keep #iThinkOutsideMyBox alive. Thank you.

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
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