Monday, November 10, 2008

Delta Spirit Print

So, I was reading the Folio a few months back and saw in the concerts section that Delta Spirit, an amazing band from Southern California, would be at Cafe Eleven! I knew a co-worker, Sean, of Dog and Pony Show Prints, had recently put up shop a few cubicles over. He and Tim (another co-worker) started Dog and Pony and are always making aMAZING prints for national bands and selling them at the shows. So, I was curious if they were doing one for Delta Spirit. I went over and asked Sean and he didn't seem to know who Delta Spirit was! The next day he came over and said he'd listened to them and loved them and wondered if I wanted to collaborate on a print. I said, "Obvi!" and I went to listening to their new album, Ode to Sunshine, on repeat for inspiration.

One line that kept jumping out at me, and the one I think really represents their album, is from "Strange Vine" / We are two Indians in the same canoe. That line really hits on the "we're in this together" ideal the album is trying to get across.

So from there, it kind of all fell into place. I googled some indian heads, a canoe, padddles and a river delta. The idea of a cigerrette box kept coming into mind, I think because they all have an iconic, vintage flare. Cigarettes also represent killing yourself slowly just like what can happen when we forget about the blanket. Later, someone pointed out the similarity of the design to American Spirit cigarettes, but I swear, that wasn't my inspiration, at least consciously. Anyway, I gave Sean a rough idea of imagery and positioning and he made it look beautiful. He came up with the color scheme, "Pudding" brown and metallic gold on cream paper. It gave it a really nice "authentic" feel. A beautiful collaboration, if I do say so myself.

So the design was ready and all we needed to do was print. The first photo is Sean printing in his empty cubicle turned print studio. It's really cool 'cause he and Tim just went down to Home Depot and built everything themselves! It's pretty amazing. For a tutorial on screen printing that really shows off their DIY handiwork, head over to their blog and show them some love. They deserve it.

I couldn't wait to hear the sound of the squeegee on screen. When I did finally hear that beautiful sound, I forgot how much I loved it. It's like magic. I won't go into it too much, but I love screenprinting for the same reason I love black and white, wet and dirty, photo development. Both screenprinting and photography can be done much easier digitally, but there's just something about the process, the magic, the love that keeps me coming back to handmade stuff. Accidents that can only happen through trial. Little imperfections that remind us we aren't perfect and that's ok. I did feel a little bad though because Sean entrusted me with printing a few and I totally, uh, "gave them character." I have a big head and little arms. I'm just not sure how well that plan was thought through :) Sean made the table for his long gorilla arms and I just couldn't get the leverage I needed to pull the squeegee down with enough pressure. Oh well. I was happy enough just to see the magic happen.

We ran through the printing process pretty quickly and without a hitch. We had the prints all ready, signed and numbered. All we needed was a concert. The day of, Sean headed down to Cafe Eleven and I met up with him a little later. He was all set up, the show hadn't started yet, and he'd already sold a couple prints! The opener, Whiskey and Co. (we spelled their name wrong on the poster. woops!), hadn't gone on yet. I was hanging around the merch table, waiting for something to happen when the bassist from Delta Spirit appeared out of nowhere. He leaned over and said, "Cool poster." And I said, "Thanks! I really love your music! It's refreshing to hear a band sing of something other than getting drunk and laid. But I was wondering who writes the songs? Is it a collaboration? And how do you live the rock-and-roll lifestyle yet sing about the poor and oppressed? Do you think just singing about social problems and inequalities is enough to save your soul? Also, will you marry me?"

Actually, I wish that's what I'd said. Instead, I just stood there and smiled stupidly. Like a stupid fan. Ugh. Oh well. Delta Spirit finally went on. They were AMAZING. So full of energy and, yes, spirit. I loved it when the lead singer strained his voice and it crackled with raw power. Gave me goosebumps.

After the show, tons of people bought posters. The lead singer, Matt Something, came over, looked at the poster and said, "I get it...But in a good way." I'm not really sure what that was supposed to mean, but I was just glad he liked it. Sean gave them five prints and they signed a couple for us. I have mine hanging on my bookcase at work (Office Space post to come)!

So, to sum up, I had a great time. I had a great time concepting, I had a great time printing, and I had a great time at the show. I would definitely do it again.

This post is dedicated to Tina and her nagging :) Thanks,
Tina! Love you!


imuhwinner said...

Damn, this one is really long-winded. Sorry guys. You don't have to read it all. Just look at the pictures.

John said...


But I love you!!

big_k said...

nice poster, i love delta spirit. i want one.

Anonymous said...

uh...mazing. i forgot what i was going to say for a second. i wish i could make fresh squeezed your-brain-juice and drink it every morning without killing you. too bad that's not possible. make this Christmas last, because it will be yours.

wow, i'm creepy.
how did i make this about me?
even more than i am creepy, you and everything you make are awesome.

Tina Amato said...


You're still my hero.

Can I have one? ;)