spring 2012

Irons in the Fire—An interview with Lloyd Winter IV

Sitting on a roof top of Wieden & Kennedy, drinking a beer one late Friday afternoon, I got a little glimpse into the world of Lloyd Winter IV. It was all very casual and listening to him I had this sense that even though he has so many irons in the fire (an always had), this guy clearly knows what he wants and what he’s doing, while always staying true to who he is.

His story is a colorful one, where the road is lined with punk rock, skateboards, gig posters, a silkscreening lab, playing in multiple bands, late nights working in clubs, meeting his wife in one, running one with a partner, teaching, corporate jobs in Beaverton, getting married, having three kids, design collaboration, working full time as a designer in one of the most respected agencies in the nation (without the graphic design degree) and then continuing his side projects in the evening.

“I want to try everything–I need to be alway’s doing shit and I’m not happy unless I’m doing design and illustration.”

As the evening approached we skimmed many topics…

We talked a little about how so much is available for creatives.

“The information is out there. Coming from a background in fine art and art education, I taught myself a lot about graphic design. Sometimes I can tell that there are technical things missing. I try to just focus on the concepts and connecting the solutions. Now a days everything is so open source with our practice, everyone shares. All those gig poster guys like Mike King—they shared their knowledge with us—that was cool. I’ve learned from them.”

On balancing design with illustration- “I try to approach illustration like I do design and vise versa. Sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants—I do what I do to make shit and go with my gut. I use the basic grasp of composition when designing and I spend a lot of time with my sketchbooks. What I love about sketching is I don’t think. It’s like creating a logo, I can’t make one without sketching first.”

On working for W&K- “A friend asked me to create a poster for the Haiti relief show that W&K was putting on, so I re-used a bit of art I made for the band Fin Riggins, then collaborated with Santiago Uceda to create the poster. I pulled around 50 prints the night before the show, they all sold. When I made the poster I wasn’t really trying to make a Haiti themed poster, I just wanted it to look good and sell. The next week I had an interview and a few months or so later I was offered a job.”

So far Lloyd has created a pretty impressive body of work while at W&K—from designing logos, custom lettering, and books, to titled designs for TV spots. “All the things I do in the community is an extension of what I do here”.

On his work- “Skateboarding is a huge influence of my work, but also other counter culture like music, weird art, rock posters, and silk screening. I like to push the psychedelic weirdo and try not to be to literal, just conceptual.”

We’re honored that Lloyd will be our next guest illustrator at sketchXchange and look forward to all of his designery illustrations.

Please join us at sketchXchange for a night of inspiration and drawing with Lloyd Winter.

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday Night, June 1 2012

TIME: 6:00-9:00 PM

PLACE: The Left Bank Project 240 N Broadway

Check-in begins at 6:00pm in The Sting Ray Cafe. Doors close at 6:45

COST: FREE, however a donation is always welcomed!

REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday, May 28, at 10am

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

A NOTE ABOUT PARKING. There is free parking on Flint Street (north of the building) and paid parking in the lot in front of the building. The street parking is paid until 10pm.

Check our website for more information on sketchXchange and follow us on twitter for up to date stuff!


American Old School—An Interview with Mike King

When I walked up onto the landing dock that day, I really didn’t know what to expect.

From our phone conversations I kept visualizing an old school Jersey man with a “you don’t know shit kid” attitude. I got the second part right, but Mike King’s not from Jersey, he’s Portland…all Portland, straight from Oregon City.

What I quickly discovered was that Mr. King may be old school but he keeps up with the times just fine. On his own terms, in his own way. He was very inviting and spoke about the work and what it takes to be a successful designer in a pretty down to earth no bullshit tone. “This is hard work, I’m happy to break hearts and dash hopes of these kids. You have to work hard to create your own path in this world, being in the right place at the right time helps too.”

I appreciated his perspective from someone who’s been around the block, and liked him right away.

Mike has been creating artwork for the music industry for over 20 years. Some of his client work includes: The Decemberists, Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, Jack johnson, Pink Martini, The Shins, Elliot Smith, Sonic Youth and Modest Mouse to name a few. He’s also done commercial work for clients like Converse All Stars, Foot Locker and Voo Doo Donuts. 

The road to graphic design started out for him by creating flyers for his band back in high school, then for other bands, and eventually exchanging artwork for admission to punk shows and beer. 

"It didn’t occur to me until after the fact, to be a designer. I was working at Powell’s Books and creating flyers every week on the side, then one day I quit. That was 22 years ago, I’ve been doing this full time ever since and have probably made over 5000 flyers in my career. I  still design about 1-5 flyers a week. They are one of my favorite things to do, there’s no pressure and I interpret the art by by my own vision. It’s very freeing, the bar is set pretty low so I can’t help to succeed."

Mikes process for for designing is a combination of cut and past and drawing. Back in the day it was literally cut and paste and a Xerox machine. He pulls things from several sources when creating new work, using a scanner an Photoshop as his tools of choice. There is a wall of vintage books in the middle of the room, a source material and inspiration vault. The collection is awesome.

"If I can’t find an image I need, I draw it."

He showed me parts of his sketchbooks. One page was just lines, another doodles, some numbers and such and then made a comment that making shit was a very American thing to do.

I looked around, him standing there, his work station, the drawing table, the cans of paint waiting to be opened, shelves filled with posters and his drying racks and thought to my self, yep it is. It sure is.

See more of Mike’s work here.

Please join us at sketchXchange for a night of inspiration and drawing with Mike King. 

DATE OF THE EVENT: Friday Night, May 4th 2012

TIME: 6:00-9:00 PM 

PLACE: The Left Bank Project Bring Check-in begins at 6:00pm in The Sting Ray Cafe. Doors close at 6:45


REGISTRATION BEGINS: Monday, April 23rd, at 9am 

As always space is limited, so be sure to register early!

A NOTE ABOUT PARKING. There is free parking on Flint Street (north of the building) and paid parking in the lot in front of the building. The street parking is paid until 10pm.

Check our website for more information on sketchXchange and follow us on twitter for up to date stuff!