• Examples from a range of personal projects I've been working on over the years that showcase my interest in visual storytelling, world-building, and visual fiction-making.
• What began as a set of Robot- and Monster-themed birthday stickers and coloring books for my young sons, the robots continued to evolve and re-appear over later birthdays as more sophisticated birthday SWAG.
• I fleshed out the concept further into a series of vintage fictional ads, playing with typography, a mix of different languages, models and manufactures, suggesting their rise around the world, and a larger narrative began to take shape. • I wondered if I could chronicle an alternative historical evolution of robots as a metaphor for technology replacing humanity, through a collection of faux-historical ephemeral documents, like ads, catalogues, corporate earnings reports, brochures, and so on.
• These spreads mark the beginning of my self-indulgent attempt to create a visual epistolary satirical narrative celebrating the rise of a mechanized work force and their inadvertently inevitable dominion over humanity. • Each major chapter would reflect the design aesthetics of a different decade, culture and geography, from the ‘20s as a close analogue to the invention and mass manufacturing of the automobile, to the rise of AI-based technology in the present-day.
• Through the process it was time again to repurpose the old reliable robots into more family fun, this time in a tin puzzle can.
• As lovers of the moody and eclectic, I wanted to buy my wife an interesting Ouija board to spice up her studio. Unable to find anything more interesting or authentic than the Hasbro board, I did what I usually do and set out to make her some from scratch. • Leaning into my visual collection of fonts, historic artwork, textures and clipart, I collaged together 3 initial spirit boards, mounting them on cut, stained, and manually aged wood panels, with matching planchettes to make them feel like antiques.
• The original boards generated so much buzz that I designed a series of 12 or 13 unique boards, putting them up on a blog for the fake ‘American Spirit Board Company’, and after all was said and done I gave away or sold all the pieces at a loss, given how much time and effort went into making them. But I guess that’s what happens when you dabble in the Dark Arts.
• For each board that was sold I included historic documents of authenticity in an aged, vintage-styled company envelope, wrapped in aged parchment paper, twine, and custom wax seal. Where they reside, I hope the illusion still delights and breaths mystery.
• As a lover of music, a fun project I gave myself was to design album covers for fictional bands, with the goal of trying to convey sense of tone, genre and personality through imagery and text.
• A personalized gift for a dear friend and fellow lover of Raymond Chandler and pulp fiction. • For his birthday I presented him with a poster and puzzle featuring the full pulp novel collection of fictional Jewish detective, Shlomo Shamus, haphazardly repurposed from existing book covers.
• Random assortment of old self-promotional or personal design work, some of it in collaboration with my wife’s illustration work. • One of the common denominators to my personal work: whimsically dark.
• Getting my first DSL, I fell in love with macro-photography where through there was always magic to be found in the smallest detail. • I explored a number of different ‘angles’, from capturing playful spontaneities of gesture and color, to gradations of decay, to evoking biological interiority, and crafting alien macrocosms through digital collage. • No matter the intention or outcome, I was always the strange, tall guy staring at the plant.
• As a creative who has surfed many tech waves, I am used to the disruptions and opportunities that come with innovation. • That being said, nothing has prepared me for the rapid evolutions I am seeing in the AI space. • As an artist and writer, I am terrified by the advent of AI generative content. As an art and creative director I am excited and empowered. • These AI dabblings represent my attempt to adjust for the unimaginable creative reality lying just ahead.
• One of my first concepts was to tinker with the idea creating a set of trading cards for silent German Expressionist films never made. • I even worked with ChatGPT to help me generate fictional film titles, period German cast and crew names and even German film studios. • These are a small sample of raw outputs that I am re-branding and typesetting for a set of printed collectable trading cards.
• I then generated content for another vintage collectable trading card set of a fictional TV series in the tradition of Star Trek & Gerry Anderson. • Loving the staying power, timelessness and cultural impact of long-running shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who, I wanted to craft my own version reflecting the norms, cultural values and socio-political influences of the the last 60 years. • Using GPT to generate world lore, history, characters, races and thematically relevant episode synopsis for each decade, I am branding and typesetting these as physical cards too.
• Another nerdstalgic love is the old Flash Gordon serials I grew up watching as a kid, projected on the walls of our local Pizza & Pipes. • I wanted to re-imagine this fantasy, mixing period and contemporary aesthetics through a range of interplanetary characters inhabiting a colorful comic-book live-action universe. • My goal always with AI generated art is to try to curate & craft a comprehensive, consistent body of work to compensate for the randomization and sheer range of possible influence.
• I enjoyed finding realistic treatments of such low-budget period results, but one limitation I struggled with was the disproportionate weighting of ‘Flash Gordon’ in the prompt, that always over-saturated the end results with the same narrow interpretations. • To give myself more latitude I turned to more of a world-building approach to craft my own 1930s inspired &infused universe, that like any good space opera, was drawn from epically historical and cultural touchstones.
• In this case I tried crafting a galactic empire beset by war and competing alliances. • Drawing inspiration from WW1 & 2 technology, aesthetics and geo-political factions, I leaned into retro-futurizing the major combatants. • This is the British-inspired Empire with its more classical art deco aesthetics.
• This faction represent a German Austria-Hungary-inspired Empire with Brutalist design influences.
• This faction represents a space-faring Turkish-inspired Empire with futurized Islamic architectural and aesthetic influences.
This faction leaned into the Russian Empire with early Soviet Constructivist influences and design aesthetics.
This faction was inspired by Futurist Fascist Italy.
This faction was inspired by Czech Cubism.
• As impressive as the individual outputs of generative AI can be, they are little more than novelty in an of themselves. • I believe the real artistry will come from how those outputs are crafted into something greater than the sum of the parts. • I'm experimenting with how to leverage AI-generated images and text into more complexly designed products, in this case digital and physical board games.
• I worked with ChatGPT to generate a basic paradigm for a game board, with characters, event, environment cards • I began reskinning the content to see how much I could stretch the tone and core fantasy while still employing the same underlying system and framework. • I prompted this initial look that evoked a vintage gothic aesthetic, with a playful tone.
• I generated another set of assets using a slightly edgier, moodier gothic supernatural expressionistic style.
• As a variation on the theme, both aesthetically and conceptually, I re-imagined the same gothic supernatural mystery game as being re-purposed into a gothic psychological, Jungian mystery game of the mind, leaning into Edvard Munch and post-expressionism.
• Pushed the gothic mystery concept and visuals into a Edgar Allen Poe /Kafka-esque cryptic german expressionist context.
• As another exercise I developed a character card matrix utilizing a range of unique styles and tones to fit the same general supernatural mystery context. For the bottom row I tapped more of a 1960s BBC Dark Shadows vibe.