Monday, May 14, 2012

Pheaturing AJ Paglia

Hello, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile, for a Monday. This is Red 5, I'm going in. As you know it's Star Wars Month on the Phile. More on that in a minute.  Newt Gingrich said it would be "inconceivable" for Mitt Romney to choose him as a running mate. Romney issued a statement saying, "Yep.”  After just one term in office, French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost his re-election bid because he was unable to fix his nation’s economy. Or as Obama put it, "Uh-oh.”  In an interview, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek hinted that he might retire in two years. Or as he put it, "Born in 1940, this game show host wants to sit around in his bathrobe eating ice cream.”  Ryan Seacrest just put his house on the market for $11.9 million. The house has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and 6,000 mirrors.  In the last year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating has gone up 12 points. That's impressive. Usually, the only time he picks up a dozen is when he goes to Krispy Kreme.  A new study found that most people can’t go 10 minutes without lying. But since the study took 20 minutes nobody knows what to believe. Most people can’t go 10 minutes without lying. We have a name for those 10 minutes... “job interviews.”  Director James Cameron announced that he is planning to release three sequels to Avatar. But come on... none for Titanic?  As you probably know, Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to endorse same-sex marriage. Obama said he thinks same-sex marriage should be legal. Then he said, "Okay, now where's my show on Bravo?"  Nestle is releasing new Crunch bars in Girl Scout cookie flavors like Thin Mint and Peanut Butter. And to make it even more authentic, Nestle’s CEO is having his parents pressure their coworkers into buying them.  Well, I have a really good artist that is a guest on the Phile today, and I have been showing his really cool work. But I found a Star Wars poster that I really like, I have no idea who did it, but it's clever. Oh, I am being serious by the way. Check it out.

It's cool, right?  So, the other day someone at work asked me about races in the Star Wars Universe. I tried to explain but I couldn't, until I made a pie graph, and you know how much I love those, to explain. So, here it is.

That should make things clear now.  Everybody it seems has Facebook nowadays, even some characters from Star Wars. If you don't believe me, here's proof.

All through Star Wars Month on the Phile I have been showing you real products that Lucas that okayed to come out with the Star Wars brand. I don't know about you, but when I think about droids, I don't think about munching down on their delicious nuts and bolts. For some reason, the marketing team at Kellogg's during the 1980's did though and this bizarre part of a balanced breakfast came into creation.

Ooooh, it comes with a free Star Wars mask though. Or do you have to order it? Remember when the toys and cool stuff actually came in the box? Alright, now from the home office on Coruscant, here is today's...

Ten Ways You Know Your X-Wing Is In Trouble
10. Your targeting computer whacks you in the back of your head.
9. You turn it off only to have it poke you in the eye.
8. R2 unit says "Oops".
7. R2 unit says "uh-oh".
6. R2 unit seen hailing a taxi.
5. Your X-wings open and close randomly.
4. You hit the Hyperdrive and go BACKWARDS.
3. You try to fire torpedoes but only hear a grinding noise.
2. You just fired torpedoes into the thermal exhaust port... and stall out.
And the number one sign you know your X-Wing is in trouble...
1. You've just landed after destroying the Death Star... but the hatch cover is jammed shut.

Okay, they can't all be winners and funny. Speaking of funny... a few months ago I introduced a new character to the Phile that is fond of puns. I let him come back at the beginning of the month for some Star Wars puns, but he wasn't that funny. So, I thought I would give him a second chance. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Alright, PUNisher, I am giving you another chance. Let's see what you have.

PUNisher: Hey, bastard, which Wookiee was on the fast-track to mouth cancer?

Me: I don't know. And that's not very nice.

PUNisher: Chewbacco. Why was the feisty droid unstoppable?

Me: I have no idea.

PUNisher: Because he washard-to-de-tour.

Me: What? Washard-to-de-tour? Oh, R2-D2... that was a stretch.

PUNisher: Why was Captain Calrissian so stupid?

Me: I don't know, and I don't think he was a Captain...

PUNisher: Because he was from Clod City.

Me: Okay, is that it?

PUNisher: How did Yoda deal with difficult, whining customers when he worked at a gourmet coffee shop?

Me: I don't know, PUNisher. He probably spoke backwards about something.

PUNisher: He said, "Boo or boo not; there is no chai!" Are the inhabits of the Third Moon of Endor now cooking Japanese food online?

Me: I say yes probably.

PUNisher: You are correct, yes, they're using their e-woks!

Me: Okay, PUNisher, that's enough. Get out of here. The PUNisher, everybody! Man, I don't think those are puns at all. Alright, now for sad news.

Donald 'Duck' Dunn
Nov 24, 1941 - May 13, 2012
Went from goat piss to gasoline.

Carroll Shelby
Jan 11, 1923 - May 11, 2012

Today's guest is the 16th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery. He is a graphic artist and illustrator, and designs fonts. Please welcome to the Phile... AJ Paglia.

Me: Hello, AJ, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

AJ: Better everyday, thanks for asking

Me: AJ, where are you from, sir?

AJ: Providence, Rhode Island, USA, big city in a little state

Me: I have to say, you are one of the most diverse artists I had on the Phile. How long have you been a graphic artist, AJ?

AJ: Design-wise since college, art and illustration-wise since I was old enough to doodle with a crayon on the back of my kids menu placemat.

Me: You do so many kinds of work, from designing fonts, t-shirts, concert posters, advertisements. What came first?

AJ: T-shirts came first, in high school a lot of my friends were in bands, or starting bands, and I would design the shirt or sticker they wanted to sell at their shows. The doodling became a favor, the favor became a request, and the requests became a business. After that everything was connected. I needed to create a poster for an ad campaign, which needed a logo for the poster, which needed a font for the logo, etc.

Me: And what do you like to do the best?

AJ: Apparel design is my thing right now, but illustration will always be first true love, even if it hasn’t accepted my relationship request on Facebook.

Me: You did a lot of art work for the band Blink-182. Did they approach you or did you approach them? Have you met the band?

AJ: The merchandise promoter actual contacted me, which is common given the band’s size now. It was actually spec work, which although I’m not a fan of, made an exception given the requester. I did actually meet them, only it was 1999, I was in the eighth grade and snuck out with friends to catch their show. At the time the most I could do for them was make a really killer ball point pen comic strip, which I’m sure they would have loved.

Me: Let's talk about some of your art work. I first discovered you when I saw the Han and Leia Gustav Klimt piece. What was your inspiration behind this? Is Klimt one of your favorite artists?

AJ: Admittedly, no Klimt isn’t. In fine art I’m a big Da Vinci fan. The inspiration came from trying to create merchandise that would not only be great looking, but also sell. In college, EVERY girl I knew had the Klimt kiss on a poster, print, wallpaper, etc. I noticed that as a popular trend and romanced it with another equally popular trend. The use of Han and Leia to better express the Klimt scene worked extremely well, and I loved how it came out. The initial sale was very successful, and a lot I believe has to do with the subjects chosen.

Me: I interviewed so many artists who all do some kind of Star Wars themed project. Why is that do you think?

AJ: It’s fun to say, but Star Wars is hot right now. I’ve had this conversation and reasoning with colleagues, and we all agree, it comes down to supply and demand. The original Star Wars was released from 1977 to 1983. When its mainstream popularity started to slow, it was amped up by the re-release in the late 90s. Then the (unfortunate) prequels were released from 1999 to 2005. Then the cartoon show, and now the 3D release, etc. So the franchise has been in your face for the better part of 30 years. That covers “supply”, but the “demand” is unique. Because of the current licensed merch is focused on promoting the Episodes 1-3, the fans are demanding merch that promotes Episode 4-6, mostly because they’re better. This demand has forced us independent creatives to whip up new stuff for the nostalgic fan that has little supply. In any case, I’m just happy I get paid to draw Ewoks.

Me: Are you a Star Wars fan, AJ? What was your first Star Wars piece?

AJ: Absolutely, I’ve been a fan since I first watched the trilogy when I was 6, back to back, on a grainy VHS. Haven’t stopped making lightsaber noises since. The first real seller I made was Yoda The Grouch, a Muppet-mashup of Yoda and Oscar the Grouch.

Me: I have a picture of that here.

Me: I am a huge Muppet fan so it's great that you do a few Muppet designs. I love the Sesame Six piece you did. I almost wish it was a real comic or show. When and how did you come up with that? It needs more issue covers made.

AJ: Along with being an (obviously) uber-Star Wars fan, I’m also a Marvel nerd. I grew up just hanging at my local comic shop and have a lot of pride in the golden age of Marvel. The original Fantastic Four cover I used as inspiration was always a goal of mine to parody, and the merging with "Sesame Street" just clicked. I found pure entertainment in the imagery of something so innocent, like Elmo, all of a sudden being a bad ass superhero. I agree with the idea of more covers, perhaps they are in the works? (insert maniacal laugh)

Me: AJ, did you go to school to be a graphic artist?

AJ: I did, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in 2007 from Rhode Island College. Ate a lot of ramen noodles.

Me: I mentioned you design fonts. How does someone come up with fonts that has not been done?

AJ: It’s difficult; you can only do so much to a letter until it’s no longer a letter. On the unavailable commissioned fonts I’ve created, I typically start with by physically sketching the full typeface.

Me: If someone uses your fonts do they have to get permission?

AJ: Many do, and while I appreciate the emails and donations, especially from companies, none need to. All of my fonts I’ve made available were created or modified to compliment the design I used them in, only I no longer have exclusive use for them. I see no harm in letting someone else use something I just created to help along my own design. In my experience, the more you help everyone be better, the more you push yourself to be better.

Me: Have you ever been out and seen one of your fonts being used?

AJ: I have, it’s a fun side effect of making a font free and available for commercial use. With their budget in mind, those are the fonts ad agencies and companies aim for using first. I’ve seen them on TV commercials, billboards, web ads, and even the packaging of my favorite yogurt. The best is when I walk by the design exhibit of a local university or school, and find a few used, creates a very Marty McFly smile moment.

Me: You also do some video editing. Was that one of your jobs before you became an artist?

AJ: Opposite actually, I taught myself some minor editing in order to create a video that promoted a design. I liked the result so I kept at it, and am still learning!

Me: I have to ask you about this, you are a former indy pro wrestler commentator? When was this?

AJ: I grew up going to indy wrestling shows as a kid, until one day (2004?) a local group advertised a chance to get training by a couple wrestling legends, including Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. It was a blast, and liked the group so much I started hanging out after shows, joining the ring setup-takedown crew, taking weekly lessons, and eventually doing commentary for the actual shows.

Me: What is indy pro wrestling anyway?

AJ: It’s the small time of pro wrestling. It’s the small town rock show to the mega-city concert. Most involved are working towards the bigger picture (WWE).

Me: You make a lot of ad's and different labels, and one thing I love is your Peter Cottontale beer. I interviewed an artist named Winter and we talked about micro brewery beers, AJ. Do you have a favorite?

AJ: I do, Revival Brewing. They are based in my hometown, have product perfect for the season, and taste wicked good...

Me: Speaking of beer, didn't you design neckties for a beer company? That seems rather odd. What was that about? 

AJ: Narragansett Beer, also local for me, does annual sale of neckties for Father’s Day. This year’s features a pattern I created with various nautical themes and Narragansett branding. In New England, we dress formal, but we like to party.

Me: So, being a graphic artist, I have to ask you what you think of the Phile's logo? Do you like it, with the font and colors? Looks great, very 60’s super hero-ish!

Me: If you were gonna design a logo for the Phile, what would it look like?

AJ: Same filing cabinet, only with WINGS OF FIRE.

Me: I like that. AJ, I have to ask, what tools do you use?

AJ: Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop, pencil, paper, scanner, lightsaber, etc.

Me: Do computers make it too easy to design?

AJ: Of course, but they’re only a tool. If a carpenter makes a table that’s crooked and wobbly, they’re letting the tools do the work. The same applies to design.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back again soon and keep up the good work. Go ahead and plug your website, AJ.


Me: Take care, and thanks again.

AJ: Thank you!

Well, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to AJ Paglia for a great interview. I'd love to have him back on the Phile again. Anyway, the Phile will be back on Wednesday with French singer Pascale Frossard and then on Saturday with Alumni David Melbye from Heavy Water Experiements. I will be at Star Wars Weekends on Sunday, so the Phile will be posted on Saturday instead. Then on Monday it's musician Darius Lux. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. May the phorce be with you.

Luke Skywalker, made by Logan Peverett.

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