Michelle Clark Graphic Design

Timeless Vinyl
Sleeve concept - Jello Biafra

Sleeve concept - Jello Biafra. Photo by me.

My neighbor has a huge collection of vinyl and one of my favorite things to do over at his place is to sift through all the great album designs. There’s such a timeless quality to vinyl it ceases to become obsolete – ever wonder why no one collects cassette tapes? Records crack and break very easily, yet some people still snatch them up. I think the album art has a lot to do with this. Vinyl cases, measuring approximately twelve and one quarter inches all the way around, feature large scale artwork on the front and back, and often include an insert with pages and pages of continuous art. I don’t use my dad’s record player anymore since I moved out but I still took all my vinyl with me and display them on my wall like a collection of prints.

The Dead Kennedys’ Plastic Surgery Disasters is one of those instances. I pulled the record out and what came along with it was a book full of collage design. I was mesmerized for a good thirty minutes just flipping through and reading all of the random Dada-esque words, phrases, and photos. Vinyl is what inspired me to look into CD design years ago, which ultimately led me to the pursuit of Graphic Design. I love the concept of creating an image or a theme representative of a group of artists and their vision and carrying that theme throughout an album, using pictures and type as emotional and mental cues as to the message behind their music.

Do you collect vinyl? Is there any particular reason why?

Photos: Mike Wells and Charles Gatewood

DK and Alternative Tentacles logos: Winston Smith


Albums of the Week

Albums of the Week 5-2-09

Back by popular demand, it’s another Albums of the Week post. Let’s see a sample of what I’ve been listening to this week. Top to bottom as is customary:

  • Bjork – Post
  • The Misfits – Legacy of Brutality
  • Southern Culture on the Skids – Mojo Box
  • Tool-Aenima
  • Frank Zappa – Strictly Commercial – The Best of Frank Zappa

Also, just as a side note to anyone who was looking forward to a review of the Antigone play this weekend. I went on Friday night and arrived twenty minutes early but all the doors were locked and not a single soul to be seen in the lobby. I think it may have been cancelled due to the swine flu. I’m sorry, I was looking forward to it too.

Last Thursday 4/30/09
Art on Alberta

Art on Alberta

Last night I went down to Alberta St. for the annual Last Thursday art walk event. This is something I like to go and do every month. During this event you get to walk down Alberta St. and wander into all of the little galleries and shops that are open and artists have their work lined up on the street. There’s music, (imagine a never-ending string of bongo drum and techno blast beats at once). There’s also spots where people have items piled into their front yards or on folding tables they sell for really cheap. It’s a good idea to bring cash when you go – I never have to spend much but end up coming back with a ton of cool stuff. And if I’m really watching my spending, like the other night, I collect brochures, cards, and other print freebies from artists that I like, or that just have design elements that I like.

Last night was awesome, due in part to the nice weather. There were canvases set up on the street with paint, brushes, and water so that anyone walking down the street can paint something and add to the canvases. Everyone also brought their dogs so there were lots of them to pet and play with. Two artists that I want to mention are Angel F. Matamoros, whose abstract paintings of rich color and texture I really enjoyed and Tokiko Anderson who combines abstract and whimsical, elegant illustrations. If you want to learn more about the galleries and events Alberta St. has to offer you can go to their website which always has an updated map of the current month’s art walk.


Collage Credits:

  • Pancho Villa artwork by Hector Sanchez.
  • Alberta Street brochure design by Bennet Stein and Michael Sant. Photography by Sherri Diteman, Norm Whitten, and Julie Shaw of the Oregon Historical Society.
  • JustSeeds.org postcard artwork entitled “Alden” by Swoon.
  • Angel F. Matamoros brochure design by Angel F. Matamoros.
  • Business card artwork by Tokiko Anderson.

Albums of the Week

Albums I'm Listening To

I have quite an eclectic taste in music as you will see. I like many different genres that shift dramatically from day to day or week to week depending on how I feel. Some days it’s metal, and some days it’s jazz. This week I’ve had a lot more energy due to all the nice weather and pollen flying around, so my list features a few more upbeat and dance-able rockabily, funk, and jam band albums.

Since the week is coming to a close, I figured I’d take a short break from doing homework on a Saturday and show you what albums have been on my playlist while I’ve been working.  Let’s start in the top left corner and zig-zag from there:

  • Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Show Your Bones
  • Alice in Chains – Sap
  • Ekoostik Hookah – Under Full Sail
  • Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade
  • The Cramps – Unleashed and Unreleased (in memory of the recently deceased Lux Interior, I’m still not over it)
  • Bootsy Collins – Play With Bootsy
  • Goon Moon – Licker’s Last Leg

What have you been listening to for the last week? Does it have any reflection on your mood or how you felt? How often do you change it up?

The Golden Age of Hollywood

The Golden Age mood board

I love creating photomontage mood boards to get me inspired with a theme, and this is one that I put together this weekend as inspiration for an upcoming project. I get to take part in designing a poster for a Spring formal banquet with an old Hollywood theme. The primary colors will be black, red, and gold. This is an event I will probably attend because I love dressing up Golden Age style and it will feature a free dinner and casino-like atmosphere in an old ballroom in SE Portland. I wrote the name down but as of now my precious notebook is MIA. However, I’ll update periodically on the various phases of this project, it’s one that I’m excited about.