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Recently I picked up a Dremel electric engraver to, you guessed it, engrave some stuff. So for a little practice I took an old soup can and made a new receptical to hold our X-Acto knives around the office. After sprucing it up a little, of course. And the engraving went easier than I thought, too. So hopefully this is just the start to many projects like this.


http://youtu.be/n4hnCOlNjpQ

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Sometimes when you work at a small, scrappy ad agency like Wexley School for Girls, you have to take matters into you own hands. So that’s exactly what we did for our client Oberto. Not only did we shoot a series of :10 second commercials ourselves, but we also acted in them as well. Take the spot up above for example. First you have Mr. Alex Smith (a Producer at Wexley) and myself, putting our mad acting skills to the test as Siamese twins. And we had the pleasure to perform alongside our good friend Mr. Peter Zakshevski, and fellow Wexley Art Director, Ali Sooudi. Also Siamese twins. It’s a shame we only had about 5 seconds to actually be on screen because I think, had it been a full :30 sec spot, you would have seen us really use all our acting prowess with a full range of emotion. It should be noted that we can all cry on cue as well.

Anyway, it was a ton of fun helping with these quick, weird spots. If you’re not lucky enough to see them running on MTV, SpikeTV or wherever else the media buy happens to be, you can check them all out here. I’m also an extra in this one, too.

P.S. I’m still experiencing the phantom pains from my Siamese twin, Alex. Sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and thrash about in search for my other half. Alex, if you’re out there, I miss you. I miss us.


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I don’t know how lucky you have to be to find three rolls of old, lost film over your lifetime, but apparently I’m that lucky. Film that went forgotten about for decades and decades, locked away in a camera that was also forgotten and locked away in some box in a closet somewhere. And somehow these rolls of film keep finding me.

What’s extra interesting about this roll is that I actually have been able to find out a little about it’s background and the people in the photos. Here’s the story:

One of my all-time best friends back in Minnesota, Katie Yernberg, came across five old cameras at a family garage sale for Steve & Bev Steberg, who have been very close to her since she was a wee girl. Knowing me, she knew they would make a perfect Christmas gift for a guy who collects vintage cameras. Also (from what I hear), I’m apparently difficult to shop for, so Katie was just relieved to find me anything I’d like. But little did she or the family know, one of the five cameras she gave me contained another present, a roll of Kodak Verichrome 620 film.

So after I got them developed we found out a little more about the backstory. The cameras belonged to the family’s late-grandfather, Clifford Steberg, the older gentleman in the photo above. It should also be noted he was a veteran of WWII, where he lost a leg and was obviously a total badass. The photos were taken around 1964 to 1965, and had been waiting patiently in a Spartus Full-Vue camera. On a side note, the camera is actually built for 120 film meaning someone had re-spooled it for 620.

The first three photos were from when the family was moving a new house onto the farm near Willmer, MN where Steve’s mother, Val was actually born. The kids in the photo are Steve when he was about 8 years old, his older brother Jim, and their cousins Gary and Mary on the right. From what I hear, this was a pretty big event on the farm, and it’s pretty cool since you can actually see the blocks and the crane they were using to lower the new house onto the old foundation.

The camping photos were taken at a state park somewhere in Minnesota where we find Steve at the water fountain when he was about 9 years old. Not only does Minnesota have numerous state parks, but they also run thick with water fountains, so it’s difficult to pinpoint which state park they could be in. The car to the right of the awesome camper trailer is apparently a ’56 Chevy Station Wagon, and the young man crying in front of it all is a friend who was visiting for the camping trip. What had him so upset is lost to history. The mother, Val Steberg, also makes her first appearance. And I may be to blame for the black stripe across the top of the last photo. I didn’t expect there to be a roll of film inside the camera when I first opened up the back, and unfortunately it wasn’t completely rolled through.

But either way, it’s always incredible finding a roll of film that had been lost for almost 50 years. The family was as happy and surprised as I was to finally see the pictures, which it felt good to actually be able to get them in the hands of some true owners.  Which was rewarding and an added bonus (that hadn’t been the case in the other two rolls I’ve found seen here and here). And it’s another good lesson in always keeping your eyes open for hidden treasure.


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Be on the lookout for some fun, quirky new commercials for Taco Del Mar soon. It stars a long board surfer riding on a never ending wave of deliciousness and a few of this friends from the sea. Oh, and he really loves the new TDM Shrimp Tostada. A lot. And he wants everyone to know.

 

CLIENT: Taco Del Mar  |  AD: Ali Sooudi & Andy Westbrock  |  CW: Matt Kappler  |  CD: Ian Cohen  |  AGENCY: Wexley School for Girls
DIR: Fred Northrop Jr.  |  PROD CO: Southdown Creative

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Another side project I’ve tasked myself with this year is to update a few things around my apartment, starting with the art on my walls. Obviously it needed a good ol’ fashioned cleaning too, but it doesn’t hurt to have nice things to look at and distract you from whatever crazy mess might be going on around it.

So over one weekend I finally mustered up the courage to put a bunch of holes in my 85 year old apartment walls, and hang up the signage type I bought recently. It also worked out to be a nice home for a few of my vintage cameras. I’m not sure how old the letters are, although I did get them all from the Pacific Gallery Antique Mall in SoDo Seattle, but I’m pretty sure the “E” is from a Blockbuster Video. Which isn’t very antique-ish. At least not yet, anyway.


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Seattle is one of the few cities lucky enough to now have a Carhartt Store in its limits. Because of this, Wexley School for Girls and I were lucky enough for the opportunity to design a few t-shirts for this new store, one of which was picked to be given away during the Grand Opening held back on 3/22/12. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, they even invited me down to sign each and every shirt during the event.

It’s already quite an honor to work on and wrap your head around a great and historic brand like Carhartt as it is. But then for the opportunity be at the Grand Opening of only their fifth retail store, representing both the brand and myself as a local artist, was unbelievable. I still almost don’t believe it actually happened. Everyone who came through the door was directed toward a table with a big pile of black t-shirts, and me with a silver Sharpie in hand. And the coolest part was how happy everyone was about the shirt and to have my signature on it. I was sure people wouldn’t give two shits about me and my signature, but was I wrong. People were taking pictures of me, and with me. One with someone’s daughter holding up my shirt. Everyone had great things to say (a nice woman even complemented me on my dimples). People actually wanted me to sign it. And of the 120 total shirts, I’m positive I signed at least 116 of them (unfortunately a few people grabbed a shirt and immediately wandered off into the crowd).

Anyway, the experience was amazing to say the least, and I’m really happy with how the shirts turned out. And I hope everyone who received a shirt at the Grand Opening gets many happy years out of their new Carhartt Seattle shirts. You should also stop by to see the store in person. It’s beautifully decorated like an old logging camp, and the attention to detail is impecable.

If you weren’t able to be there for the Grand Opening, here’s a quick video to encapsulate things a little. And in perfect Carhartt fashion, the ribbon cutting was replaced by a section of drywall that was busted up with sledgehammers by baseball legend Edgar Martinez and Carhartt CEO Mark Valade. And if you watch closely, you can even see me pop up a few times when the camera pans to the left during the ribbon cutting, and in the store signing the t-shirts.


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Perched atop the Swiss Alps exists the International Tennis Court, the game’s highest, oldest, smartest, best looking and most respected governing body. For over 138 years, people have trusted the Tennis Court to deliver some of the toughest decisions in the sport of tennis. They were there for the monumental cases between Borg vs. McEnroe, Sampras vs. Agassi, and who could forget the pivotal Wood vs. Steel trial of the late 1960s.

Now the watchful eye of the ITC has turned to the new and controversial Wilson Juice and Steam rackets. Do they create an unfair advantage with possible illegal amounts of power and spin? Only the Tennis Court can decide. Join us as we follow the trial of these two new rackets.

http://youtu.be/xjL97TPisLw

http://youtu.be/rt01tNzP1lA

http://youtu.be/hYFKo_x8_DQ

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The jury is still out on whether or not bears actually shit in the woods, but if they do, I’m pretty sure they look like this whilst doing so.


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Since we’re in the thick of winter, I thought I’d dig up a little something from summer. This is Mr. Alex Smith, producer extraordinaire, showing off another one of his talents out on Lake Washington during Seattle’s Seafair. Unfortunately moments after swimming out of frame, poor Alex was hit by one of the hydroplane raceboats. This one to be exact.

I’m a little bummed out I wasn’t able to use a tripod (or have been a little steadier) to keep the loop a little smoother, but what the hell. It’s just for fun.


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Recently I was summoned to jury duty and the experience, while pleasant, reminded me of this very short story I wrote back July of 2006, recapping the first time I was called upon to do what Abraham Lincoln described as, “the greatest service a citizen can perform for his country”. At least I remember reading something like that on a poster in the courthouse.

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Through the doors of the US District Court of Minnesota I go. Right on time too. Well, actually a couple minutes late, but that’s right on time for me. Then empty my pockets to pass through the ultra-tight security, only to find out I don’t pass.

“Next time take your belt off,” says the little old man as he waves his hand-held metal detector over my crotch. Was he coming on to me? I blush the rest of the walk up to the juror assembly room.

Once there, me and the other 41 people selected got to watch twenty minutes of the most enthralling instructional video, “The Dos and Don’ts of Being a Juror” (copyright 1995) which was hosted by a wonderful lady in the brightest blue suit in the northern hemisphere. Of course she was accompanied by “The Asian Juror”, “The Black Housewife Juror”, “The Senior Citizen/Retired Librarian Juror”, “The White Farmer from Anytown, USA Juror” and probably a construction worker or something. The stereotypes all began to blend into, “who cares since you’re obviously all paid, bad actors”.

Now that the video was over we play a little game called “The Waiting Game” until the judge needs us up I the courtroom. It goes like this. First, you play it cool…and wait. Second, you go get a bottle of complementarity orange juice and continue to play it cool. Still you wait. Then, when things get rough, you pullout the emergency book, in my case it was “Barrel Fever” by David Sedaris. And after you’re three pages into it, “Okay, they’re ready for you all”. Damn, somehow I lost this round. But there will be more waiting to come.

We’re led up to the thirteenth floor, “Hey, I can see where Leena works from here” and then off into the courtroom. Inside we all sat on the wooden benches in the back and got the run down before our names were picked at random to see which 32 of the 42 would be widdled down to the final 13-14 actual jurors. I started doing the odds in my head. “Well, I have a better than 75% chance of at least getting picked to be questioned. Those are good odds and that will be fun.”

I didnt get picked. What are the odds? Oh yeah, less than 25%. Round two of The Waiting Game starts now, only I can’t read my book. The ten of us leftovers got the pleasure of listening to the judge get the whole life story of the other 32 jurors, only to find out that the video lied. There wasn’t any Asian or Black jurors. Although, there was a lot of old, retired, white people, one of whom was a farmer. As usual I was by far the youngest. Where the hell are all the 23, soon to be 24 year olds? I had an hour and a half to think this over.

After that we had a 15 minute recess (not the jungle gym kind, unfortunately). Mostly everyone jumped to their cell phones as we got the liberty to turn them back on again. I did the same.

When my text message recess concluded, we were all herded back into the big wooden room and asked to sit in our same seats as to not confuse anyone. Seconds later the judge began reading a list of those who could leave. “Mr. West-brook” was called off. Close enough I thought, and made my way to the exit.