For Thinking Tree Spirits, our goal was to create an interactive packaging experience with the playful exuberance of storybooks and Rococo scrollwork, all evocative of the lush bounty of Oregon.
We designed the Thinking Tree brandmark for flexibility, personifying the brand as a contemplative woman collared and crowned with ornamental branches that either gently germinate or grow wild to fill the canvas, be it the small circular icon on the cap, or front and centre on the hangtag.
For the illustrations, we were inspired by Late Baroque mirrors to create highly dimensional packaging, using the main label for deep background artwork, and layering over it a hangtag of duplexed cardstock with a pop of purple foil and, finally, a colourful ornate frame raised to its highest relief with sculptured embossment. Hidden throughout are local and mythological life, from Odin’s ravens (‘thought’ and ‘memory’), to the polyphemus moth (whose eyespots are named after Homer’s cyclops) and its caterpillars, down to the great horned owl, whose face is composed of oak leaves.
On the hangtag’s verso, the linework is reproduced by a letterpress, whose raised ink, along with the purple string that ties tag to neck, all add to the rich tactile experience. Here, one is invited to be creative, whether scribbling thoughts or verse, notes on a new infusion, or a kind gift-letter to a friend.
Beneath the hangtag is a fable of our composition that sets down the brand’s folktale roots:
Once, there was a forester who planted a seed in the earth. When the seed grew into a great tree, the forester placed an egg at the top of the highest branch. When the egg hatched into a great owl, the forester returned with gifts. “I have the gift of speech,” said the forester, “and the gift of thought.” The tree and the owl listened. “I can give only one gift each, and each gift only once,” the forester said. “First, one of you will receive the gift of speech.” Growing impatient, the owl asked “who?” And the Thinking Tree shook her leaves knowingly.
“Madness can be a medicine for the modern world, whose side effects offer a boost to our psychological immune system to help fight the existential crisis of a normal life.”
(paraphrased from Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 11: Rôti)
Paraphrasing, typesetting, printing and photography by Peter Stuart Lakanen
Make Native America Great Again, 2016. By: Demian DinéYazhi’ & John Henry/Tracy Schlapp
Repurposed maps of “Indian Reservations” letterpress printed as part of an Alternative Identities workshop for LGBTQ youth hosted at the Portland Art Museum. It was a pleasure engaging with youth in a city and space that encourages them to make strides toward self-representation while bringing physical and mental awareness of place in this colonized landscape. A special thank you goes out to Sharita Towne and our Reed volunteers who brought the extra love and support we needed.
Sup Tumblr. Alright, so I made this book for my art class and I will admit that it is one of the things that I have made that I am most proud of. I thought I’d take the jump and share it here, so that others could get a glimpse into different approaches to creating art, as I enjoy viewing the works of other artists on here as well.
The approach that I took in my book project was the idea of, “Things We Feel But Cannot Explain.” I took on the idea of finding ways to integrate text and imagery to get at the ambiguous emotions we sometimes experience, but have difficulty explaining. Each page was intentionally composed by my own interpretation of each of the emotions, on the whole or the page, or at least most of them is the definition, and the word itself is on the bottom of the page. In creating each image, I used a variety of mediums such as letterpress type, hand lettering, painting, collage, and the integration of found objects that I thrifted.
I hope y’all enjoy viewing my art and if you have any questions about my book, or if you have feedback I would love to hear it.