Monthly Archives: May 2016

Barrett Book Cover Illustration

Barrett: A Misunderstood Mind
Old-style graphic design!

Concept illustration for Barrett: A Misunderstood Mind book cover. This digital preview developed from a previous ballpoint pen sketch on paper inspired by old etchings and woodcuts. If you take a closer look you will see a real vintage engraving glowing in the dark!
Find out about layers of thoughts and mystical engravings inside the Wink Of A Brain collage.

Nautical Poster + Logo Design Concept

Sailor Boost Nautical Services
Vintage concept design for Sailor Boost.

This work in progress is an illustrated version of one of the sketches made for Sailor Boost Nautical Services logo. It’s a kind of minimal vintage ad poster. From an original drawing of Sir Joe Works’ logo design concepts sketchbook, it was also inspired by old style engravings and banners.

If your boat or ship are in need of any kind of repairing and tuning, be sure to contact Sailor Boost: The best and the only nautical services on the island!

Robert Johnson: Blues Legend GIF Animation

Robert Johnson: King of Delta Blues
An animated tribute for his birthday.

The style of Robert Johnson, the legendary Delta blues musician, has inspired generations of guitar players. His peculiar fingerpicking style and his high-pitched voice still look amazing today. When Brian Jones from Rolling Stones introduced Johnson’s music to his bandmate, Keith Richards asked «Who is the other guy playing with him?», because he thought there were two guitars playing on the record. He didn’t realize it was just Robert Johnson playing only one guitar!
Son House once remembered that Johnson wasn’t a very talented guitar player in the beginning but then he suddenly acquired his incredible guitar skills in a very short period of time. Son House’s explanation was that Johnson sold his soul to the Devil at midnight in the middle of a crossroad near Dockery Plantation, Mississippi, in exchange for mastering guitar playing. This is probably the most famous legend in music history, known by every bluesman in the world. And probably has its roots in the fact that  Johnson learned quite a bit from Ike Zimmerman, while they were spending time practicing together in quiet places such as graveyards at night so that nobody could disturb them.

Robert Johnson’s first recording session was held in San Antonio, Texas, on November 23, 1936, inside room 414 of the Gunter Hotel. He probably recorded the tracks while facing the wall, performing with a microphone placed in a corner of the room, to enhance the sound of his guitar, a technique called “corner loading” by Ry Cooder.
Someone has speculated that Johnson’s high-pitched voice was the result of a decision made by the sound engineer who speeded up the recording, maybe to fit on a three-minute disc, or because it just sounded more exciting that way. This theory occasionally faces out, and even though it has never be fully proven, the controversy seems to be still alive.

This animated GIF I made years ago is based on one of the only two photographs known of Robert Johnson until June 2005, when Steven “Zeke” Schein apparently discovered a third photo on eBay. The caption of the picture read “Old Snapshot Blues Guitar B.B. King???”, but no one of the two young guys portrayed looked like B.B. King. Schein, who had been inside the guitar business for years and had a passion for blues, studied the photo and convinced himself that the two boys were Robert Johnson with his friend Johnny Shines. The photo was then published on Vanity Fair in November 2008.
One of the problems with Schein’s old photograph is that, if you pay attention to a few details, it looks reversed. The buttons on the clothes (jacket, shirt and pants) of the one who is supposed to be Johnny Shines are on the wrong side for men’s clothing! This makes the guy who is holding the guitar (Robert Johnson) left-handed. But according to the people who knew him and the two confirmed photos, Johnson was right-handed.
Another picture appeared in December 2015, allegedly of Johnson with his wife Caletta Craft, and even if is believed to be authentic by someone, meany think it’s not. And it really doesn’t seem to be him.
In theory, there is one more portrait of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson: Peter Guralnick said blues archivist Mack McCormick showed him a photograph of Johnson with his nephew Louis, but the picture is still unpublished today.

So this GIF animation is my tribute to the King of Delta blues who was born on May 8, probably in 1911, and died on August 16, 1938, near Greenwood, Mississippi.

Wink Of A Brain: Mixed Media Collage

The Wink Of A Brain
A mind cosmogony: describing a very irregular head.

The idea for this collage was born as a way to explain layers of thoughts inside a misunderstood brain. It’s based, somehow, on the concept of cosmogony and the knowledge behind it, and has an analogy with the Flammarion engraving appeared as one of the illustrations on the 1888 book The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology by French astronomer Camille Flammarion. That particular wood engraving was more a representation of the ancient mystical wisdom, like the one depicted in the visions of the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel, than a technical representation of a medieval cosmology, as probably believed by Flammarion himself. The caption of the engraving describes «a missionary of the Middle Ages [tells] that [he] had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch» and it’s obviously related to Flammarion’s previous work (from 1864) Imaginary Worlds and Real Worlds, on which he relates the legend of the monks Theophilus, Sergius, and Hyginus, who opened a mysterious gateway to another world while they where trying to discover the point where the sky and the earth touch.

So this artwork is the result of an imaginary conversation with Rosemary, trying to figure out a way to explain the mechanics of a very irregular head: as those monks, I was making an attempt to find the point where the sky and the earth touch. It’s not easy and it takes time to make intelligible the speed of [his] thoughts, a wink of a brain.

[The guidelines of this collage where generated with the help of Sir Joe Works’ My-Ching device!]