300, Illustration to Photograph

A friend of mine recently came across an interesting photo shoot for Empire Online’s 20th Birthday Portfolio. The one image that grabbed his attention was the shot of Gerard Butler (Right) dressed in business casual attire holding a spartan shield. I had a similar idea that I created last year for a Cinemax campaign (Left) that featured the movie 300 as well. The concept was an everyday person imaging themselves as a spartan in a modern world. Anyway I think it’s kind of cool seeing a illustrated version and a closely related photograph.

Shanghai Week 2

Shanghai, China
Shanghai, Vendor

First of all I apologize for not updating as much as normal these past couple of weeks. I know since my last post I said I was going to updating more but obviously that has not happened. I’ve been pulling in long hours at work this whole week and I think next week will be more of the same. However, I have been able to go out and explore other parts of the city a little more on the weekends.

Like New York, Shanghai has a huge pallet of cuisine and food that is quite cheap and really good. The local places may look dingy and dirty but don’t let that fool you from tasting what they have. The night life so far has reminded me more of Meat Packing District spread across China. Every place seems to be very clubbish with hip hop / techno (house, drum&bass, whatever) dominating the music scene even at so called dive bars. Some places are more laid back than others and the crowd is different as well but you can always be sure that the music is pretty much the same, in a scary way you almost start to get use to it.

Shark tanks are apparently pretty popular here as well, I saw 2 giant ones at 2 different clubs and one in the subway. Unfortunately, there was one dead baby shark lying upside down on the bottom and I overheard someone say it was taking a nap and I don’t think they were kidding around either. This upcoming week should be quite interesting as Thanksgiving is approaching and this will be my first time celebrating it outside the U.S (I’m sure the Roast Duck will be replacing the Turkey this year). I have more photos uploaded as well, either click the ones above or view them on my Flickr here.

Working In Shanghai: Week 1

Jing'an Temple, Shanghai
Jing’an Temple
Escalator in the middle of nowhere, part of my walk to work
Drop coins down this for good luck?

Well, where to begin…. My first week of work here in Shanghai has wrapped up and it’s been a very interesting experience thus far to say the least. Adapting to the whole culture and trying to learn as much about it in a short period of time with a limited amount of Mandarin vocabulary is really something. I am very surprised at how many Foreigners I have seen so far, they are really all over the place. For the most part the first few days have been pretty routine, not that it has to be but mainly because of my lack of transition into the new time zone. So far my days have looked a bit like this.

6:50 – 7:30 am : Wake up pretty much on my own which is surprising considering how much I sleep in, in NY.
8:45 – 9:30 am : Grab a coffee at the local cafe (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) and people watch a little bit before taking the short 10 – 15 stroll to work.
10:00 – 12:00 pm: The usual work stuff.
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Go out and eat with a group of people from the office, they normally tend to hit up the very local places which has no English on the menu. The food is always good but since I can’t read I normally just get whatever somebody else gets, but again the food is great.
3:00 – 7:30 pm: Return to and finish up work.
9:00 pm: At this time my body tends to crash on me and that is when I go to bed haha.

I haven’t had too much time to explore yet except for today and just a little bit last night, but so far so good. I’m looking forward to seeing more around this place and I will try to post more often than once a week. Check out my Flickr for more photos of Shanghai.

Spec Work?

Spec Work

I first came across a great blog post the other day on David Airey’s site that highlighted the recent interview Debbie Millman, president of AIGA, did for No! Spec. After seeing the post on David’s site I decided to read the whole interview of Debbie and her take on spec work “speculative work”. Like many other top talents in this industry she is strongly against it. The interview is really informative and she states the obvious reasons and her personal take on why people should not do spec work. Some of the reasoing is other professions such as doctors would never even consider spec work but in the design indusry somone is always willing to work for less or for free in hopes of winning a pitch or bid and in doing so it’s harming the industry standards.

The next day I just happened to come across another topic on spec work and this one was by Eric Karjaluoto and his disgust at Tim Ferriss for his recent book cover contest. For those who do not have time to read the whole post, in a quick summary Tim who is known mainly for having a well publicized book through his social media efforts recently held a design competition in search of someone to design his next book cover, awarding the winner a holy lump sum of $250.00 for their efforts. This did not come across well for Eric and in his post he does a great job of breaking down his reasons behind his shredding of Tim.

After reading these couple of posts on spec work it got me thinking from all point of views on this subject. For one, I am against spec work as well, it takes most designers a good amount of time and effort when preparing for a project or commissioned proposal or pitch. Like with any other craft it takes years of practice and experience for a good designer to get where they are and to do something for free in hopes of winning the project makes designers seem pretty disposable and possibly desperate for work. I can see how this not only brings down industry standards but also harms the whole industry. I have to admit while I am guilty of doing spec work in the past (only 1, in my younger days) I have entered a few competitions or created something for submissions. In the past I never really considered this as spec work, since most of the contest there is no money involved from the beginning and is mainly for exposure. Also with some of these submissions you can enter work you already created so you are not necessarily spending a great amount of time particularly for the contest. Thinking back on it now, could this possible be another way of spec work just reworded or phrased differently? I’m not sure but I have a feeling it’s leaning in that direction.

The Bigs 2 Home Run Pinball

The Bigs 2
The Bigs 2

I recently worked on a series of mini-games through Kastner & Partners for 2K Sports baseball game, The Bigs 2. The game was already developed for all major gaming consoles but they wanted to create some online games so I had the pleasure to work on the game for a Facebook app, 2 variations of the widget that allows users to play the game on your website and also the actual mini-game that you can play at 2K Sports. Since the online games are a little different than the actual game, the whole interface, menu, loading screen, landing page, scoring and some parts of the background had to be recreated.

New Illustration


The past couple weeks have been pretty hectic and busy to say the least, I recently finished 2 projects and now am juggling three more. In between all the madness I managed to get some free time to work on a personal illustration which I haven’t had a chance to do in some time. I originally came up with the idea for this piece based off the elements: land, earth, wind and water, and from there it sort of took it’s own direction. I hope to make some more in the upcoming weeks perhaps a series of something, also check back soon I should have some new work updated as well as soon as I get the ‘ok’ from the clients.