Before & After: Popping Up in Crosstown Concourse

Hosting Monster Market in Crosstown Concourse was a dream— the traffic was good, there were bathrooms (a very important upgrade from 2017’s location), and a half dozen good restaurants in the building. But for every perk, there was one big con, and it looked like this:

That’s the space (above) as I saw it on my first walkthrough— which by luck happened to be on my 30th birthday. It was dirty, being used as free storage by Cedar the Beater, without walls, and without electricity. Upon request, I had two outlets installed. These would power my entire store for the duration of my two month lease. Somehow, this felt like a victory, but there was so much more work ahead of us.

Scared to death of not being able to pull this off in time, I start as early as humanly possible. I get the keys in mid-September and start wrangling this beautiful handmade display furniture recently disposed of in the closing of the Bikesmith.

By now, Cedar (local wife-beating shitbag artist) has moved into the free studio he’s mooching off of Crosstown to the right, so you can see the backside of his drywall. In the back, he had large panels of wood leaned against the studs implying some kind of wall, but after catching him sneaking more than once, I quickly learned he just wanted them to look like a barrier.

The focus of my floor plan is to section off the space with a dividing wall, creating a hidden back area for storage, staging, and hiding a projector. Local set builder and old friend Shea Colburn comes to help me for a few days, literally bringing a wall with him. It came with a window originally.

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At my request, Shea covers over the window, and my friend/talented local screenprinter Will Loren comes by and paints the whole thing yellow for me. Inspired by a show I saw in the gallery upstairs with images projected on the backside of visqueen, I ask Shea to build me a massive projector screen, and he somehow already has one of those on hand too. He and my brother Kiefer screw up sheets of MDF into the studs to create walls, and we begin hanging sturdy brown paper over the exposed plastic up top.

At this point I’ve spent literally all week scrubbing the rat turds and petrified dust off of these ancient shelves from Crosstown Concourse storage (because they didn’t want to let me use anything new) and painting them primer matte white. I have only accidentally given myself paint fume poisoning one time in the process! But this part has taken a lot longer than I’d anticipated. Here we are only a few days from opening and it’s just beginning to come together.

We temporarily disconnect and cap the back 6 flourescent fixtures so the light won’t interfere with the projections. I say we, but I don’t do ladders and I know shit-all about electrical work, so I just watched. This really cuts down on the light in the space, but it’s exactly the look I’m going for. The front half is still illuminated by the tubes, but the back is a bit dimmer.

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This is the home stretch here! Just days away from opening, my close friend/display master Reagan Crow comes to the rescue, and helps me organize a thousand or so items into meaningful sections around the store. We settle on something like Goth/Metal/Witchcraft, Creature/Critter/SciFi, Natural/Bones/Mystical, and Feminine/Feminist/Gender-Related. There also ended up being a vintage corner with costume pieces, a cosplay section with tooled leather masks and jewelry, and a t-shirt wall featuring designs from a dozen makers. The middle section currently only has a naked mannequin, but soon we’ll fill this with the fast-selling items like stickers and enamel pins.

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And here it is in action! This shot is from the Grand Opening, which always ends up being our largest, craziest, and most well-attended event. The shop is full of patrons and makers, I’m back there behind the register talking to an artist, and I think that’s Poltergeist playing on the projection screen above me.

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And here it is near the end of the month. Somewhere in there, I made the time to project and hand paint some lettering on the yellow wall. The big displays stayed the same over the month, but the smaller items have been rearranged a hundred times by this point. I’ve had to borrow the mannequin’s wig, and apparently I’m having trouble keeping this front easel stocked. I think someone had just bought the little Eddie Munster painting moments before!

Was it a lot of work? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! I was only able to take on something this big with the help of my friends, who allowed me to cobble together their various expertise into a comprehensive effort. That’s the only way big stuff gets done. As much as I wanted to do everything when it comes to Monster Market, I physically can’t! And I’m thankful for that, because it’s a lot more fun sharing this dream with a staff of weirdos.

Holtermonster 2018

It was about time to update the Holtermonster look. Up until now, I've been skating by with a logo set over a developed identity. This is my first stab at a fuller brand. 

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I particularly wanted to create a strong set of small marks with an updated skull shape and an H. 

 
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You Love Me! You Really Love Me!

I designed this poster for Good Grief, a documentary about a children's grief counseling summer camp run here in Memphis. In one ceremony, the children write letters to their deceased loved ones and tie them to yellow balloons, released into the sky. The filmmakers wanted to draw from this imagery to create something bright, simple, and playful. My design won Best Poster Design Audience Choice at the 2017 Indie Memphis Film Festival! 

*Limited Edish* Overton Park shirts

Overton Park is a big, green breath of fresh air, in the middle of ever-evolving Midtown, just off the traffic-laden Poplar Avenue. Home to Memphis College of Art, the Brooks Museum, the Levitt Shell, the Memphis Zoo, and a big ass golf course, there's plenty to see and do within its borders.

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But the best part of the park to me, is the park itself. Overton has nature trails through the forest that seem like you're the only person for miles, green soft grass for laying yoga mats and blankets upon, and old tall trees that shade half the Greensward at the right time of day.

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I designed these shirts to showcase my favorite aspect of the park—the stoic skyline of peaceful trees.

The designs were printed on adult and youth tees, and included as a 2014 perk of becoming a member of the Overton Park Conservancy.

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Unused ideas along the way.

That Time I Illustrated Stoned Animals

Promotional coffee mugs for a pet sedative from Pfizer. I did the illustrations of the kitties and puppies contracted out by archer>malmo! Aren’t they cute?

I developed this series of vector illustrations for Archer>Malmo for their client Pfizer, they were used in promotional materials for a pet sedative. Art direction chose these specific dog and cat breeds because they are known for hyperactivity and/or agitation. My job was to illustrate each breed in a calm, docile... and highly-medicated moment.


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One of several pages of initial sketches I sent to the art direction team at AM; supplemental breed photo reference provided by the team; finished illustration of the Bullmastiff breed of dog, who can be prone to anxiety, looking chill af.


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Craig Brewer is a Really Nice Guy!

I designed this limited edition silkscreened art print for filmmaker Craig Brewer for the DVD release of his first feature film, The Poor & Hungry. He’s finally putting out all kinds of merch for his debut full-length (made way back in 2000) and he kindly commissioned me again! You might remember the poster I designed back in June for his short film, Clean Up In Booth B. —>

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Memphis Flyer Let Me and Ronnie Vandalize a Box!

I painted another Memphis Flyer box! This year I collaborated with my favorite type slayer Ronnie Lewis to design, cut and spray these huge 4 color stencils of the iconic grocer pig from the beloved (now locally extinct) chain of Piggly Wiggly stores–the first of which opened in 1916 right here in Memphis, TN. The box’s new permanent home is on Union Avenue at Cooper in front of Ike’s, and you can vote for ERF as your favorite and help us win 500 cash money dollars. 

Vintage Brewer: Clean Up In Booth B

Craig Brewer commissioned me to do a limited edition screen printed run of posters for the long-awaited release of his 2000 short film Clean Up in Booth B.
When Craig was getting his start, he didn't have the capital to release his first films on DVD. Now thirteen years later, he's doing it!

Drew Binkley at Grand Palace printing in Nashville printed these perfectly!

I Branded A Whole Film Festival and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Just kidding! It was a total blast getting to take over the branding for the On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Festival. This local film fest is in its 14th year, and I updated their graphics a bit for this year's campaign.

shirt design (above); spreads from festival program (below)

various sized ads for local publications (above); a cohesive set of passes, each still easily identifiable from afar (below)

Pugs, Puns, and Punk: This Is Somehow My Job

I often will spend a lot of time on a piece really perfecting it. Sometimes I look at the finished product and think, How the hell is this your job? Luckily, it's in the best possible way one could wonder such a thing.

I did this shirt design for Fat Sandwich Records in Birmingham, Alabama. They are a badass label/store with a stage and full-service barber shop inside. 

This shirt design was art directed by the owner, Daniel Drinkard. It's a parody of Minor Threat’s Out of Step album art. You can buy the shirt here!