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Draplin Design Co., North America
May 30, 1999
The Northwoods Homestrech
Posted at 02:05 PM
Draplindustries Gazette #8
May, 1999

And we’re in the homestretch.

Aw, man…these last couple weeks… whoo-eee… something else. As the semester comes to an end the projects finalize and slowly come to a head. I spread myself a little thin this time around, takin’ on little too much. Which is good cuz it has kept me very busy. But, I don’t feel like I’ve been able to concentrate as much as I’d like to on each class. Instead I sort of make notes all week and then the “night before” I’ll bust out and complete it and have it ready for critique. I try to think about the project the moment it’s handed to us…takin’ and makin’ notes in my little pocket sketchbook to get the gears turning. So the semester winds down and the energy level skyrockets. These last couple days have been amazing. The time is managed into neat litte block of productions. No tube, little sleep, no cold ones with the guys over at Lee’s Liqour Lounge. Just design, refinement, construction, execution. These are the greatest times of my life…creative juices flowing like all hell.

- - - -

April was good. I saw my first Twin’s game with Ryan “Flyball” Simonson and Kurt “Take-me-out-to-the-ballpark” Frederiksen. It was cool to take a little break from the school action. It was a “Dudes-night-out” and we lived it up. Complete with half hour long concession stand lines, excited cheers and cheap parking. The Twins beat the pants of, uh, some team from Canada…rallying in the 7th or something and driving a ton of runs in. The Metrodome is pretty rad.

- - - -

I judged a big litter of posters at the Humane Society’s annual “Walk-For-Life” grade school poster competition. I wrangled up an MCAD team rig and cruised over after class and met the crew at the Humane Society of Minneapolis. Now, I gotta say, If I was a dog and my owners had had my fill with me; I wouldn’t be too bummed to be relocated there. Nice staff, nice facilities and chew toys! The divisions were broken down into grades, I had to sniff out the winners and then organize them into one last butt-sniffin’ pile. Lots of talent from the little ones, kind of brought me back to my days of crayons and contruction paper.

- - - -

I caught Elliot Smith at First Ave a couple weeks back. It was pretty cool. The guys is super interesting to me. The songs were beefed up just a bit, with a backing band. Great stuff. Jr High from Portland opened up and I knew the rhythm guitar guy from friends in Portland. I found myself homesick for those nights runnin’ around P-town catching bands. Mmmmm.

- - - -

Dudes: Northcoast Tour ’99. Last weekend things got ugly. In a move of questionable recklessness a crew of sweathogs from the school grounds decided on an expedition to Duluth for a night of nature and talkin’ shit around the campfire.

The crew:
1. PJ ” Hoss” Chmiel - Design + Integrity + Copywriting + Integrity + Shapes + Integrity + Color = Chmielaganda. Excellent. Soft spoken and calculated, this guy represented the quiet backseat of the Team Rig.

2. Ryan “Raw Dog” Simonson - Color + Integrity + Linework + Integrity + Wit + Integrity + Cultural Icononography = Simagination. Rig Driver and lead navigator, Mr. Simonson gave the tour.

3. Aaron Draplin - Painter of sawblades, Taxidermy, and those little metal thingies found on truckers mudflaps. Draplin was Co-Pilot.

4. Ryan’s MIni-Van. A trooper indeed.

We headed north out of the Twin Cities early Saturday and headed up the Duluth where we ran around a little bit in the downtown sector. We did some book shopping and had some grub at a Chinese deal. We continued on after some window shopping up to our destination: Castle Danger. I had visions of dark, coastal, medieval fortress life…nope…just a little settlement with a sign that said, uh, “Castle Danger.” There was no downtown to have a showdown in, no brothel to get lucky in, no bars to brawl in, no Dry Goods store to stock up on Pemmican and Hardtack. Nothing. We just hit the gas and passed through. We cruised north a spell and ended up taking a Louie into the outback a ways, maybe a good twenty miles into the brush. We found a little dirtroad with a pull-off to set up camp. We built a fire, constructed the “No Respect Team” camp tent and got our relaxing on. We told tall tales of adventure, lost love and art school. Ryan slept his tent creation, Hoss and I braved the cold and frost under the stars; the fire our only source of keepin’ us alive. I slept good, well, with exception of hypotherma-induced dreams, it was good night. We got up with the sun and cleaned up the surroundings and headed even further into the brush to the lovely town of Buhl, home of the world’s finest water. Ryan’s Grandma lived here so we made a little pitstop for some shop with talk her. I had a couple slurps of that water and I gotta tell you, “Ahhh, now that’s some good water.” They bottle it and sell it all over Minnesota, so I hear. Pleasant lady, nice to meet her. Ryan took us on a little hike around a local Iron-Ore mine. It looked like the Grand Canyon of Iron Country. Whoa. On the way back to town we went through Brainerd in search of Paul Bunyan Fargo-the-Movie props and the bar where Son-of-a-Gunderson met the thugs. No dice. As we came into town I made my aspiration clear of finding the bar for a photo shoot, PJ informed me the bar is actually down in Minneapolis. Hmm. Once again, we blew through town and headed home.

It was a nice little excursion. Laughs, conversation, sights, treasures, and a little bit of rest from the studies.

- - - -

In the news:

Eric Campbell is getting hitched to ‘ol Megan Magee on August the 20th, 1998. I gotta make it back for this one. Congrats to them, my eyes well up with tears of joy each time my phone call doesn’t get returned.

Last I hear Jay Floyd was doing great in Portland, and is slated to get hitched to Lovely Heather sometime after 2000.

Helvetica is beautiful.

Get Illustrator 8.0. Trust us.

“The Awful Truth” on Sundays on the Bravo Channel is golden. Micheal Moore is golden. He’s a hero of mine.

Couple days back I attended a presentation by one Ellen Lupton of the Cooper Hewitt Museum of New York City. Amazing lady…designer, educator, writer, publisher, mom…10 careers handled with grace and poise and beautiful fonts.

I’m gonna try to land a job interning at either Carhartt, Ax-Man or Ambles Metalyard this next school year.

Lots of kids graduate from MCAD soon. It’s an interesting time at school right now. The energy level is high, the work is being thrown up all over school, 4 years worth of hardwork and dedication. Well, in some repsects, I guess. I’m amazed and inspired by the work these kids are busting out. It’s the best, I’m proud to be walking the halls with them.

- - - -

I leave for Alaska next sunday. Up to that point I have these objectives in front of me: 6 final prints exacted and then mounted up in my Photo 1 class, my final project built for Type II and revisions of the semester’s worth cleaned up, the same for my Design II class, oh, the same for my Theory/Methods class, a paper and illustration for my Survey of the Graphic novel class, and then revisions on my final final project in DesignWorks. Oh, and I have to sorta clean up the factory floor into neat little piles and then figure out what I can and can’t take to Anchorage, move the rest to storage and call it a school year. Damn.

It looks like Fred up in Anchorage found a place for us to move in to once we all congregate in Anchorage. Cool. Good work Mr. Green. It’s in a safe location, strategically placed close to work and everything else. I can’t wait to see all the figureheads of my train family. Anchorage? Yep.

- - - -

I’d like to thank everyone at school for taking me under their wings this year. All the teachers, behind the scenes people and students for being cool, inspiring and supportive. Especially Pamela Arnold for her understanding and pats on the back, Anastasia Faunce for her word skills, Becky Haas for believing in me, Jerry Allan, Kali Nikitas, Hoss, Simonson, Wideman, C.Ross, Randall, Kloepfer, Gaughan, Godfrey, Rusnak, Justin Israels, Kurt, Rezac, RVulk, PRugg, JPulley, Emerson in the locker room, and the Security Guard for making me feel safe.

Thanks to Campbell, Floyd, Cam, Leonard, Green, Denoyer, Jess, Megg, Kranz, Rein Robinbold, Yamada, Cooley, Mallory, Jamie Donatuto, White, Johnsen, Misekow, Emily, Woody, Sieber, Pam Lanckton, Robbie, Wordhouse, Rucker, The Cynthia at Dischord, Rhajer, Pablo, Spod, Detloff and little sister Leah for letters, phonecalls, and emails this schoolyear. Thanks.

And thank you to my Mom and Dad…for too much to mention in this little gazette.

School? Art School? Year one, that’s a wrap.

On the chopping block:

  1. Old 97’s - Fight Songs
  2. Ida - Ten small faces
  3. Micheal Gaughan - Music your parents won’t like
  4. Willie Nelson - Greatest Hits, double disc
  5. Sonic Youth - Ten thousand leaves
  6. Hazeldine - Orphans
  7. Friends of Dean Martinez - Atardecer
  8. Low - Secret name
  9. Beck - Mutations
  10. Replacements - Don’t tell a soul


Special Section:

“How to fight the Blahs:”

  1. Count yer blessings.
  2. See a funny movie or TV program.
  3. Read a joke book.
  4. Go for a long, brisk walk.
  5. Spend a weekend in a deluxe motel or breakfast in bed.
  6. Smash yer car.
  7. Listen to beautiful music.
  8. Go to the airport and watch planes land and take off.
  9. Look at old family albums.
  10. Blast the stereo.
  11. Buy stuff.


En route to the last frontier. Dear everyone, please drop me a line with summer plans and so on, with respective addresses to boot, as I have illusions of grandeur involving a summer promotional series.

I thank you all for listening these last couple months.

Aaron James Draplin
Draplindustries Design Co

www.draplindustries.com = draplinternet.

As always, in loving memory of Red, AL, The Hawk, The Wagon… and other fine rigs like The ‘Scort.