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Draplin Design Co., North America
March 01, 2000
Draplindustries Gazette no.17 � Mar 2000
Posted at 10:24 PM

Better late than never, we are pleased to present to you the latest statements from our Factory Floor. New and improved, we offer a Gazette free of email address comet trails.

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God will you please bless The Flaming Lips came through town a couple weeks back, on Melissa’s 23rd birthday of all days. We went downtown for the show and had ourselves a good time. I just wanted to let the readers of these words know the opening notes combined with the images of atomic explosions combined with the lights combined with the confetti will be one of the most cherished goose-bumped moments of my existence.


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Springtime in the city: I have been keeping the window cracked lately, allowing the cool air to combat the musky confines of the Factory Floor. Working late into the night, when the time to konk calls, in one swift motion I turn off the rig and his peripherals and head for the pillow. I often forget about the window and wake up and the room is chilly enough to make you notice. Winter’s cold, quiet mornings are slowly coming alive with chirping birds and calm breezes blowing. Springtime in the city has been nice. The snow has been gone forever it seems and the climate has been cool and crisp. Nice days in the low 60’s. The other night Melissa and I were crossing a street downtown when she looked over at me and said, “This is the perfect temperature.” I can’t agree more.

At this time of the year the ol’ biological/seasonal clock reminds me of lucrative ventures north to Alaska. In abstruse moments I find myself once again excited to see the valleys and mountains of my summer home, and at the same time I feel a haunting trepidation when thinkin’ about those train kitchens and the job at hand. I loathe that workload more than anything. The drama, the burns, the threat of derailing into canyons, the drama, the politics, the waitrons, the drama is a sore spot with me. I have decided to pass it up this time around. The fruitful paychecks call my name loud and clear, goddamn straight. The whole situation was so odd up there. Highs and lows all the time. I loved the climate and frontier and the close pals I lived with, and at the same time totally hated the days on the train. All in the name of saving bucks for school/travel/gear. Some of the greatest moments of my life have been boarding the southbound plane headed back to the Lower 48, knowing the cash was in the pocket and the summer’s days on the rail were behind me. So much excitement and enthusiasm for whatever was next, what I had carefully prepared for all summer long. Talking to friends out west, hearing their preparations to go back for another round…I find myself green with envy just a tad.

Now don’t get me wrong, my summers on the rail were great and all, and it might not be fair to paint such a ugly picture of the train ordeal. There were some great people up there like the amazing John Crews, Gentle Ben, Randy, Daniel, Fairbanks Mark and always-on-top-of-things Kathy Krein who made those early mornings good.

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Battle plans: I have decided to hack one out down here in the big city, or at least, in the Lower 48 somewhere. I’m not looking forward to the famed excruciatingly “warm” summer days of Minnesota. When I got back into town last August I picked up a window air conditioner at Sears. I plan on running the fucker full-bore this summer. I have these grand visions of installing the beast, caulking the window off and bringing the room down to the temperature of that of a meat locker.

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Staying down here for the summer has me pursuing employment possibilities. Carmichael Lynch Thorburn is headed up by Bill Thorburn, downtown, kitty corner to Shinder’s magazineville. A division of the Carmichael Lynch agency, CLT’s clients range from Harley Davidson to Salomon Sports to local internet outfits. Bill was a guest instructor in a class I had last semester. I went down and showed them some work and talked about some summer possibilities. Could be pretty cool. Intern action for the summer months and maybe even a design job after graduation in December! Gotta keep busy this summer, that’s for sure. School ends in early May and starts up in Late August. four months to hang out, see the city, stay cool, work, ride the bike, cruise back to see the parents in Michigan, etc. It would be a great opportunity for the summer.

And just as I’m getting thing settled for the summer an offer comes knocking from way down in Southern California. Snowboarder magazine along with Transworld Snowboarding are the two mags dominating the snowboarding scene. Last year Dave Sypniewski called with news TWSnow was looking for design help. I had to pass up the offer because of school commitments. It sucked. Now a year later Snowboarder is calling with a position open entitled “Design Director” up for grabs! Based out of San Juan Capistrano, California, Snowboarder has been a mainstay for me since it began a decade ago. I’ve daydreamed over the images, charted friend’s progress, contributed illustrations and even had a little write-up once. Once again, the timing is throwing things off. For starters, I’m locked into a lease until August 31st here in Minneapolis , and my last semester at MCAD is this Fall. This opportunity is so amazing…imagine being able to design a snowboarding magazine!? Very, very cool. I’m looking into some “pick-up-and-go-for-it” possibilities nevertheless. Issues of travel logistics, getting credit from class and my better half Melissa coming out with me are on the table. It’s actually looking good. I have been asking lots of questions and trying to figure things out. Many thanks to ECampbell, Magda, Jan, Kali, Interactive Sean, toolshop Ben, Type Coach Santiago, Godfrey, Adam, Schley, Dimmel, CSA Todd for the level-headed, inspiring advice. + Thanks to Mark Sullivan for everything.

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There is a lot of excitement in the ranks at school. All of my design buddies are lining up exciting internships, mentor deals and jobs for the summer. Michael Godfrey is heading to Germany, Adam Michaels is choosing between Yee-Haw Industries and Michael Worthington’s studio in LA, Atsushi is heading off to work under April Greiman (whoa!)…talented designers, inquisitive students and overall good fuckers heading off to the next chapters in their careers. We have an amazing studio placement program just starting up in our design division at MCAD that places freshly graduated students into different studios all over the world. Some pay, some don’t pay, but man, that isn’t the point. I’m very proud/envious of my colleagues and wish them many successes and intelligent design solutions in their near futures. These guys will do well wherever they head to.

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Last month’s Branding rant was met with interesting replies. Thanks to everyone for the input. I’m at a creepy standstill in the project, trying to figure out a interesting direction to wrap this garbage up. I believe in this stuff something fierce and man, I am getting to a point of more or less not giving a damn about trying to come up with a project to challenge/parody/fight the thing.

The latest news in the project involves setting up a “Brand name Logos for Sale” stand/kiosk where interested consumers can come up and purchase quality brand name logos. Simple tools such as cardboard stencils of brands ranging from Nike to Tommy to Gap to Calvin Klein, cans of spray paint and hard work will do the trick. Prices will vary on the status that is associated with the stenciled image. Two colors offered: Black or white, y’know to cover all clothing possibilities. Volume discounts to eager shoppers. Instant identity and/or glamour free of charge.

Imagine a scene where I’m behind the counter serving the customers. They walk up, browse the list of logo prices, choose, and hand me the bucks. I whip ‘em around and spray the logo on their back and send them on their way. “Next in line, please.”

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The Bottle Rockets were in town at the start the of the month playing at the 400 Bar. Man, I was all excited to see ‘em and the damn thing got sold out. Showed up hoping to miss the opening band and got a big “Sorry, sold out.” from a cold employee at the door. Since when did “Festus, Missouri’s Finest” get cool? I did stand outside the back door for a couple numbers though, swaying to the vibrations. That got old quick considering the dumpster I was next to.

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I’m designing the next Record Show poster for Rich Shelton. Considering the fine legacy of poster designs promoting the shows, I’m very excited to contribute.

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This is the section of the gazette where you get to roll yer eyes a bit. (Not that you don’t in others section, naysayers.)

Bigfoot. Yep, I believe in him. Now don’t get me wrong, you put me in front of someone trying to explain some Feng Shui bullshit or even a disciple of the good Lord Jesus and you might have a brawl on yer hands. But if you put me in front of a publication explaining bigfoot sightings or a documentary, you’ll be witnessing a red-blooded believer of these bipedal humanoid/hominid hairy giants.

In my early, formative years where many youth have to choose between walking the good road or headin’ straight to hell, I found much pleasure in reading up on this phenomena., often spooking myself into believing Bigfoot might be looking in my window at any point in the night. Hell, I remember camping by Crater Lake, Oregon one year with the dudes and not being able to sleep…scared shitless something was out there. Those dark midnight woods will never sit well with me. There have been sightings all over that section of Oregon.

Of course I’m skeptical. The power of reason and probability and science makes me lift an eyebrow when pondering the reality that something has remained hidden this long out there. How could it go undetected with so much of the wilderness getting smaller and smaller every year? Yeah, people make this stuff up and have a good laugh, but, those footprints were made by something…something big.

No one has been able to present concrete evidence proving its existence. But then again, nothing has proved that it isn’t out there either. I’d like to think something is out there…gentle, swift, and very skilled at keeping himself hidden. Elvis is another story.

Lately I have been surfing the web in search of updates.

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Fans of Adobe Illustrator: Be sure to push the possibilities of the “rows + columns” tool in the “Type” pull down menu. great for quickly dividing boxes equally + controlling spaces between. Excellent. It’s ‘sposed to be for text columns…but damn, use it for boxes too.

Oh, too many people don’t know about the “Pathfinder” tools. These doohickies have been the bag of tricks used frequently when prowling around Illustrator.

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In the last hours of the last day of March, Melissa, Kris, Jeremy + I went to see “Hi-Fidelity” starring John Cusack. As far as a movie review is concerned, yeah, it was good…funny and hip and sort of believable. Y’know, how some movies that are supposed to be “set” in a “real” environment seem so prefab? Case in point: When the movie calls for a “run-down gang scene” and the dipshit art director of the scene calls in “special effects professional” to give the scene a “gritty, urban, run-down look” with “gritty, urban, run-down looking” actors wearing “gritty, urban, run-down costumes” and it all looks so bad and cheesy and fake. That shit bothers me. This movie was easy to get into. The best part of the movie was its characters, specifically the record store employee types. Super funny.

Growing up I bought my discs at New Moon Records in Traverse City. I always dreamed of working there, closer to the tunes, the scene, the new music blah blah blah. It seemed like the coolest job. I would always inquire about openings but you know how record stores work: The same crew had worked there since I started buying music…and they weren’t about to leave anytime soon. So I hit the road for my new life in Oregon and I live “high on the hog” for a while. I come back after four winters and decide I’m gonna school shop for the Fall and do some decision making for the near future. I decide to live with the parents and get a job in Traverse City. Turns out New Moon is hiring…this is my chance.

They hired me and man, I was excited. This could be it. I report for my first day of work…this time, behind the counter calling the shots. I ring up some merch, I file some discs, I help customers find stuff. I finish my first day with a whole new outlook on my dream job: No way. Unfortunately, the bulk of what record stores sell boils down to N’Sync albums and Bob-Marley-smoking-a-joint posters. Marks will pay money for anything and they do and they do and they do. I found myself at odds with having to sell a Sublime album or lead a customer to the Korn section. It was rough.

It was a hard lesson to have to learn: No matter how much I love institution of music, specifically listening + collecting recordings, I would have to be on the opposite side of the register.

So if you like music and record stores go see “Hi-Fidelity” because it will make you laugh.

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Please check out Josh Rouse. His second album entitled “Home” came out a couple weeks back on Slow River records. A couple nights back Melissa and I cruised downtown to catch his set opening up for a mysteriously well-funded band Guster. Big Guster tour buses and slick Guster newsletters aside, it was great seeing the Rouse set. On the way out I noticed Jim Boquist of Son Volt fame getting a drink and had to get handshake. Very polite and warm, he introduced himself and asked us about our Minneapolis situations and answered questions about the band. A hero of mine, I’m just a fan and wanted to thank him for the tunes.

Fans of the Volt: They are just taking a break, tending to family duties. Straight from the source…of the Volt’s lead guitar action.

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American Beauty. It was great and made me think about the Big Picture. And that Kevin Spacey’s dry humor was the best.

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If you get in a car and drive to the Northwest regions of this great land, be sure to look into Volcano magazine. A free publication with color covers, they can be found amongst piles of Rockets and other culture guides. Mr. Todd Keeney and crew are up to issue #28 covering interesting tidbits of the Northwest SnowSkateMusic scene. Back in it’s early days I used to help out with little spot illustrations and article layouts, an excellent chance to get some work out and about around Bend. Thanks for all the help and opportunity during my time in Bend to everyone involved with the Volcano mag, and keep on putting out the mags.

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Go to www.lineto.com and dig the typefaces. Cornell Windlin is a designer from Europe who is goddamn amazing. He came to MCAD a couple weeks back and gave us a presentation on his work. We have the most amazing visiting artist series at school, with professionals coming in every couple weeks and testifyin’ about their projects and experiences. Very inspiring and fruitful, these opportunities to see Alumni or prestigious designers come in to speak to us are a great treat. Puts so much of this experience into perspective.

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Facts are stubborn things: My Mom is the best one out there. Sorry to break it to you. My Dad, once he learns to read (and he is trying very hard, folks) will top the charts too.

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Special thanks to Melissa Marie Okins–of the girl category–for everything.

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Word travels quick where I’m from. Mom tells me off my aunts and uncles reading this stuff. Cool. Let me take this opportunity to say hello to my wonderful Auntie Barbara and foot-squeezing Uncle Tom, along with Tim, Patch and Michael + family.

Other hellos + hi-fives go to Ma Okins in Windom, Minnesota…Robbie in Northeast Oregon…Cam + Damien in Manhattan…and to all the birds outside the window for chirping real good.

Hope everyone is hangin’ in there…

Aaron James Draplin
Draplindustries Design Co

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1. Looking Closer 2 - Critical Writings on Graphic Design
2. As Nature made Him; The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl - John Colapinto
3. Where Bigfoot Walks - Robert John Pyle
4. Volcano #28
5. Learning From Las Vegas - Venturi/Scott-Brown/Izenour
6. Stag Annual no.4, 1971 - Featuring an chilling expose’ entitled “Hell Brutes on Wheels.”
7. Dysfunctional - Aaron Rose (a must-have for sideways folks.)

Spring Tunes:
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1. Josh Rouse - Home
2. Beachwood Sparks (post-2000 Burritos Brothers sorta deal)
3. Gluecifer (song one and only song one)
4. Yo La Tengo - And The Nothing Turned Itself Inside out
5. Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
6. Peter Case - Torn Again
7. Idaho - The Forbidden EP
8. Flaming Lips - The whole discography…
9. Juno - this is the way it goes and goes and goes
10. Richmond Fontaine - Lost Son (amazing.)