Endurance

When we got word that Kevin Alston had come down with chronic myelogenous leukemia, plans for well-wishing banners and game displays started almost as quickly as his treatment. We’d have a few weeks to think of it, of course, since there were two road games between then and the next Revs home date.

Didn’t take too long to find the right source photo to use, but I was stuck on the caption. I’ve heard that many cancer survivors (and family of those who didn’t make it) that the fight/battle language often used with cancer support slogans carries with it a lot of uncomfortable baggage. And while the fans in Seattle drew up a sign with the best and most eloquent remark possible, I’d be hard pressed to get it through security.

image-1
Exactly

And then it was a week later and a couple yambags set off bombs at the best day of the year in Boston and Matt Reis was there helping to save people’s lives and really everything went bananas for about five days. So now besides “your starting fullback has cancer” we got “your hometown got blowed up, including your goalie’s family.” Now what?

I was browsing The Atlantic’s gallery of photo tributes when I found it. It’s a squashed Gatorade cup at the finish line. Any other year, it’s litter. This year, it’s a message. Endurance. Whatever happens, we’ll push through it.


ENDURANCE

Brought it out for the game vs. Philly–a game for which Alston was the image on the season ticket–and the stadium chanted Alston’s name at minute 30 in tribute.

(You can see that next to the banner there’s also the tribute I did for Matt Reis and his family, namely just bringing back the old Matt Reis has a Posse banner for the night with intent to give it to him afterwards).

Gave it to Kevin postgame, gave Matt his old time banner postgame, and felt great to do so after a multi-goal, clean sheet win. Nothing like handing over banners to two dudes who’ve got the endurance to work on through the whole season.

Posted in finished projects, revs |

BUY THINGS

As part of their jersey release week, MLS had the gang at Futbol Artist Network come up with an image for each team, on the theme of “true colors.” For mine, I picked three guys who were the Revs’ past/present/future, although it’s more like past/recent past/present future. We got Alexi Lalas, who, regardless of where else he played, made his name as the team’s first big media star, Taylor Twellman, who I guess did some goals and stuff, and Diego Fagundez, the team’s first homegrown teen idol. The coolest part was Alexi and Taylor picked their own reference photos.


No, the French flag goes the other way. No, there’s no Dempsey; I love him, but he wasn’t the face of the team like these guys.

No, wait, the coolest part is YOU CAN BUY THIS! In print, iPhone case, or canvas format.

And there’ll be more where that came from in the coming weeks–look for some old banner favorites as well as some pieces that wouldn’t work as banners. We’re gonna build something this summer.

Posted in finished projects, goofy, melonhead, revs, stuff you can buy |

the crane takes flight

Though she’s not originally from there, Megan Rapinoe’s pretty strongly linked with Portland, where she went to school. Because I know all manner of stupid trivia, one day it occurred to me that the state motto of Oregon (“Alis volat propriis,” “she flies with her own wings”) would make a pretty great slogan for a Pinoe banner.


she flies, 64″ x 52″

Now, the cool part: THIS MUG’S BEEN SOLD
Here’s some detail shots. Please note that this is handmade, and, as such, is subject to variation in paint and whatnot, which is to say pay no attention to the parts where I dropped paint.

Like all my banners, this is on heavyweight cotton (in this case, twill), painted with fabric paint, and fixed with nylon straps + brass snaps to hang in your home or at a game. I’ll be selling more banners shortly, as I gotta get to Brazil somehow, and scratch tickets just aren’t a solid investment strategy.

Sold this sucker within 24 hours. Keep checking back for more.

Posted in finished projects, nats, somebody paid for this |

CSI: Kansas City

I can’t get to every US game. I’ve got a day job, after all, and sometimes non-soccer travel gets in the way, like this past October, when all my pals were heading to Kansas City to close out this year’s World Cup Qualifiers, but I was off to Pittsburgh for a wedding.

Our pals Doug and Tanya from Des Moines were in town the weekend before, and I asked Tanya if she’d take some banners with her to serve in my stead. I’ve done this before, loaning banners to friends traveling to games I can’t attend. Everything’s always come back safe and sound. “I don’t know,” Tanya said, “at Livestrong Sporting Park they do hang banners out of the way of the crowd.”

“It’ll be fine,” I reassured her, and sent her off with the Boxing Dolo banner and a brand new Herculez Gomez one I’d made specifically to sell.

Famous last words, huh?

Continue reading

Posted in finished projects, goofy, I can't believe we pulled this off, nats |

back to the pumpkin patch

Once again, I missed MLS’s carving contest. This year their deadline was the day before Halloween, and not only had I not started carving at that point, I hadn’t even bought them! I was out of town for weddings and Revs roadtrips for most weekends in October, and just as I got back from Montreal, Hurricane Sandy wound up closing the shops for an extra day. Oh well. It’d help a lot if MLS would put the Revs at home at the season closer, too.

Lee Nguyen, after he scored against Vancouver. I wanted one where his hair is all flying around and he looks like an angry betta. Love this dude, but I really miss doing more Revs pumpkins–hey Jay, see about extending our season how ’bout.

Alexi Lalas, from Back In The Day. Someone tweeted an open dare to carve him back in his ginger glory days, so I had to oblige. He liked it.

Posted in finished projects, goofy, nats, pumpkins, revs |

new shirt for sale

I get asked a lot if I ever do shirts with my designs on them, and the answer is always “it’s complicated.” But when Futbol Artist Network started, that was easy–I had to get on board, and I had to do the shirt for ThinkTaylor.org.


For a limited time, the above shirt (also available in a dark grey women’s cut) can be yours, with proceeds going to ThinkTaylor. Unlike Taylor’s normal shirts, this one is available in more sizes than just “tiny.” Hop to it!

Posted in finished projects, melonhead, nats, revs, somebody paid for this |

BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER

Posted in finished projects, I can't believe we pulled this off, nats |

Brek Shea, Alex Morgan, and tiny horses

I’ve never liked My Little Pony. Even when it first came out and I was a six year old girl, I wasn’t interested. I lived on a farm–if I wanted to play with a pony, there was a real one in the front yard! Thirty years later, they’ve retooled the series several times, with a new version aimed at the six year old daughters and sons of parents my age. It’s cute and all, but I’m still not a fan; I get the appeal but it ain’t for me.

Except, of course, stupid banners appropriating pop culture themes are for me, and, well…Alex Morgan’s nickname is “Baby Horse.” Then there’s Brek Shea, with his famous hurrdoo and this weird photoshoot he did with a toy donkey. At least I hope that’s not a real donkey; it’s hard to tell what in this photo is real. And then US Soccer finally got it together that the men’s and women’s teams should wear the same jersey (give or take a couple of stars).

All of this–plus the promise of a WCQ cycle starting with an easy driving distance friendly in Toronto–added up to one thing: The silliest banner idea I’ve done yet. I thought about having a contest to see what would pay more: people who would pay me to do it, or people who would pay me NOT to do it. (I may actually sell this after it’s been to a couple more games.) The more I thought about it, the more I just had to run with this for shits and giggles.


I’m goin’ straight to hell, just like my mama said

Finished size is about 5′ high by 10′ wide, and it was a real bear to do in the available space in my house. Lots of metallic colors used, especially in Morgan’s hair and Shea’s hooves. There’s even a little gold highlighting in the road to the World Cup. Shea is in red, with the Nike snakeball on his flank; Morgan is in white, with the USSF crest (plus two stars for two Women’s World Cup titles, of course) on her flank and a pink headband just like real life. (I saw some people inferring the red pony must be Canada, which, no, of course not! The teamwork here is the men’s and women’s US teams, not two opponents).

At the stadium, the banner got a lot of laughs; postgame, I saw a few complaints about how ponies have no place in football or whatever, based on the occasionally creepy aspects of grown-up pony viewers. That’s your hangup, not mine, as the banner’s not meant to be anything besides a fun pop culture riff. I got a compliment on it from an actual (retired) player who has an actual five year old daughter, and that’s good enough for me. The right people always get it.

Posted in finished projects, goofy, I can't believe we pulled this off, nats |

the angel’s share

When I was in Toronto for MLS Cup 10, I met a man named Sean who was working on a book about American soccer fandom. I talked a bit about banners and what I do, and then didn’t hear from him again until late last year, when he hit me up for a more in-depth interview for his book. He also asked if I’d be interested in creating a piece that would be put on a banner and used as an illustration for the book. The theme: “Belief.”

I went through some old photos, and picked out one from South Africa. Post US-Algeria, I got a shot of this guy sounding the vuvuzela of victory:

If you’re familiar with the Mormon faith, you may know that atop many of their temples is a statue of an angel named Moroni blowing a trumpet. I’m not LDS, but the photo reminded me of that, and the concept of Mormonism as a wholly American homegrown religion made a neat parallel, I thought, to homegrown American soccer fandom.

The finished project looks a little like a clown, with the facepaint and makarapa, but you get the idea. Spilled paint on the arm that had to be gone over with white, which I usually dislike doing. Went with me to US-Canada in Toronto, where, sadly, belief was not enough to get us past a 0-0 draw.

Posted in finished projects, nats |

highlight reel

“MLS wants to do a ‘Supporters’ Week’ where we interview fans around the league about what they do, how they do it, and why. Would you like to participate?”

Would I! Hardest part of this was keeping it under wraps for a month, though I did broadly hint that there was a side project associated with the Lee Nguyen banner that’d come soon. This is it. Big thanks to Jason Saghini, Scott Riddell, and the gang at the mothership for making it happen.

Posted in finished projects, goofy, I can't believe we pulled this off, revs |