A Trumpian look at a holiday favorite, just in time for your family sing-a-long. Sung to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas.
The setting was 1930s Meraux, Lousiana, now a suburb of New Orleans, then a sprawling rural area with cotton fields and swampland. Ural Thomas — age 3 — his mother and a dozen or so of his siblings and neighbors settle down on their front porch at sundown.
“The porch was like our TV, that’s where all the stories were told.” Thomas relates before launching into one such story with a sly grin on his face. “The Greenwood [song was derived] from a story my Mom would tell about experiences from when she was a little girl. The Greenwood was a place that was too wild, where you weren’t allowed to go. Once, my grandfather went into the Greenwood to go hunting, he was gone 3 or 4 days. He hadn’t found anything. He sat on a log to rest and eat, and took his knife out and a block of cheese. He cut off a piece of cheese and he took his knife and he stuck in the log. He ate his lunch and then he pulled the knife out of the log and blood came out. He saw the blood running and he said, “Damn, I never seen no tree bleed.” He followed the tree to it’s end and it turned out to a great big snake, turning with his mouth open. My grandpa was so scared he threw down his rifle and he went running!” Ural clasps his hands as he laughs at the thought.
“It’s my first real day of full-time freelance,” Nick Misani says with nervous excitement. I congratulate Nick on getting out of pajamas on day one. “Well, half out of pajamas,” he admits. “I’m still just coming to terms with being accountable for my time and staying on schedule.” Nick is fresh from a three year stint working at Louise Fili Ltd, and before that, Penguin Random House. His book design, lettering and packaging design work is varied and strongly references historical design movements, which he says Louise helped impart. An Italian American, Nick was born in Italy, studied in Japan, and finally found his way to New York City and to graphic design.
My interview with Nick covers the winding path of this Young Gun’s career, his inspiration, thoughts on having a style and his hopes and fears for the future of his career.
“Aguacate…Aguacate!” A street vendor’s voice rang out, echoing down the winding colonial streets of Barrio San Antonio in Cali, Colombia. Every morning the vendor would wheel his cart overflowing with avocados as large as your face down the streets. You buy avocados in Colombia they way your buy a baguette in France, direct from a vendor and fresh, daily. Paired with salt and lime they were my go-to snack in Colombia, though they were filling enough to be a meal. Colombia is dripping with an abundance of fruit. Mango and lime trees are at every turn with excess fruit spilling on to the sidewalk and filling the shelves of every tienda.
In America it’s a rather taboo topic. As an independent designer for over 7 years, I often don’t have a good grasp of what my career looks like from a monetary perspective (leading to the yearly tax season surprise!). Without understanding and managing expectations about money, it’s hard to have a firm grasp on what a freelance career looks like. I put together this annual report in order to gain a better understanding about the way time and money breakdown, as well as to create a conversation with other independent creatives. Being self-employed, like running any business, is about embracing the ups and downs, the good and bad. At the end of the day, it is my choice to remain independent despite the wild ride.
“Beyond the mountains, more mountains” Our guide, Eddie, gestures broadly to the horizon. “That’s a Haitian proverb. It reminds you not to think you are that important; there is always someone greater than you.” Looking out at the mountainous landscape surrounding the ruins of the Citadel of Henri Christophe, I find myself wondering about other interpretations. The land here is beautiful, lush and tropical. The mountains jagged in every direction until the land hits the sea, the Northern Coast of Haiti. Eddie points to where Columbus’s Santa María ran aground, the point of colonization.
The Citadel and nearby ruined palace of Sans-Souci represent the lost dream of the Haitian king (and former slave), Henri Christophe. Christophe, together with Jean-Jacques Dessalines, launched the world’s first successful slave rebellion, dramatically overthrowing the French — who were outnumbered by a factor of more than ten.
Marvelous Marilyn. That’s what they called her at Portland’s influential freelancers collective, Studio 1030, where Marilyn Holsinger was the group’s only woman artist in 1960. Marilyn was marvelous by all accounts, but also a serious career woman. She held 11 design positions across 40 years and three states. She worked for ad agencies, newspapers and universities. Her clients included: Meier & Frank, Viewmaster, Revlon, the San Francisco Examiner, Oregon State University (OSU) and countless others. The references on her resume are a list of who’s who in the Portland design scene of that era. She was exuberant and stylish, athletic and a natural leader. She was cracking the glass ceiling just by showing up and doing her best work with grace. “I don’t remember her feeling like what she was doing was groundbreaking,” reflects her daughter Joan. “If anything she was just a woman before her time.”