So today was my first day interning at an online radio station/music database (I signed a nondisclosure agreement so I don't know if I'm actually allowed to tell you guys the name of the company) and let me tell you, it was nothing like the movie Pirate Radio.
So to get you up to speed on me as a person, I do not like going up to midtown (it makes me sweaty), I do not like doing desk jobs, and I do not like electronic music. So of course, I picked an internship where I'm going to midtown to work a desk job for an electronic music radio station.
It's not all bad. There is the promise of doing interviews and photographing events for the website's blog. But today it was all about data input and listening to "progressive house" and "trance" playlists. The other interns are way more into this kind of music than I am, and I already got an admonishment from one about techno being different from EDM.
Anyway, this is day one of internship number one, and tomorrow is the start of my second internship, so I'll keep you updated with my life and pictures of dogs in business apparel.
Back in September I talked about designing merch for the band Messenger Down.
What we thought was the final product was rejected by the printers because the grays were considered colors, and they would have cost extra to print. So I went in and removed the grays, and changed the shading to crosshatching and line work.
This took a long time to figure out, especially to remove the gray shading that had comprised the majority of the shield.
It wasn't looking great, so I went back in, added new grays, and made sure the whole image was tonal blacks instead of colored grays. The printer sent it back again, so I went back into the line drawing one more time. Eventually Amanda decided it would be better for the design to keep it as a line drawing and add a single color. So the black and gray shield became a black and red shield.
This is a lesson in working with printers. Everything could work fine but it isn't over until you get the okay from the printer.
But after three months of working on this, I finally got the final product in the mail!
When the call went up within the Messenger Down street team for someone who knew something about art doing things. It probably wasn't phrased that way.
I volunteered, thinking it would be a one or two day project like most of the flyers I did for my residence hall last year. I talked to the band's manager, got a basic idea of what the band wanted, and started my initial sketch.
I got the go ahead from the band, and started a digital draft, which involved me using my scroll pad to pen-tool the crap out of my pencil lines.
The band looked over the draft, and made their suggestions. They requested added detail, and for the shield to look less hand drawn. So the next step was to even out the lines, straighten out the shield, and add the banner.
Next order of business was to talk to Amanda, the band's manager, about color. I suggested keeping everything black and white so printing would be cheaper. The band still wanted to see more detail, which I was beginning to worry about, because all I have is a trackpad and most graphic designers have tablets. And training. And an idea of what they're doing. And don't save over their drafts with reference images.
At this point, I was starting to feel pretty much done, because I was deluded and thought the glamorous life of an unpaid designer would be easy and involve a lot of cocaine and hookers. But I was wrong, which is weird because I'm usually never wrong, so I went back into photoshop and added more detail and made the banner grungier with a more script-like font for the band name. As I began to work on that, Amanda also began to look at the layout of the future shirt, and also asked that the banner be scaled down in relation to the shield to improve the proportions of the shirt.
I spent a very long time hand lettering with my track pad. I was very proud of myself. I was patting myself on the back saying, wow, I'm the best, this is it, I'm definitely done. They liked the banner. They didn't like the lettering. So I found a font and typed it up in about five seconds. Also like two days because I was busy and sue me I'm going to college I have work to do.
The guys still wanted to see more detail (which I was like, "great, how, what, why, what"). Then Amanda said the magic words (by magic I mean life ending) "just kidding" and asked for the banner to be changed, grungier. So I went in. I went hard. I tore that banner a new one.
To be fair, Amanda did apologize for being picky, and I told her the truth, that they had every right to be picky about their first shirt design. I didn't mention that I was slowly dying, sleeping 20 hours a day, missing classes, and wishing I had a paid job or just found hundreds of dollars in my mattress.
Amanda sent me a reference photo, and I redrew the banner to match the reference.
She liked the edges, but asked to go back to the original banner layout, which seemed like it defeated the purpose of me redrawing the banner. And by now all my artist friends had told me I shouldn't let people not pay me for my work so I was starting to get tired of working when I could be getting paid. But I wouldn't be getting paid doing other things. I would be sleeping in squirrel boxers and eating cheddar popcorn all day.
Next came the clean up of the fleurs de lis and a redesign of the skull. And I knew that I was going to run out of time and start putting off my school work to get this thing done because that's what I do. I once cleaned my entire dorm and made a full dinner for four people just to avoid doing a reading for my Italian class. I would get nothing done if I had this project looming over my head. So I told Amanda that I was going to need specifics, and to be done within a few days. So she put me in touch with the band's singer, Garrett, and I started making progress again.
Maybe it was working with another artist, or maybe he's just a cute dude and I wanted to impress him. I don't know, I'm not a psychologist.
The rest of the edits (and there were still a lot, like five drafts worth) came much faster, and after two weeks of nonstop work, we had our final product.
So here's what I learned. Sometimes, you're going to convince yourself that something is going to be easy, and it isn't going to be. And that's good. You need a little challenge to keep you going. But sometimes you're going to take on more than you can handle, and you need to tell people that it's more than you can handle. You need to tell them what you need, or you're not going to make any progress. And working with other artists can be hard. They know what they want and they won't be satisfied until their vision is fulfilled. But working with other artists is also a great way to learn more about your skills. Artists push each other to do better, and give the kind of criticism that non artists can't give. Because I'm not taking criticism from a stock broker in a suit.
I fulfilled one of my life goals, designing merch for a great band. That's pretty cool.
My best friend Andrea is a band photographer. She's also awesome so she got me a press pass for this year's Warped Tour. Here's an interview I did with her while we hung out after lunch:
EB: When was the first time you did band photography?
AI: Ninth grade... so... 2009.
EB: Who were you shooting?
AI: Bigger Lights and Anarbor.
EB: Did you have a pass or did you shoot from the audience?
AI: Yeah, I got a press pass by some miracle.
EB: So do you usually stick to shows or shoot bands one-on-one?
AI: I usually stick to shooting shows. It's hard to get one-on-one time with a band, especially as a girl, and especially as one who's 18 or 19 years old. Already being well known or being taken seriously is the only way to work one-on-one with bands.
EB: So how did you decide you wanted to do band photography?
AI: In 2008 I went to my first show, Bring Me The Horizon on October 3, and I brought a crappy point-and-shoot camera and managed to get some good pictures... looking back I realize they were shit, but that was my favorite concert. I felt so alive, and realized the effect of music, and I realized I wanted to get involved in this business. At Warped in 2009, at Devil Wears Prada, that was one of the best. I crowd surfed for the first time. I got good pictures with a crappy camera, and I realized I could really do something beyond the barricade.
EB: So are you usually invited to shows or do you request a press pass?
AI: There are so many band photographers that it's hard to get recognized. So I went straight to big shows so I could get into photographing them early. I do get invited to shows by random record labels who have my email, but it's usually for smaller unknown bands. I'd like to shoot them all, but I try to hit social media targets so I can get as far as possible as fast as possible.
EB: So how do you go about getting a press pass? Do you send people your portfolio?
AI: I'll send a bio about my media site, include the link with my signature and offer to send the band photos after the show.
EB: So do you work for a media site or have your own?
AI: I started independently, but I was looking for an outlet and found a media website. After working for a while, I took over the site. Since I look like I own a media website, I get press passes. After a while the site died, so I started a new site. And now I get to meet lot of photographers with common interests.
EB: So what band is your favorite to shoot?
AI: I really want to shoot One Direction but I don't know if that's ever going to happen.
EB: Who are you most excited to shoot today?
AI: I'm most excited to shoot Bring Me The Horizon today. I might get one good picture just because they move so much. And one band I always wanted to shoot was Suicide Silence, RIP Mitch Lucker... -Oh look, there's I See Stars!- Anyway, my favorite to shoot is probably Asking Alexandria. I don't know what happened to them
EB: Oh yeah, I meant to give you that Alt Press article... I'll bring it with your birthday present
AI: Aw thanks!
EB: Okay, so what's your biggest goal for the show today?
AI: I try to get as many different pictures as I can that are different from the rest of the photographers. I also try to meet at least one person at a show, but photographers can get into bitch mode, which makes it hard to meet people sometimes.
EB: What's your goal for the rest of 2013?
AI: I want to get published! I almost did but it didn't work out. A band wanted one of my photographs for an album cover.
EB: Wait that's so cool, can I ask which band?
AI: Motionless In White. But it didn't happen. So I'd like to get published on a magazine or website. And I want to get my name back out there. I climbed fast and didn't take it seriously, I goofed off with the bands instead of working, and I want to start taking this seriously again.
My best friend Andrea is a band photographer. She's also awesome so she got me a press pass for this year's Warped Tour. Here are the photos I took: