Archive for the ‘Moving Pictures’ Category
Singularities, the project that I wrote about previously, was officially launched last week. We’ve put together a dedicated micro-site for the initiative; there you can watch all the videos, read more about the people we covered, and find out about how to submit your own work for consideration. We plan to select one individual by April 1st and will film with him or her free of charge – the resulting video will be used to help bring some well-deserved recognition to an up and coming talent.
A few years ago, Johan, Jeff and I started a project called NHTVSN. It was a two-part company that consisted of a graphic tshirt line and an online video ‘zine. The idea was to use the videos as an avenue to gain publicity for the tshirt line; when we had started, very few online publications like this existed. We also wanted to use NHTVSN as a springboard to give some of our creative friends a bigger audience. Jeff had gone to school for filmmaking and was excited to apply his skills in a new and creative way. Although these were all great ambitions, our primary goal was for NHTVSN to become an easy moneymaker. At the time of its launch, the streetwear market was exploding: boutiques were opening in both big cities and small towns seemingly every week, stores couldn’t seem to buy enough product to supply their customers, and the economy was stronger than ever. Because we wanted to protect 3sixteen’s brand integrity, we felt compelled to start a diffusion line that would still be graphically executed at a level we were happy with, but would also allow us to work with bigger accounts that we didn’t want to give 3sixteen to.
The first season did pretty well – we sold the tees to some of our existing 3sixteen retailers and also opened up some bigger chain stores with the line. It wasn’t a huge release but showed a lot of promise. The videos were received with open arms; because Youtube had horrible encoding at the time, we chose to host them ourselves and resultingly brought the entire website to a grinding halt a day after launching it. 6 months later, we wanted to interview some people on the east coast for our second issue but Jeff wasn’t able to contribute due to scheduling conflicts. And that’s when we met Kellen Dengler.
Seemingly out of nowhere, we received an email from a recent film school graduate who was moving to NYC to pursue a career; he wanted to know if we had any 3sixteen internships available that might fit his skillset. We checked out his work and liked what we saw, so I met with him in person to chat further – it became clear that his talents would apply perfectly to our NHTVSN video series. We completed our second issue with Kellen filming and directing the series, and to this day, I’m really proud of the way everything turned out. Since then, Kellen has progressed onto some amazing things; I could sit here and list all the people he’s filmed with, but it’s probably easier to take a look at his portfolio.
We closed up shop with NHTVSN after our second season; we found that it demanded too much time and attention for us to be able to turn it into something profitable at the time. The recession certainly had a major hand in its failure – a quick look at our retailer list will tell you that many of the accounts that bought NHTVSN are no longer in business. Despite this, we couldn’t be more thankful for the friendship that we formed with Kellen through the process. He’s a very busy man but has always made time for us to work on additional projects for both 3sixteen and later, Self Edge.
Since refocusing fully on 3sixteen these past few years, I found myself missing the storytelling that we got to do through the NHTVSN project. After much brainstorming, we started work six months ago on a new initiative with Kellen entitled Singularities, and we’re finally nearing completion. The trailer is above, and we plan to launch the entire series of videos in early 2011. You can visit the dedicated website for more information on the project: 3sixteen.com/singularities
Saul Bass (1920-1996) was a graphic designer and film director – his trademark style continues to influence designers and movie title sequence animators today. I find common ground in his use of color blocking with Reid Miles’ Blue Note album covers, which is probably one reason why I like his work so much.
The newest installment of “A Day with 3sixteen” – a video series highlighting our typical work day – just released yesterday. We worked with Sarah Krusen on this particular piece which was filmed in November of last year, and are so thankful for the help of talented friends like her who are able to bring what we do to life in a visually stunning way. The first iteration of “A Day with 3sixteen” by Hilton Carter dropped early last year (click here to watch it) and it’s amazing to see how much has changed for us over the course of 2009. When working on this second video, it was important for Johan and I to spend a little bit of time talking about the people we work with, and what informs our design ideals as we put a collection together. Hopefully it gives you a little bit more insight into what we do and what’s important to us.
As always, we’d appreciate your help in spreading the word by passing the link onto friends – the response thus far has been great but we’d love for even more people to see it.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve listened to Art Blakey more than any other artist this past year. It started with his album Caravan – I was captivated not only by his raw, unadulterated drumming but also by the talented band members – on that particular album he played with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, both of whom moved on to very successful solo careers.
The second album that I picked up was Free For All. I was staying up late to finish up some work, and decided to put it on in the background. The opening track captivated me to the point where I was unable to concentrate on anything else, so I just gave up and listened. There are so many nuances to this recording that I love – you can hear the bandmates cheering on Wayne Shorter on his ruthless opening solo, and Blakey’s sheer emotion coming out in groans during his drum solo at the end. Have a listen:
After my third or fourth album, it began to occur to me that the Jazz Messengers (which Blakey co-founded with Horace Silver) had yielded an extremely impressive alumni list. Art Blakey’s ability to surround himself with some of the youngest and brightest up and comers in jazz began to intrigue me. On “A Night at the Birdland” he remarked:
I’m gonna stay with the youngsters. When these get too old I’ll get some younger ones. Keeps the mind active.
I’ve always wondered what was it about him that allowed him to spot and cultivate talent so consistently. The only other band leader that comes to mind is Miles Davis – but even so, the sheer amount of musicians that Blakey brought up far outshadows any other group bar none. Some artists that I’ve discovered and have come to love through their involvement with the Jazz Messengers include Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Garrett, Lou Donaldson, Branford & Wynton Marsalis, Lee Morgan, Reggie Workman, and of course Wayne Shorter (my second favorite saxophonist of all time).
Below is a video that shows Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in their prime, performing live on a Japanese television show in 1961. This particular iteration of the Jazz Messengers featured Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on the keys and Jymie Merritt on upright bass. Enjoy.