News Archive

April 2005–April 2006

New job at MyFonts.com 2 Jul, 2006

For those of you who get most of your Nick Sherman updates via this website, as well as those of you who never seem to understand my verbal explanations of all the stuff I do, I figured I'd do a post explaining my new job at MyFonts.com and how I got it.

First, some background: MyFonts.com is a subsidary of Bitstream Inc. Bitstream was established in 1981 by Matthew Carter (the world's pre-eminent type designer living today) among others, and was the first digital font foundry (publisher) ever. Much of their early business was dedicated to producing digital renditions of classic typeface designs which, at that point, only existed in non-digital formats. They also published new typeface designs, and continue to do so today as well as developing other software products.

The MyFonts website, which I work on, was created in 1999 by Bitstream as a resource for people to find, try, and buy fonts. Unlike its parent company, MyFonts is not a foundry; they don't actually publish fonts, but instead deal with the distribution of other foundries' designs. Using the music industry for metaphor, MyFonts is more like a record store than a major record label.

This is unique in that most other sites that sell fonts are actually the sites of a particular foundry, and therefore only offer fonts which that foundry has deemed worthy of publication. MyFonts, on the other hand, will sell anyone's font, only evaluating that a font is legally and technically sound before offering it on their site; there is no judgement passed on the worth of a font's design. This greatly democratizes the font selling process—in theory, any fledgling type designer has just as much a chance of selling their font as does a well-known foundry. The consumer, not the salesperson, becomes the one with the power to deem if a font is worth buying or not.

In the synopsis for my senior degree project (which is posted here), I wrote a brief critique of MyFonts. Here's a bit of what I said:

Don't be fooled by the interface that looks like your mom designed it; MyFonts.com has a powerful set of functionality…

Through a series of coincidences, someone at MyFonts was sent a link to my synopsis. Apparently he wanted me to expand on my comments, and offered me to work with him and the rest of the MyFonts crew.

So far I have been working on designing solutions for many of the things I see as faults of the website (including its cornball æsthetic and a slew of functionailty and browsing issues). The job so far seems like a natural extension of my degree project, and I enjoy it probably more than any other job I have ever had.

Report card 30 May, 2006

My Spring 2006 report card from MassArt

Who knew that a person like this could get straight As?

Skatepark billboard in the Weekly Dig,
despite my control-freak tendencies 29 Jun, 2006

Shred Ahead billboard for the Charles River Skatepark

I sat down to eat some breakfast this morning and opened up this week's (28 June–5 July) issue of the Weekly Dig. I was surprised to see one of my designs staring back at me.

Shred Ahead billboard in the Weekly DIgA photo of a billboard I designed a while ago accompanied an article (on page 7) about some of the developments of the Charles River Skatepark project in the past few months. The same photo was also featured on page 3 with the table of contents and the letter from the editor.

Seeing the design again reminded me that I never mentioned the billboard here, primarily because when it comes down to it, I am a control freak / perfectionist / baby…

The design that was ultimately authorized for printing by the Charles River Conservancy was not my final draft—some slight modifications had been made to the skater's silouhette that didn't show up on the final billboard. Even more depressing was the fact that, somewhere along the line, the typeface I used (Interstate, a beautiful rendition of the lettering used on US highway signs) was changed to a totally unworthy replacement (Arial, a copy-cat font intended for use on computer screens)!

And anyone who knows me, knows that changing a font on my design without my permission is not a good thing to do!!! Billboards and computer screens are very different mediums for typography!

But I digress; my period of baby-ish sulking is over and I have come to terms with the fact that the concept behind the billboard remains unchanged, regardless of minute formal details. So here in full color, albeit after several paragraphs of disclaimers, I proudly present the photo I was too much of a control freak to exhibit before:

Shred Ahead billboard on the construction site of the future Charles River Skatepark

Bro Gumpright at the East Boston fullpipesBeing a type nerd can be unnecessarily stressful.

PS: Thanks to Broderick Gumpright for letting me base the sign's silouhette on this photo I shot of him a while back at the East Boston Marina full pipes. If anyone embodies the term “shred”, it's Bro.

 

Summer is here 24 Jun, 2006

It's been almost a month since I've posted anything, so I'll try to give a quick update of what I've been doing lately.

Let's see…

First of all, and maybe most significantly, I'm done with school. The whole fiasco with my foot wasn't too fun, but my reviews went really well as did the senior design portfolio show.

My graduation ceremony was also a success. It was pouring rain that day until literally minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. Then it just stopped on a dime, allowing the sun to shine down on all of our tassled heads.

MassArt's senior design portfolio show
MassArt's senior design portfolio show
 
MassArt design graduates
the 2006 graduating class of graphic designers from MassArt—my peers
 
Certificate for departmental honors
At graduation they didn't give out the actual diplomas, just diploma order forms (I lost mine). I did however get a certificate for graduating with departmental honors.
 
 

Then there was the Kaiju event at the Hynes Convention Center on 26 May… The show was the headline entertainment at this year's Anime Boston Convention, which is one of the biggest of its kind—drawing thousands of anime nerds from all over the country into Boston to geek-out to the max. Check out the official video and write up of our show if you're interested.

nerd at Anime Boston 2006
I'd say that about 60% of everyone at the convention was in full-on nerd cotumes, most of which were probably tailored by their moms.
Prodentail
The Pru was smashed to pieces that evening by a 3-clawed shark-gorilla and a one-eyed red monkey from Hell.
 
Kaiju crowd at Anime Boston
4,000+ anime nerds showed up to watch.
 
 

I gotta go now; I'll post more later.

6/6/6: Slaytanic party @ Meatland 26 May, 2006

Slaytanic party flyer

Sigh 18 May, 2006

I don't usually use this space as a journal to divuldge my deepest inner thoughts, but today is an exception.

Right now it is 4:40am, and I am lying in bed at the house where I grew up on Cape Cod. It is so dark and quiet here, but the birds outside are just beginning to wake up. My room here is in a bit of dissarray: my bed is kind of pulled out to the center of the room, since the window below where it normally sits is in the middle of being replaced (it's been this way for months). There is also a growing collection of miscellaneous items—belonging to both myself and my dad—which are converting my old bedroom into a kind of storage area.

I graduate from college tomorrow.

This morning I am going to visit my old high school, as I have been invited to review the design work of the graduating seniors. I was on the other side of similar reviews when I was a graduating student there, 5 years ago.

That's such a long time.

I was planning on writing a celebratory summary of my graduation ceremony and my plans for the future after tomorrow, maybe with some photos of me in the ridiculous cap and gown. Maybe I still will write that entry. There was something about this moment in time, though, that seemed much more powerful and significant to me. I feel as though I am, at this very moment, lying in the middle of a crash between my past and my future.

Is this the calm before the storm? Or is this the silence after death?

There's part of me that never wants the calm to end. Lying here in the quiet makes part of me want so badly to just move back to this house where I grew up and walk barefoot in the grass for the rest of my life. This part of me hates its counterpart that fills my schedule to the brim, keeping me in a constant state of rushing, sleepless, stressful productivity. Unfortunately, the barefoot Nick Sherman and the sleepless Nick Sherman have a hard time co-existing (see previous post).

 

It's been a while since I've been able to hear myself think, and now that I can, there's a lot of stuff to listen to.

The lion's splinter or The grossest post ever 5 May, 2006

Xray of my foot with an Xacto blade lodged into it

Being the genius that I am, I was cutting the final pieces for my portfolio on the floor barefoot last night, cutting utensils lying about here and there.

No, wait—let's even go back a step before that:
Being the genius that I am, I chose to postpone the assembly and construction of my senior design portfolio (the one that my eligibility for graduation hinders on) until 2 in the morning on the day I am required to present it.

It was at 2 in the morning on this day that my bare, fleshy foot stepped on what had until that point been my faithful design companion: my trusty Xacto knife, freshly fitted with a shiny new, razor-sharp blade.

The first thing that went through my head after realizing I had stepped on something sharp was, "I am going to be so pissed if I get blood on my portfolio pieces." Shortly thereafter I hopped on one leg into the bathroom where I proceeded to clean the gushing wound. However, when I returned to my room, I found my Xacto knife with its pointy new blade broken clean off. Unfortunately, what I did not find was the part of the blade that had broken off.

It was then that I realized that the said blade might very well be embedded in my foot, even though any sign of it on the surface was non-existent. This theory was tested, and found correct, when my roommate, Erin, demonstrated that magnets attract metal Xacto blades; when a small magnet was applied to the skin on the bottom of my foot, near the entry wound, it stuck there, and even caused some extra blood to ooze out.

After convincing myself that it would be better to continue working and seek medical attention after my review, my more rationally level-headed peers convinced me that any additional slicing on the inside of my foot would be bad, and that I should go to the hospital immediately.

So my guardian angel Erin drove me to the Brigham & Womens Hospital emergency room, where I underwent lots of waiting and even more pain. So much pain.

After almost 4 hours at the hospital, I returned home, where I measured, cut, folded, adhered, and constructed like a madman until the very last minute that I left for school with one shoe to present my work.

I am glad to report that the review went extremely well (I think showing the x-ray above even got me a few extra design-dedication points) and I am still planning on walking on 19 May, 2006. Or at least slightly limping.

the Xacto blade they pulled from my foot. yum.

Stitched together 21 Apr, 2006

Stitched Together video

I created this video (which may take a minute or so to load, being 7.8 MB) for the Design Symposium course at MassArt's Dynamic Media Institute as an experiment in what I like to call reverse soundtracking (creating video to compliment abstract audio).

First I recorded and mixed an abstract guitar composition on its own—not knowing what I was going to do with it—then I animated it, using chopped up video taken from the famous lab scene in Universal's 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein.

To save my time and yours, I won't go in too much depth about the conceptual side here, other than to give a list of things I was considering while making this:

  • chopping, rebuilding, and animating disparate parts
  • breathing new life into something old
  • composing with a limited palette
  • visualizing audio æsthetics (What does this sound look like?)
  • the creation of new meaning through the juxtaposition of visuals and audio (Does this video give this sound a new meaning? How can I use this sound to change the meaning of this video?)
  • the difference between creating visuals for music (music videos) and creating visuals for abstract audio

protoTYPE sketches 16 Apr, 2006

protoTYPE experiment

I've been working on a project at MassArt this semester developing an experimental typeface to be cut into a wooden font for letterpress printing. The basic concept is that in addition to the positive shapes of the letters, there will also be pieces (‘sorts’) for printing the negative shapes. This allows for the combination of shapes to create some interesting plays on form / counterform relationships.

This play with form and counterform has added potential when used for over-printing with multiple translucent inks (as simulated in the larger image, above).

Boston Sailing Center open houseThis project is still in progress (especially regarding the technical production of the physical blocks), but if you're interested to learn more, feel free to read the PDF summary I've been sending around to gather feedback.

I'd like to thank Al Gowan for allowing me to work on this unconventional project in his Advanced Letterpress class at the MassArt Press; Sam Montague at Wentworth Institute of Technology for agreeing to help produce the physical font with their digitally driven CNC machine; and Dennis Ichiyama, Richard Zauft & Brian Lucid, all for consulting on the design in one way or another.

Keep an eye out for a summary of the entire project in the future.

 

Kaiju documentation 15 Apr, 2006

DW Cycloptopuss gets kicked by Dai Hachi Hachi when Kaiju invaded the Xbox 360 Zero Hour Mysterious new 3-eyed monster with pink Peelander at the Kaiju Rally Party; at the Middle East

Some new Kaiju documentation is avaiable:

Firstly, there is never-before-seen video from the battle at the Xbox 360 Zero Hour a few months back.

Secondly, there are some photos from the more recent Kaiju Rally Party at the Middle East, including shots of a mysterious new 3-eyed monster; you can find the link from their homepage, or just click here.

PS: Get psyched for the full-scale upcoming battel on May 26th!

 

Orchard buttons 6 Apr, 2006

Ochard 1 inch buttons

I recently designed and pressed 50+ 1" pin-back buttons for Orchard skateshop. You can buy them there for $1 apiece. Some of the more popular designs so far are ‘The Giving Tree’, ‘Bomb Mission Hill’, and the ‘Extinct Boston Skatespots’ commemorative series.

 

The Kell-ster @ the new ICA and the Berwick 4 Apr, 2006

My sister, Kelly Sherman, will be one of four finalists for the 2006 ICA Artist Prize (!) in an inaugraual show when the doors open to the brand new Institute of Contemporary Art building on 17 September, 2006.

Needless to say, I am very proud of her, and I believe she deserves this in every way.

Kelly made a point to clarify the fact that the prize is “about the artwork, not the money”, but if she wins, I'm hopin' for a free dinner.

In other Kelly news: she kicks off her three month Artist-in-Research position at the Berwick Research Institute with an informal talk on her work next Wednesday, 12 April, at 7pm.

“Kelly Sherman will be investigating seating plan arrangements in the context of weddings: how complex family relationships are confronted and mediated via event seating arrangements…”
For more info, check out the official press release, Kelly's statement of purpose, the Berwick calendar, or the AIR program description.

“…And all I got was this lousy shirt” 13 Mar, 2006

I just received a package from MIT's Media Lab with my 2005 DID Summer Camp keepsakes. Included was a nice little book they published about the camp with some examples of work from each participant (including me). They also included a t-shirt which reads “I DID Camp” (get it?).

Digital Information Design Camp book
The book was designed by my fellow campers Burak Arikan and Kelly Norton.
 
My spread from the DID Summer Camp book
The book doesn't really explain the things it shows in too much detail, but it does make for a nice reminder / eye candy.

The “I DID Camp” shirts:
Kinda cheesy? Yes.
Way too big for me? Yes.
Fun to have anyways?
Definitely.
 
 

Orchard lettering 10 Mar, 2006

Ochard lettering

I was recently asked to do some lettering (above) for the opening title screen of the Orchard Skateshop promo teaser. You can watch the video on their site.

 

What’s Cooking 21 Feb, 2006

Last semester I worked on a group project to design and produce a cookbook which caters to the nutritional needs and unique appetites of kids living with cancer.

I just got the finished book back from the printer; check it out here.

 

Dusty shelves 20 Feb, 2006

The One-book Library

PS: I had my first day at the new job. Things are looking up.

 

Support your local skateshop! 3 Feb, 2006

Orchard Skateshop Grand Opening; Feb 11th, 2006; Mission Hill

This Saturday, the 11th, my friend Bro will be opening the doors to his new skateboard shop on Mission Hill, Orchard.

Bro's hired me to do some design work for the shop: things like the image above and the entire website, which is still in the works. I'm more than happy to help with the project since I think it will be so awesome to have a genuine skater-run shop around the corner… it's long overdue! It was a shop just like this one that I at least partially have to thank for the fact that I'm not in a gutter or a casket today.

In addition to selling skate stuff, Orchard will also function as a small gallery for local (and maybe eventually national) skate artists. There's also some plans to possibly have a regular movie night.

So get psyched and go help out a fledgling hardcore skateshop!
Check the Orchard website for more info.

 

I was originally planning on an easy semester 25 Jan, 2006

Since the last time I posted, which was a while ago, I started the final semester of my undergraduate career. As it stands now, this is how I plan on spending most of my time in the upcoming months:

  1. Part-time job at MITRE (#66 on the Fortune 100) … and no, I won't be making any bombs or contributing to any death and destruction (you can be damn sure of that!). Though the gears of the machine will be grinding next door, the group I will be in is a design research group that does things like develop systems for the IRS which allow you to sign your taxes using only your voice.

  2. Graduate-level "Design Symposium" (by invitation) with MassArt's graduate design program, the Dynamic Media Institute; the course generally focuses on sound/motion studies and physical interface issues

  3. Polishing up my professional portfolio, including my thesis project, in "Senior Portfolio" class—the last of my required design courses at MassArt

  4. Course at MIT: Visualizing Cultures

  5. Advanced letterpress class in MassArt's brand new lead lab (more details on my project for that to come)… I knew I lugged all those printing presses and cases of lead type around last summer for a reason

  6. Monitoring studio hours and teaching a small workshop for other letterpress classes

  7. Masters of Film course at MassArt; everything we watch will be from 1939 and will be analyzed in context of what was going on, historically, at that time in the world.
  8. Designing for my friend, Bro, and his brand new skateshop, Orchard

  9. Volunteering my design skills for the Charles River Skatepark effort
    (donate!)

  10. Occasional Kaiju Big Battel hijinks, including filming for daily TV spots on Hasbro toys' Action Blast! variety hour; 8am Eastern time on the G4 television network
  11. Updating this page so you can keep tabs on me

  12. Watching as many old horror movies as I can fit between everything else

Wow. That all looks like so much when I type it out like that.
Oh, and I almost forgot

  1. Sleep
 

Godzilla vs The Sea Monster 4 Jan, 2006

I was reading through some movie reviews I had written for Netflix today and I found this one I had written a while back for Godzilla vs The Sea Monster. It was too funny not to post here:

Godzilla vs The Sea MonsterThis is the kind of movie that if someone walks in halfway, it's funny to bring them up to speed ("So these natives from the island of Mothra are being enslaved by a group called the Red Dragons to make some 'yellow liquid' to keep this giant lobster from attacking their boat while they develop nuclear warheads, but their plans are being foiled by a group of guys who met when this kid was looking for his brother who was lost at sea so he went to a 3-day dance endurance contest to win a boat but was late but also met these two guys who took him to see some boats, but they got caught by one of the owners who happened to not really be the owner but a bank robber...")

One major point to note is Godzilla's suit: it's way more flexible than any of the other ones I've seen. Between this and the relative lack of slow-motion to make things look big, it looks like Godzilla's doing kung fu compared to how he usually moves.

The best part about the long blurb is that it only gets you up to about the halfway point in the movie. I gave the movie 3/5 stars.

 

North South Rail Link / New Year Resolution 3 Jan, 2006

I just posted a quick summary of an interactive map I programmed (not designed) at Visual i|o for the Sierra Club. The map is being used to advocate a project (the North South Rail Link) which would connect Boston's North and South Stations, allowing riders of the commuter rail to travel through the city without having to change trains.

North South Rail Link interactive map

In other news, I have formulated a New Year's resolution for myself: never to say anything negative about anything or anyone, unless the result is constructive.

 

Plan 9 typeface 25 Dec, 2005

What do I do at 4am on Christmas day? Write about letters… duh!

Check out my newest face, in way more depth than you ever wanted to, here. This one is dedicated to Ed Wood.

Plan 9 typeface specimen

 

Oscar the cat, Sunn & Nachtmystium 21 Dec, 2005

Now that the craziness of the semester is over, I have enough time to share some things. First off, there are two new cats living in my apartment. One of them, Simon, is very frightful and thus not too playful. The other, however, is quite the opposite, and loves to distract any and all attention towards himself. Consequently, I have taken many photographs of him.

Oscar the cat sitting on my homework
Sitting on my homework
 
Oscar the cat laying on my homework
laying on my homework
 
Oscar the cat, on my laptop
and generally being on my homework.
 
 

Oscar the cat on my back
I forget how he even got up there.
 
Oscar the cat with his face inside a mostly empty cup of water
When Oscar does this—which is often—I don't think he is even trying to get a drink. Maybe it just helps him concentrate.
 
 

What else…

I saw Sunn and Nachtmystium at the Middle East on Monday—great show. This article from the NY Times gives a good description of what it's like to see Sunn live.

Nachtmystium
Nachtmystium were rad. The band that played before them were on way too long though, so their set was cut short… bummer.
Nachtmystium
Nachtmystium had some excellent headbanging recipes. I'm sure the hair is a beneficial ingredient.
 
Gregg Anderson of Sunn
This photo is a close depiction of my eyesight at the time, due to the vibration from Sunn's amps.
 
 

Stephen O'Malley of Sunn
Same here.
 
Sunn
Dude was so dark he nearly denied a drunken fan a high five at the end of the set.
 
Sunn aftermath
Sunn aftermath.
 
 

Anyhow, I'm in Florida right now. It is nice to escape the cold of Boston and sleep again. Keep an eye out for more posts in the next few days—I've got a new typeface to unveil and am hoping to pull together a visualization of my sleep stats leading up to my senior reviews, etc.

By the way, I also recently became aware of, and fixed, some weird issues with the way my site is rendered with Internet Explorer on Windows computers; if you see anything that looks weird in the future, please let me know.

Senior degree project process site 9 Dec, 2005

I finally presented my senior degree project yesterday. My process documentation is up for viewing here.

If you actually read everything I wrote, I will be surprised.

I have more to type about, especially explaining my final piece, but I'll do that once I'm finally done with all my other classes and reviews, etc.

 

Lay Up State 1 Dec, 2005

On Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto For Growth, Statement #18: Stay Up Late

If I’ve learned about one thing over the past few months, it would be the skill of sleep deprivation. As of today, I have been tracking my sleep hours for the past 31 days. In the past month my average time slept per day has been 5 hours, 11 minutes. The average amount of time I spend asleep in one stretch: 4 hours, 28 minutes.

I don’t think a schedule as extreme as this was exactly what Mau was suggesting—though I do wonder. After all, it is reported that Leonardo DaVinci’s sleep schedule consisted of regularly spaced naps throughout the entire day and night, which ultimately lead to less total hours of sleep (and that many more of creative productivity).

I could talk forever about the science of sleep deprivation or how it makes my hair hurt, but maybe more interesting is the effect it has on my creative growth. When I’ve been up for 2 days, I enter a state of what I can only describe as surreal zombification. My logic is so skewed that I begin making conceptual connections that, in all honestly, don’t have any base in reality whatsoever. Like Mau says: “Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up to long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.”

Strange things do happen, indeed. Sometimes they’re good—sometimes maybe not so good—but the point I think is most important is that they are different. Some people love their sleep and can’t live without it; I have nothing against these people. For me, however, a life of consistent slumber lacks a certain twist that can only be drawn out with utter exhaustion.

Maybe I just wasn’t designed to rise and set with the sun.

 

Xbox 360 Zero Hour / Earth / VICE 23 Nov, 2005

It's been a while since I posted last. I've been so busy. Actually, I started logging my sleep on Halloween, and I've been so busy that in the the past 22 days, I've averaged 4.88 hours of sleep per day. Keep an eye out for a nice visual presentation of those stats in the future (maybe during X-mas break when I have time to breathe).

SO… I just got back from LA / the Mojave Desert where I was doing a show with Kaiju Big Battel; we were the feature entertainment at the release party for Microsoft's new gaming console, Xbox 360. Read more about the event at CNET News (with video), Xbox's offical site (there's a couple articles / videos there), and the Kaiju site.

Highlights of the event included a giant foosball table, geodesic domes, and the high production quality in general. I guess it pays to be Microsoft.

Xbox 360 Zero Hour Event: gaming stations with tree installation in background
There were hundreds and hundreds of consoles set up to play with all kinds of unreleased games. There was also this really weird tree / light installation with live rabbits…
 
Xbox 360 Zero Hour Event: outdoor geodesic dome
They also had a bunch of geodesic domes set up all around the place with all kinds of weird lights and furniture. It felt like a rave in Berlin or something. Because I would know what that is like.
 
on the turnbuckles
The champ
 
 

main stage area
video of the main stage area (6.3 MB)
 
gaming area / tree installation
video of gaming area with tree installation in the background (7.1 MB)
 
VIP dome
video of the VIP dome interior (7.7 MB)
 
 

Less than 2 hours after getting back from LA, I saw Earth play at TT The Bear's in Cambridge. It was one of the best shows I've seen in a while.

Dylan Carlson
Dylan Carlson—guitar
 
Adrienne Davies
Adrienne Davies—drums
 
Jonas Haskins
Jonas Haskins—baritone
 
 

Oh… also, when I was in LA, I stayed with one of the people who helped with the photobooth thing from before (see the preview post below), and they directed me to the sites where most of the other party photos could be aquired. I set up a little page just for you. Party on.
DW Cycloptopuss III with damsel

Finally, I got a copy of the VICE magazine with my photos in it (as mentioned in the previous post). Here's a scan for all you bums who didn't grab a free copy for yourselves.
my photos in VICE

Photos in VICE 5 Nov, 2005

VICE magazine's Horror Issue coverMy friend Caitlin called me today and told me that my photo is in the hipster magazine, VICE, this month (the Horror Issue).

A shot of me in my halloween costume from last year (sabre tooth tiger), as well as some other halloween-related photos I've taken of my friends, were part of a pull-out poster of various different costume photos.

Grab a copy; it's free.

I'll post a scan once I actually get a copy.

 

Halloween party aftermath 2 Nov, 2005

The story was that she got eaten by her dog, but I couldn't find a fake dog.

I am glad to say that my Halloween party was a big success.

This is especially satisfying since I was second guessing it until even the day before. I don't know if I have just been hanging around pessimistic people lately or if everyone else is growing up like maybe I should be doing (?), but, from the start, all the feedback I got about my idea for a potential party was weak. The idea rubbed off on me that a party was a big risk for let down, and thus, I passively let Halloween draw closer without any plans.

Then one night I was alone and I watched Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space. It sounds horribly cheesy, but it made me think a lot. I thought about Ed Wood's undying enthusiasm and disregard for what anyone thought of his work. He is, indeed, maybe the worst filmmaker of all time, but his mind-set of, "who gives a fuck if they don't like it because I will," got me off my ass to commit to a party.

By that time, the usual one-month of planning that I normally allot for party preparations was already more than halfway gone.

Blah blah blah, I stuck to my outlandish ideas and the party actually turned out to be maybe the most successful one I've had yet here at Meatland. I played wretched music really loud and everyone hated it, but in my mind it couldn't have been more perfect.

So that's my melodramatic, hyper-idealistic, inspirational story for the month…

Fuck what everyone else thinks; pursue your ideas. Long live Ed Wood.

Suicide solution
Apparently this distraught teenage headbanger didn't need fingers (or hands, even) to pull the trigger and end it all.
 
Foggy hallway
I would have posted more photos of the other death scenes, but it was so foggy that none of them came out. Believe it or not, there were people somewhere in the fog when this photo was taken
Vision: approximately 9 feet
After taping a plastic bag over the pesky smoke detector, it was obvious that nothing could could come between me and my dark vision of Halloween.
 
 


I'd like to thank Randy Borden from Kaiju Big Battel for lending me his fog machine, my roommate Rinny for acquiring props from her employer, my roommate Shaun for help on the flyer (see it below) and Nick Des Jardins for all the props and production tips. Oh, and everyone who came, especially if they were in costume.

Changes 30 Oct, 2005

I think it is safe to say that this morning, at about 3:40 AM, I lost maybe THE best friend I have ever known.

Meatland's Halloween party flyer 26 Oct, 2005

Flyer for the Meatland Halloween Party

The MassArt Press 20 Oct, 2005

Keith Cross and Al Gowan cutting the ribbon Keith Cross (on the left) taught me how to print letterpress at MassArt , and Al Gowan (on the right) did the same for him. The three of us had dinner at The Squealing Pig after the opening, and it was nice.
 

Last night was the grand official opening of MassArt's new letterpress printing facility. I spent tons of time helping to make this possible with a group of other dedicated people, so this small get-together was really rewarding, personally. The keepsakes "Uncle Al" Gowan printed summed it up nicely:

Keepsake printed by AL Gowan
Today we commemorate a new letterpress facility, and thank the undersigned who made it possible. Just as the invention of moveable type fueled the Renaissance, we believe the MassArt Press will be a workshop where those who love letters, and those who must make images, will collaborate and learn from each other.
 

Ideal use of my time 15 Oct, 2005

Me and the boys

More cat photos 13 Oct, 2005

My mom sent me a couple new photos of Lucy she unearthed while organizing her photo library. They have been appended to my existing collection (thanks Mom).

I also caught more shots of my new roommate Milli under a little better lighting.

Lucy with her face smooshed against the bed
Lucy sometimes had trouble facing the world
 
Lucy sleeping on some papers
Lucy catching up on some paperwork; with a teenage Kelly
 
Millie the cat lying on my carpet
Millie appears to be outfitted with cammo fur for best blending in with my carpet
 
 

On another note, be sure to thoroughly check out the upcoming events listings (to your right); there's a ton of good stuff coming up this month.

 

Millie Vanilli 12 Oct, 2005

into the light

Millie on my bedWelcome the newest member of the Meatland family: one curious creature named Millie the cat. Though technically I can't claim her as mine, Millie and I have already spent some quality time together. She just turned one year old, and is softer than most cats I know of.

It has been a while since I've posted here, and for no bad reason. I have been So busy with school and work at Visual i|o that I barely sleep, nevermind post trivial information about my life and work.

I will be making a few posts in the next week or so as I am finishing up several fun projects at school; one of which includes a rough version of a typeface I've been wanting to put together for a while (I named it Plan 9, after Ed Wood Jr's infamous film).

Little Nemo book 30 Sep, 2005

Attack of the Giant Turkey

Yesterday I received my Little Nemo book in the mail. It's a collection of full-page comic strips that originally appeared in Sunday newspapers between 1905–1910, called Little Nemo in Slumberland. The unique thing about the book is that it presents the comic in its full original size (16 × 21"), which is bigger than today's full size newspaper.

Me reading Nemo
me with the book for scale
 
Walking bed Pesky pelicans Giants in the forest Riding lions through Slumberland Crazy tuba
 
 

I can only imagine getting the full effect of the strips at full size since so many of the illustrations and panel layouts deal with an extreme sense of scale and proportion. The author (Windsor McCay) is one of the most whimsically imaginative artists I know of. This book is now one of the more beautiful objects in my possession.

Thanks to Art Spiegelman for the recommendation.

 

New 'do 25 Sep, 2005

chop top

I got my hair cut yesterday at Fernandez's Barber Shop in JP. This was my second visit there in the past six months or so, so I was not surprised to be the only white kid inside (or outside for that matter).

They like their reggaetón loud, and proudly display their photos of Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez getting haircuts there. Going to places like Fernandez's make me feel like I'm alive a little bit more. Plus, they're masters of the straight razor.

AIGA conference 24 Sep, 2005

I was planning on doing a big write-up about the AIGA National Design Conference that I just attended, but there's already millions of write-ups out there already (check Design Observer or something).

I'll just say that the highlight of the conference for me was probably seeing Matthew Carter's lecture on pre-digital experimental type design. I approached him afterward like a little kid, but couldn't talk for too long since he had to rush off to some other engagement. I did tell him about my Bell Centennial article though… hopefully he still has my card and he'll actually check it out.

Another highlight was a discussion about my own work I had with David Carson during the student portfolio display; though, I didn't realize it was him until the end when he handed me his business card and walked away.

Khanate / Spiegelman lecture / AIGA? 21 Sep, 2005

Went to see Khanate at Great Scott on Sunday… good show; I wish they played longer though.
Alan Dubin
Alan Dubin—vocal punishment
 
Tim Wyskida
Tim Wyskida—hell hammers
 
Stephen O'Malley
Stephen O'Malley—stringed disembowelment
 
 

I also went to see the graphic novelist Art Spiegelman talk at the Peabody Essex tonight. He spoke a lot about the history of comics as well as his own work. Interesting Q&A session too; he answered a question I had about the affect of major book chains (eg Barnes & Noble) on graphic novels and smaller comics shops.

Art Spiegelman discusses his cover for The New Yorker
Art Spiegelman discussing his somewhat controversial Valentine's Day cover for The New Yorker in response to the Crown Heights riots.
 
Art Spiegelman signature in MAUS.
I was just barely able to catch Art to get him to sign my copy of MAUS.
 

I'm working on an update detailing the happenings at the recent AIGA Conference; keep an eye out for that soon.

 

My senior thesis statement (rough draft) 15 Sep, 2005

Designers today have a vast amount of typography and typographic information at their disposal; so much that no one could be expected to know all this information off-hand. Hundreds of years ago, a printer's type library could be documented for reference in a small specimen booklet that was sorted by size or style. For the typographer of today, however, such a booklet would be much too large to browse efficiently and would require much more qualifications by which to search.

Today's typographer has a great advantage though, as their type library exists in the digital realm—a realm which caters to lightning fast, multi-dimensional searching and browsing; one that can selectively display any amount of information, large or small, from a potentially huge amount of data. The organizing power of the digital realm has been made obvious through the dynamic display of many different databases; from music to photography to the numeric streams of the ever-changing stock market.

To me it is sad then that typographers have yet to get their digital power-tool for organization. All the existing type management software so far has been extremely simple and often painstakingly static. I propose to develop a prototype (at least) of a new tool for organizing / navigating a library of typography. This tool would free the modern designer / typographer from the chains of currently available type management systems, saving both time and sanity as well as creating a new environment perfectly suited to keep the user afloat on the great sea of typographic knowledge.

Summery 12 Sep, 2005

For the time being (and maybe permanently) I figure I'll just post non-portfolio updates on this page. This first one gives a short list of some of the stuff I did this summer:

  • Took 2 summer literature courses at MassArt; one formed around various monster novels (Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde, etc), the other formed around various graphic novels (Sandman, MAUS, Return of the Dark Knight, etc). Both classes were excellent and much more stimulating/critical than you might imagine.
    praise for Ware

    3 pages of praise for Chris Ware's graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth… one of my all time favorite books—graphic or non. I'm hoping to eventually make an illustrated web article of this.

     
    ups and down of the visuals in The Sandman

    3-page graphic analysis of The Sandman, Vol 1: Preludes & Nocturnes; my opinion of where it succeeded and where it failed

     
    Dracula: Stoker vs Coppola

    7 pages comparing and contrasting Bram Stoker's Dracula (the novel) with Bram Stoker's Dracula (the film). I go into a bit of detail here on the basic thematic inconsistencies present despite many superficial similarities.

     
     
  • Attended MIT's "Digital Information Design Summer Camp". I don't find my actual design work output to be too amazing, but I learned so much. It was worth the ridiculous price, for sure. Check the official portfolio of work for more info.
  • Performed in front of 20,000 people (mostly muddy hippies) on top of a mountain with Kaiju Big Battel as a collaboration with The Flaming Lips and Particle at West Virginia's "All Good Fest". Check out the official video trailer on the Kaiju site.
    the crowd

    The crowd and the wrestling ring. There were even more people than you can see in this photo.

     
    the camping area

    The camping area (from a distance). Even though I was filthy at the end of the day, I think I may have been cleaner than anyone who ventured here.

     
    Wayne in his plastic ball

    This is Wayne from the Flaming Lips. We actually had dinner with him and he is one of the nicest and most sincere people I've met in show business.

     
     
    wet hippies smell

    This photo of Gandalf the Red behind Rand Borden basically sums up the whole event…

     
    Think Happy Thoughts banner

    …or maybe this photo of the backstage operations trailer does a better job.

     
     
  • Was totally flattered by the attention my tribute to Lucy and it's accompanying guestbook have been getting ever since posting a photo on StuffOnMyCat.com. I never thought I'd be able to help so many people from ALL OVER the world grieve about the loss of their pets.
  • Worked weekends as first mate on my dad's sailboat in Hyannis Port.
    Osterville draw bridge

    I used to jump off the tender's house on the Osterville drawbridge that we sailed under, but I probably won't anymore since some kid died a few weeks ago doing the same thing.

     
    The wooden schooner, Mya

    Ted Kennedy sailing his boat, The Mya, by himself. In the background you can see his house too (the one with 3 gables). We saw the senator sailing just about every day during the Senate break.

     
    shipwreck

    Shipwreck on the Hyannisport breakwater

     
     
  • Flew to LA with Kaiju Big Battel to appear live on the G4 cable station's Attack of the Show, as well as to make a presence in the photobooth and dancefloor of a big downtown LA art party. Fun! Supposedly there will be a web page somewhere at some point with the hundreds—maybe even thousands—of photos like these that were taken in the photobooth by Malia James.
    yoink

    D.W. Cycloptopuss III caught red-handed… er, clawed

     
    passionate tentacles

    Cycloptopuss sandwich

    …with two drunken scenesters

     
     
  • Didn't meet any girls
  • I did, however, watch a lot of old monster movies
  • Packed and moved 2 letterpress shops at MassArt, combining them into one ultra letterpress palace. I'll post photos once it's settled in.
  • Spent a few days at my sister's on Nantucket
  • Played and recorded tons of improvised music on guitar with my roommate Shaun on drums. For a long, ugly taste: download a sample mp3 or two. Maybe at some point we'll pick the best parts from the 4+ hours we have recorded and put them into some cohesive songs.
  • Held a valediction bonfire at the Cape Cod National Seashore for my roommate and good friend Craig, as he leaves for Philly to get his archæology doctorate.

    burning guitar video
    Video of the guitar we burned with some astute commentary by Craig

     
    Andy Grover, naked

    A naked Andy Grover chased me that night.

     
     
  • Acquired an internship (paid, even!) at an information design / data visualization firm in Somerville, Visual i|o. I'm so happy about this one; proof that sometimes all you have to do is ask. Can't post too much about my work there since I had to sign an oath of secrecy.

 

Not much use if you're already here 8 Sep, 2005

On Wednesday night I did my first printing in MassArt's new letterpress lab. In preparation for the upcoming AIGA National Design Conference, where I'll be showing a small portfolio, I figured it might make sense to have some business cards to hand out (even as crudely printed as they are).

All I really wanted on them was my name, email, and URL. To keep down inherent repetition, this was my solution:
business card:

 

Here we go again 7 Sep, 2005

Today I began my senior year in college. I figured it would be a good time to post here. Actually, from now on I have decided that I might not be as restrictive on what gets posted and not. I've found that after I initially put up my permanent portfolio pieces, the site became a bit static. I have things to talk about and photos to show that don't quite belong in the permanent portfolio ranks but still might be nice to show for a small amount of time (maybe I'll keep an archive as well).

This is all a bit funny since when I started the site I said, "I don't want a ‘blog’ or journal or anything that I will feel obligated to update"; having your own site kinda grows on you. It also makes it so much easier to show people what you've been up to ("Just check out my site…"), and I tend to be up to a lot of things at any given time.

SO, with all that being said, I'm still not quite sure what the format will be for this new, less-permanent area of the site… I'll have to think about it a bit (then actually implement it)

The Monsters 26 Jul, 2005

The Monsters at the Dennis VFW

New to the music page: recordings and other stuff related to my middle school punk rock band, The Monsters. There's some funny stuff there, so check it out.

Wheels & weirdos 21 Jun, 2005

Lister's ValiantTwo new photo essays: one is a collection of unique characters I happen to have photos of, the other is a collection of vehicles from different times in my life (including a bunch of my Nova!).

He Was A Young American (CONSUMER)Also added is a funny little book I did a while back that looks at the role of corporate consumer products in the life of a young American boy; entitled He Was A Young American (CONSUMER)

 

Rubber suit turned Metal or Mechagodzilla 18 May, 2005

Gozilla title screenNow that my final reviews at MassArt are done, I finally have had time to finish up another one of the heavy metal monster theme covers I've been working on.

I also put up some of my design work from the past semester (Boston Ink poster and Ambient logotype) as well as an older Planet Calendar project.

Lucy, RIP 6 May, 2005

Lucy, RIP

On Wednesday (the 4th), after 21 years, the world lost a wonderful creature. I have created a photo essay and a guestbook in her memory.

123,5 21 Apr, 2005

  1. Grab the nearest book
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence
  4. Post the sentence in your weblog journal or website along with these instructions
  5. Don't search around for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually closest to you.

“The basic structure and form of these early typefaces is clear beyond dispute, but in their subtlest details, all the existing replicas of fifteenth-century Italian type are hypothetical reconstructions.”   —Robert Bringhurst; The Elements of Typographic Style

Hello Wednesday, 20 Apr, 2005

This website is not complete. I don't know if I will ever consider it complete. I was holding off telling anyone about it in anticipation of it being complete – so it could have a grand opening of sorts.

But it's been too long (I started construction on 14 March, 2005) and I decided that it was about time to let it loose on the world.

I really don't want this thing to take up all my free time; I don't want a ‘blog’ or journal or anything that I will feel obligated to update, but it's nice to materialize some of my thoughts from time to time. Maybe materialize isn't the right word; maybe record or catalog makes more sense. Why couldn't I just delete materialize and write in ‘catalog’ or ‘record’? I guess it's because I like to make my process visible; in some ways, that's the point of this site.

So, with that said, enjoy a closer look into the life and mind of Nicholas Sherman.