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Houston Art Directors Club

September 30, 2007

I spent the last few days in Houston judging the Art Directors Club annual competition along with four other judges: illustrators Chris Buzelli and Chris Silas Neal, art director Mary Fallon, and photographer Gary Ness.

(from L to R: Mary Fallon, Gary Ness, Chris Buzelli, Chris Silas Neal)

Thursday, September 27th, we each flew into Houston from our respective cities (Gary and Mary from Minneapolis, Chris B from NYC, Chris N from Brooklyn, and myself from Philly). That night there was a meet and greet with the ADC, and each judge gave a brief presentation of their work.

Chris Buzelli draws some chuckles for his “pug-love” illustration

What’s really funny is that my slide presentation also had some “pug-love” going on

Here I am talking about the Housewives Tarot kit I authored and designed with Paul Kepple at Headcase Design. While I’m on the subject, check out the website I designed for it.

Mary Fallon discusses some of the outdoor marketing her firm did for Target

Chris Neal talks about his transition from the world of advertising to fine art and illustration

Gary Ness speaks about his photography

After the lectures, there was a raffle to win some of the various prizes the judges had brought. This lucky fellow won Grym, one of my BiTZ:Pixelated Palz plush toys.

After some shmoozing with fellow designers, illustrators, and other creative folks, we all went out to eat at a Tex-Mex place, and then headed over to Houston’s official “make-out bar”, Marfreless. For the record, nobody tried to make out with me. I did enjoy a few delicious Manhattans though.

The next day was our first day of judging. I think there were something like 40 different categories. It was quite overwhelming.

Judge’s binders

After our first day of judging, we were taken to a dinner party at the home of Houston artist Wayne Gilbert, who creates paintings made out of human remains. If it sounds morbid, it is, but it’s equal parts beautiful and inspiring.

That’s Mr. Gilbert in the hat, talking with Gary Ness

This triangular-shaped piece is titled 8 of My Friends. Mr. Gilbert (with rare exceptions) doesn’t add any color pigment to the ashes he uses to create his work. He explains: “I only use a clear gel medium. It appears that each of us is a different earth tone hue.”

This flaming iron sculpture sits out front of the Gilbert estate. Sure beats garden gnomes or pink flamingos if you ask me. I’d hate to see the gas bill though.

After dinner, Mr. Gilbert took us on a stroll over to his G Gallery

We woke up early Saturday morning to finish up the judging, and then shot some video of each judge discussing his or her favorite piece. Some of the judges stayed an extra day to see the sights of Houston, but I had to head to the airport literally as the other judges were still recording their videos, barely making my flight.

All in all, it was a great time. ADCH president Jamie Farquhar and vice president Alex Barber, as well as the other board and ADCH members, did a fantastic job organizing the weekend and making us all feel very welcome.

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