A Place for Our Attention
Our efforts at the Match Factory have always been focused on getting our hands dirty. Because making is part of things was our mantra. We payed attention to the need to try new things while remaining rooted to our sense of place — firmly in the Nebraska soil. What the final expression of whatever project it was we were working on, it was understood to always be experiment, learning, and an extension of us in terms of our aspirations as creative thinkers and active doers.
The Match Factory has carried us through our focus on collaboration and random thoughts, experiments in film, exhibition, entrepreneurship and our individual growth as designers. The trajectory has been one of free-flowing idealism with bursts of creative sparks. We vaguely knew where we were going on the way to where we are today. And now we look to changing things up, with a more focused vision, while still keeping our original intentions in mind.
Allow us to look back, just for a moment.
[caption id="attachment_196" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Stills from The Sprinter"]
Our short film The Sprinter
was about freedom. We wanted grit, raw, loud, impulse, bursting motion. It involved our design sensibilities while bringing together our musical wanderings and affinity for the beauty of layered, textured images. The tempo, the sound, the look all played together to tell the story of a man who was searching for himself along a journey merging the formulaic and the random.
[caption id="attachment_262" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="TheMatchFactory.com - Version 01"]
[caption id="attachment_263" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="TheMatchFactory.com - Version 02 (Momentum Section)"]
[caption id="attachment_264" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="TheMatchFactory.com - Version 02 (Ignition Section)"]
This lead directly to the TheMatchFactory.com
(version 02). We had become "professionals" in the field of design. We landed real jobs. Real incomes. And could pay off our real debts. It was a damn good feeling. But being prone to the idealism of misdirected youth, we still had the need to do random, weird shit. We saw The Sprinter
as random, weird shit that needed a home. Thus, we made a Web site for it to live and around that project we drew in a group of artists, writers and designers, all at similar stages in young careers, to participate in a playground for making stuff + things. We had things we were doing in our spare time that became designs and concepts we shared on the site. Everything from anti-machomilitarism to love posters for our girlfriends. It was a great beginning that we look back on fondly.
[caption id="attachment_205" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Two of our favorite shirts."]
Then, in a bar in downtown Lincoln, we had a conversation about how no one really knows where Nebraska is. So, why can't it be everywhere? Why can't it have mountains, oceans, six-legged cows, wizards and palm trees. And why can't it be bigger? (Which involved taking over Iowa.) The following three-year, off and on effort involving Nebraska T Shirts
was an exercise in learning to screenprint and a type of entrepreneurship not really practiced much. We wanted people to see our shirts, like them, want to buy them, but not buy too many, and not be able to find them too easily. Our plan of kinda-sorta-attack worked for everyone involved as we see it. We sold shirts to many parts of the world thanks to the Internet, gave many, many thesbians visiting Lincoln many, many good laughs and sparked controversy in the only way a t-shirt can; by insulting a place where someone is from who doesn't have a sense of humor.
[caption id="attachment_221" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Images from the Push exhibit."]
Around this time, we were getting involved with non-profit organizations and doing design work involving the war in Iraq, nuclear weapons and a community of Native Americans who were being decimated at the hands of neglect and exploitation. With several other community- and civic-minded designers, we put on the PUSH
exhibition; an occurrence of graphic design that supports and/or opposes social causes. It was tough. It was hard. It was heavy. It was in your face up on those gallery walls. Telling a story on 20, 8 x 10 pieces of glass or making a 12 x 8 foot wall full of pasted B/W posters were just a couple of things we had never done before. They turned out. They turned heads. And we continue to deal with political and socially conscious topics we see as "projects with a common goal for a greater good."
[caption id="attachment_228" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="Shirts we made, worn by our buddies."]
We then decided to design more shirts, of a different nature. IDAttire
is the identification of self through the specific wearing of a quick flash aesthetic. Or something like that. Some more: IDA is the visual and wearable amalgam of our individual ideas. It is a friendly port on our high seas adventure as we seek to conquer and plunder in the name of inspiration and creative passion. Fear not, we mean you no harm. We mean only to enrich, ignite and be conducive to a shared discourse between us and the world at large. And we come bearing gifts.
Yeah, it was fun. We had "inventory" and a tax ID number. We designed 10 shirts in all, our favorite one we think is the one with the AK-47. Not because it's an instrument of death, but because most instruments of death look good on Mint.
[caption id="attachment_261" align="alignnone" width="540" caption="PowerToThePoster.org"]
Finally, 2008 came about and we felt we couldn't just sit there. We wanted to make some noise and jump into the idea of change and get our fellow designers making stuff with a purpose. Power to the Poster (dot) org
was created to be a ready supply of wild postings that comment on the issues of our time where anybody, anywhere can download, print and post. A site designed around the 11 x 17, B/W protest poster that has went through many mediums; street postings, exhibition spaces, picked up on all sorts of blogs and landed us in D.C. for Manifest Hope. In short, it got us noticed on a scale we weren't accustomed to. What we see the site as now is a critique and a celebration of the last year and a half, and a way for us to continue our collaborative efforts with like-minded people.
to be continued...