Articles in the Marginalia Category

Announcements »

November 11th, 2017 | Comments Off on St. James Encyclopedia of Hip-Hop Culture | Category: Announcements
St. James Encyclopedia of Hip-Hop Culture

I contributed several entries to the St. James Encyclopedia of Hip-Hop Culture, including ones on Gangsta Rap, Horrorcore, Rap Metal, and 1500 words on the hip-hop scene in my beloved Pacific Northwest, where I first lived from 1993 to 1998 (and three other times after). Here’s an excerpt from the latter:
Underground Hip Hop nationwide saw a resurgence during the mid-to-late 1990s. Having remained primarily underground since its inception, Pacific Northwest Hip Hop soldiered on… Wordsayer (Jonathan Moore, 1969-2017) formed the group Source of Labor in 1989. After moving back to Seattle in …

Marginalia »

October 13th, 2017 | Comments Off on SMPRC Logo Design | Category: Marginalia
SMPRC Logo Design

A few of my colleagues at UIC and a few of their colleagues from institutions around the world are all working on social media privacy. They put together a group called the Social Media Privacy Research Collective and wanted to solidify their efforts with a logo. Being the resident artist of our department, I was tapped to do the design. I immediately started playing with the initials.

At first I messed around with the P and the R. I knew there was something I could manipulate there. I thought it was …

Announcements »

October 12th, 2017 | Comments Off on Journal of Hip-Hop Studies Publication | Category: Announcements
<em>Journal of Hip-Hop Studies</em> Publication

I am happy to announce a contribution to the Journal of Hip-Hop Studies (Volume 4, Issue 1). I wrote a review of André Sirois’ book Hip-Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology (Peter Lang, 2016).

Sirois’ book is not only a great fit for coverage in this particular journal, but it’s also one of the many pieces of the multiple puzzles I’m trying to assemble in the research for one of my own books-in-progress. Here’s an excerpt of my JHHS review:
André Sirois, a.k.a. DJ Food Stamp, the man behind the turntables …

Announcements »

September 12th, 2017 | Comments Off on A Book that Changed My Life | Category: Announcements
A Book that Changed My Life

I am proud to announce that I was recently a part of 9 Muses Photo’s A Book that Changed My Life project, “an open series focused on people and the books that changed their lives.” Dennis Sevilla took this photo of me with the book that changed my life:

Here’s my story:
James Gleick’s Chaos (Viking, 1987) changed my life. Quite simply, I was on a path, and after reading it I was on a different one. I was a music journalist. When I came across Chaos, I had spent a lot …

Marginalia »

August 19th, 2017 | Comments Off on dälek Logo Design | Category: Marginalia
dälek Logo Design

Sometimes they take a while to come together… Unlike my HKRB logo, which came together overnight, this one’s been brewing for over a year. dälek is one of my all-time favorite groups, and I’ve known them for a minute now. Though unsolicited, it was an honor to finally put something like this together.

As I often do, I started with similarities in the first and last letters. Though the D and the K can be drawn structurally similar, the going was rough at first. I had to let it marinate.

When I came …

About, Announcements »

June 02nd, 2016 | Comments Off on Doug Stanhope’s Digging Up Mother on Splitsider | Category: About, Announcements
Doug Stanhope’s <em>Digging Up Mother</em> on <em>Splitsider</em>

I have a bit about Doug Stanhope‘s new memoir, Digging Up Mother: A Love Story (Da Capo, 2016) over on Splitsider today.
Here’s an excerpt:

The book, as it states right on the cover, is a love story and a memoir. If you want to know what he’s done since his last DVD or since the last time you saw him live, check Youtube. Most of this book happens before that was even possible. Many a buried back-story is unearthed here: Doug’s earliest days as a road comic, when he actually lived …

About, Announcements »

April 26th, 2016 | Comments Off on “Swarm Cities” on How We Get to Next | Category: About, Announcements
“Swarm Cities” on <em>How We Get to Next</em>

Very happy to announce my first piece for Steven Johnson‘s How We Get to Next. Their theme for April is “Metropolis,” so I did a little piece about what I’ve termed “swarm cities.”

Here’s an excerpt:
Our capital-driven, networked societies produce, more than anything else, ephemeral things — that is, things that are built, not to last, but to disappear and be displaced by newer versions of themselves. As David Byrne wrote in his Bicycle Diaries, cities “are physical manifestations of our deepest beliefs and our often unconscious thoughts, not so much as individuals, …

About, Announcements »

March 12th, 2016 | Comments Off on HKRB Logo Design | Category: About, Announcements
HKRB Logo Design

My friend and fellow Zer0 Books author Alfie Bown also runs the Hong Kong Review of Books. In addition to running some of my illustrations, he recently asked me to come up with a new logo for the site. I woke up a few days later with an idea.

Somehow the shapes in the negative space of the letters just fell into place.

The B was the only part I struggled with since it looked more like an 8 in my original sketches. The other letters seemed obvious. I hinted at more …

Announcements »

February 21st, 2016 | Comments Off on Fallen Footwear Logo | Category: Announcements
Fallen Footwear Logo

Since I don’t have enough to do lately, I started working on another unsolicited logo design, this time for my friend Jamie Thomas’s company Fallen Footwear.
It started, as many of these do, with my waking up with part of it in my head. This time it was the middle Ls. As you can see in the rudimentary sketches on the left in the picture below, they form an arrow pointing down. That was to be the guiding visual concept for this design, which evolved over two weeks of intermittent sketches …

About, Announcements »

February 21st, 2016 | Comments Off on Illustrations for the Hong Kong Review of Books | Category: About, Announcements
Illustrations for the Hong Kong Review of Books

Thanks to Alfie Bown, I am now doing illustrations, like the one below of Umberto Eco, for the Hong Kong Review of Books.

This sketch was done from his photo on the cover of MIT Press’s reissue of his 1977 book, How to Write a Thesis (MIT Press, 2015). I’ve been experimenting with quick sketches with very little planning, partly to capture that hot space, and partly because I just don’t have time to do the kind of labor-intensive drawing I want to do.
Thanks to Alfie and the HKRB! Umberto Eco, …