Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Unclassifiable: Pacifico Van design (2008)

One of the coolest jobs that I've done this year is a van design for Pacifico Beer. The campaign is really cool. 18 different artists were picked and each given a theme that relates to the story/idea/feel of Pacifico Beer. Each artist was then given free reign to create a design/illustration that would then be actually hand-painted onto a mid-1960s Volkswagen van. A lot of the surfers in the 1960s and 1970s painted their VW vans and this is picking up on that. The vans are then driven all around the US, spreading the gospel of Pacifico.

For a big corporation, I think this campaign is really edgy and cool. The artists involved all were top notch and I felt really honored and really nervous to be in the final group (I will happily say that I thought I was the least talented of the bunch).

My theme was the Pescadores (the fishermen). The pescadores are in many ways the wisemen of the fishing villages, and there are a set of tall tales, myths, and traditions that are orally passed down by them, like how the rattlesnake got its rattle, and the legend of the octopus (and how it likes to steal beer - especially Pacifico, of course).

I came up with the idea of having the color gradation on the top and bottom halves -- I was thinking of how with many printing techniques, you can have a 'split fountain' effect, which means that two or more different colors of ink are allowed to mix together on the print surface, creating this gradation effect (this originated with letterpress, I believe, where ink for large jobs was held in a "fountain" device which sat above your ink plate or roller surface and fed a steady, measured amount of ink. Different colors of ink could be compartmentalized in the fountain, only to mix when they hit the printing rollers.) Anyway...

If your familiar with any of my work, you know already that I'm pretty enamored with ornamentation and squigglies and both are used prominently here. The squiggly fishing line really conveyed to me the idea of the motion and active skill of the pescadores. And it looked cool.

Apparently the van is being painted right now or is already done. I'm super excited to see what it ends up looking like. I'm especially excited that it's going to be hand-painted and not just wrapped in a digital print, like you see all the time now. I'm really interested in the process of how the painter and their technique and skill will modify my original design, making it a hybrid of my art and theirs. I'll post a pic of the van when I get one.

I'd love to do this type of project again.

Here's some images of the finished van: