Thursday, December 16, 2010

For Fun, A Rock Show Flier...

Sometimes you make some fast dumb stuff like this and it just makes you feel good for reasons you can't quite put to words.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Mix...

   Holiday Mixerrrr by ted mcgrath

With Holiday Party season upon us, and as a result the annual assault of "Holiday Music" i thought i'd throw together a few of my own seasonal favorites (with amateur playlist edits and fades, apologies in advance) in the hopes doing my part to combat, in some small way, the ongoing popularity of shrieking sonic turds like "Christmas Shoes" or the better part of the Manheim Steamroller oeuvre.

That said, some of the selections are well worn favorites in their own right and others off beat nuggets by established acts, while a few others are less well known on any level. It's my hopes that the majority of the tunes, in spite of their seasonal subject matter, are selections that hold up against the "proper" work of the artists involved and are enjoyable in their own right (Marvin Gaye's "Purple Snowflakes" is just top notch and James Brown's "Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year" is one of the man's most powerful and unhinged vocal turns and has been known to move me to the brink of tears, no lie). Listen or download above, hope you enjoy, and most of all Happy Holidays.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Animals of Finance...

Ok, puns are pretty bad but i couldn't bring myself to title this post "Recent Projects I Am Excited About" or something like that, it just sounds so dry and joyless...and anyway, somewhere Miles Southan is smiling. Moving on...

Last month i had the privilege of working for two of my favorite clients, both business magazines with stellar art departments, Plan Sponsor and Bloomberg Business Week. Furthering the feel-good vibe of both projects was the fact that each called for a different aesthetic and problem solving approach. 

For Plan Sponsor, i was asked to illustrate the concept of "sharing stories" for a piece about integrating blogging into your business plan. I turned in 2 sketches, the first with an Aesop's Fables direction, the second reviving the tiger-pelt clad weirdo from the abandoned "running shoe of the future" illustration from this past summer:

The client liked the first sketch (sorry again shoe-dude!), and it provided an opportunity to dig into some paint for the first time in a while, at least on for a commissioned piece. I was also super stoked that the eye-patched bear made it in.

For Bloomberg Business Week i was asked to do a photo illustration based on mounting cynicism surrounding the climate change conference in Cancun. The direction was an enhanced, slightly "defaced" post card, where some of the disasters and environmental issues would literally be imposed on (a consciously cheezy image of) the unspoiled and remote natural beauty of Cancun's beaches. Once the image was selected i turned in the following sketch:

Following a few compositional and layout i adjustments i proceeded to the following final image:

It was super fun getting to do both of these projects back to back as combined, they let me pretty much do everything i really enjoy about illustration with very little restriction or "toning down." Thanks again SooJin and Maayan!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From The Sketchbook.../Turkey Day

A baboon skull study in ink, gouache and spray paint. Trying to get back into more consistent sketchbook work and this was a fun lead off. A few big posts next week after the holiday, but for now Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Illustration Week" Wrap / Glamour Heads

I've been really excited lately to be doing a lot of assignments involving both some serious line work and that really demanded the drawing of people...neither of which is something i've been doing too much of in recent months. I have some tiny icons in the current issue of Glamour for their advice column of sorts. One had related to a letter about being comfortable with social taboos and the other attempting to curtail trash talk and "over-sharing." There's something deeply satisfying about spot jobs when they really come together, and i was super happy with the finish on these two. Sketches and finals below:

Finally,  a big thanks from all of us to all of you for everybody who came out to the Pencil Factory's American Illustration After Party, especially Zach O'Hora who was gracious enough to school me on the 1's and 2's for the first time in a while, Jennifer Daniel for her always hilarious flier and Peggy Roalf for legitimizing our half-baked shin dig with some 11th hour press.

Monday, November 8, 2010


The ladies and lads of the Pencil Factory studios invite you back to their stomping grounds in Greenpoint Brooklyn following that annual melee of drunken debauchery and finger foods (skewers!) that is American Illustration...

In honor of our esteemed colleague Sam Weber having landed this year's cover, we're throwing the after party in the shadow of our humble studios at Veronica People's Club, owned and operated by the same people who brought you Heather's (so for the squeamish, it'll be just like being in Manhattan, but in Brooklyn)... The venerable Zach O'Hora and less venerable Ted McGrath will DJ timeless chestnuts and obscuro nuggets of the party variety til the wee hours... join us, networking not required...

Directions: Hail a cab. Tell driver to go to Greenpoint and Franklin in Greenpoint.

Via subway: L to Bedford Ave, G to Greenpoint, but just take a cab.

Click here to see VPC on google maps, or here if you need to see it on facebook for some reason.

Flier by Jennifer Daniel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New York Observer...

This week i got to work on a fun piece for the New York Observer's Sex Column, illustrating a story that took an awkward morning after "ride of shame" scenario and used it as a jumping off point for a pretty witty survey of contemporary gender politics. 

Lately i've been enjoying exploring this kind of direct narrative type of illustration as opposed to the collage-y "flat" stuff i usually do - with this piece it seemed more interesting to try to really get the annoyed, bored and sleep-deprived expression and feel of the girl blithely staring out the window of her date's car than come up with something more complicated or less direct. 

Once the sketch was approved it was a pretty simple translation to the final.
See the finished piece in more detail here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shoe (Undead Illustration #1)

A dead sketch for a piece commissioned over the summer about "the running shoe of the future"... though sacrificed on the altar of budget negotiations and misunderstood emails, i really loved this drawing. The idea was that you know, it being post-2012 and all, Quetzalcoatl is back and tearing things up with an army of various horrifying monsters and mankind's only real choice in foot wear, let alone running shoes, is a viscous black paste that congeals on the sole of the foot, shielding it temporarily from the jagged and unpredictable volcanic surface of the earth of the future. Somewhat unbelievably, the client was on board with all that, but shot the whole thing down when i attempted to renegotiate the $$$. These things happen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three Aztec Warriors/Saturday Afternoon Free Timez

Killing time in the studio with Kim on Saturday afternoon with collaborative collages... "Three Aztec Warriors."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vans On The Run

In the last week of September I got a call from Alexandra Zsigmond from the New York Times Op-Ed desk with a (dare i say it) exciting job regarding the rise of semi-legal private transit services in the face of public transit cut backs across the city. As per usual with Op-Ed gigs, time was tight but thanks to the marvels of modern technology i was able to get most of the sketches done in a pocket sketchbook while waiting for Pavement to come on stage at Central Park.

Once i had a rough idea of how the piece was going to sit in the blissfully unconventional shape...

... it was then just a matter of populating it with buildings and vehicles...

...which were kept pretty clear and tame in the sketch phase. Once the sketch was approved however, the vehicles had room to get a little more interesting in terms of line and mark making.

I really, really used get bummed out when i had to draw cars or trucks. I lived in fear of having to draw machinery, a total drag... now however, i crave this stuff... Anyway, a slight tweak of the layout later and voila: of my favorite pieces of 2010. The final piece is available in more detail here.

Almost Album Cover

A few weeks back I got a call from the folks over at the Decon Group to put together some comps for an upcoming record by Gangrene, the collaborative outfit of Oh No and The Alchemist. Their upcoming record is called "Gutter Water" and true to both the name of the group and the title of the album, the art gang at Decon wanted something appropriately dank and grimey. This presented a unique challenge in that, while I certainly trafficked in gritty and gross back in the halcyon days of 2002-2004, it had been a while since I visited scuzz country. A quick trip back through the external hard drive and some old sketchbooks produced some self-reference from the age of post-collegiate id:

Having been talked out of a Willem Dafoe-esque method approach that would've required consuming nothing but black coffee and keeping myself awake for at least 36 hours in an effort to recreate the mind (thanks darling), i supposed i was ready to start... contrary to popular belief i'd learned a thing or 2 about Photoshop in the ensuing years and set about creating a watery cluster-cuss of detailed line drawings in as close to a digitally faked glue and tape collage as possible. Some of the ingredients:

And the end result:

I also did a version based on this old Cyclops drawing that i thought deserved more exposure:

Sadly, as you may have guessed from the post title, neither comp made the cut. It was, however, an entertaining use of a few hours trying to channel some methods and ideas that i never in billion years thought anyone would ask for again. Shine on you crazy something something.

WELCOME BACK/FOR THE FIRST TIME... something like that... the Unclaimed Freight blog will LIVE AGAIN, with a new focus on process, pieces of interest that are unlikely to wind up in the general portfolio, experiments of note and whatever else I may have the time or inclination to write about. "Yeah, yeah, we've heard this before..." you say, skeptical reader, but i assure you, blogging as it were will be attacked with a renewed and improved vigor heretofore unseen in this corner of the cold and vast reaches of the internet...

Anyhow, thanks for reading and stay tuned...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Once every few months i get to crank out a quick poster for my friend Seva Granik, a show booker/promoter for and lately of Coco 66, an up and coming mid-size music venue across the street from my studio in Greenpoint. I was trying to get a sping-time appropos Norse wind thing happening here, but it ended up more classic Japanese monster face...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Living The Dream" show at Fuse Gallery

Got some drawings in a show this Saturday - including Gary Panter (!?) among other talented folks - at Fuse Gallery in lower Manhattan town... click here for the gory details... below are some of the drawings i'll be hanging. They're all 11X14" in 16X20 frames, ink and pencil on paper. The text is culled from the websites of the "other" Ted McGrath, a motivational speaker/outsourcing guru. I've been getting more and more calls and emails mistaking me for him lately (i wonder if anyone ever rings him up for an illustration or design gig?) and i thought it'd be fun to illustrate some of his notable quotable moments from the interweb. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


T by Kim Bost & Ted McGrath from Post Typography on Vimeo.

Back in October, Kim Bost and i were invited by our friends Post Typography to participate in "Fan Letter," the launch party event for their excellent new book Lettering & Type: Creating Letters And Designing Typefaces. For the presentation, 26 artists, designers, illustrators, musicians, film makers, etc were commissioned to create a short presentation about a beloved letter of the alphabet or typographic character. K having already been chosen, we ended up with T, bwahahaha. There were two "Fan Letter" events, one in Baltimore at MICA and one in NYC at Cooper Union, and we were flattered to have participated in both. The video above is from Baltimore: by far the rougher performance, but there's something about Kim's Dylan circa Bringing It All Back Home performance that i really loved, and unfortunately the giant silver T that i'm wearing didn't make it back to Brooklyn...

Thanks and congrats again to Bruce and Nolen at Post Typgraphy... you can check out more videos from Baltimore here: I highly recommend W by Shaun Flynn and D by Jennifer Daniel.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Super! Short! Video!

Hey all - above is my contrubution to Super! Short! Video!, a group show of 5 second long films and animations opening tomorrow at Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg Brooklyn.
I've been taking short video snapshots since the start of the year (the quality of the video on my low-mid range digital camera being surprisingly good) so it seemed like a perfectly logical outlet for some of these pieces. The result was a split screen of two super shorts of one of my studio mates "dancing" and the other my good friend Anthony Macbain recording vocals in my studio for his new band The Psyched. You can watch my contribution, "5 Seconds Of 2010" about 4 - 6 times in the amount of time it takes to read this probably unnecessarily long write up.