“The desk is over ten years old and bears the scars to prove it.”
FROM YOUR DESKS: Your desk resembles Prouve table; did you design it with that in mind?
GEOFF McFETRIDGE: No, when I built it with a friend of mine I did not know who that was. Michael Reisman is an architect and he built all my tables. The legs are Burro sawhorses, which are amazing. You can put 5000 lb on them or something… ya can’t do that with a Prouve table.
Geoff McFetridge (b. 1971) is a graphic artist and director in Los Angeles, California. Originally from Canada, Geoff moved to California to earn his MFA for Graphic Design at the California Institute of the Arts. His thesis project “Chinatown” won a distinctive merit award from ID magazine. In 1996, Geoff founded his own design studio, Champion Graphics. He also worked as the art director for Grand Royal Magazine from 1995 – 1997.
He has worked primarily in the world of graphic design, creating graphics and logotypes for companies such as ESPN, Burton Snowboards, Nike, Girl Skateboards, Stussy and others. His ﬁrst foray into galleries was a 1997 solo exhibition at George’s in Los Angeles. The show introduced his work to photographer and filmmaker Soﬁa Coppola who commissioned him to create the title graphics for her 1999 ﬁlm, The Virgin Suicides. McFetridge has since mounted exhibitions of his work in New York, Berlin, London, Paris and Tokyo and was included in the 2003 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial, New York. In addition to prints, his installations have included everything from furniture, ﬁlm, fabrics and silkscreened wallpaper. Outside the art world, McFetridge’s designs have been featured on t-shirts, album covers, stickers, buttons, patches, and even athletic shoes.
Geoff has had solo shows at galleries around the world, including solo shows at Parco Gallery in Tokyo and Colette in Paris.
GM: I of course am a creature of habit, but within these habits I mix it up. When I am stuck, or bored, I switch things up. Sometimes a simple change of mediums is a good perspective change. By doing many different things (directing, painting, graphics, animation) I am always changing things. Which is nice for me.
I would love to do a feature length animated film.
GM: I was hired by MTV to brand their new production company. It was called “Losers Inc.” I came up with many logos. One of them was that bear with the highball and cigarette. They did not use anything I did. I took the image and placed it next to a bit of text I had written in my sketchbook. The poster was created. The original was a silkscreened print in an edition of 35. Very few of them are out there.
FYD: How do you stay inspired?
GM: I try to expose myself to happiness all the time. I also travel quite a bit. I do read a lot too, nothing about art or graphics. I like to read about cowboys lately. I really try to make something every day, and this keeps me motivated. Too much talking, emailing or thinking can get in the way of actually making things. I find that if I made something it was a good day. Linking these good days together will keep me inspired.
People want to be connected to a brand, but it can be a personal experience, the more personal the better if you ask me.
FYD: The animation world seems raw for the plucking. Any thoughts?
GF: For the past few years I have been doing a lot of hand done animation. Recently I did small animations for the film 180 South. I also did a video for OK Go called Last Leaf. I have done animation for years, and most of it was quite computer-y (Including animating my bears a few times). I was tired of things looking like other people’s stuff so about 8 years ago (at a time when motion graphics were getting more and more tech) I started doing things by hand. My inspiration was pencil tests, the step animators use to test the motion of what there were animating. These tests are rarely seen, but they are beautiful and full of un-fake-able human-ness. Now in 2011 hand done animation is all over the place. There is a connection that can be made with something drawn that I like, whether it be animated or as a piece of art.
FYD: You often work with your friends. In a collaborative setting, say, with Spike on Where the Wild Things Are, were you getting feedback or did you understand the vision from the get-go?
GM: Spike always gives me a lot of room to work. We know each other pretty well. But usually he rejects everything I do…! With Wild Things I was happy that it was the opposite, he liked everything. He is getting soft in his old age. Or I am getting better at reading his mind.
FYD: I would love to compose a music score. Anything you haven’t tried?
GM: I would love to do a feature length animated film.
Too much talking, emailing or thinking can get in the way of actually making things. I find that if I made something it was a good day.
GM: I think it is a good time for that. Many many people feel the way you feel. I have always approached branding with people like you in mind, people want to be connected to a brand, but it can be a personal experience, the more personal the better if you ask me. So labels should be on the inside. Inside the product, and inside the consumers heart.
FYD: Do you skate or ride your bike to work?
GM: I mix it up between riding my bike and running.