Behind the Scenes: Forefront Series Art

My role with the forefront staff is in many ways a funny thing. I laugh midway through explaining to anyone what I do because I'm only trained formally for about 10-15% of what I actually do. The rest has been a slow, steady, and sometimes annoying process of learning via google, the guild creative community, but most often the Ace people I work with. They are sharers, helpers, and always in my corner amongst both the tame and the crazy ideas.

So an example would be helpful, right? -- here goes.


A large part of my role as Creative Director of Forefront is as our primary 'Graphic Designer'. My favorite way thus far to work around the holes in my skill set is to lean into my obsession for crafting and building things. This, paired with some inspiring conversations with Ben Grace & Ryan Phipps, have led us to a string of 'handmade' series over the past few months that I'm really happy with and it's opened up the door for a renewed sense of collaboration in this process by the simple need for more hands. It's pretty dope.

Here's how the most recent series art came into being:




*Click to Watch the clip

*Click to Watch the clip

Some random morning on the 6 train, I realized that with a name like 'Matter' this series would benefit from having matter or stuff in the graphic. My brain immediately went to Jay-Z's 'the Blueprint 3' album cover which I'd seen ages ago, and then wandered quickly from that to this music video by OK GO I'd seen 2 weeks earlier. Both of them used a lot of objects, but by painting them were able to create a 'clean' visual that stuck with me. BOOM. I jotted down the idea in my notes app on my phone, along with a quick idea for a bumper video and some pertinent info on the series, compliments of our teaching team.




In my weekly meeting with my overseer & mentor, Ryan Phipps, I shared my idea of painted objects and how I was thinking of going to a thrift store to purchase said objects and get the most random/interesting things I could find. He told me he liked the idea, but suggested I get miniature dollhouse objects instead so that it would be easier to paint, light and capture the final imagery. BRILLIANT!

After I took his advice and ordered the doll stuff on amazon, Ryan made fun of me on twitter for it -- nothing out of the ordinary.




All of my dollhouse toys arrived at the office. I unboxed them, made jokes about making calls on the tiniest phone in the world, then got to painting.


...And then to shooting the graphic and (stop motion) bumper. For any of you who are wondering, you can read up more on stop motion here.



I was in the office with Erin Byrne and sharing with her how I wanted a punchy, driving and weird track to pair up with the bumper video. The next two words out of her mouth were '15 step', and we suddenly had our track via Radiohead.

I think we ended up with something good, thematically 'on', and found a lot of ways to enjoy the process.

Thanks for taking a peek inside our first Series Art: BTS. I hope that sharing my process has been useful, or at the very least -- interesting. 

- Matthew