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BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride

Quick content warning: this post touches on homophobia and includes images of some homophobic slurs.

Scott Whalen and I went to college together, so when he asked me – over cocktails and Ru Paul’s Drag Race – about an idea he had for some shirts, I was totally game.

The idea was to reclaim slurs that had been used against him and other queer folks in a series of t-shirts. He told me that, as a cis white dude, he felt he had the privilege to make the more provocative statements and, thus, a responsibility.

During our initial concept conversation, we discussed a simple sans serif block letter, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how we might better convey the idea that these were being employed by someone at Scott, not just employed by Scott. He asked for something that was bold and aggressive, and something active vs passive.

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SERIES: Sects Sell – Flat Earthers

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

Ad Inspo:

This was such a fun one to work on, y’all. The iconography is based on Atomic Age design. There was a huge boom between the 1940s and 1960s in architecture, ad design, and interior decoration in art that reflected the major concerns of the times. This period roughly aligns with the Cold War and centers atomic science, nuclear warfare, and the Space Race.

I was super excited to learn that, because it ties directly to a conspiracy theory attached to this belief system.

A super famous example of Atomic Age art is the Atomium in Brussels, which I saw last fall in person! Here is a gratuitious selection of cool pictures I took of it:

Anyway, an element of this era is The Jetsons! And actually I discovered that there is a TON of incredible texture in the 1960s version of the show!

Look at that! Building from that aesthetic, I went into some prevalent mediums from the era and I decided it was time to experiment with fake Gouache. I used the digital Gouache brushes from Retro Supply Co on Creative Market for all of the texture on this piece! (Full disclosure, I’m a new Creative Market partner, so I get a small portion of the proceeds if you purchase those brushes at no extra cost to you!

Cult Inspo

This is our first non-traditional cult, so I wanted to take the opp to talk a bit about how I’m choosing what goes into this series. The thing that interests me most about the fringes of society — whether that’s cults, or serial killers, or child prodigies, or people that sail around the world for five years — is that they’re extreme. This series is specifically about when that extremism becomes destructive.

I think there’s a lot to learn about society and the human psyche about the ways in which things go wrong.

So flat earthers are an extremely sect of society even though they’re not a formal body with a compound or a leader.

Anyway.

Direct from the homepage.

Flat Earthin’ is pretty much what it sounds like. I spent quite a bit of time on the Flat Earth Society website and oh my god. Rather than sharing a summary, I’d like to share my favorite parts of the site.

This is the first FAQ and it’s my absolute favorite.

Are you serious?

Yes.


This section is the most indicative of the lunacy of this system of belief. So I’ll go ahead and annotate that for us.

Why would People Lie About The Shape Of The Earth?

The million dollar question.

There are three common explanations for this, but in the end without toppling the Planar Conspiracy there is no real way to know.

The Planar Conspiracy is the name of my new all-women punk band. I am the drummer. Watch this space for our new single dropping soon.

Okay, remember 11 seconds ago when we talked about the Cold War?

  • To Maintain Legitimacy: During the Cold War we faked the moon landing. Shortly after they realized the reason they could not reach the moon was due to the flatness of the Earth. They were stuck in a lie, and had to continue it or lose legitimacy of our governments. Even today we would still hold onto this lie due to role Science plays in our ruling government. 

Our government is so full of fucking religious bullshit and the current administration is decimating our natural resources bc ~*~*feelings*~*~, but okay, bud.

  • To hide the truth of the Bible.

Here’s that sweet, sweet cult bullshit. Elsewhere in the FAQs it says, “it would be impossible to deny the strong historical ties with Christianity by past Presidents of the Society.” which, obviously.

  • To Gain Power and Money: By siphoning off the space budgets and denying the world the resources of the Antarctic they gain a considerable amount of power and wealth.

This is fucking incredible. We are cutting the space exploration budget real hard – with the obvious exception of the space force star wars galaxy quest bullshit we got goin’ on rn – so what money even would that be? And what benefit could Antarctica have to us if it just drops tf off the planet into space? Space oil?

In fact, elsewhere in the FAQs it says:

As evidenced by the logo of the United Nations the Earth is a round disk of infinite dimensions. The geographic North Pole is located in the center of the disk, and the Antarctic lies around the outer edges. 

How can there be edges of a disc with infinite dimension?

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SERIES: Sects Sell – The Moonies

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

Ad Inspo:

My inspo for this morphed quite a bit over the process of this piece and was something totally different at the end. I started out with a very cliche “misused quotation mark” ad page, but ended at 1960s-ish album cover. Which isn’t technically an ad, but whatever. It’s week 3 of this brand new series. I do what I want.

The hallmarks I pulled from said album covers:

  • Heavy shading – this is a hallmark of the mid-century modern style
  • Ebullient font – I love these dweeby, gameshow sitcom letters so much
  • Clear misunderstanding of the human form –
The weird bodies are specifically inspired by a dude named Alexander Girard, who was mostly a textile man, but also illustrated a book called Color in the early 1970s. This style of human body is clearly reflect in the cover illustration, which is called Girls.
Because it’s got girls, I assume. Here is one dope spread from the same book:


The hallmarks I pulled from anachronistic sources:

  • The Goonies title font

Cult Inspo

Revisiting the Moonies after a bit away from them was honestly a bit of a letdown. People refer to them by this very interesting and mysterious name, but when the lights come on, it turns out that’s just a dudes name and this is regular, old-fashioned, misogynistic, patriarchal, paternalistic, Christians-based cult, just like America.

ANYWAY, the real name was Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, or HSA-UWC. Then they renamed it to Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, or FFWPU. Then I assume everyone in the world realized they didn’t know what tf an acronym is for and they were too busy doing weird versions of sacraments to learn. So we call them the Moonies now.

The group was founded in Korea and in 1971, Mr. Moon moved to the US and spoke at Madison Square Garden and on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Apparently he spoke to 300,000 people, which is more people than have every shown up to hear Trump speak. AYOOOO! SHE’S GETTING POLITICAL!

The church got real big in the early 70s and then in the mid-70s anti-cult folks started talking about the church and in 1982, Moon when to jail for tax fraud. Isn’t it always the way? Shortly after that, he told everyone to go home and be missionaries there instead of bothering him and, I assume, took a nap.

Purportedly (by them) the group is all about science, but they recently sent an author out into the world to publish a book questioning evolution, which was super fucking established when they were all “Science is dope” in the 70s.

The thing you probably know about them is that they were all about that sweet, sweet mass wedding-slash-blessing-ceremony. BUT! they also invented a new kind of funeral and then said they wouldn’t do it for poor people.

They had one a couple years ago and the photos are on Buzzfeed and they are IN.SANE.

Add classist and hypocritical to the list of adjectives from up top!

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SERIES: Sects Sell – The Rajneeshees

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

Ad Inspo:

This is inspired by the large letter postcards that were genuinely prevalent from the 1930s – 1950s and are now kind of ironically prevelant, usually in a way that mocks Florida. The general characteristics are large block letters, sometimes filled with secondary images, and the words “greetings from…”

Interesting fact I had not previously know: in this era, most postcards were made of linen, not paper, and it was common for those linen postcards to be textured. I’m guessing it felt a bit like thick money which, in related news, is my stripper name. COPYRIGHT.

This link will tell you to some examples from around the world.

Cult Inspo:

If you’ve never heard of the Rajneeshees, it is my strong recommendation that you watch Wild, Wild Country on Netflix ASAP. It’s very long, but it’s so. so. good.

Look how freaking creepy this documentary looks!

If you refuse to participate in your own education, the Rajneeshees are a cult that started in India, came to America medium illegally, bought a ranch in Oregon, and terrorized the adjacent town of Antelope by rigging their elections and sprinkling their salad bars with poison. As far as I can tell, their values are extreme capitalism, taking whatever you want, and yelling quite a bit while clothed and then, later, nude.

There’s also a lot of infighting and selling each other down the river slash out of the country and listening to these people explain themselves on Netflix has been a highlight of my time watching television with my roommate, Hannah.

The most infuriating thing is that the horrifying leader, the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, decided later in his life that he wanted to be called Osho. And they just fully switched over, nbd. And NOW a lot of white girls you know are probably posting inspirational quotes attributed to Osho! The man that was like, “absolutely, get AFTER that salad bar poisoning so we can be the king of antelope and continue our substandard construction!,” probably.

Look at what a creep this guy is!

Like. If that doesn’t make you want to change your mind and watch WWC, I don’t know what to do with you.

Anyway, this postcard is of their ranch, Rajneeshpuram and tbh it’s pretty spot on.

Look at what happens when you make your yoga followers build their own houses and stuff!

If you’ve seen the doc, I encourage you to try to find the syringe hidden in someone’s pocket. You can do it if you haven’t seen the documentary, but you won’t know why it’s shocking and/or hilarious.

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SERIES: Sects Sell – Heaven’s Gate

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

Ad Inspo:

The aesthetic of the print ad is square in the middle of the 1950s. In particular, there’s a subset of home and travel ads and catalogues that feature script with rounded bodies, but tapered serifs — the cover of this catalogue on the right is a great example. It also shows pretty clearly the graphic style of the time, which doesn’t aim for photo-realism, but also stays pretty true to form.

Click through to see the full catalogue — it’s super interesting to see the floor plans that were popular

The actual shape of the sign is based on the famous Sky Ranch Motel from the Vegas Motel Park. I’ll just say it’s one of the … seedier … options available to your 1950s tourist(?). The sign is iconic and it features prominently in a lot of parodies of Vegas.

Cult Inspo:

I would be very surprised to learn that you’d never heard of Heaven’s Gate, the cult where everyone dressed in matching Nike and walked in formation and ate in unison and believed that the Hale Bopp Comet was gonna take them to heaven, but just in case, I’ll share from their website, which is, famously, maintained to this day using funds the group amazed before they all committed suicide so they’d catch their proverbial train.

“A member of the Kingdom of Heaven then left behind His body in that Next Level (similar to putting it in a closet, like a suit of clothes that doesn’t need to be worn for awhile), came to Earth, and moved into an adult human body (or “vehicle”) that had been “prepped” for this particular task. The body that was chosen was called Jesus.”

– direct from Heavens Gate Dot Com

Heaven’s Gate posted a press release on their geocities expage live journal from hell — or heaven, I guess, get it, I got jokes, this is going great. Here are the three sentences I reacted to most audibly:

  • We came from [the Kingdom of Heaven] Level, that time, that space, and entered this one. And in so doing, we had to enter human bodies — which we did, for the most part, in the mid-seventies.
  • If you should choose to [follow us], logistically it is preferred that you make this exit somewhere in the area of the West or Southwest of the United States — but if this is not possible — it is not required.
  • You must call on the name of TI and DO to assist you. In so doing, you will engage a communication of sorts, alerting a spacecraft to your location where you will be picked up after shedding your vehicle, and taken to another world — by members of the Kingdom of Heaven.

So that’s Heaven’s Gate! Tune in next week for the Rajneeshees!

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SERIES: Sects Sell

Launched in January 2019, Sects Sell is my weekly opportunity to explore a cult and experiment with a mid-century-ish, retro style of advertisement. New pieces are posted every Friday on this page and on Instagram – follow this and other work at @bridgetmakesstuff.

Series Title Card – January 2019

Ad Inspo:

AD INSPO:

The shape of the logo is inspired by the Holiday Inn Great Sign, see below, which is the real name of the marquee sign that the chain used exclusively from its founding through the 1970s. By the mid-1980s, the signs has been phased out entirely, much to the chagrin of founder, Kemmons Wilson. He legit has the sign etched into his tombstone. That’s not a joke.


The lettering is based on the iconic game show title card font primarily used in the 1960s — even Jeopardy! used a version while Art Fleming was still the host, as you can see above.

I also threw in some stars reminiscent of Sky Ranch motel, but I’m going to save that deep dive for the next piece in the series.

Cult Inspo:

There’s not so much in the way of cult inspo in this prelaunch week, but the title of the series, “Sects Sell,” is a play on the old chestnut “Sex Sells.” I’m calling it an old chestnut because that provides me some psychic and emotional distance from that fairly gross phrase, as well as the concept which, you know, isn’t wrong just because it’s icky.

The title gives me some room to explore both different levels of cultiness and different kinds of old-school advertising. Which I look forward to doing in this space every Friday!

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Making it Offish!

Hi friends! I’m super excited to share that I’m enrolled in a program at the University of Baltimore to get a Certificate in User Experience Design, or UX. My goals are to codify my many years of experience building websites for myself and to more effectively apply my understanding of customer and prospective member behavior to sites I’m working on for myself and my clients.

For the last little bit, I’ve been trying to firm up what exactly I want to offer, in terms of services, and after a couple months of offering every single thing I know how to do, I’ve narrowed it down to a specific slate of services and tools I can offer new and growing small businesses, nonprofits, and solo ventures — a cohesive web presence is a big part of that!

The other things that are a part of that – the things I’m excited about folding into my services are things like: logo design, cohesive branding design, product promotion, custom fonts, custom paper products, and multi-step planning.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be updating my hire page to better fit this vision.

If you want to be sure you don’t miss that – or anything – sign up for my newsletter here.

You can also help me keep making time to make art while I complete my program by supporting me on Patreon or making purchases from Managed Expectations on Etsy.