Studio Tour #001 - Delicious Design League
Studio Tour #001 - Delicious Design League
Photography Ben Speckmann
Keep your eyes open for our new series of studio tours coming to you once a month. These extended content posts will have a slew of photos from an artistic space of our choosing along with an interview. It will be housed in the features column directly to the right as well as show up in the community section to alert you of new tours.
This month we hook up with our good friends Delicious Design League. A screen printing, illustration and design crew out of Chicago. Let's get to it!
Delicious Design League is the Chicago based designing, illustrating and printing duo made up by Billy Baumann and Jason Teegarden-Downs. One is sweet, the other an asshole. One stays up into the early hours of the morning and needs constant distractions in order to work, the other sticks to normal business hours and enjoys silence. But their conflicting natures seem to come together in the consistently impressive work they create.
The Post Family: Who the hell are you and what the hell do you do? For how long have you been doing it? WHY!?
Billy and Jason: We are Delicious Design League; Billy Baumann & Jason Teegarden-Downs, we design, illustrate & screen print stuff - any sort of stuff like logos or packaging or character design or anything really but people know us most by our screen printed rock posters. We've officially been a partnership since January 2006. "Why" is a very good question that has a multitude of answers so I'll just say because we're too lazy to get real jobs.
TPF: Where does your creative process start? Where do you find inspiration and such?
B: We have a couple of great interns working with us now and in trying to teach them the all tricks I've picked up over the years it has forced me to analyze my creative process more closely and in doing so it has allowed me to be able to create a pretty standard model that I can go to when a new project hits my desk first thing in the morning. Well... that was a very wordy way of saying that I've come up with a system that works for me just about every time. The first thing you do is research- If you stare at a blank piece of paper and expect the ideas to be beamed down to you from some imaginary deity then you will be waiting a long while. If you do research on your client, your target, your product, what you're trying to communicate then ideas should start coming right away. During the research I'm writing down key words, in columns, in my sketchbook - everything from colors to feelings to every thing that relates to my project at hand and from those keywords I start making thumbnail sketches while looking at visual inspiration (web, books, movies, bathroom wall, everything etc.. to help facilitate the process. Usually my first thumbnail is the design I do. Frankly, the easy part is coming up with the concept (which is not to say that it's really easy it just that the execution part is much harder). Not every idea is a good one, obviously, but you really shouldn't have a problem coming up with a concept and if you are you must be still waiting on that deity.
TPF: What do you do on a normal day?
B: Since our studio is in the basement of where we live I just wake-up whenever I naturally get up (today it was 11:15AM) and then for the rest of the day and usually night I design whatever Jason tells me to do. If I know the schedule too far in advance it stresses me out and I'm not as productive - I don't want to see the whole forest just show me that one tree you want cut down today and I'll worry about the other ones tomorrow.
J: I try to stick a little closer to regular business hours, since I’m the one talking to the clients, managing projects and production, and working with the interns most of the time. Some weeks I’m printing for 8 hours a day, others I’m juggling keeping Billy and the clients happy (which is quite a task!).
TPF: What are you eating, drinking, listening to, reading, watching, and
dreaming about these days?
B: "Delicious runs on Burger King" that's our slogan and we even came up with a theme song - we eat Burger King like three times a week. I drink Pamplemousse La Croix from cans all day long. I listen to Podcasts constantly about science and comic books - I must be distracted for me to concentrate on work. I read a lot of comic books, my favorite right now is Fables I think. I just got done watching Battlestar Galactica season three - that was pretty good.
J: Billy thinks I’m weird because I work in silence a lot. I’ve been into wheat beers lately, listening to the classical station (I think it’s because classical is one genre of music I haven’t spent much time exploring, so it’s kinda new to me), I’ve got 7 books on my nightstand that I’ve been switching between, most of them are either philosophy or science fiction. (“Valis” Philip K. Dick, “Old Path White Clouds” Thich Nhat Hanh (my 3rd time reading it), Letter to a “Christian Nation” Sam Harris, are a few of them). Lately, I’ve gotten into Madmen, and I have become an avid sports fan.
TPF: How often do you lose things in your space?
B: Rarely, what's there to lose.
J: All the time!
TPF: your backyard makes it feels like we're in Cuba, when are you going to start raising chickens, and is it okay if we start holding cock fights
B: I've heard your cock is really big and nasty I don't think I want anything to do with that.
J: We’re going to start a sanctuary for cock-fight survivors back there.
TPF: What's up with that cat's leg!?
B: Stewart the cat has felineAIDS (FIV) and he got into a fight and hurt his leg and due to his disease he has a hard time fighting off infection - he's good now though, Jason just got him fixed and we found him a home and he'll be moving October 1st.
J: Yeah, he’s become one of my best buddies. I’m very excited that Sarah, our intern, has offered him a happy home.
TPF: Jason, you mentioned that you and billy have two distinct styles of
working. How can you stand each other, and do you think your love of the two sides of your work (design and printing), keeps the family happy?
B:This is very true. Jason is the nice one and I'm kind of an asshole or so he tells me. Honestly though, I can be very difficult to work with because I'm very hard on myself and in-turn I'm very hard on Jason - not him as a person but the work that we are collectively producing. I absolutely want to do the best work that we can do and I'm constantly analyzing and reevaluating our work and that can come out it in some not so very positive ways. Luckily for me Jason is one of the most patient and ernest people I've ever met and I think he deserves a medal for putting up with my shit.
J: Shucks, how do I top that? I’ve actually learned a lot working with Billy. He comes off as being extremely harsh, but really has great intentions. I think that if everyone in the world where as honest as he is (sometimes brutally), that the world would be a much better place. We are both perfectionists, so that’s a similarity.
TPF: Who do you think the cutest member of the Post Family is?
B: Good question: Rod has this Vincent Gallo thing going on and he's kinda dark and mysterious and that kinda scares me - like the he's the badboy with the dark past, but I think in the end I'd have to go with with Chad cause he's the most cuddly.
J: Is this a rhetorical question?
TPF: How you guys doing with this modern life? too much intimate time with your computers? too many products on the tv? too many cars trying to run you off the rode while your cycling? has the market got you down?
B: I like my alone time and I love watching tv- I am what is wrong with the world.
J: Some days I think about joining a ren-fare and pretending this modern world doesn’t exist...
TPF: Any projects or events coming up you guys are getting ready for?
B:Planning my Halloween costume, does that count? Oh, and my band Teith has got a record release show on Oct.18th at the Beat Kitchen and we just shot a video last weekend so that should be coming out soon, so that's cool I guess. http://www.thirtyghostsrecords.com/bands_teith.htm
J: We just got asked to work with The Royal Order on Mozilla again. This time on the Thunderbird website illustration. So, that will take up a good chunk of our time in the coming weeks. We’re always doing more gigposters.
TPF: What do you think of Chicago and it's art scene?
B: I just read some Bansky quote, (not that I'm really into Bansky), and I think he was saying that all the good visual talent is in the commercial world and that the fine art world is worse off for it. After reading that I felt better for not being into the art scene - it's a good excuse for me not to educate and involve myself.
J: Chicago has an art scene?
TPF: So you’re fine with being a part of the ‘good’ talent in the commercial world…
B: Well, I was kind of joking. All I am saying is that if the quality of the art in the "art scene" is not very high these days then I feel better for not missing out on it. It was more of a joke on my ignorance of the art scene really.
TPF: Why don't you feel you're a part of the art scene here?
B: Simply put, I don't make art. I don't go to many galleries and I don't know many artists. I feel we are designers and illustrators - I've never wanted to be an artist. I feel much more comfortable thinking about and observing the world in my own head and in conversation rather than trying to create a reflection of my ever-changing views on those things in a visual (or any other medium) manner - which is what I consider art. I don't think about the world the same way I did when I was 21, and so on, and I don't think that I want to project those ideas onto the world, ideas that will inevitably change with time and experience. I also don't like making decoration for decorations sake, (which I have done), but that is not art, only decoration.
TPF: We see galleries around; we've heard some people call themselves artists…
J: Well, I was being a bit facetious on that previous answer... I’m extremely proud of the art scene in Chicago by way of screen-printers and poster artists. I’m reluctant to agree with some, that there is a movement going on here, because that kind-of disenchants or takes away from the romance of it. I think we are very much a part of a scene here, though. When I moved here as a “painter” I never found a niche of people like I have since I’ve been screen-printing, that are so supportive and welcoming. It’s almost like poster artists have become a sort of sub-culture in a sense.
TPF: Now ask yourself a question and answer it.
B: Why are your pants so tight? To show off my balls.