Archival material: NYC edition

Photo by Rebecca Cooney for New York TodayA decade ago, which is essentially a lifetime ago, the New York Times had a web-only site about living in New York, and featured me in a weekly column about homes/apartments in the city. While I’m impressed that the article and accompanying slideshow are still online, I’m making an effort to gather up things like this and store them here for posterity, just in case.

[To be honest, I’m also just having a bout of nostalgia for the days when I lived alone an had a lot of space to myself for gathering treasure and doing cool stuff.]

So let’s take a little wistful trip down memory lane, past all the awful (and occasionally lovely) things that have happened since then.

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My role model

John Waters in Bristol

Another stop on John’s book tour for Role Models. This was at the Festival of Ideas in Bristol, a spur-of-the-moment ticket booked while my pal Jeremy from Bristol was visiting me in Brooklyn. Charming as ever, and an intimate little venue for a change.

Although it was a minor detail, I was happy when he told the story of meeting Justin Bieber, who told John that his mustache was “the jam”, on Graham Norton’s show. (See the clip.) That happened the day I last saw John at the Southbank Centre in December, when I was stranded by the snow in the UK for a day after my visa expired. I had John autograph my outdated visa that night, which pissed off the folks at passport control when I re-entered as a tourist later that month.

John Waters visa

It was a superb start to a superb weekend overall. I like Bristol more and more every time I visit.

Official business

April Fool’s Day is probably a bad time to make a major announcement, but I swear this one is for real. As of today, I am employed full-time as a senior type designer at Monotype Imaging, based out of our office in Salfords, a bit south of London. (I live and spend most of the time working in London itself, however.) I will probably spend most of my time for the next few months continuing to work on Indic typefaces, and doing a bit more speaking about type design and typography. And actually getting paid for it. Is that awesome or what?

Hooray! Did you know that I’ve spent the last few months whining about my work visa issues, and living back in New York while I waited for all this to fall into place? After working for two years on a collaborative project between Monotype and the University of Reading, and then waiting for the visa stuff to get sorted, I feel like I have finally completed the longest job interview of my life. I am relieved, and excited.

Sparky typefaces

[Note: This is as good a time as any to point out that this is my personal web site, though, where I generally speak off the cuff, and occasionally talk some shit. Those opinions are mine, not the company’s. Obviously.]



It’s a terrible shame that I won’t actually be in London to see it, but I was delighted to find out that the photo above is going to be part of a show of Hipstamatic images at the Orange Dot Gallery in London in January.

Perhaps the folks putting together the exhibition had a simoiar reaction to my pal Norm, who once said of that photo: “It looks the way I want to feel.” For me, I’ve always loved how that image captures captures the mood of a relaxed, uncomplicated summer day with friends — a rare instance of proper, perfect vacation — in a little Austrian village called Streifing.

Type is only skin-deep

Ready at last! Feast your eyes on this little video clip of me getting my tattoo of the “w” from Type Mafia‘s Actium Black Italic this Summer. Henk Schiffmacher, the tattoo artist, was quite a character, and luckily he got a kick out of the typographic tattoo theme — it always goes better that way. What’s nice about the video is that it provides an answer to the third-most common question I get: Does the tattooist draw the letters freehand, or follow some kind of a guide? Voila! Watch Henk fill in a stencil made from artwork I provided.

Gerben at the tattoo parlor

Above: The Type Mafia art directs the process

By the way, to answer the first two:

  1. No, not really. It feels like heat more than anything else.

  2. They don’t spell out anything

Actium Black Italic tattoo