Every year we sit down and come up with a plan for the festival. An important part of the festival has been the festival poster. The festival poster is our signature on the festival. We are continually working to refresh and re-imagine. The artist behind the incredible works of art for California Roots Festival posters is Shaun Logan of Slogan Design. He took some time to speak with us about his experience, inspiration and more!
How did you get your start as an artist?
Throughout high school, I spent majority of my time drawing in class, skateboarding, going to concerts and playing guitar. After school everyday, I would spend most of my free time at my friend Cole Lemke’s house, eating his food and drawing funny comic books together. Cole is another talented artist that helps with the Ca Roots family and we still get to work together today. Cole and I started a punk band with our friend Ryan Demars. Ryan sang, Cole played drums and I attempted to play guitar. Ryan said one day he was going to go play bass for this band called The Expendables. We were stoked and I think that was a good choice for him.
Ryan later asked if I could draw a shirt for The Expendables. The design became the No Time to Worry album cover. That’s also where I received my nickname “Slogan”. The period never printed on the shirt between S and Logan. Thanks Cam for making that stick.
I continued to create artwork for The Expendables to help them grow and get exposure. I knew in my gut that if they make it, I would get exposure too. During the recording process for Gettin’ Filthy, the band stayed at my place in San Francisco for about a month. I occasionally joined them on weekend trips for shows and I enjoyed the hard work that went into putting on a show. I later dropped out of college with only 4 classes left to go travel the country. Living in a van, eating bad food and sleep on floors for no pay. It was awesome! I knew I had to take a chance. I somehow became the tour manager for The Expendables and helped them with the little details for each day on the road. I thank the boys for letting me help and exposing me to all of the great people I met along the way.
How do you know when a work is finished?
I don’t think it’s ever done. I could seriously work on a piece for a year or more. I am very OCD with my work and it has to be perfect to me. I also strive to constantly to learn new techniques and get out of my comfort zone. It’s a love / hate relationship but I always have to keep learning. I do have a formula that helps me stay focused and feeds the OCD monster. Those formulas also keep my style and feel in every piece.
Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Noise. I have to have background noise. Music is great, but I start to realize how much time has passed cause most average songs are 3 minutes long. I really like documentaries, comedy and books on tape to distract me from work. The drawing or concept is already done in my head,; I just have to make my hand print it. Just imagine watching the slowest printer everyday. Almost like watching paint dry.
This year’s California Roots poster design is very intricate. What was your inspiration behind it?
This year’s poster was a joint effort from Jeff Monser. Jeff had this concept of showing the growth of the festival with different types of trees from all corners of the world. I created many different types of tree people with sketches. I made multiple versions of the poster to make sure I could make Jeff’s idea come true. We finally locked in the concept of having it the view of a fan in the crowd watching the stage growing. If you notice from the first announcement, the redwood tree is holding a purple seed starting to grow. The second announcement shows a willow tree reaching up and pulling on the same plant leaves. Then the final poster presents the growth of that little seed that became the bowl stage.
Was there an artist you admire now or when you were young that inspired you to be an artist yourself?
I grew up on skateboard art, concert posters and vinyl album covers. I really enjoy Jim and Jimbo Phillips art from growing up in Santa Cruz. The Phillips designs are always so bold and eye catching. I love rock posters by Coop and his “Rat Fink” style of hot rods and bright colors. Rick Griffin’s posters and album covers have always inspired me to get super complex in my line work. Then one of my favorites is Pushead. He did a lot of punk and metal art for a lot of my favorite bands. I like his stippling shading and textures.
You are constantly coming up with amazing works of art. How do you keep your creative spark?
I wouldn’t say amazing, I know I can always do better.
The creative spark is kind of hard to explain. My brain is constantly creating and moving to the point of always boiling over with ideas. I have a photographic memory that really affects me everyday. I have a weird sense of humor and I love to problem solve. Put all of those elements together and you get my spark.
What is your dream project? If there were no restrictions on time or money what would you create?
I would really like to create a giant skate ramp with a weird mix of wall rides, escalators, camel humps and more. The old Powell skate video “The search for animal chin” was one of my favorites. The ramp at the end of the video was always a dream to skate when I was a kid. I like wood building as much as I like to draw and paint. My goal would be to make a skateable art-piece with monsters and 3D cartoon characters for the walls or roll off decks. Just a giant rock poster that comes to life is the best way I could describe it.
Can you describe a single habit that you strongly believe contributes to your success?
My OCD and hard work ethic. I like a challenge. I like pushing through any overwhelming situations. I wouldn’t say I’m completely successful, but I know hard work, trusting my gut and taking chances got me to where I am at today. I know I can fail at any moment and that keeps me driving forward.
You’ve created art for several events and bands. What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
Man, that is a tough question. I usually am pretty sick of a piece after I make it. I enjoy it for a moment and then I start picking it apart on what I could have done right. I may have to say it was the carnival cut out I made for The Expendables for Warped Tour in 2011. It was called the “warped tourists”. It was a photo opportunity so fans could put their head into and be apart of the art piece. I liked seeing people enjoy it and laugh.