What I Learned Last Night
Universal Animation Studios logo by Wayne White and Bill Dawson. No shit.
Last night I attended a terrific party hosted by my friends Michael Blum and Tracy Pion and their company Riverstreet Productions. I’ve worked with Michael and Tracy a lot in the past dozen years or more. They are fantastic, collaborative, creative people; they’re genuinely nice and fun to work with. One of the projects I did with them was a logo for their client Universal Animation Studios. This logo was also a collaboration, but I hadn’t realized until last night with whom I’d collaborated.
I created the typography for the logo. Michael and Tracy had asked their friend Wayne to create the globe that was the logo’s centerpiece. Last night at the party I saw Tracy chatting with Wayne White and his wife, cartoonist and writer, Mimi Pond. 5 years after working on that logo I made the connection. Wayne is Wayne White– the brilliantly talented – and sharply funny – artist, animator, cartoonist, puppeteer, painter, and provocateur.
Wayne White was one of the main creative talents behind Pee Wee’s Playhouse. He sculpted and performed the bad boy puppet Randy. In the mid-80s Wayne’s work was an inspiration to me and my designer friends in Boston. We were in love with Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Last year I wrote about seeing Wayne and filmmaker Neil Berkeley discuss their documentary at the Soho Apple Store in Manhattan. The documentary Beauty is Embarrassing is a portrait of Wayne, his life, and his work. It’s a great bit of historical perspective and a fly-on-the-wall glimpse at a contemporary artist and his continuing evolution. It can be seen on Netflix or purchased on DVD.
Discovering my oblique connection to someone I greatly admire was a very nice surprise.