Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Medici, Part I: New work

A happy accident produced this final look:
I absent-mindedly turned the image to white
near a black background — et voila!
fake Wedgewood.
Greg Archer thinks different, thank goodness.

For one thing, he changed his last name when he married, so he and his new wife could share it without a lot of paperwork muss. "Archer" holds more potential for a business name, frankly, than Briski. (My apologies to all people Briski.)

When Greg created his bicycle repair business, having closed his bicycle accessories shop, The Rest Stop, Greg's married name provided oodles of potential. Oodles being a unit of measurement in the illustration profession.

I got to know Greg when he owned The Rest Stop ("Everything for the bicyclist but the bike") near midtown Sacramento, and needed design of promotional materials every few weeks.

(Here I thank Bob Dahlquist, bicyclist, amazing designer and really interesting person, for bringing me to Greg's attention.)

Greg Archer,
The Rest Stop was a store for lingering, for long talks between shoppers and the staff, sometimes about items for purchase. And it prided itself on those items, including a hard-to-find kind of rear-view mirror that bicyclists came from far away to fetch.

As more and more bicyclists fetched their hard-to-finds on the Internet, The Rest Stop, literally a brick-and-mortar store, became more and more difficult to sustain.

Arguably the least efficient or
intimidating warrior in any battle …
Thinking different, Greg closed the store and attended an intensive bike repair academy near the Rocky Mountains. He opened Archer Bicycle Repair on his return, grease up to his elbows in the one thing his old store didn't carry.

In short time, on completion of life adventures he and his wife are planning, Greg plans to take his business to someplace like Chicago, where they'll settle. Maybe sell bikes and accessories too. Who knows?

In the meantime, Greg wanted a logo for his new venture.

This isn't really new work, but it has become official recently by virtue of business cards, the first of his "business system" (letterhead, envelopes, marketing tools) to be printed.

After scratching with a pencil the itch of the usual ideas (gears and sprockets and chains and spokes for "bicycle," and bandages and booboos and crosses for "repair"), I attacked the Archer idea, and eventually came up with the guy at left.

It's silly, and that's probably why we decided it worked. He's a strange Moderne time traveler, having brought from the future a penny farthing and an aerodynamic helmet to wage medieval battle.

A penny farthing parked permanently outside Greg's bike accessories shop, and this was a nod toward it.

Greg soon decided the archer was lonely and needed a companion: Diana the Huntress was reborn on a beach cruiser, somewhat evocative of Art Deco. Just as improbable, hunting on a boardwalk somewhere.

The beginning of the end of the beginning …
The connective tissue for each was that they should be "old" logos, suggesting they've been found discarded and given new purpose, or that the business has thrived for a while. I thought of the "head badge," or metal label affixed to the front of my dad's old Raleigh bicycle he wheeled around air bases in England and California, when I put these together. They have English roots, however vestigial.

That became more apparent when I accidentally reversed Diana's image (turned it from black to white), and saw how much more vividly it popped from a dark background. Change the background to a certain blue, and Diana emerges like some icon a potter at the Wedgewood factory cooked up on his/her off time.

Diana made a tentative debut, but now the penny farthing guy is a secondary — maybe even tertiary — icon for Archer Bicycle Repair. Diana became the "It" girl. Only one person has complained about her brazen ways. Eh, Greg replied.

So why the hell did I call this post "My Medici?" It has to do with all the opportunities Greg has provided me over the years, the latest of which is a mermaid. It all started above, with a moon-eyed Pepto- Bismol®™©-pink dog. That's part II.

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