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Earl Gee: Fan of Ferry Food

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Gee’s Conference Tip:

Get Thee to the Ferry Building

The theme for this year’s HOW Design Live is Rediscover Inspriation.  Can do! Neenah does its part by offering attendees posters on Neenah CLASSIC® Paper created by five notable American Designers (in order of loudness): James Victore, Von Glitschka, Joshua Chen, Ron Chan and Earl Gee.

HOW Design Live San Francisco
Conference Dates: 06/22/13-06/26/13
Conference Location: Moscone West, Levels 1-3
Conference Website:
Neenah Artist Poster Signing Schedule
Monday, June 24 Exhibit Hall
i.            12:00-1:00_ James Victore
ii.            1:00-2:00_ Ron Chan
iii.            5:00-6:30 _ Earl Gee
Tuesday, June 25 Exhibit Hall
iv.            12:00-1:00 _ Josh Chen
v.            1:00-2:00 _ Von Glitschka

Poster Signings will be Monday June 24 with three artists each signing for one hour blocks between Noon and 2 PM and again between 5 pm and 6 pm.  On Tuesday June 25, two artists will sign for one hour blocks between Noon and 2 pm. Just look for the big beautiful Neenah booth just inside the main entry to  SWAG Hall  – um EXHIBIT HALL — inside the cavernous Moscone Center WEST at Fourth and Howard Streets. San Francisco resident, Earl Gee, has a true love for his adopted home town.

GCD-SF-PosterWhile visiting San Francisco, read the fine print.

Q&A with Earl Gee

As a San Franciscan,  how do you keep from weeping everyday at the staggering beauty of your home city? Does it hurt?

My favorite activity is discovering new experiences just walking around in San Francisco. The city is always changing and constantly evolving. I enjoy looking at stores, their products and their environments. That’s what I like about being a designer; being curious about things; how they look and why they look that way. The city is an endless source of creative inspiration.

You are such a positive person. Do people ever think you are being ironic? What it its theme or subject matter of your image?

For our Discover San Francisco poster, our concept was to create a typographic tour of the city, utilizing images of  San Francisco’s world famous landmarks to create the city’s name. Each landmark is keyed to descriptive text at the bottom of the poster, enabling viewers to discover useful facts and figures about the city. We hope viewers will enjoy the unexpected juxtapositions of typography and illustration. Our favorite is the letter “C” featuring a seagull perched atop the seagull-themed 49 Mile Scenic Drive sign.

Does your poster involve humor? If humor, humor most people will get or only your girlfriend, boyfriend or mother? Dog?

Our poster may not specifically involve humor, but our imagery invites viewer participation and encourages people to discover San Francisco and all that the city has to offer. We hope our poster provides a little something for everyone.

When you think of San Francisco, what image or characteristic first comes to mind?

Acceptance of new ideas, inspiring advances in creativity, innovation and technology. Acceptance of diversity, embracing people of all colors, creeds and lifestyles. And finally, acceptance of change, being open to evolution, revolution and rebirth. This might be why it’s rare to meet a native San Franciscan. Everyone seems to be drawn to San Francisco from somewhere else, myself included; my partner Fani Chung is from Hong Kong, and I’m from LA!

For those visiting SF, what are Top Three people, places or things you want to do/see during your HOW downtime?

  • 01 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: The Mario Botta designed museum has a fascinating collection and the best gift shop for design-oriented items in the city. Unfortunately from June 3, 2013 through early 2016 the building is closed for a major expansion.
  • 02 deYoung Museum, Golden Gate Park: Herzog and de Meuron’s stunning architecture offers a breathtaking view of the city from the top of the tower on a clear afternoon. They have an excellent collection of fine art.
  • 03 California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park: Renzo Piano’s architectural gem features a signature green roof, rainforest and planetarium. The engaging and educational displays are beautifully designed.

For those who live in the area, what are Top Three people, places or things you recommend your fellow artists see during their HOW downtime?

  • 01 Ferry Building: This is our favorite San Francisco landmark. Fani and I began our our design careers in this area at Landor Associates. I was on Pier 5 and Fani was on the ferryboat Klamath, Landor’s former floating worldwide headquarters docked at Pier 5. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused the city to take down the freeway down that enclosed this area, opening up the beauty of the waterfront for all to enjoy. The Ferry Building, once the second busiest transit terminal in the world, was transformed into a hub for the finest artisanal and organic foods with a twice a week farmer’s market. We go there every Saturday for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • 02 Japantown: Plenty of places to eat and fun shops, including the Kinokuniya bookstore for those craving an Anime fix. I love the taiyaki (fish-shaped waffle pastry filled with red bean paste) at May’s Coffee Shop.
  • 03 William Stout Books: The ultimate design and architecture bookstore run by an William Stout, an accomplished local architect. Buy your design books here and support your design community.

Who is your favorite San Francisco-based Famous Person (e.g. Eggers, Willie Brown, M. Vanderbyl, That Naked Dude at Castro and Market, Patty Hearst, That Crazy Dude at the Corner of Haight and Divisadero, Mrs. Doubtfire)?

I have two for you.

  • Michael Vanderbyl. An incredibly articulate design advocate, practitioner and educator, he is the rare designer who consistently demonstrates virtuosity in both 2- and 3- dimensions. He serves as Dean of his alma mater, California College of the Arts.
  • Kit Hinrchs. A master storyteller in any medium and unparalleled ambassador for design’s value to to business, he is also the kindest and most generous person you will ever meet. He is an alum of my school, Art Center College of Design, where he serves as a Trustee.

You are going to get Christmas Party invitations from Santa and the White Knight. If you lived in San Francisco, what neighborhood would you choose to live in if money were no object?

Exactly where we are in South Beach, on the Embarcadero between the Ferry Building and AT&T Park, home to our world championship Giants. We can walk into downtown in minutes, and there is easy access to the Bay Bridge and highways 101 and 280 to see our Silicon Valley clients.

If you lived in San Francisco, what neighborhood can you afford to live in on a poster designer’s salary?

We may be able to afford to live in our neighborhood, but it would have be on the street, not in our building!

You are funnier than James Victore. Do you suffer Michael Schwab envy?

Quite frequently, especially when asked to create a iconic poster image of incredible resonance and craft. He’s a fellow alum of Art Center College of Design, which is all I can possibly claim to share with him.

Do you know how to respond if “ramps” are if offered with your “haggis” by a server?

As this HOW Conference is in San Francisco not Scotland, might you be referring to the proper protocol when offered “Rice” with your “Roni”, the San Francisco Treat?

Which beach is immediately north of North Beach?

Trick question! I’ll have to go with the beach on historic Angel Island, offering expansive views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais, and worth a trip. The island’s northeast corner functioned as a U.S. Bureau of Immigration Station which processed approximately one million immigrants, many of those of Chinese origin, including my ancestors. It’s a National Historic Landmark.

Do you have your signing schedule yet?

Yes. I will be signing posters at the Neenah booth on Monday, June 24 from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. Please stop by and say hello! We’re also thrilled to be participating in the HOW Conference Studio Tours on Saturday afternoon from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.

Do you have reservations at the Slanted Door? Frances? El Faro?

Inspired choices! Spoken like a true local; a little something for everyone. Personally I favor Yank Sing in Rincon Center for the finest dim sum in town. When visiting Rincon Center, the old postal annex, don’t miss Anton Refrigier’s WPA murals of the “History of San Francisco” in the lobby. They are an incredible example of illustrative storytelling in the social realism style.

Oooo. That mural tip is your best share yet. Thank you for these inspiring options and ideas and time. We look forward to meeting you!

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