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Guts & Glory, and Oakland

Written by in #ClassicNeenah

Faun Chapin and Meg Paradise are bespectacled ginger partners in crime and founders of design and branding studio Guts & Glory. They are also the duo that represented Oakland in the Neenah Future Classic promotion. Hereʼs what they had to say about the city, the music, and their love of gold foil.

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What inspired you to use the idea of music history to represent Oakland?
Oakland isn’t known for that many things, although it’s the most ethnically diverse city in the country. But music is a huge part of its history, starting with the Jazz Age, and a lot of music still comes out Oakland – it’s tremendously diverse music, from an amazingly weird mix of people. We focused on hip-hop because these are the names that most people will recognize, but there’s a lot of other music here to explore.

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Describe the process of creating this piece. How did you approach the concept phase?
We were thinking of how we could combine music and paper, and realized there was an opportunity to create a paper object, not just an illustration. And it spins!

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How did your individual areas of expertise come into play with this piece?
We do a lot of illustration in-house, and we both have a strong print background. We’re always trying to push the medium forward, and explore new finishing methods and printing techniques. For us, it’s always gold foil — our brand color is gold foil.

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Do you have a favorite music venue in Oakland?
What was the last great show you saw?
The Paramount and The Fox theaters are two amazing, gorgeous old venues, and there are endless underground hip-hop and punk clubs. There’s a famous jazz club called Yoshi that has hosted a lot of great names. As for our last great show, Meg would tell you that she saw Beyonce in San Jose recently. Since the Bay Area bleeds into other areas – Oakland into San Francisco, and San Jose into Oakland — there are lots of places to see great shows.

What should a creative person do on a trip to Oakland?
Within less than an hour, you can be in any setting you want: you can play in the Pacific Ocean, hike in redwood forests, get drunk in wine country, find yourself in the desert, slide down a snowy mountain, pick your own berries on a farm, thrift in cute towns, eat tacos in a surfer beach town, spot fish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That’s one of the amazing things about living and creating here — you’re constantly inspired by the scenery, which is so majestic and varied.


Give us your ideal “24 hours in my city” itinerary.
We are big foodies, so we’d start at this amazing shop called Dolly’s Donuts where they fill doughnuts by hand while you wait. Because we are hoarders of design ephemera, we’d visit the Alameda Flea Market, which has 20 football fields’ worth of vendors selling the most amazing things you’ve ever seen. We’d do lunch in Oakland’s Chinatown, near our office. It’s a functioning Chinatown, there’s no touristy element to it — just authentic restaurants where you can get dumplings, pho, ramen, and banh mi. Then walk around Lake Merritt, followed by dinner at Boot & Shoe. And finally drinks at The Alley, which is a piano bar made to look like a New York City alleyway from the ‘20s, where you can sing along with octogenarian piano player Rod Dibble. There are a lot of neat, weird things here that have somehow remained for years and years.


Describe Oakland’s creative scene. What do you like about it? What would you change, if you could?
There’s a lot of amazing crafting coming out of this area. It’s interesting because the tech industry is so omnipresent in everyone’s mind, which is sort of antithetical to the industry of art and design. As more and more primary cities become cost-prohibitive for creatives, we hope that secondary cities like Oakland will emerge as creative hubs. As for what we would change? Everything is so spread out here — it’s nice because people have bigger spaces with fruit trees in their yards, but it requires a lot of driving. After living in New York for the last 10 years, it’s a big change.

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Faun gives some love to her pet pig, Petunia.
twitter: @gutsgloryandus
instagram: @gutsgloryandus

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