“Demanifest” is a creative book that is full of artists’ original tastes in every single page. The book, produced by ex-members of Attik, Michael Spoljaric and Steve Johnston, has been released from Die Gestalten Velarg in this March. From fonts to silk screen works and grafittis… You will appreciate a great variety of art works in this book.
Please introduce yourselves.
Michael: After graduating from SUNY Purchase in 1997 I joined Attik. While at Attik, I worked on numerous commercial campaigns and branding projects. I worked there until 2002. In 2000 I joined Phantom: research foundation looking to further experiment increative projects. I am currently employed at R!OT Manhattan as a broadcast designer. Besides commercial work I also do a lot of painting. I also do broadcast design at R!OT Manhattan.
Steve: I studied design and photography at York in the north of England before working at the college in York, designing and lecturing. In early 1999 I formed the Phantom: research foundation as a vehicle to drive music and design projects. Joining Attik in late 1999 where I first met Mike who was working in the New Yorkoffice. Chasing the sun, I recently spent some time working in Sydney while we finished off “Demanifest”.
You have recently released a book, called “Demanifest” from a publisher in Germany “Die Gestalten Velarg” in this March. What trigger you to make this book?
Steve: A cheeky e-mail and booze fueled ranting.
Michael: Having worked on projects like Noise Four and Typography 21, we wanted to do our own thing without having to design under certain characteristics and expectations. Die Gestalten is one of the best graphic design publishing houses, so we felt that they were the right choice to work with.
Please tell us contents of “Demanifest”. Why did you choose a word “Demanifest”as a title for this book? Do you have any special meanings in this word?
Steve: “Demanifest” represents a kind of full stop, a point at which one body of work ends and the next “Manifest’s”. We needed to go through the process to be able to move forward. It is our first book and the start of a new chapter, the name is a statement of our intent to produce something fresh in each project.
Michael: The contents vary. There is not one dominate style, but most of the book has more of a personal handmade feel. The work is gathered from ideas, projects, experiments, sketches and scrap books of ours over the past few years.
Filigree works on canvas, grafittis, skinny British fonts, two-tone posters, recordsleeves, and silkscreen prints… A variety of many works are included in this book. Did you set any standards when you chose works?
Michael: I think the main standard is to grow, experiment, fail and try not to criticize. I am notinto styles because you can not grow once you are set into a certain style. “Demnaifest” attempts to explore and experiment without expectations. If you designfor yourself and not other designers or clients, then you will have nothing to worry about.
Steve: The beauty about producing a book like this is that you have total control of the content and you can set any standards. We had no real limits to the kind of work wecould feature.
One site evaluates this book “Demanifest is an anthology as determined, eclecticand ambitious”. As an authors of this book, what kind of feeling do you have to thisbook now?
Steve: Like anyone you always see the ways in which you could have improved a piece ofwork. I’m very critical of myself and this can be quite frustrating so it was great towork with Mike who has great vision and is very driven.
Michael: No Comment.
Please tell us recommended points and points that you want readers to pay a keenattention within this book.
Steve: We had great fun producing “Demanifest” and so i hope that this playful approach comes across to readers. Above all I just hope that people find it entertaining and can take something away from the book.
Michael: There is nothing specific to pay attention to. You can flip through backwards or holdit sideways. As Steve said, we just want people to enjoy the book.
What kind of projects have you beendoing since you became a freelance designer?
Michael: I recently finished a large redesign for Espn and Espn2’s promo campaign.
Steve: I have been concentrating on Phantom:researchfoundation projects since I got back from Australia so I’m really keen to get stuck into some commercial briefs again.
Where is your most favourite place?
Steve: I am currently in England but I stayed with Mike for a little while in NY when we started “Demanifest”, I think that the book really reflects the influences from each country making it quite diverse. I’m really lucky to have lived in places such as Australia, Sydney is thriving with great design and fashion but gets a little overlooked by the UK and US. For me, it’s not where you are but the people that you are with, living next to a beachis a bit of a bonus though.
Michael: New York is pretty exciting right now. There are many amazing young artists doing some cool stuff. But I think a house with a barn far apart from here is something I will look to have in the future.
What kind of projects would you like to do in the future?
Michael & Steve: We have some interesting projects forming at the Foundation, an exhibition in NewYork in the summer and some live music events in London. We are very open to any proposals for collaboration in any medium and keen to work with people from diverse disciplines.
144 pages, 23×29 cm, Full colour, Coftcover
Released: March 2003
Publisher: Die Gestalten
*This book “Demanifest” can be purchased on Amazon.com.