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PEOPLEText: Mayumi Kaneko

This month’s cover design was produced by a two-man design unit called Fake ID in San Francisco. They’ve been working in different fields from performances for art installations to web sites. On their web site, they create unique designs of bitmap style with animal icons like deer and buffalo. Their Shockwave pieces originated from their unique concepts are worth checking.

First of all, please tell us who you are.

JT: Joshua Trees from Illinois. My background is in both Conceptual Design and Performance/Video. Fake ID is a two-man design unit located atop the historic site of Woodward’s Gardens, San Francisco’s most popular amusement park until it closed in 1892. In those days, people paid 25「 to see the largest Marine Aquarium, the collection of Japanese minerals, and zoological specimens including deer, sea lions, and buffalo. Nowadays, a variety of small shops like ours call this block home. Fake ID set up camp circa ’98, with the aim of offering a truly boundary-free approach to design, allowing us to”trespass” into any discipline necessary to communicate an idea: window display (Urban Outfitters), fashion, and recently sculptural fabrication for art installations (La Panaderia, Mexico City.)

YM: Yvan Martinez from Venezuela. My background is in Mathematics. We adopt the form that fits the concept. We also strive to keep a balance between non-profit and for-profit projects.

What are you currently doing?

JT: We’re developing a breakdance crew for a promotional game, creating a new identity and collateral for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, and finishing our third outdoor advertising campaign for Project Open Hand which consists of billboards, bus kiosks, and posters.

Could you tell us more about Fake ID.

YM: Of interest to most is a monthly circulation we sponsor called AIR where artists, architects, writers, emcees, designers, you name it, take a shot at the Internet as a medium. All projects are originated solely for the screen, as opposed to digitally-translated media such as scanned flatworks.

You’ve featured various designers’ artworks and interviews on the site. Who do you want to feature in the future?

JT: Just people who, regardless of their discipline, develop projects with strong conceptual bent, that have the guts to take risks and experiment. It has always been our intention with AIR to give license to content which isn’t safe enough for other contexts due to its critical p.o.v., tone or provocations. We accept proposals on an ongoing basis.

How did you start working on web design?

JT: In graduate school, I met Yvan while he was on his way to Hawaii to become a Dive Master. We ended up doing performance and video together; it worked so well that it was only a matter of time before we’d be collaborating on a business level too. In ’95, I took my first HTML class, bought a book, Yvan got his hands on it, and mastered it in three days! Like many, I was mesmerized by the potential of the Web so I convinced Yvan to skip diving and try Web surfing instead.

YM: Haven’t stopped yet.

What do you think is the most important aspect about web design?

YM: Using the limitations of the Web to your advantage, as a point-of-departure. And viewing the Web as it’s own medium, not derivative of television.

JT: Not being so dependent on software manufacturers’ ideas of interactivity. Writing your own scripts, or using the existing software in contradictory ways.

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