Forgot your username or password?
The Von Dutch caps have made it to convenience stores in New Jersey and
the “Von Sucks” variant is as common as the original. Surely, it must
be almost over, thank God: the $42 shirts and $145 jeans and $25 thongs
at the Von Dutch Original boutiques in Hollywood or Las Vegas, and the
sweat bands at Urban Outfitters across the land and the Converse All
Stars stamped with the logo and the rest of the strip mining of the
imagery created by an eccentric automobile painter, Von Dutch.
Born in 1929 as Kenneth Howard, Von Dutch was the man who brought
pin-striping as a high art from motorcycles to automobile bodies. He
took his nickname from his stubbornness. “Stubborn as a Dutchman” is a
by now quaint ethnic slur. But beyond stubborn, Von Dutch became
insufferable. He was the quintessential cliché romantic artist, selfish
inside his own vision, alienating family, friends and customers alike.
Part romantic, part beatnik, part general pain in the ass, he was a
racist and prima donna, he managed to irritate almost everyone who
admired him—and in the best esthetic mode, somehow made them admire him
more in the process.
He died in 1992, leaving two daughters. At the end, he was drinking
heavily, holed up in an old Long Beach city bus. For years he lived at
the museum called Movie World, Cars of the Stars and Planes of Fame in
Buena Park, California. He had become paranoid and he spent time
elaborately engraving and painting knives and guns as well as cars.
No wonder the daughters, Lisa and Lorna were happy to sell the rights to
reproduce their father's imagery in 1996 to Michael Cassel, a maker of
surf clothing, who established a company called Von Dutch Originals in
1999 and opened the store on Melrose Avenue a year later. He brought in
a man named Tonny Sorensen who in turn hired designer Christian
Audigier. Audigier worked for Diesel and Fiorucci. Casel’s notion was
to tap the hot rod set; but Sorensen and Audigier aimed at wider,
The art world found its way to car culture through artists like Robert
Williams, who worked with Ed “Big Daddy” Roth before turning his talents
to oil and canvas. In 1993 a show called “Kustom Kulture” at the
Laguna Museum of Art helped start off the process of Von Dutch's
discovery by the wider public. Still, it took insight, luck or both to
see that Von Dutch could be, well, exploitable. Celebrities such as
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher showed up
wearing the logo caps. The whole appeal of course was explaining who Von
Dutch was. By 2003, the company was doing some $33 million in sales and
for 2004 may go as high as $100 million. The logo items are cleverly
limited in number, so they can be reproduced in dozens of variants. But
for us true fans, the eyeball, not the logo was the appeal—the all
seeing eyeball with wings Von Dutch claimed to have adopted from the
Egyptians and other ancients. It was a powerful image, recalling Odilon
Redon or Man Ray or Dali's giant eyes in the dream scene of Hitchcock’s
film Spellbound, but also Dean Moon's "Moon equipped" double eyes logo
and other iconography of Southern California hot rod culture.
Von Dutch's posthumous fame has amazed veterans of the car culture. “I
knew Von Dutch,” one hot rod buff said not long ago, shaking his head.
“I saw him drunk every day.”
One of the perks of being the managing editor at AIGA is spending my mornings
reading design stories and calling it “work.” But not everyone gets to (or
wants to) peruse RSS feeds like it’s their job. Consider this a hit list (as
well as a few things you may have missed) of the most interesting things I’ve
and seen, read and watched this week.
Section: Inspiration -
typography, culture, digital media
It's that special season of the year, and with a new year fast approaching, we begin to think back about what the past year has brought. As we've looked back on our 10th year serving you – our design community – we're immensely thankful for our members that have been along for the ride with us. And we don't just want to say thanks, we want to give thanks!
Each Wednesday for the month of December, we're giving away an individual 1-year SkillShare membership. Want in on this holiday cheer? It's simple! Let us know what your thankful for about AIGA Blue Ridge in a post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag it with #aigabrholiday, and you'll be entered for a chance to win! That's it! Rules? Only one membership per person. So, what are you thankful for about AIGA Blue Ridge?
Attendees will be invited to pick up a pen and create simple shapes, swirls, pictures and numbers that will be reproduced as color-in postcards for Peach’s Pen-Pal Project for Peach's Neet Feet.
Section: Events and Competitions
Michael Bierut Gives His First-Ever "Slide-Free" Lecture at MFA Products of Design
3 days ago from
BSR Collateral System
"#GraphicDesign will save the world right after rock & roll does." -@d_carson_design #Quoted http://t.co/3hv6zDMDoe http://t.co/uWaK4ZxNI2
An hour ago
Second Story Interactive Studios
InVision Research Assistant Remote-Telecommute
December 20, 2014
AIGA AZ 2014: A Year in Review
December 16, 2014
2010 Studio On Fire Letterpress Calendar
Studio On Fire