Monday, December 27, 2010


More covers from the magazine archive. Here we have some of my favorite things, collage, typography, and christmas, all directed by the very talented Henry Wolf.

In an essay by Milton Glaser for AIGA, Glaser describes his first impressions of Wolf, "When I first met Henry Wolf in the fifties, he seemed to be the most sophisticated person I had ever known. He owned a Jaguar, was always in the company of beautiful women and was already clearly the best editorial designer in the world."

And here's a good article by Steven Heller about Wolf called Remembering: HENRY WOLF, 1925-2005 wherein Heller describes Wolf as "outspoken on the state of magazines in general, and quick to note that good content was neutralized when editorial material and design were not in sync."

I especially like the simplicity of his work. But in the simplicity is a lot of meaning, richness, and, in most cases, very clever graphic solutions.

This December cover of Esquire from 1955 has the magazine's mascot "Esky" integrated into the grid of ornaments. This was a conceit that Wolf himself had started and tried to do in all his Esquire covers. If you look close, you can see the reflection of a man in in the ornaments, especially the gold ones. My guess is it's the photographer Dan Wynn.

Another December cover of Esquire. This one featuring antique toys. Photo by Ben Somoroff.

After reinventing Esquire in the mid-fifties and Harper's Bazaar in from 1958-1961, Wolf had the chance to totally invent the look and influence the direction of the modern and progressive arts magazine called Show in the 60s. This is his very first cover for that publication.

In my research, I found another cover that he did for Show from April 1963 that reminded me of the cover I designed for Imagining America.

Related post: Stripe Tease

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A little late, but hey, it's still Tuesday here... and the shortest day of the year!
Bottle palm frond

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A. Warhol Christmas

Many moons ago, I acquired these unusual Warhol Christmas cards. And no, this post is not tropical or home-oriented, it's just seasonal. I'm cuckoo for mid-century illustration, and Christmas, and well, Warhol too. So you're basically looking at a trifecta of aesthetic yuletide proportions here. Plus it has the universally gleeful greeting of "Happy Happy Everything" that works in a pinch every time.

I know very little about these cards. I say "cards" because they are printed on card paper but they aren't folded like a traditional greeting card. They could be the dismembered fronts of folded cards or they could have been a grouping, made as a portfolio of printed pieces. The backs are completely blank. My best guess is this: Back in the late 50s early 60s, Fritzie Miller was a cool, modern-thinking artist representative with a roster full of hip young designers and illustrators for whom she found work at the chic magazines of the day like Harper's, Vogue, Esquire, etc. So being that these cards are "signed" from Fritzie and Max Miller, I'm thinking she had her artists take a piece from their portfolio and repurpose it as a card. I say this because I'm pretty sure I've seen some of these illustrations in their original settings. If anyone has any more info about these, please do let me know.

There are a number of books that have good compilations of Warhol's commercial illustrations (which half the time were not even drawn by him as he employed people like Nathan Gluck and others to do the physical drawing based on his style) We have a few of these books, my favorites are Pre-Pop Warhol and Andy Warhol: Illustrations and Drawings of the 1950's.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


West maui and the Island of Moloka'i (to the right with the 2 peaks).

Since yesterday was such a rainy wet and cold day, I went to town to run errands. I think everyone else on Maui had the same idea, because it took about 2 hours longer than it usually would. But as luck would have it, that delay allowed me to stop at Ho'okipa Beach Park and take in the beauty of the sunset. It's rare we are ever in town at sunset and even rarer to see West Maui and Moloka'i so clear, especially since the entire day was gray. By just sitting here for 10 minutes taking in this beauty... it literally cleared my mind after spending a rainy Friday afternoon battling the crowds in town.

The view of West Maui approaching Ho'okipa on the way into town.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Last night John and I went to Mama's Fish House to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our blind date. Yep... 10 years. Anyway we won't bore you with that... let's talk about the food!

Mama's is by far one of our top 5 favorite place to eat here on Maui. The atmosphere from the minute you step out of the car at the valet stand is one of serenity and calm and sort of feels like you are stepping back in time. The views are really spectacular. Once you have checked in you can have a seat in the bar, out in the garden area or out by the beach. The open wall design of the building just what you hope for when dining out in Maui... right on the beach no less... why would you want to be trapped inside 4 walls with no view outside? The beach is packed with coconut palms for that extra tropical punch.

The sunsets from here are some of the best... but a little hard to catch in the winter months when the sun sets way to early for us to have dinner. If you happen to make it here, do try to check sunset times and get a table for sunset dining. A few minutes before the sun sets and the sky starts it's colorful transformation, the wait staff stops serving so that everyone can enjoy the show.

The flower arrangements are always dramatic, yet understated. I mean look at the giant column of Pink Ginger, which stood about 4 feet tall. Not a blemish on a single flower.
The mood of this place is unparalleled as far as we are concerned. Usually packed to the thatched roof, this is one of the quiets place we have ever eaten in... it always is. With the open air dining, it was quite chilly last night and we kept wishing we had worn socks. (Maui is experiencing record lows.. just 2 nights ago Kahului was a record low of 55 degrees.... brrrr).

To start we ordered drinks. John opted for a glass of wine while I went for a Relaxer, which is a frozen drink of Creme de Cocoa, Pineapple Juice, Coconut Milk and Vodka. It certainly lives up to it's name.

Uku Ceviche – marinated in lime, cilantro and Maui chili pepper.  
Served with sweet potato and breadfruit (ulu) chips.

Wasabi Crusted Calamari with Kula vegetables and edamame. 

We usually end up getting the same thing every time we make it to MFH, but tonight we broke free of our wickedly delicious ways and tried all new dishes.

John had the Uku Cheviche to start, which is a grey snapper served Tahitian Style in a half coconut. I had the Wasabi Crusted Calamari which is a good 1/4" squid steak rolled in bread crumbs serves on sauteed cabbage, onions and edemame. Both were so soft and tender you really didn't even need to chew.

Poi and John's entree of Deep-water Ahi caught by Leonard Huddy off the east end of Maui served on a sugar cane skewer with Peppercorn,  grilled with Hamakua mushroom sauce, sweet-potato mash and asparagus spears.   
I had the Onaga caught by Layne Nakagawa over deep reefs near Olowalu Sautéed with Haiku tomatoes, garlic butter, white wine and capers. Served with chili zucchini medley and saffron rice.  

The last time we went to MFH, I requested a side order of poi and was told that the poi was reserved only for the Luau Plate. I had the Luau Plate once before and really enjoyed the super clean tasting poi. So last night I was overjoyed to see the word "Complimentary Mama’s fresh Poi upon request." Doused with their homemdae chili water... so ONO!

John said his Ahi was extremely tender and a wonderful grilled flavor. Other than the fact it tasted like super-clean-fresh tuna. The potato mash was very subtle as we believe it was a mix-mash of sweet and regular white potatoes.

My Onaga - a was quite simply the best fish I have ever eaten. EVER. It was moist, tender and for lack of a better description, completely flavorless... meaning no fishiness at all. I could have eaten another piece. I was not too jazzed to see the zucchini turn up on the plate, but once I tasted it I was pleasantly surprised and loved the chili pepper spiciness they cooked it in.

The portions as you can see are very substantial. None of this tiny-food-on-a-giant-pate-with-high-prices crap. You really get your money's worth here.

For dessert we split the Creme Brulee with fresh Liliko’i. We have had all of the desserts here and they are are equally delicious, but we don't make creme brulee at home... soooooooo. It's the perfect size to share at about 5" across.

Too bad the meal had to end. See you next year Mama.

Here are 3 excellent links describing the fish from last night:
Onaga or here

Monday, December 06, 2010


The electric blue coating that surrounds the dark brown almost black seeds of the Travellers Palm Seeds. We have heard that this is the only true blue that any plant produces. It's almost like a plastic coating around the seed