Latest Project: The Spirit of Houston

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

On Friday, August 25, 2017, just as Hurricane Harvey was en route to Texas, I called home to Houston see if everything was ok. It was projected to hit south of Houston, closer to Corpus Christi so things should've been ok, my mom told me.

On Sunday, as I was coming back from New Jersey, everything fell apart. Harvey swerved north and decided to just sit atop Houston for three days. Three. Days. Three crazy, intense days of flooding.

I watched local news coverage continuously for three days, with my iPad all day at work, and on tv all night. I called, texted and checked social media regularly just to make sure friends and family were ok. I didn't know what else to do from 1,400 miles away, but to donate, ask others to donate, tweet out emergency service numbers, and warn Houstonians not to go into their attics unless they had an axe or sledgehammer. I was feeling restless, glued to the tv, feeling a mixture of heartbreak and helplessness and had to some of the bad energy out, so I doodled scenes that were the opposite of that.

Started with the outline in Procreate

Started with the outline in Procreate

My friend, Thomas Nguyen, who went to the University of Houston with me, then moved to New York City and experienced Hurricane Sandy with me, then moved back home to Houston got unbelievable photos of the flood. With his permission, I used one of his Instagram posts as the backdrop to my next painting, Sam Houston Crossing the Buffalo.

I wanted to capture the essence of why Houstonians make Houston a special place: a diverse city, full of neighbors helping neighbors led by our namesake, Sam Houston.

After spending more than a year only drawing animals in a certain style, trying to paint and draw a human being is very difficult. Especially since my point of reference was Washington Crossing the Delaware.

It took me a few tries. And though it looks nothing like a Leutze, it's still special to me.

I'm making some prints and putting them in the store. 100% of the proceeds go to Houston Food Bank.

Latest Project: MacBook Unicorn Decal

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I doodled a Liger and gave it to my friend and producer at work. To be specific, I taped it to her desk and didn't really give her a choice.

Luke The Liger, from my illustrated thesis that smoking can make anyone look cool.

 She liked it and asked if she could get a decal for her MacBook. Not of the doodle but maybe of something else? Yes. And of a unicorn? Sure.

Here you go, Amanda.

For a 15" MacBook Pro

It's not perfect, but she likes it, and perfection is subjective, so maybe it is. And maybe I'll make it into an actual sticker decal for the computer and not something printed on tabloid-sized paper from the office printer, but new MacBooks don't have light-up apples anymore, so I'm not sure if it has the same effect. So still TBD.

The Foodie Uni Selfie proof-of-concept on Amanda's work computer.

The Foodie Uni Selfie proof-of-concept on Amanda's work computer.

Latest Project: Southwest is the Best

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

My New Mexican friend, Casey, was traveling to Austin for business and asked for representation of some sort before she stepped into enemy territory.

As someone who once rolled into the bleachers of Yankee Stadium during an Astros-Yankees Wild Card game wearing my Bun-B Astros hat, I fully understand the desire to let everyone know where I'm from.

Casey wanted a shirt that simply read, "Southwest is the Best." So I quickly put some options together.

And by quickly, I mean I didn't get to submit the design to a t-shirt printer fast enough, but we both liked the third option best.

I might make it into a bag or or shirt or something, though.

Latest Project: Oh, You Fancy

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

In June, I was eating a chicken sandwich with my friends at Fuku. A guy came up and asked if he could use our ketchup. I said sure and handed it to him but didn't realized my friend was still using it. I also didn't realize she loves ketchup.

I started thinking about her love of ketchup, how fancy she is, and how ketchup is sometimes described as "fancy."

Then I sketched this out:

Lettering explorations on Procreate. Along with different iterations of the popular phrase.

Lettering explorations on Procreate. Along with different iterations of the popular phrase.

It took a while to finally get this going because I wasn't sure how I'd do this. Initial thought was to just put the ketchup straight on the kitchen counter or white foam board. After weeks of getting to rethink of how absolutely gross and stupid that would have been, I remembered we had cool dishes from Fishs Eddy.

I bought a thing of small thing of ketchup, and stopped by a nearby deli for french fries, both for the fries and the tiny ketchup packets. And the reason why the fries weren't used in the final shot is because they were gross.

Process:
1. Raw // 2. Processed // 3. Retouched // 4. Final

Oh You Fancy, 2017. Ketchup on ceramic.

This isn't on purpose, but I now have two sentences made out of food and only one more for the complete set.

Latest Project: Love is for Losers

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Years ago, when I was still at the University of Houston trying to make a website for laughs, I went to my neighborhood tennis courts, set up my dad's camcorder on the ground, and kneeled on the court waiting for the timer to take a picture.

I thought was so clever and well designed, art directed, and copywritten when I made it in the mid-2000s

I thought was so clever and well designed, art directed, and copywritten when I made it in the mid-2000s

Unable to face the shame of my poorly designed past, I opened up my computer and started noodling around, starting with seeing the four different Grand Slam tournament courts.

I tried making a pattern with the Wimbledon grass courts because the treading would be interesting, but it ended up being too busy. So I tried the French courts cause it was simple, has that discoloration from running around everywhere, and that clay color's kinda nice…even if it's French.

After lettering in Procreate and ping-ponging the PSD back and forth between my computer and iPad, I finally got it the way I wanted it to turn into postcards and send to every loveless person I know. Including myself. On a Friday night.

Send this postcard to your ex who you no longer see or think about but occasionally see on your social feed and is totally doing really well and is super happy now but it's no big deal because you're happy for her and it's for the best, and you're doing ok, too, you know?

Love is for Losers (2017). Digital

Latest Project: Cheeseburger Friday Newsletter

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

While I was at Leo Burnett New York, my friend started Cheeseburger Friday, CBF. Every Friday, we'd go to a new burger place. Even after I left LBNY, I'd join every now and then for a cheeseburger with my friends. We had discussions, rankings and a physical leaderboard.

Anyway, I imported CBF to Grey and it started off as a tiny thing cause Shake Shack is across the street in the park, but it grew into a bigger thing cause there were a lot of burger places around 23rd and 5th and now we have discussions, spreadsheets, algorithms, ranks and grades.

After an average-cheeseburger CBF, I visited my dear friend's studio show and was hit with inspiration and a little revelation: Cheeseburger Fridays isn't about cheeseburgers. It's about hanging out friends, co-workers and turning co-workers into new friends and we all just happen to be eating the same food.

I wanted to make a newsletter to let the people express their CBF experiences through art and copy that wouldn't have to be scrutinized by their boss or clients and could just put it out into the world.

I went home and immediately started to sketch out falling ingredients.

Before

Before

After

I don't know how these ingredients will be integrated with the newsletter, but I was messing around on Society6, and maybe it'll be a t-shirt, or curtains or something.

Why would anyone want curtains from Society6?

Why would anyone want curtains from Society6?

Next step if I was really going to put this pattern onto curtains for Society6 was to make it seamless. As it was, I could see the borders of the original image, especially if they were tiled. So I swapped the corners, shifted the ingredients around so it was still balanced yet random, overlapped tomatoes and patties between borders, and made sure they all lined up.

Now, if you want curtains or something stupid, like a backpack, that is now an option. If it were on Society6. But it's not. I'm sorry.

Cheeseburger Recipe, 2017. Digital

Latest Project: Dachshund Buns

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

In January, during a very boring, very tedious and meandering phone call, I doodled this little guy: My spirit animal, jumping into a pillowy, perfectly-sized bun while being drenched in Whataburger condiments

The Quick Yellow Dachshund Jumps Over The Lazy Bun (2017). iPad

The Quick Yellow Dachshund Jumps Over The Lazy Bun (2017). iPad

I particularly liked this doodle and didn't want it to be thrown out immediately after the call or disappear after 24 hours on Snapchat, so I tried to put it into something a little more permanent. So I gave it a shot on my iPad. Clearly, I wasn't happy with this, but I was also doing it in bed before I went fell asleep, so this isn't a fair assessment.

Months went by and I always wanted to revisit this little dog. I didn't know whether I wanted it to be a pattern or just a thing, but I did know that I didn't want it to end on this note.

So I gave it a couple quick sketches. One was to see how it'd look as I daydreamed it and the other was to explore different angles the little dog could be viewed.

I exported the image into Photoshop with the outlined layers and traced over them with Kyle's Brushes. I debated what style I wanted to do these in. The first attempt was with using a halftone technique, limited to four colors.

It was ok, but still not how I pictured it. I spent an entire year drawing animals with an outline and I didn't want to rely on that, so I tried again.

Dachshund Buns (2017). Digital

Now this is what I see when I close my eyes during a phone call with a client: Jumping into a bunch of buns.

Happy Fourth of July.

Latest Project: Summer Pattern 2017 (Birds and Bees)

Added on by Nathan Hoang.
A first pass at the nested cactus and also a Damien Hirst I guess

A first pass at the nested cactus and also a Damien Hirst I guess

I like to make a pattern once a year. It started off with the popsicles and big cats in 2015. Then it was the chameleons in 2016. This yearly exercise wasn't planned, but I guess two's enough to make anything an annual tradition, so…let's go summer 2017!

My friend friend Casey likes cacti because it reminds her of New Mexico and I find birds nesting in cacti so fascinating because I want to know how elaborate it is inside and if it's like an I Dream of Genie situation where it's extremely spacious and comfortable inside or what's going on in there? So I started off with a sketch on my iPad to plan placement and positions.

I didn't like what was going on here so I left it alone for months. Two weeks ago, I flipped through a CommArts Photography Annual and saw Craig Cutler's image of a bee on a honeycomb and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I decided to make complementary patterns for 2017, birds and bees.

But not like that, weirdo.

After a year of drawing animals on Procreate, I wanted learn how to use other iPad tools, like AstroPad, so I did everything there (except for Adobe Illustrator work).

First step was to get the vectors down and try out some different patterns. As usual, the simpler the better.

The next stop was the transfer the vector layers to Photoshop and paint over all of it while watching Grand Designs on Netflix in the back and wonder how these people with normal jobs can afford such lavish, custom-made, three-story houses with a pool in the basement.

Then I pasted the different shapes into Photoshop, painted over it using Kyle's Brushes. Then I went in and sketched out the placement of the bees, then painted the bodies, then the wings, then the antennae and legs, and then the shadows.

Then I pasted the different shapes into Photoshop, painted over it using Kyle's Brushes. Then I went in and sketched out the placement of the bees, then painted the bodies, then the wings, then the antennae and legs, and then the shadows.

Though I couldn't get these tubes to work as an illusion like the honeycomb hexagons, I think it turned out pretty ok. Pretty. Ok.

Though I couldn't get these tubes to work as an illusion like the honeycomb hexagons, I think it turned out pretty ok. Pretty. Ok.

Apparently, a lot of birds like owls and lovebirds like to hole up in cacti. But I chose woodpeckers because of their red caps. It's cute. And some cacti have those red balls on top of them, so it made sense.

See you in summer 2018.

Save our honeybees!

Latest Project: The New York City Skyline Index

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

I don't think I've shared the story of how my roommates and I got into our Greenpoint apartment a year ago.

Long story short, we saw a listing with a deck and an amazing view that was a little over our budget but we all said, "Hey, if it's our last apartment in NYC, we might as well do it big."

This is kinda the view from my apartment but from a much higher elevation. I used Google maps to figure out the names of buildings and totally forgot there was this 3D Maps feature that made things so much more easier.

This is kinda the view from my apartment but from a much higher elevation. I used Google maps to figure out the names of buildings and totally forgot there was this 3D Maps feature that made things so much more easier.

So after we visited the apartment with our broker, we were writing the check when the broker got off the phone and told us someone had already put their deposit in. Our hearts sank, but she suggested try putting in a little more money and maybe that would help.

Well, you know what else would help? The building owner being in Israel for Passover and not doing any business and therefore not getting that initial deposit and then seeing our deposit.

So in the first few weeks of standing on our new deck looking out at this dumb city, I always wondered what buildings are what. So a year later, after renewing the lease…the questions are finally answered. The dumb Manhattan Skyline Index.

Here's an enlarged version where you can press back and forth to see all the dumb building names (i.e. The Wang Building).

This was taken in December 2016 and since then, a luxury condo high-res as large as the building on the far left has been erected directly in front of the Empire State Building obstructing everything.

New York City, man.

I also took another series of images in March during the day that I stitched together, but I didn't like how it looked. I mean, the sunrise image I used for the poster has the Chrysler Building's Shadow on the MetLife Building. And plus it's evidence that I woke up during a sunrise once. This one's just ok…couldn't get the sky to blend together, but you should see it anyway.

I also took another series of images in March during the day that I stitched together, but I didn't like how it looked. I mean, the sunrise image I used for the poster has the Chrysler Building's Shadow on the MetLife Building. And plus it's evidence that I woke up during a sunrise once. This one's just ok…couldn't get the sky to blend together, but you should see it anyway.

Latest Project: @Grey Instagram

Added on by Nathan Hoang.

Every week, one employee gets to take over Grey's Instagram. By choice.

Since I was wrapping up my year with Ego's Deck Dream, I decided to apply what I learned from drawing an animal every day into drawing some animals for a week for my employer.

Below is my week's takeover along with process video and some commentary no one asked for.

Sidenote: Every person's takeover has to start with a selfie.


Monday, May 29, 2017 (AM Post)

At the Grey Centennial party, there was a bedazzling station that my friend convinced me to go get bedazzled after a bit of drinking. Yes I bring my selfie stick to the club. Everyone hates it until the next day when they want to see their faces.

Monday_1

Monday, May 29, 2017 (PM Post)

I went to Dia:Beacon with my friend Casey the week before. It was a rainy day and I lost her in the Richard Serra installation cause she walked into the spirals and all I could hear were her shoes.

Monday_2

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I come here when work gets to be unnecessarily stressful. 

Tuesday_v3

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This was the second game of our second season and we won.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

I've never bought shoes from Flight Club in my entire life, but I stop into their stores often. Why I don't know.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday

Saturday, June 3, 2017

This is my favorite bodega in the city. It's East Village Grocers on 9th and 2nd in my old neighborhood. They carry all sorts of stuff. Vegemite, Kinder Eggs, Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chip. Everything. They used to have a bodega cat but she passed away. 

Saturday_3
Saturday_2
Saturday_1

Sunday, June 4, 2017 (AM Post)

Also views from my old neighborhood.

Sunday

Sunday, June 4, 2017 (PM Post)

I had to bring a waterproof iPhone sleeve into the pool, wait for the kid doing the private swim lesson to get out of the pool so the next kid doing the private swim lesson could get in, so I could take my phone underwater and get a shot where there were no kids learning how to swim.

Sunday_2

Though I didn't break the social media engagement records that I wanted to, it was fun, but stressful. And if there's one thing I learned this week, it's that social media algorithms are the absolute worst.