CentralTrak presents Teen Dream by Brainfood’s Ean and Erik Schuessler

Teen Dream Ean and Erik Schuessler

Teen Dream

As part of CentralTrak’s current exhibition, The Zine Society Library, Dallas-based brothers and business partners Ean Schuessler and Erik Schuessler will speak about how making zines as teenagers evolved into a legitimate and respected profession. Zine-making and zine-consumption was a significant format for artists and activists to share info, find and identify subcultures before the internet was widely available.


Photo courtesy of CentralTrak



The Zine Society Library exhibition is interactive, allowing gallery patrons to discover and enjoy small press and self-published art zines by a diverse group of artists and illustrators. The designers currently operate Brainfood, a multimedia company with national accounts such as Ryder, Hughes Research Labs, Pepsico/Yum (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut), KB Home and Broadcast.com.


Cirque du horror poster art

Well I didn’t have much time to do this but I think it turned out pretty good it’s for a Halloween show at the Texas theater. Sort of like a variety show music and little scenes and skits you know funny but spooky. Not too sure if I can make it actually you’re not going to go to Savannah with Meredith and some other folks. But it was fun to do and it’s good to let my mind wander in monsterous ways! happy Halloween!

and so it begins

I feel like I am doing something really dumb trying to sand all of this crap myself but heck why not? So far I am making good progress but man it is a bit of a hill.




Also I got dusty as hell last time.

the first of the auto ordered print outs are working for big fun print! Woo hoo!


pretty damn exciting! we are working diligently to make it to Austin for South by Southwest and trying some interesting experiment with social networking and giant poster printing. should be really cool! today we were working on the factor overlay advertisement for each poster that is being printed out by people in the area. the idea is that you would see a poster scan in the qr code for the poster app, download the app and then print out your own poster from 1 of your photos. which would end up on a street somewhere in Austin that we would give the location. hope to see you in Austin! stay tuned




Update on the house

Here is a cool update on the house. The front entry garden and fountain are done up. I was able to rehab the old plumbing and install a new pump and bowl for the fountain system. The dirt was bone dry and sandy. Had to dig out a ton of it so the plants wouldn’t get dried out. It feels really welcoming in there now. I would love to get some fishes in and I am going to find one of those little LED fountain lights from amazon. I am looking around now for a light above the fountain area. I noticed that my one fixture above the fountain had vanished during the major overhaul. I am pretty bummed I don’t have the original, however it does give me room to put something snazzy in that area. If anyone has a really awesome fixture that is mid century and really unique, please get a hold of me!

Better late than frozen


Whew. Busy couple weeks recently. While it is a little crazy busy, the good news is there are some fun creative projects afoot in the Brainfood world. We are currently doing some neat much more mobile integrated projects. I am making it a pledge to post more often. I did a shoot for work up in the most random suburbs outside of Baltimore, ya that’s right, and while the shoot happened pretty swimmingly, I was lucky enough to catch the flu on the last day when I was on my flight. I am guessing it was from an extra or maybe the stylist? Not sure, but what had to be done was done. After a couple of weeks of editing and transposing the content into an html5 interface, we ended up with a finished product that works on all forms of hardware, mobile, tablet or desktop, it is covered. I really am liking how easy the production chain is compared to interactive predecessors like flash and shockwave. This also allows a lot  for easy updates on the assets and such, like audio, images, etc. On a side note, really enjoyed making some little side art pieces for an auction at the Texas Theater for the movie “The Shining”. I really do enjoy that flick. Especially when it is up on the big screen in an old creepy theater like the Texas.

[nggallery id=9]

I ended up doing a quick painting and a photoshop file for the auction. I did a simple photoshop edit of the lobby at the Texas mashed up with the photo at the end of the shining movie where Jack Torrence is captured back in time with the other ghosts of the overlook hotel. That movie just creeps me out, very haunting. I can only imagine what state they all must of been in after shooting that flick. Anyhow the painting of Jack went for a really really really good price and the photoshop file that took me no time went for like 4 times more!! WTH? Oh well all for a good cause. I can’t complain too much. I would have honestly would have not been interested if it wasn’t for the association of the movie so good call Susie Sue!

Mega table almost done


Living in the outer rings of the cliff is really peaceful and quiet. A bit unusual but I am getting acquainted with it. The place I live in is damn fine and I am still scratching my head about people paying the big bucks in fancy “old oak cliff” ain’t it funny? Seems like only yesterday that it was a big steamy pile of living called oak cliff. Where the “dangerous” people lived gun in hand in hand in gun with weirdo art hippies and freaky punk rock types. Now there are golf apparel and fancy pants bistros and such, not that I am not appreciative of it, it is just shocking that I have more places to choose to pay high priced drinks as I want and I do grab drinks. I did like when there was basically Barbara’s and Tradewinds. Good times made it feel more like a small town. Coming down to this part of town is an escape, that momentary feeling of displacement in my surrounds, exploring, finding the cool bits of stuff in areas that are considered not worth it. My neighbors are all really cool and all have I interesting pasts that I want to find out about. Also the history! Crap! Gets me wanting to make stuff (not just the freaking house either)! So that brings me to mega table!!! An all 2×6 frame monster that will take whateve you throw at it. I love my hands, truly surreal things, strange articulated stems paired lovingly mirror images of each other, evidence that the body is some sort of temple, maybe ziggurat or maybe kiva? The table would be complete but dammit that I didn’t get a new pack of exterior screws! Nothing worse than being with out back up. Oh well tomorrow it will finish up and I will slap on casters for the feet, the ones with the foot breaks on em. No the table is not dead, just easier to work on. Good night all.


Outdoor signage in place, but hit a snag

20feet-4Update. plexiglass came in! Woo! Only one thing, it is thicker than what the original material was. The builder assured Marc that that this was not an issue and that we could make it work in the existing group. Worked with Thomas and Marc to get the last bits of the vinyl sign stickers applied onto the glass and box signs. Getting the larger sign together took a little time but got it together. Marc was anxious to try and get the plexiglass pieces in place, however the thickness of the material was an issue, I recommended to Marc to make sure that the builder got that working since he was responsible for that. At least Marc was able to get the one panel slid part way in. #20feet #branding #signage

[nggallery id=8]

Life and the art of restaurant signage

The plan to help a friend of mine on the branding of his new restaurant turned out to be a really educational one. I think I want to mess around with this developing these kinds of projects a lot more in the future. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy working on user interface and experience on online and mobile projects and it is not that they aren’t challenging, but you see they are the norm. They are what I am used to when it comes to work. I don’t have a formula, each and every project is as unique as I can make them and I try to put as much care in to the project as the budget will allow, and most of the time, it is more than that amount.

Currently we are putting in the signage at the storefront on the north side of White Rock lake in a neat little strip mall next door to Good 2 Go and Good friends. The space is great, it was an old beauty salon, nothing is left from the original interior with the exception of the rough cinder block walls, steel truss ceiling and original terrazzo floors. The main dining room is simple with a patina of old sheet steel to give the room the feel of a ship’s hull, the entry doors are made to look like old steel bulkheads, the signage is dotted through out the space and the old box signs on the roof. The logo is pretty cool, it’s based on a jolly roger but instead of crossed bones there is a fish and piece of cutlery. I don’t know why, but it really fits the feel of the place. Everything has a little bit of intentional wear and tear on it but with a little bit of a twist on color and shape. The building is very vintage even with all of the improvements and updates that occurred next door so this will be a good addition.

We were able to get up the wall painting for the water closet and the restroom signs put together, they are looking really pretty dang good if I do say so myself. Next up is the outdoor signage which will go up tomorrow now that the new plexiglass sheets have made their way to the space and we can start putting on the vinyl decals. The rest will go up on the window panels up at the front. So I guess I need to go rest up and get ready for that one.

One day closer to big fun.

There is a certain excitement when it comes to creating something, especially when it is something for your own company. There is a certain level of ownership that is sometimes lost when you are working for a customer. I am not saying that the work you do for customers is somehow less important or not as good but there is just that “it is all about us” when you are making something that you have complete control over.

It is kinda like we are a lawyer and when it comes to being prosecuted, it is a really big deal when a lawyer tells you what they think is the best course of action when you are being sued or being tried for murder or some other serious crime. At Brainfood we are like a lawyer but in regards of technology, and for the most part clients are really into the concept of understanding that we know what we are talking about and are for the most part really good at following what we have to say even if sometimes they want to go another direction.

More and more however technology and business are getting interconnected at such an intricate level that there we are beginning to learn more and more about the business side of the equation. This perspective is unique and requires time and understanding to get the nuances of this process down. The problem occurs here. A customer has an idea of what they want to do and it is important to them, as much as you try to make our input a part of their idea, sometimes you can hit a crossroads and you have to politely make them aware that the idea or direction they want to use is not really the best way to go.

The silver lining comes when you start to notice these issues and work out ways around them even if your customer is unwilling to. These work arounds are coming in handy with our very own mobile application we are developing in house.  The app is simple and easy to use. It is hopefully coming out in the next few weeks and developed completely in house. I am pretty excited to see it come together. We are doing it in our spare time, and that has moved the project a little slower than I had hoped.

The great thing is, we have to only explain ideas to each other, there is very little fear of others not getting it, or wanting to do something impractical. I really do hope this launches and makes it big, not huge, but big, just something good enough to start creating more projects that we have 100% control over, that can get us on a path of creating to just create, with our own vision, not just filling in the blanks for others.

What is scary?! Did a guest talk at Pecha Kucha.

The early afternoon scramble trying to cobble together ideas and thoughts ensuring a good lecture was one of the most white knuckle moments of the evening. My brother Ean Schuessler and I worked diligently trying to figure how to make this scramble of information somehow make sense to us and hopefully later that evening to our audience. Self editing is a complete pain in the ass, when you have to self edit with another, that is even more ridiculous, compounded that it is with your sibling of many years it is a completely different plateau of back and forth. Ean had this extremely brilliant albeit overly complex plan on how to make the worlds most incredible presentation. I myself am more of a Percival type so I wanted to just go directly down a path and do a nickel tour. Together we ended up building a pretty darn satisfactory presentation.  A comprehensive guide to what we think is scary complete with tornados, nazi zombies, exploded buildings, raw squid, limousines, pig heads, etc.

I must admit I did have a tinge of satisfaction to quickly draw from the massive wealth of experiences to draw from and in this case I felt that the substance was vastly more important than the style on this one. That proved to be a good thing when we made it over to the Lizard Lounge/The Church. A massive night club landmark sitting in an old commercial building near downtown Dallas right outside of Deep Ellum. I arrived with Ean and fellow app cohort Thomas Williams noting that the Easy Slider truck was nearby, the promise of  a deliciously rewarding snack awaited us after we finished up our public speaking gig.

“Dang they make some good sliders” might have been either muttered or psychically emitted between all of us as the intensely delightful odors emitted from the mobile food dispensary. The ladies that created those golden nuggets of culinary salvation knew that they built a high caliber snack that was second to none, it was crafted to please, cutting through the foggy minded drunks that gladly departed with a couple of their hard earned bucks to ingest a nugget of beneficial protein to curb oncoming hangover. Even at this early point in the evening the smell was enough to trigger the hunger mechanism hard wired into my giant lumbering ape frame. I bypassed it by concentrating on the other primal energy bouncing carelessly from my brain down to my stomach.

We entered the Church, the club was schizophrenic mess, on the prime time nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) it is named the “Lizard Lounge” a typical dance club full of delightful douche bags and drugged up club kids having a hard time keeping their relationship with where the floor is while they gyrate madly with out looking too stupid. On the alternative nights (Wednesday and Sunday), it decides to slip on something a little more Gothic. At some point the people that go there have to understand that they might as well be dressing up in 50’s sock hop outfits and dancing to Chuck Barry. The vintage style and look is not lost on me. I remember goth clubs back when I was in high school and any time a return there it is a time capsule with a guarantee to hear songs like “Bella Lugosi is Dead” or some Lords of Acid track. I wont kid myself, I wore black clothes on occasion, however there is a certain point where that dead horse has been kicked so much that it is a bloody pulpy mess of goo.

The place was kinda creepy any how, it was originally built out as a strip bar in the 80’s. Heck it was even in a movie with Eric Stoltz in it, you know, the dude that was the main character in “Mask” The place was more gothic than dance club. Dark walls and wood details did fit the evening perfectly. We wandered into the space and grabbed a few free drinks since we were presenters (thank you AIGA). It was a great idea to ply us with a little booze just to shave off a little of the anxiety and add in a little liquid courage into the mix. It was good seeing everyone that made it, it was a little exciting and scary. No pressure.

The speakers dropped down in a line of chairs waiting for their turn at the stage for their Pecha Kucha presentation. The way it works is simple. Twenty slides. Twenty seconds on each slide and 13 presentations. The majority of the speakers were local designers. Mostly a good lot of interesting folk, there were a couple of exceptions but it kept me entertained for most of the evening. Ean and I were set to last. Well the 12th presenter, the 13th was drawn from random in a little raffle bowl at the main entrance. The poor bastard that won got to go up and improv a Pecha Kucha presentation from a set of 20 pics put together by Brian Murphy, one of the originators of the PK in Dallas that I help out on.

I noticed that most of the presentations that seemed to suffer the most on lack of content were the ones with the best looking slide designs. I suppose that you could take something away from that observation that substance is a lot better than just pretty window dressing. I could imagine that if you are showcasing people that make things visually cool it is a little more difficult to put some oof behind it aside from just making it look good. Don’t get me wrong there were a couple of really good ones. One guy’s dead pan delivery about being terrified by the fat and caloric content of the Sonic foot long chili dog and Jack in the Box’s Baconator were at an almost Steven Wright level of awesomeness.

The moment of dread was nigh. Ean had to take a leak and was about to scamper off as this photographer exited stage left and Brian stepped back onto the stage. I commented to Ean noting that I think we were next. His face let off an expression of slight discomfort as it dawned on him that he would just have to hold it. Poor bastard. I must admit, it would have been a horrible thing to wet yourself at a lecture. Nightmarish actually, up there with having dreams of being in high school and not realizing you forgot to put clothes on. He soldiered through it. I was proud of my older brother, he kept it together, a complete 360 from earlier in the day when we couldn’t get our presentation together and loosing steam. It would have been easy to bow out for both of us, but we stood fast and got it done. We strode up on stage encountering the first big fear. One mic and two people speaking, it was especially difficult because the pick up on the mic was terrible. You had to get it right up on your mouth for effective amplification. Aside from a couple of offset timing from frame to frame, Ean and I were like old pros at mic hand off. Amazingly, little or no stumbles happened and the images were poignant and effective. We brought up points that were scary to us and pointed out concrete examples of how we delved into it. As brothers, we explained our individual experiences and how they related to each other, we had funny moments and serious moments, that hit people effectively. Sharing our trip up to our grandparents house after it was devastated from the tornado in Joplin I could feel the hush from the audience and how much energy reached out to us. It was powerful. We explained to people that there is nothing more scary than having your past your heritage, parts of your life, just simply erased by an act of god or a force of nature, whatever you want to call it, it is terrifying to the core.

After that we discussed projects we have been involved in and how they scared us and how they impacted us long term. Donnie Davies was one of the items discussed. (http://www.eveningservice.com/http://lovegodsway.org/, etc) This project was so fun and exciting to do. I would love to have a benefactor that would bankroll more mischievous behavior like this for my daily job. It was a giant prank going against the super “moral” whack jobs out there that call themselves conservative. Donnie Davies is an ex-gay christian pastor that wanted to heal gay people from their affliction. The project was so fun to do with 8 million views. That is a lot of traffic if you ask me.

The other project we discussed was Disturbathon. The name of Disturbathon was coined from David Hanson, great pal and robotic artist extraordinaire.  The name came when he decided to turn his UNT apartment space into a terrarium. He was on the verge of discovering something wonderful or going insane and ended up having a fun get together in the process. I wasn’t able to attend the first one but started having fun in it’s second year of conception. I would however not point to one particular person as the creator/mayor of disturbathon. Disturbathon created itself, mutating in countless directions consuming creative thoughts and regurgitating it into a frothing mass of gluttonous freaky indulgence. The party has grown and changed over the years and it is interesting to see how new people come into the puzzle box of a party and find ways to express their ideas.

The talk wound to a close and it was well received by everyone that viewed it. I hope to do more discussions such as this in the future.