I’ve always been impressed with The Heads of State’s work and proud to call them friends. When they showed a sneak peek of this project at an AIGA talk in NYC last year, I nearly melted in my chair.
I think one of the main reasons why I love this project so much is because I really know the history behind it. When I lived in Philadelphia, I was involved in the small but strong illustration community, and Jason Kernevich (1/2 of this duo) became a major mentoring figure in my life. The Heads of State were a huge success story from Tyler School of Art (where I and they attended college), and their accomplishments were incredibly motivating to all students in the program.
Jason and Dusty Summers rose to fame because of their amazing silk-screened posters for bands like Wilco and REM, and while they may still be best known for their posters (or their influence on all young poster designers), ALL of their work is incredibly beautiful and smart.
In 2006, Jason introduced me to Tim Robbin’s recitation of The Great Gatsby (along with the endless bands, books and movies that essentially shaped all of my tastes from then until now), and this book-on-tape became one of my favorite recordings to work to that year. It didn’t surprise me that he and Dusty would eventually craft a project around The Great Gatsby, and while I knew I would be impressed with anything that came out of their shop, this poster really floored me.
Every detail is considered, from the beautiful lettering and typeface choices to the tiny details like the old school zip codes that reflect what was used at the time. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that this was just a perfect re-creation of business cards that actually existed and not a completely contemporary creation.
I don’t think a project will ever exist that will make me feel so simultaneously proud and envious.