Five Ideas: Keith Scharwath
Five Ideas is a collection of work from GOOD's favorite artists, illustrators, and designers. Some of the of the work you've probably seen, some of it has never been published. Each week, we'll showcase five pieces of work that tell a short story about our most creative friends.
My name is Keith Scharwath and I’m a designer, illustrator and art director based in Los Angeles. I was trained as a graphic designer but I’ve been able to incorporate some of my other loves—drawing, painting, and photography—into my work. I was lucky enough to be invited to guest art direct the latest issue of GOOD, the Neighborhoods Issue, which just hit newsstands.
Poster, title, and graphic language design for a documentary film about street art and DIY culture
Client Sidetrack Films
This poster was a creative breakthrough for me. The idea to use a butterfly came from Aaron Rose, the director of the film. I designed literally hundreds of posters but none of them seemed to work. What I eventually realized is that the insect itself wasn’t enough to tell the story. When I switched out the body of the butterfly for a person, I managed to convey the idea in a much more meaningful way. The poster connects with people, and that’s become really important to me. I knew right away that this was the kind of work I wanted to continue doing.
Open Door for Manifest Equality
Enamel on reclaimed wood door
In February I was asked to submit a piece of art to Manifest Equality, a group art show supporting full and equal rights for all Americans. Before being contacted, I had never participated in an art show, and I hadn’t touched a paint brush since art school. With just two weeks to work, I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and created this crazy door. It felt good to be taking a risk like this for a cause I feel strongly about. It was an amazing show attended by hundreds of people in a former Big Lots in Hollywood over Oscar weekend. I got to see my work alongside many of my heroes like Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Harvey Pekar, and Ron English.
90 Statements on Sister Corita
Client Director Aaron Rose
I have a thing for numbers. Numbers serve a strict utilitarian purpose in our lives, but they can also have secondary cultural meanings. Numbers were the perfect organizing concept for a short documentary film about Sister Corita, a radical nun who ran an influential screenprinting studio in Hollywood during the 1960s and 1970s. The short documentary is divided into 90 statements for which I created corresponding number frames based on her work and life. I just tried to make the church lady proud.
If You Lived Here You’d Be Urban By Now
Illustration for GOOD 019, The Neighborhoods Issue
This illustration for GOOD combines some of my favorite things: hand-drawn illustration, textures, bright colors, and typography. Living in Los Angeles, I feel like I see these developments every day. I was excited to expose the absurd nature of so-called “urban” living. Using my previous experience working in advertising I was even able to write most of the marketing messages.
Limited edition print, currently circulating worldwide
What's the value of a dollar? If you think about it, money is just numbers on paper. In a time when I and everyone I knew was worried about money, I decided to try using money itself as a delivery system for this message. I printed 100 one-dollar bills and planned to introduce them into circulation.
What I wasn't prepared for was the intense reaction I received from complete strangers all over the world who requested the dollar bills. Some of them even sent things they made back to me. I spent a hundred dollars and it was the best investment I’ve ever made. This is one of my favorite projects to date.
My inspiration is my garage. I get to paint, play music, build things, and work on my car, all in this tiny, dirty space. Every garage is a miniature laboratory, and mine is no exception. Having a this space to experiment in has made a huge difference in my creative life.
The Hammock Company Fighting Malaria (From Mom and Dad’s House) Greg McEvilly built a company that produces mosquito-proof hammocks while sleeping under his parents’ roof.
Why Do Happy People Make The Suburbs Look Even More Depressing? There’s a reason engagement photos aren’t normally taken where the couple actually plans on living
Keeping a Pakistani Artisan Culture from Going Extinct Lahore-based social entrepreneurs support local craftsmen by selling men’s shoes named after an endangered goat
Can You Cut Your Water Consumption by 90 Percent for 24 Hours? A nonprofit challenges people to live off a gallon of water a day, instead of dumping it on their heads
A Love Letter to Philadelphia A personal look into the city from the local poet, muscian, singer, and educator
You Can’t Print a Photo from Outer Space On Polyester Celine Semaan Vernon’s new fashion project is a cosmic experiment in empathy.
Forget the Ouija Board If you want to get into divination this Halloween season, check out these alternatives to the game that rhymes with ‘squeegee’
The Standards are Too Damn High An African leadership prize that frequently has no winners has sparked a debate over whether standards of excellence can turn self-defeating.
Stop Chasing the “It” Pumpkin One man’s brave stance against pricey heirloom gourds fouling up fall.
Skid Row Is Here to Stay The largest, and probably proudest, homeless community in the United States is becoming a powerful interest group in Los Angeles.
How to Raise $750,000 for Charity, the YouTuber Way Rising YouTube sensations like Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta mobilize their massive fan base for a cause Next time your birthday rolls around, consider what these enterprising stars did to celebrate theirs.
Chelsea Handler Tries Making Fun Of Andy’s Weight. It Backfires Immediately. An embarrassingly bad attempt to make fun of Andy’s weight