I Watch The Watchmen

Jose Vilson Jose

Carl: yo some of the watchmen themeness going on in your new layout just hit me. i like it even more now
Me: hahaha
Carl: shh, it’s ben a long day lol
Carl: don’t hate
Me: i almost did
Me: haha

My latest site redress had three inspirations: The Watchmen, Salvador Dali, and Andy Park. Let me explain.

The Watchmen

I’ve been reading The Watchmen graphic novel since the trailer came out (yes, I’m a noob), and that book has held my attention like no other (even more than, say, some of the work I had to do for my kids. I caught up eventually). As soon as I hit the Photoshop, I wanted to stick religiously to the layout of the book, blending in the infamous chapter face layout, just changing up some of the elements so I don’t get hit up for copyright infringement or whatever have you. If I remember correctly, the font for the Watchmen’s titles is Tempo Std. (Tw Cent MT Bold is an appropriate substitute, too). I laid out most of the poetry pages in that light, too, using Tw Cent MT throughout, and having that black backdrop against the white text really harkens back to the book. I decided against yellow because, well, I’m not a HUGE fan of yellow all over my stuff, but I liked it enough to use it on page 6. Just a splash is enough.

Salvador Dali

I was really excited to get into making my site, and remodeling everything, when, as I described here, I went to the Salvador Dali exhibit at the MoMA. Frankly, I was embarrassed to call myself an artist of any field, seeing how artists like Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, and him pushed their art forms to new levels. They couldn’t give a crap if people thought it was strange, because they knew they were making something that would arouse emotions out of people, make people ask critical questions about the painting and possibly their own lives, and convey a message about themselves without actually saying it for them. That’s the human component of art.

When I looked back at the site, I realized it just wasn’t inviting enough. I went back and redid the menus, got advice from Jon who I actually met with to do this lovely portrait of me:

And pushed the usability of the site a little further than I might have. I spent practically a fourth of Saturday, and all of my Sunday getting it done, and putting up my best unpublished work in the poetry section, which took a huge amount of time on its own.

Oh, and one more thing I wanted to add: the artists I mentioned did their stuff with no flash, just depth and accessibility. So that was my vow too: no Flash, just accessibility. :-)

Andy Park

Not that the man needs any introduction. He’s done most of the stylish pics you see in anything I do. From the side profile of me looking over the Lincoln Memorial / Washington Monument to the sexy and ever-present toothpick picture people seem to enjoy so much, he’s taken them all. (Special shout-out to Groana, who took the pictures in the classroom, mea culpa for not acknowledging you on the links page). Andy’s eye for drawing out the insightful and personal is keen. Take just a sample from his site and you’ll see an artist at work. And it’s no wonder I re-use his pictures, even if I’ve used them before. The thing about his pictures is: they never get boring. Maybe it’s just me, but his camera doesn’t just magnify the person, but the persona behind them.

I needed a layout that does justice to whatever he puts in his photos. Even his lukewarm efforts (according to him) made it onto the page. Says somethin’ about him.

The Feedback

So the effort is to make the effort look effortless. It’s one of Robert Greene’s Laws of Power, so why not? All of it has been extremely positive. Some people thought I needed to edit a few things here and there, but out of a possible 10, I’d say the feedback was anywhere between an 8 and a 10. People who never knew I wrote now know, and people who knew I wrote still loved browsing through the poetry but also knowing I blog and anything else (who was it that said teachers don’t write poems?). I also took the advice of SEO experts and put in more searchable text into the page.

Now, onto more pressing issues … like a nice cool shower and sleep. Peace, my people, and if you have suggestions for future implementations of the JLV, let a brotha know.

jose, whose been giving tips out for web design all month …