How do you distill down what a brand is?
As we get back to work on growing No_System, I've run into some issues with describing what it is that we do and who the people are that we imagine in the No_System community. I have long tirades that I can go into about what we do and who we design for, but that doesn't instantly translate when someone lands on the webpage.
Last week I sat with my coworking group and did a quick mastermind on some ideas I've had. I've been continuing to roll them around in my head, and over the weekend, I think I distilled down everything into one word: ANARSNARKY.
ANARSNARKY or ANARSNARCHIC FASHION(?) isn't a word, but it should be. Smashing up Anarchy and Snark gets at the core that I want to design for smart, slightly sarcastic, self-aware people who have a sense of humor and are ok with challenging norms. No_System ISN'T for everybody, but the type of person who can read ANARSNARKY and immediately get it and be amused? You are our people.
I know I'll continue to have thoughts I'll share about the No_System mission, but I'm really encouraged to have stumbled on the word. I hope you relate to it as much as I do.
The Stack of Stuff
When I first started freelancing again, I had a newsletter I sent out every week with a list of cool things I'd stumbled on that week. It was one of my favorite things to do, but life got busy, and I stopped doing it. I'm bringing it back to life over here on the No_System blog and in the No_System e-mails. HOPEFULLY this can become a biweekly thing. It's an easy way to bring people up to speed on what's new in the store, what content we've made, and what's exciting us.
So, with that, here're some of the things we've been excited about! If there's something you're excited about, share it in the comments. Maybe it'll make it into the next stack of stuff.
No_System friend Heather Chavin shared pictures of her Cherry Froot Boots out on the Oregon beach. We love seeing photos of No_System stuff out in the world. If you've got a photo you'd like to share, send it to email@example.com. We'll feature it here and in the photos on our shop pages. Also, new Froot stuff coming very soon.
Eleanor and I finally hit our stride this past Saturday with the CRE-8 LAB streams. We're drawing together every Saturday afternoon at 2 pm central. You can find the streams on our Twitch channel or on the No_System Facebook page. It's been so much fun reacting to and hanging out with my energetic daughter and watching what she draws.
If there's anything about our neurodiverse family, it's anarchic energy, and Eleanor has it in spades. She cracks me up. Come hang out with us and watch me continue to try to figure out how to better draw, talk, and direct at the same time.
I puttered around with another entry in r/Makinghiphop's One Kit Contest. Have a listen to what I pieced together this past weekend. One of the samples was the sound from a THX promo and I was able to turn it into a vaguely House style organ.
If you didn't get a chance to hear the first one, I wrote a blog post about the challenge and showed just how much you could make with something that already exists.
Lastly, here's our most recent shirt: Soiree of Frustration
Anarsnarky is about individualism. It's self-aware. "Less of a Pity Party and more of a Soiree of Frustration" is our attempt to take the idea of pity and looking down on yourself or others and twist it into something more positive. We don't feel good when we're frustrated, but frustration is an active, driving force. Frustration is friction, and friction is change.
David Hilowitz is a composer and tinkerer that's involved with a website I'm a fan of called Pianobook. We'll get back to Pianobook in a second, but as I mentioned, David is a tinkerer, and he does really wonderful and weird sound experiments. He recently decided to attach a slinky to a violin, and it's cooler than you would expect it to be.
One of the best musical gifts I've given myself, and probably one of the things that changed me the most as a (I hate even to say the word, but it fits) composer in 2020, was purchasing Native Instruments Kontakt.
Kontakt is a really advanced sampling keyboard. There's a whole ecosystem of sampled instruments (things like Trumpets, Orchestras, Guitars, Zithers, lots of things that aren't even technically instruments) that you get access to once you've got a copy. It's not the only sample platform, but Kontakt is the big dog. You've heard someone playing a Kontakt instrument without even realizing that you weren't hearing someone play the actual instrument.
Christian Henson, the founder of Spitfire Audio (who make the main orchestra libraries I use), started a project called Pianobook where people could contribute their attempts at sampling musical instruments. Every week they release instruments that are completely free and, in a lot of cases, brilliantly unique.
As the community has grown, they've also created some wonderful experiments. This Christmas, they did a project called Winter Voices, where they wanted to assemble the largest choral instrument ever recorded. Four hundred fifty people recorded over 950 different samples that were worked into the instrument. Watch Christian's walkthrough here.
Lastly, my friend Viola and her husband Dan have been growing a YouTube channel called The Ginchiest. I've been so blown away by the way they've shared their lives and documented how their challenges have shaped their lives. They've got a wicked sense of humor that I think fully embraces Anarsnarky. Check out this recent video that made me (quite embarrassingly) cackle on Doing a Jane Fonda Workout.