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Coast 25: Art directors on their favourite covers 


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CHRIS MUELLER

Coast art director: March 1997-August 1999
Career highlights: Assistant art director at Esquire, art director at Vanity Fair, design director at The New Yorker
Now: Creative director at The Foundry at Time Inc.
Memorable covers:
The one with the present. It was super-fun. Hannah [Thomson] shot it and we were hanging out at Kyle and Ori’s house and we just did it. Ori wore the present. It was a fun cover to make, a real group project. I made the little lights on the logo by wrapping Christmas lights around a ruler and scanning it, then Photoshopping it in. it was a super-weird cover in hindsight.

Every cover was always different, but there wasn't a lot of time, the schedule was so condensed. I remember making a lot of stuff, which was really fun. Haliwood: I made that thing in my kitchen with some astroturf and some handcut letters and Photoshopped it in the picture.

The Fugazi one—they sent in their press shots in this FedEx envelope that had been sent around the world a million times and it was all marked up, so we just used that.

Everything about The Coast at that time was so fun.

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DEVIN SLATER

Coast art director: February 2000-March 2003
Career highlights: The Hamilton Spectator, The Toronto Star
Now: Design director and co-chair of The UX Lab, The Globe and Mail
Memorable covers:
Scott Munn photographed David McKinnon, the police chief. As soon as we went into his office we saw this setting and we thought ‘Perfect.’ There was wood panelling on the wall, there were historical photos and engravings of Halifax, and this large oak desk that he sat behind. It was representative of the chief himself: Strength, sophistication, durability. This huge desk and larger-than-life man behind it. His uniform was perfect, the badges were polished. He was very welcoming, very gentle. As soon as we were ready to pull the trigger he completely transformed into this steely seriousness. He stared into the lens with this intensity and resolve. Both Scott and I were mesmerized.

We got very excited about things. The jack-o-lantern, having to carve the Coast logo. The space in the ‘a’ fell out and we had to toothpick it in for support. So we started off carving the logo and then we had to Photoshop some parts. the ambition in trying to produce that is memorable.

The Reverb readers’ poll—some things come together very quickly: We know Carla Gillis has a guitar covered in great rock stickers, all we really have to do is shoot that. She throws on a punkish red belt and jeans, and it’s her in a powerstance, plucking a string. 

Anywhere from the cover meeting up to deadline day, it not only gave me the tools and also the appreciation of local journalism, but also the grit. The fortitude of being in a newsroom.

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KATE O’CONNOR

Coast art director: December 2003-December 2006
Career highlights: Ad firms Wieden+Kennedy, Deutsch, Chiat\Day, nominated for an Emmy for 2012’s Volkswagen ad “The Bark Side”
Now: Freelance artist in Los Angeles, CA
Memorable covers:
I’m realizing the piece de resistance would be the balls cover, only because it has a testicle on it. That’s just a triumph. It’s a good one, it’s a winner. It’s so disgusting! When I think back about that job, especially working in advertising now, that sort of stuff was so celebrated and lauded.

One I hold dear to my heart is the one Kate Sinclair did. She embroidered it, she cross-stitched it. I had the type embroidered through a commercial embroidery company. They made the flag and the headers but Kate hand-embroidered all the credit cards and the hams. that was really amazing, that was really rad.

The pier one with tourists—it’s a real attack on tourism. That was a great way of creating these characters of how disgusting cruise ship people are. It was rare to have the opportunity to poke fun.

I was immersed in a really rich art community. It was an exercise in nepotism—Jesse Jacobs had a cover, Seth Scriver did an amazing cover. I was just showcasing people I really admired. I think also from a technical standpoint illustration prints better. You can get a really snappy cover.

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MOON HEE NAM

Coast art director: December 2006-September 2010
Career highlight: The Orb Factory toy company
Now: Entrepreneur in Hamilton, ON
Memorable covers:
We did the music issue every year, and this time we tried to gather so many musicians—at the time it was the vacant building where Attica used to be? That was really really strange. It was interesting having the whole music scene there, that many local musicians on a cover.

Jason Eisener’s cover—Andy Hines shot that, it was an interesting collaboration. We went to the back of his house, and trekked through the woods and shot it there. 

Aaron [Mckenzie Fraser] and I went to the penitentiary and interviewed someone who had been put there for murder, Corey Wright. We wanted to act naturally but we were in a very weird environment. Setting a photo shoot inside a prison itself—I don’t know how we got to do that. 

All the collaboration I did—I want to say thanks to all the people I worked there with: Rob Fournier, Scott Munn, Riley Smith, Meghan Tansey Whitton, Jesse Jacob, Peter Diamond, Julé Malet Veale and Scott Blackburn.

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