Ending the week reviewing color proofs with photographer @marencaruso for her upcoming 28 page promo book on the organization ‘Meals On Wheels’. It’s always exciting seeing the final color proofs. That means it’s one step closer to being printed next week. ⚡️⚡️⚡️
I’m missing #SanFranciscoPride this weekend (only for the best reasons) but I’m bummed to not be here; mainly because I’m missing the best party in town. The incomparable Juanita More @missmore8 is adding Saturday evening to her global empire by throwing a charity event at SVN West, a classic SF music venue with legendary pedigree (big bands in 20s and 30s, Ike and Tina, B.B. King and Grateful Dead used to play there) making its refurbished debut. Juanita chose TRUTH (TRans yoUTH) as the beneficiary of the evening, which is an incredible organization amplifying and protecting the voices of trans and gender non-conforming young people. The event goes from 10pm-4am, a proper party time, and is $50 at the door! If I were in town, I’d be covering it for #ObservedSF but I’m not, so you can go and tell me what I’m missing! Happy Pride Weekend. Let’s keep each other safe and close!
Tonight! #WhetstoneMagazine Vol 3. Launch party at @theperishtrust 6-8pm 728 Divisadero Street. This is a journal on food origins and culture. Let me tell you about this issue. Global dispatches from Iran, Puerto Rico, Peru, India, Nigeria, Thailand, Grenada, and the United States. This magazine is a 106 page juggernaut, aesthetic salve, a reminder of the power of food as a universal and spiritual force, and a political response to our times. A magazine made by women and people of color. And it’s pretty beautiful. I’m really proud of it. And personally, I never thought that I’d be designing another publication, ever. And I’m so grateful that I am. See you tonight!
This was a portrait that @jasonmadarastudio took as a lighting test on the first day of the ‘I Am Bayview’ campaign last summer at the Bayview Opera House. I found it a few days ago and it seemed appropriate to share again. Bernstein and Andrulli published an article on the background and intent of the campaign last week while I was visiting my family. When Jason sent it to me, I remember thinking: “What a strange thing to read a nuanced article about this story.” It’s been a very strange few weeks. But I’m grateful to have it to share. And I’m prouder of this project than ever. My favorite paragraph from the story. “Since being released to the public, the project has catalyzed a fiery conversation about the impact of gentrification in San Francisco and the responsibility of representation. Some of the dialogue has been constructive and that’s what Madara and McCalman are pouring their energy into, passionate to continue the conversation and engage the community even deeper. The conversation itself is important. The conversation was the intended result. Everything that’s happened since the release of the project was what was supposed to happen, in a way.” I think it was, also. 📷 @jasonmadarastudio (The link is in the bio, as they say.)
I’ve now been moderating panels on various creative practices at @thebatterysf for the last couple of years; and even when I know the person I’m interviewing, I always walk away learning something more about ‘process’ as a result. Last night was no exception. Thank you to @lesliewilliamson for being such a delightful subject and illuminating guest of the ‘State Of...’ series. I had the best time! Some highlights were images that didn’t make her book ‘Interior Portraits’ and a preview of her next publication. And holy wow we got a bunch of really engaging questions from the audience! I guess people were paying attention! My next discussion will be in September. More details soon. 📷 @rosewanjugu
Another reason to leave paradise and come back home: Vol. 3 of @whetstonemagazine arrived in the mail today! Praise Jah! @isawstephen came over to look it over together; and we cooed, we giggled, and *may* have cried a little at the birth of our shared baby. I’m so so happy with this 108-page page journal. It is gorgeous (is that weird to say if you designed something 👏🏾☺️? I DONT CARE.) @sanajaverikadri your cover photography is🔥🔥🔥!! We are so ready for our launch party at @theperishtrust on Thursday evening 6-8pm. If I see you and I’m holding a copy, I may cry again. Don’t judge me! #WhetstoneMagazine #OriginForaging
I can’t fib, it was very hard to come back to San Francisco from the Caribbean yesterday. It was magic. Softening the blow tonight is my talk at @thebatterysf this evening with the wonderful @lesliewilliamson. The conversation is part of my ongoing State Of’ salon discussions on creativity in its various forms. Tonight we will talk about Leslie’s new book, ‘Interior Portraits: A California Design Pilgrimage’. We’ll delve into her creative process, show slides from her favorite portraits in the book and talk about why she does what she does. I’ve had the fortune of watching this very talented woman behind the scenes (she’s a photographer, author and historian) in the making her three published books (additionally, ‘HandCrafted Modern’ and ‘Modern Originals’), and it’s a fascinating process. Shoot me an email if you’d like to attend (Info@mccalman.co). I’m really looking forward to our discussion. / 7:30-9pm this evening. / 717 Battery St. / I’ll see you this evening! #ObservedSF
I’ve never done an entire #ObservedSF column outside of San Francisco, but I have to say: sitting on my grandmother’s veranda is not a bad way to do it. This scene is from the cocktail line of #SFDesignWeek. The next Observed column drops next weekend June 23-24
Cosmically, I was visiting my grandmother last fall in Grenada while putting the finishing design touches on Vol 2 of @whetstonemagazine. It feels fitting to be here now, as I show off our first-bound proof of Vol 3 and @sanajaverikadri’s gorgeous cover image. The issue is chock-filled with beautiful and substantive stories from locations as varied as Iran, India, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Nigeria, and yes, Grenada. This journal celebrates the origins of food ways around the world. I’ve been super weird about how I’ve shown this magazine on my feed: I’ve only shown the cover, hoping to entice people to buy the issue and gobble up the insides. But I’m over that now. I’m going to be showing off the interiors of the latest, and last, issue. Because it is really gorgeous. And I’m really proud of my shit. Also, our launch party is this coming Thursday at @theperishtrust from 6-8pm @ 728 Divisadero St. I’ll be there, like a proud parent. #WhetstoneMagazine #BlackHands #BrownHands
I took a week off my studio feed to visit my family in the Caribbean and celebrate, specifically, the 95th birthday of my favorite human being, my grandmother Lyris Holder. It’s been restorative to be in Grenada, surrounded by family, heat, thunderstorms, mosquitos, yoga with @malaikabsl and the kind of food I don’t get anywhere on the west coast. It also managed to be fairly productive. I completed my latest Observed column sitting on my grandmother’s veranda this week, a very different (and welcome) setting than usual. I leave paradise in a few days, but I’m grateful to my family for making me feel so welcome, my cousins for not laughing at my American accent, and to this incredible woman who gave me my soul.
Lost in the shuffle of this publicly and privately challenging week was a personal and professional highlight: getting Vol 3 of @whetstonemagazine magazine off to the printer. Last fall, designing Vol 2. was a salve during my grief after my father’s passing. It’s fitting that as we’re about to ship the latest issue to the printer, I’m also returning to visit my family in the Caribbean this weekend. The stories in the magazine span the globe, including (coincidentally) Grenada. @isawstephen @heleenetambet and I have poured our souls into the latest issue and we’re really proud of the results. We’re having a Whetstone Vol. 3 launch party at @theperishtrust on Thursday June 21st. Come by and say hello. I never thought that I’d be designing any magazines again after I left AFAR 8 years ago. But if this weird, wild and unpredictable week has reminded me, you just never know how things are going to go.
What a week of public loss and pain. Thank you for asking me to design this quote @indiebookstoreday. I get to have yet another thing that I admire Anthony Bourdain for.
The last few days have been a wild ride. The 29 posters that represent the #IAmBayview project began rolling out last Friday. I wrote about it on my instagram account and then went back into my day. My friends excitedly sent me photos of them seeing it out in the world. On Saturday, I posted it on my Twitter account. At some point on Sunday, a Facebook page called Vanishing SF posted a single photo of one of the white subjects, with no context of the larger series. The photo went viral. Strangers found my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages and began sending me direct messages, outraged that I had created what they saw as testament to gentrification, the opposite of the point of the series. I’ve spent the last five days directly responding to every note I’ve received. People have told me some thangs. Some people said I was a traitor. Some said I was arrogant for creating a celebration of the neighborhood. Some said I should have asked them. Or anyone other than the people who were selected. Some thought I was white. Some were horrified that I was not. Some people said that they thought that there should have been no white people in this campaign. At. All. A woman told me that I had destroyed her community. What constitutes a neighborhood in San Francisco? Especially a historically black one? Who decides who is Bayview? I’ve heard every variation of that opinion this week. An article was written on Monday about the controversy and the title was ‘Critics Say Bayview Portrait Series Promotes Gentrification’. The reporter neglected to disclose in the story that she is one of the subjects. Perception means more than context, I’ve learned. I’ve listened to everyone who has had something to say to me. I disagreed with many things that have been said, but I’ve listened. I honor how triggering that the first image many people saw was a white man, claiming connection to a beloved neighborhood, in a tenuous city, with exorbitant wealth, and shady business practices. But that isn’t this series. And I will explain It again, and again, until I don’t have to anymore. And then I’ll let it speak for itself. #IAmBayview
Overheard on the stool next to me at @outerlands: “I need all of Sunday to get me ready for just a little bit of Monday.” #ObservedSF
I’ve received a lot of personal notes on the #IAmBayView portrait project I talked about yesterday, from people asking about more information around it, its origins, and its purpose. I can’t start the story without showing the team that made it even possible. The two people who made the idea of this portrait series being placed around the city possible: Brittni Chicuata, legislative aide to Supervisor Malia Cohen, and Earl Shaddix, creator of @bayviewunderground (and 3rd Street Whisperer). The four of us got together a few times and talked and dreamed big for this, but they made it a reality. They worked to grease the wheels of city bureaucracy and community skepticism to make it possible. There is no way that Jason and I would have had a way to pull this off without them. We shot the series over a few days in the spring and summer months. They conducted talks with Clear Channel and Muni to smooth the transition to creating and printing the posters. As we photographed the dozens of subjects we met, it was inspiring to meet the people who make up the backbone of a community and hold them up to be celebrated. If you’re going to move into a neighborhood, then it’s your obligation to get to know the people who already live there. That is mission statement of this series. That is the point. Thank you Earl and Brittni for making this dream real. You guys are the (literal) business. 📷 @danrappa
I walked up to you the Muni platform in front of my studio building while I was on the phone with my friend Kari this morning, and started sobbing when I saw the first poster of the #IamBayview series up on the platform. This project, from my first conversation last year with the incredible @rebelintheglory, to our first meeting with @jasonmadarastudio and @bayviewunderground to the photo shoot in the Bayview Opera house to the subsequent shoot at our studio to the design process to the print and installation part, this has been a dream brought to life. There are two sets of posters on every Muni stop along 3rd Street in the Bayview and Potrero Neighborhood in San Francisco. Jason was on location on the east coast, and we FaceTimed to view our creation together. We did it! I’m riding the train and getting off at every stop this weekend to see all 29 posters. Every! Single! One! The entire point of the project is to celebrate the neighborhood of Bayview and it’s dynamic community, and I hope we succeeded. If you see a crazy man crying emotionally on the platform this weekend, that will be me. #TheIndividualsProject
On the evening July 19th, I’ll be in conversation at @heathnewsstandsf with @justinedonato talking about my monthly column called ‘Observed. The talk is titled ‘Scene and Heard’. I show a lot of the process of this column on my #McCalmanCo feed, but there’s much that goes into the making of it that isn’t really instagram ready, you know? The evening talk is part of their ‘Articles & Anecdotes’ series. The behind-the-scenes process of this column combines my skills as a writer, reporter, graphic designer and illustrator. Working on it has redefined all of the work coming out of my creative studio. I can talk about it alllll day. I promise I won’t. More details to follow. Mark your calendar and roll on through. 📷 @justinedonato
In process pages being designed for the upcoming catalog for photographer @marencaruso. This subject of the 20-page piece is an organization near and dear to her heart: The Meals On Wheels program. Maren is one of the best conceptual still life and food shooters in the country (yes, I said country) but for this project she decided to shoot the entire story of the SF Chapter of Meals on Wheels. The clients, the staff, the locations, the food, as a self directed challenge to expand her range as a photographer. The results are astonishing. Any photographer that I’ve worked with has heard me (annoyingly) repeat this mantra: “Photograph what you love”. This is the perfect example.
The last two days were overcast, and the city was creepily empty for Memorial Day. This morning, the sun came out and the clothes came off. Summer on the 6. Thinking of JLo. When I was growing up in Brooklyn, I used to hate the subway. I always thought it was gross and depressing. Thankfully, I’ve smartened up enough to understand that the NYC subway is the best public art social experiment in the world. The End. #ObservedNY
I traveled to New York this weekend to meet up a with woman I’ve admired for years and celebrate our current collaboration. We’ve been working together on the second issue of Good Company magazine, a biannual journal of, and for, creative mavericks. Grace Bonney started @designsponge in 2004, giving a platform to artists and creatives who often didn’t have one. Inspired by the response to her book ‘In the Company of Women’, she decided to continue her desire to throw a spotlight of the activists, movers and artists that are making a difference; and create a publication that profiled them. I never could have envisioned being a creative director on another magazine after leaving the industry seven years ago (much less two!), but the timing was just right and Grace was so convincing: I had to say yes. This project has been a dream. We’ve been geeking out on the photographers, illustrators and typographers that we’re creating with. Even though we’ve been working together for the last couple of months on this project, we met for the first time yesterday. It was magic. ⚡️✨Thank Grace and Julia @turshen for your incredible hospitality.