50 and 50
A Brooklyn designer has enlisted the talents of his fellow artists to re-design the mottos of all 50 states, reports Josh Dawsey in The Wall Street Journal (1/5/13). Dan Cassaro of design firm Young Jerks was “driving through the western US in a 1974 Play-Pac Hitch Hut camper” when “he became enamored with state mottos and highway welcome signs.” He got the idea to try to re-design the mottos of all 50 states, initially thinking he might undertake the project by himself. He instead decided to ask “designers who hail from the individual states to create new imprints.”
Among the artists is Maayan Pearl, who rendered New Jersey’s state motto, “Liberty and Prosperity” on the seat of a pair of sweatpants. “Growing up in sort of a wealthy Jewish town in the 1990s, there was a huge inundation of women running around with Juicy Couture tracksuits,” says Maayan. “It sort of stuck with me as part of the landscape.” Not everyone is happy with her concept, but Dan stresses that it’s “just one person’s impression.” Meg Hunt found Connecticut’s motto, “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains” personally meaningful, having just moved from Connecticut to Arizona.
Her treatment “incorporated curvy leaves and slews of trees into the words. Roots reach up from the bottom of the painting and anchor the letters of ‘sustains.’” New Hampshire’s famous motto, “Live Free or Die” is drawn in big, bold type, while Maryland’s, “Manly Deeds, Womanly Words” is presented as “a classified help-wanted advertisement.” For his own home state, New York, Dan used an old-timey font to capture its motto, “Ever Upward.” Says Dan: “There’s a boldness, old-fashion quality to New York that everyone lives, and there’s a sort of cutting-edge part to it." All 50 are on display at the Ace Hotel in Manhattan, and online at statemottoproject.com.