July 20, 2010
I was immediately attracted to the use of clean type and noisy photography in the album art for Brian Gossett’s, The Heist Series. However, the series goes deeper than just the pretty covers, it also has a great concept. Gossett’s love for the heist film genre becomes apparent through his vast knowledge of the films’ scores and his ability to compile the compositions in a cohesive manner. Check out his site, where you can download the mixes and read his wonderful accompanying descriptions.
-THE BAG MESSENGER
July 19, 2010
Will Van Zandt is a man full of stories. Son of famous folk singer Towens Van Zandt, who is as legendary for his wild antics as his song writing; Will is a bit of a legend himself. He was once run over by a tractor trailer on the interstate in Nashville, passed up by the responding ambulance, and lived to tell about it. He is about as genuine a person as anyone could hope to meet. I have had the pleasure of knowing him for some time and share a few crazy stories with the man myself. This interview won’t be covering any of his wild past or give you specific insight into his fathers song writing process (sorry Townes fans). Instead we will cover WVZ’s obsessive passion for crusty old spray paint cans. Perhaps this will give you more insight into his father than a world full of unreleased demo tapes. Perhaps you will learn about the hunt for Jungle Green. Either way, while “there are two kinds of music. (The Blues, and Zippity-Do-Da”- TVZ), there are many can’s of spray paint yet to be unearthed.
-THE BAG MESSENGER
THE BAG MESSENGER: How did you first get into collecting cans?
Will Van Zandt: I got into it through graffiti. Back before all the specialty paint brands were around, you were very limited as far as colors and shades. In the mid nineties krylon had discontinued a lot of their more vibrant colors. My guy Verse, who basically schooled me as far as graffiti is concerned knew about some local mom and pop hardware stores who still had a good stock of discontinued colors, so we started cleaning those out, just getting paint to use. Every now and then I would find cans that were real old, they wouldn’t even spray, little off brands I had never heard of, some with crazy graphics. I would stick those on a shelve to display. Over time it was less about finding paint to use, and more about the older cans themselves.
THE BAG MESSENGER: How long have you been doing it?
Will Van Zandt: It started in 98’ so around twelve years. I slowed down for a while until I realized people were paying good money online for some of these cans. I defiantly got a second wind after that.
THE BAG MESSENGER: How much are some of these worth?
Will Van Zandt: In this economy no one is safe… Stuff isn’t going for what it was say, five years ago. At one point it was nothing to get on ebay and see cans going for a couple hundred dollars. I’ve seen single cans go for close to eight hundred dollars, that’s unheard of right now. Most stuff isn’t even selling. Right now it’s more about trades with other collectors.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What brands are you into? What types of cans are you looking for? How many cans deep are you?
Will Van Zandt: Probably my favorite right now are what are called picture cans. They were made by a few different brands, and basically every color has a different illustration that describes it. Also I’m into Rustoleum stuff 1965 or older. They sent out a lot of cool advertising stuff back in the day. Giant display cans, transistor radios that look like cans, I have a gold money clip, and a company softball team jersey from the early seventies. I’m looking for 1950’s “grenade and soup cans”, called this because of their shape. I don’t think most people would even recognize the “soup cans” as spray paint. I’m into greens, avocados, limes, and aquas. I would say i have around a thousand cans that are worth mentioning, but I’m defiantly trying to downsize. It’s gotten a bit insane, so a lot of stuff is boxed up these days.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What is the furthest you have gone on a trip digging?
Will Van Zandt: With Verse I’ve been down into Mississippi, on all back roads. We made it to Vicksburg Miss before we ran out of room in the truck and had to turn around. Same deal in Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky. Those are forsure some of the best come ups. There is not really anybody else in the South doing this. It isn’t like in the North East where you have a lot of guys going to the same spots competing. It was all untouched old family owned hardware stores. You know, “Grandpa opened up after the war, then my dad took over, now it’s mine.” These guys don’t recycle, and they don’t throw stuff away. Prime digging.
THE BAG MESSENGER: Can you describe what a digging mission might look like? How do people react when you tell them you want to dig up their old paint cans?
Will Van Zandt: We leave at three or four in the morning, and by the time we get to the next state the stores are starting to open up. We map it out, then hit every little town. When they start to close we get a cheap ass hotel room, and figure out where to go the next day. Most of the time you just get looked at like a psychopath, “ Your looking for what!?” I’ve been called a “long haired paint huffing drug addict” and told to get out of people’s stores. Sometimes you come across an old man who’s happy to have somebody who’s actually interested in his business, and wants to show you everything upstairs, in the basement, and tell stories about the “good ole’ days”. You can spend full days in a place like that. I’ve been in basements where cans were literally stuck up in the spaces under the floorboards. Then his buddy over in whateverville has a store so he calls him up and sends you over. These places are far and few between now, if they even still exist.
THE BAG MESSENGER: What other kinds of stuff do like to collect?
Will Van Zandt: I’ve collected everything at some point. Stamps, coins, comics, baseball cards. If I see a shiny rock I want that shit, but there’s a fine line between a collector and a hoarder, and I’m trying to cut back. I don’t want to end up on A&E!
July 14, 2010
This past weekend my friend Nick and I made the trip from Nashville to Memphis to eat BBQ and dig for records. If you have never been to Memphis, or some how overlooked these activities on your trips to the city, its hard to quantify exactly how much you have been missing. Perhaps this story will help.
July 06, 2010
It’s been acknowledged that information graphics have recently become a huge trend in graphic design. Some people see this as a negative trend, but I think that there are some really great things happening within the realm of information graphics. IL magazine is an Italian men’s publication that is full of wonderful examples within the genre.
-THE BAG MESSENGER
July 04, 2010
Happy Monday folks. Being that it is sweltering hot outside and everyone is still recovering from the weekends festivities, I thought this would be a good time to share one of my favorite laid back mixes. Paul Nice Brazil Volume 1. Enjoy
-The Bag Messenger
August 02, 2009
Nashville Style in the BAG
David Bloom and his son Case definitely have the best-looking bags in J.J.'s coffee shop on Broadway- this despite the fact that we're surrounded by Vandy students and young professionals with their designer-brand briefcases and laptop totes. Boom's been a "bag nut" for years, and says the first time he ever worked with a hide of leather he felt like he'd been reborn. In the early 70's he befriended a Greek handbag-maker while living in Boston and studied the traditional craft with him and other skilled European artisans there and New York, knowing it was what he was meant to do,
From these experts he learned the fine art of leather-crafting, based on complex European techniques passed down over decades. "I leaned from a lot of the old school guys in the industry in New York" says Bloom. "I worked side by side with the last of a dying breed, many of them survivors of the concentration camps, who do things in a way we don’t in this country today".
His son and business partner Case interrupts, reminding me that true craftsmanship is a fading art, and that the few people who still practice those old skills have an obligation to take back what bags once were from the hands of the mass manufacturers and return them to a level of high craftsmanship and durability. Which s exactly what their company, Tucker & Bloom, aims to do.
Bloom has built a long career on his bag design and construction skills. His first company, Bloom Fine Leather Accessories, produced a much-in-demand roll-top bag that made the New York Times fashion section and sold at Macy's. Henri Bendel, Saks and Neiman Marcus. The small company (Bloom, his wife Dru and one additional employee) eventually closed when the births of their children Case and Maddie meant the couple couldn't keep up with demand. During that period Bloom began working with handbag companies including Etra, Sirco International, L.J. Simone and Ishihara Industries, which held the licenses for Courreges and Valentino. In the 1990's the family moved to Nashville, where Bloom headed the design team for Hartmann Luggage for five years. Independently, he's designed for Valentino and Perry Ellis, at one point moving back to New York to work for Coach, heading their travel line in 2000. Following 9/11 the travel industry slumped, however , and Bloom left Coach.
In 2006, Bloom and his now- grown son decided to give it another go family-style and started Tucker & Bloom (Tucker is Dru Bloom's family name and Case's middle name). Together, they decided to capitalize on David's exceptional design and construction skills and MTSU grad Case's promotional abilities, building a middleman-free business in Nashville. The Key is e-commerce, which allows them to reach out to the community, craftsman to buyer, in the old world tradition-just online instead of in a private atelier.
The target audience for the bags is wide, though common traits are discerning taste and the desire to differentiate themselves from the herd. Bag designs are separated by lifestyle needs – work, leisure or travel. Styles are not gender-specific; there's something to appeal to every customer. Fabrics are both sturdy and attractive, with leather, cotton canvas and ballistic nylon in a wide assortment of colors. Lush trim like calf-skin is obtained as food by-product from the agriculture industry. Checking out the website, you'll find an exciting assortment of messenger bags, laptop cases and other bags suited to all urban and suburban professionals. Neoprene product lines focusing on travel and leisure are expected to be available shortly.
The Blooms are hoping their band becomes something the public is looking for, and there's every reason to believe that's possible. The next step online will allow customers to customize each bag's color and materials. There's no question that e-commerce has changed the way we live and buy, and Tucker & Bloom provide an example of the best sort of e-business. They make cutting edge products available to the public without a middleman, working from a very forward-looking model even as they revisit the old values of craftsmanship and design. No brand name can give you that.
Published in Nashville Lifestyle Magazine June 2008 – By Stephanie Stewart