Robert L. Peters

22 April 2008

My beautiful mother…

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Winnipeg, Manitoba

On Sunday, I had the chance to celebrate my Dad’s 88th birthday, along with nuclear family in these parts. As I was leaving his place, he pressed a matted and somewhat discolored photographic portrait of my mother (taken at the sweet young age of 16, shortly before he met and married her) into my hands—I had never seen this photograph of my long-departed mother (Amanda Marie Reimer) before, and I was quite moved by the very sweet gesture (thanks, Dad!). Mom… wherever you are, I still miss you more than I can say.

To my far-flung siblings and numerous relatives: I now have a high-resolution scan of the lovely Amanda that I’d be happy to make available to you as a download—contact me here if you want me to send you the link.


Time to raise a little stink!

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Winnipeg, Canada

Lately, I’ve been thinking about hogs more than I care to—and don’t get me wrong, I’m no lover of pigs. I stopped eating pork (and beef, and bison, and mutton, and poultry) over twenty years ago, after seeing first-hand how factory farms had preempted traditionally sustainable animal husbandry with mechanistic meat-production methods (in which short-sighted profit extraction came first, regardless if that meant treating animals cruelly, pumping them full of medications (anti-biotics, growth hormones, etc.), and incorporating unwholesome shortcuts in feed production (think mad cow disease). Although I still eat cheese, seafood, and occasionally wild meat (living in the woods, I do occasionally harvest a deer), I am resolutely and ethically opposed to the mistreatment of animals and to the profit-first methods of corporate agribusiness. (18 months ago, we helped spearhead a successful[!] viral marketing campaign [broken link] to consolidate public outrage against the inane proposal of the OlyWest consortium to build a massive hog slaughter plant here in St. Boniface, a back-room deal concocted by Winnipeg’s back-room dealing mayor Sam Katz).

I’m embarrassed about the fact that here in Manitoba (a formerly pristine Canadian province the size of Germany and Italy combined) with a population of just over a million human beings, we have a resident population of over eight million caged hogs(!). Two months ago, news of the largest meat recall in U.S. history came across the wires. The root cause of the recall? Animal abuse, and the blending of bruised animals with otherwise safe meat. Two weeks ago, a massive fire on a Hutterite hog farm north of Winnipeg killed over 8000 caged and terrified animals (just thinking about their agony makes me sick). Adding insult to injury, driving home from work this past week, I was horrified to hear that our federal government had just announced that it will pay pork producers $50 million to kill off 150,000 of their pigs by the fall, as the (bloated, non-sustainable) industry now teeters on the brink of economic collapse. The animals will be destroyed at slaughter plants and on pig farms in a bid to cull the swine breeding herd by 10 per cent—what a waste, and so regrettable!

Oh… and happy Earth Day!


18 April 2008

Classic Illustrators

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From the past…

Last night I stumbled across a great bunch of classic, mid-20th Century illustrations (by hundreds of different illustrators) on flickr… see the image sets sorted by illustrator here, and by subject here. Great reference, and a nostalgic window into the past… enjoy.


A salute to Einstein!

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In Ulm, um Ulm, um Ulm herum…

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Württemberg, on 14 March 1879 and he passed on to another dimension on 18 April 1955 (53 years ago today). A fiercely impressive life left a legacy for all humankind… (For some reason I had always thought him to be a very serious personage—then I came across his irreverent tongue-out image at the [amazing, designed by Libeskind, worth a visit!] Jewish Museum in Berlin a few years back… and now I see the amazing, genius, brainiack in a totally different light). Cheers, Albert!

“Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” — Albert Einstein


17 April 2008

World’s highest standard of living…

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A picture (by Margaret Bourke-White, 1904-1971) is truly worth a thousand words, or more… Thanks to Jason Funk.


16 April 2008

FontBike and Coco Love…

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Winnipeg, Canada

Designer and avid cyclist Simon Farla dropped by Circle yesterday, en route from Vancouver to Toronto. His wife, indie chanteuse Coco Love Alcorn (also a keen rider) is spending the week here in the ‘Peg cutting a new album, and Simon was looking for things to do—over beers at the King’s Head he shared some of his story and passions (we were introduced by mutual friend Celes Davar of Earth Rhythms—Coco gave a house concert at their place in Riding Mountain on the weekend). Simon’s FontBike was a big hit with the lads at the studio, and I particularly like the line of silkscreened, re-purposed clothing developed as merch to sell at Coco’s concerts).


15 April 2008

A Titanic day…

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The North Atlantic…

This day goes down in history as one of Titanic hubris—in 1912 it marked the sinking of the eponymous “unsinkable” passenger-liner en route to New York (at the age of 96, Millvina Dean of Southampton is today the last living of the famous ship’s 706 survivors). Besides being my brother Jim’s birthday, 15 April was also the birthday of Leonardo daVinci (in 1452), the day that Abraham Lincoln died (in 1865), the birth-date of German poet/moralist Wilhelm Busch (in 1908—remember the cretinous Max und Moritz, Jim?), and the horrific, dark day in 1945 that British and Canadian troops discovered the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

Images: Willy Stöwer’s Untergang der Titanic; da Vinci’s John the Baptist (detail); and Wilhelm Busch’s Max und Moritz.


13 April 2008

Of blonds and blondes…

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Somewhere in (or near) Scandinavia…

I’m blond. I married a beautiful blonde (or so I thought at the time). I suppose I’ve always had this thing for blondes—though whether or not we/they actually “have more fun” is likely a matter for debate (if it really is true, would the Nordic countries not be the happiest place on earth)?

I recently came across this diagram at Strange Maps. The map shows the one place in the world where at least 80% of the population is fair-haired—in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Indicating the varying degrees of ‘blondness’ in Europe, it shows “how fair hair gets rarer further away from this core area—towards the south, as one intuitively might presume, but also towards the east, west and even towards the north. The consecutive bands (coloured in such a way as to approximately represent the ‘average’ hair colour in each area) surrounding the core blonde area in Scandinavia in most cases don’t correspond with national boundaries, but could be taken to represent certain degrees of ethnic variation, often with a possible historical explanation.” For the full scoop, visit here.

Q: How do you get a blond or blonde out of a tree? A: Wave. :-)


Happy Birthday, guys!

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Winnipeg, Canada

Two birthdays in my nuclear family this week—my father John J. Peters turns 88, and my brother Jim Peters turns 58. Cheers, guys!

Images: Jim, along with our parents, packed and leaving for Europe in 1957 (I was three that spring, so I either took the photograph, was hiding somewhere, or am in that trunk…). Dad has always been a good looking dude… here’s a photo of him in Frankfurt 50 years ago.


12 April 2008

Type and image…

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Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on the design and illustration of several series of quirky greeting cards (to be produced in conjunction with Ev’s What? Clay Art & Curios). In the research and discovery process, I’ve stumbled across some remarkable sources of inspiration—such as these beautifully crafted images by Sir William Nicolson (1872-1949).

He has been called “perhaps the most influential graphic designer of all time,” and his woodblock prints of the 1890s were amongst the most revolutionary British print images of the era. His graphics used “a treatment of form, with a stylised simplification of shape, and a handling of perspective and picture space which had had no precedent in British art.” Under the pseudonym of ‘The Beggarstaffs,’ Nicholson, along with his Scottish brother-in-law James Pryde (1866-1941), “virtually created the modern poster,” with its clear outlines and large areas of flat colour.

Thanks for your contribution to contemporary visual language, Sir William!


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