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08 • 13 • 15

2015 Steamroller Smackdown Champs!

20 of Seattle’s best creative teams. 1 steamroller. No Ctrl + Z.

Last week, we were thrilled and honored to win SVC’s 14th annual Steamroller Smackdown!

This event is no ordinary printing parlor. Here’s the skinny from the School of Visual Concepts, one of our fantastic hosts:

Crazy, creative artists. Indelible ink. Sharp instruments. And a 5-ton steamroller. If that’s not the perfect combination for fun, we don’t know what is. SVC and the South Lake Union Block Party co-present the Steamroller Smackdown, where teams of top artists and design firms from around the Northwest print the oversized posters they’ve designed and hand-carved with a steamroller instead of a printing press.

After 5 tons of pure printmakin’ power.

After 5 tons of pure printmakin’ power.

The competition’s theme this year was “Man vs. Machine.” In Seattle, this is certainly a hot topic! We were stoked to be in amazing company — and we were floored by the creativity around us.

Our piece, hanging with just a few of our clever neighbors.

We spent a lot of time brainstorming before we could even commit to one direction. The most important thing to us was to be relevant to our city, and to our own experiences as Seattelites. Here’s where we ended up!

Straight off the block!

Straight off the block!

It’s hard to talk about “Man vs. Machine” in this city without talking about Amazon. The company is a lightning rod in discussions about automation, development and gentrification; it’s hard to find a Seattleite without an opinion on how, and why, our city is changing.

While it’s easy to speak in one-liners about drones and South Lake Union condos — it’s a lot harder to approach the complex, personal, and conflicting aspects of our relationships with technology.

Lo-fi in a high-tech city.

Lo-fi in a high-tech city.

Our personal lives are influenced by Amazon in curious and intimate ways. It employs our neighbors, and delivers our groceries; it produces a moving TV show about a family exploring gender identity, and creates devices that come with a human voice and name. It allows us to draw entire books from the aether in the blink of an eye — and it allows us to automate toilet paper deliveries to our homes. Curious, indeed.

While these details may seem remarkable, they’re hardly unfamiliar. Amazon — a business which began as a purveyor of convenience — is now also a partner in whimsy, desire, and daily human needs. At this point, it’s much more our reflection than our opposite.

As we talked through our feelings — as complex as the topic at hand — we decided that we wanted to design a poster that was a vessel for this conversation, rather than a quip about it. Man and machine are more tangled than opposed in our city — and so our conversation must necessarily be larger.

Our poster!

Our poster!

A huge thanks to Larry Asher, Jenny Wilkson, Josh Lackey, and Leonard Garfield for an amazing event. We were so honored to be invited — and we can’t wait to get our hands inky again next year!

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