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SpearTalks: Peggy Olson

Take some modern furniture, a liquor cabinet, and an endless supply of questionable ethics, and you have advertising in its heyday. Surround that with a white picket fence (and some very good bone structure), and you have Mad Men, AMC's sparkler of a series that's been making it okay to watch television again.

Dirty, juicy, and maybe even a bit creatively inspiring; Mad Men and its supporting characters have spawned a league of dedicated fans. But what happens when those fans start pretending to be employees of Sterling Cooper"¦ and move into Twitter?

Ha. We interview them, of course.

Read on as Peggy Olson and I chat copywriting, office politics, and discontinued candy, then get in on the game here.

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SpearTalks: Lemar & Dauley

Streetwear is so hype right now. Thanks to sites like High Snobiety, Honeyee — and jeez, even this one — wild graphics and even wilder collabs have become as venerated as the celebrities that like to be spotted in them.

But what's brand to do when bold prints and bright colors, once considered so daring and original, start weaving their way into the mainstream? If you're Daniel Pierre and Kareem Blair, creators of respected streetwear line Lemar and Dauley, that question has one answer: Stay the hell ahead of everyone else.

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SpearTalks: Chuck Anderson

Ah, Chuck Anderson. Fresh, brave, and brilliant from all angles, we turned our sights towards this self-taught, Michigan-based designer in 2005, when the then 20-year old's portfolio was already competitive with those of players twice his age.

Since then, Chuck (aka NoPattern) has been filling his time with work for clients like Burton, Dolce and Gabbana, and Microsoft, and his light-filled designs have had us seeing stars all along. Graphic designer, digital illustrator, 23-year old basking in the glow he drew up himself; whatever he is, he's good at it, and we can't wait to see what's next.

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SpearTalks: Josh Keyes

Josh Keyes is a tough artist to put into words.

Initially, "painstaking" seems like the most appropriate term to describe his hyper-realistic paintings– after all, the detail is above the average human being’s level of artistic devotion. What else would describe the process? Focused? Acute? Zoinks? No matter. When words fail in an introduction, we always have the rest of the interview to suss it out.

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SpearTalks: Luke Chueh

"Sure we've never been bears, but that doesn't mean we've never loved one," says Luke Chueh, the man behind some of today's more recognizable pop-surrealist paintings. That's one way that the SF-based artist tries to explain the world's growing affinity for his toy-inspired work, and it may very well be the most significant. Of course, the fact that our eyes are so readily drawn to these paintings has as much to do with the subject’s masochistically demolished appendages as it’s place in our childhoods, but maybe that's why we owe Luke so much credit. Yes, the plots are dismal, but it's the familiar characters that catch our attention — and whether it's the blood or the bunnies that keep it, the fact remains that the canvases of Chueh might represent a unexpected truth. Read on as we chat with Luke about revelations, evolutions, and all the beheadings in between.

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SpearTalks: Mel Kadel

If this were a celebrity gossip magazine, I would say this and call it a wrap: Mel Kadel lives with her boyfriend in an old Mormon stagecoach. Unfortunately, the just slightly higher journalistic standards of this site force me to fill in some blanks. (Or just skip the next paragraph and head right for the interview.)

For more inquiring minds, these are the details: The stagecoach really only represents part of the house (the kitchen), and the boyfriend is more commonly known as Travis Millard (also known as the man behind Fudge Factory Comics). Mel herself is quite literally known as Mel, but is also known as an incredible artist with a style all her own. If you had to place her in a category, she would land in the genre of art that is cooed over by Fecal Face (and their leagues of in-tune followers), but as the days go by, her breezy drawings have caught the eye of even wider audiences. You probably like to place yourself within the "in-tune" category, and if so — voila — a new interview with one of your all time favorite artists. If not, read up.
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SpearTalks: Method's Danny Alexander

You can look at it one of two ways: Method was ahead of their time, or right on time. I tend to lean towards the former, because with a clear mission, a clear conscious, and a clearly obsessive attitude towards branding and design, the environmentally amicable cleaning products were progressive in nearly every way. They didn't smell like future bouts with cancer, they didn't scream "Earth Mother," and — whaddaya know — they worked. Additionally, were one to “absentmindedly” leave ones cleaning products out, maybe in effort to say, "That's right, I clean, and I'm so eco.” and “How jealous are you of my supreme perfection," it suddenly seemed kind of sexy to do so. Rain drop-shaped, Sweet Water-scented sexy.

We love Method for their environmentally responsible approach, their non-gag inducing aromas, and their effectiveness. But most of all, we love them for making us feel good about buying them. We wanted to share our love with Danny Alexander, an industrial designer at Method, but he seemed apprehensive about letting us stick our tongues down his throat (obsessively clean, Danny?). So we just settled for a heart-to-heart.

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Speartalks: Mary H. K. Choi @ Missbehave

When I was 12, I really liked reading women’s magazines. A voice of wisdom in a world of tight-lipped adults, they offered up tantalizing life-lessons. Lessons like The #1 Best Sex Position to Try When on African Vacation, and How to Make a Low-Cal Salad Dressing Out of buttermilk and Gatorade Powder. However, by the time I reached 12 and a half, I realized there was mischief afoot. Weren’t the Backwards Cowgirl and the Foot-Facing Tigress the same thing? Hadn’t I taken the “Does Your Hair Color Match Your Boyfriend?” quiz six times? Who was writing these things, and who was editing these things, and what the f!@# was going on?

I turned to men’s magazines. GQ didn’t assume I was dumb, Esquire pleasantly figured I could handle 2000 word articles, and even fratty staples like Maxim managed to wrangle up fresh content for each new issue. But even though these publications were endlessly better than the ‘zines I’d cut my teeth on, the fact remained that they were for dudes and I was a girl, and if that was the only way that I could find happiness in a mag then something was deeply wrong with the world.

It’s been 11 years since I decided that girl mags sucked a huge one, and just over two years since Missbehave came to my rescue. Urban, multicultural, and more often than not, completely inappropriate, the now widely-distributed magazine offers everything that everything else couldn’t. We chatted with Missbehave‘s well-worded editor in chief, Mary H.K. Choi, about all the reasons why this young quarterly is making magazines worth reading again.

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SpearTalks: Casey O'Connell

The story of a rejected artist finally making it big time is as familiar as the tales our grandparents like to tell us: “I walked 17 miles, barefoot, through three feet of snow; I dog-walked in New York through rejection letter after rejection letter …” The similarities are noticeable, and the struggles equally ruthless. And while there's a good chance that your aging grandpa has taken to spicing up his retirement with total B.S., the stories of struggling artists are mostly true, and there are only a few that come out of the fight still holding a paintbrush.

Casey O'Connell is one artist who has prospered, and even though she is finally content in her position as one of the West Coast's most fawned over new artists, she's too fresh off the track to have forgotten how she got there. Several cities, plenty of dog walks, and even more broken hearts paved the way for this young painter. But, we couldn't be happier that she's arrived.

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Stefan Sagmeister

There is one sentence in the bio of Stefan Sagmeister that says both nothing and everything: "He has earned practically every important international design award." The bio does not continue on to list those awards, it just glides into other subject matter — much like a phrase your lawyer might insert to guard you from getting sued.

From a certain perspective, that statement is funny (because what more casual way to say you've kicked ass is there than to glaze over every accolade you've received), but in another way, it is potently telling. Stefan Sagmeister is an incredible designer — that much is clear — but his work and his lifestyle have made it abundantly clear where his heart is. It is in art, in simplicity, in communication and the universal nature of emotion. The last place it lives is a trophy shelf.

Design as religion (which is perhaps the most understandable way to describe Sagmeister's approach) is a far-fetched concept, but if you've stuck your face into his latest book, Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far, it is not as hard to imagine. Read on as we chat with Stefan about his studio, his opinions, and his willingness to depart from both from time to time in pursuit of a higher power.

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