‘Bacon’ – M. Brady Clark

For the next 14 weeks, we will be presenting, one by one, each Stored Potential banner and designer.  Since we are essentially creating one grand mural through individual perspectives, doing so incrementally seems appropriate leading up to the October 3 giant dinner day.

We’d like to present Week #1 Banner ‘Bacon’ by M. Brady Clark.  His image is striking, simple, and speaks volumes about the Midwest.  Although it isn’t the ‘beef’ Nebraska is most identified with, nor is it condoned by vegetarian friends, it is nonetheless symbolic and representative of the place and certainly the landscape. The visiting jurors even commented that Omaha is also ‘pork’ town after their weekend in the city.  Meat is an important cultural identifier and aptly so since the mastodons crossed the Bering Straight Land Bridge from Asia to North America and entered the Great Plains some 10 million years ago. When the glaciers formed the massive ridges of sand dunes over north central Nebraska 5 million years later, the giant bison entered the picture and from then on, the great plains supported herbivores consuming up to 1,000 pounds of grass per day.  As late as the mid-1880s, undisturbed prairie still covered most of the heartland.  But following the Civil War when confederate money was worthless in the impoverished South, Texas cattlemen put herds on the trails north to Nebraska. (Nebraska Cattleman Association)

And here is where M.Brady Clark, hailing from Austin, Texas, enters the picture. He is no stranger to Omaha with his graphics work for Saddle Creek’s band Cursive, a connection the jury discovered at the end of the day when the identity of entrants was released, thus explaining the ‘Omaha feel’ to this submission.  Aside from Bacon, Clark has spent years in apparel, logo, and print design with an impressive list of clients represented by his company Four Eyes Are Better Than Two.  Although his brainstorming partner is not a pig or cow (I argued that his submission could represent a really long flank), but rather a 6 foot tall taxidermy shark, M. Brady claims that his work is a culmination of the right opportunities mixed with creativity.  And that might be precisely what occurred here.  According to M. Brady, “My work is simply to use my God-given gift to make things better and more beautiful.”  Representing Bacon at nearly 80′ tall, on a grain elevator, might be the perfect combination of literal (grain transfer to animal protein) combined with scale to create abstract beauty.

M. Brady’s ‘Bacon’ is less about specific species of animal, but more about place, consumption, and culture.  Juror Mason White declared ‘Bacon’ as ‘out-Warholing’ another submission that directly referenced the quintessential Warhol exhibit The American Supermarket, which depicted a small supermarket where everything – from the produce, canned goods, meat, posters on the wall, etc. – was created by six prominent artists confronting the general public with pop art as the perennial question of what art is (or what it is not).  Perhaps Bacon, or less specifically, meat in general, is Midwest art?  Or more precisely in the context of the elevator and narrowly shaped silos only to be rivaled by corn……………….stay tuned.

Nonetheless, M. Brady claims his biggest challenge is to design with his client and project in mind first without adding in too much of his own aesthetic. In this instance, Clark’s clever style was a good fit when he claimed that “everything is better with bacon” which I have heard numerous vegetarian friends utter at various breakfast gatherings.

Learn more about Clark’s Bacon Artery Series.

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