The Story of The Mischief Project
February 6, 2018
A couple years ago I decided to do a personal project on something I try to cultivate in my life: Mischief. Often while traveling, a rooftop with a view presents itself. Or maybe it's a body of water after dancing in the hot night air. There's something I crave about breaking the rules, misbehaving and doing what I want like a personal, clandestine act of freedom. I feel alive playing by my rules- without hurting anyone else of course.
I considered creating images that represented mischief in general, but decided to make it personal (since it already was) and recreate three mischief stories from my life. I wanted the images to be pieces of the story that when seen together made it clear.
Each story had it's own challenges. The original pot brownie story was me accidentally eating a pot brownie at a friend's house while waiting for them to come home, but that wasn't going to be easy to tell visually. There was also the concern of it looking like someone was being dosed- not the intention! With the skinny dipping story it was more technical. I needed a way to light a dark dock and make it look natural. Building a lamppost out of a 4x4, clamp light and generator was the ticket. In the final story, it took me months to find a location. I wanted an old, classic fire escape and a rooftop with a view of downtown- not an easy find when you have to ask for permission ;). Finally a friend of a friend had the perfect spot!
After they were all shot and I had 5-6 final images for each story, I had to figure out the best way to print and present them. A collage, a linear booklet? I enlisted Joe Smith (http://lookatjoe.com/) to bring in professional design and we brainstormed over lots of coffee. Joe wanted to go big- newspaper print with a large layout of all the images. I liked the idea, but know the creatives I'm promoting to are more likely to keep a smaller piece. That's how we came up with a small card that folded out into a bigger piece: as you unfolded it, the story unfolded as well.
Making that work was another story. Joe and I sat down with printouts and scissors and after a while I was convinced it was impossible. But an hour later we had it!
We also decided to write recipes for mischief for each story. A pinch of spontaneity, a dash of chemistry etc. It was fun coming up with an ingredient that matched each shot and produced a reward. The reward, be it an unforgettable memory or the feeling of being alive, is why we all create mischief in the first place. Joe then created the layout and the type for the recipes and I got 'em printed.