Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Godfather, Part II

A couple of weeks ago we had some intense Eastern Orthodox infant baptism action, with your humble servant in the role of the Godfather. The infants in question were my wife's first cousins once removed, little fraternal (meaning non-identical) twin boys. Their mother is Catholic by confession, but for some reason she had her daughter christened by Orthodox tradition, and now the boys were to follow their elder sister's footsteps.

Interestingly, their father is an atheist and, on top of that, they all live in Israel -- the family moved there from Lithuania some 15 years ago, one of the reasons being the father's Jewish ancestry. I know, it's a crazy mix of cultures and traditions, but that's the odd charm of it, I think.

I'm not the most exemplary Christian in the world, but I already baptized someone when I was young, I know how honorable this whole thing is and, in support of subtle Mafioso references of this blog post, it's an offer you can't refuse -- you don't say "no" when someone asks you to be a godfather, you just accept the honor humbly and readily.

The action itself took place in the countryside. There's a Russian Orthodox farming community some 40 kms south-east of Vilnius, in the village of Mikniškės (Mikhnovo in Russian). It's a beautiful place with long history of amazing survival through the turmoils of the 20th century, with all its wars, power changes, repressions and all kinds of disasters.

As we were told, there are currently about 80 people living in the community: priests with their families and common believers of different ages, ethnicity and professions. They lead simple lives, working the fields and greenhouses, living in small, mostly wooden houses.

The church itself, where the christening took place, is rather small (originally intended to be just a family chapel), but very beautiful, with a skillfully painted interior.

After the ceremonial part, with wriggling and struggling 3-year-old kids who naturally had no idea what was going on and what that paunchy, bearded old man in funny clothes could possibly want from them, we all spread out exploring the area. The kids got all the fun as the reward for their stoic endurance.

In conclusion, here's me, the humbly proud godfather, with total number of godchildren increased from one to three in one day. How awesome is that?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Never bring pincers to a tank fight, dude!

This is a website header design for an American pest control company, done last summer. Basically, it's all about overkilling a stupid roach with a blast from a tank... sort of. Everybody hates cockroaches, so join the fight!

You may think this car-tank (or whatever it is) is a fruit of my delusional imagination, but you'd be terribly wrong. That... thing actually exists! It's a classic Mercury Marquis with some... er... additions. I changed only a couple of minor details and added a camouflage coloring. Everything else is a true story, bro. What can I say... Americans!

If you are a cockroach and you're reading this post, stop right there and think twice before messing with this baby. Because that's how these pest control guys roll. Lock 'n load!

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Ok, I know I promised the next post would be all warm and fluffy, but it turns out to be more like chilly and sleek, sorry about that. But hey, it's the heat of the summer, who's to complain? Anyway, on to the subject...

Kvass is a traditional Russian refreshing drink, made of rye bread... wait a minute, this is a Georgian drink we're talking about here. Why would someone make Georgian kvass? Another of life's great mysteries? Well, not really. Fact is, kvass has always been a hugely popular drink in the former Soviet republics and remains so to this day.

Nothing much to say about the label itself, though. It's traditional, heavily relies on stock images, with the exception of those rye ears, entirely hand made and assembled in Photoshop by yours truly. Done last summer, for a small Georgian enterprise specialized in non-alcoholic refreshing beverages.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sazandari Lemonades

If you follow this blog, you might know that last year I got a full-time job, which pretty much meant the end of my freelance career. Still, from time to time, I've been able to squeeze some freelance jobs into my schedule. So I'm planning to dedicate the next few posts to some of such works done last year and earlier this year, starting with a series of refreshing drinks from the summer of 2012.

Sazandar (Georgian form sazandari) is a word of Persian origin, used as the name for the traditional three-man folk bands, popular in 19th century Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia and Georgia. There's a chain of restaurants in Georgia, named Sazandari, offering traditional Georgian cuisine. Such restaurants often serve exclusive drinks under their own label -- mostly refreshing beverages. This is exactly the case here.

The task was straightforward: a series of labels with "traditional" (or, rather, pseudo-traditional) elements, in sync with the general style of the interiors and exteriors of the restaurants in question. In plain English it basically means trowing in some wood and stone textures. Oh, and chains! They love chains.

For the first time, I have used digital matte painting techniques in this design. Again, in plain English it means taking a bunch of moderately crappy photo materials and digitally overpainting them to the point when it all starts looking cool. Learning to work with a graphics tablet finally paid off...

The old man in a traditional Georgian costume you see in the trademark looks all peaceful an noble, but don't let the looks deceive you! Actually, he's a Frankenstein monster, assembled from different photos and stock materials and heavily overpainted to hide the "stitches". On top of it, he's playing an instrument made of a bloated dead pig. Monster!
Ok, enough scary stories. Next time it's gonna be all warm and fluffy, I promise. See ya!