Pete McCracken 

Pete McCracken
Crack Press 10 Year Anniversary
Berbati's, 19 SW 2nd, opens Thurs Dec 1, 7-10 pm, free

"What you're seeing is 10 years worth of pack-ratting," says Pete McCracken as he gives me a tour around the large warehouse space where he's worked for 10 years. McCracken runs Crack Press Art + Design, a studio that celebrates its anniversary with a month-long retrospective showing at Berbati's this December. A PNCA graduate and occasional teacher, he's also Jim Morrison in a Doors tribute band called the Doors of Perception that will play at a special Crack Press party on Saturday, December 10 (also at Berbati's).

McCracken's working environment is huge and sprawling, with stacks of papers, piles of wood, and buckets of ink that play connect the dots with old workbenches and monstrous-looking presses. He shows me work that he's done for corporate clients like Nike and Lucasfilm, as well as projects for smaller local folks like Ripe, Menomena, PICA, and Plazm, the groundbreaking magazine and design firm he still helps run with Joshua Berger.

Didn't Plazm get a little too crazy, design-wise, in the early days?

[We were pushing] design as far as we possibly could, almost to the point where it was really ugly. In the early '90s there was a place for that. It was a time for that to exist. I don't design stuff like that anymore.

Who are your design heroes?

I'd say Paul Rand but I hesitate because it seems like he's such a catch-all and he was so influential to so many people, but in a way he was a traditionalist. By the time the '90s came he was like the grandpa of the whole thing. But it wasn't long before that when being a designer wasn't a hip thing to be. It hadn't embraced some of the pop culture it would eventually find itself in.

What's going on with the Doors of Perception?

Well, [December 10] will be our last show. We've done all these shows that we wanted to do and there are other musical projects I'd like to do, like bluegrass. But I'm going to extend this into making a short documentary about the making of a Doors tribute band called Opening the Doors of Perception. I thought that would be a funny way to end this project. It may turn into more of a mockumentary. I mean, I've been working on this for two years and—not patting myself on the back here, but—I've had people come up to me and say, "Holy cow, that was just like when I saw them in 1968." And I take that with a grain of salt because I've heard some recordings of them live, some bootlegs, and they've had some pretty shitty gigs. So in a way, we're not far off.

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