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Print Mailer: Get Off The Hamster Wheel

Wednesday January 30th, 2013

by Amanda Friend

What can I say that would add to this month’s print mailer? Just look at these little guys! They sure aren’t afraid to switch things up. Neither is Seattle-based Michael Clinard, our intrepid conceptual hamster photographer. About 2975 of these party animals were printed and sent out to creatives across North America by our friends at Modern Postcard for the month of January, prompting creatives to “get off the hamster wheel.”

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Michael was kind enough to give us some background on the picture:

The image was part of a series for Mental Floss. The art director was looking for something a little over the top when it came to the idea of illustrating Syrian hamsters that have adapted to incorporate alcohol into their diets. I pitched ideas/sketches around for having frat kids dress up in hamster suits and play beer pong, a simulated ‘bachelor’ hamster pad with small bottles of liquor on the floor, magazines, posters, an old couch and pine bedding all over the floor.

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In the end, we decided to do a takeoff on a water feeder, but instead of a glass receptacle of H2O, it’s a bottle of Jack Daniels. I had a ‘talent hamster’ on board, but the lady backed out last minute because we got some snowy weather in Seattle, so I had to rent one from Petco. I named her Mark C. Taylor after my favorite theologian/deconstructivist theorist.

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Michael has written a full blog on the project, which you can read here. He worked with retoucher Gretchen Hilmers to transform the hamsters to the correct breed:

One of the more tricky parts of this project involved changing a Siberian hamster into a Syrian hamster to fit the story. Unfortunately, the coloring and patterns of the two species are fairly contrasting, so this presented a bit of a problem. In order to do this I used both curves to adjust color but also relied heavily on hair texture brushes to ‘re-fur’ the critters.

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Here’s a video of the retouching process:

If you’re a creative and didn’t get a copy of our postcard, email us your mailing address and we’ll send you one. And if you’d like to check out all our past print promos, see them here.

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