As if regularly contributing illustration work to The New York Times and designing books for Malcolm Gladwell weren’t enough, BFA Advertising and Graphic Design Department faculty member Paul Sahre can now add the following to his wide-ranging resumé: Monster Truck Hearse Creator/Constructor. Legendary quirk-rock band They Might Be Giants recently asked Sahre to design and build the hilariously disarming vehicle—out of cardboard, no less—for a music video for the single “When Will You Die” from the band’s new album Join Us. The Briefs tracked down Sahre at his O.O.P.S. (Office of Paul Sahre) headquarters to discuss the project via email.
How did this project come about?
I got an e-mail from the band. They had seen some of my illustration work for The New York Times and asked if I would be interested in working with them on developing a cover image for their new release Join Us. The project mushroomed to all of the conventional collateral including the design of a CD, digital art for iTunes, digital booklets, posters, t-shirts, ads and over a dozen illustrations, as well as a downloadable PDF with instructions for building a tabletop paper version of the pink monster truck hearse featured on the cover.
The project culminated with the construction and documentation of a life-sized version of the monster truck hearse (made entirely of paper and cardboard) for the music video for “When Will You Die.”
What part of the project was the most challenging? The most fun?
The building of the life-size model and the video documentation. I’m not sure I would call it fun, though. The video is a bit deceiving as it takes four months of work and condenses into 2 1/2 minutes. The design of the table top model and the PDF instructions alone took forever. The bulk of those hours were logged by my intern at the time, Santiago Carrasquilla (current student, BFA Advertising and Graphic Design). I’m sure he still has nightmares about it.
Were there any other SVA people involved?
It wouldn’t be a stretch to call this an SVA project. Faculty member Adam Wahler not only printed it and contributed advice, but we also built it in his A to A Studio driveway in Stamford CT. Joe Hollier (current student, BFA Advertising and Graphic Design) co-directed and shot it (and helped build). Former O.O.P.S. intern and SVA legend Alex Stikeleather (current student, BFA Advertising and Graphic Design) along with Santiago, did everything from designing to building for the project and were there from start to finish. And last but not least David Cooke (current student, BFA Photography) was there at the end to film and shoot large format pictures.
What was it like to see your work destroyed at the end?
Are you kidding? It was great! That thing had to die. It was built, we test drove it and then it was in pieces, sitting in a storage space (it completely filled a 30′ x 10′ x 10′ unit that was running us $560 per month). There was always a plan to recycle it, but the idea to film the flattening of it didn’t come until the end. A designer one floor above my office on Sixth Avenue, Frank DeRose, hooked me up with a friend of his that operates a scrap yard. Next thing I know, we’re having a moment of silence for a pile of cardboard.
Watch the video for “When Will You Die” below.