Third Eye Blind /// Katie Crain / by Jen Bachelder

Katie Crain may have the truest Twitter bio on the internet: "Too nice for twitter." She really is. I bet she'd give Ellen a run for her money in a real life nice-off. Besides being nice, Katie is known for her work in the music industry and her love of Third Eye Blind.

Katie and her best friend (the lovely Meg Gardner) have a fascinating summer tradition; Working with a limited budget and minimum travel days, they plan a trip to attend as many Third Eye Blind shows as possible. Katie's background working at Invisible Records makes her especially savvy when it comes to minimizing miles driven or finding a great deal on a hotel room.

Creating a Custom Work

During the winter of 2013, Katie and I started discussing how we could document her tradition in a fun and engaging piece of art for her home. She wanted a conversation piece that would allow her to share specific information that wouldn't be obvious at first glance.

Turns out, Katie had documented everyone of the 47 shows she'd been to at that point (did I mention she's one of the most organized people I know?). We narrowed the information she had down to a few key variables that Katie wanted to be able to share with guests in her home: show date and location.

Using a hidden map in the background, my initial sketch (the banner above) had many layers of overlapping circles radiating outward from each city where Katie had seen a show. Each color represented a year and each circle a show. Similar to a growing tree, I thought Katie could quickly see how many shows she'd seen in each city by simply counting the rings.

Although this accomplished our goals for the piece, it was a little loud and complicated for Katie's personal taste. Instead, we used black dots to show each city (like an urban transit map) and made the black dots a little larger each time she saw a show in that city. The colored lines continued to represent each year, and stretch to show the path she traveled to get to the show.

The big 50

When Katie and Meg hit the road for their 50th show, they took to Twitter to let the band know that they were on their way... with a massive canvas in tow. Turns out, if you bring a 3x5' custom work dedicated to the headliner to the actual show, they might be sweet enough to sign it for you. Yep, Third Eye Blind signed a thing I made. They even added the finishing touch by drawing the line to Detroit and marking it with a cool "50!" 

In case you actually clicked on all those Twitter photos and thought some photos of the piece looked a little different, you're right. Katie commissioned me to make a piece for Meg, but the list of shows they've attended are not identical. Yes, Third Eye Blind was amazing enough to sign both works.



Title Background: Kyle Szegedi