Nutcase Unframed-The Judges!

(Shown from right to left above: David Kruger, Michael Morrow, Kendall Burton, Philip Mascher and special guest judge Neytiri te Tskaha Mo’at’ite)

It’s the final countdown for Nutcase Unframed – our campaign to get your fresh art on our helmets.

If you are new to the idea of Unframed – take a look at our explanatory posts here, here, and here. If you want to go straight to the nitty-gritty of how to submit artwork by the November 30 deadline, click here.

Last week we talked about our collaborative partner World Bicycle Relief and how the Unframed campaign has benefited people who need bikes.

Michael Morrow, King Nutcase

Michael Morrow, King Nutcase

This week we take the blog inside the Nutcase HQ hive and talk to the Unframed judges panel to help give you an idea of the characters that will sit down with coffee, pizza, and beer and attempt to pick a winner from the scores of great submissions we receive.

In no particular order, this year’s judging panel consists of: David Kruger (Graphics and design manager), Michael Morrow (Nutcase founder), Kendall Burton (product development manager), Philip Mascher (Brand connector) and Neytiri te Tskaha Mo’at’ite (Na’vi princess of the Omaticaya clan).


Philip Mascher, Brand Connector

Interviewer: What are your qualifications to be a Nutcase Unframed judge? 

Kendall: As product development manager for Nutcase, my contribution will lean toward the practical side – how well the artwork can translate to the helmet. But truth be told, I suspect I’m included because my colleagues know if they don’t include me, I’ll look over their shoulders and chime in anyways.

Philip: I cherish the conceptual part of the art – understanding the motivation behind a creation and helping to bring it to fruition and out into the world. I’ve spent decades doing just that in the agency world for marketing campaigns – this is even better, because we are working together to design useful products that may even help save lives.

David: I’ve designed many of our most popular Nutcase helmets.

David Kruger, Graphics Master

David Kruger, Graphics Master

Michael: I think it’s because I am King Nutcase. It’s good to be King.

Neytiri: I bring a distinctly Pandorian perspective to the panel.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite piece of art?

Neytiri: My favorite artwork is the Tree of Souls. Its bioluminescent tendrils swaying in the wind are always just as breathtaking as when I saw them the first time.

David: Picasso’s Head of a Woman.

Kendall: One of my favorite well-known artists is Mark Rothko – I tend to be drawn to abstract paintings where color is central.

Philip: Right now it’s a large seascape by my favorite local artist Christa Grimm. It is of a spot of Oregon coastline, an afternoon view from a meadow through some pine trees and an old wooden fence, looking out over the sun flooded ocean. You can feel the lingering warmth of the fading sunlight, hear the waves crashing far away, sometime I even think I’m hearing the lazy buzz of a late summer fly passing by.

Michael: A litho poster by David Brun titled Meow. I love animals, especially cats, and I have this original poster – of a kitty cat tangled up in yarn. I see it everyday, and it always puts a smile on my face.

Interviewer: What lucky art or talisman do you have at your desk right now?

David: A teeny-tiny tennis shoe.

Michael: My Corvallis High School letter “C” chenille patch taped to my monitor. The “C” reminds me of where I came from, a small college town in Oregon where I had fun painting and playing sports every single day – it inspires me to always keep doing what I love, pursuing my imagination and making life a game.

Philip: Two figurines – a carpenter Smurf my mother gave me when I became a cabinetmaker journeymen, and an Indian chief in feather headdress that I played with as a child in Sweden.

Kendall Burton

Kendall Burton

Kendall: Postcards featuring the artwork of Thérèse Murzda. Therese has a studio in the same building we’re located in, and I love that I get to see her artwork regularly when I’m roaming the halls of the building.

Neytiri: I am not sure what you are referring to as a desk. My lucky talisman is a sunstone held in leonopteryx tusk, a gift passed down from the ancients. I also keep a Rubic’s Cube on my sleeping branch.

Interviewer: Can you reflect on your first experience last year with Unframed artists? 

Neytiri: The first three human artists were frightened by the initiation rites, they only made it through with a lot of help. I am eagerly awaiting the next crop of humans to be initiated, they are such droll creatures to behold.

Philip: I so much enjoyed spending time with our three Nutcase Unframed artists last summer – they were so obviously passionate about what we were doing, pouring their hearts and minds into the project. We truly became a little family in the few weeks of working together.

Kendall: I was so impressed with their ability to create for an audience [at the Interbike and Eurobike shows] and to focus on the process in spite of all available distractions. Each of the winners had a completely different personality, personal style, and art style, which served to remind me of the universal nature of creativity.

David: Although I never met any of them personally, I really liked the artwork and the helmet designs we worked together on.

Michael: I loved the spirit of every one of our first Unframed artists. Each was different, yet had a fire within to make great art to inspire the world.