A Peek Into The "Record Rangers Field Guide: West Texas Edition" Book
Well, my Master of Fine Arts journey is coming to a close. I officially graduate next week, capping a long three years of hard work, discipline, COVID-19, and maintaining a day job and marriage simultaneously. It's been an amazing experience, as has the process of working on my thesis research and design-centric solution(s).
My favorite part of my thesis design-centric solution to archiving and preserving West Texas Country Music and working-class culture is the field guide booklet I designed and produced. The book, which measures an appropriate 7 x 7 inches, gives a brief history on Country Music and Honky-Tonk, it's pioneering artists, a visual checklist and reference guide to the record labels producing Country Music in West Texas during the 1950s, as well as steps on proper care, handling, and storage of records once obtained for preservation. The guide is targeted for seasoned record collectors and those completely new to the genre and preservation. The goal was to create a guide that serves as a template to expand into other regions of Texas music and beyond, as well as cover other genres of music. This guide clocks in at just under 80 pages and features a lot of great content. Because my research time was limited, I only feature 1950s West Texas Country Music. Had I covered the 1960s as well, the guide would easily top a few hundred pages.
Texas A&M University-Commerce's Visual Communications MFA program really helped me grow as a researcher and writer, two areas that I've often discounted myself on. Researching Texas Honky-Tonk music and artists was a ton of fun, and I'm thankful to have had a topic that I'm extremely passionate about. I think that passion showed in my work, as well as in my final thesis presentation. I'm really excited to see what comes of my future research and Texas Jukebox Project endeavors. In fact, I have a few exciting things up my sleeve, but I'll share that news later once I'm ready to share. In the meantime, here are a few spreads from the field guide. (I'm still working on the logistics of how interested parties can become participating "Record Rangers", which would entitle folks to receive a copy of the field guide and the official "Record Ranger" badge.)
For an additional peek into my thesis research and design-centric solution, take a look at the Record Rangers website. Once future plans are put into place I'll have some important updates to make. In the meantime, the site provides a bite-size look into my research over the last couple of years without having to read my entire paper!
On a related note...now that school is wrapping up, I'm looking forward to getting back to all of the projects I had to put on hold. I'm taking a little bit of a break for my mental sanity, but I plan on knocking out many fun things when I'm good and ready.