All Right, All Right, All Right: Matthew McConaughey Inspires Graphic Artist

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(Images via Word Play Graphics)

When Boaz Kimelman lost his job as a graphic art director, he was in his early 50s and had two college-bound sons to support. “I took whatever freelance projects I could find and connected with anyone I knew,” the American-Israeli artist told Yahoo! Makers

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, over the course of his career he designed for such giants as Coca Cola, General Motors, Campbell’s Soup, M&M Mars, The Walt Disney Company and DKNY. But the country was in the wake of a financial crisis, and even with Boaz’s big-league experience, he struggled. 

Boaz was in an emotional and financial rut when a friend connected him with a fashion company in Toronto that was working with actor Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey planned to launch JKL, a men’s clothing brand named for his philosophy, just keep livin’. The fashion company needed a graphic designer with experience in the apparel industry.

“Matthew came up with phrases that he wanted to incorporate in his JKL line. Find Your Frequency. Life is a Verb. Play Your Own Game. They were great, and I listened to how he got through the loss of his father with the mantra just keep livin’, or j.k. livin’ for short. At that time, he had already established the just keep livin’ Foundation to empower inner city youth. It inspired me.”  

McConaughey dug Boaz’s t-shirt designs. During a meeting in New York, the actor excused himself and went to another room to change right into one. “I was very excited and took a picture of him wearing it,” Boaz said. People Magazine later photographed the actor wearing it, too. 

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 (Photo: People Magazine)

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McConaughey’s passion to just keep livin’ helped Boaz create his own line of graphic art products. “I realized that it doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager from a rough neighborhood, a Hollywood actor coping with a parent’s death, or an out of work father in middle age. You just have to keep going.” 

Rather than work for another big corporation, Boaz carved his own niche in the maker’s market. He founded Word Play Graphics, a collection of Judaica with a modern, graphical twist. “I am looking to present Hebrew words, Jewish motifs, and icons with a fresh, fun look and a modern aesthetic,” he said. His whimsical take invigorates the traditional market for Judaica. 

Word Play  includes wall art for home decor, graphic t-shirts, greeting cards, jewelry and baby onesies through its website and in stores around the country. “Mine is a story of an artist in one medium inspiring an artist in another,” he said. “But it’s also a story about perseverance and staying true to yourself.”

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(Images via Word Play Graphics)

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