From The Standard Edition; Initially intended to reinforce cigarette packaging during the late 1800′s, cigarette cards gained quick popularity and were soon collected and traded. The Virginia based tobacco manufacturer, Allen & Ginter are credited with being the first to incorporate cards, not long after, several companies in the UK quickly followed suit. Some of the first cards featured baseball players, Indian chiefs and boxers, with later cards, especially during wartime, featuring servicemen. To no surprise, I’m really into cards from WWII, especially those featuring all things Navy.
This from itsnicethat on the wonderful McSweeney’s recent 38th print edition; Well, I remember when it was McSweeney’s 13. Now I feel old (or just six and a quarter years older). The inimitable literary anthology returns with written contributions from Ariel Dorfman, Roddy Doyle and the man himself, Dave Eggers. Also, and quite lovely it is, is a comic insert (but you can’t take it out) by Brit comic ace, Jack Teagle. Excellent cover (Jessica “Drop Cap” Hische!) and all-round design as always.
Take Picture Don’t Steal is a public art project started by a guy named Matt. He started leaving disposable cameras around Toronto, Canada with a simple sign saying: Take a picture, don’t steal. Now he’s looking to conquer the world. So far along with Toronto they’ve made it to NYC, Madrid, London, Manchester, Barcelona. www.takepicturedontsteal.com
A couple of years ago I got a book on early 20th century information designer Otto Neurath and often have it sitting by my computer. Infographics have become ridiculously popular of late, but during the 1920s Neurath championed the idea of using pictures to represent complicated statistics and information — not just because they look cool, but as a genuine force of social good: reasoning that the easier these complex ideas are to understand, the easier it is for people to make informed political and social decisions. And let’s just all agree, they look cool too.
Salon.com have run a gorgeous piece on the magic of rubber stamps and a San Fransisco couple who are keeping the art alive;
In 1974, while working at a garment company in San Francisco, a native New Yorker named William “Picasso” Gaglione walked up to Darlene Domel, a Chicagoan working at the same company, and said, “Close your eyes and put out your hand.” With her eyes closed and her heart in her throat, Darlene offered him her open palm. She then felt a tiny weight in the center of it. He pressed her fingers around that little lump, and she then felt the brush of a kiss over her fisted hand. When next she opened her eyes, he turned and walked away. Upon opening her fingers, she saw a small packet in the palm of her hand. In it, she found a tiny little rubber stamp of a star.
From www.brownpaperbag.com; I grew up drawing everyday objects around my house, so I have a certain affinity towards paintings that depict just that. El Grio has painted a variety of ubiquitous subjects, some more dangerous than others.
I enjoy the simplicity of El Grio’s paintings, and personally love shapes of bottles, vases, and other things that he has chosen to make obtuse. Seeing these paintings make me wish that life was a little more simplified like them.
Plan B, it turns out, is a lot harder than it seems. But that hasn’t stopped cubicle captives from fantasizing. In recent years, a wave of white-collar professionals has seized on a moribund job market, a swelling enthusiasm for all things artisanal and the growing sense that work should have meaning to cut ties with the corporate grind and chase second careers as chocolatiers, bed-and-breakfast proprietors and organic farmers.
Indeed, since the dawn of the Great Recession, more Americans have started businesses (565,000 of them a month in 2010) than at any period in the last decade and a half, according to the Kauffman Foundation, which tracks statistics on entrepreneurship in the United States.
The lures are obvious: freedom, fulfillment. The highs can be high. But career switchers have found that going solo comes with its own pitfalls: a steep learning curve, no security, physical exhaustion and emotional meltdowns. The dream job is a “job” as much as it is a “dream”….
The British Pathé, one of the world’s oldest media companies and home to one of the largest video archives recently shared some footage from London’s Playboy Club, capturing the bunnies during the 1960′s. A bunny, as described by the commentator, “is an American creation. She’s a cross between a hostess, showgirl and bar maid waitress, well versed in the art charming cash customers in a string of plush international clubs.”
On top of footage of the bunnies on a charity mission, we also catch a glimpse of them in their “native habitat” where we’re afforded quick British commentary and a look at some damn good suiting. A lost tradition, this is just a peek at the sophistication once synonymous with the Playboy Club.
Watch The Throne, the collaborative album from Jay-Z and Kanye West which is available in physical form from today, is now for sale through a pop-up store on Mulberry Street in New York City’s SoHO neighbourhood.
The store’s façade is covered in the album’s artwork, designed by Riccardo Tisci, and the inside of the space features the modified Maybach 62S they drive around in the video.
In the first installment of Grime’s series we hear from tattoo luminaries, Civ and Chris O’Donnell, as they try to put in perspective how revered and unique Grime’s style is. We meet the other tattooers at Grime’s shop, Skull and Sword, and learn how they too strive to be constantly evolving in their tattooing.(www.fecalface.com)
David Bailey, the super-cool, super-talented fashion photographer who was the model for the lead role (played by David Hemmings) in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 classic film Blow-up, is now over 70. He is still active as a photographer, both in the fashion and art worlds. Director Jérôme De Missolz was permitted to film him from pretty close up. We see Bailey in his home, with his wife and children, and in discussions with his friends. We are also witness to the inception of a new photography project on his home turf, the East End of London. Bailey turns out to be an artist with no time for pretentiousness or over-complicated theorizing about his art. “Four beats to the bar and no cheating” is one of his favorite quotations from his hero Count Basie. In his photographs, this approach leads to the transparent style for which he has become famous. If possible, we can even forget we are looking at a photo, let alone a beautiful, exceptionally composed or creatively arranged photo. All we see is the person Bailey has photographed, in all his or her nakedness. Bailey’s admirers also give their views, including his ex-wife Catherine Deneuve. No, he ever learned a word of French throughout their marriage. This is typical of the man: a rough diamond, even in his seventies. From www.16house.blogspot.com
Competition is a healthy thing. It improves a product and creates innovation. BOFFO, the non-profit organization announced a competition earlier this year, that would pair up fashion designers with architects. The winners were announced last month and the result will be on view starting September 8 with Nicola Formichetti. Five designers will have their own retail space for two weeks each, located in Tribeca. We’re looking forward to what Graham Hudson will create for Patrik Ervell come October 20th. The other designers include Irene Neuwirth, The Lake & Stars, and Ohne Titel. From www.scoutmag.com
Craig Oldham began his Hand.Written.Letter.Project (HWLP) by inviting a selection of leading designers and image makers to simply share their thoughts in the form of a handwritten letter on their own letterhead. Now over 100 handwritten responses – from the likes of Wim Crouwel, Wally Olins, Mike Dempsey, Tony Brook, and many more – are being exhibited at London’s KK Outlet until 27 August.
From imprint; Funny how 40 years swoosh by: June 1971 is the date the Nike Swoosh was launched. Designed by Carolyn Davidson for $35 - a “Bargain Brand,” the Dept. of Nike Archives notes in its extraordinarily understated tabloid-sized newsprint history of the mark (produced for the “benefit of Nike employees”). What others might take an entire book (and many trees) to convey - explaining the origin and history of the Swoosh logo - the “DNA” accomplished in a mere 28 pages.
From www.newzealanddesignblog.com; You’ve seen the work, now see where it was created. Studio Magazine (put together by three notable New Zealand designers) will showcase the spaces and places where great people make awesome stuff. In each issue, we’ll meet inspiring artists and designers and get to have a jack nohi around their studio. The first issue will be launching at We Can Create at the end of this month, and features top studios from around New Zealand (including Studio Alexander and The International Office) and the world (Stefan Sagmeister, KesselsKramer and more). Yay.
The Power of Transformation; Cindy Sherman for MAC
MAC’s latest collaboration with the artist Cindy Sherman is a subversive celebration of the power of make-up to transform. The campaign examines why we wear make-up: not simply to look pretty, but to change our features, to create, to conceal and reveal.
MAC is famous for ignoring the standard paradigm of beauty advertising. Whilst the norm for beauty campaigns is to focus on air-brushed images of perfection, MAC instead celebrates images that don’t conform to stereotypes of pretty. The icons that the brand aligns itself with are unconventional, Hello Kitty, Wonder Woman, Barbie, with models including such nonconformists as Lady Gaga, KD Lang, Elton John and Drag Queen RuPaul. Such collaborations show MAC as supporters of brave and experimental creativity, a brand for those who want to stand our rather than fit in.
And this latest partnership is an exciting continuation of the theme. Cindy Sherman is an artist that focuses on conceptual self portraits that tell dark, intriguing stories about the characters she becomes. She transforms herself with wigs, make-up and costumes into mysterious hitchhikers and film noir blondes, creating subversive and even disturbing narratives. For MAC, three new similarly haunting characters have been created: ‘off-kilter Hitchcock heroine’, ‘Park Avenue Plastic Surgery Maven’, and ‘Fresh Corpse’ (a clown). The subversive and audacious images will be used in a banner campaign for a limited edition collection in October. Each character is designed to tell a different ‘colour story’ showing a ‘palette of possibilities’. MAC describe their objective as wanting to illustrate how transformation can be empowering, and how trying on different personas can lead to fearlessness. This unorthodox message, coupled with the memorable and transgressive images position the brand as unique and significant, a refreshingly far cry from standard beauty campaigns.
In 1993 the artist Anselm Kiefer left his native Germany and moved to a derelict silk factory on 86 acres in the southern French town of Barjac. He shored up the old industrial buildings to make them habitable. Then he brought in a crew of locals to bulldoze bare land, dig a network of underground tunnels and erect concrete structures to house his large-scale paintings and sculptures made from lead, wood, glass and other materials, transforming the landscape into a giant workshop and a monumental work of art.
Mr. Kiefer has since moved here, where he lives with his family and works in a warehouse outside the city. But his final days in Barjac were captured in “Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow,” a documentary by the British director Sophie Fiennes that runs at Film Forum in New York from Wednesday through Aug. 23.
The idea for a film arose when Mr. Kiefer, eager for someone to document the mysterious universe he had created, invited Ms. Fiennes to visit Barjac. “It was a completely kind of mad and disorientating labyrinth,” Ms. Fiennes, 44, said over tea in the living room of a friend’s apartment here. She wandered the grounds, navigating tunnels illuminated with skylights or single bulbs, discovering a crypt and an amphitheater and a patch of land scattered with concrete towers inspired by the biblical story of Lilith that resemble modern ruins. “I was amazed,” she said. “There is an inherent theatricality or cinematic quality to what he’s made there that leant itself to filmmaking.”
translucent ants + coloured liquid = quite something
Scientist Mohamed Babu from Mysore, India captured beautiful photos of these translucent ants eating a specially colored liquid sugar. Some of the ants would even move between the food resulting in new color combinations in their stomachs. Read more over on the Daily Mail. (via notcot)
We’re sad and psyched in equal measure about On [Activism] as it’s the final talk in our current series. However, to end on a high, we’ve got an absolutely stellar line-up for the evening: Lucienne Roberts, Francesca Gavin, and Ken Garland will explore activism in relation to the creative industry. Pretty exciting, we know.
Lucienne Roberts is a signatory of First Things First 2000 and her books include Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design. Influenced as much by feminism and opposition to Thatcherism as Swiss typography, she defines herself as a lowercase ‘a’ kind of activist, arguing that activist aesthetics exclude many designers but that ‘small’ graphic interventions can still lead to valuable change.
Writer, curator and visual arts editor at Dazed, Francesca Gavin looks at open source art projects by artists like Oliver Laric, Aleksandra Domanovic and the more accessible edges of the internet. She will explore how rethinking ideas around collaboration and creativity are activating wider conversations and pushing the boundaries of contemporary art.
A widely respected tour de force, Ken Garland has been a key figure in the development of graphic design in the 20th Century. Among other things, he will discuss his hugely influential manifesto First Things First published in 1964, which still holds a lot of sway today. Conceived as a reaction to the dominance of consumer culture and advertising in graphic design, Garland proposed prioritising “more useful and lasting forms of communication” for social and cultural aims.
When and where
On [Activism] will be held on Thursday August 11 at Red Bull Studios, 155-171 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JP. Doors will open at 6.30pm, and the talks will begin at 7pm. Complimentary drinks will be provided.
From the moment that Godlis stepped into iconic New York club CBGB in 1976, he was instantly transfixed by the smoke, the drugs and the punk musicians throwing themselves around the stage. Having just moved from Boston to pursue a photography career in the Big Apple, Godlis was bored silly shooting catalogue images for Valium and educational toys, and decided to go searching the city for something a bit more entertaining—and he definitely found it.
Meeting the likes of Blondie, Pattie Smith, The Ramones and Talking Heads, Godlis spent every night for three years snapping everything he saw on a Leica 35mm camera (and since he liked the grainy look that the street lights on Bowery and stage lighting gave the images, he never used a flash).
Between sets Godlis would take pictures of Punk and New Wave performers drinking beer and hanging out, capturing a unique moment in time just before CBGB became really huge, but just as something was bubbling up over there on Bleeker Street.
An informative interview done by Vintage Gear Addicts with Ian Hough ;
“The casual subculture began in the late 1970s after Liverpool F.C. fans introduced the rest of England to European fashions that they acquired while following Liverpool at their 1977 European Cup quarter final against the French side St Etienne. These Liverpool fans arrived back in England with expensive Italian and French designer sportswear, most of which they looted from stores. The fans brought back many unique clothing brands that had not been seen in the country before. Soon other fans were clamoring for these rare items of clothing, such as Lacoste or sergio Tacchini shirts, and unusual Adidas trainers, which are still associated with Liverpool supporters today. At the time, many police forces were still on the lookout for skinhead fans wearing Dr. martens boots, and paid no attention to fans in expensive designer clothing.”
I love this witty wondering from The Bengal Stripe and admire the work of the chosen, including Neil Bedford . Worth a visit, if just for the sharp and original write up ( by Winslow Laroche) .
To decipher one starry-eyed child with a dream wrapped around a digital SLR from another presents a difficult task of differentiating fact from fiction: Does one trail blaze through fancy-named blogs and pick out a single white dwarf being worshipped amongst the black hole sea of pseudo-style aficionados or do you bank on finding true bursts of creativity hidden in the bottom of that very sea, sleeping in an oyster? Possessing a keen eye for woven, creative fashion photography is being buried by bombastic players flattening the genre. There are flashes of hope though; comets modestly passing by in the sky, to give a glimpse of vitality, freshness. A distinct, unmistakable look unlike previous shots: high flash and shallow depth of field or bokeh on high with the subject, 6 feet away from the camera, shoulder width apart (or crossed-legged, “it’s innovative”). Several photographers, not only fashion, but excellent lifestyle photographers are pressing on, devout with honesty who produce lasting impressions on an ever-changing art landscape, blogosphere, cultural scene, you name it ….
Maurice Sendak, responsible for gems such as Where The Wild Things Are, is 83 and has just released his first new work in 30 years, entitled Bumble-Ardy. Vanity Fair has featured a gorgeous piece on Sendak and his work - a very special read .
Sacred Ink is a photographic and multimedia installation exhibition by Cedric Arnold. Sacred Ink features over 45 large format black-and-white photographs taken in Thailand, as well as sound, video and multimedia projections. It explores this unique subculture, its rituals, symbols and people. Known in Thai as “Sak Yant”, the tattoos are a testament to the complex spiritual makeup of Thai society, incorporating elements of Buddhism, Animism, Brahmanism and Hinduism.
TOSAY.IT is a continuation and a large update of our past projects with public text posters. The messages have found their new lives on the websites, blogs, books and even tattooed on the bodies.
Massive interest stimulated us to bring the project to the next level by creating a website, where people could expose the posters they hung up in their locations. So that the website as a medium stimulates people to put up their messages, that together could be considered as one reflective piece. We came up with the domain name www.toSay.it. The main idea of the project is to explore text, streets & internet as an artistic medium, to broadcast actual ideas that are usually ignored by mass media, or to comment on the issues that seem important to put up by the author of the text. We hope the website will became an interesting public platform to explore, where words became more accessible. Participants of the project are people with different ideas, backgrounds, hometowns, so the texts are also different. Every time we travel somewhere we take posters with us, so the project becomes widespread. In november 2010 TOSAY.IT was exposed in Moscow’s activistic art gallery at Vinzavod. In upcoming August it is going to be represented in public space in the center of Amsterdam.
"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." — Ira Glass
Film on Fridges is an ongoing film festival in East London built primarily out of discarded refrigerators. The space was the former site of an enormous refrigerator dumping ground where the old appliances were stacked over 20 feet deep and could literally be seen from space . Films on Fridges resurrects this industrial icon in the form of a playful and interactive outdoor pop-up cinema. In celebration of the upcoming Olympics, the cinema will screen films athletic in nature.
Films include Rocky, Chariots of Fire, and Cool Runnings, and by the looks of it many of the screenings are already sold out, so if you’re in London and want to catch a nice outdoor movie in a cinema constructed from refrigerators, this is your chance. Runs through August 13th. Read more over on the Guardian.
The artist Ross Bleckner has published a new book, A3: Our Lives in The New York Times, that is, at first glance, inherently simple: a collection of the Times’ A3 pages from the early 1980s to the present. Every day for almost 30 years, Tiffany & Co. has published an ad in the upper right-hand corner of the page selling a single luxury item—a diamond ring, a watch, a necklace—next to a simple slogan. The ad always runs adjacent to a news article and a photograph, from stories about typhoons in Indonesia to burials in Kosovo.
Often the contrast between the ad and the editorial is jarring. The Tiffany ad that ran on March 26, 1993, shows a 2½ inch sterling-silver elephant figurine, laid out next to a picture of a girl starving in Sudan. “In a Romantic Frame of Mind” read the Tiffany’s ad selling a heart-shaped picture frame before Valentine’s Day in 1994, alongside a photo of machine gun-toting guerrilla soldiers in Mozambique. A string of $135,000 black pearls with pave diamonds, advertised as the “Splendors of the South Seas,” ran next to a photo of a tornado victim in Bangladesh in May 1996.
The book is a collection of these pages, each with their own contrasts and surprises. Together the clippings tell a story of social evolution: How news has advanced; how politics has intersected with human life; how the world has changed. As Bleckner puts it, the book is a study in “luxury, tragedy, and beauty.” With a Tiffany’s ad on one side and an image of world famine or natural disaster on the other, the pages—in context with each other—send a strong message about stark divide between the haves and the have-nots.