Whenever I am considering making a purchase on Etsy I always have a browse through the seller’s feedback – after all, this is the internet and it’s best to get a sense of whom you’re dealing with. If you read the comments left for New York designers LAYERxlayer, the word “impeccable” is mentioned more than a few times and, looking at the canvas totes and backpacks in their shop, it is easy to see why.
Founded by Patrick, an architect, and Leah, an industrial designer, their individual backgrounds shine through in their streamlined approach to craftsmanship, creating bags which are structured and functional without being solely utilitarian. You only need to look at the gorgeous photography that showcases their goods to see how committed they are to producing accessories that are aesthetically pleasing. Predominantly utilising durable, unbleached cotton canvas, each design is made to order and follows a concept of sustainability. Given the choice between the latest It bag and a gracefully crafted and bespoke tote, I know which one I would pick.
The vast majority of Wendy Tai’s artworks are concerned with questioning and subverting the viewer’s perceptions of the space of the art gallery. Included in the brief for her most recent installation, Untitled, Tai commented that gallery visitors “are socially conditioned to treat artwork[s] as precious and sacred – we speak softly in museums, we maintain respectable distance, we are never to touch the work.” However, this is not the case with Tai’s interactive art.
In a move to disrupt the boundaries between the gallery and the self, as well as the distinctions between viewer and artist, the viewers of Untitled were invited to walk over the charcoal portraits on the floor of the gallery. The images included in this post display the progression from the originally defined and detailed drawings, which ironically picture gallery goers contemplating non-existent artworks, to the smears and footprints that have re-imaged the surface of the gallery floor.
The blurred palimpsest shows traces of what was initially there, but what I find particularly exciting about Tai’s piece is that the viewer is made an active participant in the art-making process. By literally walking on and effacing the illustrated gallery visitors, the viewer asserts his or her presence in the gallery and within the artwork itself.
As much as I love an old movie poster, I’m usually a little suspicious of things Photoshopped to look similarly old. Not so much because I don’t have a capacity for nostalgia, but because I think it’s kind of cheap, no matter how lovely or well-executed. For instance: if someone you worked with complemented the way you dress, you’d probably be flattered. But, if the same person started spray painting their clothing to match you every day… you’d probably be a little nauseated. And now you have to agree with me: it’s okay to like something without trying to clone it.
The images above would be really hard to clone. For starters, they’re much older than Dolly, anywhere from 110-120 years. The character they have is a direct result of the technology gap that produced them: a process invented in the 1880’s by a Swiss Chemist named Hans Jakob Schmid. They aren’t color photographs, but rather are photochroms, which involve transferring glass negatives onto lithographic plates and then printing these with colored inks. Although color photography was around at the time, it was only around the labs of researchers; it wasn’t until 1907, almost 20 years after some of these photochroms were probably taken, that color photographic plates became commercially available. In the meantime, demand for approximations of color photographs was high.
Maybe that’s why the colors in these images are so stunning. I ran across them while perusing the Library of Congress’ flickr site. All three of the moody landscapes above are from around Scandinavia… although folks who have spent time there will wonder why it isn’t raining in any of them (hint: they photoshopped it out). Imagine the skill and concentration it took just to color these images… and then imagine Carol Channing clumsily tinkering with hue and saturation in Photoshop while belting songs from Hello, Dolly!
This is what happens when nostalgia gets the best of you.
Last night on the bus this magnificent woman climbed into the seat across the way from me. I had to take a photo of her, she was just too amazing. I love how her outfit is like urban camouflage and she can blend into the fabric of the seat as well as the grey pattern below it. Taking her photo makes me want to start documenting the weirdos of Los Angeles public transit.
Hey hey it’s Monday and I’ve got a pretty rad Mixcast to share with you today. It’s filled with a ton of new music so hopefully there’s a lot of new and exciting stuff. It’s kind of amazing how many bands are releasing new albums in the next month or so, and I think you’ll get a sense if it once you take a listen.
I hope you dig the Mixcast and if you have any suggestions for a theme next week let me know in the comments.
Here’s this week’s tracklist: Truth Sets In by Avi Buffalo Way Back Home by Band of Horses Golden Age by Beach Fossils Up in the Dark by The New Pornographers Sinister Kid by The Black Keys Afraid of Everyone by The National Tomorrow Tomorrow by Joel P West and the Tree Ring Unbearable Why by Dr. Dog Maps Not Accurate by Uninhabitable Mansions Pistols by Throw Me The Statue The Tree (feat. Alela Diane) by Blitzen Trapper Winter ‘05 by Ra Ra Riot Beautiful Morning Light by Fruit Bats
Based in Montreal, Miju is the result of the combined design skills of Furni creator Mike Giles and his lady, Judy Lawrence. For their spring collection “Plonge”, Miju have created necklaces and rings that are a beautiful hybrid of metal and rubber. Maintaining the delicate and fine look of their metalwork, the incorporation of rubber in tones of lilac and seafoam is an innovative approach to altering the aesthetic look of their pieces. The title “Plonge”, which I assume is a reference to the French word for plunge, is echoed in this method of production, whereby the metal component of their jewellery is literally dipped and coated in rubber.
Last week I was sent a copy of Berry Weight’s new album Music For Imaginary Movies, and when I listened through to it I have to say I was the best surprise of my week. The music reminds me a bit of old RJD2, a very sample heavy album that makes you want to bob your head to the beats.
Berry Weight funny enough is actually two guys, Apewok from Montreal and Stab from Neuchatel, Switzerland. I love when people are able to collaborate remotely like this with the end product still sounding so crisp and amazing. The video above is a little animted album preview which should give you a good sense of what the record sounds like. If any of these songs grabs your attention then I highly suggest you snag this album.
Popshot Magazine is a Britain-based poetry and illustration publication which aims to reinvigorate poetry by freeing it from “the clammy hands of school anthologies and funeral readings.” The freshly-printed third issue features content from over 50 contributors, pretty evenly divided between poets and illustrators, and is called “The Liberate Issue.” If you’re like me, the land of poetry has always seemed a little forbidden; it’s ok to walk through all the obscure references you’ll never understand… but try to glean anything from them. But this compact collection was a much more engaging read than I expected.
The photo above is a spread from the poem Icarus which is the first featured in this issue. To me, this is a really clever way to open this because there’s a pretty well-known poem about Icarus called Musee de Beaux Arts in which the author, Auden, explicates a painting by Bruegel. You might remember this from your 12th-grade literature class, I know I do. But, at the opening of the issue, this pairing is a familiar departure point into a land less forbidding. Some of the poems: Don’t Buy it by Benjamin Heathcote, F-Word by Daniel Kramb and LBR8 by Kelcey Wells. As the titles would indicate, the work featured is relevant, witty and often instructive.
In closing, I’d like to submit a poem from my own 2nd grade poetry book that I think Bruegel, Auden and yourself might enjoy:
Paint is RED
Paint is BLUE
Paint is RUNNING AFTER YOU.