Date Archives May 2010

Carolyn Alexander

I am, quite understandably, easily seduced by the work of many contemporary illustrators, but I am sure that it will be more than a passing fling when it comes to my adoration of the work of British illustrator Carolyn Alexander. And there are a number of reasons why this is the case. Firstly, her work is a real treat for the eyes and incorporates gorgeously intricate detail and quirky narratives. Secondly, Alexander lives in the French Alps and uses her experiences learning the French language and adjusting to French culture as inspiration for her pieces. Thirdly, she gave up smoking in one of the most imaginative and interesting ways that I have encountered. Finally, she possesses a most delightful and witty sense of humour that infuses her illustrations with yet another layer of charm.

Exploring her portfolio provides the opportunity to not only giggle at her très drôle Haughty Bitches series, but also to brush up on French verbs by studying her black and white typographical series, which is aptly titled Ne Parle Pas Francais. In truth, Alexander’s illustrations can be neatly summed up in one word: magnifique!


Video for ‘Rabbit Song’ by Boy & Bear

The current darlings of the Australian indie music scene, Boy & Bear have just released their first EP and are already attracting their fair share of attention. The detractors have claimed that they are derivative of the 1970s folk sound popularised by Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver; however, I would like to sing their praises and I can think of no better way than sharing their music video for “Rabbit Song.”

The video does a brilliant job of visually representing the guitar-driven melody and choral harmonies of the song by following a disenchanted man as he is drawn into an urban game of Cowboys and Indians. It’s the sort of video that makes covering your face in war paint, donning a crazy headdress made out of ties and meeting up with a woodlands cult in the forest strangely appealing. Or maybe it’s just appealing to me.


Nike ‘Write The Future’ Commercial

I’m not a big football (soccer for us Yanks) fan though I know the majority of the world is, but watching this new Nike Football commercial for their upcoming Write The Future campaign totally gave me chills. The spot was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who you might also know as the director of movies like Babel and 21 Grams as well as the producer of football movie Rudo y Cursi. The story follows several of the biggest football stars out there, though I could only name Ronaldo, going through the “what if’s?” and potential outcomes of the matches they’re playing.

Watching it I was totally riveted and actually got a little emotional, it definitely hit all the right buttons for me. Iñárritu’s direction is spot and the team he worked with should absolutely be commended for creating such a rad commercial that nearly feels like a short film. I love when Wayne Rooney’s kick gets intercepted and all of England rejects him, tearing down his posters, the stock market crashes and all hell breaks loose… and he knows he has to make up for it quickly in order to divert disaster.

If you’re curious, the players in the commercial are Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Fabio Cannavaro, Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Patrice Evra, Gerard Pique, Ronaldinho, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Thiago Silva. Plus it’s fun to see Homer Simpson, Gael Garcia Bernal (who starred in Rudo y Cursi) and Kobe Bryant.


Piers Fawkes of PSFK on the Creator Class

While I was in New York I had the opportunity to meet up with Piers Fawkes, one of the founders of design website/consultancy PSFK. The PSFK offices were actually right around the corner from my hotel so I popped in and had a wonderful chat with Piers. We talked about a lot of things like how we’re in an age of premium curation and ways in which you can focus and aggregate that energy as well as a bunch of other things. He’s a really smart guy with a ton of ideas and it was really inspiring to share some of my future projects with him and get his advice.

The video above though is a great example of a lot of the ideas and opinions swirling around his head, most of which I’m totally in agreeance on. The video is about 30 minutes long and it’s one of those things you can listen to while you work. I highly suggest taking the time and soak in some of his ideas.


Amsterdam Osdorp

This video was made to celebrate the unification of three municipal districts into Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Dutch city planning is not exactly hot territory for most folks… but this video is fun to watch even if you aren’t an urban planning student. The makers cone and abstract prominent architectural forms from each of the districts involved in the union and then manipulate the context in which these abstracted closes are presented.

One of the buildings featured in the video is Wozoko by Dutch firm MVRDV. In the video, it’s the wooden box with translucent balconies attached and flying around it. And my favorite thing about this MVRDV project isn’t the huge cantilevers… it’s the fact that it exclusively houses senior citizens.

Senior Citizens that now live in Amsterdam Nieuw-West.


UNIS Spring/Summer ’10

Had I been born a boy, I would have possibly been named Michael or Nick. And if this biological transformation had actually taken place, I would like to think that I would have a similar sense of style to that of the gentlemen in the Spring/Summer lookbook for UNIS: oozing classical sophistication and laid-back elegance as I nonchalantly ride my bike around town in chinos and a button down polo.

In general, I don’t pay very much attention to menswear labels, but Eunice Lee’s designs really caught my eye. I like the idea of a female designing clothes for men and feel that her central principle of “How do I want my boyfriend to look? How do I want my cool guy friend to look?” is an excellent foundation for producing menswear. The photography by Ken Tisuthiwongse also complements the designs beautifully with its light atmosphere, neutral palette and urban scenery.

A very chic girl creating clothes for similarly cool men is a brilliant creative marriage, but I just have one question for the male readers out there: do men wear pink trousers? I’d like to think so.



Rebecca Telford

Rebecca Telford is an artist. Her work has a graphic kind of dimensionality that is really alluring to my eyeballs. It’s very clean-looking, which might make it seem a little too precious at times, but when her archi-patterns are rendered in aluminum foil cut with the precision of wood inlay… I can’t find any fault with such cleanliness and simplicity.

The lower image is actually called “Silverlake LA” and makes me think about the history of windows: from mud huts with holes to perforated building skins created by computer scripts. Not that her image really leans toward, or is interested in, one or another, but rather I think about windows because they keep getting thinner. Do any savvy Silver Lake readers recognize the windows? Her print is based on a photograph she took of actual windows, presumably windows in Silver Lake.


‘Obsessive Consumption’ by Kate Bingaman-Burt

Almost every day of your life you will buy something, whether it be groceries, magazines or a new car… well, unless you’re a freegan. This idea of constant consumption is the focus of Kate Bingaman-Burt’s newest book Obsessive Consumption, where she illustrates one of her purchases every day for over two years. It’s amazing to see all of the random things she buys over such a long period, and definitely makes you think about how much you consume on a day-to-day basis. Plus her illustrations are all pretty funny and oftentimes have little personal notes on them, giving each purchase a bit of life.

And if you want to see more you should definitely check out Kate’s Obsessive Consumption website, the site that started it all, as she keeps it updated nearly all the time and is still continuing the project.


Kikkerland Sword Umbrellas

Another one of my favorite products from the whole ICFF epicness were these Sword Umbrellas from Kikkerland. They previously sold the Umbrella Samurai in a small and large sizes but have now expanded the collection to include and Arthurian style sword and one in a more swashbuckling variety.

I’m still not sure I’d use one of these on a regular basis, the samurai one is still kinda nice, but I’m glad the option is out there. I mean, who didn’t pretend their umbrella was a sword when they were a little kid? It would be a major bummer though if your sweet umbrella turned inside out…


Saturdays Surf NYC

Yesterday afternoon before leaving New York I had the opportunity to meet up with my buddy who works over at Warp for some coffee at a little shop called Saturdays Surf NYC. The appeal of Saturdays is that they’re the only surf shop in SoHo plus they have amazing coffee AND they have one of the best patios I’ve ever sat on, as evidenced by the photos above.

The light in New York is hard to describe, but it’s similar to the light of Los Angeles in some respects. I think in New York it’s more how the light is being filtered and reflected off buildings, how you’er surrounded by brick and steel but it still feels bright out. Now imagine sitting in a tiny garden with a perfect iced Americano in your hand… that’s what Saturdays is like.

They also happen to carry some great products like handmade canvas totes, Baxter, Best Made axes, surfboards, fins, clothing… pretty much everything. I also loved that it’s on a small side street off of the hustle of Broadway, even though when I was around they were shooting a film. Nonetheless it’s a beautiful space and a place worthy of your time.