Date Archives August 2010

Takashi Murakami in Interview Magazine

I’ve been thinking a lot about Takashi Murakami and his work lately. There’s something about his work and his approach to art and commerce that I find really intriguing. The fact that he can ride the line between high end art and mass produced goods is also amazing as few artists can achieve such success.

In this months issue of Interview magazine he sits down with Alison Gingeras and talks about the way he works, his sense of curation and control and how he’s nothing like Andy Warhol.

MURAKAMI: It’s true that I pick up many ideas from different Japanese things. The way I formed my studio and how I organize things actually came out of the model of the Japanese animation studio and the manga industry. The manga industry is gigantic in Japan. There are so many layers to the business, like making a video, making a spin-off game, cards . . .

GINGERAS: And figurines and printed matter . . .

MURAKAMI: Yes, everything. It’s kind of like creating something like the Star Wars franchise. A single big hit for a manga studio means tons of money. One can gross more than a movie. The Japanese invented this industry. I’ve been immersed in manga since I was a kid. I grew up with this culture. So I started to think about how to compare manga to contemporary art. The contemporary art industry did not yet exist in Japan when I was starting out. Contemporary art and manga—what is the same about them? Nothing, right? The manga industry has a lot of talented people, but contemporary art works on more of a solitary model. No one embarks on collaboration in contemporary art in order to make money. But in the manga world, everyone is invested in collaboration. The most important point is that the manga industry constantly encourages new creations and creators.

GINGERAS: Like passing the creative baton?

MURAKAMI: Yeah. Manga culture grows and educates these artists. So I learned from that experience. Manga uses Japanese traditional structures in how to teach the student and to transmit a very direct message. You learn from the teacher by watching from behind his back. The whole teacher-master thing is part of Asian culture, I think. So I guess I agree with you in that respect.


Os Gemeos and Futura 2000 Team Up for Huge NYC Mural

One of my all-time favorite artists Os Gemeos have recently finished a giant, beautiful mural in New York with the help of the eternal Futura 2000 and it’s just slightly amazing. It’s titled The Giant Project and is a huge mural in Chelsea on the exterior wall of PS 11 (320 West 21st street. The end result is amazing, like I can’t believe that a bunch of guys on a crane can create some so huge and beautiful.

I think Futura’s patterns work really well on the shirt and definitely blend in well with the twins’ art. Plus his flag pants are kind of amazing, like something you’d see in a Vampire Weekend video or something. Has anyone walked by and seen this in person yet?

Found through Defgrip


Sufjan Stevens New ‘All The Delighted People’ EP

<a href="">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>

It’s been a little over 4 years since Sufjan Stevens released his last proper album, The Avalache (I’m not counting The BQE, even if it was a great album), but today he’s released a new EP called All The Delighted People.

Interesting enough they’ve released the album through Bandcamp and are only charging $5 for 9 songs. I personally think this is a brilliant move because paying with Paypal is like the easiest thing ever. So far from what I’ve heard it stands up with Sufjan’s older work, so if you wer a fan before you shouldn’t be let down.

Feel free to listen to the tracks above or click the links attached to the player to purchase it.


Space Suit of the Week

It’s hard to imagine anything more exciting than going to the moon. For the few folks lucky enough to land among the lunar rocks, what do they have to look forward to when they return from the zenith of their lives, other than to endure the lowly routines that occupy their time before dying. Some astronauts paint. Some who aren’t lucky enough to be astronauts just steal astronaut things. Empathizing with this downward momentum is this Week’s Space Suit of the Week: Back to Earth by Andrew Rae.

Andrew is an illustrator based in the UK and a member of the peepshow illustrator collective. There’s plenty of talent to click through, but be sure to see the complete version of Andrew’s comic here.

Big thanks to Greg for suggesting these delightful drawings.


William Powhida

“GENIUS” artist (yes, the caps are intentional) William Powhida produces “amazing work” (again, the use of bold font is on purpose) and is currently “suffering a massive bout of ego inflation.” Now THAT is an artists’ biography. Unsurprisingly, this tongue-in-cheek humour and satirical tone is also present in his drawings and paintings. If he is not providing instructions on How To Destroy LA, Powhida is creating diagrammatic guides for an LA Makeover.

His work is deliciously self-reflexive and unapologetic in its critique of the contemporary art scene, as well as society in general. Whether you appreciate his style or not you have to admit that he is a provocateur of the first order. If we can take anything away from his work it is that “Nothing says ‘culture’ like bigass painting.” Nicely put, Mr Powhida – what an excellent endorsement for investment in the arts!



The folks over at MK12 have done it again, creating yet another visual masterpiece in the form of TELEPHONEME. You might remember their previous endeavor The History of America which was essentially an epic battle between cowboys and astronauts. this time around they’re tackling the idea of sound recordings and the effects it has on us… er, something. It’s pretty weird but that’s the fun of it. It’s also in 3D, so if you have a spare pair of glasses laying about then you should definitely check this out.


Buildings & Vampires

Directors Sebastian Baptista & Nico Casavecchia have taken the short story that Max tells his mother in the film version of Where The Wild Things Are and turned it into their own, short, tribute piece. It’s only a little over a minute but it’s certainly well done and impossible not to enjoy. I love the way the faces and arms and legs are animated onto the buildings, they give them such a great amount of character. It’s also cute that the buildings are being moved around by sticks by people off camera. Lovely idea very well executed.


Bat for Lashes Visuals

As part of a collaboration for TreatStudios, Robin Bushell and Julia Pott directed a 20 minute visual projection set to accompany a live performance by Bat for Lashes earlier this year. In this short clip, the mystical and eerie animations, which unfold in a moody forest, visually harmonise with Natasha Khan’s ethereal and haunting voice. I can only imagine how amazing this would have been to see in the flesh. Khan’s voice is amazing in and of itself, but seeing the accompanying projection would be the cherry on top. Musicians please take note: this is a stunning way to enhance your live performances.



No, it’s not a parade of the people that always sit in front of you at concerts, nor is it a competition to make a hat for Lady Gaga in the tradition of Frank Gehry; instead,  it’s a bunch of Environmental Design majors wandering around in hats they made. The video is longer than it needs to be, but the point is to look at the hats more than watch the movie. The students, from the University of Melbourne, were tasked to “take ideas from within their heads and place them, literally, on the outside […] by building a complex form made from paper and can be worn on the head.” The course coordinator was Stanislav Roudavski.

The faceted spheres and extruded squares stand out because because both avoid the crystalline-shard-approach that makes a lot of the work easy alluring to build, but hard to distinguish. It’s not entirely dissimilar from certain Laurent Champoussin work if you take into account both the geometries and trying to maintain a casual posture with something absurd attached to your head and a camera zooming in on your face.


The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Pavel Fuksa (Part 5)

Pavel Fuksa

View more Fuksa wallpapers: one, two, three, four

Last Friday I posted a wallpaper from a fella’ named Pavel Fuskaand mentioned that it was a preview to a huge batch of wallpapers from him. Well, here they are. Pavel went nuts and created a total of six wallpapers including variations when it comes to the iPad and iPhone versions. Here’s Pavel’s description of the wallpapers and translations as well:

I’ve decided to create the BGs in the style of classic czechoslovakian communist educational and informative posters:)

#1 – Don’t lick the black foxes!
#2 – The tears of black fox: Reinforce health – Increase productivity.
#3 – Collect the black foxes’ furskins!
#4 – Kitsune Noir I satellite – for the better understanding between nations.
#5 – Hotel Black Fox Prague.

Yet again, thanks Pavel, these are fantastic!