Date Archives February 2011

Brad Phillips: “An Artist’s Artist”

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Although the work of Canadian artist Brad Phillips traverses a number of genres – including watercolour, drawing and photography – it is his oil paintings that leave the biggest impression. Dark and shadowy with Gothic undertones, his paintings gesture towards hidden secrets and psychological complexity. Quiet and abandoned spaces, unnerving portraits and still life images that juxtapose knives with flowers all feature in his diverse portfolio.

However, Phillips also has a cheekily subversive sense of humour that permeates his pieces: from proclaiming that he is an “artist’s artist” to what I suspect is a satirical recreation of Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World (1866), his paintings successfully tread the fine line between artist gravitas and having a little bit of fun.


RRR.002 – Review and Giveaway




Back in Novemeber of 2009 I reviewed a little zine called RRR, it was a collection of images from all kinda of artists and photographers and I was really impressed with it. Well now the second edition has been released and it happens to be even better than the first. Clocking in at 100 pages this 6 x 9″ zine is filled with all kinds of great artists like Mike Perry, Will Bryant, Andrew Holder, Ed Fladung, Gary Benzel and Keith Scharwath.

What’s great about a zine like this is that it’s filled with so much inspiration. Every page is different. There’s photos, then illustrations, then design, each one bursting with imagination. I know when I got my issue I totally poured over it, amazed by all the talented people and their beautiful work.

Lucky for you I’ve got 5 copies to give away thanks to the man behind RRR, Scott Massey. So how do you get your hands on one? Leave me a comment with your favorite place to get inspiration. My five favorite comments will win a copy, simple as that. Good luck!


Re-Covered Books: ‘Lord of the Flies’ Update – Win A Copy of Sam Weber’s Version of the Book

Sam Weber's 'Lord of the Flies' Giveaway

I just updated the Lord of the Flies Re-Covered Contest with a bunch of amazing entries and I have to say there’s a lot of great contenders so far. That said, I want to up the ante a bit by making the deal a little sweeter. Thanks to the awesome folks over at Folio Society I have 5 copies of Sam Weber’s version of Lord of the Flies to give away to the winner and 4 runners up. These books aren’t cheap, they run for $50 a pop, so these are some pretty great prizes.

That said, all entries are due this Friday by Midnight PST so you’d better hurry if you want a chance to win $100 or one of Sam’s amazing books. For entry details and rules click here. A huge thanks to Folio Society for hooking us up.


Todd Mclellan Disassembles Things to Find The Beauty In Ordinary Objects

Todd Mclellan's Disassembly

Todd Mclellan's Disassembly

Since I posted up those awesome photos by Moa Karlberg earlier I thought I’d follow up with this series by Todd Mclellan called Disassembled. Todd takes apart random but mechanically complex items, lays out every bit and bob and photographs them. You can see in the video below how laborious the process is, how he picks out all the right pieces and then slowly lays them out. But after he disassembles these objects I think he throws them in the air and photographs the resulting chaos. Not sure how many takes he does with those but they look awesome either way.


The Viewing Chairs

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The good news is that it was warm enough to wear shorts the weekend. This is especially good news considering that sad patches of snow still littered the ground last weekend. We are approaching that annoying time of year where cold fronts seem cosmically unjust; we’re sick of the layers we were so excited about wearing last fall. The longer days ahead are literally the promise of a warmer and brighter future.

The bad news is that I do not speak Russian, so information on The Viewing Chairs above is scant. Luckily, there’s not much to explain. Designed by Megabudka, the high chairs that make up the project are installed on Vido Island in Greece, where folks can climb up the chairs for a better view. There’s something a quirky and precarious about about the height of the chairs that’s alluring, but I’m not sure that an infant roosting a few meters above the ground in something quirky and precarious is an omen of good news at all. At least the chairs provide a different perspective, and warmer weather is just over the horizon.


Drawing Nature: Jamie Mills

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British illustrator Jamie Mills certainly knows the way to a girl’s heart: bears and mountains. Creating intricately detailed landscapes and wildlife creatures with small bursts of primary colour, his work is inspired by L.S Lowry and Brooks Salzwedel. I love the juxtaposition of monochromatic representations of nature with bright geometric shapes. If only the woods looked this good.

Mills is also the co-creator of collaborative project, A Tale to Tell, which fuses storytelling and illustration to produce a multilayered and ever-evolving narrative that uses Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book as its genesis.

Check out more of Mills’ work on his blog, flickr and shop.


‘Watching You Watch Me’ by Moa Karlberg

Watching You Watch Me by Moa Karleberg

Watching You Watch Me by Moa Karleberg

When you first see these photos by Swedish photographer Moa Karlberg you get this immediate connection to the subject. There’s something in their eyes that’s really piercing, like their gaze is concentrated directly at you. Funny enough, these people are actually staring at themselves. What Ms. Kalberg has done is taken these portraits from behind a two-way mirror, the people in the photos have no idea that their photo has been taken. Here’s what she has to say about the project:

“Since the pictures are taken in public spaces, I can publish them however I want to. At least in Sweden, where the laws are generous to journalists and artists. But in which forums and publications does the single individual feel insulted? Watching you watch me is an effort to create a debate on the laws and ethics within the photographer’s role.”

What I personally take away from these is the fragile moment where a person let’s down their guard. When you look into a mirror you’re analyzing your own appearance in a fraction of a second, considering intimate details about yourself that no one else will likely ever notice. In each person’s face you can see this anxious look, a look I can only describe as being human.

P.S. If you speak Swedish be sure to check out this short piece where she speaks about these photos. No idea what it says, but it might be interesting.


Just Plain Ant

It’s always good to have friends with broad musical tastes. Last year my friend Sean introduced me to Just Plain Ant, a producer and recording artist from Richmond, Virginia. Over the last few years Ant has put together a great collection of albums which I reckon are well worth checking out.

At the age of a mere 23 Ant certainty has an impressive discography, and his tracks reflect an astute ear for mixing genres. Check out any one of his several releases and you’re bound to find yourself bathed in trippy beats, jazzy samples and some straight up hip-hop. Oftentimes, these influences overlap creating nicely textured tracks and some beautifully chilled out sounds. Perhaps best of all, is the fact that a lot of Just Plain Ant’s releases are free to download over on his Bandcamp page. So if you like what you hear make sure to head over there and listen to more. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from Ant in the future.