Allow me to set the scene for you: in the middle part of 2010 Jillian Tamaki, a Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist, took to needle and thread. The result was her Monster Quilt – not a monster due to its size but because of the sweetly garish characters interwoven into its fabric. The fact that this was her first attempt at producing an embroidered work speaks volumes about her inherent talent for the quaintly old-fashioned medium. Cut to 2010 and Tamaki her returned with a new embroidery project: Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics.
The fact that this project came to fruition is pretty incredible as, after completing her Monster Quilt, Tamaki decided not to take any future commissions in embroidery. That is, unless it was from Penguin Books. The three covers that she has completed as part of this project are intricately detailed and wonderfully encapsulate the mood and narrative of each book. To my mind, there is no better way to commemorate the enduring power of these tales than through a handicraft that gestures towards the past and that celebrates tactility. Furthermore, Tamaki has updated the medium for contemporary audiences and infused each design with her unique artistic sensibility. If this doesn’t make people want to pick up a book, I don’t know what will.
I’m in love with everything about this branding by Canadian firm Concrete for Fabbrica, a new restaurant for celebrity chef and entrepreneur Mark McEwan. The branding was inspired by “the design aesthetic that emerged out of postwar Italy” which is a great starting point. I love the typography of the name, and I’m guessing the triangles the F inspired the triangular pattern you see on the side of the building. And how cute is that tiny triangular sign that sticks out from the side of the building? Such a great detail that gives the facade a great bit of character.
I love how fresh and original this feels, especially for a restaurant. I think more eateries could learn a few things from Concrete’s work.
I had been under the assumption for a long time that the work of Felice Varini was a recent phenomena. And, after further research, the Swiss artist has been around and doing his thing for over thirty years now.
The artist is known for his site specific geometric paintings, which he has done on building exteriors, inside of rooms, hallways, staircases–basically, any architectural surface. His works with projections and stencils to create these illusions, which require a very specific point of view in order to “see” the art. Otherwise, the piece is fragmented and seems to be weird, even ugly, shapes thrown around a localized area.
Like site specific artists Christo, Andy Goldsworthy, and James Turrell before him and current street/graffiti art alike, Varini’s work melts buildings and spaces into each other through art. In his work, he uses shapes outside of the local architectural vocabulary to bind all these structures together. He has his hands in a lot of pockets, borrowing a bit from the old and a bit from the new, creating these cross-referencing pieces.
His work is incredibly surreal and terribly fun, very reminiscent of those Magic Eye illusions of the nineties–but without the required squinting and eye crossing. I would love to be able to see one in person, as I am most definitely sure that they are quite the mindfuck.
If I had kids I’d probably read them really weird books. Not like, scary stuff, but things about architecture and art, less Curious George and the such. Another good example that’s not necessarily for kids but is still awesome is The Robot Book by Thomas Jackson. While Thomas describes the book as “a narrative series of photographs depicting a robot living a sort of post-apocolyptic nightmare in the woods of upstate New York” I think he’s done an amazing job of creating this huge battle in a beautiful, DIY way. The book itself comes in a limited edition of 11, each one being made of “sheet metal, old wood salvaged from a fallen-down chicken coop and a few electronic components.”
If you’re in the New York area you can stop by Central Booking in DUMBO to see his photos and books up close and personal. Also be sure to watch his video walkthrough of the book, it’s pretty dang nice looking.
Educated in South Korea and the United States, Myeongbeom Kim produces otherworldly installations and sculpture works that juxtapose man-made elements with nature to create surreal dream spaces. Utilising suspension as a common motif, his works are constantly poised in a state of ambiguous wonderment. Within his installations, living things are held inside the fragile confines of light bulbs and helium balloons replace tree foliage, literally uplifting the tree and its roots.
Although this breaking down of the boundaries between artificiality and nature would generally engender a sense of unease, conveying the decline of natural phenomenon at the hands of manufactured goods, from Kim’s artistic perspective there is a rather a peaceful coexistence of these two binary opposites. It is a beautiful thing to behold.
Yuri Pattison is a talented, young artist working in London. I came across a his project icallarchitecturefrozenmusic this weekend and really enjoy his approach to photographing buildings in this project. Some buildings are more exciting than others and some of the views are more disorienting than others, but all of the photos look great to me. The title of the project comes from a Goethe quote, which I heard an especially cheesy iteration of in architecture school: “Architecture is music, frozen in time.” The variety of modernist buildings in Pattison’s pictures doesn’t bring to mind the lyrical or emotional flourishes that music might, but I’m not sure if the projects title is tongue-in-cheek or simply referring to a different kind of music.
Canon Blue is the music of Daniel James, an American musician who creates beautifully structured folktronica. He dabbles with dreamy melodies and displays a pretty great ear for what makes an upbeat pop song seem inspiring and fun. Back in 2007 he released his debut album Colonies on the Danish label Rumraket and it’s an absolute treat from start to finish. Impressively, Mr. James has written, recorded and played almost every instrument on this debut himself and has managed to get Grizzly Bear’s bassist Chris Taylor to mix the thing. For me, Colonies comes highly recommended and chances are that you’ll find something on their that grabs your attention and leaves you with a warm feeling of joy.
Fans of the aforementioned Grizzly Bear are sure to find some good things on here, and you’ll also find some nice influences from Daniel James’s label mates Efterklang in the mix as well. This is no accident considering that James can occasionally be found helping the band out on some of their live shows. Colonies is a great album and apparently a follow up is very close on the horizon. For now I’d recommend heading over to the Rumraket website and get your hands on The Halcyon EP which the label are giving away for free. It features the excellent track Ennui which is featured at the top of this post. Enjoy!
Back in December I posted about We Are Trees, now made up of James Nee and Josiah Schlater, and their previous release the Boyfriend EP. Last week I got an email from their vocalist James letting me know they had a new EP out, this time titled Girlfriend. If you’re a fan of Department of Eagles, Grizzly Bear or Vetiver I think you’ll like this. James’ voice is really smooth and mellow and the music itself is pretty laid back and well structured. Definitely worth pausing what you’re listening to to hear this. At the very least be sure to listen to the last track, I Don’t Believe In Love, it’s by far my favorite.