If there is one thing that Pablo Picasso has taught the art world it is that simple and straightforward portraits can sometimes be a bit limiting. Barcelona-based artist Anna Higgie obviously share this view as, while her portfolio features more conventional studies of portraiture, she also ventures into a domain of visual deconstruction that is reminiscent of Cubism. Slicing, splicing and fragmenting her subjects, and using the abstract visual illusions of Op Art, Higgie’s works are stunning in their complexity. Indeed, her attention to the fracturing of subjectivity in monochrome is seemingly evocative of a whole new genre: Cubist Noir.
It is hard to have a conversation about early space suits without talking about the defense industry. Not only did space suits evolve from pressure suits worn by Air Force pilots but their development was accelerated during the Space Race thanks to the Cold War. We’ve looked at suit prototypes developed by defense contractors, but today, we’re looking at graphic design commissioned by one of these contractors. General Dynamics is a “defense industry contractor for shipbuilding and marine systems, defense systems , land and amphibious combat systems and munitions.” The company hired Matthew Leibowitz in 1965 to make a recruitment video as a way to lure talent to the company.
I’m not sure if their strategy worked at the time, but the stills from that video are certainly alluring my eyeballs in the present. These images are nearly fifty years old and they’re clever and compelling, not just because of their subject but because Leibowitz was insanely talented. He was working for a company of military and technical experts- a company that relied on his skill to bring in new experts. Going to space presented two challenges: ability and motivation. It was the technical experts who provided the means for arriving in space, but it was the expertise of folks like Leibowitz that compelled the drive to go there.
How appropriate that the King of Hearts would be an astronaut.
Found through Aqua Velvet
If you frequent the site you’ll know that I try not to reference the past when it comes to design. I try to look forward with the things I write about, not particularly concern myself with things from the past. But when I came across this radio by Sony called the TR-1825, I couldn’t help but be smitten with it. Back at the beginning of March Kyle posted about the Jambox, a tiny bluetooth enabled speaker that I couldn’t help but think of when I saw the TR-1825.
In my opinion the design of this tiny radio is timeless. If you updated the materials and the colorways Sony would have a product that could rival the Jambox. Small, portable and attractive, this tiny speaker would be amazing to throw in a backpack and bring to the beach. There’s something so appealing about the simplicity of a product like this. You slide it open, you get a speaker and two simple controls, that’s it. I think it would be extremely smart of Sony to reintroduce this product to the market with functionality like that of the Jambox. They could not only bring back a classic design but make themselves relevant in the stereo business again.
Here’s a quote about the radio from the Sony site:
Released in 1970, when Sony had become the first Japanese company to list shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Sliding the faces on this cubic radio reveals a speaker in front and controls on top, a unique design at the time. One version of its packaging commemorates the World Expo in Osaka, held in March that year, and many expo-goers picked up the radio as a gift.
As I close out Dog Week 2K11, there is a lot to think about: little dogs, medium dogs, but mostly big dogs. These oversized beauties, who are easily overshadowed by the tiny shadows of small dogs, are some of the gentlest creatures on the planet. To know and befriend a large dog is one of those rare situations that a lot of people do not get to experience. I would say definitely try to get to know one, should the opportunity present itself.
A good example? Art director Nate Wells for Applied Underwriters‘ ad campaign featuring a giant Saint Bernard. The campaign, with the tagline “We’re in California in a big way.” as inspiration, not only conveys exactly what Applied Underwriters needed but is very approachable, well done, and fun (not to mention funny). When Wells sent these my way, I literally gasped. Literally.
The campaign is one of those rare moments where industry, silliness, and art all converge. I absolutely adore everything about it and am glad that Wells has inadvertently taken it upon himself to change the face of the Saint Bernard (from the damage Beethoven did to it). I hope you agree and, if you do, please follow the jump for more photos!
With that, goodbye Dog Week 2K11! See you in 2K12!
(…if the world doesn’t end.)
PS. Wells informed me that the dog featured in the photos real name is “Cujo.” HOW AMAZING IS THAT??
Although born in Kansas City, photographer J. Bennett Fitts now lives and works in LA. The other day I stumbled upon a great series of photos he produced entitled No Lifeguard On Duty. This body of work gives us an insight into some of the motel and public pools of the Los Angeles area, and explores the abandonment and decline of these sites.
Much of J Bennett Fitts’ work fits into a style of photography that really appeals to me. He seems to have an obsession with modern, artificial landscapes and as a photographer he’s taken the responsibility to document these parts of our culture. His series above catalogues these weird structures in their moment of decline; they now exist as purposeless forms carved into our surroundings, and he approaches them with a sense of formalism and a strictness that is clearly influenced by the likes of Bernd and Hilla Becher and Ed Ruscha’s photographic work. You can find more of his work on his website here.
In my opinion, everyone has some kind of fascination or fear of the sea. It’s dark, it’s mysterious and it’s larger than we can fathom. All of these things are summed up rather well in this video by Lorenzo Fonda entitled Ten Things I Have Learned About The Sea. Lorenzo travelled on a vessel from Los Angeles to Shanghai back in December of 2008, documented his journey and summing it all up into this beautiful video. It’s a little over 10 minutes but the whole thing is really well shot and gives you an amazing sense of how incredible the ocean really is. Definitely worth your time.
Found through Coudal
I mean, what video did you THINK I would post for dog week 2K11? Of course it’s Pleix‘s modern classic, Birds!
The Parisian video collective’s 2006 classic is one of those inescapable videos for internet users. It has become a hallmark of sorts in the dog video world. It isn’t a “Look At My Cute Dog” video nor is it a “This Dog Is Funny” video nor is it a “Dog Art!” video: it’s a combination of everything, which is why it is so ubiquitous and omnipresent. And, technically, it’s not even about dogs: it’s about dogs acting like birds, only further complexified as the feature Vitalic song is called “Poney Part 1.” You following?
The video is simply dogs shaking off, jumping around, and acting like “birds” in slow motion, played backwards and forwards. Put easily enough: it is my pick for best video ever made. It exists on its own beautiful plain that is both funny, complex, and adorable. You can’t really describe it at all: you have to experience it. I also find that there is not really a use in hyperanalyzing it as well because, basically, it is just a well shot video of dogs in slow motion set to on of the best electro songs of the past ten years.
If you have never seen this video before, your day has been made, your mind has been blown, etc., etc., etc. into infinity.
I’m a big fan of United Visual Artists, UVA for short, and their work and experimentation with light. One of their most recent projects is called Connection, a “work consists of an array of vertical luminaires integrated into a pedestrian bridge.” What’s interesting about this though is that the lights are triggered by human movement, so what was a pretty banal bridge is now a lively, moving piece of art. When people walk by it almost looks the the bridge is physically undulating, like it’s swaying in the breeze.
I feel like work like this is more interesting than new projects because it’s taking something that’s existing and simply making it better, even if it’s purely aesthetics. I think a lot of people tend to want something new and shiny instead of trying to improve upon something, which most of the time is probably easier and more cost efficient to do.
If you’re in Toronto, Canada go visit the Maple Leaf Square building, that’s where you’ll find it.