Last week Oliver Jeffers updated his site and it’s crammed with an unbelievable amount of work. Oliver grew up in Northern Ireland and now lives and works in New York. Here he makes art, and his bio also adds that he ‘makes drawings, a picture book or two, some lists and a few other things’. It’s a pretty understated descriptions of Jeffers’ practice, but with the variety of things that he does it’s probably the closest thing to a description that I’d be able to manage as well.
For most, Jeffers is perhaps best know as the author and illustrator of several critically acclaimed and award winning picture books for children. These include the excellent Lost and Found, and The Incredible Book Eating Boy. He’s also has had a number of art exhibitions with his work in oil painting and recently collaborated on a new product line which he runs under the name You & Me, The Royal We.
If you take a browse through his portfolio you’re bound to find a wealth of gems in there. On my last visit I discovered a series of machines from the future, as well as gaining a look inside a building that once powered the city of Belfast, and a a device that allows people to see the fourth dimension from the comfort of their own face. The world of Oliver Jeffers is certainly a strange one, but it’s a place which I’m happy to spend a lot of time.
I was surprised and delighted this week to learn about Nicholas de Monchaux, a Berkley-based architect and educator who has recently published his book Spacesuits: Fashioning Apollo. It certainly doesn’t surprise me that an architect would be interested in space suits, I’m just surprised (and slightly embarrassed) I haven’t stumbled across his book or research before this week. BLDGBLOG published an interview with De Monchaux about his new book, his interest in space suits and his architecture practice. An excerpt:
“One of the things I find most fascinating about the idea of the spacesuit is that space is actually a very complex and subtle idea. On the one hand, there is space as an environment outside of the earthly realm, which is inherently hostile to human occupation—and it was actually John Milton who first coined the term space in that context.
“On the other hand, you have the space of the architect—and the space of outer space is actually the opposite of the space of the architect, because it is a space that humans cannot actually encounter without dying, and so must enter exclusively through a dependence on technological mediation.”
It’s a great read. The interview pulls in a lot of ideas with which I am not terribly fluent (for instance, the relationship between astronauts and cyborgs) and there are plenty of fun facts. Did you know Playtex made space suits? Yes, Playtex: the brassiere-and-girdle maker. There was also a link between NASA and HUD, bolstered by the belief that “the same techniques that got us to the moon would also solve the problems of American cities.”
AND here’s an hour-long video of Nicholas giving a talk about all of this:
You may have heard about the recent tornadoes that ripped across the South. I have been fortunate that the violent storms haven’t hurt me or any of my family members, but I have coworkers, friends and classmates with relatives that are dead, injured or newly homeless. As I type this, nearly 250 people are confirmed dead in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Entire towns like Smithville, Tuscaloosa and Pleasant Grove have been devastated. If you can afford to, please donate your time or funds to the relief effort.
The video I am posting today features a song from the Blind Boys of Alabama. The visuals for the video are by Jonah Tobias. The photos are from the Atlantic.
Kyle over at Dwell tweeted about the work of Tom Darracott, a British designer who’s style is pretty crazy. He likes to mix mediums a lot which is really nice. There’s a lot of digital work that looks like painting, a lot of interesting photography as well as some interesting typography work. It’s hard to put my finger on what it is exactly that draws me to his work, but it’s something about the mismatching of styles that really works together. The video above is his showreel which gives you a nice overview of his work, but be sure to check out his full portfolio as well.
A few weeks back I was reading my friend Andi’s post about Shonen Knife, which inspired me to look up and see if there were any good Yoshitomo Nara videos out there. I ended up coming across this clip from BBC’s Japanorama series with a short interview with him. This isn’t really anything that groundbreaking or revealing about him, but it’s kinda cool to see his studio and hear him speak about his work. Definitely watch the video if you’re unfamiliar with Nara’s work, he’s a genius, in my opinion.
I’ve been using Mediatemple for my hosting now for, well, I don’t know how long. But they’re a rad bunch of people and they’re definitely doing some fun stuff. For example, they’ve teamed up with the mega-talented McBess to create a special edition shirt for their support team, known as the 140 Team (no idea what that means, it’s nerd speak). But they want to get you readers in on this, so they’ve organized a contest in which you remix some of McBess’ graphics and make something rad of your own. The prize? Well, there’s quite a lot, depending upon who picks your work:
1) McBess’ Choice: Photoshop or Illustrator CS5, Unique McBess Print & Media Booklet, a one-time $200 (mt) hosting credit, (mt) 140 shirt & swag
2) The Fox Is Black Choice: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX78 12.1 MP Digital Camera (Leica 24-120mm Zoom Lens equiv.), Unique McBess Print & Media Booklet, a one-time $200 (mt) hosting credit, (mt) 140 shirt & swag
3) (mt)’s Choice: Wacom Intuos4 Medium Tablet, Unique McBess Print & Media Booklet, a one-time $200 (mt) hosting credit, (mt) 140 shirt & swag
So here’s what you do. Download the McBess Element pack in either EPS or JPG format. Here’s the important part, you have to use at least 3 of the 10 McBess files, as well as 1 (mt) Media Temple logo from the provided pack. Then use the images you’ve chosen as a starting point to create your own brilliant piece of art. Once you’re done, submit it to the Make Your Best McBess! Flickr submission group and you’re good to go!
You have until May 8th so you’d better get cracking!
Some of the most exquisite and modern uses of concrete have come from the Studio of Erwin Hauer. Hauer, an Austrian-born sculptor, began to install these light-diffusing screens in the 50’s, making the concrete forms by hand. His goal was, and is, to create “Continuity and potential infinity.” Today, his studio uses digitally-intensive processes that were adopted after a former student joined the studio. I agree with Anne-Mette Manelius (who blogs about concrete) that Hauers work has seen a revitalization of interest (as his firm shifts toward computer development). The newer screens use concrete less, but this has enabled a thinness and plasticity that may be better suited for his work. Above and below are photos from a tour of his studio from 2007 taken by Ajmal Aqtash, a founding partner of form-ula.
As a part of the talk I gave yesterday at Otis College of Art & Design, we also had a little competition. It was simple, students were asked to create a desktop wallpaper, the best entry would be featured on the site. I received some pretty cool designs, but the one I thought was best was this entry by Christopher Jaurique. Christopher is a senior at Otis right now, studying Communication Arts and Advertising, though he admits that he loves making films. He’s currently working on his senior thesis project, in which he’s “building a room of mirrors and lcd screens in an attempt to disorient the viewer”… sounds pretty cool to me.
I loved this image because I thought it was a perfect computer wallpaper. It’s got interesting colors and minor details, and yet it’s vague enough that it’s not going to distract you, either. That subtle mixture of just enough is hard to do, but I think Christopher nailed it. Definitely check out the rest of his work in his portfolio, and better yet, hire him to make amazing films for you.