Date Archives April 2011

More Concrete, New Lawnmowers

Concrete Structure by Akihisa Hirata

Concrete Structure by Akihisa Hirata

Concrete isn’t just tough, it can sometimes be surprisingly elegant.  Yesterday, we looked at sturdy monuments, and while looking for something to continue concrete into today, I came across this great little… law equipment store. Akihisa Hirata, the architect, say he “tried to create a place similar to natural environment in an artificial way. People are invited to go deep into the continuity without whole view, where they can find different spread of things in every minute.”

The store is planned on a diagonal grid, but the slices taken out of the walls, in elevation, disguise this order. I’m not sure how expensive these lawn implements must be to afford a nicer showroom than many car dealerships state-side, but one commenton the ArchDaily article simply said “only in Japan.”

Alex

Jungyeon Roh’s ‘Today Is Sushi Day’

Jungyeon Roh's 'Today Is Sushi Day'

Jungyeon Roh's 'Today Is Sushi Day'

Jungyeon Roh's 'Today Is Sushi Day'

Jungyeon Roh's 'Today Is Sushi Day'

Click images to enlarge

I got an email the other day from John Wyszniewski over at the School of Visual Arts sent me a nice rundown of some of the students doing some great work. One of them really stood out to me, a woman named Jungyeon Roh, a Korean born illustrator studying at SVA. I love her unique style of illustration, and one of her projects in particular caught my eye, it’s called Today Is Sushi Day, which in my mind should be every day. I think it does a perfect job of showing just why sushi is so good and how you can’t help but eat your body weight of the stuff. She also does a great job with the colors in this piece, which really makes the piece even more delicious looking. Be sure to check out the rest of her work if you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Bobby

“Unloveable,” AKA THE STORY OF THE WORST TEENAGER OF 1988

Unloveable by Esther Pearl Watson

Unloveable by Esther Pearl Watson

Unloveable by Esther Pearl Watson

Unloveable by Esther Pearl Watson

Unloveable by Esther Pearl Watson has to be the best contemporary comic strip. Yet, neither Bobby nor I had heard of it until we stumbled upon the box set at Meltdown Comics a few weeks ago. It’s bright neon covers were winking at me, trying to be sexy, but very obviously failing. Nonetheless, I was taken by it: the intentionally bad diary drawings, the scrawled and scribbled words, and the terribly unattractive main character, Tammy Pierce. I didn’t quite “get it,” but I loved it. I knew I had to buy it.

The comic follows the over embellished antics of a 1988 suburban Texas high school sophomore. She tries to smoke, thinks every guy is attracted to her, and is terrible at shaving any part of her body. One would think the story of some suburban high school girl in the eighties has been done before. And, yes, it has been done before time and time again. Yet, what Watson does is somehow find a strange world that has yet to be traversed, regardless of time period: it crosses the lines Ghost World drew and that Freaks & Geeks clarified, but it views it through the eyes of a more confident Anaïs from Fat Girl. The result is a brilliant and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” account from a high school wannabe who thought she was–and wanted to be–it all. It’s brilliant: the comic anthology is the best piece of literature that I have read since the last time I read any sort of book in its entirety (which, honestly, was in 2009).

The reason why it is so great is because of Watson’s eye for humor and pop culture (both then and now) as well as the source material. What Watson does with the comics is project them through a 1980s lens, while also placing modern pop culture atop of it. When reading it, I was shocked and not surprised (because it was brilliant!) that the entry portrait of main cool-girl villainess Cassie Smallwood looked surprisingly like a modern pop culture villainess. The comic also pays plenty of attention to things of the then, dropping homages to Teddy Ruxpin, Scrooged, Crocodile Dundee, Aliens, Smokey the Bear, Big, Grease 2, and many more: it is a visual, comedic, and pop cultural cornucopia.

Yes, Unloveable is the story of the worst teenage in the world (or, at least, of 1988). But, it’s based on a true story: Watson found the diary of a girl in a gas station bathroom and used it to create the comic. The result is spectacular, raw, and brilliant. Even though taking place in the eighties, it is so “now.”

I devoured the eight hundred or so pages in twenty four hours. I highly recommend the collection and feel that its booger and glitter covered gorgeousness demands to be on your bookshelf. Or, the least you could do is ask it to prom!

No? Not interested? TOTALLY LAME-O.

KYLE

The Fox Is Black Speaking at Otis

The Fox Is Black Speaking at Otis, Tuesday April 26, 11:15 AM

This is kind of last minute, but I’ll speaking at Otis College of Art and Design tomorrow morning and I’ve found out it’s open to the public, so I wanted to invite everyone to come. The rough title of the presentation is How To Be Super Rad on the Internet, and it’s intention is to help people give young creatives tips on how to use the internet to really help them out and get work. I figure this could apply to anyone interested in internet things, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area.

Talk goes from 11:15 to 12:15.

Otis College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90045 (map)
Telephone 310 665 6800

Bobby

To Every End There’s A New Beginning

Sunburst

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce that Danica will be moving on from The Fox Is Black, and will no longer be writing for us. Danica is beginning to submit her PhD thesis for examination and it’s become too hard for her to juggle her job with that and and writing for the site, which totally makes sense, she’s a busy woman. I’m totally bummed to see one of my first writers leaving but I absolutely support her decision and I’m thankful for all she’s created here on The Fox Is Black. You can continue to follow Danica on her personal blog, Oh, Hello There.

Please take a moment to leave her a note in the comments, to wish her luck on becoming the master of all things Wong Kar Wei, and for filling our lives with beautiful ideas every day. In the next week or two we’ll begin looking for someone new to join the site but we’re still figuring exactly what role this new person will fill.

Thanks again, Danica.

Bobby

Monuments of the Socialist Republic, Photos by Jan Kempenaers

Monuments of the Socialist Republic, Photos by Jan Kempenaers

Monuments of the Socialist Republic, Photos by Jan Kempenaers

Concrete is pretty tough. So it’s not too surprising that these monuments have survived even if the government that built them fell apart in the early ’90s. Originally, each site displayed the “confidence and strength of the Socialist Republic” but since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the sites have become overgrown with shrubs and ripe with new meanings. Also, graffiti.

The photographs are the work of Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers, for a series Spomenik: The End of History and went on display in late 2007 at BAM, Flemish institute for visual, audiovisual and media art. I’ve included a small gallery below. Lebbeus Woods recently used a few of these monuments, along with some others to lay out a few thoughts about authority.

Alex

The Street Market at ‘Art In The Streets’ at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Street Market at 'Art In The Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Street Market at 'Art In The Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Street Market at 'Art In The Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

The Street Market at 'Art In The Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Steven Powers at The Street Market at 'Art In The Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Click images to enlarge

I have so many photos from Art In The Streets that I’m still trying to get all the photos edited and put together, it’s quite a process. These images are of the Street Market, a recreation of an exhibit that was originally at Deitch Gallery back in 2000. I was only 18 when the gallery originally was created so it was an amazing treat to get to walk through this amazing exhibit with an exhibit. It’s made up of pieces from Steven Powers (who you can see with Kyle in the photo above), who also goes by ESPO, Todd James, who’s also know as REAS, and one of my all-time favorites Barry McGee, whom you might know as Twist. These guys have created an entire city block covered in art.

This was one of the first things that I experienced when I got into the space, and it was overwhelming in the best way possible. There’s just so much to process that you’re walking through with your mouth open, or that was my reaction, at least. I just can’t believe they were able to reconstruct such an immense work. It’s not identical by any means, but it’s still the same in spirit and that’s what’s important.

I’ve got 58 photos under the cut, all of which you can see larger versions of. I encourage and implore you to take the time and look at all the insane details that went into this space. I hope you enjoy the photos.

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Doing It For The Kids

Doing It For The Kids, The Fox Is Black

A week ago from today, Bobby and I went to see Frank Chimero speak at UCLA. He spoke about his body of work, his inspiration, his upcoming projects, and what design really means. He emphasized that design is not a problem that needed to be “solved,” but–instead–it needed many responses. He gave a few examples, relating design to a few things to make his point, showing that math yields one, distinct, there-can-only-be-one answer while art yields many responses. Thus is the reason why we have so many different types of chairs.

While speaking with Frank afterwards, catching a drink at a local spot not far from UCLA, I listened to him and Bobby speaking about speaking. Bobby related his experiences at Creative Mornings and GOOD Magazine while Frank mentioned his recent foray into speaking in various cities, at various venues. One thing that they both agreed upon was that they were “doing this for the kids,” an item that could not be overlooked in light of a talk to UCLA students. It also hit a point that me and you and anyone with a computer has heard echoed around the Internet lately.

From the nearly corporate “It’s okay to be gay!” videos of the It Gets Better project to Zach Anner’s vindication over Oprah, a lot of work is being done around educating the young and giving everyone a voice. Because of the shrinking world by the Internet and kids as young as four or five walking around with iPods in their pockets, we are now able to connect to these impressionable and voiceless people on and offline.

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‘Police And Thieves’ by Get Back Guinozzi!

GET BACK GUINOZZI!

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Roughly about a year and a half ago I caught Get Back Guinozzi! play a support slot at a gig in Dublin and I quickly fell in love with them. I’m a sucker for Gallic pop bands and must confess that any half-decent melody that’s wrapped around some French vocals will nearly always have me exposing my inner francophilia. The band is the brainchild of two French friends who, a few years ago, began exchanging song ideas back and forth between London and Toulon.

Together they’ve written a collection of infectiously poppy tracks that are filled with a quirky 60’s vibe and a giddy sense of summertime. To get a better picture of their sound try and imagine what the Tom Tom Club or some early Slits records might sound like if they were mixed with some lo-fi tropical funk; I think it’s fair to say that that’s a pretty fun combination. Last year they released their debut album Carpet Madness on FatCat Records which is well worth tracking down. The album features an excellent cover of the Junior Murvin track Police and Thieves which I’ve shared with you above. Check it out!

Philip

Editor’s Note: Randomly enough, Erik over at Friends of Type made a Police & Thieves illustration and it was too good not to throw onto this post. Clearly, great minds think alike, even if one of those minds is in Ireland and the other San Francisco. Great work on this Erik, especially loving the E lighting S’s cigar.

Erik Marinovich from Friends of Type's Police & Thieves Illustration

The Fox Is Black Is Heading To Seattle

Seattle, Washington

Photo borrowed from Vintage Seattle

This Wednesday Kyle and I will be travelling up to Seattle for some sightseeing and family visiting. Neither of us have been to Seattle before, so we’re looking for some great tips on where to shop, eat, get drinks and not-to-miss places to see. We’re staying at the Ace Hotel, so things near our hotel would obviously be better and easier for us. We’ve already discussed the Seattle Public Library, the Space Needle and Pike Place Fish Market for the tourist-y part, but we’d love some unique and fun places to visit as well.

All tips are totally appreciated, please leave them in the comments of this post.

Bobby