Date Archives July 2012

Sweet illustrations by Emma Block

English illustrator Emma Block creates some really sweet and charming illustrations. Looking through her portfolio I found I had lots of fun trying to figure out exactly how each of her pieces were made. Certainly it looks like there seems to be a lot of really nice delicate collage work in them – in some images it seems like trees and other details are literally popping off the page. Whatever the technique is that she uses I think it works really well and it adds a wonderful texture to her illustrations.

I particularly love the look of the mattresses in her drawing of the famous fairy tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Go check out more of her wonderful illustration online here.

Koji Suzuki’s ‘Edge’, cover designed by Peter Mendelsund

Koji Suzuki's 'Edge', cover designed by Peter Mendelsund

Book designer Peter Mendelsund had one of his cover designs released recently and it’s quite the beauty. The design was created for a book by The Ring author Koji Suzuki called Edge, a story about how “the world is falling apart because things are out of joint at the quantum level.” I think Mendelsund’s cover does a remarkable job of not only making it feel like the world is slipping away, but that it’s slipping away in a mathematical/scientific sense. Really nice work on this one.

Listen to two tracks from Dirty Projectors’ new album, ‘Swing Lo Magellan’

'Swing Lo Magellan', the self-titled track from Dirty Projectors new album

I have a love/hate relationship with the Dirty Projectors. Their last album Bitte Orca, which came out in 2009, felt like a chaotic mess to me. I’m all for loud, weird music, but that album just didn’t vibe with me. It felt weird for the sake of being weird. Last week though they released a new album called Swing Lo Magellan, and well, I’m really loving it. With Magellan it feels like they’ve focused the weird and have made a really unique sounding album of it.

I’ve posted my two favorite tracks above to give you a sample of what to expect. The first is About To Die, which has such a great hook, complimented by chorus of sirens to further push the idea that you’re “about to die.” THe erratic drumbeat and hand claps keep the rhythm of the song moving and upbeat. But you can still hear the weirdness, like the fact that at the 2:24 mark you suddenly get this huge surge of strings that rise out of nowhere. It’s odd, but amazingly done.

The other track is the self-titled track from the album and it feels like a whole different universe. It’s like a mellow pop song from the late 60s. It’s simple in it’s execution, a lovely piece of music that you could listen to on repeat for hours on end. Overall I think this may be one of my favorite albums of the year so far. I’ve had so many of these songs stuf in my head for the last week, so I’m sure that’s a good sign.

Glacial water bottling plant, designed by Panorama Arquitectos

Glacial water bottling plant, designed by Panorama Arquitectos

Glacial water bottling plant, designed by Panorama Arquitectos

Glacial water bottling plant, designed by Panorama Arquitectos

In a remote region of Chile, Panorama Arquitectos has completed a bottling plant for glacial water. The project is three hours away from the nearest city, Coyhaique, which makes me wonder where the folks that work here live, or how the project was built hours away from things like… electricity and construction workers. The building needed to be quite robust including protection from the site’s yearly floods. Panorama’s solution involved using black glass as an exterior finish, and raising the ground around the base of the building like a small levee. What’s strange to me is that the black glass doesn’t make the building look too severe, but actually looks well-suited for the bottling plant surrounded by a dense and verdant landscape.

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Skip Hursh

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Skip Hursh

Skip Hursh

This week’s wallpaper is a visual doozy, the weak of heart be warned. It was created by long-time TFIB reader Skip Hursh, a Brooklyn based designer, illustrator and jack of all trades. I got to meet Skip at the TFIB/LAIY meet-up in New York and he’s a super nice guy, not to mentioned talented, doing work for himself but also designing and animating for Nickelodeon. His wallpaper is currently residing on my iPhone as it’s the perfect vibe for summer. Every time my phone lights up I see the insane colors and bold, wonderful shapes and I get excited. A huge thanks fo Skip for such a rad wallpaper!

‘Your Sound Galaxy’ – New work by Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson - Your Sound Galaxy

Olafur Eliasson - Your Sound Galaxy

It would seem that I’ve got a bit of a thing for strange hovering polyhedral shapes so I guess it’s no surprise that I’m really fond of this new work by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Called ‘Your Sound Galaxy’, Eliasson’s piece is an installation of geometric forms made from black metal that hang from the ceiling like lanterns.

In an interview with Thinking in Practice Eliasson talked about the importance of geometry in his work and he explained how mathematical form played it’s role in the creation of ‘Your Sound Galaxy’:

It consists of a group of twenty-seven polyhedra suspended from the ceiling and arranged in two horizontally concentric circles. The polyhedra are arranged in a clockwise sequence in which each form has more faces than the last. These are organisable into nine ‘families’ of three related forms. Two of the three are dual polyhedra – meaning that the number of vertices on the one polyhedron is equal to the number of faces on the other – and the third, hanging in the inner circle, is a combination of the two.

Again, it is very much about movement and time, because each polyhedron has an LED light at its centre, and when you walk around beneath the artwork, light sparkles through the cracks in the frames above, so that the viewer is instrumental in making a composition of light in transformation.

It’s a beautiful piece and I feel that Eliasson’s description of how it’s pieced together really demonstrates the thought and process which the artist puts into his work. If the old saying that ‘God is in the details’ is true then I reckon there really must be an awful lot of something special in this installation.

Striking photos of car burnouts by Simon Davidson

Striking photos of car burnouts by Simon Davidson

Striking photos of car burnouts by Simon Davidson

Striking photos of car burnouts by Simon Davidson

There’s a great set of photos by Simon Davidson over on Nowness of muscle cars burning out which are surprisingly beautiful despite the macho description. The images kind of remind me of the glorified idea of bullfights, but with the smoke of burnt rubber filling the air rather than dust and blood. I think the light is the other element that really makes these photos feel pretty incredible, his past in fashion photography definitely shines.

Switching from fashion to document the culture surrounding V8 Supercar, drag racing and burnouts, Davidson began shooting all over Australia during sanctioned competitions featuring the self-built, heavily customized vehicles. “With any extreme sport there is a moment of visual harmony when all the ingredients align in equilibrium,” he explains. “Photography has the power to reveal the beautiful frozen in fractions of a second.”

New work from Sam Wolfe Connelly

New work from Sam Wolfe Connelly

New work from Sam Wolfe Connelly

New work from Sam Wolfe Connelly

It’s been a bit over a year since we last checked in with New York based illustrator Sam Wolfe Connelly, and his work has only gotten better since then. I really like the sepia tone he’s been using in many of his pieces lately, it gives off a really great old, haunted house vibe. I think that middle piece with the bones oozing out of the hand like toothpaste has to be my favorite though. Such an odd but perfectly executed piece.

I was also browsing around Sam’s Tumblr and I came across this piece of advice which I thought could be helpful for illustrators out there.

I feel like I am Forcing graphite to be something that it isn’t with my mark making, how do you make such beautiful smooth textures while keeping detail to create images that have such a mysterious quality?

I tend not to use graphite as it might traditionally be used, since most the values in my drawings are erased away rather than shaded in. Using a kneaded eraser on a graphite-heavy surface softens the edges and gradations, opposed to harsher lines when you’re putting pencil straight onto an image. I tend to find myself doing a lot of glazing when it comes to adding shadows, and using tissues a lot of the time, so I get a steady value across large areas. I really hate taking a thin pencil to stark, white paper, because it never seems to turn out as soft as what I can create with an eraser. The best advice I can give is map out all the large shapes with your erasing and then slowly work your way into the smaller details with the pencil.

‘The Yellow River Surging Northward Rumbling’ – Photographs of The Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

'The Yellow River Surging Northward Rumbling' by Zhang Kechun

'The Yellow River Surging Northward Rumbling' by Zhang Kechun

'The Yellow River Surging Northward Rumbling' by Zhang Kechun

Photographs of The Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

Photographs of The Yellow River by Zhang Kechun

Chinese artist and photographer Zhang Kechun has created a beautiful series of photographs taken along the banks of China’s Yellow River. Part surreal – part mysterious yet always stunning; Kechun’s photographs have an other-worldly feel to them. Yet despite the majestic nature of these scenes Kechun’s images also have a darker side to them too. They highlight the frail realitiy of life along the banks, showing the devastating effects that floods and droughts can bring to the area. They’re images that tell of the struggle that exists when man and nature attempt to co-exist together in one place.

Kechun’s series of photographs is a collection of forty spectacular images so make sure to take a look at the complete series on his website here.

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

The Nantes School of Architecture by Lacaton & Vassal

These are images of the Nantes School of Architecture designed by Lacaton & Vassal. There’s something murky about all the gray concrete and steel in this building. I’m not sure how, or even if, the physical confines of an architecture school can effect the work of its students, but I know they’ll be there for many hours looking around trying to come up with solutions for their projects.

And that’s why I say this project is a bit murky: it doesn’t seem very inspiring. Rather, the project seems interesting in a way that’s more complicated, which may only appeal to architects. Maybe all the sloping concrete and steel mesh make this school better suited to the task of churning out architects, but it seems a bit too sterile to me.

Found through ArchDaily