This week I stumbled across the work of Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker James Minchin. I was particularly enthralled by his series of photographs behind the scenes of AMC’s hit show Mad Men. At first I was just excited to catch a peek behind the curtain of one of my favorite shows. But upon further review found them to be not only a beautiful set of images, but a careful study of the nature of duality. They were surprising to say the least.
The series is presented in black and white, which adds a sense of nostalgia while at the same time giving the series a very modern feel. Minchin manages to marry the past and present in a way that is culturally relevant. The stark contrast of today’s America and the idealized US of the 60s is extremely engaging. They’re very delicately executed mashups.
I especially love the shot (below) of Harry Crane and Ken Cosgrove in all of their Madison Avenue, New York City in the 60s, misogynistic glory, huddled around a MacBook Pro. As well as the shot of Burt Cooper rocking a pair of awful Nike running shoes while wearing an impeccably cut, two button suit and a bow tie. It’s almost like watching these characters time travel. The effect is simultaneously disorienting and comforting.
In these images I see an interesting look at our tendency to be discontent with the present and fool ourselves into seeing a past that’s greater than we remember it to be. But maybe it’s just a cool collection of pictures about the making of Mad Men. Who’s to say?
This week London is currently awash with design fanatics as the annual London Design Festival takes place. As part of the event the Irish Crafts Council have put together an exhibition that gives a glimpse into modern Irish design and craft. The exhibition is called A Place To Gather and to mark it the directing duo of Jamie & Keith have put together a beautiful video that looks at Irish crafts-people in action around the country.
Ireland currently has over 5,700 people working in craft today and the video gives a brief portrait of just 5 of them. They are Horizon Furniture, Studio Donegal, Kathleen McCormick, Jerpoint Glass and Derek Wilson. One of the nicest things about traditional handicrafts is the process of making them yet it’s this part that we rarely get to see. Fortunately videos like this one really give a great insight into the process and help promote traditions which are well worth continuing and celebrating. It’s a beautifully filmed piece and one which is well worth watching.
For those lucky enough to be in London, A Place To Gather will be running from the 18th until the 23rd of September at 12 Chance Street, London, E2 7JB. More details about the exhibition can be found on their website here.
Hotel Daniel is a super amazing looking hotel in Vienna. It marries clean design with artful weirdness and is very aware of current cultural trends, too. They have everything from sleepable trailers to a rooftop honey bee farm to a garden for growing their own produce. It’s a very now take on housing people when they are away from home–and it looks great, too.
One of the most noticeable items is that there’s a boat on top of the hotel. It’s not just a boat but a curved, melting sailboat that teeters off the edge of the building. This is actually a sculpture by Erwin Wurm, the guy who made the bloated cars and various hyper-realistic yet distorted human sculptures. It’s a really funny piece that makes you think of a kooky vacation, something I’m sure Wurm is hinting at. (Side note: If I were to stay at the Daniel, I am 75% sure that I would be consumed with stress over whether or not the boat would fall off of the building. Then again, that’s the point.)
The hotel seems fairly affordable and within the mix of what is going on in Vienna. We’d totally stay there if we were in the area. It also should be noted how great their brand identity and website is. It’s minimalistic and clean but so, so, so fun, which is not what you associate with bare design. Take a poke around their website here.
These are images taken by the late architectural photographer Pedro E. Guerrero. His prolific carrer spans an exciting period in architecture, but his life story is even more compelling. He grew up in Arizona, but left because of the bigotry surrounding Mexican Americans. He described himself as being “brown, small, and fat… but very cute. It didn’t help.” He enrolled in photography school on a whim, but didn’t fall in love with the medium until he developed his first roll of film. In the short film below you can hear Pedro tell these stories and many more about his life and the images he captured.
Summer is starting to dwindle out for a lot of us in the northern hemisphere. I’m still holding out for more warm weather (and probably getting it for a while, Los Angeles doesn’t cool down till January). Today’s wallpaper embodies one of the hallmarks of summer – eating ice cream to beat the heat. James Olstein made today’s wallpaper and may have created one of the best puns of all time for his ice cream stand. For that he should be commended. Cone Thugs and Harmony for life!
While Andy Beck may be better known for his portrait and figurative work, it’s his paintings of city streets which really catch my attention. Originally from Coventry, Beck moved to London almost ten years ago and it’s clear that the city has played an important role in inspiring his work.
Looking at his paintings you can almost feel the weather in them. You can sense the cold, crisp air of a winter’s morning or you can see how the sun shines right after the rain. His paintings show a great understanding for how these moments feel in a city and he paints them with such beauty. You can view a complete gallery of Beck’s landscape painting on his website here.
Brand New takes an in-depth look at that new USA Today rebrand, getting the inside scoop and lots of great images. I’m a big fan of the redesign – the logo is bold, the information is laid out in an intelligent matter and the use of color is exciting. Wolff Ollins definitely nailed it.
I would say though that the redesign seems heavily influenced by the design of Monocle. Where Monocle excels is the ability to edit the information down to a manageable level, where USA Today still feels like a crowded newspaper in a lot of ways. Nonetheless, nice work from WO and good on USA Today for having the balls to go through such an in-depth rethink.
You can see a beta of the USA Today website by clicking here.
L.A. based photographer Andrew Hall has an extremely prolific, experimental and enjoyable Flickr account. I would describe his work as all over the place, but I mean that with a lot of respect. He’s able to dabble into a myriad of mediums, from streaking, long exposure photography to the series above, which he’s dubbed Liquid in Motion. They’re technically simple but beautiful in execution. You can check out the whole series by clicking here.