Date Archives October 2012

Unplanned Magic by Marcus Walters

marcus walters

Marcus Walters

Marcus Walters

Unplanned Magic was the title of an exhibition that the UK-based artist and designer Marcus Walters had earlier this year in London. It really is the perfect title for his show as his work is filled with spontaneity and magic. There’s a beauty in the simplicity of his work and his experiments in form and color really are terrific. For me, it’s the playfulness of what he does that I really like – he seems to find a wonderful rhythm in the shapes and forms that he uses.

Marcus works across a variety of media and his work incorporates a number of hand-crafted elements such as collage and drawing. A number of his prints are currently available to buy from his webshop and you can also see more images from his exhibition Unplanned Magic online here.

If I Can’t Google You You’re Not A Real Designer

If I can't Google you

Last week I was at a backyard movie screening speaking to a friend of mine who was looking to have a logo made. She told me that she’d been recommended a guy in Portland from a friend who said he was pretty good. Knowing a few people in Portland I asked what the guys name was in the off chance I knew him. I didn’t, so I Google’d the guy, and nothing came up. I asked my friend to spell the designers name, thinking maybe I had misunderstood, but still nothing came up. My friend was being set up on a blind design date with a guy who was going to charge her $1500 to $2900 for a simple logo design.

This astounded me.

I often tell people, “It’s 2012, we should be _________.” – I guess I have a lot of notions of how the world should be. I find it hard to believe that in 2012 that a freelance designer who’s charging $3k for a logo design wouldn’t have a portfolio of any kind. It’s like going to buy a car and not being able to test drive it. It’s like going to the butcher shop and being hand a brown paper package filled with mystery meat.

Being a successful designer means that you allow the web to do the work for you. If you do good work people will find you and they will hire you – if you have a portfolio. Example – I decided over the weekend that I was going to redesign our apartment as it was feeling a bit cramped. The one thing I really needed was a place to put mine and Kyle’s keys and to hang our dog leashes, those random front door accessories. Randomly browsing the web I came across a Kickstarter project called Clip Tree, which was exactly what I was looking for. I found out about the Clip Tree through this article on Fast Co. Design who instantly turned this recent grad student into an industrial designer in the spotlight. All he had to do was put his work on the Internet.

I think it’s an absolute must to have some sort of web presence. When I speak to design students my advice is always the same – put your work out there for the world to see. Having a web presence doesn’t need to be complicated either. I personally prefer for a designer to use a portfolio site that’s out of the box like Cargo than try to be artsy and make your own website. Even sites like Dribble, Behance or Flickr will showcase your work in a clean, organized manner that gets the point across. I’d even be happy to know that a designer has a Twitter so I can get a sense of their personality to see if I’d want to work with them.

Granted, my totally inflammatory headline more to freelance designers, but even so as a designer you should maintain some sort of blog or Tumblr to express opinions and ideas. I honestly can’t imagine a designer who doesn’t have strong opinions. Isn’t that the whole point of designing to make something the way you see it?

Honestly though, this piece should probably be titled If I Can’t Google You You’re Not Real.

‘Proceed to Memory’ by Pinback

Information Retreived by Pinback

Pinback can pull a vanishing act like none other. Five years since the solid Autumn of the Seraphs and 11 years since the breakthrough Blue Screen Life (I admit – I stared at many a ceiling fan with a girl I may have liked and made her listen to Penelope), the current offering Information Retrieved rolls on with the shoe-shuffling, starry eyed metronomic bass and guitar

In this case, with a bit more oommmmphhhfff – the running guitar riff decays into an upbeat run of staccato notes, only to return with the rocking chorus. This melodic technique, though, takes a lyrical shape. This is a song about moving forward, past times of your life, even those as as constant as the seasons. Thank God these guys are that consistent, an unchanging singular sound in the sea of rock.

Donate to the Red Cross for New York Disaster Relief

Donate to the Red Cross for New York Disaster Relief

With all that’s happening in New York with Hurricane Sandy I think it’s important to take a moment and donate some money if you can. The damage that’s already been caused and the eventual clean-up effort is going to be massive and the Red Cross is going to need all the money it can to help make the situation better. Give what you can, it only takes 5 minutes and you can even use Paypal. The way that I see it, if there was a devastating earthquake here in Los Angeles I would hope that people would want to help us. Karma is real. Pay it forward.

‘Earthly Bodies’ by J. Tillman

J. Tillman

While I was in Utah last week I had a late night of deck presentation making, and to aid me, I was listening to a lot of folk albums. And by folk I mean some of the newer stuff inspired by folk music, people like Bill Callahan, Jana Hunter, Devendra Banhart and J. Tillman. Since then I’ve been listening to J. Tillman quite a lot, really digging into his older albums (though I still haven’t heard Father John Misty, whoops). In particular is this track Earthly Bodies from his album Year in the Kingdom which has really caught my ear. There’s a nice build up to the track which is nicely executed. I love the subtle, beautiful approach he brings to his songs. It’s all very quiet and sentimental. If you enjoy this track I’d suggest checking out Year in the Kingdom in it’s entirety, it’s a good place to start.

Morphosis opens new offices in Culver City

Morphosis new office in Culver City

Morphosis new office in Culver City

Morphosis new office in Culver City

What is the largest building in LA with net zero energy usage? This guy: the new offices of Morphosis Architects in Culver City. The project is at once muscular, techno-savvy and light. The project is muscular in a way that most Morphosis projects are – by highlighting the strength of steel with a cantilevers or large and dramatic steel frame. Here, a cantilever greets folks as soon as they drive into the gated parking lot.

The project is techno-savvy as it incorporates a bevy of innovative technologies. Not just the photovoltaic array that shades employee parking and provides the building with most of its energy, but technologies like the windcatchers installed on the roof. This is the first time these windcatchers have been installed in the states, and they reduce the energy usage of the building by ventilating the space in a way that moderates its temperature. And the project is light. The interior is bright and evenly-lit. There are white walls, a sloping white ceiling, and even a white floor in some spaces. Sixteen skylights light the large studio space; their perimeters are surrounded by florescent lighting for all the late nights employees surely find themselves working.

‘We Are Enough’ by Melt Yourself Down

Holy smokes! Let’s kick this week off on the right foot, eh! Are you with me? … Well good, because I’ve got the right track to start your week with. Allow me to introduce Melt Yourself Down. They’re a newly formed band from the UK who, at present, only have one track released but that track is a so much fun that I’m gonna have to demand you give it a spin.

Called “We Are Enough”, the song is a sweet little nugget of Funkadelica with some down-and-dirty horns and plenty of fizzy African vibes. It’s exactly what you need to blow away the Monday blues. The band is made up of a number of talented folk including – on vocals – Jushal Gaya of Zun Zun Egui, Zero 7‘s Tom Skiller on drums, Acoustic Ladyland‘s Ruth Goller on bass, the great percussionist Satin Singh, as well as Pete Wareham and Shabaka Hutchings both playing sax. It’s a great sound and I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.