Date Archives October 2012

A glimpse into the sketchbooks of illustrator Nicholas Stevenson

It’s fair to say that being able to look into anyone’s sketchbook is an exciting thing, but it’s even more exciting when you get to peer into the pages of a sketchbook made by someone as talented as the London-based illustrator Nicholas Stevenson. Nicolas’ work is often fun and playful but it also has a slight unsettling tone to it which I think makes for a brilliant combination. Painted in gouache, his pictures are rich in beautiful colors and his subject matter often hints at menacing narratives and secretive doings.

You can view a huge collection of his work online at his portfolio, and make sure to take a look at some more images from his sketchbooks. I really wish I could fill sketchbooks with work as good as this!

Þorsteinn, A Collaborative, Concept Beer Design

Þorsteinn, A Collaborative, Concept Beer Design

Þorsteinn, A Collaborative, Concept Beer Design

Þorsteinn, A Collaborative, Concept Beer Design

I love a good, minimal beer design and this one by Thorleifur Gunnar Gíslason, Geir Ólafsson and Hlynur Ingólfsson from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts certainly hits the mark. They chose to go with a simple design scheme of black print on a clear glass bottle, but then created 10 different designs for the bottles to add some variety.

This beer brand concept was born on a sunday night at school were we were supposed to make a brand for a micro-brewery. The name is traditional Icelandic name that could be loosely translated into “thirsty one”.
The concept is to have one beer, 10 different bottle designs by 10 different designers. The design would be changed annually and could be put on beer glasses as well.

I think these students did a great job of creating a concept beer brand that feels fun and contemporary. You don’t often see a lot of beer brands that are “fun” but I think these would be great to buy. My personal favorites are the heavy geometric patterns in the second photo, there’s something very “artsy” about them that you don’t often see.

You can see more of the designs by clicking here.

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of October 15

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of October 15

Art Booking: An Interview With Ben Lee Ritchie Handler Of Gagosian Gallery
Ben Lee Ritchie Handler is definitely the coolest librarian we’ve ever met. He is the librarian at the Los Angeles Gagosian Gallery, which is likely the biggest gallery in the world. He’s practically a walking contemporary art textbook since it is his job to catalogue works from the show and help educate gallery employees and visitors in various art movements and persons. We also got a really sweet behind-the-scenes peek at a Gagosian Gallery.

Alika Cooper And Anna Mayer At Night Gallery
Alika Cooper is one of our favorite Los Angeles artists and Night Gallery is likely the hippest gallery in town. The two have teamed up with the addition of artist Anna Mayer for a show that is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10PM to 2AM. Where else does that happen?? I guess only in LA. Cooper’s works are these fabric collages that suggest painting and drawing and depict sometimes sexually graphic scenes of women, which is all pacified by the fabric. Mayer created these objects that appear to be lost from a modern tribe–and their power is still very palpable. This is a show to see if you are in LA.

A Movie At Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
We don’t think very many Angelenos have been to the touristy Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It’s right in the middle of our version of Times Square so you can imagine the appeal of going to a movie there is pretty low. Well, we went to one and it was spectacular. The space is HUGE and it is so ornate and fun and represents the magic of Hollywood. Sure, it can be a little cheesy and it definitely is very stereotypically “Asian” but it is quite a feat of architecture.

Hear LA and GREATER THAN
This was fun to do: we made two mixes for our pop-up shop. One we shared on LAIY and represents the current crop of LA acts we’re into now and the other we shared on TFIB that is a bit of an exploration of the idea of being “too cool.” Both are great and fun and we’ll have to make more of these. If you’re in LA tomorrow, stop by Meltdown Comics and see us! We’ll try to hook it up with a gift or something if you say hello.

The L-Lamp
David Kitz is a Venice Beach based artist and designer who recently made a really simple, really sleek light fixture called the L-Lamp. It’s the perfect little lighting unit that we are sure everyone would enjoy to have next to their bed or on a desk or something. It’s wonderful–and from a great homegrown talent!

OMA outlines a new engineering school in France

OMA École Centrale engineering school in Saclay, France

OMA École Centrale engineering school in Saclay, France

OMA École Centrale engineering school in Saclay, France

Meanwhile, in France, OMA has won first place in a competition to design anew École Centrale engineering school. The proposed school is dominated by the overlapping grids that enclose different portions of the program. The grid is interrupted by a diagonal circulation corridor that leads from a future metro station to a dramatic and complicated series of ramps and stairs. These ramps and stairs climb through exercise facilities, classrooms and administrative offices, creating a focal point that breaks the low and horizontal massing of the project.

OMA École Centrale engineering school in Saclay, France

OMA calls their approach to the design of this building “the glass enclosed superblock” opting to make a network of interior streets and intersections rather than an endless maze of double-loaded corridors. As useful as the grid has been to organize this building, the architects have also focused on interrupting the grid at key moments in the program. It’s part of their strategy to “generate a new typology for learning, cultivating collaboration while maintaining the stable conditions of the engineering school’s primary pedagogical function.”

‘True Vulture’ – Death Grips & Galen Pehrson collaboration for MOCAtv

MOCAtv

'True Vulture' - Death Grips & Galen Pehrson collaboration for MOCAtv

'True Vulture' - Death Grips & Galen Pehrson collaboration for MOCAtv

The Museum of Contemporary Art recently launched a new endeavor called MOCAtv which brings the art world into the digital realm. As a big supporter of the MOCA here in Los Angeles I have hopes for what the channel will become in time.

“MOCAtv is a timely and vital digital extension of the museum. The channel will attract the growing online audience of people on every continent who are interested in visual culture, and provide them with the opportunity to see, explore, and experience the art of today,” said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch.

One of their newest shorts is this collaboration between animator Galen Pehrson and rap collaborative Death Grips who’ve created one trippy piece of animation. Just look at the images above and you’ll see how weird it gets. I think the art is amazing though and the combination of talent really pays off. You don’t see too many psychedalic rap videos these days.

Space Suit of the Week

Tom Buch - Neil Armstrong illustration

Tom Buch - Neil Armstrong illustration

Tom Buch - Neil Armstrong illustration

Only a few months ago we mourned the loss of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the face of the moon. Possibly in commemoration, Tom Buch transforms the likeness of the patriot with speckles of the galaxy and waves of the Sea of Tranquility filling out his complexion.

An ode to the first man to walk on the moon and the historic achievement. I modelled a young Neil Armstrong in Zbrush. I aimed to to apply the surface textures from the moon and earth in Cinema4D. I later created a moon scene in C4D. Photoshop was used for colour correction and final touches of digital paint.

Armstrong, the only civilian to fly in the Apollo missions, had the mind of a philosopher and the heart of a poet. His now famous transmissions back to Houston, reporting “The Eagle has wings” when the landing module departed from the CSM or “One small step…” when taking the first steps of his lunar ballet, were a trademark of his focused, artistic soul. I have seen few portraits of Armstrong that have captured this spirit, it is no small feat. But for a hero whose feet have gone where no man has gone before, it is only appropriate.

Beautiful photography by Anna Shelton

I discovered the work of photographer Anna Shelton on Flickr a while ago and was really impressed with them. Her images of nature really caught my eye and made me wish for road trips and adventure. Based in Portland, Shelton has a really nice style to her photography. Always shot on film, there’s a gentleness in her soft washed-out colors and a real beauty in the way she captures light.

The images above are currently available to buy from her online shop. I can imagine that they’d go well in my studio as a reminder that there’s a great big world out there just waiting to be discovered! You can check out more of her work on her flickr page.

‘QUIK’, skating the streets of Los Angeles

'QUIK', skating the streets of Los Angeles

'QUIK', skating the streets of Los Angeles

QUIK, a short film, is a collaborative project between The Berrics and Quicksilver directed by Colin Kennedy, featuring music by We Barbarians and some epic skating by Austyn Gillette. It was filmed in LA’s historic eastside and downtown neighborhoods and shot entirely from moving vehicles. Using a series of quick snippets that have been masterfully woven together, the final product has a building energy that is hard to take your eyes off of.

Gillette’s pedal-to-the-metal skating is top-notch. And the way his skating is interlaced with shots of the city allows it to become more than a skate film. It really is like seeing the city out your passenger window, which is entirely appropriate for LA and its car culture.

The Greatest Suspension of Disbelief – A Film Review of ‘The Imposter’

The Imposter film poster

Agatha Christie, the grandmother of mystery fiction, couldn’t have written it better.  The Imposter, a first feature by Bart Layton is what fiction dreams are made of. The only predicament is that not one bit of it is imagination. A documentary of sweeping thrill, The Imposter reconstructs the very real, and fully inconceivable crime of Frédéric Bourdin – master con-artist of the utmost niche genre – stealing the identities of missing children.

In October of 1994, Nicolas Barclay, an American lower-middle class pre-teen from San Antonio, Texas was declared missing by his family one evening when he did not return home after basketball. Three years later, a destitute, and lost, un-identified young adult is found in southern Spain, and taken into custody of a children’s shelter. Refusing to cooperate with Spanish authorities until the very brink of legal action, the unidentified person finally announces that he is Nicolas Barclay. But who can attest to the truth of his assertion? In a world where fingerprints and DNA are the only truths that are left infallible, assumption becomes the advantage of those who prey on humanitarian kindness – he is a missing person, and everyone is anxious to be a Good Samaritan. There is only one unsettling piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit. This Nicolas Barclay looks nothing like the Nicolas Barclay that disappeared. Relying on the power of group-think not to mention the incremental and segregated process of solving a mystery, the new Nicolas Barclay makes his way to the U.S, is reunited with his family, begins to attend high school, and immerses himself in the American dream, with few questions being asked.

As a result of already knowing the ‘Who’ of the mystery, the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ become the compelling guide to breaking down Bourdin’s crime. The inspirational seed for the design of The Imposter can be found through Errol Morris’s ground-breaking documentary The Thin Blue Line. Morris’s 1988 film successfully freed a man who was falsely accused of murder due to its fact-gathering presentation of the evidence and its stylish re-enactment of the night in question. The same can be said of The Imposter which places sociopath Frédéric Bourdin in the bizarre position of star and culprit. He recounts his own crime with such enthusiastic motivation and eerie charm that even the objective viewer forgoes atonement in place of thrill.

By far one of the best documentaries of the year, The Imposter has the potential to grow a documentary sub-genre that will successfully blur the lines between fiction and reality. Not only will it keep you strapped to your seat in anticipation, it will have you digging through all the angles long after the closing credits.

GREATER THAN | A Mix by Los Angeles, I’m Yours

GREATER THAN | A Mix by Los Angeles, I'm Yours

GREATER THAN | A Mix by Los Angeles, I'm Yours

Download the mix by clicking here

I’m most embarrassed of my intellectual hoarding. Like most people who finished high school within the past decade (give or take five years), there’s this inclination to stockpile “what is cool” even if it is in our own minds. This can be a Tumblr you’re obsessed with that you are unwilling to share with others or an early seventies Italian horror film that you only show to special people: these are all examples of intellectual hoarding. They are these things out in the world that anyone can access but you, for whatever reason, feel like you discovered it and had a hand in making it and that your sharing it is doing the world a service.

I’m so awful about that and I’m kind of ashamed that I act this way. Music is a big thing that I hoard, thinking that no one has heard of whatever bizarro Berlin techno diva I’m obsessed with this week. As a means to cleanse this tendency and share some hoarded things, I decided to mix them all up into a mix. It is by no means an expert audial splicing but it does represent music that comes from this semi-entitled place we all have been in.

The hope of this mix is that you’ll encounter some new acts or jams that I’ve had on repeat in some form or another within the past few years. Some are like five years old (How, Still Going??) while others just came out Tuesday (Sup, Sky.)–they are all in my opinion “good” and an attempt to get you to move your ass at work.

The mix is also made in promotion of Los Angeles, I’m Yours and The Devastator‘s one-night-only pop-up shop that will be happening this Saturday at the Meltdown Comics Annex. The event is to help The Devastator celebrate their newest issue and lampoon the idea of all things “Indie.” Intellectual hoarding? Totally a product of the indie/hipster/silly people revolution. Enjoy the mix and you can catch another mix we made for the event over on Los Angeles, I’m Yours. Both mixes are going to play at the event, too.