Date Archives November 2012

Intricate Illustrations by Nick Sheehy, aka Showchicken

Nick Sheehy aka Showchicken

Nick Sheehy aka Showchicken

Nick Sheehy aka Showchicken

Australian born, England based illustrator Nick Sheehy, who also goes by the alias Showchicken, popped up on my radar last night and I fell in love with his work. His work has a style reminiscent of the past, with lots of lovely cross hatching and muted colors. The details of each piece are really remarkable, you can tell Nick puts a ton of work into these. I’m also fond of his subject matter which leans heavily on the theme of nature. He expresses the tone of the work though in an sort of story book atmosphere that has a spiritual undertone. Overall his work is extremely beautiful, and if you’d like to see more click here.

An Optical Illusion To Believe In

Troika Arcades Project

Troika Arcades Project

Troika Arcades Project

Bouncing off of what Bobby posted Monday, I thought I’d share an installation where artist Troika bends light through a pretty clever use of the Fresnel lens. It is, of course, an optical illusion that make it appear as if the lightwaves (or is it particles?) are magically bending in a graceful, gothic arc. But it’s not magic, it’s science. Light actually doesn’t bend this way, even though it can be bent by gravity. Here, the light passes over a large surface of the angled lens, so when the light passes through the lens, it propigates in straight lines that intersect each other on the other side, overlapping to create the appearance of an arch.  In this designboom video, Troika knows that the improbability of bending light is part of the installation’s allure, saying “even though you know it is an illusion… even though you know it is not possible, you are ready to forfeit that feeling and go with it.”

Incredible Street Art by ARYZ

ARYZ Street Art

ARYZ Street Art

ARYZ Street Art

ARYZ Street Art

Spanish artist ARYZ makes creating street art look easy. A resident of Barcelona, ARYZ has an incredible style that he adapts to both indoor and outdoor environments. I’m personally partial to the gigantic murals he creates, which are these intensely colored pieces of bold imagery. There’s an offbeat sense of humor to what his work which I think pairs nicely with the vibrancy of the work.

I found the video below which gives a nice look into how he makes his pieces. The guy is a serious artist, don’t let his choice of tools fool you.

Stunning Portraits by xhxix

Portraits by xhxix

Portraits by xhxix

Portraits by xhxix

Portraits by xhxix

Portraits by xhxix

I don’t know much about the work of xhxix (in fact, nothing at all), only that he’s a Japanese artist. His work is done digitally, though from the looks of the pieces above I doubt you could tell. His portraits are always brightly colored with a bit of an abstract, surreal edge to them. The men portrayed have this bizarre realness, an energy that he’s able to capture quite beautifully. If you’d like to see more of his work click here.

‘The Tear Trilogy’ – Fun prints by Adrian Johnson

I spent a little while this morning visiting the website of Adrian Johnson. The Liverpool-born illustrator has a massive archive of projects and over the years he’s worked with an impressive range of clients including Adidas, Paul Smith, Monocle and The New York Times. I really wanted to share some of his work with you today but out of the 72 projects on his site I really didn’t know where to even begin. Fortunately, I stumbled upon this series of prints he created called The Tear Trilogy and absolutely loved it!

Made up of a minotaur, a diver and an organ grinder, the series is a lot of fun. I love his simple use of line and his bold use of color. These four color silk screen prints are currently available to buy from his online store and more work can be seen on his main website here. Go check him out!

‘Hinode’ by Tetsuka Niiyama

I was browsing Vimeo the other day when I came across this video created by the Japanese animator Tetsuka Niiyama. The short film is a great ambient piece that is just beautiful to look at. Niiyama describes it as such:

This is a CG movie that depicts saltation and growth of life in the sea using jewelry as the motif for illustrating the theme “Jewels of Sea.” It creates mystifying and attractive scenery by the ores resembling creatures of sea and its transforming refraction and reflection of light that are affected by the organic moves.

I love the mix of the organic and the mineral and the film just sucks you right in. Niiyama has a handful of other similarly beautiful videos which you can check out here.

The Disappearing Experience

The Disappearing Experience

On my way home last night I was thinking about the current idea of user experience and the way I design. When I design I fall into the less is more category. A good example is the video player I designed for the new Disney.com earlier this year. I took an audit of the big video players out there – Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu – and started disecting from there. I weighed the pros and cons of each. Pixel by pixel I figured out the design decisions that were made, the what and the why. And then I took all of that knowledge and made something of my own.

I wanted to keep the options lean, so there are very few objects to interact with. You’ve got a play/pause button, a mute button, a full screen function, and a scrubber with the current and total times. The play button is large and set to the left, as most of the imagery in video previews tend to be placed in the center. This way we won’t cover Dory’s adorable fish face. There’s only a mute button, no volume controls. Most people control their volume with the keyboard anyhow. Full screen and a scrubber are pretty obvious. When you hover away from the scrubber you get a tiny, thin strip of play progress and that’s it. No more, no less.

The way I see it, interfaces are going to disappear. Look at a video game like Skyrim where almost 95% of the UI simply disappears. Look at an app like Clear which uses nothing but gestures to allow you to make lists. Even blue sky thinking like Google Glass has the right idea. The thought that we’re going to be trapped on a two dimensional screen is extremely short sighted. In the near future we’ll have the ability to control objects, environments and devices with our voice, our gestures and even our very presence. I imagine that our children will think it’s funny that we used to click on analog keyboards to express ourselves.

So while I continue to analyze my own design style, I try to keep an eye toward the future. I consciously keep my information well organized. I keep my type clean and easy to read. I think of both the young and the old. And I try to embrace changes when they come. Hopefully this will keep me on my toes for what the future holds.

I Love Camo

Amazing Camouflage Products

The idea of camouflage can be traced back to the notes of Charles Darwin who recognized the patterns of animals and insects served as a survival mechanism.

When we see leaf-eating insects green, and bark-feeders mottled-grey; the alpine ptarmigan white in winter, the red-grouse the colour of heather, and the black-grouse that of peaty earth, we must believe that these tints are of service to these birds and insects in preserving them from danger.

My first passionate encounter came in the form of a pair of camo trainers that were made by XLarge. I think I purchased them in 2002 in a strip mall in Downtown Sacramento. They still sit in a box underneath my bed and they’re one of my prized possessions. But before that I had no affinity to camo. If anything I had grown an aversion thanks to years of high school classmates in baggy camo cargo pants. Over time though I’ve certainly grown quite an affection for camo, which was certainly fueled by Hardy Blechman’s immense compendium DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material. In it he covers not only the history and variety of camouflage patterns but also their occurrences in pop culture. It’s the holy grail of camo.

So I thought I’d put together a collection of camo objects that I’ve been gathering over the last few weeks. Hopefully you find some that you like. Just remember to dress sparingly with your camo. Too much camo and you might end up looking like a crazy war vet.

A.P.C. Camouflage Chinos
Jack Spade Swedish M90 Cordura Dipped Coal Bag
Camouflage Word Notebooks
Camo Nike Air Force 1’s
London Undercover City Gent British Woodland Camouflage Umbrella

Beautiful stationery and wrapping by Esme Winter

I love the work of Esme Winter. The British designer produces wonderful stationery and great paper products. Started in 2011, her collection now includes wrapping paper, note cards and notebooks – there’s even plans for a textile range in the near future!

I really like her simple understated designs. The patterns and colors are just perfect and it’s great that the wrapping-paper and cards can really be used to celebrate any occasion. You can see more of her work online here.

‘Take This Up’ by Star Slinger

Starslinger

In the UK, Darren Williams isn’t just a producer, a music student, or just a scruffy Mancunian. Also known as Star Slinger, his brand of UK bass/house/future garage has set the model for dance music this year. Toss in the Jet Jam party scene (an audio/visual expansion of this club party) with his fresh exciting remixes and you get some of the best party music for today’s youth.

Take This Up was the precursor for the Jet Jam parties that popped up during his current U.S. tour. I went to the one at the Echo and it was a gully-as-hell trap party with these 2-step vibes. Take This Up is no different, as the sample gets squashed to hell, restarted at an almost manic pace and chopped to pieces into a speedy, seizure-dancing beat. Not as bass-heavy as most other tracks, it’s a hip hop dance floor banger for 2013.