Date Archives December 2012

Woodblock Chocolate – Handmade in Portland

Woodblock Chocolate - Handmade in Portland

Woodblock Chocolate - Handmade in Portland

While I was in Portland I happened to pick up a couple of bars of chocolate from local chocolatiers, Woodblock Chocolate. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I do love beautiful design. As soon as I laid eyes on that blue and white packaging I knew I had to try it. They also have that lovely logo, the W is particularly charming, which has a hand crafted appeal. It pairs quite well with the typewriter face that’s used sparingly on the front and quite effectively on the back.

It’s also nice to see that the chocolate has been individually numbered by a person, something that you don’t see often enough. The chocolate was extremely delicious, coming in a standard sort of chocolate flavor as well as a salted variety which is quite amazing. If I haven’t convinced you to get a couple of bars for yourself, I think they about section might seal the deal. This is what inspiration is all about.

For us, making chocolate from the bean is like realizing a dream that we did not even know we had! The more we learn about chocolate, the more we understand how everything we have previously done has lead to this. We are wildly excited to be able to share what we have learned with you in the form of face meltingly delicious chocolate made from two ingredients: cacao and pure cane sugar.

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of December 3

Top Five From LAIY: Week Of December 3

Stark Landscapes: An Interview With Sean Higgins
Sean Higgins is a fantastic artist who uses photographs of Southern California lanscape as the basis for minimalistic, sci-fi worlds. They are very heady and allow yourself to project your own image into them and to figure out what is missing. Higgins finds that the Southern California world around him is responsible for a lot of these images as well as his want to make his art pieces more than images but tactile items. His work is wonderful.

Meegan Barnes Does Dogs
Meegan Barnes is a local illustrator who makes fantastic work. One set that really stook out to us was her work on dogs. Sure, we are (Ahem, I am.) huge about the dog and art intermix and Barnes’ work is great. You’ll want to check out her portraits of dogs as little people because they are particularly cute.

The LA Holiday 25
In order to help locals (and beyond!) navigate what to purchase for the holidays, we have started to chronicle our favorite twenty five items to purchase this holiday from local makers. They range from cool boots to Kenny Scharf’s Kiehl’s collaboration to the above $6K deer head with a halo. We’ll be sharing through Christmas itself and posts are going up each day at noon PST: check it out!

Inside The New J.Crew Mens Store
If you live in Los Angeles and have gone to The Grove lately, you’ve noticed that the J.Crew is changing–and a J.Crew mens’ store is coming! Well, the wait is over because the new J.Crew Mens Store is open!! It’s gorgeous…and every man in LA is going to lose all of their money to this store, which sucks.

The Allah-Las Self-Titled LP
The Allah-Las are a local surf-rock band who released their first LP. The album is pretty great and fun and totally all about beachy psychedelic rock music that will make you feel like you are hanging out in sunny Malibu even though it is at the start of Winter. Give the album a listen this Friday afternoon: it’ll help your day go by faster.

Thom Mayne Wins the 2013 AIA Gold Medal

Thom Mayne's House in Santa Monica

Thom Mayne House Santa Monica

His firm’s latest building, the Perot Museum, opened this past weekend in Dallas and this weekend architect Thom Mayne can celebrate something else: being awarded the 2013 AIA Gold Medal. He’s definitely having a good week, and one story this week is taking folks inside his home in Santa Monica. It’s there you’ll find “Plastic cuckoo clocks, his wife Blythe, his dog Isis, his socks, his shoes, his Pritzker prize, the garden, the cereal, the coffee, showers you can see through, columns that could roll.” The complete story and more photos of his “1800 square foot prototype” can be found here.

Characters from The Hobbit brilliantly sketched by Erik B. Krenz

I didn’t think that I was that excited about the release of The Hobbit, but in the last few days the prospect of its imminent release seems to have gotten to me and I’m now fully caught-up in all the hype that’s surrounding the film. Someone else who is also very excited about its release is illustrator Erik Krenz. Recently he posted a series of sketches based on some of the characters over on his blog and they’re just fantastic.

Above you can see drawings of Bilbo, Gandalf, Smaug and Gollum. They’re excellent illustrations and I think they capture the characters from the book just perfectly. Each one of them, feels to me, to be exactly as I imagined them when I first read Tolkien’s book.

Erik is based in Minneapolis and works as a freelance designer. You can go see more of what he does by checking out his site here.

These illustrations are also a good reminder of the Re-Covered Books competition that we’re currently running on the site. We’re still looking for people to design a cover for The Hobbit so if you’re interested in getting involved you can find out more details here. The competition close of December 15.

Aaron Draplin Speaks at YAY Festival (video)

Aaron Draplin Speaks at YAY Festival

Aaron Draplin Speaks at YAY Festival

If you’re in need of a little inspiration morning I’d highly suggest watching this great talk from Aaron Draplin from his recent appearance at YAY Festival in Stockholm. Draplin goes into depth about his past, which is really hysterical, goes through his work, warns against the use of purple, and generally gives you advice that will last your entire life. He also says fuck about 14,000 times. I haven’t laughed so hard and been so inspired in a long time.

A big thanks to Snask for the heads up on this!

The Experimental Image-Making of DR.ME

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

Dr. Me

DR.ME is Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards, a Manchester-based studio with a hand in a diverse range of media including some great photo-collage and video-based work for both commercial clients and exhibitions. You may remember DR.ME from the show they recently curated, Happy Accidents, part of Mike Perry’s art space Wondering Around Wandering. “Happy Accidents” seem to play a significant role in the work of these two, with a lot of recurring found imagery, photomontage, juxtaposition and reclaimed or reinterpreted symbols that look simultaneously familiar and jarring. Their new site just launched, which you can find here.

Hardy Blechman On The History of Camo

Hardy Blechman

Hardy Blechman, the sort of modern day father of camo and designer of DPM Studio and Maharisihi, did an interview with PORT magazine about the history of camo and it’s a great read. I really had no idea what the story was but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

For the military, camouflage became important when long-range weaponry was developed. Before that, there was no need for it, but in the South African Boer wars, at the end of the 19th century, English soldiers wearing red suddenly got shot at more and more. Out of survival instinct they developed khaki – basically by dipping their red coats in tea or staining with them with dirt, anything to subdue their uniform because they were getting picked out due to the bright red.

Video for ‘Varúð’ by Sigur Rós, Directed by Ryan McGinley

Video for 'Varúð' by Sigur Rós, Directed by Ryan McGinley

Video for 'Varúð' by Sigur Rós, Directed by Ryan McGinley

I’ve been listening to Valtari, the most recent album from Sigur Rós a lot lately. I wasn’t a huge fan of it when it first came out but it’s slowly grown on me, and honestly I think it’s up their with Ágætis byrjun and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. I thought it would be nice to feature a video from the album, which also happens to be directed by Ryan McGinley. The song is Varúð, one of the most haunting from the album. McGinley manages to turn the song into a soundtrack for a girl with a shimmering golden wig skipping with reckless abandon through the streets of Manhattan. It’s not a deep concept, but it’s certainly beautiful.

Oscar Niemeyer, 1907-2012

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer

Yesterday, a Brazilian newspaper announced the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was exceedingly influential and there’s no way I can properly describe his importance or oeuvre. The only thing I can really say about him is that he certainly loved women. He repeatedly talks about women’s beautiful curves and how they have helped shape his work. Women were frequently the subject of his drawings and he even remarried at the age of ninety-nine. Below is a kind of educational video built around an interview with Niemeyer. It’s a few years old, but its nice to hear him speak in his own words about his work.  The photos above are of the construction of Brasilia, the capital of Brazil which includes some of his most recognizable work.

Art Invades Life In These Illustrations by BAKEA

Juan Carlos Paz - BAKEA

Juan Carlos Paz - BAKEA

Juan Carlos Paz - BAKEA

Juan Carlos Paz - BAKEA

BAKEA, known to his parents as Juan Carlos Paz, is a Madrid based illustrator who takes photos and inserts some fabulous creatures into them. I always loved when people did work like this, the idea of fantastic creatures occupying our mundane world, and executes the idea perfectly. I also think it’s rather fun that his photos have a bit of age to them, kinda’ like someone Instagram’ed these beasts. You can see more of his awesome illustrations by clicking here.