These photographs by French photographer Ruben Brulat are amazing! I discovered them thanks to TFIB reader Julien Porquet who felt that the photos I featured last week by Kevin Kunstadt were similarly immense. I certainly agree that Brulat’s photographs are vast in scale and the sheer size of his backdrops are incredibly striking.
His work captures the vulnerability and the smallness of humans. The photos above come from a series from 2009 called Primates. Each photograph shows a figure naked and almost lost amid their environment. They are self-portraits and each one captures Brulat attempting to merge amongst the hostile surroundings of the world we inhabit. As viewers, we seem to hold a connection to this environment and yet as we view Brulat attempting to merge with it – it highlights the truth; our environment can be a truly unwelcoming place and that our role amongst may be more foreign then we like to believe. You can view more of Brulat work online here.
I’m surprised that I haven’t written about Jack Hudson‘s work before. The Birmingham-born illustrator creates wonderful illustrations from his studio in Bristol and he fills them with the most amazing shades and colors. A lot of his work is driven by narrative and he has a great ability to create exciting, imaginary worlds filled with a variety of strange occurrences and fantastic looking people. The other day he created a wonderful poster for a duo of indie gig promoters called Dirty Otter and the finished piece is fantastic; you can check it out above. I really love the simplicity of his designs and his restrained use of color.
The image at the top of this post comes from an issue of Nobrow‘s biannual journal and the picture came about when Nobrow asked 30 artists and illustrators to create an image based on the theme “A Few of My Favourite Things”. It’s a great idea for a publication and Jack’s contribution is fantastic. I’ve spent a good long time getting lost in the world of his favorite things and discovering his love of bike-rides, rucksacks and inkwells! More work can be found here.
Today is a day for soothing music. The last few days for me have been a little hectic and so I find myself turning to Charlotte Oleena and the music she records under the name of Sea Oleena. The Montreal based multi-instrumentalist creates gently hushed dream pop and her soothing voice is both sweet and hazy.
Southbound is the opening track from her most recent album Sleeplessness which she released as a name-your-price release last April. The tracks gentle drum lulls you in and then the song slowly builds over it’s six and half minutes. It’s a beautiful piece and it comes highly recommended! Over the space of a year Sea Oleena has managed to put together three excellent albums and you can download each of them from her Bandcamp page here.
I think I’ve reached that point in the year where it feels like the summer is coming to an end. Not only can I feel the weather beginning to change around me but I’m also beginning to once more be filled with wanderlust. It always seems to happen at this time of the year and I picture myself trying to grab hold of the tail-end of the season and enjoy the final few weeks of fresh air, cool breezes and the last remaining beams of sunlight. It’s for this reason I think I found myself entranced by these photos of the Dolomites by New York photographer Kevin Kunstadt.
While the small selection of photos I’ve posted above show the inspiring natural beauty of the north-eastern Italian mountain-range, Kunstadt’s series of photos also give an insight into the range of activities which are performed amid this wonderous backdrop. Some activites are playful, others are extreme and some feel slightly absurd. You can take a look at the full series of photos online here, and also feel free to donate to my holiday fund too if you want!
London-based illustrator Ping Zhu has a wonderful portfolio populated with beautiful pictures of people and animals which features an amazing use of color and texture. Originally from Los Angeles; Zhu has worked with an impressive list of clients including the likes of The New York Times, The LA Times and Playboy. I really love her illustrations of animals and her combination of flat colors and rich textures works really well.
Her site, Pingszoo is a playful take on her own name and it perfectly suits as the title for the world where her illustrations can live. At times her work reminds me of the great Charles Harper, particularly in her ability to capture the essence of an animal without the use of unnecessary visual elements. I particularly love the picture of the Chimpanzee (above) which was used as part of a New York Times op-ed illustration about the ethical treatment of chimpanzees for science and research. The texture and shape of this drawing is just amazing. Make sure to take a look at more of her work online here.
It’s been a while since I checked out what the guys at Lab Partners have been working on and so the other day I gave their blog a little visit. The San Francisco based husband and wife team certainly have been busy and they’ve created a whole host of wonderful new thing in the last few months. Most recently they completed a commission for the folks at the British retailer Marks & Spencer and designed the fantastic biscuit tin that you can see at the top of this post. I know I’ll be heading down to my local M&S in the hopes of picking one up pretty soon.
They also have been busy working with the independent publishers Nobrow to create some rather excellent wrapping paper. Although the thought of ripping open such a pretty design does give me a little shiver I totally reckon you should think about getting some here. Finally the bottom illustration comes from the cover of issue 8 of the beautiful Canadian magazine Uppercase. You can see the full cover and much more over to the Lab Partners and make sure to keep up-to-date on everything else that Sarah and Ryan have been working on by following their blog.
Last March I wrote a post about the musician Daniel James and his musical project Canon Blue. A few years ago I had stumbled upon his debut album Colonies and it has slowly became one of my favorite albums of the last few years. Since its release nearly four years ago James has been keeping busy by spending much of his time playing with bands such as Efterklang and Foster The People and it was during his off-hour times on tour with Efterklang that he wrote his follow-up album Rumspringa.
Released today through Efterklang’s own label Rumraket, this will regrettably be the labels final release but as swan songs go Rumspringa has all the makings of being a tremendous curtain call for the small Danish label. Above you can listen to the album’s first single Indian Summer which is a truly infectious track full of fun and playfulness. The label describes the album as a “tour de force” and pitches it as something that fans of Sufjan Stevens, Efterklang, Jeff Buckley & Steve Reich will enjoy. I know for sure that I’ll be buying my copy today and I’ll be making the extra effort to get a hardcopy solely for the beautiful artwork created by the Danish-duo Hvass & Hannibal that adorns the cover. You probably should too – if it’s even slightly as good as Colonies is then I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!
“For Pete’s sake, what are you writing about Lego for?”. If this is your reaction to seeing this post, then move on, keep moving and perhaps think about what you just said. It might mean that we may need to rethink our friendship – I’m sorry but that’s just how it goes!
Seriously though, I find it hard to imagine any reader here who doesn’t take a liking to the wonderful world of Lego. In truth, it’s probably the greatest toy ever made. The other day Lego announced that they’d collaborated with Volkswagen to create a Lego T1 Camper Van and I think they did an incredible job in recreating such an iconic design. While Lego have really captured the essence of the van it’s the enthusiasm of designer John-Henry Harris seen in the video above that made me want to share this with you.
For many, working as a Concept Designer at LEGO seems like a dream-job and it’s enriching to see the enthusiasm that Harris has for his craft. If you’re interested in learning more about the role of play in design then I recommend you check out this excellent TEDxEast talk in which Harris discusses how play is an integral part of any design process. The Camper van itself, will be available October 1, 2011 from the online Lego shop.
‘Imagine The Possibilities’ is the name of a new project from the guys over at Magpie Studio. The publication was made in collaboration with the paper manufacturer Robert Horne and it looks stunning. When The Robert Horne Group released their latest paper Imagine, they were keen in catching the eye of the creative industries (as you’d guess) and so they turned to the London-based studio for help with their campaign.
Magpie Studio’s response was plain and simple: “with imagination, anything is possible”. While the premise may be a little hackneyed it’s the execution that really nails it for me. Combining a series of inspiring quotes about the nature of creativity with some seemingly impossible illustrations they’ve created a set of posters that are both beautiful and inspiring. I’m particularly fond on the bold choices in colors and the use of heavy black line. Take a look at the rest of the publication online here. As for me, my favorite has to be the diamond print thanks to the great quote from the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle: “No pressure, no diamonds”. True words for sure!
Last week London-based illustrator Mat Pringle updated his website and with it he posted a collection of excellent images from a children’s story he’s working on. Inspired (I imagine) from a recent summer spent in San Francisco, The Spirit Bears of California features a series of multi-coloured bears that keep a watchful eye over the State. I love the scale of these bears and the simple color palette which Mat uses. As he says on his site, this is a project which he’s working on at the moment so I’m really looking forward to seeing how the whole thing shapes up.
Mat studied graphic design at the London College of Communication before stumbling his way into what he calls “the murky world of illustration”. His site has a great mix of illustration work on it and it’s well worth taking a look at. I’d also recommend checking out his excellent zine The Film One which I picked up earlier in the year. Not only does it feature Mat’s artwork inspired by his favorite film but also contributions from twenty five other artists, illustrators and designers. More details here.