Posts by KYLE FITZPATRICK

Colour Club for Kidda: Tour Visuals

Colour Club for Kidda

Colour Club for Kidda

Colour Club for Kidda

Before today, I did not know who either Colour Club or Kidda were. But, judging from the names of both, I knew they must be fun. In any event, I stumbled upon a video of tour visuals made by UK animators/illustrators Colour Club for UK electronic artist, Kidda, which is how I came to learn those names.

What caught me was the bright colors and fun characters that the video was boasting. And, when I pushed play, that is definitely what I got to an equally colorful and fun tune. The video features loads of short snippets of these giant characters in action, many of which are seemingly humping phallic objects, exploding in and out of things, and running amok in happy haywire locations. To put things into further context, the video is something that seems like what would happen if the guys of Friends With You directed Troll Hunter while on a lot of acid. That being said, it is really, really great.

From the looks of Colour Club’s record, it seems that they are pretty young group, only having done four or so projects over a little more than a year. I’m going to keep my eye on their future projects because, if this video of visuals in indication of anything, they definitely have some more fun up their sleeves.

KYLE

A Look Into Mikkel Sommer’s Sketchbook

Mikkel Sommer

Mikkel Sommer

Mikkel Sommer

Mikkel Sommer

I stumbled onto the work of Danish artist/illustrator/comic book artist Mikkel Sommer by way of Mike Mitchell’s Tumblr and had been meaning to share it for some time now. I was poking around his website and found his blog, which is a great look into his process and as well as how his pieces come to life.

Above are some of his sketches in varying forms, some complete and some incomplete, which he showcases on his blog. The top is a portrait of writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky from a series of portraits he did, which I thought was such a wonderful departure from the more sketch-like things he’s known for. The three images below that are random sketches and studies he did while in the process of creating comic books: the top one he literally threw into a section of “random images” but I found it to be so beautiful and, even though studies of the same guy, are slightly homoerotic; the second was a commissioned sketch which he felt the need to color (and, obviously, is a pop culture feast); and the third is a study of a man he was going to use for a comic.

I really love Sommer’s work and love the fact that he shares his sketches so openly, giving you an idea of how his pieces come to life. Be sure to catch updates on his projects on his blog and, if his work looks familiar to you, that is because he contributed to A Graphic Cosmogony last year.

KYLE

Peter Blake For Fred Perry By Hint

Peter Blake For Fred Perry By Hint

Peter Blake For Fred Perry By Hint

Peter Blake For Fred Perry By Hint

We live in a very interesting time where art and fashion are colliding to create some really stupid and some really interesting things. Yet, one era of art that is constantly getting beat down by its own nature is Pop Art. Low brow fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters are constantly recycling the catalogues and concepts of Warhol and Lichtenstein for new t-shirt material, bringing nothing new to either the clothing nor the art beyond creating a bastardized cheap product.

Thankfully, people have stepped in to rectify what is happening to Pop Art and have even created new collisions with fashion and art. UK based fashion retailer Fred Perry has collaborated with living British Pop Artist legend, Peter Blake. Together they have have created a little collaboration entitled Blank Canvas, which ties Blake’s aesthetic with Perry’s rich polos as the “blank canvas.”

In the above video, Hint sits down with Blake himself to speak about Pop Art and its influence on fashion (particularly, British fashion). Blake has some really remarkable things to say, explaining his intention behind a lot of his imagery (the target being commentary on Jasper Johns’ Target), the Mod movement and its relationship to fashion, his work as an artist (and current work!), and how he has contributed to Pop Art. Blake is a fascinating man and is remarkably sharp and busy for a near octogenarian.

Although I must say the clothing coming out of the collaboration are not mind-blowing, they really are a great representative of Blake and Perry, two creators who have a distinct voice in the visual world. Take a minute and watch this interview with Blake and, by all means, pass it around to anyone who may in fact be bastardizing his visual lexicon for cheap fashion hounds.

KYLE

Terranova’s ‘Take My Hand’

Terranova "Take My Hand" Kompakt

Terranova "Take My Hand" Kompakt

Terranova "Take My Hand" Kompakt

I have a hard time discerning art from marketing hoaxes and, with Terranova‘s Take My Hand, I’m not entirely sure if this is a visual taste of what is coming on their new album or if this is simply a means by which to elicit “WTFs?” from fans of the genre. The German band, repped by techno powerhouse Kompakt, created the video for the B-Side of their current single. A lot happens, but nothing really happens here: a mysterious woman emerges from a hut with a mask on, a few masked dancers with insane wigs dance around rooms and forests, and some monkeys run about, looking like they are awaiting Walter Ford to paint them. The visual result is intriguing, fascinating, and even captivating, as the music beats on darker and deeper into a nearly acid house direction. Enjoy the video and stick around for the ending title card, as it may explain a few things…

KYLE

On Retromania And The Present Obsession With The Past

On Retromania

I was catching up on old issues of New York Magazine that I had piled up on my desk a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a really great book review that really struck me. The review was for Simon Reynolds newly released book, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past.

While I’ve only read a review of the book, talk of people being obsessed with the past, tied to constant references in art to the past, and an inability to create something new is something that has recently been on my mind. As someone who works as a writer concentrated around entertainment, I contribute to a lot of different sites and networks, all of which are great and super fantastic outlets for Internet conversations. Some of them, however, are seemingly entrenched with the notion of childhood and what was cool “when we were little.” There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia or a shared cultural memory of things we adored growing up. That is fine. That is great. I love talking about how much I loved Sister Act and the Spice Girls! Give me a tiny soapbox and I will preach about those two pop cultural moments at length.

The problem that we are running into though is that we’re sinking in this conversation. What this talk sounds like is, “Oh, wasn’t it great to be young? That was fun.”, when the conversation actually sounds more like, “Oh, wasn’t it great to be young? I wish I was still young.” The difference is somewhat terrifying and that’s what’s been haunting me. While at work, I was working on Twitter and couldn’t help but notice that the only items trending were Keenan and Kel, All That, and Clarissa Explains It All. I was wondering why other things weren’t trending but realized what was going on: the seemingly well-intentioned–and something I supported when the press release was announced–90s Are All That was broadcasting.

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Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony Fall 2011

A few days ago, I caught a bite sized article on New York Magazine’s The Cut about the new Rodarte for Opening Ceremony line. As always, Rodarte is constantly creating compelling, interesting, and beautiful clothing that seems to have been pulled from both the 19th century fashion world as well as the 25th century fashion world, then smashed together for wonderful clothes.

This combination in their new collection spins their trademark decaying garments with (sometimes disconnected) graphic patterns and the aesthetic of a woman in a Degas painting. The resulting pieces are, of course, very modern and surprisingly light. The womenswear are all composed from lightweight, crepe-like fabrics for their dresses and tops. Yet, although a decidedly lighter line, they still retain their gothic points with coats that look like something a crow would wear and deep, blood red stockings. It seems that, when they aren’t using a Degas-like graphic pattern for the collection, they are in fact updating and beautifying the woman in his The Absinthe Drinker or the women in his Women On A Cafe Terrace.

The Mulleavy sisters are also bringing some great things to menswear, my favorite being the shirt seen in the top photo which–again–seems to be sampling from Degas’ visual vocabulary. Being as they’ve only been doing menswear for a little less than two years, the efforts in their newest collection are very well done: wonderful shirts, smart pants, smart suit jackets–very Rodarte, while not being Rodarte. I’m very interested to see where they keep heading with their menswear as this is, you know, not whole-y (or holy?) sweaters as they had previously been offering men.

If you’d like to see more of their looks, take a peek at their official Facebook page. You can preview the collection with only the admission of a Like. And, for larger photos, take a hop over We Are Selecters, where I grabbed these photos from.

KYLE

‘In Fashion’ Documentary Series

In Fashion Documentary Show Studio

In Fashion Documentary Show Studio

In Fashion Documentary Show Studio

I’ve written about SHOWstudio before, but I wanted to share a new project they have that is looking like it’s going to be really cool. The project is called In Fashion and is the brainchild of SHOWstudio Fashion Director Alex Fury.

The project is an intimate documentary series where Fury sits down with some of fashion’s biggest, most progressive names to ask them about fashion–how they feel about fashion, their history with fashion, and what they do in fashion. The documentaries aren’t necessarily process pieces, but are instead really nice thought bubbles from the designers and tastemakers themselves just talking about the industry that they are so belovedly entrenched in. The interviews are shot in high contrast black and white with occasional complimentary set pieces (a fainting couch, some flowers, a purse, etc.), providing a stark, somewhat fashion devoid space for conversation. Instead of Anna Dello Russo’s iconic bright red cherry hat stealing your attention, you are busy listening to her heavy Italian accent espouse her thoughts on her own image.

The series has gathered some amazing creatives. Among those selected are Jason Wu, Daphne Guinness, Walter Van Beirendonck, Proenza Schouler, Sam McKnight, Gareth Pugh, and many, many others. Above you will find the trailer for the series, which gives you bites from many of the people they’ve already spoken with. SHOWstudio seems to be updating the project fairly regularly and encourage you to follow them on Twitter to get updates on new entries.

KYLE

You Must Play ‘Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet’

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

One of my favorite things about technology’s advancements is that so many things are “instant.” You can instantly watch movies, you can instantly download applications, you can instantly buy music, and you can instantly buy games. The days of going to the store to buy ways to entertain yourself at home are nearly extinct. Moreover, with everything being so at your fingertips, people are really taking advantage of this and getting their passion projects produced for the small screen audience.

My favorite manifestation of this is in video games. A lot of crazy games come through the instant market and, while some are super silly, others are amazing. For Xbox 360, we’ve had the pop culture filled girl and gay guy geared Ms. Splosion Man as well as Sim Earth meets Katamari Damacy meets The Gods Must Be Crazy spawn From Dust. However, this weekend I discovered a newly released game that eclipsed every online only game I have every downloaded: Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.

Seemingly the passion project of kid’s movie animator Michel Gagné and definitely inspired by previous Best Instant Game In My Opinion If You Asked Me Last Week titleholder Limbo, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is one of the most engaging and amazing games I have every played. The story of the game follows a little alien who mans his spaceship to delve into an alien planet that has infected his planet. There, he must figure out what is going on and defeat whatever evil force is afoot.

First off, it is stylistically beautiful. It has great, brooding orchestrated music playing over this elaborate sci-fi world that looks like Limbo-meets-Scratch-Magic. The game plays with darkness (dark reds, dark blues, dark greens, black) complimented with bright, high contrast colors, allowing for moments where this color palette is completely broken in nearly blinding white, light blues, and cool yellows. The game is a total visual treat as you traipse through this dark and–at points–scary planet.

Moreover, the game play is ridiculously fun and surprisingly challenging. It also retains a simplicity that other games nowadays do not have. While Limbo was understated and a beautiful Ouroboros, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet challenges you through puzzles, fights, and even timed trials…and everything is done visually. Moments of confusion are not clarified via title cards but rather images that, basically, show an image and your ship exploding, obviously alluding to the item in the image is bad for you. Details like this make the game such a treat.

I downloaded this game this past Saturday at 6PM and played it until 3AM, where I had to stop at the final boss because I was so tired. The game is fairly quick, but only if you let it be. It lends itself well to replaying and has a lot of little hidden items you can find that really make you want to explore the entire map of the game. It also has a really, really, really challenging and somewhat frightening and stressful multiplayer game that involves your little spaceship toting a lantern across the evil planet while being pursued by a Cthulu look alike.

If you own an Xbox 360 and are looking for a game to play, do yourself a favor and download this game as soon as possible. You will not regret getting this fun, beautiful, and clever little game. And, if this is indication of Michel Gagné’s talents, I hope he sticks to creating and animating clever video for years to come.

KYLE

Mac ‘n’ Cheese, A Drugged Out Race Through The Southwest

Mac 'n' Cheese, A Drugged Out Race Through The Southwest

Mac 'n' Cheese, A Drugged Out Race Through The Southwest

Mac 'n' Cheese, A Drugged Out Race Through The Southwest

I don’t think we give enough credit to animators. It takes a long time to create a polished, well thought out, good looking, and cool video. This effort and pride isn’t just for feature length pieces, but for shorter length pieces as well. Mac ‘n’ Cheese is one of those short little nuggets of a film that reminds you just how difficult and amazing the process of creating animation is.

Created by students at Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands, the little video is simplistic enough and–basically–is a chase sequence between a large, brooding guy and a little, squeamish guy. The two obviously are superhuman and even, at one point, use a supplement to make them quicker, warping the world a few times, recalling moments from Enter The Void. The little film is really cool, but is also an achievement for the people behind it: the animation was created by four students and “took about five months to make, and about a bajillion peanut butter sandwiches” as they detail on their site. The result is funny, visually remarkable, and equipped witha brilliant LOL ending.

For those of you video game nerds out there, these guys look familiar? That’s because they are totally inspired by Team Fortress as the animators themselves note. So, yes, that is definitely Heavy you are looking at.

KYLE

Making Our Own History By Doing Things Ourselves

Making Our Own History By Doing Things Ourselves

If you recall, I wrote a piece a few months ago about the fall of the Hipster, asking what was coming next: what group was collecting the Hipster’s ashes to create something new? Who are these people? Where do they live? How can I buy clothes that associate me with this new group?

I did not have an answer then, nor did anyone else who commented. We got a lot of snide comments about hipsters and hipsterdom, and about being hipsters and about the article’s topic being a giant has-been. Well, duh.

But, that wasn’t the point. The point was to figure out what is next–who is the new group? Some said the Meta-Hipster or the Gangster Hipster or even the guys behind Odd Future. However, I think the notion a few people were getting at about the DIY movement being more than just Etsy crappers and hippies being hippies is that the DIY crowd is becoming the in-crowd, somehow shifting their ideals into what is becoming a new norm.

This “do it yourself” attitude is not about creating your own crafts, but rather creating new histories and resurrecting histories to create new ways of living. The idea ties taste to wealth and shifts lifestyles away from acting a part to living a part. The hipster that was DIY has morphed into this person who is not only vegan, but raises their own crops and produces their own clothes and only walks to markets, even when living in Los Angeles. They’ve gone from hipster to helpster, to a weird, self-sustaining group that understands what technology is doing to the world and how they can use this to create a new world.

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