Being a science fiction fan I can always appreciate the concepts of people who envision the future. This is especially true of Wanderers, a short film crated by Erik Wernquist that explores what our future expansion into the Solar System could look like.
Although admittedly speculative, the visuals in the film are all based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. All the locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available.
There’s a subtlety to Erik’s film that sells it for me. While the locales are exotic the ships and suits are in the realm of believability. At parts it felt like it could be a poignant, artistic version of a Red Bull commercial, echoing the Stratos jump made by Felix Baumgartner.
I think the short beautifully encapsulates the ingenuity and creativity of man. If we can imagine incredible achievements such as these, why would they not be possible?
Portland based designer Aaron Draplin is well-known for his straightforward attitude and no-nonsense sense of design. You could even describe him as a “champion” for the design community, a person who has an immense output of quality designs, and by all accounts I’ve heard, one of the nicest and most supportive folks on earth.
Last week he took Lynda.com‘s logo design challenge, creating a really simple, strong mark in less than 10 minutes. He walks you through his process and his reasoning which gives you a fascinating look at how he gets from nothing to something. His confidence and the easy way he demonstrates his work makes you feel like you should go out and make 100 logos on your lunch hour. Love this guy.
Yule Log is a website composed of a collection of short films created by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, that wants to bring back the age old X-mas tradition. The site’s creator, Daniel Savage, did a version last year as well which was equally great. I’d rather put one of these fine pieces of art on my TV rather than watch A Christmas Carol on repeat for 24 hours.
Below are a few of my favorites.
Dedicated to the analysis of film form, Every Frame a Painting is a fantastic series of video essays created by the filmmaker and editor Tony Zhou. As entertaining as they are insightful, his series of videos may well be one of my favorite discoveries on the internet.
Running for between 5 and 8 minutes, each video focuses on one filmmaker or one aspect of film form. While some people may feel that film form is quite a dull subject matter, Zhou’s essays are well and truly the opposite of this. They’re fun, engaging and informative.
Take for example texting and the internet in cinema. While we may be living in a digital age, film still seems to be somewhat ineffective in depicting this world on screen. In Zhou’s essay on the subject he presents us with how cinema has approached this conundrum and questions if a solution to their problem may lie not in its content, but in form. Check it out below and I’m sure you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about:
Other topics have ranged from Steven Spielberg’s use of the long take to Satoshi Kon’s unique editing style. I particularly enjoyed his examination into the work of Michael Bay. As one YouTube commenter put it “now I can hate his movies in a more intelligent way”. It’s a great analysis and well worth watching:
Perhaps Zhou’s most successful video to date has been his analysis of Edgar Wright’s approach to visual comedy. In his essay, Zhou looks at how the filmmaker consistently finds humor through framing, camera movement, editing, sound effects and music. Its a wonderful insight into how well designed Wrights films are, and Zhou does a fantastic job of articulating exactly how great Wright is as a director.
If you’re a fan of Tony’s work and you’d like to see his series continue you can support the project over on Patreon. If you’d like to see more from the series make sure to subscribe to his channel over on YouTube.
There’s something quite ethereal in the way that Morgan Maassen shoots water. The California native is a passionate surfer and through his photography he has earned himself great recognition within the surf world. Morgan describes this video as a “brief odyssey into the world that i cherish most” and it’s clear to see that love shine through.
Shot on a Red Epic inside an SPL waterhousing, the four-and-a-half minute piece was filmed in Teahupo’o off the south-west coast of Tahiti and along the north shore of Hawaii. They’re stunning locations and Morgan’s camera work really present them as dream-like places. I found the whole piece to be utterly mesmerizing.
For those interested, the track in the video is called “Shopping Malls” and it’s from the New Zealand based six-piece SJD. More work from Morgan Maassen can be seen on his website.
The more digital our lives become the more we start to value the things that are made by hand. Mike Heist is a beautiful example of this, a Portland artist who has been working with neon for over 30 years.
The Pressure, the studio of Adam Garcia, produced this video of Mike, showcasing his fascinating process. The sign, designed by Garcia, was a component of the event branding for the AIGA Portland event “Design and Happiness,” a lecture by Stefan Sagmeister during Design Week Portland.
Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi fame has a new project out called Les Sins, going for a more dance-oriented sound. He was inspired by folks like Mr. Oizo and Daft Punk which clearly comes through on this new track titled “Bother”, the perfect anthem for a hard-working creative. In fact, he was inspired by design luminary Paul Rand while making the album.
“My favorite graphic designer, P. Rand always said, ‘Don’t try to be original, just try to be good,’” Bundick says. “When making this record that was/is my mantra—it was just constantly looping in my mind. I believe ‘good’ is timeless and once you can recognize that you’ll see the world in its fullest.”
Les Sins first album Michael comes out November 4th.
One of my favorite films this year has been Boyhood. Shot over a period of 12 years, it tells the story of Mason as his life unfolds during a period between the ages of 6 and 18. Before seeing the film I imagined that it must be a wonderful spectacle; that there must be something incredible about watching a person literally come-of-age on screen. In actuality, there is no real spectacle to Boyhood. If anything, that’s the real strength of the film. Real life is made up of small fleeting moments, and Boyhood captures these in a beautifully uncinematic way. In doing so, it captures something even greater than spectacle and in its subtly it reveals something more profound.
All of this is little more than preamble to introduce Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”. This project is similar to Boyhood in that its premise seems suitably epic yet its lasting impression feels more poetic than astounding. A time-lapse film shot over the period of one year, Murphy reduces the ever changing skies of San Francisco into a mere 5 minute film.
“A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” says the self-described programmer, artist, and tinkerer. I think it’s wonderful!