He makes beautiful, funny typographic additions to found oil paintings, he designed sets and puppets for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, he art-directed the Smashing Pumpkins’ gorgeous, Georges Méliès-inspired “Tonight, Tonight” video, and he generally embodies the kind of artist that I want to be.
And now Wayne White is the subject of a documentary entitled “Beauty is Embarrassing”, which is premiering at SXSW 2012. Here’s the trailer:
I want to watch this film with all of my heart and soul. (And also my eyeballs.)
Spotted on the blog for the in-production Sign Painter Movie (which I am really looking forward to seeing), this was done by self-taught sign painter Marjory Garrison, who uses her large windows at home to practice her technique.
I’ve been falling more and more in love with the art and craft of sign painting, and I latched onto this piece in particular because it’s a great reminder that… it is okay. And if it’s not right now, it will be.
I’ve been taking a letterpress class at Cooper Union, and Jeff recently tweeted something that I thought deserved memorializing in type and ink.
So last night, I grabbed a few fonts of wood type and locked up the form on one of the Vandercook SP-15 presses:
I hand-inked the type with brayers rather than inking the press rollers, so I could print two colors simultaneously and easily change colors later. After some trial and error with ink amounts and pressure, I pulled the first decent test print:
And a while later, I had a small edition of posters in four different color schemes:
It was a really fun exercise. For those of you unfamiliar with the process of letterpress printing, check out the sweet little video below. And if you’re near Brooklyn, be sure to check out The Arm for letterpress classes, or to book press time if you already have letterpress experience and just want to make some things.
It had been a looong day of walking around Brooklyn with a bag full of colored tape, looking for something to touch off an idea for another site intervention. That’s how it works for me. I’ve gotta lug the materials around and just sort of wait for the lightning to strike. I can target an area that’s likely to have some interesting detritus to do my wandering in, but that’s about it. The rest is out of my hands.
Late in the afternoon when I was pretty well sick of walking, and the sun was hitting a beautiful angle that I knew wouldn’t last for long, I turned down a dead-end industrial street in western Greenpoint. I can usually count on the side streets and factory lots near the East River waterfront to give me something to work with, and it seemed like this spot would be no exception. Among the mostly empty parking spaces of this factory lot, between cracks in the pavement that were filling in with tall, unruly grass, there was a wood-paneled TV with its screen smashed in; a metal folding chair missing its seat; a scattering of food wrappers and discarded shoes; a stack of plywood and shipping pallets; and the requisite nasty mattress, old tires, and busted auto glass. I stared at all of that bizness for a while, mentally rearranging things and visualizing appropriate sound effects for the possible vignettes… but nothing was switching me on. Not really.
I turned around ready to leave, and saw that I had been joined on the ground by a group of pigeons that had been watching from the factory roof. They were slowly head-bobbing in the direction of a rock-hard partial loaf of bread that someone must have been using to feed them at some point. It hit me like (insert your favorite metaphor for inspiration here): with a combination of crusty old bread to draw them in, and a good stomp on a stack of plywood to make them scatter, I might be able to choreograph these dirty little bastards.
So I laid down my tape, bloodied my fingertips a little bit breaking up the hardest loaf of bread known to man, arranged the bread near the tape-writing, and then repeated the picture-taking cycle: I waited for the pigeons to get up on the bread, stomped like hell on the nearby plywood, and snapped a picture of them scattering. Wait. Stomp. Snap. Wait. Stomp. Snap. Now let me tell you – it is damned hard to properly frame a shot without a tripod or remote shutter release, while repeatedly thwomping your leg down like a jackass. But I managed to get a few decent photos in the end. Here’s my favorite:
Mini-promo time: This shot, along with documentation of other recent interventions “WAAHHH” and “ZZZAP”, and a handful of my recent collages, will be on display (and for sale) from December 11th, 2010 through February 13th, 2011, as part of the group exhibition “PARTY CRASHERS” in Arlington, Virginia. Check it out if you’re down that way!
I don’t know about you all, but I spent MY last Saturday biking around Red Hook, getting selectively sunburnt and looking for weird scenes that I could make a little weirder. Mid-afternoon (after a stop for some amazing pulled pork and root beer on tap at Brooklyn Ice House), I happened upon an abandoned baby stroller between a couple of warehouses and went to work with the colored tape. Here is the result:
For me, looking at these retouched photos from Ashkan Honarvar‘s fifth “Faces” series is like choking on a really tasty hot fudge sundae. The pleasure centers and the gag reflex are both firing at about equal rates. (More images after the jump.)
“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.”
Anyway, to whatever extent a given graphic designer attempts to innoculate us against any particular outbreak of unattractive information, it’s usually because someone has ASKED them to do it. Which is one of the reasons that Cardon Webb’s “Cardon Copy” project stands out.
Designer Cardon Webb hijacked posters from public spaces — mostly fliers of lost pets, and “for rent” or “for sale” signs — took them home, designed fresh posters using the same information, and then posted the new designs back in the places where he found the originals. Read the rest of this entry »
In about a week, I’ll be visiting a small town called Hay-on-Wye. This little burg sits on the Welsh / English border and has — and this is what my traveling companions are unbelievably jazzed about — upwards of 30 bookstores in a town of under 2,000 people. So I thought it only fitting that I give a quick nod to something excellent that came through my RSS reader today:
“Bygg Books” by Swedish design firm Byggstudio (2006).