Australian artist Jodee Knowles produces artworks that are visually alluring and yet slightly disturbing in their complexity. The subjects of her pieces are generally females whose portraits evoke strength and beauty, as well as fragility and unease. When asked to describe her influences during an interview with weAREtheIMAGEmakers, Knowles commented:
My works are taken from life experience and people in general, I spend a lot of time looking at peoples mannerisms and take their negative attributes and put them in my works. My work portrays my own existence, where extreme experiences, fear and obsession collide. I am always hungry for emotional experiences and am addicted to the chaotic environment of them. Each work represents and displays my connection with individuals who are involved in my life emotionally, and whose existence causes me to constantly question my own.
By drawing on the negative, Knowles sets up an exquisite tension in her work that strips back emotional layers that bleed on the canvas. Predominantly using ink and some watercolour effects, each piece captures the melancholy details, grimaces, pauses and ellipses of life.
Creating simple but memorable branding is difficult. Putting enough style and character into something without it being too precious is a fine line to tread but I think the folks over at Menosunocerouno have done it well with their work for Basanti, a tea brand from Mexico. There’s not much too it, some elegantly written words in chalk on black background, but the gloss of the bags and the matte of the coffee cups make it look quite nice. The effect is also quite nice on the clear cool drink cup with the drink itself acting as the background for the text. Very understated but beautiful at the same time.
This weekend I spent a lot of time listening to the Drifting EP by Mutual Benefit, a spooky and beautiful 4 songs. The closest I can come to a comparison would be The Antlers, but Mutual Benefit is a little more electronic feeling and perhaps a bit less melancholy. I’m currently writing this post on the bus while listening to it and it makes for some great traveling music.
If you only have time for one song be sure to listen to Here, the first song off the EP. If you like everything you hear be sure to download the whole thing for free.
In the same vein as so many of my friends and acquaintances I have a love/hate relationship with Swedish homewares giant IKEA; however, I love everything about their new book of baking recipes, Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best). Styled by Evelina Bratell and photographed by Carl Kleiner, the cookbook’s photography eschews only presenting the finished dish in favour of also capturing the ingredients in artfully arranged still life imagery. It’s a little like deconstructed food photography where intricately displayed piles of sugar, egg yolks and vanilla pods are works of art. As far as I can tell the book is only available in instore in Sweden, but hopefully it will also be released internationally. At least my stomach hopes so.
This week,we’ll be looking at three projects by Toyo Ito. Not in an attempt to span or summarize his impressive and prolific body of work, rather just three great and recent projects. The first project, suggested by Bobby, is the Tama Art University Library.
Completed in 2007, the library is the only place on campus (other than the cafeteria) where the students and faculty across all of the university’s disciplines interact. The most prominent design feature of the project is the irregular series of concrete arches that accomplish a spatial variety without leaving those spaces feeling disconnected or insular. In a superb series of photographs by Iwan Baan, you’ll see the library uses mostly low, curvilinear book shelves that allow visual continuity across the library. But there are moments where the bookshelves bloom into sculpted irregular grids that fill entire archways.
I’m used to libraries feeling like regimented canyons: tall, narrow spaces defined by stacked shelves, but the Tama Art University Library seems more mysterious, like a forest. There are moments in traditional libraries where you can see people on the aisles parallel to yours through the gaps between books. Ito has constructed a space that removes the veil of books that can separate us from each other, and we can simply talk under graceful arcs of concrete.
Maybe we’ll ask where the fire sprinklers and air conditioning are hiding.