Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Wilco (The Album)’ by Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown

Last year, I started Sights & Sounds to expand upon what the Desktop Wallpaper Project could be. I loved the idea of an artist summing up the sound of an album with a single image, their interpretation of what a collection of songs looked like. And now here we are with our final Wilco wallpaper by Stephanie Brown for Wilco (The Album).

Stephanie is an incredibly talented painter and, when Joe suggested her name for the series, I thought, “Wow, that would be amazing if we could get her.” To me, her art is beyond good: it’s stunning. She also seems like a really rad person, as evidenced by the fact that she recently tattooed herself, a 3 hour process in which she almost passed out. A painter and a bad ass.

Wilco (The Album) is the band’s most recent album, which came out in 2009. I thought this was a great album, but it falls behind some of their albums for me. That said, some of the songs on the album are some of the best they’ve ever written, specifically You and I with Feist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to that song. I also really enjoy Deep Down, which reminds me of The Beatles in the best way, and I’ll Fight, with it’s country twang.

Here’s how Stephanie describes her wallpaper:

Wilco (The Album)‘s themes seem to revolve around struggle. A couple in You and I who are grasping to keep a relationship together, the bleak aftermath of a man who killed his girlfriend in Bull Black Nova, a physical altercation in Deeper Down. Throughout these vignettes it seems that the greatest struggle is to find meaning in sometimes meaningless strife, and ends in choosing to accept both the dark and the light for what they are worth. At first glance this album comes off as cheeky, because of its album art and oddly self aware title track, but the more time I spent with it, the more I grew to love it. So I used the language that I know best: two snakes, both the good and the bad, entangled with one another in an endless deadlock.”

A huge thanks to Stephanie for her beautiful contribution and fitting ending to a beautiful series of wallpapers. Be sure to stay tuned for the announcement of the next series of Sights & Sounds, which should start some time next month. The musical artist has already been chosen and all of the wallpapers are ready–but I want to give a little breathing room between projects.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

Kafka, Redesigned and Reconsidered by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

Kafka Redesigned by Peter Mendelsund

I figure with The Great Gatsby Re-Covered Project coming to an end on Friday it makes sense to feature another redesign for a major author, Franz Kafka. Peter Menelsund is art director at the book publishing company Knopf, who also own the rights to all of Kafka’s novels. Technically these are being released by Pantheon, a subsidiary of Knopf Double Day, which Menelsund is also taking over art directing duties on. Anyhow, he’s had the chance to redesign all of Kafka’s novels and I think they look stunning. Eye-catching, if you don’t mind the horrible pun. Here’s what he has to say about the designs:

So, as you can see, I’ve gone with eyes here (not the first or last time I will use an eye as a device on a jacket-book covers are, after all, faces, both literally and figuratively, of the books they wrap). I find eyes, taken in the singular, create intimacy, and in the plural instill paranoia. This seemed a good combo for Kafka- who is so very adept at the portrayal of the individual, as well as the portrayal of the persecution of the individual.

I also opted for color. It needs saying that Kafka’s books are, among other things, funny, sentimental, and in their own way, yea-saying. I am so weary of the serious Kafka, the pessimist Kafka. Kafkaesque has become synonymous with the machinations of anonymous bureaucracy- but, of course, Kafka was a satirist (ironist, exaggerator) of the bureaucratic, and not an organ of it. Because of this mischaracterization, Kafka’s books have a tendency to be jacketed in either black, or in some combination of colors I associate with socialist realism, constructivism, or fascism- i.e. black, beige and red. Part of the purpose of this project for me, was to let some of the sunlight back in. In any case, hopefully these colors, though bright, are not without tension.

The typography. The script is an amalgam of Kafka’s own hand, and a wonderfully versatile typeface called “Mister K” (based on Kafka’s own hand) by Julia Sysmäläine who works at Edenspiekermann in Berlin.

These editions should be available, in June or July, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

Illustrating Watersounds

abbott 1

abbott 2

abbott 3

If it were possible to visually capture the gorgeously lilting sound of flowing water, British illustrator Sarah Abbott, who rather aptly produces work under the moniker Watersounds, would be able to do it. Using a subtle and almost monochrome palette, her art and commissioned design work exudes calm and a keen eye for natural settings, eccentric animal characters, a sense of cute fun and aesthetic simplicity. Really, you have to love that the fox in the second illustration is wearing a Black Flag t-shirt.

Uncover more delightful imagery via Abbott’s personal blog, flickr and her awesome collection blog no mountain, which features postcards and photographs of mountains, hills and lakes.

Danica

January 26, 2011 / By

Kind of Like An Inverted but Sophisticated Lite-Brite

stained glass perpendicular to the window

layered translucent color panels

While we’re on the topic of color (see yesterday’s post) there’s this lovely research center up in Canada that uses translucent layers of colors as part of the project’s exterior. The colors make the building look happy rather than institutional. Designed by MCM Partnership, the Child and Family Research Institute carries out translational research about a whole host of disorder and diseases that are no fun at all: obesity, diabetes, and childhood infectious/inflammatory diseases.  No thanks.

While most of the project’s materiality is naturally or neutrally-colored concrete, stone, wood or metal, there are repeated moments where brighter colors literally shine into the project. In the top photo, you can see the stained-glass fins that sit perpendicular to the windows. I’m not sure if you would still call them shadows, but the resulting colored parallelograms of light move across the building’s surface throughout the day; when the shadows are long, they overlap and make other colors. In the lower picture, there’s a slightly more complex wall construction where clear glass windows are set into a translucent polycarbonate wall with a random distribution of colored polycarbonate panels. It’s an effect precedented at the Laban Dance Centre by Herzog and de Meuron. For the CFRI, the use of color is pretty smart if you ask me: it invigorates an otherwise fairly neutral project and continually changes throughout the day, briefly making a spectacle of the southern face before sunset.

And while diseases are not fun, this building is seeking an antidote inside and out.

Alex

Alex Dent

January 26, 2011 / By

The Ghost Project; An Interview Series by Kartell

The Ghost Project by Kartell

The Ghost Project by Kartell

I was recently asked to be a part of series of shorts produced by Kartell called The Ghost Project, featuring Philippe Starck’s classic Louis Ghost Chair in the homes of creative people living in Los Angeles. I had the chair for less than a week, but it was beautiful to have around, albeit kind of weird. It’s an amazingly sturdy piece of furniture but, because it’s clear, it’s sort weird at the same time. The idea of a piece of furniture being invisible, yet highly supportive at the same time, seems like an oxymoron–but it’s true in the case of the Ghost Chair.

The video also gives you a tiny sneak peak into the new apartment I moved into with my boyfriend Kyle. It’s been about a month now, so we’re pretty moved in. But, of course, there’s always more to do. And, to answer your question, yes, that is a giant walnut on the dining room table.

You can see a couple more videos on The Ghost Project website, one with Alissa Walker & Keith Scharwath and another with Nathan Ryan of Proxart, with more on the way.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

January 26, 2011 / By

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