Sculptures from an Imagined Outer Space by Yoskay Yamamoto

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Many people, including me, are fascinated by outer space. The movements of the NASA Curiosity Rover on Mars are carefully recorded and obsessively followed. The current hit Korean drama, My Love From The Star, is a rom-com involving a 400-year-old handsome alien and the female celebrity whose life he saves. Recently on Brain Pickings, Maria Popova wrote about Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. Sagan and his team compiled “the sounds of Earth,” dubbed it the Golden Record, and placed it on the Voyager to transmit a distilled idea of our planet to the galaxies with the possibility that other lifeforms out there might hear it.

Yoskay Yamamoto’s sculptures and carved figurines are a possible interpretation of what these outer space lifeforms might look like. The faces of Yamamoto’s pieces tend to feature small eyes barely open or shut, thin noses with high bridges, and knowing half-smiles. They are usually missing pupils, have large foreheads, and pale skin. I think Yamamoto has imagined a possible martian appearance without going in the direction of tentacles, excess body parts, and slime.

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Charis Poon

February 26, 2014 / By

Story-telling illustrations by Emilie Sarnel

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Emilie Sarnel illustrates pinup girls, anthropomorphic food items, wolves with attitude, and tropical countries using bold black lines and bright pops of colour. Her style is sharp and geometric while still retaining a nice handmade touch. She’s not afraid of using large swaths of starkly contrasting black and white, though there are some illustrations in full neon palettes. Her projects beyond illustration include food packaging, product design and city guides. All of Emilie’s work looks like there’s a personal story behind it.

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Charis Poon

February 14, 2014 / By

City Identity in Subway Maps by Zero Per Zero

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Many budding designers cut their graphic design teeth redesigning a metropolitan subway map because of the challenge it presents. Usually the objective is to create a map that’s easy to use and conveys all the necessary information clearly in a small amount of space. Typically, a good subway map is equally well understood by locals and tourists, and isn’t frustrating to read when trying to get from point A to point B. Zero Per Zero, a graphic design studio based in Seoul, has an ongoing project redesigning city railway system maps according to a different objective than the usual.

City Railway System is a new approach to projecting the identity of a city onto its subway map. Whereas conventional subway maps aim at conveying information as clearly and concisely as possible, the City Railway System by ZERO PER ZERO distinctively incorporates symbolic elements of each city into its map while preserving clarity.

In their subway maps, Zero Per Zero preserves some of the sensation of living in a city.

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Charis Poon

January 24, 2014 / By

Calendar for Adventurers: Mr. Blue Whale by RMM

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It’s halfway through January and I already have a beautiful hanging calendar by Millimeter Milligram, a design studio in Seoul, but I’m strongly considering picking up this desktop calendar by RMM. RMM is a studio based in Hong Kong that publishes art journals, keeps a design blog and makes an annual animal themed calendar. The 2012 calendar was an elephant and 2013 was twelve owls—this year it’s an adventurous, world-traveling blue whale.

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Charis Poon

January 17, 2014 / By

Dark Dreams in Illustrations and Street Art By Cara To

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Cara To is a street art artist, painter and creative from Belgium currently living in Hong Kong. Her work is moody and delicate, filled with mysterious girls, detailed tattoos and geometric shapes. She uses monochromatic color schemes, pastel washes and recurring neon elements. Most of Cara’s recent pieces are paintings done on upcycled wood found in abandoned places. These pieces were shown in her solo exhibition at Above Second this past August called Drowning in Dreams.

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Charis Poon

December 18, 2013 / By

Fonta by Kayac design studio creates a handwritten collaborative web font

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Fonta is a website that encourages anyone to digitally write one of the 6941 characters on the site. On the landing page are numerous tiles with characters on them. Some tiles have faint grey outlines as guides for characters yet to be written, others have been written over by different users. Fonta’s driving vision is that a complete publicly generated font will eventually be created with the accumulated handwritten characters from different users. The font can be installed on your personal computer and used as a web font, but as of now there are only 1486 of the possible characters written. Also, as the site is in Japanese created by the design studio Kayac, the majority of the characters are of the Japanese alphabets (Hiragana and Katakana) and kanji, adopted Chinese characters. The English alphabet, numbers and some glyphs are also included.

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Charis Poon

December 4, 2013 / By

2 Colours / 3 Dimensions Exhibition Curated by Stephen Chan

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Stephen Chan is an illustrator and graphic designer based in the UK. He’s currently a freelancer who does all kinds of design work for a number of big clients. This past May he organized and curated his first exhibition as part of the Hong Kong Art Fair. It was, by visual and structural standards, a stand out success for a first-timer pulling together a large group show.

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Charis Poon

November 25, 2013 / By

Furze Chan Examines the Things Creatives Use and Love in Object Dialogue

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Furze Chan, an online shop owner and artist from Hong Kong, has an ongoing project I really enjoy called Object Dialogue. She talks to people with what she considers interesting occupations about their work, the tools they use and the stories behind those objects. There are conversations with a freelance modeler, a translator and a veterinary surgeon, to give you an idea of the people Furze interviews. The interviews are long form, casual and try to show how these people think. The writing is a refreshing difference from sound-bite filled, highly polished Q&A’s. Some of the questions Furze asks remind me of The Great Discontent (an online journal of interviews exploring questions on creativity). For example, she asks her subjects if they think they have achieved their desire for living and why what they do is important to them.

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Charis Poon

November 21, 2013 / By

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