Stunning Branding & Identity for the Hypothetical New York Museum of Glass

New York Museum of Glass

New York Museum of Glass

School of Visual Arts student Leo Porto recently put his design skills to use by craft a branding and identity for the New York Museum of Glass. You’ve never heard of it? That’s probably because it doesn’t exist. You wouldn’t know that by looking at these images though which to me paint a very real image of a fictional place.

New York Museum of Glass

The really standout piece for me is the word mark he created for the museum. Meant to emulate the distortions you would find when viewing the logo through glass, it’s both cheeky and elegant. I especially love where the E and W connect as well as the L to the A. The whole thing is abstract and distorted but it makes so much sense in context with what the museum would be.

New York Museum of Glass

And though he used mainly black and white for the branding he did bring in some strong blues and reds, which to me seem to emulate glass being heated by a blowtorch, something like this. You get a sense of heat and energy from the palette, and the examples he created like the tickets and oversized show posters look incredible.

New York Museum of Glass

New York Museum of Glass

New York Museum of Glass

I think someone needs to make this vision of a contemporary glass museum a reality and pay Leo lots of money to use his ideas. I’m certain that once he graduates from SVA he won’t have any problems finding work.

Bobby Solomon

August 22, 2014 / By

Wonderment and Innocence: An Interview with Street Artist Swoon

“There’s that feeling that you get when you see something that you don’t understand the origin of: wonderment,” she said. “It brings about a kind of innocence, and I love that. I love to witness it. I love to be a part of making those moments happen.”

That’s from an interview with Swoon, the New York based street artist turned fine artist who’s beautified derelict alleys and abandoned buildings with her intricate paper wheat pastes for the last 10+ years. She speaks with the NY Times about her work and her career here, as well her show at the Brooklyn Museum, which closes on August 24. Be sure to watch the video above because it’s always great to her and artist’s story in their own words.

Read the full interview by clicking here.

Swoon

Bobby Solomon

August 20, 2014 / By

What Art Historians and Curators Can Learn From Scientists and Engineers

Jan van Eyck

Jim Cuno, the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has an interesting article in The Daily Dot where he describes a change he’d like to see in art historians, curators, and professors. It’s a trait that he sees working well in fields like science and engineering. It’s the simple act of collaboration.

The history of art as practiced in museums and the academy is sluggish in its embrace of the new technology. Of course we have technology in our galleries and classrooms and information on the Web; of course we are exploiting social media to reach and grow our audiences, by tweeting about our books, our articles, including links to our career accomplishments on Facebook and chatting with our students online.

But we aren’t conducting art historical research differently. We aren’t working collaboratively and experimentally. As art historians we are still, for the most part, solo practitioners working alone in our studies and publishing in print and online as single authors and only when the work is fully baked. We are still proprietary when it comes to our knowledge. We want sole credit for what we write.

He cites the open source Closer to Van Eyck project as a good example for this thinking. Create a ton of data around a piece of art and share it to the masses.

We should also be more open to open sourcing our projects. The recent Ghent Altarpiece Web application, Closer to Van Eyck (supported by the Getty Foundation) is a case in point. The Closer to Van Eyck project documents the masterpiece in incredible detail. Each centimeter of the multi-paneled, 15th-century altarpiece was examined and photographed at extremely high resolution in both regular and infrared light. The photographs were then digitally stitched together to create large, detailed images that allow for study of the painting at unprecedented microscopic levels, with access to extreme details, macrophotography, infrared, infrared reflectography and x-radiography of the panels. The Web application contains 100 billion pixels and the images and metadata are available free of charge as “raw” data to be used by any and all researchers, amateur as well as professional.

It would be great to see more resources like this come online, and not just in the field of paintings. It makes me think of the robot that’s wandering around the Tate at night, that anyone on the planet can control. Imagine if through that experience you could get 100x the data and learn about each of the pieces in detail. There’s a lot of potential there, especially if people start working together.

Bobby Solomon

August 20, 2014 / By

Ricardo Guasco Re-Interprets Mondrian, Bringing Life To The Neoplasticist Works

Ricardo Guasco Appropriates Mondrian

When you look at a piece of art, you see something unique, and when I look at a piece of art, I most likely see something uniquely different. When Ricardo Guasco saw the paintings of Mondrian, he didn’t see minimalism, he saw room/rooms for people. Ricardo is an extremely talented illustrator based in Alessandria, Italy who makes really energetic, expressive works that you can’t help but enjoy.

These pieces though caught my attention because they’re unexpected. Seeing an abstract figuring sitting in a Mondrian like it’s a jungle gym, laying on one like it’s a roof, or utilizing the panels like it’s a kitchen is such a great concept.

You should absolutely see more of Ricardo’s work by clicking here.

Ricardo Guasco Appropriates Mondrian

Ricardo Guasco Appropriates Mondrian

Bobby Solomon

August 20, 2014 / By

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Spencer Harrison

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Spencer Harrison

Spencer Harrison

When I started The Desktop Wallpaper Project back in 2008 my goal was to elevate this sort of mundane yet essential space that we stare at day after day. The most iconic example of the desktop wallpaper is obviously is Bliss (it has it’s own Wikipedia page), an image that was shot by Charles O’Rear and was included with every copy of Windows XP.

I decided to ask the artists, designers, and creators that I respected to create works that would bring style and life to the desktop, and eventually devices like iPhones and iPads. Now I see numerous blogs, record labels, and even major brands doing the same, which I think I can take a little credit for.

Continuing this ideal we have a wallpaper by Melbourne designer and illustrator Spencer Harrison. His series of patterns, all featuring vivid colors and playful shapes, was something that really worked for the feeling I’ve been trying to achieve lately with the site. The repeating pattern is a series of leaves in a subdued color palette of rust, a cornflower blue, and a pleasant warm grey. Having this pattern on my Macbook and iPhone is great, but I’d love to have this lining the walls of my apartment.

Bobby Solomon

August 20, 2014 / By

Watch Jim Henson’s Experimental Animation “Drums West” From 1961

Came across this amazing animation by Jim Henson that he made back in 1961 using cut-paper. It was created in his home studio in Bethesda, MD and was one of several experiment shorts inspired by jazz musician Chico Hamilton. I love the build-up of energy that he was able to capture and how he was able to visualize the sounds so perfectly.

Jim Henson's Experimental Video 'Drums West' From 1961

Bobby Solomon

August 20, 2014 / By

A Thoughtful Essay On The Details of Design by Craig Mod

A Thoughtful Essay On The Details of Design by Craig Mod

I really hate the phrase “the devil’s in the details” but I certainly appreciate it’s intention. As a designer and someone who regards aesthetics in all forms, the details are the key. When an object, or even an experience, gets all the details right and it’s a transformative experience. Good details surprise you, they excite you, and they elevate the bar of your personal taste.

Writer Craig Mod recently posted a poetic piece on Medium titled Let’s talk about margins, which relates the importance of details to book making. Funny enough, my favorite part of his piece isn’t about books, it’s about buildings.

Consider buildings. Although you may not be an architect, you can be touched by a graceful space. The kind of space where you close your eyes and feel the gentle hand of the architect reveal itself in the way sound and air moves around you. Try it sometime. Go to your favorite space. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and intuit the goodness. Conversely, you can sense neglect or disregard the same way. There’s a building in Tokyo that feels like it hates the world. Standing in its shadow, the wind becomes portentous, howling, angry. It will swallow you if you close your eyes. It does not want you there. Its rotating doors even killed a child the first week it opened. It is not a nice building. You are not an architect but you know this: The building is bad. There are no George Nakashima chairs inside.

Bobby Solomon

August 19, 2014 / By

An Interview with Knit Wit: A Biannual Print-Only Magazine About Fiber Art and Textiles

Knit Wit Magazine

I was recently introduced to Zinzi Edmundson and Gigi Jack, the creators of a lifestyle-based indie print magazine focused on knitting and fiber art called Knit Wit. Their concept is simple, they want to highlight the fresh, contemporary side of the craft, bringing to light the types of people and projects you wouldn’t find in normal craft magazines. They’re currently trying to Kickstart the magazine so I figured it would be great to learn more about the project. I spoke to Zinzi who filled me in on why the world needs a print magazine devoted to this specific culture.

Tell me a bit about yourselves, your backgrounds.
Gigi is a native Southern Californian, Santa Monica actually, and I’m from Providence, RI. We met our freshman year of college here in LA and were friends from more or less the first day. Gigi was a diplomacy/Russian major and I was comp lit/classics—yet somehow we got into magazines.

Gigi got a job in the art department at C magazine and I started as editorial assistant at Bon Appétit. We worked those jobs and moved up a bit for several years (Gigi probably lasted longer than I did) before I quit BA to tour with my band and Gigi moved to the land of e-commerce. I returned from the road and started working as features editor at FOAM (a women’s fashion and surf magazine here in LA), where Gigi joined me as Art Director a little after. We found out that we love working together. FOAM experienced a bit of editorial upheaval, so we moved on and both started circulating in that branding/e-commerce world more. Gigi is currently the Art Director at Sole Society, I do copywriting and content creation for brands like Nasty Gal, Vans, Nixon, etc. and I also have a brand consultancy company with a friend.

Knit Wit Magazine

Why do you feel it’s important to share the world of textile art?
The idea started much smaller. I’m a knitter and, looking around, I realized there wasn’t anything media-wise that totally spoke to me and the way I relate to the craft. Initially I was going to do a zine (in the sense that I would be its only author, emphasizing DIY in content and character, and all that) about knitting. As it turns out, I’m not great at keeping things on a small, reasonable scale. The deeper I dove into the world of textiles the more I kept expanding the scope. Dyeing! Weaving! Embroidery! There are just so many beautiful, thoughtful, dynamic things being made and truly incredible people cooking it up—ultimately I couldn’t limit it to knitting. So, I guess the answer is that I started by trying to make a zine for myself and ended up making a magazine about all the fun shit I found—for everyone else to see.

And why do you think you were drawn to making it a print magazine versus doing it digitally?
I get asked the print question a lot. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a super concrete answer, but I do have several vague ones. There is something really square, sort of plumb I think, about representing craft or craft-based art in a physical form. It’s a little bit symmetrical, which I like. I also missed it. I’ve done some branded magazines post-FOAM, but I think we all know those aren’t the same, try as they might!

We came of age as editors and designers in a weird time. We have a rarified, archaic vocabulary and knowledge that became moot almost as soon as we learned it. It felt like it would be nice to exercise those muscles. Maybe that is misplaced nostalgia or I am prematurely stodgy (won’t be the first time I’ve heard that!), but all I ever wanted to do was make magazines and somewhere along the way I stopped doing that.

Thirdly, it felt a lot like a challenge. I don’t think it’s an easy thing to start a blog, do it every day (every. fucking. day. sheesh) and do it well enough everyday to garner a following. No that’s not easy, but there was something about starting a print magazine from scratch without any online presence to support it (besides social) that seemed (still seems) a little bit like I couldn’t do it. I think I liked that I might not be able to do it—and that I was going to try and see if I could anyway.

Knit Wit Magazine

The imagery and content in the magazine has a really contemporary feeling, is there a world there most people don’t know about?
Right, we aimed for a more graphic and fashion forward aesthetic than is probably expected from a magazine primarily dealing in handmade/craft. One of the reasons is definitely to do just that: To stray from some preconceived notions of what the community might be like. It’s not all deep dark shadows, greyed out photography and introspective girls with low pony tails living in remote snowy cabins.

There also seems to be an understanding that no matter what your subject, if you’re making an indie magazine you’ll probably employ that style of photography anyway. It can be pretty repetitive. It’s a little bit like how every organic market or raw food restaurant feels the need to roll out a fleet of bamboo tables, a sagey mint wall color, and a logo with some obligatory sprouting leaf icon scrolling out. Do we really need these obvious visual clues to know we’re eating real food?

Knit Wit Magazine

Was it important to feature makers from around the world?
Yes, definitely. In general, we tried to keep things broad. I lifted a phrase from FOAM recently while describing Knit Wit (I can’t remember if I coined it or not, so let’s credit our EIC Kristina Dechter with this one). The phrase is: “general interest niche magazine.”

So yeah, there’s a really rigid framework that informs all the content (fiber art, textiles, knitting), but we look at it from all angles and in the familiar format of a women’s interest or general interest book. That means that we might have a trend piece about tassels, followed by a travelogue to an ancient weaving village in Oaxaca, followed by a visit to fiber artist Elena Stonaker’s idyllic LA studio, followed by an editorial featuring model/knitwear designer Rachel Rutt in Sydney. Ultimately, it became global because we kept it so broad.

Do you feel like the independent craft community around textiles needs a proper outlet?
Well I certainly hope so! I think there’s definitely an opening for this type of title, neither essay-based/institutional nor crafty/hobbyist. We’ll see if it takes. I don’t think I’m too unique of a person, so I think that if I would want a magazine like this, then there must be more like me out there. We’ll see what happens.

Knit Wit Magazine

If you could feature any maker, dead or alive, in an issue of the magazine, who would you choose?
Oh, hm! All the people who never wrote us back during the process of making issue 1? I kid… I got pretty enamored with the women of the Bauhaus weaving workshop earlier this year. Gunta Stolzl, Anni Albers, Otti Berger. Talk about making the best of your circumstances. Because they were women, they were limited to fiber, but they worked within those parameters and pushed the boundaries of “women’s work” and craft into the realm of design and fine art. Yeah, ladies! Subversion and especially feminist subversion seems to go hand-in-hand with craft these days, but the Bauhaus women were starting this revolution with subtlety, poise and stoicism.

Or maybe whoever is responsible for Nike Flyknits because sweater sneakers are basically the ultimate marriage of my favorite things and I would love to talk to that person.

Any final thoughts or feelings?
I guess the only thing I haven’t really touched on yet is our lack of DIY or How-To elements in the magazine. There aren’t any patterns and there aren’t a series of photos that will illustrate with severed hands the step-by-step of how to do a project. It’s not that we won’t ever and it’s not that we don’t like that stuff (we do), but I think it is important to note as part of our initial DNA/value proposition that we aren’t experts. We won’t get instructional because we don’t consider ourselves the teachers and readers our pupils. It’s stupidly cheesy, but we’re all in this together! It’s a magic carpet ride.

If this sounds like the sort of thing you’re into be sure to support the duo on Kickstarter by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

August 19, 2014 / By

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