I’ve never stopped to think about how we might grow plants in space. I’ve only really thought about those enormous geodesic domes that you see in sci-fi films like Silent Running, but I’ve never stopped to consider what a practical real-life equivalent of those might be. Obviously being in space brings about all kinds of issues and I can just imagine the problems you might face if you tried to water some soil while floating around in zero-gravity.
Fortunately the guys at NASA have been thinking about exactly these issues. Back in 2011 the experts and astronauts there collaborated with designers Piotr Szpryngwald and Mirko Ihrig in developing a means for astronauts to grow food on long duration space flights in a clean, easy and safe way.
Their solution is brilliantly simple. The concept consist of a small pillow which contains the seed and hydroponic media. They also created a special watering device which can both puncture and activate the pillow. The final element is a growing chamber which informs astronauts about the harvesting cycles of their plants. I think the idea is great and I love the look of it.
You can view more images from the project here.
Earlier this year Rolling Stone described Jack White as “Rock & Roll’s Willy Wonka” and it’s clear to see why. His label, Third Man Records, is undoubtedly a golden ticket for music fans. Its Nashville HQ boasts a record store and a music venue while also releasing some of the most out-there records you’re likely to come across. From a peach-scented LP to records that glow-in-the-dark, White’s label has enough eccentricity to give even Roald Dahl’s imagination a run for its money.
But Third Man Records isn’t just about novel ideas; they’re also passionate about great music. Perhaps that is most apparent in their most recent project; a first of its kind box set that charts the rise and fall of Paramount Records. Spread over two-volumes, the collection is an omnibus of art, words and music… and both volumes look absolutely stunning.
Volume One was released late last year (take a look here) and covers a period between 1917-1927. I now have a whole host of images showing off the second volume of the collection and it’s a beaut! Consisting of 800 tracks released between 1928-1932, this new collection contains six LPs as well as two books filled with bios, art and articles. Not only that, but it also contains a USB drive filled with music and ads from the era. Everything is housed in a beautiful aluminum and stainless steel cabinet that evokes the high art deco styling of the era.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of music I’m sure you’d be impressed by how great this package looks. Taking inspiration from the likes of Walter Dorwin Teague, Norman Bel Geddes and especially John Vassos; the cabinet looks beautiful and the illustrations and design of the books is just superb. Its creators stated that their intention for the project was to create something closer to an interactive museum exhibit than a conventional music collection and I think they’ve definitely pulled that off.
To say that Paramount was an important record label feels like a bit of an understatement. Its output included releases from jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, as well as blues musicians like Charley Patton and Son House. Their contribution to American music is hugely impressive; bringing about the birth of the Mississippi Delta blues while also influencing the style of Robert Crumb and countless other 20th century artists and illustrators through their series of hand-drawn ads in the pages of the Chicago Defender.
A collection like this is a lot to take in. I’ve spent a small amount of time listening to it and feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface. I love the sound of the era and it’s been a joy to discover some great recordings from that time. Paramount was the first and most comprehensive chronicler of what America sounded like during the 1920s and ’30 so it’s great to see their legacy being preserved in a manner as fitting as this.
The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 2, 1928-1932 is released November 18. Volume 1 can be purchased here.
German graphic designer Timo Lenzen really has a gift when it comes to creating eye catching posters. The Frankfurt-native has an impressive portfolio of work and his collection of poster designs really grabbed my attention. Not only has the designer produced an impressive quantity of work but so much of it looks amazing and demonstrates his gift for variety and diversity. I was particularly taken by his restrained use of black-and-white.
Lenzen says he enjoys working in a wide range of media and is excited to explore the possibilities that this allows him. If you take a quick skim through his website you’re bound to spot this wide range of media he’s talking about. He’s worked in everything from animation and illustration to typography and space.
I particularly love his poster “The Noble Experiment”. It was designed for a competition run by the blog Totally Drunk and presents an expression used by president Herbert Hoover during the Prohibition Era. I love his typography and the hazy black-and-white sits perfectly with the look and feel of the era.
You can see more from Timo Lenzen on his website.
I know what you’re thinking and no, somebody hasn’t been blowing big bubbles in an art gallery! Sure I featured Nicholas Hanna’s incredible bubble devices a couple of weeks ago but these are very different types of bubbles. In fact, they’re not even bubbles at all, they’re beautiful sculptures made from plastic by the talented German artist Luka Fineisen.
Fineisen’s work is frequently interested in the scientific world, with her ambitious sculptural projects often investigating processes like thermodynamics and other similar instances of transitional found within nature. I love how she takes the ephemeral beauty of a bubble and then captures it to last forever. The results are rather striking and no doubt are even better in real life.
You can view a PDF of the artist’s work online here. Feel free to also thank me for not making a ‘pop art’ joke throughout this post!
I always get an urge for new stationary at this time of year. Perhaps it’s to do with the back-to-school energy that’s in the air. Maybe it’s to do with Winter’s fast approach. Or perhaps it’s just to do with how brilliant stationary is and I really shouldn’t have to make excuses for why I get an urge to covet pretty things!
So if you’re like me I’m sure you’ll love Blocks by Kukka. Designed by the Israeli/British designer Rona Meyuchas K., the product consists of a set of wooden blocks that can hold everything from pens to post-it notes.
Composed of four basic shapes, the set modulates to create a range of products, with sets being able to assemble together in a range of combinations. Inspired by the wooden blocks that the designer’s children played with; each one is made from natural beech wood that will darken naturally over time. It’s a beautiful collection and it’s bound to be a wonderful companion to your office or studio desk.
Blocks is available to purchase here.
All the President’s Children is the name of a new series of paintings by the Canadian artist Jaclyn Conley. Beautifully loose with vivid colors, Conley’s work is just a joy to see. For Conley, her starting point is always photography and she is constantly in search of suitable images to use as starting points for her work. Through her collecting and archiving of old images she then begins to find links and connections between certain images. Through these associations, a starting point for a new body of work slowly starts to emerges.
This current series is based on images sourced from the Presidential Library Archives. Here, Conley has focused on the faces of children in crowds. She crops these from photographs of large crowds at political gatherings. The results are great. Her paintings are pared down and refined, almost to a point of abstraction. It’s a wonderful series and I highly recommend you check it out in full on her website.
If you visit any professional photographer’s website you’re bound to find that their work is typically – and understandably – divided into some rather traditional categories. Most of them will have a section dedicated to ‘portraits’ for example. Others may photograph ‘Architecture’, ‘Landscapes’ or ‘Models’. If you’ve seen as many sites as I have then you’ll no doubt know how frequently these categories crop up. That’s why I was excited to see that the photographer Pickled Thoughts had one category I haven’t seen appear too often. That category is: ‘Dance’.
While my attendance at contemporary dance shows often falls under the remit of ‘boyfriend duty’, I still can occasionally be wowed by a performance. Dance is an art-form which holds such grace, beauty and elegance, but it’s also incredibly physically demanding. It’s one of the wonderful dichotomies you witness during any performance and I feel that these photographs do a great job of demonstrating the flexibility of the dancers while never distracting from the beauty of their movements.
The lighting, composition and energy in this work is great and I highly recommend you check out the full series here.
We’re big fans of the Brooklyn-based artist Scott Albrecht so we were very excited to discover that he has been busy recently working on a brand new body of work. Incorporating woodwork, hand-drawn type and and geometric collage, Scott has continued to produce interesting and engaging art which always feels fresh and unique.
This latest series was made for an upcoming solo exhibition that will open in Philadelphia’s Art in the Age this Friday (October 3rd). Titled The Distance Between Two Points, the show explores themes of time, perception and inter-connectivity. Scott says that his goal was to create work with layers of meaning. His approach was holistic, with each piece functioning individually yet collectively they convey a larger message.
I love Scott’s approach to the way he uses different mediums. He’s never afraid to try new things yet this never detracts from his distinctive style. I particularly like his latest series called Situations (some images featured above). Here he paints mostly in black and white (with small accents of teal and coral appearing in other images) and a motif of an eye runs through the entire set of images. This symbolizes observation and personal experience. I love the graphic sensibility of this work and together they form a wonderfully striking series.
The Distance Between Two Points opens at Philadelphia’s Art in the Age on October 3rd and runs until the 31st.