‘Momotaro’ – An Incredible Pop-Up Book by Icinori

MOMOTARO by Raphael Urwiller + Mayumi Otero 1

MOMOTARO by Raphael Urwiller + Mayumi Otero 2

Icinori produce some of the best picture books I think I’ve ever seen! The publishing studio is made up of illustrators Mayumi Otero and Raphael Urwiller, and their publications often come in the form of impressively engineered pop-up books filled with beautiful illustrations and incredible paper constructions.

The book above is called Momotaro and it’s a retelling of a popular Japanese folk story. The name ‘Momotaro’ literally means Peach Taro, which is commonly translated as Peach Boy. According to the legend, the story tells the tale of a strange child born of an apricot who undertakes a quest and travels to a distant island to fight oni, eventually becoming a great hero in the process. Like much folklore, Momotaro is a fantastically off-the-wall tale but it also sounds like a really great story. You can learn more about it here. I love the look of Icinori’s adaptation and I really love how it manages to feel very traditional and yet completely modern all at once. Make sure to see more of their work by checking out their website here.

MOMOTARO by Raphael Urwiller + Mayumi Otero 3

MOMOTARO by Raphael Urwiller + Mayumi Otero 4

Philip Kennedy

January 30, 2013 / By

Beautiful Images from ‘Stay Troublesome’ by Alana Paterson

Image from 'Stay Troublesome' by Alana Paterson

Image from 'Stay Troublesome' by Alana Paterson

It’s hard to know exactly what the title of Alana Paterson’s new series of photographs – Stay Troublesome – refers to. Her beautiful images of the American landscape feel calm and composed. In many ways they’re almost the reverse of troublesome. Yet, there’s also a feeling of adventure in this series. Old maps, rucksacks and road trips hint at journeys into the unknown and they evoke a sense of moving to new places. These are images about always moving on and perhaps it’s this sense of transience that the title referees to. ‘Staying troublesome’ feels like a motto for reckless abandon. It feels like a cry for moving to new pastures and always being ready for adventure.

Certainly it seems that Alana Paterson enjoys new places. Her bio says that she’s based in Vancouver, B.C. but over the last few months she’s been to Portland, New York and New England (she even adds that she’s available to travel over the next few months too). Originally getting into photography by shooting photographs of her friends at skate parks, her portfolio is filled with a great collection of personal projects. It also includes a growing list of impressive work with clients that include brands such as Norse Stores, HUF and Brixton. You can see more of her work online here and make sure to check out the full series of Stay Troublesome on her site here. It’s a beautiful collection of photographs.

Image from 'Stay Troublesome' by Alana Paterson

Image from 'Stay Troublesome' by Alana Paterson

Image from 'Stay Troublesome' by Alana Paterson 5

Philip Kennedy

January 29, 2013 / By

2,000 plastic shapes come to life for Shugo Tokumaru’s ‘Katachi’

Shugo Tokumaru - Katachi 1

Shugo Tokumaru - Katachi

Poland-based creative duo Kijek/Adamski have done some amazing work in this new video for Katachi by the Japanese multi-instrumentalist Shugo Tokumaru. For anyone who knows the painstaking process of stop-motion animation then you’ll know exactly how impressive this video is. Made with approximately 2000 silhouettes extracted from PVC plates using a computer-controlled cutter, the video is a rush of color and a parade of movement. For Kijek/Adamski, the video is “an everlasting chain of convulsive memories”.

Tokumaru’s track itself is pretty wonderful too. Taken from his latest album In Focus?, the album was released late last year in Japan and came out in the US last week through Polyvinyl. There’s a free stream of it currently on Under The Radar which I recommend you go check out. It’s a wonderful album!

Philip Kennedy

January 28, 2013 / By

Mat Pringle Illustrates Woody Guthrie’s List of ‘New Years Rulin’s’

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulins by Mat Pringle 1+2

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulins by Mat Pringle 13+14

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulins by Mat Pringle 8+17

If you’re looking for good, honest advice then you should really look no further then the great Woody Guthrie. When it comes to self-improvement then Woody’s your man. Back on the eve of 1942 Guthrie decided to compile a list of the things he hoped to improve on over the next year and by writing it down he created a wonderfully simple guide to living a better life.

We’re big fan’s of Guthrie’s ‘New Years Rulin’s’ here on TFIB and so too is the London based illustrator and printmaker Mat Pringle. Since January 1st Mat’s been taking Guthrie’s rules and creating charming sketches based on them. It really makes the list come to life and I’ve been enjoying getting a new rule everyday throughout the month. You can check out more of these illustrated rules by visiting Mat’s blog. Who knows, you might even learn some good advice!

Philip Kennedy

January 25, 2013 / By

NODE – Beautifully Illustrated Fair-Trade Rugs

rug production sanna

chrishaughton-owl detail

NODE might just be one of my favorite design projects of the last few years. Set up by the Irish illustrator Chris Haughton and the Nepal-based entrepreneur Akshay Sthapit, the project aims to connect international designers and illustrators with crafts-people in the developing world. Based on a belief that ‘trade not aid’ is the best solution to the poverty trap, NODE has started to make a series of fair-trade rugs with crafts-people at the Kumbeshwar Technical School in Kathmandu, Nepal.

At the moment they’re working on a collection for London’s Design Museum that features 18 hand-made rugs by 18 artists. They’ve got a fantastic array of talent involved including Sanna Annukka (above), Chris Haughton (also above), Geoff McFetridge, Jon Klassen, and many more. Launching on the 5th of March, the rugs will be for sale at theDesign Museum’s shop as well as online as part of Fair Trade Fortnight.

rug production wool

It’s a wonderful project and one that becomes even more special when you find out a bit more about the Kumbeshwar Technical School. Here, employees receive a fair wage and their work also supports an adult literacy and skills training program with 6,000 graduates, a school with 260 children and an orphanage with 25 children. In the video above you can get a great insight into how the rugs are crafted but you should also read a bit more about Kumbeshwar on their website here.

It’s wonderful to see a project like this and particularly one which raises awareness with designers of the possibilities in fair trade. If you’re in London during Fair Trade Fortnight make sure to try and head along to the Design Museum and maybe even pick up a rug! More details and even times can be found online here.

Philip Kennedy

January 24, 2013 / By

‘In Pieces’ – Hyper-photographic realism and LEGO mix to amazing effect

"In Pieces" by Dean West & Nathan Sawaya 1

"In Pieces" by Dean West & Nathan Sawaya 2

"In Pieces" by Dean West & Nathan Sawaya 3

In Pieces is the name of a fantastic multi-media collaboration between the photographer Dean West and the LEGO-sculptor Nathan Sawaya. The series explores the idea that identity exists today predominantly as a cultural creation and something which has been heavily commercialized and manipulated.

West and Sawaya’s images play with the artifice of modern photography, creating hyper-real images that include amazing LEGO sculptures hidden within each picture. Attempting to discover Sawaya’s sculptures is where the fun begins, and once they reveal themselves they highlight exactly how manipulated and artificial photographs can be.

Sawaya’s sculptures are beautifully rendered and their pixelated-forms emphasize the fabricated nature of modern photography. It’s a wonderful series and a great idea. You can view the full series of photographs online at Dean West’s webiste here.

"In Pieces" by Dean West & Nathan Sawaya - details

Philip Kennedy

January 23, 2013 / By

Family Band’s ‘Moonbeams’ – A Beautiful and Haunting Video

Family Band - Moonbeams 1

Family Band - Moonbeams 2

Family Band - Moonbeams 3

I love this strange and surreal video from the Brooklyn indie-folk outfit Family Band. Directed by Sam Macon, it shows a pair of skeletons share a day together; finding love in the suburbs and put a whole new spin on the phrase “till death do us part”.

It’s a very sweet and spooky video and set against the Family Band’s mournful ballad it feels rather touching. Family Band’s album Grace & Lies was released last July on No Quarter.

Philip Kennedy

January 22, 2013 / By

Smorgasboard – A Beautifully Illustrated Board Game For Foodies

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Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 2

Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 3

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Steve Simpson - Smorgasboard 4

Smorgasboard is a fantastic new board game for foodies. The aim of the game is to be the first team of chefs to graduate from Rick’s Culinary Academy and achieve gastronomic success! To do this, teams of 2 or more are set a series of challenges which involve tasks like drawing food-related words without letting the pencil leave the paper or spotting the ‘missing ingredient’ in a classic recipe. The game has a great selection of tasks on offer and if you’re a fan of team-based board games then this is certaintly one which is well worth adding to your games cabinet.

What I like most of all about it is how it looks. Illustrated and designed by the Irish-based illustrator Steve Simpson, Smorgasboard is the type of game that really catches your eye. Filled with rich colors, great looking characters and fantastic details, it’s the sort of game which is just perfect for playing with friends that you’ve invited around for dinner. You can find out more about the game (and buy a copy) online here. And also make sure to take a look at Steve’s Behance page where he gives a great insight into the project and shows off the game in all its wonderful detail.

Philip Kennedy

January 18, 2013 / By

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