The illustrations of Graham Samuels

Illustrations by Graham Samuels

Young Folks

Illustrations by Graham Samuels

First it was the album cover for Peter Bjorn and John’s Writers Block. Then came the music video for Young Folks. After that it was the cover and illustrations in Stuart Murdoch’s book The Celestial Café. Every time I see an illustration by Graham Samuels I love it.

Originally from England but now based in Sweden, Graham’s illustrations often come with a nostalgic sensibility. This is informed by his love of vintage commercial art and his collection of old records, paperback and comics. Over the years he’s worked on numerous illustration projects including advertising and editorial work, as well as books and animation projects. You can see more of what he does online here.

Philip Kennedy

March 2, 2012 / By

Photographs of the ‘Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale’ by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

Photographs of the 'Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale' by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

I hadn’t heard of France’s Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale until discovering the work of Paris-based photographer Shane Lynam. Originally opened in 1907, the gardens were once home to a colonial exhibition, an international event which hoped to boost trade with France’s colonial empires.

It was here that six distinct villages were built – one from Madagascar, one from Congo, one from Sudan, and others from Tunisia, Morocco and Indochine. These villiages were horrifically populated with inhabitants, monuments and product all taken from these territories. In another words, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale was a ‘human zoo’.

It seems shocking to think that this sort of thing existed, but colonial exhibits were a big part of early 20th Century European history. Indeed, it’s said that one million people attended the 1907 exhibition in Paris, and French historian Pascal Blanchard estimates that one and a half billion people visited universal or colonial exhibits throughout the world from 1870 to 1930.

Today, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale is a different place. Over time, parts have become vandalized and burned. The French authorities simply neglect it. Buildings remain abandoned and the exotic plantations have disappeared altogether.

Despite what you might feel should be done to a place like this, it’s understandable that France has it’s hands tied. If they restore it, many would say that they were paying service to a part of their history that doesn’t deserve to be commemorated. Yet destroying it would feel like they were attempting to cover up their past. And so, for now, it remains. Standing as a ghost town, haunted by the spirits of it’s past.

More photos from Shane’s series can be viewed here.

Philip Kennedy

February 29, 2012 / By

Record cover designs by Nathaniel Russell

Record cover designs by Nathaniel Russell

Nathaniel Russell Record Cover - Ruthann Friedman, White Dove

Indianapolis-native Nathaniel Russell is an artist with many strings to his bow. Not content with simply drawing and making prints, he also makes shirts, bags, sculptures and posters. On top of that he’s even got his own band, Birds Of America, who sound really good. Oh, and did I mention that he also designs record covers for great bands such as Port O’Brien and Vetiver? All-round he seems like a really talented chap.

His record cover designs are particularly great. His folky lettering is really nice and the way that he combines text with image feels just perfect. It’s a look which also really suits the bands he makes artwork for. Make sure to check out more of his work online by clicking here.

Philip Kennedy

February 28, 2012 / By

Lisa Hannigan’s ‘Safe Travels (Don’t Die)’ Video by Cliona O’Flaherty & Chris Judge

Safe Travels (Don't Die) by Lisa Hannigan

Safe Travels (Don't Die) by Lisa Hannigan

Irish photographer Clíona O’Flaherty and illustrator Chris Judge recently collaborated in producing and directing a really sweet music video for the singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan. The track is called Safe Travels and the video shows a man making his way across the country to meet with his companion. It all looks amazing and I really like the stylized feel of the imagined rural Ireland of the 1950’s and 60’s.

The central character is adorable and I’m particularly taken by how successful the collaboration is at combining the warmth and beauty of Clíona’s photography with the wit and whimsy of Chris’s illustrations. It just works really well! They’re a perfect duo and I’d love to see more work from them in the future.

Safe Travels is taken from Lisa Hannigan’s album Passenger.

Philip Kennedy

February 27, 2012 / By

‘Divers’, A short animation by Paris Mavroidis

'Divers', A short animation by Paris Mavroidis

'Divers', A short animation by Paris Mavroidis

This week in Dublin I’ve been spending most of my free time enjoying our annual film festival. There’s nothing quite like throwing caution to the wind and seeing a bunch of films you normally wouldn’t get the chance to see anywhere else. Over the years, I’ve been to a number of film festivals and one of my favorite screenings was an evening of animated shorts curated by the Irish/UK collective Synth Eastwood. It was during this screening that I got to see Paris Mavroidis’s wonderful short, Divers.

Paris describes the film as an experimental animation and says that he was inspired by Busby Berkeley, mass gymnastics and experimental cinema from the 20s and 30s. Created while he pursued an MFA in Digital Arts at Pratt, the film is a wonderful slice of animation and I also reckon that it fits rather nicely with the Niki & The Dove video I posted earlier this week.

Philip Kennedy

February 23, 2012 / By

Beautiful music posters by Timothy Farrell

Laura Marling poster by Tim Farrell

ASIWYFA poster by Tim Farrell

LaFaro poster by Tim Farrell

I discovered the work of Timothy Farrell through his sharp editorial design for the Belfast-based AU magazine. I was intrigued to see more of what he does, so I checked out his portfolio and I’m happy to say that the rest of his work doesn’t disappoint. I could really share any number of his projects with you but it’s his music posters that really caught my eye.

Crisp, clean and beautiful imagery – Tim’s posters are the type of thing you’d love to buy at the merch-stand of your favorite band. I’m particularly fond of his poster for Laura Marling’s Summer tour, which you can see at top. Not only is it a beautiful image, but I think it translates the feeling of Marling’s music quite well. The image was also rolled out across t-shirts and tote bags, which I can imagine worked nicely as well.

You can check out more of what Tim does online here.

Philip Kennedy

February 22, 2012 / By

‘These pixels are making me thirsty’ – A Seinfeld Tribute by Nathan Manire

'These pixels are making me thirsty' - A Seinfeld Tribute by Nathan Manire

'These pixels are making me thirsty' - A Seinfeld Tribute by Nathan Manire

'These pixels are making me thirsty' - A Seinfeld Tribute by Nathan Manire

I’m a big Seinfeld fan so when I saw Nathan Manire’s excellent tribute to the iconic 90’s television series I couldn’t help but share it! It’s a great-looking print, and trying to spot all the references that it makes is a lot of fun.

Nathan is a graphic-designer and illustrator from Michigan who currently lives and works in New York. His portfolio has a number of interesting projects in it, including some really nice portraiture which is also well worth checking out.

The print above is currently for sale through his website and I think its title, ‘These pixels are making me thirsty’ really deserves some kudos! If ever the title of a print needed to be screamed out loud in your best George Costanza impersonation, it’s this one!

Philip Kennedy

February 21, 2012 / By

Wintr’s video for ‘The Fox’ by Niki & The Dove

Niki & The Dove - The Fox

Niki & The Dove - The Fox

Swedish electric duo Niki & The Dove recently released a video for their latest track The Fox, and it really is a thing of beauty. Created by the Seattle-based Wintr and filled with beautiful shapes, color and motion, the video shows a creature with the head of a fox in free-fall as it hurls towards the ground.

It’s a simple (if surreal) concept, but Wintr keep it totally engaging, filling it with all sorts of odd and crazy imagery. I’m normally not one to get too excited about videos that feel overtly 3D or are synthetic heavy but this really works and I think it’s well worth checking out.

Philip Kennedy

February 20, 2012 / By

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