These beautiful illustrations are taken from Canadian illustrator Jacqui Lee’s children’s book The Story of Joseph-Armand Bombardier. The book tells the story of the Canadian inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a mostly self-taught inventor who is famous for pioneering the development of the snowmobile. Coming across Jacqui Lee’s book was the first time that I had heard of Bombardier and he sounds like a really fascinating character. For example, in 1922 – at the age of just fifteen – he built his first prototype snowmobile.
I also really love Jacqui Lee’s style of illustration and I particularly like the notion of a biographical book aimed at children. Her use of inks and watercolors are also really nice, which work really well with the feel of the book. Make sure to take a look at her online portfolio where you’ll find more work which is well worth checking out.
I’ve seen the paintings of Alex Gross before. You probably have, too. One sits on the cover of the Blonde Redhead’s album 23. Another can be seen looking bug-eyed on the front of Haruki Murakami’s After Dark. They’re haunting chunks of pop surrealism and as an introduction to the bizarreness of Gross’ style, they seem to only skim the surface.
Alex Gross is originally from New York, but he now lives and works in LA. For me, his style of work sits well with the Lowbrow art movement of the city. His oil paintings are creepy, and at times, almost garish – and yet I find them to be captivating and intriguing. He’s a talented painter and his work seems to be both informed by and commenting on how our visual culture has become so consumed by globalization and capitalism. Much of what he paints seems to laugh back at our perceived notions of beauty and art and by doing so he creates unsettling images that are dark and twisted. Why not take a look at more of his work online here?
As a side-note for those in New York who wish to see more of Gross’s work, his new solo show entitled Product Placement opens at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery on Feb 25th.
A few years ago, my girlfriend and I spent a month traveling through southern Scandinavia. It was one of those great trips. The weather was amazing, the cities were perfect, and the music was pure indie-pop. It’s the type of sound which the Scandinavians do so well. Take Finnish indie-pop trio Regina, for example. I recently discovered them when browsing through the excellent Pitchfork TV and I’ve had them on steady rotation for the rest of the day.
Not only do they sound great, but their videos take me right back to that summer I spent backpacking around the sunny Nordic countryside. Their sound reminds me of a more dream-pop version of Stereolab, and I love the fact that they sing in their native Finnish. The video above is part one of a three-part series filmed by Osma Harvilahti, and part two is available on the band’s Vimeo page. They videos are nicely shot and suit the fun feel of the music. I’m looking forward to part three already.
Beijing-based artist and creative director Nod Young has a great portfolio filled with beautiful personal projects as well as commercial work for the likes of NIKE, Adidas and Coca Cola. My favorite piece of his might be this typographical project, The Puti Tree.
Based on the text of two poems from the Zen Buddhist tome Platform Sutra, The Puti Tree teaches “not to believe all that which exists, not even the reflection of ourselves in a mirror”. It’s a teaching that hopes to bring a state of Zen. According to the poem, one must attempt to release themselves from the perceived limitations of existence. For Young, this is also something that can help bring creative freedom. “It is difficult to achieve true creative freedom”, he said when discussing this work, “we are overly concerned with aesthetics and meaning.” For Young, these poems bring a sense of clarity. I feel he reflects this beautifully in the work, pairing down the words to their most basic visual elements.
More about Nod Young’s work can be seen on his website. Prints are also available on that page.
Before watching this video, I had no idea what it was about. After watching this video, I still don’t think I have any idea what it was about. The only things I know for sure is that it’s crazy, and I love it.
Entitled My…My…, it’s the work of 26-year-old Chinese animation artist Lei Lei. In 2005, Lei founded his own animation group called Raydesign and ever since he’s been producing some pretty far-out animated shorts. I’m particularly taken by the great colors and textures in this video, as well as the terrific soundtrack that accompanies it. They really come together to form a truly psychedelic experience. As for what it’s all about, I’m still not really sure! Maybe it’s best to just leave you with the set-up that Lei includes with the film: “One day. I found my naked. Where is my clothes?”
Wow! The drawings of the Beijing-based artist Na Zhao are just incredible. The detail in which she works is difficult to comprehend, and it’s hard to imagine the scale that these images exhibit in real life. Apart from the pure craftsmanship of what she does, Na Zhao’s work also looks incredible. Her images are surreal and beautiful.
The two pieces of work above are particularly mind-blowing. Both entitled Come With Me, they feel as fantastical as they do profound. Both show a girl and a large herd of animals as they stand in transit upon a short moving walkway. Na Zhao’s gentle pencil work and delicate use of color, create powerful images that will no doubt stun and amaze.
Yang Yongliang is a Chinese photographer and painter from Shanghai. He originally studied traditional art at a young age and this training has greatly informed his current practice. The images above come from a series based on Shan shui paintings. These type of paintings stem from a history that goes back more than 1,500 years ago and the images often depict scenes of natural landscapes and beautiful scenery. It’s a tradition that demands a rigorous set of requirements in the hopes of creating the perfect combination of balance, composition, and form.
Yang Yongliang’s work takes these requirements and then turns them on their head – tranquil surroundings become chaotic landscapes as old trees become large skyscrapers and gentle mists become billowing smoke. The finished result creates powerful and contemporary images that speak of the modern world and the concerns of our time. More of his work can be seen online here.
Victor, Fly Me to Stafford is a song by the Hong Kong indie-pop duo My Little Airport. The band was formed by Ah P (Lam Pang) and Nicole (Nicole Au Kin-ying) who met in college in 2001, and occasionally the duo invite friends and relatives to contribute to their albums and even their live shows.
In 2007, the Spanish label Elefant Records released a compilation of the highlights from their two previous albums and it’s well worth checking out. They’re a fun and joyful band and despite their twee-pop sensibilities, they often write songs with strong social and political themes, as well. Victor, Fly Me to Stafford shows off what I like most about them; Nicole’s sweet voice twined with Ah P’s electro-pop casio. If you like what you hear make sure to check out their compilation.