Anthony Burrill’s “I Like It. What Is It?” Is A Book You’ll Tear Through (and Apart)

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Graphic artist, print-maker, and designer, Anthony Burrill, is famous for his persuasive form of communication. His most renowned works (plus a couple new ones) have been collected together and, as of last week, published within a book, I Like It. What Is It? Not just any ol’ordinary hardback, this is meant to be read, and then torn apart and hung on your wall. It’s a fun project, but also reminds us to the current state (and possible future) of design publication.

“Burrill is a great designer because he makes you notice and appreciate truths that would otherwise remain dead and inert. His work has such resonance because it’s so true: we should all work hard and be nice.”
—Alain de Botton

Very much like an author, Burrill is an artist who works with language. But, he has found a distinct voice through the presentation of his words. He prints ‘language’ into pieces of art, so one can read his work, but also visually admire it as well. His process of image making is born of tradition, largely employing hand-made methods (screen, press, woodblock, etc.).

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It’s a craft he takes seriously, working hard to select the perfect inks and papers to print his projects onto. It’s a dedication that pays off, you can sense the diligence by simply standing in front of or holding one of his works. It’s an aspect of Burrill that I’ve always appreciated, I never fail to fill of tenacity when I gaze into the pieces hung on my wall. Famous for pieces like “Work Hard & Be Nice to People,” Burrill’s style is now a highly recognizable one, so much so that publishing a book featuring his work is a no-brainer.

 

Consisting of 30 pieces (and sticker sets), the book is a tight little bundle, oozing aesthetic. Each design is printed on 355 x 279 mm stock, giving the book some weight and a sturdy feel. The backside of every design reveals the story behind the work. Flip through looking at cool project after cool project and learn a little something a long the way too. Not bad.

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As if that’s not enough already, each piece is removable. Awesome. The book is wrapped in a manner that they’re easily detachable, the intent being you can read this book, but also use it too, affixing the works to wherever your liking.

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In this month’s Creative Review, Mark Sinclair writes about the move of graphic design publications from traditional book formats to “products.” Paper-based creations, gifts, and new formats are appearing on shelves where books sit. It’s flushing a lot of money back into publication, as publishers are discovering new and creative ways to bring life back into the market. I welcome it, as products such as Burrill’s new book are well-thought, well-executed, and an evolution. I Like It. What Is It? is a Laurence King publication and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Kudos to these folks for pushing the medium.

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I’ve always wondered about the statements in Burrill’s work. They’re bold, they’re colorful, and often carry a lightness of touch and humor. But what exactly do they mean and where do they come from? Are these his beliefs? Quotes? Something has always urked me about not knowing the origin (and intent) of many of Burrill’s messages. I can rest easy knowing that my questions will be answered within this book. The tales on the backside of each page are written by Creative Review’s Patrick Burygone; there’s sure to be many creative insights and learnings to take away.

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I Like It. What Is It? is available for a mere £19.95. A steal, if you ask me. I’ve ordered two, one for the shelf, one to tear apart and hang all over the damn place. To coincide with the release of the book, an exhibition at London’s KK Outlet will be running November 8th to the 30th. If you’re London based (or planning a trip soon), be sure to swing by and soak up the wonderful work of Anthony Burrill.

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Nick Partyka

November 12, 2013 / By

Vibrant Wooden Products by Lina Benjumea

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Lina Benjumea is a Columbian architect and artist currently living in Hong Kong after spending the past 12 years in New York. A woman of many skills, she used to work in fashion merchandising and brand consulting and has moved into product design and fine art. Lina, like more and more creative people now, isn’t easily defined by titles. She calls herself a world traveler and perhaps it is best to say that Lina is a creator inspired by the world she sees.

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She carefully hand crafts every brightly colored, pattern covered, wooden product she sells. Her work ranges from furniture and household goods to skull figures and, my personal favorite, cyclopean matryoshka dolls named The EYE Family. Most of the things she creates are recognizable as plates, stools, necklaces or whatever object it may be. Her totem-like structures, however, are more sculpture than kitchen ware. They look as though they were assembled through a playful problem solving process in search of the perfect combination.

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Fresh ideas come to Lina from her frequent travels around South America and South Asia combined with her experience in the big cities of New York and Hong Kong. It’s great to see artists reinterpret ancient cultures in updated designs. Her work would never be mistaken for tourist trap products of the sort you find in airport gift stores, but they do bring to mind foreign countries where the sun shines all year round.

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She said about her art, “I do it because it really relaxes me and keeps me centered, it’s like therapy. I am a color freak, after running for years from my roots I’ve gotten back to them with my work, which has brought me inner peace, just like meditation.” I can see how working with wood and painting such detailed patterns are peaceful activities, especially for someone whose day job and hobbies must be taxing. As a viewer though, rather than feeling more calm, I’m excited by Lina’s art and imagine having a piece on my desk would add extra vibrance to my room.

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I admire Lina’s distinctive eye-catching and modern style. Her work is attention grabbing without being overwhelming. Her work makes me want to be bolder in my color choices when designing and plan more trips to tropical places.

You can view more in her Etsy shop Nuki by Titiribi. (The name of her store pays homage to Columbia. Nuki is a city on the coast and Titiribi is a city in the Andes.) She also keeps a personal blog and Pinterest.

 

Charis Poon

November 12, 2013 / By

KAWS isn’t Toying Around With New (York) Exhibit, “Pass The Blame”

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Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, has made tough work out of 2013. From redesigning MTV’s Moonman to exhibits across select American cities, the artist has recently landed in the Big Apple, offering up “Pass the Blame.” I’ve been looking forward to this exhibit for sometime and was thrilled to finally check everything out. I’m now fully behind KAWS’ cause; there’s more going on here than just colorful cartoon references.

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Nick Partyka

November 5, 2013 / By

Keetra Dean Dixon Plays With Words in Her Series ‘Divideds’

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Divideds is the name of an installation work created in 2010 by the artist and designer Keetra Dean Dixon. Consisting of a series of colored banners, each one contains a single word boldly printed across it: IDEAL, PRETENDER, AWAY, NOWHERE. Each word is split by a zipper and viewers are encouraged to pull these words apart, letting two new words reveal themselves and for a more positive message to emerge.

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Philip Kennedy

October 9, 2013 / By

Mars-1 and Brendan Monroe collaborate on a stellar painting

Mars-1 and Brendan Monroe collaborate on a stellar painting

One of my favorite people to follow on Instagram is Mars-1, the acclaimed painter who does some of the best transcendental painting around. The other day I noticed that he did a collaborative painting with Brendan Monroe, another fantastic art, called Ascender. The piece looks like a human galaxy, swirling with colors and light. To be honest, this piece makes an amazing iPhone wallpaper, which I’m currently rocking on my own phone.

You can also snag this as a huge 24.5″ x 33.7″ print by clicking here. You can also see a more detailed version of the piece under the cut.

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Bobby Solomon

October 8, 2013 / By

Banksy hits the streets of New York with a month long project titled ‘Better Out Than In’

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For the month of October Banksy will be hitting the streets of New York, putting up a new piece every day as a part of an outdoor exhibition called Better Out Than In. He was perhaps inspired by the Cézanne quote adorned on his newly adorned site which reads, “All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.”

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Bobby Solomon

October 2, 2013 / By

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