The first time I came across Erik Olson’s work was when my sister showed me an image she had found online, it had no credit and wasn’t linked to the original painter. I put on my detective hat and set about tracking it down, doing a reverse image search that lead me to Canadian Painter Erik Olson. It’s something about the way his subjects are suspended within these bold backgrounds and the frenzied and warped feature, as if they’ve been framed in some sort of swirl and blur movement, that struck me and when the time came to put together a list of creatives I wanted to talk to; he was high up on my list.
I was also fascinated by his first solo show that was held in an abandoned gas station, I love this kind of ingenuity and it is this attitude that, it seems, has got the ball rolling for him and has seen him exhibited across Canada, America and even a spot in the UK.
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I can’t remember how I first met Designer and Art Director Sue Murphy but it was some time ago; and every now and then I check back on her work to see what she’s up to and find her in a different country. Born in Ireland she’s since racked up a fair share of air miles studying in Savannah, working in Amsterdam and of right this moment working as an Art Director for Ogilvy and Mather in New York. To begin this series of Creative Interviews I thought who better to begin with than the freckly, funny and flighty Sue.
She was also kind enough to takes some snaps of the office in New York and comment on them. I always love seeing these sorts of places, I can’t quite explain why but I find it interesting to see the environment that great work is created in.
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There’s a great interview with Woody Allen by Cal Sussman over on Esquire, where he shares some of the things he’s learned in his long and fruitful career. Lots of pearls of wisdom in it, but the quote below was my personal favorite.
My mother taught me a value — rigid discipline. My father didn’t earn enough, and my mother took care of the money and the family, and she had no time for lightness. She always saw the glass a third full. She taught me to work and not to waste time.
Photo by Mark Mann
Recently, actor Daniel Craig interviewed Radiohead/Atoms For Peace frontman Thom Yorke for Interview Magazine. It’s honestly them shooting the shit for about 5 pages but I liked hearing Yorke speak about Radiohead’s use of computers in their music making over the years. Kind of a love-hate-love experience. There are also some great photos by Craig McDean which accompany the article.
CRAIG: How did you get interested in the whole aspect of things? Were you into computers as a kid?
YORKE: Well, I came to the electronic stuff late because our band really was in the wave of rejecting a lot of it. When we were starting in ’91, ’92, there were some interesting things happening in Britain with electronic music—Warp Records was putting out some crazy shit. But a lot of the exciting things that were happening at the time were guitar music, and as band, that’s where we went. So we came back to the computer stuff later on. There was this interesting thing when we started out as a band where you had to go to a studio, so you were presented with a producer and an audience on the other side of the glass, and they called you and said, “Can you do that bit again? Can you try a different guitar?” And I always found that a bit weird because I felt that I should be with those people, in their room, doing that bit.
CRAIG: Not that you were trying to control the situation at all …
YORKE: No. It was just like, “Who the hell are you?” [both laugh] And then computers got to a point where you could just record directly into them. So when that happened, funny enough, I thought, Right, I’m going to learn how to do this because then I can understand that part. And luckily, we were working with our friend Nigel [Godrich], with whom we still work, and he was really into the idea that the areas were blurred. You know, as musicians we’re quite technical as well—especially Jonny and Colin [Greenwood]. I think Jonny actually learned how to program in C language along with my brother when he was, like, 12. I remember walking from my brother’s room in the morning and he was reading a book on how to program machine code. It was insane. That’s the kind of school we went to. I remember that the kids in school were freaking out when they could make the computer print the word “pee” or something.
See the rest of Craig McDean’s photos under the jump.
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I was first introduced to the Portland-based label Dropping Gems two years ago when they released their first compilation, Gem Drops. I was shocked. Here was a labor of love, done by friends for friends, with incredible beats and songs, and all the revenue went to the American Cancer Society. I stayed fresh and young, I got down with some kale jams (seriously), and I loved it so much I even featured a track on my Redford Rise mixtape, for all of you to enjoy.
Gem Drops Two followed the next year with the same inspired blend of tracks. Anything from synth pop, hip hop beats, ambient, drone… it was there. This was music to fall in love to, to get lost in a forest with, to make you dance in the sunshine. Once again, the proceeds went to cancer. Once again, I was smitten with the music.
Gem Drops Three came out yesterday. Many of the same things are there, but after several years, the sound is more refined. This is a labor of love. So through some help by friends of friends, I got a chance to ask label founder and Portland native Aaron Meola how he does it. And in the loving tradition of The Fox Is Black interviews, I asked him five questions about music, love, and passion.
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Came across this interview by Edan Corkill with Shigeru Ban in which they discuss his growing up, his education at Cooper Union, and his love of paper tubes. Before this article I honestly had no idea that cardboard could be so damn durable. You can read more about his practical uses of paper tubes on his Wikipedia page.
My favorite part of this piece though is at the end when Shigeru explains what’s important to him in regards to architecture.
What’s the most important thing when making architecture?
Even something that I intended as a temporary structure, like a paper church I made in Kobe in 1995, can end up being permanent. That church was relocated to Taiwan in 2006, after they had an earthquake there, and it still exists today. Ultimately, what determines the permanence of a building is not the wealth of the developer or the materials that are used, but the simple question of whether or not the resulting structure is supported — loved — by the people.
Architecture made simply for profit — even if it’s in concrete — is in fact temporary. Commercial architecture is precisely that. If it is made for making money then eventually some other developer will come along and try to make more money out of it by demolishing it and rebuilding it. And it just repeats. In that way concrete is in fact temporary.
However, if you make architecture that is loved by the people, then regardless of what it is made of, it will be kept.
Found through Spoon & Tamago
Louis C.K. painting by Cara & Louie
I’ve been seeing a lot of folks suggesting I read this interview with Louis C.K. by Dave Itzkoff from the New York Times so I figured it must be pretty good. I’m not a huge Louis C.K. fan, nothing against him, but I’ve always admired for calling out that everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy. Overall it’s a good read though it may not shed a lot of new lot on C.K. for those who are fans. But I did find a lot of wisdom in this part of the interview, which is true of any profession, including design.
Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.
Odd pairings are always interesting. Earlier today Alec Bladwin released a new episode of his podcast Here’s The Thing featuring Radiohead and Atoms For Peace frontman Thom Yorke. To me, it sounds like an incredibly odd pairing, the movie star and the rock star, trading stories and getting deep. But the end result is actually quite interesting to listen to. Baldwin is a fantastic host who can masterfully guide the conversation to get such wonderful answers out of Yorke, while Yorke actually turns out to be a delightful, chatty guest. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of either of these guys.
Found through The Scout – Thom Yorke photo by Phil Fisk