When I started The Desktop Wallpaper Project back in 2008 my goal was to elevate this sort of mundane yet essential space that we stare at day after day. The most iconic example of the desktop wallpaper is obviously is Bliss (it has it’s own Wikipedia page), an image that was shot by Charles O’Rear and was included with every copy of Windows XP.
I decided to ask the artists, designers, and creators that I respected to create works that would bring style and life to the desktop, and eventually devices like iPhones and iPads. Now I see numerous blogs, record labels, and even major brands doing the same, which I think I can take a little credit for.
Continuing this ideal we have a wallpaper by Melbourne designer and illustrator Spencer Harrison. His series of patterns, all featuring vivid colors and playful shapes, was something that really worked for the feeling I’ve been trying to achieve lately with the site. The repeating pattern is a series of leaves in a subdued color palette of rust, a cornflower blue, and a pleasant warm grey. Having this pattern on my Macbook and iPhone is great, but I’d love to have this lining the walls of my apartment.
Designer by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Molly Walsh and her lovely work caught my eye because of it’s playfulness and charming character. A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she’s highly influenced by personal stories, feminism, and the great outdoors, which shape the things she chooses to draw.
Molly and I worked together to find a subject that worked well with her style and reflected the feeling of the site. What she created was a pattern based on her idea of a perfect summer day, which involves eating, sleeping, and general outdoor laziness, conveyed through characters and colors. Her vision of summer totally aligns with mine. All I want is to eat, drink, and hang out with dogs.
Slowly but surely I’ve been trying to change the voice and vision of The Fox Is Black. For the past year it hasn’t quite felt like me “now”, it’s felt like the me of 3 or 4 years ago. I’ve changed, as has my taste. As a part of this endeavor I knew that the Desktop Wallpaper Project also needed to change so I’ve been working with some artists on creating a revised vision.
The first person I collaborated with is artist Michael Olivo. He’s based in Oakland and works in a number of mediums such as animation, mural painting, print-making, graphic design, and video art. Visually, his forms flow amidst built structures to organic figures to ephemeral wisps of movement, often rendered in either stark black and white or highly saturated colors. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper:
This piece was inspired by some notes my brother gave me on a concept album he’s working on in the sci-fi vein. One chapter involved a large giant being destroyed and his bones becoming satellite planets over a long period of time. So this image is basically the transition period where the fragmented skeleton is floating in space, and that strange skull face is a ghostly afterimage or an essence of some sort.
I love the energy of this piece and the color palette is striking. I’ve had this piece as my wallpaper for the past week or so and I was surprised at how well it works as a background. I see this as a piece of fine art that greets you every time you open your computer. A big thanks to Michael for such great work.
Boulder based designer and illustrator Dan Lehman has created a brilliant homage to Wes Andersen’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s collected together the miscellaneous detritus that usually fills an Andersen film, objects like wine, bread, a dead cat, and of course, the throat slitter. Dan’s even cleared some space on the desktop versions of the wallpaper so you’ve got plenty of room for your icons (sorry Windows users).
It’s easy to enjoy Jesse LeDoux‘s work. He has this colorful, fun sensibility that he often applies to friendly looking monsters and musical illustrations. He can get a bit experimental and isn’t confined by one medium: he’s a dude always shifting up how he works and what he is working on. (And recently when I think of his name I think of a certain True Detective character.)
That’s why it’s exciting to feature LeDoux in The Desktop Wallpaper Project because it’s not something that you would expect from him. It’s very much his style and features friendly monsters but he went in another direction, crumpling up the image he made to be the image. It’s a wordless “Keep at it, people.” motivational statement and it suggest the beauties and successes of things that don’t quite work out as planned. If you need a little pep in how you are working, this is a wallpaper for you.
Spring has totally sprung here in LA and we’re reaching temperatures between 80º and 90º, aka my heaven. I figured that it was totally fitting then that we feature this incredibly beautiful wallpaper by Jensine Eckwall, which feels to me like spring incarnate.
Jensine is a Brooklyn based artist/illustrator who loves to create pieces that are “delicate, nervous, and richly textured illustrations about women, relationships, psychology, and other fun(?) stuff.” And as you can see above these themes are incredibly painted with so many great details. Love all the plants and vegetables, and especially the dog!
Spiros Halaris is a London based illustrator who we’ve featured on the site before for his incredible illustrations. I was such a fan in fact that I had to reach out to him to see if he’d create a wallpaper for the site and he graciously obliged.
What he came up with was a fantastic interior scene, with lots of bric-a-brac and a lovely patterned wallpaper. The way he integrated the blue, yellowish wash to certain pieces is subtle and captivating. I feel like it’s a really nice wallpaper now that spring is here. A big thanks to Spiros for creating such a great piece.
Dan Christofferson is an illustrator, painter, and designer from Salt Lake City who also goes by the name Beeteeth (which I think is pretty rad). He creates these really detailed illustrations and designs drawing on “cryptic symbols from early Utah and Mormon history to illustrate stories of exile, industry, and the parched, sunburnt west.” Badass.
His wallpaper is this beautiful bunch of bones and flowers intermingled with the phrase, “All of my bones are broken.” The combination is both morose yet beautiful, and in practical terms works great as a wallpaper (I’m currently using it). Thanks Dan!
When it comes to contemporary Danish graphic design there’s no one better than Hvass&Hannibal. Made up of Sofie Hannibal and Nan Na Hvass, the duo’s style is a great combination between minimal design and a craft-centric sensibility. Being such a big fan of their work I had to see if they’d put together a wallpaper, and thankfully they said yes!
What they created was this beautiful image, a collage of snakes and apples reminiscent of an age old tale (but of course, with a modern look and feeling). I’m obsessed with the marbling effect, which was hand-done by artist Jody Barton, and I love the way each piece comes together. Be sure to check out all of the different sizes as they each have a unique arrangement to them.
When you think of people who are “Instagram famous” you’re probably imagining a photographer. Well Daniel Patrick Simmons is “Instagram famous” but not because of his photos, it’s for his remarkable lettering. What’s even more remarkable is his personal story, the 5 minute version being that he left a good job at Apple to follow his passion for lettering and it’s paying off.
He was nice enough to create an awesome wallpaper for today featuring one of his favorite Pablo Picasso quotes, which says “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Too true. I love that he chose to shoot his entire process on a desktop, showing the time and work he put into his piece. Don’t forget to follow him on Instagram where he posts lots of behind-the-scenes photos of his work in process.
I’m oftentimes spoiled by the super creative people I get to collaborate with on The Desktop Wallpaper Project. Sometimes people reach out to me and ask if they can participate, but I can’t always say yes. Most often I write the people who I think are creating amazing things and see if they’d be interested in working together. Today is one of those days where I’m astonished by the high level of quality put into this wallpaper.
It comes from Matt Luckhurst, a designer and illustrator who currently resides in San Francisco. He’s a 2012 ADC Young Guns recipient, he’s illustrated a book about Paul Bunyan, and an all around mega creative guy. For his wallpaper he’s done a series of abstract nude figures, beautifully rendered in warm yellows and oranges with splashes of blue to make it all pop. This is an incredible work of art, and I have to give major props to Matt for creating something this beautiful.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the desert, Palm Springs in particular. Kyle and the dogs and I drive the two hour trip about every two months to get away from the daily hustle and relax poolside, blue drinks in hand. Another aspect I love about the desert is the amazing plant life it supports. Th diversity of plants is extraordinary and most of the time these plants look like something you’d find under the ocean, not in the middle of the desert. I’m pretty sure that Jacob Zinman-Jeanes, a Melbourne based illustrator and designer, would love these plants as much as I do, based on this week’s wallpaper which he created.
This cactus filled wallpaper is amazing, featuring all sorts of amazing varieties and that color palette! So great. Perhaps this is Jacob’s secret dream life, to grow cacti and desert plants, shucking the day-to-day grind that so many of us want to escape?
Love. It’s a double edged sword. Both wonderful and painful, we can’t live with it and we can’t live without it. As an optimist and a romantic, I find Valentine’s Day to be a rather wonderful time, able to show the one I love how much they mean. I also think it’s a way to show how much you mean to me, dear reader, and so I’ve worked with Ben Wallis on crafting a heartfelt wallpaper for this special time. You might remember Ben, he won our Re-Covered Books contest for his awesome Harry Potter cover. He’s working towards doing illustration full-time, which I definitely support.
He calls his wallpaper Cutaway Lovers, two lovers that are divided into skin, bones, guts, and spirit. At the center they share the same heart. As he says, “I like the idea of this being a fun cutesy valentines drawing, but with weird guts and gore.” Ditto. Love is amazing but it can also be quite honest and messy.
There’s something quite alluring about maritime signal flags, especially as a designer. The elaborate series of shapes with associated meanings are incredibly functional but also look beautiful from an outsiders point of view. This is certainly a part of the reason why Always With Honor and Scribble Tone have created Flagsmith, a flag building typeface.
All of the flags in the wallpapers were made with Flagsmith, a flag building typeface we created in collaboration with Scribble Tone. Flagsmith utilizes Opentype to transform words into shapes and patterns that can be layered and combined to create a myriad of distinct flags.
There’s always been something very satisfying about the simple arrangement of shapes, pattern and color found in flags that have the power to evoke so much. We aimed to create a system that focused on the joy of building and discovering that perfect balance with such simple elements.
You can also snag a wooden block version of Flagsmith which includes 6 blocks printed on each side with a solid or pattern found in the typeface.
When my friend Hamish said he was making art prints of “kittens playing with kale” I thought he’d finally lost it. I mean, kittens are always adorable, and everyone on earth but me seems to be obsessed with kale, so it could certainly work. What he ended up with was slightly genius.
Kittens & Kale is a celebration of youthful felines and tasty fronds. A loosely bound series of art prints depicting rescued kittens and kale recipes produced to celebrate Printed Matter’s second LA Art Book Fair (Jan 30th – Feb 2nd at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary). $5 from each sale will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society, the rescue and welfare organization dedicated to making Los Angeles a 100% no-kill city.
The project is a collaboration between Claire Cottrell, Lauren Spencer King, Hamish Robertson, and Andi Teran, featuring ten 5″ x 7″ prints of recently rescued kittens frolicking with kale accompanied by their adoption stories, and artfully-captured fronds of kale backed by recipes from Los Angeles restaurants Alma, Forage, Heirloom LA, Moon Juice, and Cookbook.
If you’re interested there’s a nice preview of the Kittens & Kale prints over on Los Angeles, I’m Yours.
Chicago based illustrator and designer Mike Dornseif is a phenomenal talent, able to firmly stride between both mediums with relative ease. Mike got in touch with me about the DWP and I loved his work because of his bold use of color, his knack for creating perfect patterns, and the overall joy you can feel in everything he does.
For our wallpaper this week he’s created a lovely graphic pattern that’s an abstract nod to the past. I think the colors he chose are phenomenal and the subtle texture that runs throughout really gives the piece a vintage feeling.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new wallpaper.
The older I get the more plants I want in my life. I’m not sure why this phenomenon is happening but I think it’s a nice change, it makes me feel calm. When I received an email from Seattle designer and photographer Kim Hamlet, I looked through her portfolio of photos and found a ton of great work.
When taking pictures, I am especially drawn to nature: natural landscapes and occurrences of nature overtaking manmade structures. As a result, ivy has emerged as a recurring theme during photo walks. All photos are 35mm film, taken with a fully manual camera.
So why not turn one of those beautiful photos into a wallpaper? I picked out this mysterious photo that reminds me of something from Spirited Away. The colors, the mood, and the composition make you wonder about the stairs endpoint, and it still works really well as a desktop (I have my 27″ monitor currently outfitted with it).
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new wallpaper.
BJ Heinley is an Austin based designer and illustrator who has a passion for pixels. He recently sent me an email showing some of his pixel-based work and I had to say I was impressed. My favorite was this piece he did called Nightpix, a pixelated homage to Edward Hopper’s classic painting Nighthawks. It’s incredible that he was able to simplify such a complex painting so faithfully, and I figured it would make a great background.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new wallpaper.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has ambitious plans for 2014. I have a good feeling about this year. To set the year in motion properly it’s also fitting to change the background of your phone or tablet (as well as your desktop) so a beautiful new wallpaper is in order. Thankfully I recently received an email from the super talented Dan Funderburgh, Brooklyn based illustrator and artist, who was stoked to create the first wallpaper of 2014.
What Dan sent over was a wallpaper featuring his signature style, detailed tools and objects, but done as CG 3D objects. I love how so many random objects were created, yet the piece overall feels really coherent and almost like it’s a part of a larger pattern. Dan wants to thanks 4DThieves for providing the lovely rendering and artful tricknology.
Happy New Year yet again, and check back next Wednesday for another wallpaper.
The holidays mean something unique to all of us. Could be latkes for some or gingerbread houses for others, but it’s a special time for many of us in the northern hemisphere. So we’re adding to the festive feeling with this elegant wallpaper from the guys at Geo A Day, Danny Jones and Jeremiah Shaw.
On their site they create some really amazing geometric pieces of art which will blow your mind. Geometric Pop-Tarts and eggs, abstract explosions of polys, you name it, they’ve done it. To doll up your desktop though, they’ve created this super minimal wallpaper with a fantastic candy cane “Cheer” splashed across the top. I wouldn’t normally use a holiday wallpaper but this is too good not to use.
This is our last wallpaper of the year! Be sure to check back New Years Day for a new wallpaper.