For those who’ve been following along, you may know of my ongoing fascination with the tale of Urashima Taro. For those who aren’t familiar:
It’s about a young boy who helps a sea turtle who’s being harassed by a group of children. The next day a giant sea turtle rises up from the ocean to greet Urashima Taro, who unknowingly saved the daughter of the Emperor of the Sea, Ryojin, who wants to see him to thank him. Urashima Taro is brought to the bottom of the ocean where he meets the princess again, only this time she is a beautiful maiden. He stays for a few days but then wants to go home, as his mother is ill. The princess then gives him a mysterious box called tamatebako which will protect him from harm but which she tells him never to open. When he gets back to the surface, nothing is the same – his mother and his village gone. It turns out that 300 years had passed while he was underwater, though it only felt like a few days. Distraught, he opens the box given to him by the princess, only to find that it contains his age, instantly becoming old and grayed. From the sea comes the sad, sweet voice of the princess: “I told you not to open that box. In it was your old age …”
This week is British illustrator Celine Loup, who provides the scene where Urashima meets the princess for the first time. Celine has created a fantastic illustration with tons of details. If you look at Urashima’s jacket you’ll see what I mean. It’s also great that she was able to include the fish swimming around, a subtle nod to the fact that they’re chilling underwater without being heavy handed. A big thanks to Celine for continuing the tale.
You can see the other Urashima Taro wallpapers by clicking here.
Last May, Philip posted about the work of Rob Hodgson, a British illustrator whose works have a really nice craft feeling to them. He uses a lot of intricate patterns in his work as well as having a really unique color palette. A few months back I asked him if he’d create a desktop wallpaper for the site and he happily obliged, creating the interesting scene you see above. He says:
I wanted to do something a little abstract as the background with a central focus that was a bit tighter (most people I know have a little image in the middle as their backgrounds). I’m thinking of the monitor/iphone/ipad as a kind of frame, so hopefully in real life surroundings the image will tie together like that. As for the content it’s kind of a dream place, a weird jungle I keep coming back to in my work.
I think it looks great. I love the color and the way he framed the image is really interesting and allows those people with lots of icons to have plenty of space.
Well it’s February already, if you can believe it. But they say time flies when you’re having fun, right? This month’s collaboration with Ten Paces and Draw features a combo attack from Rand Renfrow and Marisa Seguin. You may remember that Rand sketched out the January wallpaper which we featured last month. This month Marissa did the initial sketch and Rand finished everything up.
I love that this feels like a connected wallpaper from last month, like a slow iteration. I also think it’s great that they were able to include funny holiday dates in this one, as I never knew there was a Public Sleeping Day. I hope you all enjoy the wallpaper and be sure to check back next Wednesday for another desktop wallpaper.
We’ve reached the end of our beautiful ride with Denise Nouvion and her lovely photos, but I have an extra surprise in store. Along with her final wallpaper, a beautiful image of a polaroid of a bike, we have a brand new track to preview from her the band she’s in, Memoryhouse. Pretty cool, if you ask me. I want to give a huge thanks to Denise for working with me on this. I think her images are lovely and I’m so happy they’ve been added to our pool of creative desktops.
Day four of our series with Denise Nouvion has arrived, and another beautiful desktop along with it. Today’s image, for lack of a better term, is pretty epic, a cloudy mountain range off in the distance. I get a big Miyazaki vibe from this image, it’s spooky and cool. If you’re looking for an image to make you feel all zen like, this might be the one for you. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the last image in the series.
I’m a bit late in the day on this, but here is our third wallpaper from photographer Denise Nouvion. I really like today’s wallpaper because it’s so abstract and how vibrant the colors. You can clearly tell that it’s a window, but then around the edges everything gets a bit fuzzy and the whole image gets really interesting. It almost looks like oil in water, with lots of beautiful, murky colors.
You may have seen yesterday that we’ve got a special Desktop Wallpaper Project this week featuring the photos of Denise Nouvion. She takes these really dreamy photos saturated with amazing colors. Today’s wallpaper is a gem, and also happens to be the cover to her band Memoryhouse’s upcoming album, The Slideshow Effect. The double exposure is a really nice touch to this image, making it feel like it’s almost moving. And from a tech point of view, there’s lots of room to put your desktop stuff for both Mac and PC users.
We don’t work a lot with photographers on The Desktop Wallpaper Project, but when we do it tends to be a grand affair. You may remember the series we did with Kim Høltermand and his amazing images. Well this time around we have the beautiful photos of Denise Nouvion, who by the look of her photos lives in a dream world. You may also know her as one half of the group Memoryhouse, who we’ve featured on the blog several times before as we’re big fans of them.
I definitely jumped at the chance to work with Denise in an artistic way, and so we’ll be releasing her photos as desktop wallpapers all week long. Pretty cool, right? Today’s image is an idyllic field of corn, which looks pretty inviting on a rainy day like today (or at least it is here in Los Angeles). She does magical things with the color of her images, you’ll see what I mean as the week progresses. Grab this wallpaper today, but be prepared to want to change it throughout the week as we go.
Seeing as it was ice week here on TFIB I thought it was fitting to have this week’s wallpaper be equally as chilly. So I reached out on Twitter and got a response back from the wonderful Mary Kate McDevitt, who you might remember from the wallpaper she collaborated on with Ten Paces and Draw. I had an idea of having a giant iceberg, and Mary Kate totally pulled through with an amazing design. Here’s how she got to her design:
As I was brushing up on my knowledge of icebergs, I was inspired by their lonesome lifestyle just drifting off to sea and decided icebergs live a bit like hermits. Which made me think of the Bjork song “Unison,” and the lyric “I thrive best hermit style.”
I love the texture and color and type she made, this wallpaper is amazing. A huge thanks to Mary Kate for busting this out so quickly for me and doing such a wonderful job. Check back next Wednesday for a brand new Sights & Sounds series, it should be great.
I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve always been a fan of folk art. There’s a naivety and a simplicity and a beauty to it, and I think those same traits come across in today’s wallpaper from Harriet Seed. Harriet is a Brighton based illustrator who’s work reminds of old, Dutch cloth patterns. They’re brightly colored and filled with adorable critters and random fruits and the such.
I loved her patterns so much that I asked her to create one for today’s wallpaper, and I think it turned out wonderfully. I love how warm and rich the colors are, the golds and deep blues paired with the dar red is fantastic. I also love all the little critters, especially that she managed to get a little, black foxy in there. Definitely a good way to start the year.
What better way to symbolize the arrival of a new year than by swapping out that old desktop wallpaper with something new and vibrant? For the month of January, Alyssa over at Ten Paces and Draw has brought together two illustrators who’ve recently become personal favorites of mine, Julianna Brion and Rand Renfrow (can we briefly note that Rand Renfrow is the coolest name ever?).
We featured Julianna on the site rather recently and everyone went crazy for her work, so it’s great to have her on the site like this. I came across Rand’s work through my buddy Will Bryant. Rand makes these super hippy/90′s throwback illustrations which are totally fun, I especially like the characters he draws. Together they created a wallpaper that’s an idealized version of what January feels like. It’s a gorgeous scene that was first sketched out roughly by Rand, and then finished by Julianna. I think the two of them did a fantastic job. The colors are nice and bright and there’s plenty of room for your desktop icons.
A huge thanks to Alyssa for yet again teaming up a super rad pair of illustrators and to Julianna and Rand for killing it. I can’t wait for February already!
It’s nearly X-Mas, so why not celebrate the holidays with penguins and jellies? This week we have British illustrator Eda Akaltun at the helm, and I think she’s done a wonderful job. Her work uses a lot of found images mixed together with bright colors and random shapes, creating a timeless but nostalgic feeling.
For her wallpaper, she took a wrapping paper design she created for Nobrow and wallpaper-ized it for us. The result is pretty cute, and would probably look awesome on your mom’s monitor. Just change it for you, she’ll be so excited! A big thanks to Eda for a beautiful wallpaper, and check back next week for something special.
This week on the DWP we have a very special artist that I’m really lucky to have be a part of the project. Sol Lewitt was an American artist known for his minimal and conceptual work, creating both paintings and sculptures that are always amazing to see. But he was also an avid photographer and took a number of photographs of New York’s Lower East Side taken back in 1979. Morgans Hotel Group, along with Paula Cooper Gallery, are currently displaying 120 of the photos on the side of the Mondrian Soho in New York. Awesome for us, the folks at Morgans approached me about using some of the photos for a wallpaper, and of course I said yes.
It’s pretty fantastic to see the world of late 70′s New York through the eyes of such an artistic genius. As I was selecting images I couldn’t help but wonder what drove him to shoot some of these photos. Was it the colors? The naturally beautiful compositions of some haphazard posters, wheat pasted to a wall? Also, when I look at the layout of the photos, I can’t help but think of how much it looks like Instagram, only 30 years removed.
I hope you enjoy the wallpaper, and check back next week for a winter-y, adorable wallpaper.
Today’s wallpaper from Jesse Tise just might make your eyes melt, and that’s why I love it. I’ve become buddies with Jesse over the last few months because he had sent me a few things in the mail, and they were totally awesome. He also happens to live and work in South Pasadena, so he’s a local to boot. His work is great because it’s so bright and fun, and always has space monsters or kaiju or abstract landscapes. His wallpaper reflects all of these, and he was even kind enough to make some icons for the wallpaper, which you can download by clicking here.
A big thanks to Jesse for making a rad wallpaper. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for something completely opposite, and totally brilliant.
I had planned on posting this yesterday, but unfortunately I had some crazy Internet outages and couldn’t find the time. Nonetheless, our monthly wallpaper from the gang at Ten Paces and Draw yet again does not disappoint. This month we’ve got the combined talents of Mary Kate McDevitt and Jen Mussari, two very talented women who we’ve featured on the site before. This month it was Mary Kate who came up with the original sketch, and Jen who decided to take her sketch a step further and cut the whole thing out. In her own words:
This time I wanted to conceptualize Mary Kate McDevitt’s sketch in a way that she probably wasn’t expecting when she originally drew it. I altered the typography slightly and added decorative elements that are more in line with my personal style and went through a couple X-ACTO blades to get it just right. I had Jonnie (Jen’s boyfriend) photograph it in such a way that it almost looks digital, until you start to notice the imperfections in cutting.
I love what they did with December because it’s got so much texture and life to it. Plus it doesn’t succumb to any of the trappings of traditional holiday designs, just some amazing typography and some precision with an x-acto knife!
It might be winter in the northern hemisphere but today’s wallpaper from Tymn Armstrong is a welcoming, sunny image. Tymn is a Florida based illustrator and designer who’s work is clean, bold and simple. Projects like the logo he did for video artist Pogo are inventive and timeless looking, and the physical stuff he makes are totally rad. I really love his wallpaper because it’s so warm and cheery. I put this as my wallpaper and it literally glows, it’s really, really nice. A big thanks to Tymn for making this!
This week was an off week because I actually didn’t have any wallpapers that I thought were ready, so I decided to make one myself. There isn’t really any backstory to this, I was just trying to make something that was simple and work well as the background to your computer/devices. I used my secret asset, a corner of the internet with the most awesome, random imagery, and was able to massage it into what you see above. It seems like some sort of fake fashion label or something, but it’s all made up! I hope you all dig it.
A few weeks ago I posted a wallpaper from Dan Matutina which illustrated a scene from the story, Urashima Taro. I’m pretty intrigued by the story, so I took to Twitter to see if anyone else would be interested in illustrating the story, and I had some pretty great people reach out. The first was Juan Chavarria Jr., an illustrator from San Diego who has a really unique, minimal style.
He illustrated the scene where Urashima Taro opens the tamatebako, instantly turning him into an old man. The subtlety to this piece is what sells it for me. You don’t need to see Urashima to know that something bad has happened. A huge thanks to Juan for doing such a great job on this, I’ll keep posting more of these as I get them.
Click Here to view the original post.
Here’s what Alex Synge had to say about his wallpaper:
I love the album, and know it well from repeated listens over the years, and maybe this was a factor in making it hard for me to come up with something that I thought could do it some justice with. Initially I was thinking about the name “isn’t anything” – about nothingness, black-holes and vacuums in space – as well how lush and dreamy MBV sound musically. Perhaps a little bit obvious, but I went with it for a while to see what I came up with. I was playing around with photos of space featuring black-holes, photocopying them repeatedly and scanning them. Some of it looked OK, but not especially interesting or unique. I was also a bit worried that a desktop featuring black-holes and distant galaxies, etc. might look a bit close to default desktop on an off-the-shelf computer.
So I went back to the drawing-board, and was reading up on the album; how and when it was recorded, when it was released, etc. Something that has always jumped out to me about MBV’s music is the duality in it; how two sometimes seemingly opposing elements join together. Kevin Shields describes their music as being “pure noise and pure melody”. Even song-titles on the album like “Soft as Snow (but Warm Inside)”, “I Can See It (but I Can’t Feel It)” and “(When You Wake) You’re Still in a Dream” stress this mix of marrying opposites. I love how they talk about their sound; despite how insanely loud the guitars are, how they try to make them sounds like ghosts of themselves by using reverse reverb:
“The thing is, the sound literally isn’t all there,” Shields explained. “It’s actually the opposite of rock’n'roll. It’s taking all the guts out of it, there’s just the remnants, the outline.” Isn’t Anything’s engineer Dave Anderson later claimed that Shields had got him to erase all the actual playing from the record and keep only the reverse reverb after-image of the chord-strum. The technicalities of how MBV got their unique sound are secrets that a legion of bands scrabbled to work out in the years following Isn’t Anything. What matters–then and now–is the effect on the listener, and why it struck such a resonant chord with audiences at that point in pop history. As Butcher explained to me, “It’s like that bit in the middle of “You Made Me Realise”, where it just levitates. You know it’s there, and you know it’s coming, but when it happens, half the time you forget it’s on. Your mind completely wanders, you forget it, then you remember it.” – Spin Magazine
So with the imagery, I wanted to allude to some kind of a duality as well, and to combine two very different worlds. “Isn’t Anything” was released on the 1st November 1988 – this day also marks Mexican “Day of the Dead” (Día de los Muertos) – a two-day festival when friends and family gather to remember loved-ones who have passed away. Even though my knowledge of the festival is very scant, I thought it could be nice to reference it in some way in the work, especially as we’re now aiming to release our wallpapers around that time (close to when “Loveless” was released as well). During the festival, the dead are honoured with sugar skulls and marigolds, among other things. I love skull imagery, but given that you see it everywhere these days, and that there are countless people with much more skill than me who draw and render amazing images of skulls, I thought I’d turn to margigolds:
“Its flower, the cempasúchil is also called the flor de muertos (“flower of the dead”) in Mexico and is used in the Día de los Muertos celebration every November 2nd. The word cempasúchil (also spelled cempazúchil) comes from the Nahuatl term for the flower zempoalxochitl, literally translated as “twenty flower”. In Thai language it is called DaoRuang, literally translated as “star glittering”. Water infused with the fragrant essential oil of the flower was used to wash corpses inHonduras, and the flower is still commonly planted in cemeteries.”
I love that the Thai translation of their name for the flower is “star glittering”. A lovely way to talk about MBV’s music too I suppose. I was thinking back to the initial imagery of space, and tying that back into it. I picked up a beautiful (and amazingly cheap) old French lithograph of a marigold off eBay, along with an old National Geographic space-themed issue from 1983, and set about making a collage. This is the result…
My incredibly-long winded explanation aside; it’s a collage of flowers and stars that I hope in some way captures the spirit and feel of an album I love.
Anniversaries are always good occasions to celebrate, so why not the 23rd and 20th anniversary of a pair of classic albums? Today’s wallpapers are technically Sights & Sounds installments, but done in one amazing post. The albums I’m speaking of are Isn’t Anything and Loveless from the Irish band, My Bloody Valentine.
With the release of these albums they helped to usher in the idea of shoegaze, which was defined by band members staring down at their feet as they used effects pedals to create a blaring cacophony of sound. With the release of Isn’t Anything back in 1988 My Bloody Valentine the band had managed to find the sweet spot of Jesus and Mary Chain, the wail of Sonic Youth and make something quite their own. With the follow up in 1991 of Loveless, they refined that sound to a new level and made one of the most revered album of the last 20 years. You can hear their sound in many bands today, M83 being a great example, and just how important they were to the generations that followed.
Figuring out who to get to make these wallpapers was a cinch, since our very own TFIB author Philip Kennedy is Irish. He, along with his buddy Alex Synge, tackled My Bloody Valentine’s only two albums, and they did a fantastic job. Alex’s design is stunning, it honestly makes me think of something Peter Saville might have come up with for a New Order album, minus the crazy color coding system. Philip’s wallpaper is a perfect representation of Loveless, simply put, it’s a beautiful mess.
The guys also put some of their thoughts down as to why they created their wallpapers, I’d suggest reading them both, especially Alex’s. He went into crazy detail and gives you so much insight into his production.