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.
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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.
I’m a bit late on this, I meant to post it earlier in the day, but it’s still nearly the first of November so it still counts! As I mentioned last month, I’ll be posting a monthly wallpaper to adorn your desktop thanks to the super talented Alyssa Nassner of Ten Paces and Draw and her trusty partner-in-crime, which will rotate from month to month. For November she’s joined by Mary Kate McDevitt, a Philadelphia based illustrator who’s a major whiz when it comes to hand-drawn type.
This time around the design was sketched out by Alyssa and then finished by Mary Kate, who in all honesty, may have done one of the most beautiful pieces of type I’ve ever seen. My honest reaction in my email to Alyssa was “OH MY FUCKING GOD IT’S GORGEOUS.” You have to see this super large to see all the details that Mary Kate poured into this piece. The texture and the color of the leaves looks immaculate, I really can’t say enough about it. A huge thanks to Alyssa for yet again coming through with an amazing wallpaper, and to Mary Kate for putting so much love and detail in this. Check back later today for our weekly Wednesday wallpaper, and December 1st for another wallpaper from Alyssa and Ten Paces and Draw.
In the three years I’ve been running The Desktop Wallpaper Project I’ve made a concerted effort to not use an artist more than once. This is only because I want to keep introducing new creatives, but there are times when I go back to someone who’s work I really enjoy. Dan Matutina is a perfect example of that. His previous wallpaper featured an epic battle between a pirate and a ninja, which is still one of my favorites. This time around we decided to collaborate a bit on the wallpaper.
Over the past few months I’ve become interested in the story of Urashima Taro. 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 …”
I thought this would be fun to reinterpret a bit, instead saying that Urashima Tar? woke up in the distant future, filled with all kinds of fun sci-fi stuff. So Dan was awesome enough to take a stab at this, illustrating the point when Urashima Tar? returns to the surface, accidentally being caught the fishing captain. Here’s how describes it:
It’s Taro-san meeting the 3 futuristic fishermen. We see the fisherman on their hover dock. It’s like a normal dock with boosters. :D We see the Taro-san getting caught by the captain’s fishing line that’s why he surfaced.
I love it. I think Dan does amazing things with texture and color, he gives his work such life. There’s also a minimalism that really makes these work as desktop wallpapers. A huge thanks to Dan for hustling this wallpaper out to me quickly, I’m so happy with how it turned out.
About a week ago I tweeted something to the effect of, “Write someone you admire and tell them you appreciate them, try to start a friendship from that connection.” Taking my own advice, I decided to write an artist named Gregory Euclide, who many of you will know as the guy who’s work is featured on the new Bon Iver album. I had recently seen his work in person at the PULSE Art Fair and was taken with how dimensional it all is. I spoke with a woman from David B. Smith Gallery (who represents him) and she mentioned how his work is more like a mixed media sculpture, which doesn’t really come across on the Bon Iver cover. And it’s true, when you look at Gregory’s work on his site, you see just how much depth there is, that’s it’s not just a large illustration, he’s creating miniature worlds.
So I wrote Gregory, and is it turns out he reads the site, which was awesome to hear, and he agreed to create a wallpaper set of the image you see on the cover of Bon Iver’s record. Each size is actually a different detail of the large image, so you should check out each one. And remember, you can always use a larger size for a smaller monitor. A big thanks to Gregory for hooking us up, and remember, it’s easy to meet people, you just have to take a chance.
Edit: If you’d like the full image you see above, click here, I’ve attached it as a 2560x1440px image to fit pretty much any monitor.
Seeing the handiwork of a talented illustrator is always fascinating, like seeing the magic in something. When I received Micron Hero’s wallpaper (his real name is Jake Hollomon) I got that same feeling, I could see all the love and details he put into his wallpaper. Jake is based out of Portland, he makes great illustrations and designs rad stuff and created the most recent look book for a line of bags called Lemolo Baggage. No biggie, right?
For his wallpaper he was inspired by the Beck song The Golden Age, taking the main lyric and visualizing it. I think it’s a beautiful and fitting interpretation. A big thanks t Jake for doing such a great job and putting so much work into this.
During a lull in dinner last night, I checked Twitter to see what was going on, to read what people were saying about Steve Jobs. As I flicked the screen of my iPhone I noticed that my buddy Jon Contino had tweeted “Steve” and then a link. I was curious, so I clicked and I saw the image you see above, a fitting tribute from I guy I respect to a man we both respect. There isn’t a lot to say, only that I wanted to share this because I thought it was touching and well done. It comes in desktop sizes, and of course, iPhone and iPad sizes as well. A big thanks to Jon for sending these to me late last night.
I’m always trying to come up with new things to do with The Desktop Wallpaper Project. Though the artists are always shifting, the concept is the same, and thus, I get bored. About a month ago I got an email from Alyssa Nassner, a Maryland based illustrator and one half of Ten Paces and Draw, a collaborative art project. The idea of Ten Pace and Draw is a pretty great one, where one artist sends a sketch which is then finished by another artist. We thought it would be cool to utilize this process for desktop wallpapers.
We’ll be releasing a wallpaper on the 1st of the month, every month, which celebrates something in that month. It could be something as obvious as a holiday or as random as a John Lennon’s birthday. It’s another great way to get you free art to put on your desktop.
October’s combo is a piece by Alyssa and recent Sights & Sounds contributor Jen Mussari. It started as a sketch from Jen and then was finished by Alyssa, a simple message done in a beautiful, typographic way. They did a beautiful job on this piece, I love the style and look of the October, especially thoes weird wavering parts in the middle of each letter.
A big thanks to Alyssa and Jen for doing such a great job, and mark your calendars to check the site on the 1st of every month for more wallpaper goodness.
Several months back I came across the paintings of Seattle based Tyson Anthony Roberts, a guy creating work that reminded me of the background elements in Super Mario Bros. Though his paintings are simple they’re filled with so many beautiful colors and perfectly oriented shapes. So when Tyson hit me up about having a wallpaper on the site, I couldn’t say no! The image above is one of my favorites of his work, and it looks super rad on your desktop, iPad or iPhone. A big thanks to Tyson for contributing, be sure to check back next Wednesday for another new wallpaper.
Back in July I posted about Tim Lahan, a New York based artist/designer who has this beautiful, colorful style that looks like it’s been created with a box of digital markers. When I look at his work it just feels really positive and beautiful, I mean, how can you not enjoy it? He can even make a bunch of bags of garbage look beautiful. He also just updated his portfolio site which looks great, I love the the simple grid and the random feeling of it.
So I was really excited when he told me he’d do a desktop wallpaper, and I think he’s done an awesome job. It’s so simple but it’s so clever! There’s a dude chilling in your computer! I’m going to say (though I don’t know for sure) that the guy is actually Tim, and now he lives inside your computer. I’ve had this on my computer since the weekend and I love it, it’s simple and it makes people laugh. I should also point out that the iPad and iPhone versions are custom and different from the wallpapers, so be sure to check them out as well. Thanks for the rad wallpapers Tim!
Last November I shared some emails with Kyle Poff after I wrote a bit about his work. He’s a brilliant designer who does such amazing work in branding, packaging, and logos, but did you know he’s also an accomplished illustrator? As you can see from the wallpaper above he’s picked an awesome subject and given it a rad looking treatment. Sure, it’s a simple design, but it’s great for those of you who hate busy designs. Be sure to check out more of Kyle’s work over on Flickr as well, he’s got some really cool looking experiments going on.