Desktop Wallpaper Project

The Desktop Wallpaper Project: A Tribute to Steve Jobs by Jon Contino

Jon Contino

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.


The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Jen Mussari

Jen Mussari

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.

The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Tyson Anthony Roberts

Tyson Anthony Roberts

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.


The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Tim Lahan

Tim Lahan

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!


The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Kyle Poff

Kyle Poff

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.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' by Anthony Mattox

Anthony Mattox

After 7 albums and lots of amazing artwork we’ve finally reached the end of our Animal Collective Sights & Sounds series. We’re finishing things up with their last album Merriweather Post Pavillion which came out back in 2009. Unbeknownst to me, the album was made without Deacon, who normally plays guitar on the tracks. So they made an entire album without guitars, relying only on samplers to fill the void. It’s weird that I never noticed that the guitars were missing at all, but I guess that shows just how talented these guys are.

To handle the artistic duties on this wallpaper is Anthony Mattox, a digital artist and interaction designer from Baltimore. I love Anthony’s work because it’s pushing that weird boundary between art and technology, where the abstract data becomes beautiful looking designs. Here’s what he had so say about his wallpapers.

Merriweather Post Pavilion has the most frenetic and persistent energy throughout all of their albums. Animal Collective mashes together so many strange little sounds to create a droning, rhythmic, and optimistic sound. Inspired by this, I wanted to create an image with the same explosive energy and complexity.
I made a script using Processing which generates images by repetitively branching circles. As it grows, the branching algorithm itself evolves to create a variety of different patterns and textures and forms a complex knot of twisting tendrils and clustered circles.

A big thanks to Anthony for the beautiful wallpaper and the biggest thanks goes out to Andy Mangold. Andy did such a great job of choosing an eclectic, talented bunch of artists and I appreciate all of his work. Check back next week as we get back into a more regular groove of things with more wallpapers from amazing designers and artists.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Strawberry Jame' by Jen Mussari

Jen Mussari

Creating desktop wallpapers around an artists catalog of music might not interest everyone, but for me it’s partly like cultural anthropology. Every time a new wallpaper comes out I do my bit of research on the album, learning more about a collection of songs than I ever had before. For example, this week’s Animal Collective influenced wallpaper is based on Strawberry Jam, which in fact was inspired by the desert. The band recorded the album in Tucson, Arizona because they liked the idea of recording in the desert, something they had never done before.

I also thought it was interesting how the name of the album came about, a chance encounter with a travel sized pack of strawberry jam.

The name Strawberry Jam came from singer and drummer Panda Bear as he and the band were on a plane headed to Greece for a show. Upon receiving his complimentary tray of food, he opened up the packet of strawberry jam that had been provided for the bread. As he removed the cover of the packet, he was drawn to the look of the glistening jam, and he expressed his desire for the production of their new album to sound like the jam looked, “that is to say, something that’s really synthetic and sharp and futuristic looking,” but also “tangy and sweet, almost in a kind of aggressive way in terms of the way it tastes”.

Handling the job of interpreting the album is a lady named Jen Mussari, an illustrator with an amazing eye for color and composition. I remember when I first saw Jen’s wallpaper and I started laughing out loud because it’s such a random image, but that’s exactly why I think it’s so great. The colors are great as well, and I love the handmade feeling of the piece. As it turns out, the image is based on kind of a sad premise from the last track, which I’ve posted above for you to listen to.

“This is a narrative image based on the last song from Strawberry Jam, Derek. Up until this point the album wavers back and forth between carnal, physical ideas (like eating, cooking, etc.) and super-trippy transcendental ideas that Animal Collective is known for. Derek is a regretful memory about a family dog that passed away from neglect. The boys who own him witness a moment when Derek speaks English, and then passes away in the night.”

I owe a big thanks to Jen for making such a rad wallpaper and for all the support she’s given throughout the project. And again, a big thanks to the curator of this series Andy Mangold for picking such a talented group of individuals. Check back next Wednesday for our last wallpaper of the series, Merriweather Post Pavillion.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Feels' by Christopher Muccioli

Christopher Muccioli

It’s Wednesday and we’re continuing our visual journey into the albums of Baltimore based band Animal Collective, today’s album being Feels. At this point in Animal Collective’s career, they were putting out an album a year, which is a feat for any band. Feels feels to me like what an Animal Collective album is supposed to be, it has all of those necessary ingredients like frantic drum beats, complex vocal layering and and a piano that’s become naturally out of tune. It’s one of my favorites because of it’s diverse range of songs, which honestly go all over the place. My favorite song off of the album is Banshee Beat because it shows that range really nicely. It starts out quietly, with a strumming guitar and a faint piano, until the drums start to slow filter in and the song bursts.

Handling the artwork for the album is Christopher Muccioli, a Baltimore designer/illustrator who’s work I totally admire. His site is a joy to explore, he plays with some really interesting ways of presenting his work. The work itself is annoyingly good, with lots of love in the area of screen printing, both t-shirts and posters. I feel like his love of screen printing is blended into the vibe of his wallpaper as well, with this big smears of paint dripping down over the cymbal and drum, which play such a pivotal role in this album. Here’s what Chris had to say about his wallpaper.

Listening to the album “Feels” I focused in on the various sound characteristics that come out through the dynamics of the album. Some of the most energetic parts of the album happen through the use of a cadencing floor tom which has influenced a number of bands and musicians around today and being a drummer myself I felt it appropriate to focus on. The splashy crash on tracks like Did You See The Words? and The Purple Bottle add a lot of color and dynamics that really drive the songs and pull you in.

I think the simplicity of this wallpaper is a big plus, I know how a lot of you readers are! A huge thanks to Chris for participating and yet again, another huge thanks to Andy Mangold for being an awesome curator. Check back next Wednesday when we tackle Strawberry Jam, the wallpaper is fantastic, I promise you’ll love it.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Sung Tongs' by Andy Mangold

Andy Mangold

I’m super excited this morning because we’ve finally reached Sung Tongs, one of my favorite records and a place where I think most Animal Collective fans start their collections. At this point they had recorded 3 albums in two years, although this album was recorded only by Avey Tare and Panda Bear. To me, Sung Tongs feels like they finally felt comfortable with the music they were making, like they really started to understand just what they were doing.

Some of the songs on this album are some of my favorites of theirs overall. I’ve posted Kids on Holiday above as the sample because it’s possibly one of my favorite Animal Collective songs. There’s a pace and rhythm to this song that’s unlike any I’ve ever heard, it’s hypnotic. Then you have songs like Winter’s Love, which I would personally describe as a beautiful track. Split in two, the beginning melody acts as a prelude to what’s to come. Even the 12:37 song Visiting Friends is beautiful, a slow hush of guitars over a trickle of random-seeming, ambient sounds.

As for the wallpaper today, I can’t think of anyone better to interpret this then the curator of this series, Andy Mangold. Andy has such a vibrancy to his design style, all of his work feels so crisp and perfect. He’s also a master of all mediums, doing everything from posters, branding, package design, even a wood block calendar with custom designed numerals.

With Andy’s wallpaper for Sung Tongs I feel like he’s totally captured the energy and beauty of the album. I think if someone didn’t know better they’d think this was the real album cover. It’s colorful without being jarring and there’s lots of room for your icons, for Mac or Windows kids. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper.

Sung Tongs feels very childish to me, in a good way. There is an immaturity and naivete that gives the whole album an air of authenticity and rawness. The image of the children playing on the jungle-gym is how I choose to imagine David and Noah creating the album, experimenting, probing, exploring, and above all else, laughing.

The diversity of sounds and sonic textures is staggering, especially considering it was all created by only two people. I tried to represent this variation visually with the spectrum of colored, textured bars layered over the imagery.

A very big thanks to Andy for not only this beautiful wallpaper but for curating so many amazing artists. The talented folks chosen have made some of the best wallpapers out there, and I owe him a lot. Thanks Andy! Check back next week when we explore Feels.

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Here Comes The Indian' by Niv Bavarsky

Niv Bavarsky

Continuing on this fine collection of Animal Collective inspired wallpapers, we’ve got this rad piece by Baltimore illustrator Niv Bavarsky. He was tasked with tackling the challenge that is Here Comes the Indian, Animal Collective’s first official release as AC with all the members from the current line-up you know and love. This was their fourth album, and a vast departure from their previous Campfire Songs. I think the phrase ‘psych-folk’ started getting tossed around because of their practice of taking a more traditional acoustic guitar sound and messing it up with electronic effects. Honestly, this is a tough album to listen to, but I think Niv did an amazing job.

As you’ll see in his personal statement, his combination of both digital and physical is a great way to approach this. The album is this mess of sounds and his wallpaper reflects that really well. I also thought it was funny that he chose to use a campfire for his wallpaper, drawing upon an element from the last album and tweaking it for this wallpaper. Overall I’m a big fan of his work. There’s something about his style that’s so uniquely him, his painterly lines and his great color choices. Here’s what he had to say about his wallpaper:

“Here Comes the Indian” combines a lot of disparate elements: harsh electronic noise, organic improvisation, sadness and celebration. I set out to make something in this spirit, working instinctively and combining traditional & digital process.”

A big thanks to Niv for such a great, handmade wallpaper and to our curator Andy Mangold for yet another ace choice. Check back next week for Sung Tongs!

Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Campfire Songs' by Andrea Kalfas

Andrea Kalfas

I’m so excited for today’s wallpaper, I think that Baltimore illustrator Andrea Kalfas has made one of the most beautiful wallpapers I’ve ever featured. I’m also really happy that she created a wallpaper for the Animal Collective album Campfire Songs. Not quite an album and not considered an EP, Campfire Songs was recorded by the full roster of Animal Collective, though the Geologist didn’t perform on this one, but it is the first album to feature Deakin. A fun fact, the entire album was recorded in one take on a cold night in Novemeber outside on a screen porch in Maryland.

As for Andrea, she has her BFA in illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art and now is a freelance illustrator. Her work is really lighthearted and extremely expressive, with lots of bold lines and inspiring color palettes. The details and textures in her wallpaper are so beautiful, and the subtle touch of purple in the large moth in the front is simply perfection. Here’s what she had to say about her wallpaper:

“Not surprisingly, listening to Campfire Songs led to to the obvious image of sitting around a campfire in the woods at night, but I felt as though I was far away, beyond the reach of the fire and the songs. It felt as though the music wasn’t meant for me, that it was a private concert just for the singer and the insects were the only audience to it. I wanted to draw lots of little nocturnal bugs, flying around and enjoying the music I could only hear from far off, unable to see the performer.”

A big thanks to Andrea for such a lovely wallpaper, and a bigger thank to Andy Mangold for curating this batch of wallpaper and finding such great artists and designers.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Danse Mantaee by Jimmy Giegerich

Jimmy Giegerich

It’s our second week of Animal Collective inspired desktop wallpapers, and today we’ve got a totally weird one from Baltimore illustrator Jimmy Geigerich. To be clear though, that’s exactly what this wallpaper should be, because Jimmy got one of the weirdest, most difficult Animal Collective records to interpret, 2001′s Danse Manatee.

Every week I do some research on each album, and a part of that is listening to each album. Danse Manatee was and is incredibly difficult to listen to all the way through. I can handle noisy, but this album is like chaos through organs and drums. This is the first album to feature The Geologist though, who also claims it to be one of his favorite albums. According to Wikipedia, “the band was into extreme frequencies. Their goal was to experiment with intense high and low sounds and how they occupied space in the room and moved around in the listener’s head.” Well, that explains a lot.

Thankfully Jimmy Giegerich had the skills to handle this album. I love Jimmy’s style, he’s like that guy in middle school who would draw the grossest things possible all over his notebooks. Kind of a Pushead meets Japanese culture vibe to his work, it’s fantastic. Here’s what Jimmy had to say about his wallpaper:

I chose to do the piece that I did for a few reasons. Most of my illustration is narrative driven, so I couldn’t help but start to come up with kind of weird ideas for scenes and things while I was listening to the album. What I really like about the album and Animal Collective’s music in general is that their music seems to allow the listener to interpret it in their own way, and that’s kind of what I did here. I drew a whole scene based on different elements of the album, with the main element being based off of the song Meet the Light Child. What really stuck out to me about this song is that it goes from sounding kind of creepy and harsh, to sounding kind of nice and mellow, and back and forth. Like something that is both exciting and frightening at the same time, which is where I came up with the emotions of the figures around the “light child” in my piece. I wanted to go for something that fit well with the mood of the album, but told it’s own weird story at the same time.

I think he did an awesome job, and even though there’s a lot going on, it’s still dark enough to easily see your icons (trust me, I tried it). A big thanks to Andy Mangold yet again for curating this series, he’s done an awesome job so far. Check back next Wednesday for Animal Collective’s Campfire Songs.


Sights & Sounds: Animal Collective / 'Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished' by Nick Iluzada

Nick Iluzada

I’m really excited to share this new Sights & Sounds series, and so happy to see people who are equally excited to create something rad. I’ve been a big Animal Collective fan for years now, and I felt like they had the right vibe to really inspire some great looking wallpapers. Our first wallpaper in the series is for Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished. Recorded back in ’99, the album is technically the work of Avey Tare and Panda Bear, the other guys hadn’t joined the group yet, and was heavily inspired by Avey Tare’s move from Baltimore to New York. It’s amazing how you can so easily hear the very foundations of their style in this album. The production, while not the greatest, is the one thing that makes it feel not quite right. Nonetheless, it’s actually a pretty amazing album, Panda Bear’s drumming in particular is something to hear at the very least.

To illustrate the album our fearless curator Andy chose Nick Iluzada, who has one of the coolest last names ever. Before this project I wasn’t familiar with Nick’s illustration work, which is a total shame. Nick has a wonderful sense for color and motion, check out his Footbawlerz series to see exactly what I mean. The variety and creativity in his sketchbooks is also something worth checking out as well.

Here’s what Nick had to say about his wallpaper:

“I created this image simply with the hope of capturing the feel of some specific tracks (most notably Chocolate Girl, Untitled, Someday I’ll Grow To Be As Tall As the Giant, and Alvin Row) with the album title as the jumping off point. While the record sways back and forth between gritty, high-pitched noise and serene textures, I felt that there was some sort of middle ground that could be worked with in terms of bringing the imagery away from it’s Baltimore (make everything neon rainbows) roots and a subdued yet coarse feel would do just the trick.”

A huge thanks to Nick for creating such a beautiful wallpaper and Andy Mangold for choosing such a talented guy. Check back next Wednesday at 10AM PST for the next wallpaper in our series, Animal Collective’s Danse Manatee.


The Desktop Wallpaper Project featuring Micah Lidberg

Micah Lidberg

About a month ago I was approached by SVEDKA, wondering if I’d be interested in doing a sponsored wallpaper. As most of you know, I’ve never really done anything like that before, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, so long as it wasn’t heavy handed and I was able to get you something cool out the deal. They wanted to create a wallpaper around the idea of “celebrating the epic all-night moments you’ve had”, which I thought was a pretty great concept, especially in the hands of the right artist. So I decided to ask my buddy Micah Lidberg to help out, and I think he’s done an amazing job.

Some of you might remember Micah’s first wallpaper, which is still to this day one of my absolute favorites. Micah has such a unique style which feels so stream of consciousness, like he picks up some pencils and somehow ends up hours later, waking up from a groggy stupor, with a beautiful piece of art in front of him. I love that this wallpaper has so much randomness going on, it’s totally embodies what happens on an night long bender.

I’d also like to point out that by using this wallpaper your co-workers might think you’re one of two things: an alcoholic, or the most fun person on earth. A big thanks to SVEDKA for supporting the site. And don’t forget, drink responsibly.

Bobby Solomon

I had the pleasure to be apart of another issue of Afterzine, the infrequently published art magazine that’s run by my good buddy, Hamish Robertson. This issue centers around Los Angeles, which I have lots to say about, but here’s what Hamish had to say:

“What began as a single-section issue with invited interpretations of “coincidence” by chance evolved into an exploration of the city of Los Angeles—a place I had mistakenly assumed to be lacking in happy accidents.”

The issue features a ton of creative people involved like Mike Mills, Miranda July, Zooey Deschanel, Andrew Andrew, Ben Jones, Peter Mendelsund and lots more. From these previews I’d definitely say it’s going to be a great read.

Afterzine No. 2

Afterzine No. 2

Afterzine No. 2

Kyle and I actually contributed together, putting together a map of our 10 favorite places in Los Angeles. We’re pretty opinionated, and we tend to frequent a lot of local places. I thought it would be fun to release our map as a wallpaper this week, since I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Everything was hand-painted by myself and then put into Photoshop to be tweaked.

But, in order to see why we love these places, you’re going to have to buy the issue. They’re only $10, and worth every penny. And just to reiterate, if you’re in Los Angeles on Friday, be sure to stop by the launch party at Skylight Books, more details can be found here.


Philipp Dornbierer

We’ve got a very special bonus to the desktop wallpaper this week, something that’s never been done before. It comes from Philipp Dornbierer, also known as Yehteh, is an illustrator from Zürich who might sound familiar since he won the Great Gatsby Re-Covered Books contest. Since his work is so great and original, I had to have him be a part of The Desktop Wallpaper Project, and he didn’t let me down.

Not only do you get a beautiful wallpaper, but he’s also created some really wonderful folder icons that blend into the wallpaper seamlessly. You can see a sneak peek of the folders in the image above, but there are 4 to choose from in total, so you can mix and match how you like. To download the folder icons you can simply click here. A huge thanks to Philipp for putting so much work into this, I hope you all enjoy the goodies.


Jon Contino

Since the 4th of July is less than two weeks away, I figured it was only fitting that there should be a rad wallpaper celebrating the date. Oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve actually done an Independence Day wallpaper, probably because 50% of you readers are from the U.S. and the other half is everywhere else in the world. Nonetheless, I had written the extremely talented Jon Contino to see if he’d like to do a wallpaper, and the idea of him doing something around the concept was too good to be true. I wrote about Jon’s work not too long ago, but in case you missed it he’s a New York based illustrator and designer who’s style is reminiscent of days gone by. He’s so damn talented, and it comes across in his handmade type and his eye for crafting unique compositions. He also co-owns CXXVI, one of the best lifestyle brands around right now.

And as for his wallpaper, this has to be one of my favorites yet. It features a super muscle-y version of Uncle Sam with a body full of tats, proudly displaying the foundations of America. I think it’s a really lighthearted adaption of Independence, not trying to take itself too seriously but still showing respect. I also have to give props to Jon, who stayed up till 4:41 this morning working on the wallpaper because he was so excited by how it turned out. Like I said earlier, this is one of my favorite ones yet.

Enjoy the wallpaper, have a happy and safe 4th of July, and check back next Wednesday for another amazing desktop wallpaper.

Ryan Chapman

It’s gloomy here in Los Angeles today, June Gloom is in full effect. So it seems fitting to put up today’s desktop wallpaper by British illustrator Ryan Chapman. I’ve been a big fan of Ryan’s work for a while now. He’s got this really beautiful, simplified style that uses minimal color palettes and really nicely rounded shapes. I bought one of his paintings a while back as well, there’s just something really pleasing about them. For his wallpaper he took his signature style and threw in a little black fox to spice it up a bit. I love that flute guy too, the fact that his head is made out of flute smoke is pretty great. Thanks for the rad wallpaper Ryan!


Bryce Wilner

Bryce WIlner’s name might look familiar, that’s because he won the Re-Covered Books Contest for Lord of the Flies a while back. So when, out of the blue, he wrote me with a package of wallpapers at the ready, how could I say no? Bryce is a Chicago based freelance designer/illustrator who’s work reminds me of the weirdest combo ever: Like an artsy, retro version of Virtua Fighter. If you don’t play video games you might not get that reference, but it totally makes sense.

His wallpaper was influenced by the fact that it’s getting hot as blazes in Chicago (it’s supposed to be 93º today), and thus, he’s dreaming of the beach. Makes sense to me, 93º is pretty damn hot. And if you were curious, the symbols in the top right are international maritime signal flags, and they spell out “The Fox Is Black”. Maybe I should get that tattooed?

Thanks for the awesome wallpaper Bryce!


Matt Taylor

I’m stoked for this weeks wallpaper, as it’s one of the boldest images I’ve featured in this project so far. It’s the work of Matt Taylor, a Brighton, England based illustrator who I’ve posted about in the past and recruited to create something. He’s got this timeless style to his work, uses a lot of bold colors and high contrast to really make his images stand out. He also says that he was influenced by Jack Kirby, which I see a bit of in his work, but in more of a contemporary way.

As for his image, it’s amazing. I love that he chose a super warm color palette and punched out the man’s skin with pure black. The tiny details in his garb in yellow and darker red are a beautiful touch, as well. If wherever you live is cold or gloomy right now, be sure to set this as your wallpaper and absorb some of the warmth.