Steven Soderbergh Recontextualizes ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ To Highlight It’s Staging

Steven Soderbergh Recontextualizes 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' To Highlight It's Staging

Steven Soderbergh Recontextualizes 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' To Highlight It's Staging

Only a director like Steven Soderbergh would be intrepid enough to turn Steven Spielberg’s classic Raiders of the Lost Ark black and white and overdub it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ soundtrack music, all in the name of learning. In a recent post on his site he uses this version of the film to teach staging of scenes, an art that Spielberg did masterfully.

I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE. Fincher said it: there’s potentially a hundred different ways to shoot something but at the end of the day there’s really only two, and one of them is wrong).

It’s actually really interesting to watch the film in such a different way: no color, no dialogue, and a very contemporary soundtrack that’s cut to each scene. My only complaint is that there’s no way to like this, thus no way to be able to watch this on the Vimeo channel on my Apple TV. Watching this on my Macbook Pro is definitely not as impactful as the experience on my TV would be.

Bobby Solomon

September 24, 2014 / By

Barnes & Webb Employ a Creative Solution to Help the Honeybees

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You may have noticed that bees have been popping up here and there and the Fox is Black recently. Why? Quite simply: they’re important, not only to our own well-being but for that of the greater Earth too. Unfortunately in recent years their numbers have been dropping and their environments disrupted. Barnes & Webb of London have come up with a wholly creative solution that attempts to mitigate the issue. Their service offers bees right in your backyard and all the delicious honey that comes with doing so. What grabbed my attention was their detail to design, branding, and the arts, as they cleverly combine the three in order to uplift their service and aid the honeybee’s plight.

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Apes curamus et nos curant (we look after honey bees and they look after us); the tiny insects are integral to the environment but also economies. In the past 60 years, the number of honeybee colonies has fallen drastically from six million to two-and-a-half million present. According to the US Department of agriculture, one mouth in three benefits from honeybee pollination. That’s huge. How huge? As of June, President Obama launched a task force tasked with protecting the bees, investing $50m into research and action to combat the decline.

Environmental responsibility is becoming a popular public affair and more light is being shed on the honeybee issue. It’s businesses like Barnes & Webb that demonstrate, quite optimistically, how we can tackle these topics with a flair of creativity.

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Barnes & Webb install and manage beehives across London, providing raw, local honey and all the pleasures of urban beekeeping without any of the hassle. The concept is more or less as a result of a key insight: you don’t have to have 100 acres to help the honeybee. Every lawn, every yard, and even rooftops can pitch in. When it comes to honeybees, the smallest change can affect the global food supply—so customers can rest assured knowing they’re making a valuable contribution.

The creative approach trickles down into the product itself too. The package design is smart, clean, and minimal, which makes a traditional product feel modern and makes honey and the honeybee stand out on your shelves or kitchen cupboards. Engaging and proactive.

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Aside from the packaging, Barnes & Webb work with local talent to further help their brand stand out and place the honeybee on a pedestal. They’ve collaborated with designer Anthony Burrill to produce a one off print and identity, which the brand uses extensively, from posters to advertising. They’ve also seen commercial work be produced on behalf of Olivia Whitworth, an English architect turned illustrator, who adds charm and personality to the company’s image.

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The fun doesn’t stop at their packaging or advertising—just last week over 30 artists and illustrators created unique artworks that went on display and were auctioned off to fund the company’s not-for-profit campaign activities. Of the talent featured was Burrill, Edward Monaghan, Jean Julilen, Essy May, Adrian Johnson, Robert Hunter, Jody Barton, Stevie Gee, and more.

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Connecting bee lovers and keepers, artists, designers, environmentalists, and the wider public, Barnes & Webb use these events to ultimately raise awareness on the issues faced by the honeybee and other important pollinators. They believe in “combining the creativity, knowledge and passion of individuals and organizations to create initiatives that benefit the bees and our environment. A powerful network for positive change.”

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While it’s often easy to get cynical when it comes to environmental affairs, Barnes & Webb’s approach is refreshingly optimistic. Their service demonstrates that the issue can be aided with creativity and design.

Whether we like it or not we have a duty towards the planet, as recent years have seen us leave a negative impact. What many forget is that we therefore have the power to incur the inverse and work towards responsibly inhabiting what we’ve come to know as home. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? I believe Barnes & Webb are on the forefront of this positive change, their approach will serve to hopefully inspire others.

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The aforementioned collaboration and event was the first of many that the Barnes & Webb has planned. Follow the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates on forthcoming events.

Nick Partyka

September 24, 2014 / By

Peter Mendelsund Teaches Book Cover Design on Skillshare

Peter Mendelsund Teaches Book Cover Design on Skillshare

I don’t tend to post about many online classes but this Skillshare class certainly caught my attention. The extremely talented Peter Mendelsund is offering up his knowledge for an upcoming class on book cover design, teaching how to read as a graphic designer, iterate with imagination, and breaking the “rules” to make your message stand out.

Skillshare conducted an interview with Mendelsund on their blog, and I this question and answer in particular stood out to me.

Why is lifelong learning important to you?
PM: Lifelong learning is crucial. I had been one thing for most of my life [ed. note: a musician] and changed very late to a new career. I’m extremely aware of the twists and turns that life can take, and I think the key is really to maintain an open mind over a long period of time. Life is long: be open to the changes that present themselves to you.

You can sign up for the design class by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

September 23, 2014 / By

Ethan Cook is a Painter Without Paint

Ethan Cook

Brooklyn based artist Ethan Cook is a painter that doesn’t paint… or at least, he doesn’t paint in any traditional way. Instead, his work is deeply concerned in exploring the elemental aspects of painting. At the heart of what he does lies a desire to investigate and deconstruct the physical elements that make up paintings themselves.

Ethan Cook

Cook is an artist who is interested in materials. His visual outcomes are derived from the materials he uses and for Cook, that means that painting is as much about canvas as it is about paint. It is through this belief that he produces his own material; creating his own canvas through a rather labor-intensive process with a loom.

In the work shown here we can see examples of the artist mixing canvas with canvas. It emphasizes the fundamental elements of the art and also brings a beautiful mix of textures and tones.

Ethan Cook

While his work may be constructed through a rigid set of rules and restrictions, there’s also a beautiful understated minimalism in his compositions that can’t be ignored. While his work may explore rather interesting questions about the very nature of the image the formal qualities of his work are just as engaging. I love the confidence and the restraint in this work.

Ethan Cook

See more from Cook here.

Philip Kennedy

September 23, 2014 / By

Ani Kasten’s ‘In The Rough’, Now On View at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

A couple weeks ago I stopped by the Heath Ceramics in Los Angeles for the opening of In The Rough, a new ceramics show featuring the work of Ani Kasten. Her work is a balance of roughness and delicacy with many of her glazes replicating the textures of nature, like tree bark or dried up river beds. Complimenting this texture though is always this smooth whiteness or a rigid grid of lines that make seems bring an order to the abstract roughness. Kasten says as much about her work:

The shapes and surface treatments take their influence from plants, water, rocks and clay, as well as from architecture, industry and machinery. The forms integrate these sometimes opposite sensibilities into a composed landscape, such as a stand of bamboo-like, truncated cylinders, perforated with small windows to look like corroded skyscrapers, or a simple, pure form such as a smooth sphere, marked on its surface with an off-center, wandering imprint, like bird tracks in the sand. The pieces are often truncated, off-center, weathered and perforated, combining natural movement and an apparent state of organic deterioration that invokes the cycle of life, death, decay.

The show is on display until October 5th and pieces are available on the Heath website.

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Ani Kasten at Heath Ceramics, Los Angeles

Bobby Solomon

September 23, 2014 / By

‘The Tale of The Princess Kaguya’, Coming To The States October 17th

Though there has been a lot of talk around Studio Ghibli closing or simply taking a break it’s refreshing that they are still releasing their films here in the States. Opening October 17th is The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, which was directed by legendary creator Isao Takahata who co-founded Ghibli with Miyazaki. The story is based on the folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter:

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

To me this is visually one of the finest films Ghibli has released since Spirited Away. I like that the film feels like a dream with rough sketched ideas and abstract sumi-e splatters that create the action. It’s a stark contrast to Miyazaki’s take on anime and a welcome addition to the Ghibli roster of films.

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

Bobby Solomon

September 23, 2014 / By

Lotta Nieminen Brings A Bold Look To A New York Nail Salon

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

When you think of well-thought out graphic design projects your mind most likely won’t drift toward the world of nail salons. Most commonly their known for shabby neon signs and rows of cheap chairs lined up with thousands of tiny bottles of paints surrounding them. That’s not the case with Paintbox, a new manicure and nail art studio that received a beautiful bit of branding from one of my favorite designer/illustrators, Lotta Nieminen.

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

For me the idea behind this branding screams “No duh!” in it’s simplicity and that’s exactly why I love it. There’s a perfect elegance to literally turning the words into a box form and that it reads so well. Yet the form takes on a playful nature when the words are separated, allowing other visual devices like imagery or text to inhabit the negative space between.

I’m also a fan of the peachy tone that’s used throughout most of the materials. It’s a warm and inviting tone that allows the color of the nails to truly shine.

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Paintbox branding by Lotta Nieminen

Even the nail art imagery itself, which was shot by Jamie Nelson, has a refined look that, while quite stylized, evoke the brand for being way more modern than the shop your mother may have visited. You can see more imagery from the project by visiting Lotta’s website.

Bobby Solomon

September 22, 2014 / By

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