We’re in an age of great footwear design and shoe technology has come so far in the last 30 years. That said, it’s always great to see interesting materials applied to shoes and these cork covered Vans are currently at the top of my wish list. They’re a part of Vans OTW Summer 2014 and they’re certain to catch people’s eyes. Love the detail of the speckled mid-sole that separates the cork from the sole, a well-considered touch. The sad part is I can’t figure out where to buy them yet, but you can keep an eye on the Vans OTW site in case they pop-up.
About a month ago Haruki Murakami released a short story titled Yesterday, a tale about two college aged men who work in a coffee shop near a university in Tokyo. One of them, the narrator, moved to Tokyo to start anew, embarrassed by his old life. The other, Kitaru, has failed the college entrance exam and is cramming to retake it while ignoring his beautiful girlfriend Erika.
Again, Murakami is so great at capturing the mundane parts of life and making them exciting. His style reminds me of the films of Richard Linklater and his Before Sunset series. They’re both able to take the world we know and bring an interesting dimension to it. Below is my favorite snippet from the story, enjoy.
“But another part of me is, like—relieved? If we’d just kept going like we were, with no problems or anything, a nice couple smoothly sailing through life, it’s like . . . we graduate from college, get married, we’re this wonderful married couple everybody’s happy about, we have the typical two kids, put ’em in the good old Denenchofu elementary school, go out to the Tama River banks on Sundays, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da . . . I’m not saying that kinda life’s bad. But I wonder, y’know, if life should really be that easy, that comfortable. It might be better to go our separate ways for a while, and if we find out that we really can’t get along without each other, then we get back together.”
“So you’re saying that things being smooth and comfortable is a problem. Is that it?”
“Yeah, that’s about the size of it.”
I’m a big fan of Christoph Niemann. His Abstract Sunday blog on The New York Times is always a great read and his Petting Zoo app might just be one of the most entertaining apps around. I was checking out his site the other day when I discovered these excellent prints of the Brooklyn Bridge and Eiffel Tower.
Like all of Christoph’s work, these illustrations are so effortlessly simple and so perfectly made. The idea is so much fun and the execution just nails it! Produced as a 3 color sikscreen, both images are available to buy through his website. The Brooklyn Bridge image comes in three different colors (though yellow is already sold). I’d love to see this continue as a series; who knows what other monuments could get woven together?
You can see more work from Christoph Niemann on his website. The scope and range of his work is fantastic so please do make the effort to check it out!
British designer Luke Twyman gave himself a 48 hour challenge: to create a simple web-based generative project. By the end of it he realized that he’d made something pretty rad and decided to put more work into it. What came out of that effort was a project called Flora Drift, which uses procedural generation to create ambient music on the fly and to generate a new jungle/garden scene every 2 bars of music. Essentially the code sets a bunch of rules, then uses randomization to make decisions on how the music & visuals get created. Your browser becomes the synthesizer.
Finding art to hang on your walls can be difficult. While that concert poster you bought from Warped Tour in ’97 might have been cool at the time you should probably think about classing up the place with something a bit more sophisticated. Enter Vacation Days, an online art and printed goods shop which releases all sorts of beautiful items.
Recently they released a new series of prints called Oxio which puts these wonderful, abstract brass objects into a nebulous setting.
This series was inspired by those moments in the wilderness when the sun’s rays catch a reflective object directly in your line of sight. To represent this in contrast, I photographed tiny (all less than an inch) brass objects collected around Los Angeles and collaged them with different concrete textures photographed on man-made roads intersecting the city’s urban parks.
You can purchase them here, running in price from $30 to $460 depending on the size. The Fox Is Black readers can get 10% off by using the code “TFIB”.
Artist Daniel Heidkamp currently has a new solo show on at White Columns in New York and I just love the colors in his work. A native of New York, Heidkamp’s exhibition consists of recent oil paintings that depict the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as seen from the grounds of Central Park. Bursting with brightly colored foliage and trees, Heidkamp’s work really captures the beauty of the area.
The majority of the work was painted on location and Heidkamp’s work gets the energy of these scenes just right. “When painting en plein air I feel the atmosphere on my skin” Heidkamp says, “[...] there is an adrenaline feeling that happens while working ‘live’ and that energy can translate directly into the painting”.
While many of his contemporaries may explore far-less traditional methods of art-making, I feel there’s something special in Heidkamp’s interrogation and exploration of representational painting. Following in the footprints of people like Hopper, Hockney, and Doig; Heidkamp’s focus on ordinary and everyday scenes is as engaging as it is compelling.
His exhibition in New York’s White Columns show runs until July 25th. More work and further exhibition dates can be viewed on his website.
Released in 1996, the soundtrack to Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s most notable work, was earth-shattering to my 14 year old self. The artists featured were a who’s who at the time including Garbage, The Cardigans, and of course, Radiohead. To me “Talk Show Host” was the song that summed up the feeling and vibe of the whole film and re-enforced my love for Radiohead.
The song was originally a b-side on the “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” single and then remixed by producer/composer Nellee Hooper. The original has a lot more guitar and drums while the remix is much more mellow and moody. If you’ve never heard this song before you’re in for a treat.
Yoo Seungah, a Korean artist and animator, recently released a beautiful short video titled Cactus Flower. It’s a simple tale of two men living together in a quaint apartment, one of whom is trying to get his cactus to bloom. Soon after they’re laying at the beach and couple with a small child walks by, and what you realize is that the cactus blooming is a metaphor for having a child, something the couple would like to have.
It’s a simple, lovely tale that’s extremely well-drawn and animated. Seungah has a really expressive style and the color palette used is pretty eclectic. There’s also a great use of texture in the characters and their environments which really creates a world that’s charming and memorable.