Ambient Noise Makes Us More Creative

Ambient Noise Makes Us More Productive

My favorite place to work is a noisy, busy coffee shop, specifically, the Intelligentsia in Silver Lake. It’s never not busy, there are always a flood of trust fund kids, yippy dudes with beards writing their screenplays, and the occasional asian tourist snapping photos of the beautifully done Barbara Bestor designed space. Yet with this flood of noise and distraction it’s really the place where I feel like I can focus. The noise to me acts as an enveloping blanket, allowing me to focus singularly on the task in front me.

Thankfully I’m not alone in my admiration for ambience as this 99U piece points out the benefits of noise and how it increases creativity.

Specifically, they separated the participants into four groups and asked all four groups to complete a Remote Associates Test, a commonly used test of creative thinking that asks test-takers to find the relationship between a series of words that appear unrelated. Each of the groups was subjected to a different level of background noise (50 decibels, 70 decibels, 85 decibels, and total silence). When they scored each person’s test, the researchers found that those in the 70 decibel group, exposed to a moderate level of ambient noise, significantly out-performed those in the other three groups. The background noise boosted their creative thinking.

I like that they also included some ambient noise apps as well in case it might be, you know, like midnight and your local coffee shop is closed.

Bobby Solomon

September 30, 2014 / By

Draw Lifelike Faces and Features with a Free Guide from Craftsy (Sponsored)

Draw Lifelike Faces and Features with a Free Guide from Craftsy (Sponsored)

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Bobby Solomon

September 30, 2014 / By

Scott Albrecht Reflects on Time, Perception and Interconnectivity Through A New Body of Work

Scotty Albrecht

We’re big fans of the Brooklyn-based artist Scott Albrecht so we were very excited to discover that he has been busy recently working on a brand new body of work. Incorporating woodwork, hand-drawn type and and geometric collage, Scott has continued to produce interesting and engaging art which always feels fresh and unique.

Scotty Albrecht

Scotty Albrecht

This latest series was made for an upcoming solo exhibition that will open in Philadelphia’s Art in the Age this Friday (October 3rd). Titled The Distance Between Two Points, the show explores themes of time, perception and inter-connectivity. Scott says that his goal was to create work with layers of meaning. His approach was holistic, with each piece functioning individually yet collectively they convey a larger message.

Scotty Albrecht

Scotty Albrecht

I love Scott’s approach to the way he uses different mediums. He’s never afraid to try new things yet this never detracts from his distinctive style. I particularly like his latest series called Situations (some images featured above). Here he paints mostly in black and white (with small accents of teal and coral appearing in other images) and a motif of an eye runs through the entire set of images. This symbolizes observation and personal experience. I love the graphic sensibility of this work and together they form a wonderfully striking series.

Scotty Albrecht

The Distance Between Two Points opens at Philadelphia’s Art in the Age on October 3rd and runs until the 31st.

Philip Kennedy

September 30, 2014 / By

Designer Matt Chase Creates Powerful Graphics That Are More Like Pieces of Art

Matt Chase

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting designer/illustrator Matt Chase at a meet-up over beers. Curious to see his work I was excited to see that he does fantastic work around editorial illustration and publication design. His work is highly stylized and full of graphic punch, illustrating strong messages with only the minimal elements necessary. You can see that he’s been influenced by some of the great designers out there but I feel like he brings his own unique touches to his pieces.

If you dig his work you can purchase some of them (like the beautiful piece above for The Great Gatsby) over in his shop. The sprinkle popsicle skateboard deck is calling my name.

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Bobby Solomon

September 29, 2014 / By

Thom Yorke Surprisingly Drops Brand New Album, Available Via BitTorrent and Vinyl

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Seemingly out of nowhere Thom Yorke dropped a new album titled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes this morning, to the delight of Radiohead nerds around the world. In typical Thom Yorke fashion he opted to release the album through a rather unconventional source: BitTorrent. For $6 you receive a BitTorrent bundle that contains eight tracks and an extremely odd music video featuring close-ups of Yorke’s face and him jumping around with boxing gloves. You be you Thom. You also have the option of buying the album on vinyl which looks pretty rad, though it’s £30.00 price tag might be a tougher pill to swallow. Still, I’m sure it was pressed in a very small edition so you may want to snag one while you can.

Bobby Solomon

September 26, 2014 / By

Ambio, A Stylishly Designed Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Ambio, A Modern Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Fusing nature and technology is an interesting practice. Biomimetics is sure to be a field ripe with potential in the near future though a few intrepid designers are already start to spearhead the way. Teresa van Dongen, an Amsterdam based designer who also studied Biology at the University of Amsterdam, hasn’t gone completely biomimetic but you can see the principles in her Ambio light. The “lamp” is filled with a glowing bacteria that was collected from octopi, which when shaken lights up with a beautiful blue tone.

Ocean waves glowing blue in the dark of night, anyone who has ever experienced this knows how magical it looks. The phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent bacteria in seawater that emit light in response to oxygen and movement. This principle inspired me to combine my passion for design and biology in a bioluminescent light installation.

It’s a pretty great idea that certainly has potential for using nature as a source of light. If someone can figure out how to keep the bacteria alive in the glass tube, or create a synthetic version of the bacteria (whatever that might mean) you could imagine these as potential night lights. The physical design of the lamps are also aesthetically beautiful as well, truly adding to the beauty of the idea.

Ambio, A Modern Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Bobby Solomon

September 25, 2014 / By

A (Farm) House in the Hamptons

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Located in the quite hamlet of Remsenburg near New York’s Westhampton, Barn House is a beautiful home renovated from a faux barn that was originally built in the 1980s. Today it stands as the weekend home of Le Pain Quotidien CEO Vincent Herbert and his family.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Designed by Herbert’s close friend – the interior architect Francis D’Haene of D’Apostrophe Design – the project seems to have been a real passion project for the client and designer, with D’Haene mixing old and new to excellent effect.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

I love the rustic charm on the outside of the home. D’Haene seems to have really wanted to maintain this and even added wood salvaged from a 200-year-old Canadian barn to add to the personality of the outside. Inside is a different story all-together. Almost nothing from the original interior was. Low-ceilings and dated surfaces were quickly scrapped and replaced with an interior which pares everything back to the bare essentials. It makes for a great interior and I would certainly love to spend a couple of long-weekends in this wonderfully minimalist retreat.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Philip Kennedy

September 25, 2014 / By

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

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