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.
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.
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.
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.
See more from Cook here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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When it comes to the fashion world and runway shows creating spectacular experiences to wow an audience no expense is spared. The clothes these days have to share the stage with the stage as the importance of Instagram and the sharing economy continues to grow. Recently, Prada wowed audience members with surreal, immense hills made of purple sand that towered over the parading models for their Women’s SS15 collection.
NY Times blog On The Runway had a great perspective of the show which illustrated how impactful the installation was.
The normally exhausted expressions that are plastered on editors’ faces during this time were replaced with actual, honest-to-God smiles (maybe the booze helped). The fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia has been working with some Milan-based designers for their shows this season (she said she would be at fittings all night Thursday night for one show on Friday), but she wouldn’t miss this.
“I’ve been consulting, but I stepped out and said, ‘This is the one, I don’t care, sorry, I have to stop working,’?” she said. “I have to go out and see Prada.”
The grandeur of this effort is brilliant to me. As I’ve been looking at these images I was imagining how difficult it would be to get all that sand to stay in place. A small detail but had to be so important when you have women in super high clogs and heels working their stuff. There’s also a simple beauty to the idea which I think helps it. It’s not over the top like Chanel’s grocery store runway show (which was impressive in it’s own right) but still has quite the wow factor.
Toshitaka Aoyagi is an artist from Tokyo, Japan. Recently he has been experimenting with color; creating an elegantly simply series called – wait for it – ‘Color’.
Specifically the work is an exploration into color bleeding, with the artist creating a number of pale white shelves that include a tiny hint of a fluorescent color. The end result is a beautifully minimal exploration into the power of color. I love it.
More projects from Toshitaka Aoyagi can be viewed on Behance.