One of my favorite films this year has been Boyhood. Shot over a period of 12 years, it tells the story of Mason as his life unfolds during a period between the ages of 6 and 18. Before seeing the film I imagined that it must be a wonderful spectacle; that there must be something incredible about watching a person literally come-of-age on screen. In actuality, there is no real spectacle to Boyhood. If anything, that’s the real strength of the film. Real life is made up of small fleeting moments, and Boyhood captures these in a beautifully uncinematic way. In doing so, it captures something even greater than spectacle and in its subtly it reveals something more profound.
All of this is little more than preamble to introduce Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”. This project is similar to Boyhood in that its premise seems suitably epic yet its lasting impression feels more poetic than astounding. A time-lapse film shot over the period of one year, Murphy reduces the ever changing skies of San Francisco into a mere 5 minute film.
“A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” says the self-described programmer, artist, and tinkerer. I think it’s wonderful!
Finding the intersections between music, technology, and design are often challenging but when it’s done well it can certainly open up new worlds. A perfect example of this is the partnership between James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem fame, and technologies company IBM who together creating “music” from tennis data supplied by the US Open. The video below does a good job of explaining how they code works and how they created an interface that was familiar to Murphy.
The outcome is quite unique, especially something on this scale. You can visit IBM’s Soundcloud page to get a taste of all the music that’s been created so far based on the data and it’s pretty staggering. It’s like an endless mix of chiptune tracks endlessly looping into one another. This Round of 16 collection is a perfect example as it runs almost 7 hours in total length, non-stop, back-to-back.
Adding to the experience is the fantastic artworks created for round by New York based artist and illustrator Karan Singh. I had been thinking about featuring Singh on the site recently though this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. His work is this mish-mash of hyper-saturated, flat colors which create the illusion of 3D shapes. I imagine this had to be a pretty fun yet exhausting project to work on. I’ve selected some of my favorite images below to give you a sense of the variety he’s created.
You can also see more of Karan’s pieces over on his Behance page.
The last time we checked in with British designer Joseph Perry he was artfully reorganizing the periodic table, artfully recreating it into something less functional but certainly more aesthetically pleasing. Now he’s back with a new silkscreened print which can turn even you into a novice meteorologist.
Every Cloud celebrates the scientific work of Luke Howard, the amateur meteorologist who brought order to the ever-changing skies. In his book ‘The Modifications of Clouds’ (1803) Howard harnessed the unpredictable beauty of the clouds, classifying them using a Latin naming structure.
I love that he chose to screen the white on to the electrically colored indigo paper which provides such a lovely contrast. These are limited to 100 so be sure to snag one while they last.
I was first introduced to Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama thanks to the 2007 documentary Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton, a film which I found to be hugely inspirational and I can’t recommend enough. Since the 60s she’s been spreading her spots everywhere and applying them to literally everything: from canvas to sculptures, on fashionable bags and as a part of sprawling museum installations. Recently she spoke with Sophie Knight for The Telegraph about her life, her inspirations, and the source of her talent (kind of).
Kusama says that all her inspiration comes from within her mind, with no conscious thought, or influence from other artists, most of whom she dismisses (“Picasso painted thousands of pictures in one style, whereas my art covers every kind of idea,” she boasted once.)
“A lot of artists have to draw first with pencil, but I paint directly. Many people ask me, ‘How do you draw that?’ and I just say, ‘Ask my hand!’” she says.
It’s a great piece and a great reminder that no matter what we as creatives have a responsibility to keep on making. If she can get up at 3am and make all day long so can you.
Sometimes I forgot how beautiful simple things can be. I think that is one of the best things about art; it can really remind you of the beauty that exists in the simple things and the mundane parts of life. That’s what I love about this series by the German-born photographer Michael Wolf. Shot on the streets of Paris, the work shows little more than the shadows of trees set against the buildings of the street. Yet in his composition and his high-contrast black-and-white he manages to find something effortlessly beautiful in something so banal.
Wolf’s work is frequently interested in contemporary city life. His images of modern cities often feel far less inviting than the work shown here. Through his lens buildings reach near abstraction as they dominate everything around them and themes of voyeurism, privacy and detachment are often seen throughout his practice.
Wolf doesn’t offer an explanation to the meaning behind this work. Considering his previous projects one might view it as an exploration of natures challenged role within the city, or perhaps it could be seen as a study into the small traces of the natural world that remain within our busy cities. Personally I prefer to take a more romantic view of it and see it as a simple celebration of the mundane. For me, these images serve as a reminder that there exisits simple pleasures in the world and its important to take the time every-now-and-again to stop and appreciate these simple things.
You can see more work from Wolf on his website.
At this point, Gary Baseman has probably marked everything off of the bucket list for his career. He has won several Emmys and had a huge, traveling (brilliant) major museum show and even successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign: dude has done it all. The latest addition to this lengthy list of creative triumphs is a luxury fashion collaboration, one on par with Kenny Scharf for Jeremy Scott and Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton: Coach enlisted Baseman to provide complimentary monsters for their Spring Ready-To-Wear collection. This sounds like it could be a troubling pairing, yes—but the collaboration is absolutely spectacular.
Baseman’s characters are used in myriad ways: they are at the center of a few t-shirts, seemingly painted on purses, and even patterned very elegantly onto dresses. Like the shirts, the characters are even knitted into sweaters. No, they aren’t appliqué but woven into the material, a seamless and quaint and quirky effect that takes Baseman’s creations and transforms them from art objects or cartoons to these high fashion objects of intrigue. Coach wisely uses an understated palette of pastels—and a few complimentary prints like cheetah (which Baseman may have created)—to place his work at the center of the clothing. Moreover, the 1970s-meets-1990s design of the clothes somehow works here: it’s then and now, fake and real, imaginative and real.
What’s most surprising is this pairing: Baseman is phenomenal while Coach has become so suburban mall. Whoever thought to enlist over at Coach needs many, many high fives. The designer(s) who also worked with Gary to figure out how the pairing would manifest itself did an amazing job as well. Collaborations between art and fashion require a great amount of editing—and confidence. You can see more from the collaboration here.
Modulorbeat’s One Man Sauna is a wonderfully strange construction found near the German city of Bochum. The work forms part of a research lab project called Borderlands which the architects have been working on since 2012. Borderlands examines the border and transit spaces of the city and attempts to see what role architecture can play in the development of these spaces.
This One Man Sauna is located on the site of an old abandoned factory and stands at nearly 25 feet. Built from old building shafts, the sauna consists primarily of three stacked pre-cast concrete parts. These form three different unique layers on the inside: a plunge pool at the bottom, a sauna on the middle level and a relaxation room and viewing area at the top.
Go check out Modulorbeat’s website for more exciting work.
It’s going to be a big week for Apple. They’re announcing new products on Tuesday in a live event, likely to be a new NFC-able iPhone and some sort of wearable, and last week they made one huge announcement: famed Australian industrial designer Marc Newson will be joining the Apple design team. Vanity Fair broke the news late Friday afternoon, which included a short note about the new union from Jony Ive.
“Marc is without question one of the most influential designers of this generation,” Ive said in a statement provided to VF Daily. “He is extraordinarily talented. We are particularly excited to formalize our collaboration as we enjoy working together so much and have found our partnership so effective.”
In my eyes this is a huge win for Apple. I believe that Newson is one of the best living industrial designers and having his mind join that of the Apple design team is incredible. I have two of his products which I still cherish and use to this day – the Zvezdochka shoes he created for Nike and the Pentax K01, one of the coolest cameras I’ve ever used.
It’s also interesting to think of Newson in regards to the rumors of an Apple wearable. As you can see above Newson does have a history of designing time pieces so it’s not hard to imagine that Newson may be contributing to this effort in some way. In a video with designboom which you can watch below he speaks about designing (and hand building!) watches way back in 1986.
My friend Ed was speculating that the Jony Ive and Marc Newson (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s could have been a ruse to cover up their collaboration on said wearable.
I’ve included a few more of the fantastic pieces he’s made over the years as well, a bike for Biomega and the Ford 021C concept car, to give a sense of the range of products Newson has created over the years. Hell, he’s even designed a space plane. It’ll be fantastic to see how Apple’s industrial design changes with his presence at the company.