I got an email the other day from Micah over at Devicious letting me know that they teamed up with Skinny Ships, aka Richard Perez, on a totebag and it turned out pretty rad. It’s got kind of this contemporary, retro design that reminds me of Chris Ware’s work, which is obviously a compliment. I think it’s hysterical that the front says “The Amazing Practical Totebag”, and then smaller on the bottom it has “See Flipside For Details”. Once you flip it over it gives you an owner’s manual on how to properly use your tote… genius! They’re only $18 and you can get one by clicking here.
Also don’t forget that Richard did an awesome desktop wallpaper which you can grab for yourself by clicking here.
First impressions are everything, and viewing the opening splash page of Nick de Jardine’s portfolio site you’re immediately confronted with the amazing image above. Honestly he could be trying to sell moldy cakes and I’d click through to see what flavors he had in stock. It’s even better when you see it in your full browser, just this immense redness with some perfect curated typefaces. Excellent work.
Every now and then I get a student asking me for advice, so I thought instead of those answers never seeing the light of day that I’d share them on here. These questions were sent to me by Rob Hodgson who’s currently an illustration student in the UK. He was writing a report and was curious about the following things:
1) What do you think about the whole blog exposure for artists that has happened the past couple years? Do you think there are pros and cons?
I think this trend has been happening a lot longer than the last few years. When I started getting into blogs like K10K and Design is Kinky about 10 years ago they were doing the same thing. I think the difference nowadays is that it’s a lot easier for anyone to start a blog these days, the tools are out there and easy enough for anyone to understand.
Overall I think it’s a good thing for artists, though I think a lot of people/blogs don’t put any thought or reason to why they’re putting these works on their site. In that case I feel like the artists work doesn’t mean as much, it’s just a pretty image that’s quite disposable and will be gone as soon as something else comes along.
2) I have this super romantic view of living somewhere and being able to work on art stuff in a real community. I’ve read a few posts where you’ve mentioned bridging the gap between internet and real life. What are your thoughts on this, do you have anything lined up?
I think that idea is romantic, but not impossible. It takes a lot of hard work and determination, and well, talent, to really make it work. I’ve personally found a lot of success through reaching out to people and creating friendships. A lot of emphasis these days is put on social networking, which to me is just as bad as getting spam mail. There’s nothing about social networking to me that feels genuine, and that’s a big loss to me.
3) What do you think about the opportunity for illustrators and designers right now? The internet has opened up a lot of new avenues, but are you seeing any new areas for artwork to be commissioned?
A lot of people I know do a ton of personal work and put it out there regularly, which I think is why they’re so successful. These people make a ton of work and thus are now featured in every major magazine out there right now. In short, you need to make your own opportunities and work your ass off or you’re never going to get anywhere.
4) What do you think about illustrators’ websites? Do you think they should get to the point and have a ton of images? Is less more? What about personal stuff like talking about what music they’re listening to, do you think it gets in the way for clients or does is it create a bond with their audience?
I think having large images is a must, as well as clear descriptions of the work. It also bugs me when artists don’t fill out their bio section well. If you have an understanding of the artist you just might understand the art even more.
If you want to create some kind of bond with a potential viewer I’d suggest creating a blog that’s separate from your portfolio. I think it’s an easy way for potential viewers/clients to get a sense of you and your work.
5) Any advice you’ve got for a student graduating this summer??
Work your ass off and never give up on your goals. It’s never going to be easy, no matter how successful you become, so don’t fool yourself that it’s going to be any different. This applies to art and any other career you may choose.
I’ve know been listening to Plastic Beach, the new Gorillaz album, for nearly 36 hours now pretty much non-stop as my Last.fm will attest, so I thought I’d give some thoughts on what I thought so far.
The album starts out with a beautiful orchestration piece. If there’s one thing Damon Albarn can do it’s right amazing classical sounding music. I kind of wish he’d do an entire album or soundtrack with just that kind of stuff. We cut to the second song and the first words you hear uttered are from Mr. Snoop Dogg himself, which when I hear it makes me laugh every time. He kind of raps about nature and peace and stuff though, which I think are definitely Damon inspired, but it sounds great. From there we is the song White Flag, which features Kano and Bashy, but more importantly in my mind, is The Lebanese National Orchestra fro Oriental Arabic Music. It’s absolutely brilliant that Mr. Albarn can tie together these extremely different kinds of music into one song. It’s exactly that talent that makes me think he’s one of the most brilliant musicians alive right now.
Then there’s Rhinestone Eyes, one of the few tracks that’s just Damon singing on his own, which in my mind are some of the best on the album. There’s also On Melancholy Hill, Broken and Pirate Jet as well. I think On Melancholy HIll would be the other really stand out track which features just him.
The other artists that I really enjoyed are Little Dragon and Mos Def. Little Dragon has such an amazing voice, and Empire Ants and To Binge are two of my favorite tracks on the album. I kind of hope she gets written in as a character in the Gorillaz mythos. And of course Mos Def is just an amazing guy, and both Stylo and Sweepstakes are great tracks, with the latter featuring a huge brass ensemble that beats anything that Mark Ronson has done.
I’d say that overall, however amazing I think this album is, it isn’t quite as good as Demon Days. There’s not dance track like D.A.R.E. and honestly the ending seemed brief and kind of lacking. The end of Demon Days on the other hand could only be described as epic, which of course is what I compare this to. That said, this album for me is like an 8 out of 10, just an absolute gem. I can’t wait to buy this album to hear it in it’s full glory and to get some rad new Jamie Hewlett art.
Technically, and by technically I mean definitely, it’s Tuesday and I’m posting my #musicmonday a day late… whoops! Anyhow, here’s what’s good that I’ve been listening to.
1) Radiohead – Have you heard these guys before? They’re so rad and I love them! haha… I thought I’d make a random suggestion since most people know Radiohead like the back of their hands. But there’s one little EP that you might not know about. It’s called Airbag/How Am I Driving? and was released way back in 1998. I grabbed it when I was in high school after falling in love with OK Computer but they no longer make the EP, thus it’s rarity. That being said, if you really want to find it, use Google.
2) Gorillaz – In the build-up to the new album, which I’ll be talking about after this post, I’ve been listening to some older Gorillaz stuff. I always felt like some of their best songs were the one offs that never made it onto proper albums. On G-Sides you have Faust, on the Feel Good Inc Japan Only EP you’ve got Bill Murray and Spitting Out The Demons, and then there was the track called Hong Kong which was written for the Help: A Day in the Life compilation. All of these are amazing songs which are worth your time to check out.
3) Owen Pallett – After two months now I can still say that Mr. Pallett’s album Heartland is one of my favorites of the year. In all honesty I think the beginning of the album isn’t as strong as the end of it, so it might be hard for some people to get into the album. If that’s you, I’d suggest starting at Red Sun No. 5 and going from there.