Monthly Archives: September 2010

At the young age of 23, designer/illustrator Gianluca Fallone has been busily filling his portfolio with an incredible body of work, and has successfully landed commissions with big names like Nike, MTV, Daft Punk, and the Cartoon Network. He originally hails from Argentina but currently resides in London, and has primarily been inspired by Japanese cartoons and animation – no wonder everyone from all four corners of the earth are clamouring for his awesome electric designs. 

Check out more of his stuff here.

L.A.’s Jeff Nishinaka redefines the very idea of paper with his obsessively white bas relief sculptures. His images pop out at you in 3-D as if they were cast in plaster or carved out of stone. The whiteness of these pieces really emphasize the contrast between light and shadow, to appeal to his audience. 

Nishinaka’s works have been featured everywhere, from hotel gardens, private commissions, medical illustrations, fashion, fine art and even advertising for companies like Coca Cola, Visa, American Airlines, Toyota, Playboy, and Mattel. His art has also been used for catalogues for Les Galleries Lafayette in France, and Bloomingdales in the U.S.  Funnily enough, the biggest collector of his work worldwide, is his actor friend – Jackie Chan.

Check out more of his work here

Watching KISS in concert is everything one expects it to be: a pyrotechnic space-age extravaganza of epic proportions. Massive walls of LCD displays blaring a mixed barrage of live and retrospective visuals, towering flames, sparks shooting out of guitars, larger-than-life costumes. Then there are the required stage antics – tongue-wagging, flying over the crowd, being launched high into the air on raised platforms. There’s no lip syncing here – it’s a fucking kick-ass show. The Molson Amphitheatre was packed with people of all ages, families with kids dressed up and ready to rock – first generation KISS fans passing down the torch to their progeny. The KISS army lives on.

Only Simmons and Stanley remain of the original foursome, but they don’t look like they’re going to tire anytime soon. And why should they? They’ve selling out for decades, becoming one of the most popular bands worldwide, as well as having the widest variety of collectible paraphernalia worldwide – they might even be single-handedly responsible for eBay’s success. Their shock and awe theatrics is what made them their fortunes, and what drives the gravy train. So why is it surprising that they always book boring humdrum acts to precede them to contrast against their flash? And why should it be disappointing that their new album Sonic Boom is exclusively available at Wal-Mart and the audience was subjected to Stanley shamelessly plugging it throughout the show? They’re business men as well as artists – you don’t make an omelette this big without breaking a few eggs. Personally, I’m glad they made it this big and this far – they put on one of the most intense shows I’ve ever seen, and I thought I’d seen everything.

The bottom line is that The Hottest Show on Earth indeed lived up to it’s reputation, regardless of the sell-out tactics. They played a mix of old and new material, and a few poignant covers that had everyone rockin’ out all night. Aside from the bullshit security measures on the way in, and the expected exorbitant food, booze, and shwag prices, by the time KISS built up to a massive crescendo of light and sound, signifying an epic finale, the entire crowd was so caught up in the moment, forgiving them momentarily for their capitalistic sins, singing as one – “WE WANNA ROCK AN ROLL ALL NIGHT, AND PARTY EVERY DAY!” Yes indeed, the KISS army lives on.

Stumbling through the internet today I came across some really beautiful watercolour and mixed-media images by Stina Persson. Using a combination of collage and stencil, she’s created some really gorgeous illustrations. I would love to learn some of her techniques – they add so much drama and romanticism to everyday things. 

Check out her portfolio for more inspiring images. 

“We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us.”

A few years after first releasing the mind-blowing fake trailer for Machete in theatres in the film Grindhouse (2007), Robert Rodriguez has finally given the masses what they’ve been craving – the most incredible action film they’ve seen in a long time. The film stars Danny Trejo as Machete – an ex-Federale who’s been betrayed by his previous employer, who set him up to be pursued by the big drug kingpin of the neighbourhood – Torrez (played by Steven Seagal). As a result, Machete’s wife and child are murdered forcing him to flee to Texas, and is now out for total retribution.

Trying to find employment as an illegal day worker, he is picked up one day and asked to perform a much different kind of task – to assassinate State Senator McLaughlin (played by Robert DeNiro), whose advocacy against illegal immigration has many people up in arms. But Machete soon learns that no one in this world is to be trusted – he has once again been set up to take the fall, and now he’s pissed. He enlists the help of a resistance fighter named Luz (played by Michelle Rodriguez), a federal agent named Sartana (Jessica Alba), and his good friend the Padre (Cheech Marin), who’s always ready to jump into the action with double shotguns roaring. 

Machete has as much heart as it does action. Amidst the gore and uber-violence that crowds the world over expect from such a master as Rodriguez, Machete softens under women’s touch, just long enough to slightly endear the character, before he dives into yet another frenzy of machete-slashing awesomeness. This movie was as fucking intense as the trailer, and packed with hilarious foul-mouthed one-liners, that only Rodriguez can deliver, like having the Padre quickly make a sign of the cross, “I absolve you of all your sins. Now get the fuck out.” And he didn’t skimp out on the plot for this one – it’s rife with substance, and really captures the social issues that reside on the border between the U.S. and Mexico without dumbing it down to a commercial level. It’s gritty, it’s raw and it’s shot and cut like a vintage flick. Lindsay Lohan doesn’t even piss me off in this one. It’s brilliant. 

Funnily enough, this wasn’t Machete’s first appearance in a feature – he also appeared in Rodriguez’s Spy Kids (2001) and it’s subsequent sequels. And this wasn’t the only fake trailer in Grindhouse to be made into a feature-length movie – they’re also going to make a full version of Hobo With A Shotgun and Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving. If they’re going to be anything like Machete, I can barely fucking contain myself.

Sheppard Fairey is awesome – he is the creator of the “Obey” graphics, amongst other pop art designs. He started out as a graffiti artist and is now world-renown, and has a very popular clothing line. His works are mostly based on the printed propaganda posters of the Second World War, and he likes to work in reds and blacks, with variable yellow and orange highlights. I love his stylized graphics – they often look like lino or wood cut prints, with bold colours and textures. The impact of his statements has always been an inspiration, and I always enjoy the return to retro imaging in order to make a modern statement. 

These particular images are rife with socio-political criticism as Fairey attacks the hypocrisy of modern urban individuals and their corruption of our environment. He inspires us to become more aware of what’s happening in our world and to and to start taking action against the powers of corruption – whether it be social, environmental, or political. Although he’s been attacked over the years by critics, it’s only helped to further push his message along, rather than stand in his way. 

Check out his official Obey site

Helvetica: we ❤ you. There are films that celebrate your splendour. There is art that is peppered with your personality. Many countries use your sans-serifness for major signage. You span all platforms. And now, for no other reason than to kick ass – you’ve been turned into a web clock. 

%d bloggers like this: