Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Lister and I share a common view – that the “heroes” that are presented through the media, that surround us at every step, are often misguided, and less glamorous than we perceive them to be. As someone who’s worked behind the scenes in television and film for many years, I know this one all too well and can relate to his ennui, but I do love how he interprets this world through his art.

With his art, Lister splashes this message anywhere he can – any way he can, using stickers, markers, and aerosol paint, drawing from his past experiences growing up in Brisbane, Australia, his travels around the world, and his life as a husband and father of two. His subject matter usually revolves around the pop culture icons that have populated his sphere – skateboarding, comic book superheroes, tattoos, television, graffiti, pop culture, advertising, jail birds, the internet and Aussie celebrity gangsters.

He’s also shown his work around the globe in exhibitions both in museums and on the streets, all over Australia, the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. He’s been featured on many art-related websites such as Juxtapoz.com, FecalFace.com and WoosterCollective.com. And something tells me this is just the beginning…

Check out more of his awesome work on his website.

New York stencil artist Logan Hicks creates beautifully mundane and often haunting images of urban environments and the people that populate them. His current work consists mostly of hand-sprayed stencils, an evolution from his previous methods of screenprinting.

Logan illustrates his subjects in a very photorealistic approach, juxtaposing the gritty urban nature of spraypaint as depicting the natural decay of the metropolis against the dull glare of metallic paint that illustrates the muted glimmer of hopeful optimism that lies within. He has a very intimate relationship with his landscape and the people that thrive within it and the dynamics that are evoked by such and environment.

To find out more about Logan Hicks and see his portfolio, visit his website, Work Horse Visuals.

Manufacturing products often involves using non-renewable materials and harsh chemicals that exacerbate ecological destruction, which is why many companies are converting to other means to produce their wares. Global Surf Industries has discovered a new way to manufacture their surfboards so that they create less of an impact on the environment using coconut husk fibres to produce some of the fastest, lightest and strongest boards on the market today. They’re about 3-4 pounds lighter than original epoxy boards and have an innovative new design.

To manufacture their surfboards, they use the discarded fibres that are cast off from local crops that are self-sustaining. What’s more, is that these crops are in the vicinity of the manufacturing facility, so they cut down on any unnecessary freight and travel expenditures. The husks only require a minimal amount of processing before they can be used, and they are laid between multiple layers of fibreglass in a random pattern to reinforce the structure of the fibreglass laminate and create a unique look for each board. No two are the same!

These surfboards include the small Fish (around 6’4″), which is a great choice for rough conditions, and has a very squat shape, causing it to retain stability, which is otherwise lost if it had any extra length. The longer the board, the heavier they get, but when you’re talking about Coco Mat boards, the stand-up paddle boards and longboards weigh much less than the traditional surfboards – as much as four pounds lighter – which makes all the difference when you’re out there.

Soon to be released (March 2012) – the NSP Coco Mat boards will be available in specialty shops and online. Check out Global Surf Industries website for more info or check out the links below:

The 10’0″ NSP Coco Mat SUP

The NSP Coco Mat Race SUP

The 7’2″ Coco Mat Funshape

The NSP Coco Mat Fish

The NSP Coco Mat Longboards

Also be sure to check out The Seaglass Project, Tom Wegener’s new line of finless surfboards. What I wouldn’t give to live near the ocean… Surf’s up!

Richard Filomeno is a freelance motion graphics artist who’s work is primarily based in São Paulo, Brazil’s burgeoning advertising industry who discovered the world of papercraft in 2008. He was originally inspired by the works of L.A. artist   Elsa Mora and visits to France and his papercraft hobby is soon turning into a professional career. His first piece has just been sold and he’s got a short film project that is currently in the works, alongside his girlfriend, art director Carol Bella, who also has a great deal of prowess when it comes to getting crafty with paper.

Their current film project revolves around the idea of an experimental papercraft horror amusement park, inspired by the film The Funhouse. Rather than have their work stop-motion animated, they are attempting to make it live action. Right now they’re in the experimental stages, testing out little details that will be incorporated into the process such as little lamps and simplified motors. They hope to have the whole thing done in three months.

Filomeno’s paper creations were born out of a heavy foundation in graphics. He started out playing around with certain pieces when he had a moment here and there to spare, and created various cameo brooches of film and comic book pop culture characters. He particularly loves working with Wes Anderson’s characters and those from sci-fi films, but his most recurring character is the one of Deus Mendingo (the “hippie god”). At first he used these small pieces as calling cards to impress potential animation clients but last year he managed to sell a few at a bazaar in São Paulo and was encouraged to work on a bigger scale.

His work is constantly evolving and the size of his projects are starting to grow -Filomeno’s future is bright and his hobby is going to grow well beyond the confines of São Paulo very soon. If you want to see more of his work, or commission your very own custom pieces, visit his website – and be sure to take a look at his papercraft horror show that he has planned for later this year.

Ian Sklarsky is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist who’s been creating amazing abstract portraits – over 700 in the past five years alone – illustrating everything from people to pets using only pen, ink, and a splash of water colour.

The 30-year-old became engrossed in the traditional blind contour method of drawing when he learned about it in a high school art class – the artist must trace the outline of the subject in one line, without looking at the paper or canvas, creating a very expressive and abstract result. Sklarsky has to put himself in the right mindset to allow his hand to guide him across the page, keeping absolutely zen throughout the process – which can sometimes be no easy feat, as when he works on large format portraits, such as group illustrations that tower over six feet high.

Sklarsky’s portraits often begin around $65 and go up from there, depending on the size and complexity as well as the time to complete each one. They are all signed and sealed with wax, and he also offers an epoxy glaze option to those who want it, which tends to cause the paper to become somewhat translucent so you can back-light it for emphasis in your decor.

To see more, obtain a commissioned piece, and find out when and where he is appearing next, check out Sklarsky’s website. He is also on Tumblr, so be sure to visit often to see the progress of his work. Cool Hunting also recently posted a video of Sklarsky working on one of his portraits – you can view it here.

Superman

Liam Brazier is an illustrator and animator who is based out of the UK and has been attracting a lot of attention lately in the art world with the success of his geometrically-treated Photoshop illustrations. Using the polygonal selection tool and filling each shape with colour, he’s been creating portraits of his favourite characters that are incredibly dynamic and full of motion and pathos.

He started out using Star Wars characters as his inspiration and has since moved on to many other famous comic book heroes that have inspired him over the years from Captain America to the Incredible Hulk. He also has worked extensively creating pen and ink illustrations by hand, which proves he’s got some serious artistic talent.

Like his style? I do too. Check out more of his work at liambrazier.com. (I especially like his take on Teen Wolf…)

Spiderman

Batman

A long long long time ago, people used typewriters to write beautifully-crafted love letters to their sweethearts. Today we have instant messaging, email, status updates, posts, and tweets, and we often take our technology for granted, forgetting that we used to actually put time and effort into putting meaning into our lives. This Valentine’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to one of the most important technological advances of our modern age – the typewriter. And not just any typewriter – the Olivetti Valentine.

Founded in 1908, near Turin, Olivetti has been manufacturing typewriters for decades. As innovators, they were even responsible for producing the very first commercially-produced computer for personal use – the Programma 101. Ettore Sottsass, (along with Perry A. King), designed the Valentine typewriter for Olivetti in 1969 in response to the growing field of technological advancement as an “anti-machine machine” to be used “anyplace but an office,” and quickly became a classic.

The Valentine got rid of the clunky cast-iron housings that dominated the typewriter market at the time and replaced them with a lighter, more modern casing made of plastic. Now a vintage collectible, this beautifully designed piece has gracefully bridged the gap between technology and beauty, inspiring an emotional bond between human and machine. Since it’s inception, it’s inspired designers to combine style and functionality.

Once an accessory that created envy amongst users, this chic typewriter is making a comeback in the recent years, being sought out by manual typewriter enthusiasts. Now you can find them in secondhand stores and on eBay, as well as on mytypewriter.com. Pick one up for your sweetheart for around $895.

If you can’t find an authentic vintage Valentine, you can also go the more modern route, with a laptop version created recently by an Austrian design team. They’ve included a sleeker body and kept the classic colour but also added a super cool keyboard that pulls out and a compact rolling screen, which allows the user to adjust the size and shape of the actual display using stretchable, flexible LEDs. Not yet available on the market, this laptop would totally blow other notebooks out of the water if ever released. Keep your fingers crossed.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Still mourning the loss of “The Chappelle Show”? Comedy Central has a solution to  ease your woes – MadTV’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have a great new sketch-com show called “Key & Peele” and it’s already making headlines. Their no-holds-barred approach to shtick comedy is a real delight floating atop the drivel that’s been shoveled down our throats in the past few years.

What makes this show stand apart from the rest is that it’s got a true sense of fearlessness and stark naked humanity. Full of biting satire, bold social commentary, and political critique – no topic is safe from their sharp wit and side-splitting delivery, and what’s best is that they can appeal to most audiences, offering a variety of subjects in their short sketches, stand up, and impressions that never disappoint (a few of which can be viewed already on YouTube). All of this is set in a format similar to “The Chappelle Show”, using a combination of stand up and videos set in front of a live audience, with each segway flowing seamlessly into the next, humor expanding in the process.

It’s rare that I can find a sketch-com show that can actually consistently make me laugh throughout (IFC’s “Portlandia” is also one of those), but Key & Peele have really been able to shake up our perceptions of society and have really done an awesomely adept job with the writing. They’re off to a really great start, and proving themselves as a wonderful breath of fresh air – I’m anticipating more great things from these two in the near future. Finally! A reason to look forward to Tuesdays.

To find out more, check out Key & Peele on The Comedy Network on Tuesdays at 10:30 pm ET or visit Comedy Central’s website in the U.S. or The Comedy Network in Canada.

Eccentric British artist Rory Dobner creates ingenious pen and ink illustrations that capture insanely imaginative animal characters with a maximalist approach and a Victorian feel. His intricate works are all hand-drawn and have recently been discovered around 18 months ago by the art world – and now he has the universe clamoring on his doorstep with requests for more.

From a stay-at-home-dad to climbing the ladder to celebrity status, he’s expanding on his portfolio of whimsical drawings, and is now being represented by Opera Gallery, creating paintings, sculptures, home furnishings, tattoos and dabbling in graphic design. His works can now be seen all over the world, from prints and “objets d’art” in London at Liberty London and Bluebird to textiles and ceramics at  Via Bus Stop in Tokyo, Agent Provocateur boutiques and will be showcased in the next little while at Maison 24 in New York.

Dobner is very much attracted to the world of the Victorian Era, drawing upon it heavily for influence of his drawings. His love of inventions of that time period are reflected heavily in his work, using similar materials that give off a sense of heritage and character. He also likes to keep his works personal and has been commissioned by people to create portraits that have uniquely personal touches. Every little detail is drawn by hand, then reproduced in prints. He prides himself on not even using pencil to sketch things out – he just puts pen to paper and starts going to work. His intuition and expert hand leave no room for error. As he works, he breathes life into his characters and creates individual personalities for each one, then when he’s finished, he mounts and frames every print himself.

To check out more of his amazing work, visit his website.

Last night was the premiere of National Geographic Channel’s “Doomsday Preppers”, a new reality show about people who are preparing themselves for the eventuality of cataclysmic disaster. The stories revolve around average American families that are spending most of their spare time worrying about the collapse of society as we know it and how they will cope, and what their survival strategies are.

Should we hole up and barricade ourselves with weapons and stockpiles of shelf-stable food, water and seeds? Should we pack a “bug out” pack and take to the streets on foot and forage along the way? Will it be necessary to forge bonds with our communities so that we have a support system to draw upon in the darkest hours? For all of these people, training for the worst is a daily routine. They store items for barter, exercise intensely, and fill every nook and cranny of their dwellings. They have exit strategies, alternate plans, and above all, “lots and lots of bullets”. After all, Mike tells us, “If the grocery shelves are empty, you’re only nine meals away from anarchy.”

What’s interesting is that each family has their own belief of what is about to befall humanity and how they train themselves to be ready when “the shit hits the fan” and their worst fears become reality.  Whether it be a megaquake, total economic collapse, an extreme oil crisis, solar flares that bring on widespread power failures, these people think they have it covered. If society begins to unravel itself, they are willing to fight tooth and nail to survive.  At the end of each segment, an expert from NatGeo makes an assessment of what their chances would be ultimately, and what they are lacking and need to focus on, then revisit each family to update us on how they have improved their strategies.

So what are we really in for? Are these people crazy? Are they wasting their lives worrying about something that may not happen in our lifetime? What’s going to do us in, in the end? NatGeo has created a “Doomsday Dashboard” that follows Twitter trends to show us what is the worst possible catastrophe that everyone is worried about. To see what the current catastrophe that is impending, visit the Dashboard here.

At very least, “Doomsday Preppers” is an interesting watch. And if it all goes down, at least we’ll have a good understanding of what it will take to survive. I’m not holding my breath though – I’d rather enjoy life as we know it and deal with things as they come. To find out more about the show and how you can brace yourself for impending societal collapse, check out National Geographic Channel’s website. “Doomsday Preppers” airs Tuesday at 9pm on NatGeo.

%d bloggers like this: