Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things I see around the city

This city surprises me daily with subtle beautiful things that wait around every corner. I've never wanted a camera so badly, just to carry around and capture all the small nuances that make me smile. I'm taking these with my camera phone, so the quality isn't as good as I'd like, but it's something.

The Taj Mahal? No, it's the Conservatory of Flowers!

Loved the color of this lion next to the indigo doors:

Saw "The Creak" and "The Trespassers" at a show in a small local pub on Saturday. They were a great bluegrass band, and I met a new friend!

I found a "me" place, meaning a niche out of the way from the general public, a place for solace.

I love the blue in Claes Oldenburg's sculpture next to the brilliant yellow leaves:

This would be the kind of graffiti/chalk drawings in San Francisco:

The "Checks Cashed" place here is better than the one in your city (only because it has a more elaborate roof)!

I didn't know such a thing as "Lawn Bowling" existed, prior to today.

This one reminds me of an Edward Hopper painting. I think it's the harsh highlights and the lonely windows and spire in that tower on the right.

A view of the city from the top of a park that I discovered today. I could see the Golden Gate bridge from here, so I painted it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Requiem for a Dream, condensed in 30 seconds.

My roommate mentioned that Darren Aronofsky had recently directed some new ads for the campaign against meth, featured on methproject.org. He released the public service announcements earlier this month.

Aronofsky is my favorite director, ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream (2000). He continued to amaze me with The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010). He has such a talent for drawing the viewer in and connecting them so closely to the main character, then proceeds to drag them through a train wreck (albeit a beautiful one).

Take his talent for manufacturing an intensely uncomfortable and bizarre scenario, mix it with a bit of terror and disorientation, direct it toward a substance, and you've got a great meth campaign. Brilliant.

“We were thrilled to collaborate with top-tier talent like Darren Aronofsky, the animation house Studio AKA, and photographer Ron Haviv on this campaign,” said Brad Mancuso, Executive Creative Director, Organic. “Darren had a true understanding of addiction as the main character of the TV spots, and his ability to see and bring to life the darker side of the human spirit was inspiring.” (via The New York Egotist)
Some debate that people aren't easily persuaded by scare tactics, but "since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana and 52 percent in Idaho." (ABC News) That's pretty significant, I'd say. I'm glad to see another way that effective visual media influences culture positively.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ireland Lake

On this cold and rainy Friday evening at my new place in San Francisco, I find myself missing this backpacking trip I took one weekend with a dear friend of mine who is now halfway across the country en route to New Orleans.

Tommy had this great idea to hike to Ireland Lake from Twolumne, through Lyell Canyon. We backpacked 10 miles and reached the lake before sunset. Upon arriving, we refilled our Nalgenes with ice cold water from the lake. It was the purest water I've ever tasted, free from chlorine or chemicals. Tommy cooked Ramen and tea afterward, and we both walked out into the boulder field nearby, reflecting in silence at the magnificent sunset.

"Vibrant pinks, deep blues, and purples stretched across the sky, staining the mountains in color. Night visibly invaded the last light of day. It was somber, so beautiful it could make you cry. It just all feels so vast, and I'm so small. I feel an unspeakable void within me- maybe the potential for my life, what I could do, who I could be, who I will love. I don't think I've felt so connected with God this whole summer." (September 8, 2011)

Mountaintop experience- literally. It wasn't that everything felt perfect and came together at that moment, in fact, I had been going through a few things and felt mixed up with life. I was tired from the hike, uncomfortably cold and not used to the lower temperature at the higher elevation (which Tommy found funny because he's from Michigan). But as uncertain as things were in my life at that time, I felt a great sense of purpose and love and connection to the universe all at once. It had something to do with God and the span of time, but was too magnanimous to wrap my mind around. It was very deep and spiritual.

I have such a capacity for love, and I'm burning with life. I'm thankful for this chance I've been given. I won't use it idly.

Friday, October 7, 2011

In honor of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs gave an inspiring commencement address at Stanford University in 2005:

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quote of the day

"I [internalized] this idea that it didn’t matter whether I was called an artist or a designer or an illustrator or whatever else it was. The core value was always the act of making things, and the transformation of an idea that you hold in your mind that becomes real or material. That, to me, still is the glory of any creative activity.”

(Milton Glaser)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where I've been

Let me explain my hiatus. After spending months looking for jobs while freelancing on the side, I decided to take a short break and find a small summer job in a magnificent place- just for the experience, since I'm young and want to travel. I decided to take a risk. Usually, I would keep plugging away trying to find a position in my career field, and I am definitely passionate about it, but I needed a change and time to refocus.

Although I usually resist change, I grow impatient from getting stuck in cycles. I crave inspiration and a better understanding of what generates great ideas and a productive work process for me. I believe that expanding my experiences gives me more to draw from, therefore making my work better.

I left for Yosemite in late May and drove across the country with some friends from highschool. We stopped in Texas for a night and continued the drive all night until we reached the Grand Canyon, then Yosemite late the next night after. I remember arriving that night and feeling so alienated from this place. It was dark and I got lost in the camp easily. I felt so new and wasn't sure how the place could become my home for the next few months. Then I woke up the next morning, stepped out of the tent, and realized I was surrounded by towering cliffs and magnificent trees. Walking toward the main part of the village, I saw the gigantic waterfall in the distance and passed wide meadows. It was a sensory overload that almost made me cry, as cheesy as it sounds.

Over these past few months, I've had a myriad of experiences, each enhancing my growth. I've seen absolutely beautiful things and met some amazing people. This place has become my temporary home. I've gotten used to storing all of my food in a bear box, accustomed to community kitchens and limited storage space. I have found the places I go in the woods when I need time alone- a favorite rock that cradles my body just right or the log beside the river which is the only place I can nap. It is a comfortable life here, but I know I must leave it soon.

I'm getting restless again. I love to travel, to see new things and meet people. I love people; I really do. I want to get to know them on a deeper level that means something. I want to love them in the most simplest and innocent way. I was discussing with one of my good friends here how interesting the divide of cultures can be, but how universal humans remain at the same time.

I feel remote from the world around me. These granite walls tower above on all sides, in the midst of them lie meadows and rivers. Sometimes it feels safe; sometimes it feels imprisoning. If I had no desire to know much of "the real world", I could go years without looking at the news and remain untroubled about whatever goes on outside of the park.

But I can't do that. I want to express and communicate and affect people's lives- even down to the minor ways I treat strangers. I've been wanting to design. I've been wanting to paint. Taking watercolors into a nearby field has its charm, but I want a studio where I can build canvases again and cover them wildly in brilliant colors. I need a place for the purpose of working, not just making money. I need a place where I can do my own work, the kind that makes me feel I am working toward my purpose, not the kind of days being repeated in a long redundant cycle.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Designers on Failure

I saw this on Swiss Miss blog (who got it from Brain Pickings).

The Berghs' Exhibition 2011 asked some world-renown creatives to speak on the topic of failure. I have included several of my favorites- definitely listen to Milton Glaser's answer. You can watch more on Vimeo.

There's only one solution, and it relates to what I was saying earlier: you must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you are capable of doing and what you are not capable of doing. That is the only way to deal with the issue of success and failure because otherwise, you simply will never subject yourself to the possibility that you are not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are (but that is, of course, delusional). So my advice, finally, about fear of failure, which is a kind of romantic idea: there is only one way out- embrace the failure. (Milton Glaser)

Mean Girls trailer, even more Disney:

Olive and Sinclair Southern Artisan Chocolate

I recently acquired a bar of Southern Artisan Chocolate made by Olive and Sinclair. Even though I love chocolate, I usually don't spend $5 for one bar, but the packaging (seen on the Dieline) stopped me cold and I just had to have it. (Packaging wins again.) I like the Victorian feel to it which adds character and a sense of genuine craft, like it's a trusted brand, a bit weathered and down-to-earth goodness all in a chocolate bar. Buy some now- they even have a letterpress variety pack!

Anderson Design Group created the logo, packaging, and promotional posters, which went on to win best of show at the Nashville ADDY's last year (see their blog entry).

Here's how they make the heavenly chocolate:

Olive and Sinclair Artisan Chocolate from josh anderson on Vimeo.

Magritte coat hangers

Igor “Rogix” Udushlivy created these great coat hangers inspired by RenĂ© Magritte’s iconic painting The Son of Man. (Seen on CMYBacon).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coca-Cola celebrates 125 years!

On Sunday, May 8, Coca-Cola celebrated its 125th birthday! In 1886, Coca-Cola debuted in Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta. It sold for 5 cents a glass at the soda fountain.

Coke is promoting 125 in different ways, from an illuminated display on the office headquarters in Atlanta (see video below) to giving out free Cokes in London and other European cities, kicking off their "125 Years of Summer Fun" campaign. They also threw a free birthday concert and donated $1 million to the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's Peopling of America® Center.

Zoe Howorth, market activation director at Coca-Cola GB, said: "Coca-Cola is a timeless icon that has been synonymous with happiness and is still as relevant today as it was when it first began in 1886." (Brand Republic)

Also to promote the brand's rich history, Selfridges is selling the 125 Years box set (~$65) which includes several versions of the most recognized and iconic bottle in history housed in a commemorative wooden crate. They are also selling the Hutchinson bottle for about $3.22 U.S. dollars. How cool is that?

I also thought this video was cool, asking people on the street what they would do to make the world better. It's something each of us could think about:

Open happiness!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Barbra Streisand.

I know this has been out since last year, but I love it 'cause it's New York, and I can't get it out of my head.

"Barbra Streisand" continues to perfect the Duck Sauce sound, which joyously mashes classic disco house with forward-thinking dancefloor energy and expert production. A-Trak and AVH are bona fide DJ heroes whose team-ups are fueled by anything-goes samples, an almost childlike sense of fun, and 100% NYC attitude. This approach has made Duck Sauce fans-for-life out of partygoers around the globe, and will continue to convert anyone within earshot of "Barbra"'s instantly addictive, whistling hook.

For the video, director So Me (Justice, Kid Cudi, MGMT) uses the song to soundtrack a hyperactive, ecstatic New York City travelogue. Shot over a week of long nights out with A-Trak and Armand (including live footage from the Fool's Gold "Day Off" labor day block party), the clip is a pop-art adventure starring commandeered taxis and hotdog stands, sexy strangers, and a who's-who of famous friends: rappers, producers, indie rockers, graffiti writers and nightlife icons all take turns adding their own special sauce to the song, turning "Barbra Streisand" into one of this year's must-rewind clips. (Mr. Goldbar on Vimeo)

Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand" from Paradoxal Inc on Vimeo.

Letterpress, an instructional video:

Letterpress from Naomie Ross on Vimeo.

Get your 'shine on.

This moonshine packaging is by Shane Cranford (Winston-Salem, NC) for Piedmont Distillers. I like the simplicity of the black and white.

Few family recipes carry a jail sentence, but for the Johnson family it was a way of life; with the law on his heels, Junior ran the finest moonshine to the dry rural south. Junior Johnson’s family recipe is a triple distilled, lower proof and a legal version then the original. As smooth as premium vodka, it’s grain neutral and virtually odorless. Drawing inspiration from the design of Johnson’s cars, used for running in the 1930s and ’40s the packaging was kept simple and bold. (The Dieline)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Haley Reinhart sings "House of the Rising Sun"

I don't watch American Idol every week, but from what little I've seen this season, Haley Reinhart is my favorite. She's got this unique kind of jazzy but raspy (in a good way) voice with lots of soul. There's something classic about it, but it never gets old.

Tonight, she sang my ultimate favorite song, House of the Rising Sun (made popular by the Animals in 1964). I can't tell you exactly why I love it so much, but it resonates deep within me, besides the tune and the lyrics being so bad-ass. On top of all that, no one knows where it came from; there is no known original author. I have 17 versions of the song currently in my iTunes, and I want Haley's as soon as it's released. She does it right.

I thought it was also worth mentioning that Siobhan Magnus sang it last year. I liked it a lot then, but I think Haley Reinhart topped it this season:

Happy birthday, Audrey Hepburn!

Happy birthday to Audrey Hepburn! She would have been 82 today. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) is one of my favorite classic films.

You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, "Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness." You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

50 reasons not to date a graphic designer

I put my favorites in bold. From A Bourbon for Silvia:

1. They are very weird people.
2. There are billions of them in the world, like colors on the screen of your computer.
3. They will analyze conversations in layers.
4. You will spend the day assembling furniture from IKEA.
5. They drink and eat all kinds of weird shit just because they like the packaging.
6. They hate each other.
7. You’ll come out the last out of the movies because you have to see the full list of credits.
8. They cant change a light bulb or without making a sketch.
9. They fuck up all the tables with their cutters.
10. They rather study the paisley pattern on your outfit than listen to what you have to say.
11. They will fill your house with magazines and whatever is out there that has drawings.
12. You never know if it is really an original or a copy.
13. They make collages with your photos.
14. They do not know how to add and subtract, they just understand letters.
15. They idolize people who nobody knows and speak of them as if they were his colleagues.
16. They take pictures almost daily and all are cut in weird shapes.
17. They ask your opinion about everything but they do whatever they want.
18. Everything is left justified, right or center unless they arrive late.
19. They hate Comic Sans with the same passion they love Helvetica.
20. They use iPhone for everything, because everyone has one.
21. You can not decorate the house without consulting them.
22. They steal street signs.
23. Always carry their hands painted with something.

24. They buy dolls unfinished for them to paint.
25. Everything becomes something other than what it really is: cards as tickets, cards as …
26. When arguing, you will be nicknamed like the OSX spinning wheel (not affectionately)
27. Do not know how to dress without consulting the Pantone book.
28. They hate Excel.
29. They read comics.
30. They want to save the world only with a poster.
31. You will spend the day brainstorming.
32. On vacation they will take you to countries that you do not know exist and have no beach.
33. Museums are their second home.
34. They know more positions than the Kamasutra.
35. They can’t go to a restaurant without secretly critiquing the menu design.
36. They listen to music you have never heard of.
37. They can´t cook a normal dish, they always have to experiment with new ingredients.
38. They read rare books: stories of children, Semiotics …
39. When you are going to tell you something, everyone has read it in their facebook and twitter.
40. They have own iPods before you knew they existed.
41. The orgasm they remember is when they heard that Adobe was acquiring Macromedia.
42. They have their own shops just for them and there are the most expensive in the city.
43. They want to spend all the money in the Apple Store.
44. You will never understand their gifts.
45. They see ordinary objects and laugh.
46. You wake up in the middle of the night hearing them screaming, “When is the deadline?”
47. They see CMYK and RGB like Neo sees the Matrix.
48. They dream of the day nobody will make a single change to their designs.
49. They rather pay for a font than for a special birthday gift.
50. They are always sleepy because they work 24/7.

Severed Dreams

Ian Bucknole was asked to direct a video for Ruarri Joseph at Mondo Management. The story is based on Ted Hughes' The Iron Man, telling a story of a childhood imaginary friend that is carried into adult life. Read more about the video on Bucknole's blog.

And I wasn't going to admit this, but it made me tear up.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oh, Kate Middleton...

Are you getting up at 4 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding? I'm not. But I thought this blog was funny, featuring pictures of Kate with "LOL Cats" style captions. You should probably check it out.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Karmin covers "Look at Me Now"

Okay, so I usually refrain from posting overly popular YouTube videos, but I can't get this song out of my head. I like this better than the original version by Chris Brown (ft. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes). Karmin went on to perform it on Ellen last week.

I love even more that Amy's fiance, Nick, had to convince her to produce and release this- her rapping talent was only revealed when she sung in the shower.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

(from PostSecret)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

From Paul Z.

The Gatsby Home

I saw this on Sunday Morning on CBS this past week. It's a shame this house has to go (or that it wasn't kept up or renovated). It was said to be an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald when he was writing The Great Gatsby. I love the 1920's party scenes described in the book and can totally envision them happening here, eighty-something years ago.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Want free Starbucks this Friday?

Bring in your reusable mug to Starbucks and they'll fill it with coffee and tea, for free.

The project in this commercial reminds me of Sagmeister's poster composed of 2,500 coffee cups:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Nomadic Letterhead

Eight Hour Day rolled out a new look for their letterhead/branding package, specifically designed to adapt to their traveling scheduled for this year. They scaled down the traditional letterhead to a postcard size, making it more mobile. The letterpress was expertly done by Studio On Fire.

"Our new blog was a large part of this trip. For us it was a way to record and share our travels. Because of this, we wanted to have something to give people we met along the way, or those people or places we wanted to feature that wasn’t as stuffy as a business card. Our solution was the blog pog–a bit quirkier leave behind that let people know we were going to blog about them (EHD Likes You) or simply directed people to the blog to find out more (EHD Was Here)."
(Eight Hour Day blog)

Maybe it's because I grew up in the 90's, but I like the idea of resurrecting pogs into a different new ephemera, a quaint detail in this case. I would smile if I got one of those, and I think a lot of people will.

Look at more work by Eight Hour Day; they've got some good stuff.

We aren't living up to what the 1930's anticipated.

My favorite part is when he says "whoosh!" and the part describing men's wear in the end. Too bad the guys today don't walk around with candy. Then again, maybe that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This skateboard is so beautiful.

Beautiful skateboard by Loren Kulesus, a NYC based designer. Check out more of his work on Coroflot (he's got some musical instruments and even a car design worth looking at).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I freaking love abandoned places! (Theatre entry)

At my old university, there was a small theatre-style auditorium in the upstairs of one of the oldest buildings. The staircases went from the well-circulated halls on the bottom floor to the increasingly quiet halls of old administration rooms and finally the silence of the old theatre. There was a main entrance at the top of the stairs, but the balcony entrance was higher, and I liked this space best. Some nights when I was roaming around campus, climbing to the rooftops to gaze at stars or just laying in the soft grass under great oaks (and partially pretending it was Narnia, in whole truth), I would wander on occasion up to the old theatre to see if it had been left unlocked. My breath would become slightly nervous and more controllably still as I climbed the creaky last steps to the balcony doors. Once inside, I would use the light of my cell phone and find a seat looking over the dark rows of chairs leading to the stage and further darker backstage. I wondered if there were any ghosts- it was a perfect place for them. I sat in silence examining the intricate trimming and odd ornamentation paired with the large, dark windows, chipped paint, and old smell, wondering if there were any others like me in years before that were content to sit in the creepy stillness of the empty theatre.

(New Orleans, Louisiana, source)

Thus I was pleased to find this link from Buzzfeed showing 75 beautiful photos of abandoned theaters throughout the U.S. The following theater is located in Norwich, Connecticut (picture by rustyjaw on Flickr-- and if you like abandoned buildings of all kinds, check out his photostream).

For more abandoned theaters, check out abandonedtheaters.com, a photography series by Julia Solis.

If you share an interest in abandoned spaces, also see abandoned theme parks, abandoned buildings, and ghost towns.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blue suede shoes for your rainy day blues

And you thought they were going to be Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars, didn't you? (Those blue suede ones sell custom for $75.)

I would really like these someday when I have money. I don't think I've ever owned a pair of Adidas shoes (I'm a New Balance girl). Since I can't have them now, the closest I can come is drawing them.

And I found these unexpected Coruscant shoes, for the Star Wars fans.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facebook news and visual cues

This is an interesting piece I saw in this issue of CMYK: Episodic Memory, Semiotics of Facebook by Annabel Mangold, a student from Portfolio Center. Her portfolio is featured on CMYK, and she was recently interviewed by GD USA.

I like the iconic blue of Facebook and how it's layered onto the newspaper with interesting symbols and type.

"To me, studying design is studying life. It is a wonderful blend of psychology, aesthetics, pragmatics, and the ethereal. I study design to ultimately find my own truth, communicating my perspective to others as a part of an ongoing dialogue. I study design to learn and to be challenged. It is my belief that by becoming a designer, I will practice a profession where one's work and one's purpose are closely aligned — and that excites me. I want to design transparent, effective systems that encourage and support individuals and entities." (Annabel Mangold, GD USA interview)