Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Translator

Pretty funny, click here to see what your name translates into for an Ikea furniture name. (Via At Home, At Home)

Plate du Jour

Love the colors and graphics on these melamine plates from jefdesigns Home, available exclusively through Design Public

Block Party

Limited edition art comes in all forms. Years ago I acquired a copy of the special edition Talking Heads album designed by Robert Rauschenberg  and have never opened it, but it’s beautiful in it’s package. This Gravenhurst’s Nightwatchman’s Blues/Farewell, Farewell  CD is a limited edition (1300 only) and includes a handprinted, numbered, fold-out poster created by Thomas Hicks Hicks has recently completed a new stopframe animated promo for a Gravenhurst track on Nightwatchman’s Blues. In fact, each of the 1300 limited edition poster sleeves displays the handprinted artwork of one frame of the promo. “I made a series of hand block prints,” explains Hicks,” each one would be folded to make a sleeve for one of the singles. So cool, so collectible. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Volvo is My Guardian Angel

Today, my Volvo saved my life. When a reckless woman ran a stop sign and charged across the busy street I was going down, I hit her head on. The frame & overall great design of this car left me with cut up arms from the air bags and a very sore chest from the seat belt, but I am alive and I owe it all to the design of the Volvo. I love the Swedes! 

Remembrance of Things Past

I recently uncrated some boxes from my folks house and discovered my first set of books that really made an impression on me as a small child. The embossed cover images from these Childcraft volumes are pretty wonderful, my favorite one was Art for Children. In it, at a very early age, I learned that art is a kind of language that we use to say things we think, feel and imagine. Each page had been burned into my memory, as I found going through it for the first time in over 40 years. I may have to hunt on Ebay for the missing volumes that didn't survive.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Last year I was very disappointed to see that the LA Times downsized the Book Review to a double publication of the Opinion and Books section. Much to my dismay yesterday, I saw that was the last edition of a partial stand-alone book review. From now on it will be buried in the Sunday Calendar section (part 2) along with movie & restaurant listings. So apparently the public needs the Image section as it’s own color section. Just saying…
Photo: LAist

Between the Lines

Being brought up not to desecrate books, I would not normally be responsive to this technique, but there is something intriguing about Brian Dettmer’s book autopsies of carved books revealing the artwork inside, creating complex layered three-dimensional sculptures. Through the cut-open cover of a book the viewer sees layers of selected text and illustration carved from the pages of the book. His pieces seek to bridge the gap between the medium's form and its message. Dettmer manages to use the contrasting layers of image and text to explore the conveyance of information, as well as being able to get the viewer to examine what that can mean.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Call of the Wild

Prairie Vodka, a newly launched organic and kosher vodka, is the product of a unique partnership between Phillips Distilling and a co-op of over 900 Minnesota farmers who are stake-holders in the brand. I truly love the photography, website, and branding. The Prairie meets the City theme on the website is visually stunning with these breathtaking images of a woman on her NY patio with the city behind and wolves at her side, the gentleman in his chair at his fireplace with a buffalo. I have yet to imbibe in the pleasures of this vodka, but the design and branding is tasty enough!
(Via Notcot)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Trunk Show

What a brilliant installation this going to be of typographic tree columns, being created in collaboration with Gordon Young at the Crawley Library in West Sussex County. The photos are of work in progress, with the library opening January ’09. Firm: Why Not Associates, London. (Via Coudal)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing with Mud

Hikaru dorodango are balls of mud, molded by hand into perfect spheres, dried and polished to a fine luster. I love that the the process is so zen, so simple, so basic, but with magical results. Bruce Gardner, an artist living in New Mexico, makes beautiful dorodango. The dorodango shown above from left: Pebbled Yellow, from a deposit of soil near Golden, New Mexico; La Bajada Red, from soil at La Bajada Hill, south of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Placitas Grey, created from a deposit of gray soil in Placitas, New Mexico. His site includes background information on the art form and helpful instructions for creating your own. A traditional pastime among the children of Japan, the exact origin of hikaru dorodango is unknown. The tradition was dying out until taken up by Professor Fumio Kayo, of the Kyoto University of Education, as a means to study the psychology of children's play. In the course of his research, Kayo developed a simple technique for creating dorodango. Part of me wants to try this out, but my patience has waned with age, so for now I'll just admire the process and final product.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Type Revolution

Effective and well-done typographic poster for Obama’s Berlin speech tomorrow. (Via Coudal)

Jumping Off the Pages

I just love artist Thomas Allen’s photographs of cut up old pulp fiction books with scenes of intrigue and mystery. Inspired by a love of pop-up books, Allen delights in taking on different roles in creating his scenarios: “In addition to being a photographer, I play talent scout, casting director, stage manager, lighting supervisor, and film editor.”  Check out his book Uncovered at the Aperture Foundation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Village People

If you happen to be wandering the English countryside this summer and come across the quaint town of Folkestone (on the coast of Kent about 90 minutes from London) you might want to explore the eclectic creations of 22 artists & groups commissioned to create new works for the Folkestone Triennial Festival. Titled, Tales of Time & Space, this public art project will run through September 14, 2008. I love that  such contemporary art is embraced in such a traditional setting.
Above photo:  Heaven is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens, Nathan Coley, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Going Platinum

Jim Marshall is known as one of the great photographers of musicians and entertainers, having more than 500 album and CD covers to his credit. His photographs of Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival, the Beatles' final concert, and the vibrant youth culture of San Francisco in the 1960's are among the most iconic images of the era. This week he has an opening at the Duncan Miller Gallery of his platinum prints, show dates July 24 
to September 6.
Duncan Miller Gallery • 10959 Venice Blvd. • L.A., CA 90034 • 310.838.2440

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flower Child

Sunday in the garden, picking zinnias that I planted from seed to 4 foot tall flower bushes in 7 weeks! These flowers grow at an incredible speed, such an impact for a few dollars.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday at the Movies

I’m bummed, sick with a high fever and aches, so I'm going to have a Wes Anderson marathon with strawberries, watermelon rosemary lemonade, ginger ale & Advil. Have a great weekend and I’ll be back next week with lots of new posts.

Watch Your Head

If you live in San Francisco, then you probably know about this 3-D mural called Defenestration on an abandoned building at the corner of 6th & Howard Streets. Created by Brian Goggin, the installation features twisted & warped furniture that looks like it has been blown out of the broken windows in the building. Says the artist, “The concept of defenestration, a word literally meaning ‘to throw out of a window,’ is embodied by both the site and staging of this installation. The site is part of a neighborhood that historically has faced economic challenge. Reflecting the harsh experience of many members of the community, the furniture is also of the streets, cast-off and unappreciated. The act of 'throwing out' becomes an uplifting gesture of release, inviting reflection on the spirit of the people we live with, the objects we encounter, and the places in which we live."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Photo Realism

Did you know that the New York Times has an impressive collection of historic images available as exhibition-quality fine art prints. When I saw the Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera photo in their archives, I was elated. It now graces my home, a moment caught in time from 1930 of one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo. The prints are created with Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl fiber-based paper, which resembles the look & feel of traditional silver-gelatin photo prints. Museums & galleries adhere to the same archival printing process for an enduring quality. I do also love the Edith Piaf photo (above left, but very pricey) and the pensive shot of Bob Dylan

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Suspended Landscape

My on-going obsession with dioramas as an art medium is further fueled by Cathryn Barmon’s Nature is Sculpture series. Her concept was born from the challenge of designing a living space of only 600 square feet, and after a trip to Japan, she was inspired and fascinated by Japanese landscape design. I love the idea of a floating landscape that offers up peaceful & serene views not normally found looking out an urban window. The dioramas are available by order from the artist.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Viva la Macaron!

Hands down, Paulette Macarons here in Beverly Hills are the best I’ve ever had outside of the mouth-watering ones from Laudree in Paris. Their packaging & shop design are chic & modern and worth the splurge in calories. Celebrate Bastille Day with their special edition red, white & blue macarons filled with Madagascar vanilla ganache. Available online as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Matter of Taste

If you live in Los Angeles, you must, must try the Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade at the new take-away cafe Lemonade. I’ve had watermelon lemonade before, but not infused with rosemary—which takes it to a whole other level of blending sweet & savory flavors. Most refreshing and a most delicious color. I'll be trying this at home as well, maybe crushing some rosemary, putting it in cheesecloth and infusing it into some fresh lemonade for an hour or so to get the flavors to bind, then adding a little watermelon juice to taste. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Iconic Headstone

The iconic Paul Rand was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the twentieth century. His treatise Thoughts on Design changed the way we look at pictorial identity. He passed away in 1996 leaving an enormous legacy and body of work. While visiting his site today I saw his headstone and thought how a design could be so befitting for such a great innovator. Rand’s name and life dates chiseled on a cube of marble sits askew on a cube of granite inscribed in Hebrew—it’s perfect and designed by Fred Troller, a pioneering Swiss modernist designer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ghost Chair

How beautiful and skeletal is this Ghost Chair from Drift, the design duo of Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn! They design products, concepts and interiors for private and public spaces.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Silks and Fauna

Frankfurt-based photographer Karen Knorr’s recent Fable series is worth taking a look at. The delightful and humorous photos are set up at the Carnavalet Museum in Paris using taxidermy animals and birds roaming the grand rooms and corridors. (Via Paris Hotel Boutique)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Moonlit Cinema

I could so handle living in this house overlooking the Los Angeles skyline, but what I really love is the mixed usage of an exterior wall as a summer film screening surface. A winner at the 37th Annual Architectural Awards recognizing 25 project teams and seven entertainment studios for outstanding contributions to Los Angeles.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Every Little Thing, Gonna Be Alright

In this time of recession, global warming and just dealing with life’s curve balls, Florida-based artist Jen Reninger gives us this print with a comforting message. Available at her Etsy shop, Please Be Still

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Title Wave

It’s sites such as this that keep me distracted from my work, but are so damn inspiring! Steven Hill has complied an impressive online collection of movie title screen shots of over 5,000 titles. I admit I've spent a few hours there today. (Via We Made This)

Mid-Century Cat

This has become Jesse's yoga chair, just forget about human use. Thankfully I have two of these great chairs from my family heirlooms. I need to recover them this summer, but can't decide if I want to go with a pattern (Eames fabric?) or stay with a solid. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bits & Pieces

What an inspiring and creative typographic approach for a CD cover design! See more work from Berlin-based illustrator and graphic designer Julia Guther. (Via Design Dust)