Monday, December 18, 2006

Art | Direction | Juan Gatti

I saw Pedro Almodovar's Volver a few weeks ago, and was awed at the film's end when the title credits rolled, incorporating elements of the characters' clothing patterns into the funky graphic array of flowery imagery. A little research led me to this interesting article in the International Herald Tribune about the title credit's art director, Juan Gatti. In addition to collaborating with Almodovar on several of his films, Gatti has led a very vibrant career as an art director of both editorial and commercial work. Check out his engaging, eclectic portfolio here.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Advertising | Blog | Scary Ideas

Just discovered Scary Ideas, a blog/site dedicated to weird and funny advertisements and video clips. Lots of funny, clever ads, many of them actually real, although disappointingly, no agencies or creatives are cited for the work. Although, maybe that's for the best -- the emphasis here is on the weird and out-there, not on ego stroking. While I'm on the subject, frequent visits to Joe La Pompe are great for reminding one's self what has been done, over and over and over again (and a reminder why the visual pun/metaphor is so darn trite).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Art | Illustration | Saul Steinberg

When I was growing up, there weren't a lot of art books in our house. Don't get me wrong -- my parents are both smart people and there were tons of books around, it's just they were heavy on words and short on pictures. Besides feasting my eyes on the photos in National Geographic, I spent long hours sifting through the books on our shelves looking for the ones that had pictures, not just big, complicated words. (The abundance of books-with-words probably does account for why I was reading Slaughterhouse Five and The Communist Manifesto in seventh grade. But, I digress.) Anyway, one of the few books we had that contained almost only pictures and no words was a big, fat collection of the drawings of Saul Steinberg, the legendary illustrator for the New Yorker amongst countless other publications. When I discovered the book at age 7 or 8, I remember considering it as no different than any other picture books aimed at children, and just enjoying the whimsy and imagination of all his illustrations.

So, imagine my glee to discover he currently has not one, but two retrospectives currently here in New York. One, titled "Saul Steinberg: Illuminations," is at the Morgan Library through March 4, 2007, and features over one hundred drawings, collages, and sculptural assemblages; the other, titled "A City on Paper: Saul Steinberg's New York," is at the Museum of the City of New York, with a more New York-centric approach, through March 25, 2007. I won't be able to check either out til I return to New York in 2007, but I'm excited to see some of his stuff up close and original. In a world that's increasingly filled with so computer-generated work (from Photoshop to its impact in graphic design), it's really nice to get 'back to basics' and see what can be done with a piece of paper and ink.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Video | Hotel Kittyfornia

I was walking by Trocadero awhile back and saw a part of this being filmed and wondered what the hell was going on. Luckily, I just stumbled across the finished product online and my questions were answered. This clip, produced by and starring a fashion designer of all people, shows Hello Kitty as that girl you want to party with.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Design | Philosophy | Milton Glaser

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to see Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd and Dave Eggers speak at the 92nd Street Y on the art and evolution of book cover design. All three men are very different in their approach to cover design, but their presentations were illuminating on the kinds of processes they use to come up with their covers. Inspired, I checked out Milton Glaser's site and found this fantastic speech he made at an AIGA talk in London in 2001. So this isn't brand spanking new, but rather one of those classic pieces full of good advice for probably every working, thinking person out there. So, without further adieu, here are a few of my favourite excerpts from "Ten Things I Have Learned."

3. Some people are toxic. Avoid them.
...It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

4. Professionalism is not enough or The Good is The Enemy of The Great.
... I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. ... After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success.

7. How you live changes your brain.

8. Doubt is better than certainty.
... I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. ...

His other essays are also full of a lot of very interesting insights which I strongly recommend as well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Design | Blog | Print & Pattern

From GenArt's Pulse magazine, I followed a link to this very cool blog tracking all kinds of interesting design motifs, many of them charmingly retro.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fashion | London | Cassette Playa

I thought I'd seen it all when I saw Jeremy Scott's collection that put a model in the show dressed like a snickers bar (or should I say Jeremy Bar?). Aside from the irony of associating a fashion model with sugar, how much further off the beaten runway can you get?

Then I got my answer. It came from London. It's called Cassette Playa. Its creator swears she doesn't do drugs. And as much as it boggles my mind that this line is so er ...original and successful, it somehow gives me peace to know we live in a world that embraces a designer who puts Sonic the Hedgehog on a runway.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Art | Philosophy | The Imaginary Foundation

Discovered a link to these folks on BoingBoing -- a Swiss group who's using streetwear as a way of getting out their message on the power of the imagination. Check the quote from their site:

A philosophy of research began to form: imagination as fundamental to all learning; artistic making as a model of integrating vision, materials, structure, and imagery.

The result is super cool t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and art, all embracing their message in a really beautiful, inspiring way.

TV | Wonder Showzen

Whenever I need a pick-me-up or, at the very least, some fun procrastination time, I head over to youtube and watch clips from one of the funniest shows to grace TV screens in the last few years, Wonder Showzen. Sadly the show was cancelled after two seasons, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of their finer moments, including the hysterically funny "Beat Kids" segments.

Now that they're out on DVDs, I'm adding them to my Christmas list, along with this, this, and this.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photography | Kitsch | Lizard-Ville

I guess once you've been featured on David Letterman, you're not exactly underground, but there is something so weird and funny about these photographs of hypnotised lizards (by a 10-year-old Floridian girl, no less!) that I simply had to share. Available as images printed on T-shirts or greeting cards, they make the perfect Christmas gift for that reptile-obsessed relative or co-worker. It makes me think that I perhaps did not use my time wisely in Miami, and I could have tried a little harder to see the possible art potential in living in at Southgate in an apartment filled with cockroaches, centipedes, millipedes, silverfish, and geckos. I'd coulda been an insect-hypnotising-millionaire!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cool Video | Justice vs. Simian | "We Are Your Friends"

Following Gina's post on très chic French boutique Collette, I followed their link to the video for Justice vs. Simian's "We Are Your Friends," a song that was played on really solid rotation this past year on BBC Radio One. thanks to some of their fabulous deejays, like Annie Nightingale and Annie Mac. (The video's not too bad either.)

Culture | Cool Find | Dance Class

It's as if there was once a group of friends sitting around Paris, talking about opening a boutique like no other and then out of the discussion came: "I know! Let's take a 7,500 square foot spot in the most expensive neighborhood in the city and then display the clothes on mannequins instead of hangers and we'll sell i-pods as well and we'll have a bar with a hundred different kinds of water and then we'll host a dance class, too..." And then everyone said "Chouette!"

I can't say that's exactly how it went down, but Colette, the store that has all of the above, opened almost ten years ago and is still the spot on the rue Saint-Honoré where you feel that much cooler just by walking inside. Clothes, books, music, and for the past year, dance classes as well. The next one is coming up on November 27 at le Paris Paris. If you're not going to be in town, you can at least check out the store's site which is almost as much fun. A little more interaction with your cute, helium-voiced robot hosts and it's more like a viedo game than a website.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Culture | Hip Hop |

Well, in honour (yes, with a 'u') of Jenne's move to the Big Apple, I have dug into my quite small archives of hip-hop on the web to present, for your listening pleasure, I was initially drawn here when I was looking up details on Style Wars back in the day. I found a link pointing to "Yuri Harmonica" in the Videos section of the site, and was pretty much stupified. Way more stupified than when the guys at Lonely Island informed me that Mr. Pibbs and Red Vines are crazy delicious.

Also worth checking out are the tracks in the Showcase section. Mad science, indeed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Huge Unstuck Welcome ...

... to my newest contributors, Kyle, my Canadian-born-and-bred, world travelled friend, whom I met at a backpackers' hostel exactly five years ago in Istanbul, who currently resides in Amsterdam with his lovely, incredibly smart girlfriend, where he studies something scientific (and thus, for me, unexplainable) yet still manages to be totally up-to-date on all the happenings in culture and Gina, my fellow Californian (though hailing from the Southern half of our golden state), whom I know from many nights and days of frolicking in San Francisco (and subsequently Madrid, Paris, and Los Angeles), who currently resides just outside Paris with her fabulous French husband, where she has recently found employment in the fashion industry. I am so excited to have them both embarking on this project with me.

And since the site is always looking for something new, something different, feel free to email it our way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Design | Awesome Agency | Holler

As some of you are well aware, I've had a little obsession with the UK's Lily Allen ever since I saw one of her music videos in Amsterdam. (I'm starting to wonder what I didn't see during those 5 days in Amsterdam. Is that city the hippest placec or what?) One of the things that I've been particularly admiring has been the very cool poster and CD design for her album's releases. I haven't been able to figure out who the exact team of designers has been behind the launch, but this very cool UK-based digital strategy experts, Holler, are behind her website. Their showcase is particularly revealing, with plenty of their artists weighing in on their latest creative expeditions.

Cool Video | Run Wrake | "Rabbit"

John sent me the link to this very cool animated short, "Rabbit," by director Run Wrake.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Art | Photography | Lori Nix

Never overcoming my love of pop art with its bold colours and strong contrasts, it will come as little surprise that the photography of Lori Nix caught my eye. Part obsessive miniaturist, part photographer, and part verbose autobiographer, Ms. Nix composes some captivating photos.

News | Zeitgeist | Newsmap

No, no, not the Google Zeitgeist, although this little Java applet does borrow heavily from Google News. Newsmap is a great approach to getting your finger on the pulse of world news or, for those so inclined, to find out why Vancouver is such a magnet for B-list celebs with hyphenated conditions (first Denise throws a hissy-fit, then Pammy mis-carries? What is going on on the set of that movie?)

For even more distraction check out the other activities on the main page at Maramushi, including the Flickr Graph, a must for all you flickrites.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cool Video | Peter Bjorn and John | "Young Folks"

Saw this cool video in Amsterdam from this Swedish band back in September and forgot about it til it was featured during last week's Gray's Anatomy. Presumably a song off an upcoming album, as it's not yet available on iTunes. "Young Folks" might not "unstuck" your brain, but its whistling riff might get stuck in your head.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cool Video | Album Cover Wars

John sent me the link to this cool video.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Writing | Zine | Moonlight Chronicles

This morning, I was hanging out at Yogi's house. He was making eggs and chatting with his friend on the phone, and I found this little zine on top of the breadbox in his kitchen. It's called Moonlight Chronicles, and it's full of wonderfully quirky drawings and musings on life, travel, and, of course, drawing. A nice break from the drudgery of commercial creativity -- the author, Dan Price, pays hommage to the simpler things in life, creating a real joy in the process.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Art | Painting | Gary Taxali

Saw these awesome oil paintings at the La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles over the weekend by Indian-born, Canadian-reared painter Gary Taxali. Check it out!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cool Video | The Knife | "Like a Pen"

Eric Lister, good friend, illustrator extraordinaire, and fellow Marin County chum, shares this very cool animated video from Swedish group The Knife.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Writing | Humour | Steve Martin

Just sharing this because I remembered and because it's one of the funniest, wittiest things I've ever read, "Times Roman Font Announces Shortage of Periods," by Steve Martin.

Music | Drum & Bass | Radio

Originally posted on We Have The Most Fun, my personal blog.

Two Saturdays ago I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco to meet my parents for dinner at Paul K in Hayes Valley before they went to the SF Symphony and I went to meet Natalie in the Lower Haight for some wine (before hitting up a Green Gorilla Lounge party later). Instinctively, my hand went to the preset dials for 90.3 FM, the radio station of KUSF, where I caught one of my all-time favourite radio shows, Saturday afternoon's Future Breaks. Lucky for everyone the world over, their sets are now available as podcasts, so when you're out of their signal range (or doing something else on a Saturday afternoon), you can still get their awesome mixes of the latest in drum 'n' bass, breaks, dubstep, etc. To sign up for their podcasts, click here. And if you want to just listen to their shows, head over to their blog. Now, if only there was a way to download Fabio & Grooverider ... if anyone knows how, let me know!

Art | Exhibition | Tropicalia

One of my biggest regrets last winter in London was not making it to the Barbican Centre for the widely advertised Tropicàlia: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture exhibition. But just last Friday I flip through the latest issue of New York and discover that the exact same exhibition is now at The Bronx Museum of the Arts til January. Yay! I'm saving my visit til I'm back in New York in a few weeks. Who wants to go with me?

Art | Design | Droog

One of the best discoveries last fall in Amsterdam was the Dutch design collective, Droog. If you're ever in Amsterdam, I highly encourage you to stop by one of their showrooms for some of the most truly cutting-edge, quirky, funky household and furniture design. Sadly, their website is a little difficult to navigate for quick and easy inspiration, but this article is pretty good.

Art | Photography | Gregory Crewdson

A few months ago in Hamburg, I ventured into the center of town on a Saturday afternoon in hopes of getting my thoughts away from portfolio/ad school land. I visited the city's main bookstore and after seeing a fascinating working exhibition set up by the city's Museum of Labour, I spent a few hours browsing through the English novels and art books. That's when I discovered this guy, Gregory Crewdson, an American photographer whose work I fell head over heels in love with almost immediately. The book was well over 100 euros, so I spared myself the expense, but I think his work's suburban themes, cast in an iconographic, almost religious, light, are really inspirational. They make me think of ads where what's missing is the product. So, the game is, look at several of his pictures, and try to think of what kind of product or service they could be for. Or what kind of film, story, or commercial. This is one of my favourites.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I'm starting this blog to maintain advice and links on how to get 'unstuck,' creatively speaking. Mostly links for now, but if you have suggestions, tips, or advice on how to jog your brain back into creative flow, do write in!

Besos x