flickr Mondays-”bmenton”

Happy Monday All!

Really neat shots by 14-year-old photographer, bmenton (sorry, don’t have the photographers real name). There is something about photos of animals out in nature that gets me every time. Especially when they are of red foxes! Amazing!

bmenton flickr site here.

Huzzah for Animated gifs

Animated gifs have come up for me three times this week. I know, the word might make you think of that chain email your aunt sent on back in ‘aught six. But no, not those: contemporary animated gifs.

1: The artistic

Found on superb culture curator blog Lost at E Minor, Brandon Jan Blommart’s series of Americas Most Haunted animated gifs are fascinating and soothing.

2: The ZOMG

Gawker’s feminist(ish) blog Jezebel made a roundup of dozens of a newish sort of animated gifs as sort of “Like using emoticons, on steroids!”* which you use in a comments forum when you want to applaud someone:

A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

or tell them to shut up, or that you will kill them,
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or just “whatever.”

*This is actually a reference to the static face reaction shots of myfacewhen but applies even more to these. The quote was introduced to me in a metafilter’s comment about the jezebel post by dreamyshade, who continues: “instead of having text abstractions stand in for our faces, they/we use other people’s faces to stand in for our faces when talking anonymously and virtually.”

3: The uh, professional

I made one, for a google ad for my day job at Speck. It featured these new super limited edition lowbrow creature art iPhone cases. But… it was 160k, much too large for a google ad. In an attempt to get it under their 50k ceiling, I saved a severely lossy dithered 16color version.

We didn’t end up using it because well, it is terrible. But! Strangely compelling, in a vhs reticulation Prince of Darkness nostalgia way. (If you concur, maybe post in the comments a nodding Ms. Jay or something).

Further reading:

Slate has an article on the Glorious GIF Rennaissance and Artfagcity calls 2010 The Year of the Animated GIF. Neither of these articles mention iOS’ continued nonsupport of Flash as a contributing factor to the renaissance, but I don’t doubt it: the first wave of animated gifs predated Flash and all but disappeared to livejournal and myspace for years once Flash hit the scenes.

And as for the retro cheestastic style of that first wave of animated gifs, if you’re still hungry for em, perhaps you’d like to watch that new MIA video? Frankly I couldn’t get through it…

FAMAPA-FLICKR MONDAYS!

Such lovely detail/texture shots by Famapa (not sure of the actual name). Brings back memories of Europe!

More of Famapa’s work here.

KAT HEYES-FLICKR MONDAYS!

Happy Monday! Kat Heye’s is one of my favorite illustrators. She’s got such a knack for knowing when to stop drawing/painting…a skill I admire so much. Enjoy!

Check out Kat’s flickr site here.
Personal website here.

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lieke romeijn-flickr mondays!

Beautiful photographs by 19-year old photographer, Lieke Romeijn. I’m always a sucker for sun-drenched photographs!

Lieke’s flickr site here.
Website here.

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anja mulder-flickr mondays!

Happy Monday All!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. It was absolutely beautiful here in the Bay Area! For today’s flickr Mondays, I’d like to introduce you to Netherland artist, Anja Mulder. I am in awe of Anja’s beautiful hand drawn lettering on old book pages. Her work brings a sense of calmness that I really do enjoy.

Anja’s flickr site here.
Website here.

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Levi’s Workshop: Print on Valencia

San Francisco has a super special new thing going on this summer. Levi’s Workshop/Print (a two-month pop-up community letterpress/silkscreen printshop) has opened in the Mission. I went to the opening night and stopped in again on Saturday, talked a bit with a few of the staff, and can’t stop thinking about how great it’s going to be.

The Workshops are places for creation, inspiration, and collaboration. We’re excited to bring the first of these experiences to life right in our own backyard. Located in San Francisco’s iconic Mission District (home to one of the first Levi’s® factories), we’ve opened up a community print shop. During July and August we’ll be hard at work teaching classes on classic letterpress machinery, screenprinting designs, setting type, and getting our hands dirty.

The facade: I love that they whitewashed and reclaimed the existing Biltmore Laundry sign with its classic Americana shape (see a great slideshow here) and mostly am a fan of the exhaustive list of types of workers (including blogger) on the facade, paid off with the Holzer Truisms-esque neon sign “Everyone’s Work is Equally Important.” But I am disappointed that they put it up in a handwriting font and not either traditionally handlettered or, if it has to be type, at least use the much more well-done Pettibon/McFetteridge-esque handlettering type used all over the site’s css.

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My analysis: So normally I’d have a fair amount of skepticism for such a display of big-company-throwing-money-at-coolness, but there’s many ways that this is distinct from your average marketing exercise from the likes of Nike.

  1. Levi’s is a San Francisco company; their original plant was operating at 14th and Valencia until 2002. Plus of course, jeans were worker’s attire before becoming the greatest American sartorial export, making both the location/community and the “work” theme are not just genuine but resonant.
  2. Their choices of collaborators are not just buzz names (like Sagmeister, Fairey, Aaron Rose) but community-local (The Women’s Building, SoEx, Mother Jones, Mission Grafica) and public-pedagogical innovators (Alice Waters, Craig Newmark, 826) if not some combination of the three. It’s a group that is both nigh-unimpeachable and impressively progressive.
  3. The overall feel is much more public, conversational, accessible, educational and positive than it is branded-marketing-pushy. Which I hope is a sign of changing attitudes towards marketing in general.
  4. In an era of “new media” being everyone’s buzzword, it’s heartening to see this embrace of old media, of “getting one’s hands dirty.” Though no doubt twitter, facebook, blogs (not to mention jumbotrons) will amplify the message, the media in question isn’t apps and Mafia Wars but real ink, screens and presses — newspapers, broadsheets, posters, books, public propaganda. Both letterpress and arts education are under constant threat of disappearance and this public celebration is welcome. It’s easy to see how this will translate into other workshops: photography and music have both gone digital as surely as printing, and a space for darkrooms with, say Jonathan Kozol or for 8-track masters with Jack White is a beautiful idea.

I have no reservations saying that this workshop is a fantastic thing, and I’m hoping that it becomes the textbook example of corporate social responsibility, (cultural edition). I am excited about the next two months and only sad that it won’t become a permanent fixture of the Valencia corridor. After August, they’ll close back down, some version of the Slanted Door will move back in, and a new Levi’s workshop centered around photography will open in New York for two months.

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Some of the programs I’m particularly interested in after the jump.

Continue reading Levi’s Workshop: Print on Valencia

Typografriday: Pilot handwriting

In high school, I bought boxes of Pilot V5s at Staples, and told anyone who seemed to care that they were the best writing pens to be found. Now the geniuses at Pilot have turned to the web and made a site/tool that’s pretty interesting. You just write letters on a printed template, hold it up to your webcam and it makes a ‘font’ of it that you can write e-correspondence with.

I tried it and well, it’s both pretty rad and really weird. I mean I made a half decent handwriting “font” in a matter of minutes. Using a webcam! On the other hand, the automated tool picked up some false positive images which screwed up several letters, there was no preview before saving and no editing after saving. Plus the editing tools are really pretty bad — the “A” looks funny because it didn’t read that so I moused it in using their odd editing tool. Plus of course at the end you don’t have a font, you have uh, your own handwriting which you can only use to write notes…

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Then again, why should I expect perfection out of something that was free and took ten minutes? And when was the last time I made a font, even of my handwriting? As if I haven’t been interested since forever: thanks Pilot for giving me a chance to try it.

Studio On Fire!

Just ran across this beautiful stationery for Vista Caballo (a ranch retreat in Dove Creek, Colorado), designed by the amazing letterpress/design house, Studio On Fire. The simplicity of this work has me in awe. Love it!

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Paper Lab

paper-diagnostic-chip

This small square of paper is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. What looks like a modern cut-paper tree is really a tiny medical diagnostic tool. Invented by Harvard Faculty member George Whitesides and made of paper and water-repellent comic-book ink, these incredible little labs can detect diseases like malaria, HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis with just a drop of blood.

While paper medical tests are not new (pregnancy tests are probably the best known example), this little chip can test for multiple diseases simultaneously and the colors can indicate the severity of the illness.

prototypepaper chip

Check out the video below of Whitesides’ talk from TED to learn more about the making these chips and their practical uses in remote areas with limited access to medical facilities and doctors.

via inhabitat

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