art & design

Sigrid Calon’s Riso Stitches

I first learned about Dutch designer and visual artist Sigrid Calon via Sight Unseen – their Instagram, to be exact. I pretty much love everything they feature on their site, and the risoprint of Calon’s they put up instantly had me searching for more of her work.

The print is actually part of a larger series she created based on stitched embroidery patterns. With its set amount of holes and rows, an embroidery grid can hold eight different types of stitches. To honor the craft and intense manual process of embroidery, Calon starts off with a stenciling technique and moves to the computer. When processed digitally, the stitches become lines that can then combine, repeat, join and layer to create endless graphic combinations. Color and gradients mix to create an intriguing sense of depth and displacement. It’s a wonderful kaleidoscopic world where order and pattern meet possibility.

She turned 120 of the prints into a book and has dozens available in her online shop.

I ordered two for the walls and ogled the rest.

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art & design, denmark, photos

FINDERS KEEPERS’ Keepers

FINDERS KEEPERS held their recurring indoor design market here in Copenhagen over the weekend. Nearly 300 booths from independent creators were packed with print, textile, jewelry, ceramic, furniture, and clothing design. It’s a cozy, if slightly overwhelming event, with food and music and tons of cool stuff to pour over.

Highlights for me were these wonderful sculptures from the studio of architect and visual artist Tina Louise Hunderup. So simple and clean in form, the shapes can be placed to sit on tables or hang on the walls, where they cast moving shadows when the light hits just right. According to Tina Louise, each sculpture is an abstraction of different architectural constructions and terms. I’m still kicking myself for not buying one.

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Another artist that caught my eye was photographer Helle Sandager. She was selling a bunch of bold, beautiful prints of photos from a series called Wild Nature. What I love about these is that it’s a pretty simple concept, but it has to be executed just right. Nature exposed and manipulated so slightly that it adds this kind of otherworldly, foreign layer on top something you’ve seen a million times.

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art & design

Phenakistoscopes, Zoetropes, & Praxinoscopes, Oh My!

Today I was doing some research & brainstorming with my work crew for one of our Clients. I won’t go into details of the brief, but the conversation was focused on creating something physical to celebrate/honor something digital and video-based. Obviously this isn’t groundbreaking territory, and the outcome is still very much a work in progress, but it brought some nice topics into discussion.

One of which was the evolution of the phenakistoscope. The ‘original animated GIF’ has enjoyed some recent posting love so I won’t simply regurgitate the nice collections Juxtapoz and This is Colossal have already put out into the world.  Ok fine, here’s a small taste: 

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A quick history sum-up: the phenakistoscope, zoetrope, and praxinoscope were all ‘pre-animation’ devices that created the illusion of motion by displaying rapid sequences of drawings or photos. They’re all essentially versions of the same concept, just altered and improved over time. A Belgian physicist named Joseph Plateau is credited with inventing the first phenakistoscope device, but there were a lot of scientists, mathematicians, and such working on the same idea at the same time. 

The end results are obviously nice, but the most interesting part to me was looking back at the devices themselves. Metallic, merry-go-round cake-pan wonders.

 

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movies, people

Joan Rivers Tribute Post

“I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to sit in the sun. I don’t want to learn to garden. I paint. Who gives a shit.”

Last night to honor the passing of Joan Rivers, I re-watched the touching 2010 documentary about her life and career, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Given the context of the viewing, it was even more heartbreaking the second time around. For a woman who had gone ‘under the knife’ so often, it seemed particularly tragic and sad that she had died, seemingly still full of vim and vigor, from such a relatively simple medical procedure.

I think most people of my generation and the generations after only associate Rivers with the later half of her career, when her caustic fashion-policing and grating turns on reality TV shows like Celebrity Apprentice positioned her as this kind of manic, slightly freakish, aging, and desperate comedian.

That’s why this movie is so enlightening, it gives you a glimpse of her golden years and shines a light on the darker insecurities that fueled her style of humor and relentless work ethic. Before she was on the red carpet, or winning over Donald Trump, or headlining shows at depressing Midwest casinos, Rivers truly was a game-changer. When she emerged on the scene in the mid-60s, in appearances on The Tonight Show with brand new host Johnny Carson, she joked frankly and freely about sex and abortion, topics people still get squeamish about to this day. Carson loved her style and nurtured her career – she became his permanent guest host in the early 80s.

But for all the early love and admiration, her career seemed destined for tragedy and pain. When she accepted an offer to host her own late night talk show on then newcomer FOX’s network, Carson was furious. He had her blacklisted from Late Night and never spoke to her again, for the rest of his life. Rattled by the loss of her mentor, Rivers lost her confidence and the show foundered. FOX asked her to fire her producer, her own husband Edgar Rosenberg. She refused, was fired herself, and the show was cancelled. Rosenberg committed suicide shortly after because he was allegedly so distraught over the whole episode. (Clinical depression didn’t help matters.)

The thing you take away from the movie is that Rivers has been fighting her entire life. Against critics and sexists, against the mainstream, and her own negative self-image, against people who said she should just stop working already and learn to garden. But she can’t. She needs to work, to entertain. The thought of giving it up is never an option. Driven by passion, by compulsion, you know at the end of the film that she’ll never, ever stop.

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friends

The Amazing Sando

My friend Sandra is one of those people always doing something new and exciting each time I talk to her. She’s a strategist, an artist, a chef, a musician, a photographer. She skates, she jams, she busks for loose change. One minute she’s advising clients about brand narrative, the next she’s a sous chef plating up some insane looking meal. Or making a film about said meal plating. Or playing Webster Hall…because she’s in a new band. She’s the person you sit down with for a casual lunch and end up leaving the restaurant eight hours later, tipsy, and laughing, and inspired. Her portfolio is ‘Powered by Love’ and she’s got some great photos up from her recent excursions out into the great unknown. If you need a creative consultant “or would simply like to have a pleasant chat,” as she says – go find her.

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denmark, eats, travel

The Danish Summer: Magic or Myth?

Summer in Denmark has an almost mythical quality to it. When will it come? How will it behave? Will it rain? Will it last? Will it even show its face at all? Since the moment I arrived in Copenhagen, I had been regaled with tales of a golden season that would magically materialize after all the damp and darkness. OR possibly not appear at all. Only time would tell.

So after months of waiting, and wondering, and staring up at the grey cloud cover that seemed permanent and immovable, it happened. Summer arrived in Copenhagen. And it arrived in style.

I can finally say with confidence that the Danish Summer is truly worth waiting for. The city becomes a bike and boat riding paradise. The sun rises at 4am and sets at 10pm – that’s 17 hours of daylight to soak up. You are surrounded by unpolluted canals you’re encouraged to jump into. You can barbeque meat literally anywhere, via disposable grills sold in supermarkets. At the beach, men wear thongs, girls over-tan, and grandmas lounge topless while grilling, smoking, and drinking.

Summer food specialities emerge as well. I was treated to koldskĂ„l or ‘cold bowl’ – which is basically like drinking a bowl of melted vanilla ice cream with small cookies thrown in. It’s delicious. I feasted on Danish strawberries – which for Danes are unparalleled to ANY other strawberry in the world. They signal the official arrival of Summer and should be eaten often – unadorned, or drenched in heavy cream.

Then there are the perfect temperatures and zero humidity, which seem impossible after living through 10+ years of swampy, sweaty, sanity-testing NYC summers. There is no air conditioning, or even fans really. Or screens on the windows. A fresh breeze is all you get, and for the most part, it’s enough.

Scarred by dreadful years of ‘no-show summers’ and the constant unpredictability of the forecast, Danes are super sensitive when it comes to the idea of a long, lasting season. Inevitably a cool, rainy day disturbs a stretch of near perfect weather, and Danes instantly quip “Ok, we hope you enjoyed the Summer, because it’s over now.” The best part, even if it isn’t true, is that you know it easily could be.

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interweb, photos

Unchanging Window

Unchanging Window is a wonderful personal photo blog by artist Mary Manning that I get excited to check every day. Each post offers its own little abstract narrative, a photo essay wrapped up by a thematic end quote, question or lyric: “What’s Going to Happen Today?” “Smiles Awake When You Rise” “The Magic Tortoise.” Every photo is great, but strung together they take on some new, next-level power. Are they individual moments of inspiration? A mysterious, connected plot to decipher? You don’t know, and that’s the best part.

 

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