Thursday, November 29, 2007

John Maeda and Reebok

John Maeda is professor at MIT, computer scientist, graphic designer and author. His work explores the intersection of design and technology. He has a book out called The Laws of Simplicity which I hear is a good read, but have yet to crack. His essays are quite good and his blog is pretty interesting.

He just finished up a project with Reebok, which was released already without my notice. Needless to say, I didn't get a pair of these, but I did get to hold them in my hands for a minute. I like them a lot. Though, I pine for a streamlined women's version.

(Click for Reebok Custom site which allows 360 degrees of visual lust)

From Maeda's blog:
"Tomorrow at 9AM my new limited edition shoes from Reebok will be released online. It was a really fun project working with a talented group of folks in RBK marketing and design with a true passion for the future of mass-customization. The design is themed on the 3rd law time and is codenamed “Timetanium” as a reference to the spectacular titanium tiles of Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao and flowing sinews of time represented with my algorithmically enhanced hand-drawn curves. Since I scribble the computer code on paper before I actually type it into be processed, the RBK designers suggested that I include that program code somehow so it is enscribed in the interior of the two shoes as a kind of texture (literally a text-ure). In the past the closest thing I designed was a skateboard; shoes are a new medium for me and I’m glad to have had a chance to spend some time on this project."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cavern Tees

This summer, I became obsessed with the idea that folk inspired graphics were coming up and I was happy to find a duo dubbed Cavern working it out.

"When we first conjured Cavern," says Rivas, "our focus was to make solid, hand-drawn T-shirts."

"Everybody is making the same shit," Tullie says of his competitors, "taking clip art, mixing it up, and slapping it on a T-shirt. There was more to be done."

With references to utopianism and mystic symbols, Rivas and Tullie have set themselves apart with the use of metallic appliques, intelligent cuts, arresting abstract designs, and a complete rejection of camp. The two recently finished a deal with Devandra Banhart, a music favorite of mine, to do merchandise for his next world tour.

More photos here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ashley Gilbertson

Ashley Gilbertson is a 29 year old Australian born photographer whose work focuses on social issues and conflict. He now lives in New York City freelancing for The New York Times, Newsweek, and Time magazine. He's toured Afghanistan, Kosovo, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Iraq photographing some of the most philosophical visuals I've seen of conflict, life and death.

Hiding from the impact of a 500 pound bomb, 1/8 Bravo marines take cover inside a house.

A woman's corpse awaits collection from a retirement home in Vienna. Her graceful pose reminded me of a dancer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Target to use Hologram Models

Target, in the race to outdo Walmart (not all that hard), has decided to use hologram models in their upcoming fashion show. Target's Go International collections have fueled careers of some lesser known to the mainstream but talented designers such as Proenza Schouler (personal favorite), Patrick Robinson and Alice Temperley.

Kate Moss hologram at McQueen runway show:

Diesel "Liquid Space" holographic fashion show:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Laura Cooperman

Laura Cooperman's cut paper work is technical, beautiful and elegant. Born in Cleveland into a family of architects, Cooperman spent her childhood creating elaborate structures, floor plans, and meticulous arrangements out of household items. Later, she attended school for painting and found herself engrossed in paper cutting (for the obsessive compulsive in her). Her work has been on display in many smaller galleries. I think we'll be seeing much more of her work as she is planning to travel to China to study the traditional art of Chinese paper cutting and to document and interpret the effects of urban renewal in Beijing through her cut paper overlays.

(The first one is a dishwasher. I adore it..)

Monday, October 15, 2007

DQ Books

DQ Books is an interactive, online art collaboration project featuring drawings from various international artists on a single, shared theme and technique in an impromptu narration. I often work better under fixed guidelines, so this project appeals to me. Even with all the rules in place, the results can be pretty unexpected. There's also a little soundscape to accompany each book on the site. My personal favorite is "Where's the Party?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dish Bunny by Chris Koens

Dish Bunny by Chris Koens takes the traditional plastic coated metal dish rack, and gives it a fun twist. Available for $25 from

Monday, September 17, 2007

Grid Shades

For all you plastic canvas sewing enthusiasts, here's a project that will make you the envy of every hipster and probably Kanye West: grid shades. The dance scene never looked so handmade. If you're too lazy to make them, jack them at Etsy for $7.50.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ikea's not so basic

Ikea's sold this bookcase a gajillion times around the world. Even I have this bookcase in a standard Ikea wood finish. This bold patterned version transforms this standard into a more fashion revered design piece. The best part: it's still as cheap as the previous model.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Akino Kondoh animation

In a previous post, you'll remember me talking about the exhibit at the MFA titled "Contemporary Outlook: Japan." I couldn't remember this artist's name at first, but I wanted to share with you the work of Akino Kondoho, who lives in Tokyo and shows with and is represented by the Mizuma Gallery. Part of her most recent work, "Ladybirds' Requiem," is on display at the MFA. There's something visceral about her work. I wasn't able to find much information aside from her work, so I'll let it speak for itself. I wish I could show you "Ladybirds' Requiem," but alas, it is not on Youtube yet.

"Densya Kamo Shirenai," animation, 2002

"I hear the beat of the night, vol.2," pencil and acrylic on gesso, mounted on board, 2005

"Braids," pencil and acrylic on gesso, mounted on board, 2005

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oly Interiors

Oly is a Berkley, California based interior design company who offers antique inspired design, blending traditional with contemporary to create pieces that are clean, sleak, comforting and nostalgic at once. Each piece is handcrafted and has natural variations. Oly consists of Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger.

I'm a huge fan of their Meri hanging fixture. It reminds me of fossilized coral.

Meri Drum Chandelier, pierced resin chandelier

Henry Shelf, antiqued silver brackets with natural sono shelves
and black mahogany cabinet with antiqued brass sliding doors

Jackson Armoire, hardwood armoire with detailed facade

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Melanie Bilenker Jewelry

To say Melanie Bilenker's work takes dedication is an understatement. It also takes her literal DNA. The Victorians kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of lost love. Taking this inspiration, Bilenker has embedded her own hair into epoxy resin, recreating photographic images. The result is a floating, quiet, ordinary moment.

It makes me think of this trend happening in Tokyo with curio jewelry, these vintage oddities, mostly small dolls' hands and bronzed objects you'd find in an antique store.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Contemporary Outlook: Japan

The Boston MFA has begun a program called "Contemporary Outlook" where they will have small focused exhibitions examining trends and ways of looking at art that has emerged in recent years. An exhibit they're showing now is on Japan including artists Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Daido Moriyama, Mariko Mori, and Chinatsu Ban. The show is miniscule and worth dedicating no more than 45 minutes to, but the work is compelling. I'd recommend seeing it if there's something else within the museum you'd also like to see, as general admission can run you $17/person.

The work I found most compelling was done by Yayoi Kusama, a woman who experienced hallucinations since childhood of dots covering her visual field. She began covering surfaces with these polka dots, and they became the trademark of her work. She calls these dots "infinity nets." For years, she was in contact with Georgia O'Keefe, Joseph Cornell and Donald Judd. Her work is difficult to categorize, as she's been placed in categories of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, pop, and abstract expressionism, though she describes herself as an obsessive artist.

Arguably more influential is Takashi Murakami, who had a solo show at the MFA in 2001. He shows an obvious attraction to contemporary pop culture, especially anime (animation) and manga (cartoon). Like Andy Warhol, he takes low culture and repackages it as fine art. Unlike Warhol, he also makes his repacked low culture available to all other markets (reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg) in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mouse pads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and Louis Vuitton bags.

For more on the exhibit, check out the website or view this podcast.

Yayoi Kusama, "White Dots," 2000

Kunie Sugiura, "Takashi Murakami", 2003

Takashi Murakami, "Melting DOB E", 2006

Friday, August 17, 2007


Online shopping has less of that thrill of discovering something truly unique. With, it's a little easier to find better design for the home, wear and carry. They have jewelry, bags, t-shirts, decor, paper products, and tons of recycled pieces.

Acrylic Diamond Rings, AlissiaMT

"Bestow" Wall-Mounted Vase & Candleholder, Harry Allen

Dart Coat Hooks, Suck UK

Um Tote, Josh Jakus

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jason Miller

The first that I heard of Jason Miller's was his 2006 pieces that came equipped with a previous owner's disregard without ever being previously owned: dusty tables, broken mirrors, duct taped chairs, damaged drinking glasses. These are all accomplished not by damaging, but by deliberately incorporating materials that would mimic this disrepair. The pieces of duct tape on the Duct Tape Chair are actually strips of leather added to the upholstery. The broken mirror that appears Scotch taped is actually done entirely in laminated glass. The dust on the tables is actually layered into the finish.

Though those Brooklyn chic pieces hold appeal for me, I'm pleased to see that 2007 brings new inspiration from the crevices of true life. One in particular caught my attention: ceramic wall tiles inspired by the landscape of shipping containers in Newark. His pieces that are just slightly off give me much more satisfaction. I'm hoping to see more subtlety. I feel like he has that potential to make objects that make you feel a little weird instead of just really dirty.

"Shipping Container Tiles," glazed ceramic, 2007

"Superordinate Antler Lamps," table lamp, 2003

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aaron McConomy

Aaron McConomy is a native Canadian brought up on conceptualism and pissed ever since. He'd been considering giving up art for chess when he found YPF. His first show is August 18, 2007 at the Garage Gallery in L.A., one night only. The show is unofficially officially called "A Common Crayon," which is actually an anagram of Aaron's name.

"A Common Crayon"
August 18, 2007, 8p.m.-midnight
Garage Gallery
4341 Kingswell Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Ocular aphrodisia

It's okay to have an intense visual appetite.

If you have that itch, you can scratch it here.

Shhh, just let it happen.