It's weird the little connections that happen to you every single day. I watched this short film three or so days ago all about the Breuckelen Distilling company which is the first in Brooklyn since prohibition. It ia the first part in a series called 'Made by Hand' directed by Keef Erlich which aims to promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft. Based in Brooklyn, the project takes it influence from the handmade movement there and elsewhere.
Yesterday I found myself in a bar and noticed the wonderfully designed label of Breuckelen Gin poking out amongst the liquors behind the bar. I knew that if I didn't try it there and then that I would probably never get to try it. One gin and tonic later and I was an ever so slightly drunker man, a fantastic Gin with one hell of a lot of flavour. Definitely worth the $6.
I actually stumbled across 'Made by Hand' by watching the second part in it's series about Cut Brooklyn, a handmade knife shop which makes some amazing blades. I would highly recommend checking out the series, if not for the great products featured then for the wonderfully filmed and edited footage.
A quick post about a new brief we have just been given in advanced typography. Essentially our end of semester project we have been given the task of designing at least two book jackets for the world's all time best seller, The Bible.
We can split the text itself into as many books as we want with the obvious choice being the New and Old Testament as separate books which is the option I am leaning towards at the moment. However I still need to have a good sit down and think about this project. We've been given free reign with format sizing, imagery and typography so I really want to go as far as I can with this.
Above is Chip Kidd's front cover design for The New Testament, translated by Richmond Lattimore and commissioned by Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing house. Here's what he has to say about it...
“If I am remembered for one jacket I would pick this one. I really have to hand it to the publisher for having the balls to go with it, and thus getting screwed by the major chains who refused to carry it. I’d also like to thank the photographer for allowing me to use this image in this context.” — Chip Kidd
The image used is a photograph by artist Andres Serrano, of the face of a man, eyes half closed who had just been involved in a fatal car accident. It's use is a fantastic example of how simple imagery and type can be combined to create amazing pieces. Obviously eluding to the crucifixion, the climax of the New Testament it is full of bare emotion and meaning. I especially like the elongated cross used as a divider between the title and translators name.
However we have the opportunity to work with both old and new testaments, or each gospel as their own. We have the chance to create something really special which I what I am to try and do and hopefully not fall into the pit of literality whilst doing it. Updates soon.
Firstly let me say that the video above is not mine in any way shape or form. I wish it was.
Just stumbled across this gem on a website somewhere and felt like I needed to share it. Made my filmaker Adam Clancy it's just footage of his day to day life in New York edited into a roughly five minute film with some music and uploaded to Vimeo. Ticks all the boxes of what makes a good film and for most people is great to watch and get an idea of what it's like to live in New York day to day as opposed to a five day holiday.
For me this video will be somewhat relevant in a year, I watch it now and recognise so many of the places that I've been to over the past three and a bit months and realise how quickly the time has gone. In a year I will be back in London and this video I'm sure will bring back memories of my time here, more so than photographs (although they are also amazing), postcards or receipts. The music is also weirdly relevant as I first heard this song in New York and fell in love with it instantly. Everyone should listen to James Vincent McMorrow - We Don't Eat, it will forever remind me of New York, the people I've met, friends I've made and the places I've been.
On another New York note I recently stumbled upon the work of E. B. White, a very talented writer who wrote a short essay called 'Here is New York' in the summer of 1948 which is as accurate today in capturing the spirit of the city as it was back then. A short quote from it below which I hope to include in some work I will be doing in the near future...
"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbours, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh yes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company..."
This is my 100th post on this blog, one I've become very attached to and in the future hope to keep up a lot more regularly than I have been at any point during it's relatively short life.
Above is something silly in honour of this post, if you recognise the song then good for you and if (as a graphic designer) you know what I'm talking about then even better. Came up with this whilst in a lesson with Eli and have been wanting to make something of it ever since so I'm glad I finally found a use for it.
So if anyone who reads this blog of mine hasn't heard already, I am three quarters of the way through a four month semester studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. To document my stay I have a photo blog which can be accessed by clicking HERE just finished a mass upload basically covering the last few weeks including thanksgiving which I spent at my awesome friend Liz's (pictured above) in Long Island. Much more to come in the last few weeks of my stay, so sad to think about leaving right now but sort of excited to be going back to Norwich for Christmas and then London in the new year.
Hopefully going to get the chance to blog some more work in the coming week once I get my stuff together.
Above are a selection of pictures/pages from one of my earlier screen printing projects.
A one-off edition of two screen printed and hand-bound books based around the poem 'The Laughing Heart' by Charles Bukowski. The larger format book is a black and white photocopied version of the smaller, full colour version. Bound using Japanese stab binding with french folded pages allowing each spread to be visually connected to the next whilst not letting the text be read in it's normal orientation or natural flow.
I chose this poem because of it's feature in a short video animation my friend and fellow student at Chelsea Bradley Bell made as part of our after effects project last year. To me it is near perfect, I will never forget watching it for the first time and the effect it has had on me since. I've realised pretty recently that you should post about other people's work just as much as your own and that recognising/praising great design is not quite practiced enough. Below is said video, watch it and appreciate every single goddamn thing about it.
A few weeks ago Me, Miriam, Jules and Alice took the Subway to Brooklyn to go to Fort Greene Flea Market where, outside the market was parked a van with a whole letterpress inside. The van and letterpress are part of the Type Truck project and are the brainchild of Kyle Durrie, a letterpress printer from Portland, Oregon. Using the Kickstarter website to raise almost $18,000 towards the project she bought a 1982 Chevy step van and converted it into a fully functional letterpress print shop and is now traveling around the US teaching printing and selling her work. We each had a go printing as she told us about her travels. This is such a fantastic idea, I am beginning to wonder if it would be possible to do the same thing in the U.K. bringing letterpress to the masses. Pictures to come of the poster as soon as I retrieve it from Jule's room. Last picture of the Type Truck courtesy of Julia Salotti herself. Please take a few seconds to check out the link below and follow Kyle's amazing journey through the U.S!
Pictured above is the book that I made for my Bookbinding class midterm titled
'Lost in Translation'.
The only guidelines we were given by our tutor Nancy was that the content of the book had to be autobiographical, we had to use a binding we had covered in the first half of the semester and that we were not allowed to use any text whatsoever (for fear of writing our life story from birth).
I however ignored one of these instructions and instead decided to use text and only text in recording some of the problems I've had with using more than a few words since arriving in America just over two and a half months ago. On the left of each spread is an English word whilst on the right is the American word for the same object/thing/action. Some are well known to everyone (especially in the U.K.) however some you can only find out about whilst actually living here so I decided to document them in this book.
The book is a soft cover, multi-signature book constructed using 150gm Canford stock and hand printed using Acetone and photocopies.
Having seen 'Fever Year' last month at the New York Film Festival, I had the opportunity to go see another new independent film with a quite incredible musical connection this weekend at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).
'Beyond This Place' is a film about a 30 something year old Kaleo trying to reconnect with his father Cloud Rock La Belle who has been absent from his life since he was born, only keeping in contact via irregular letters and few and meetings few and far between. Cloud Rock's absence has been due to his lifestyle of Psychedelic drugs and absolute freedom which for him are almost religious beliefs.
Together the pair undergo a 500 mile bike tour across the Pacific Northwest. Documented by Kaleo (who himself is a film maker), the film is an exploration of what fatherhood really means to him, to Cloud and to the viewer. A new father himself, Kaleo's questions to his father are simple and to the point, full of emotion and resentment.
Though the film (and Cloud Rock) doesn't give answers, there is no final coming together of father and son, there is more of an understanding of each person and their standpoint. Why people choose to live like they do and the affects that it can have on others.
The musical link in the film comes from the magnificent Sufjan Stevens (along with Rayond Byron Magic Raposa of the Castanets) who scored the film at the request of Kaleo who is a childhood friend of his. Sufjan and Raymond were sitting onstage as the film was shown, playing their score live along with the film and spoken audio. This double performance was amazing to witness although it took me ten minutes to stop watching the musicians play and concentrate on the film itself. Two incredibly talented men, childhood friends, bought together by their creativity was just great to watch with the music only adding to the film it was a very clear collaboration. Again as with 'Fever Year' there was a Q&A afterwards which was fascinating especially on Kaleo's film making practice with this film and his now dorment again relationship with his father.
Above and below are a couple of shots of my first 3 colour separation screen prints based on the self portrait photograph I posted a couple of weeks ago. Screen printing is something that I've never had the opportunity to try before until now and it's one of those things that always seemed weirdly magical as I never had any idea how the process worked.
Now however, after more than a good number of weeks colour mixing, test prints, taping, reprinting and endless experimentation I am finally getting comfortable with how it works. Being able to hold a sheet that only you yourself have printed, from creating the artwork, shooting the screen, mixing the ink and pulling the print is really amazing.
Everything seems to be weirdly connected at the moment...Yesterday I posted about Andrew Bird: Fever Year, a music documentary cum live concert film following a year with Andrew Bird, a ridiculously talented musician who's touring schedule almost (but not quite) got the better of him in 2009.
Today whilst spending my usual time browsing the web I came across the trailer for a new independent film scored by the man himself (Bird) titled 'Norman'. I won't try to explain what it's about or why you should watch it but I have posted the trailer above for your viewing pleasure. All I will say is that it looks fantastic and that I am pretty happy I'm over here in the good ol' U S of A as it's being released here in just under two weeks time. YES.
Side note: going to try blogging a lot more regularly from now on. Not quite daily but, I'd like to avoid 4 months gaps ever again if possible.
Chronological isn't always logical so it turns out.
Here is a post from something I have been doing today, in New York.
This evening I went (alone) to watch a film titled 'Andrew Bird: Fever Year' as part of the 2011 New York Film Festival. For those not as musically inclined as others, Andrew Bird is a musician who's relentless touring and recording schedule over the last decade has left him with a huge following across the globe but very little success in the form of 'hits' and record sales (not necessarily a bad thing).
The film is a music documentary cum live concert film combined together in a very natural way, with neither side really dominating over the other. It documents Andrew at the tail end of 2009 where he played 165 shows throughout the year and the resulting effect it has had on his health; the film is aptly titled 'Fever Year' as it's mentioned many times throughout it's rare that Andrew doesn't have a temperature of below 102, but yet he continues unabashed and very enjoyably to perform every night.
The film was fantastic, made even more so by a Q&A with the director (Xan Aranda) who's thoughts really helped complete the circle and made me appreciate the film so much more. There was a very clear collaboration between subject and director, they both knew each other as friends and as creatives. It was great to see the film as both of them had wanted, instead of watching an exotic and talented animal in an glass case being poked and filmed by it's master who didn't know it's name or understand what it did.
I am not a writer, I tried to write a few paragraphs about the film and found I just wrote the same thing over and over again. I know what I feel about it and that's fine by me. I feel very lucky to have seen it as it's only going to be screened in film festivals and not made into a dvd or distributed widely. To quote Xan..
"He (Andrew) doesn't write anything down so why would he make a DVD?"
Below are some of the concert posters showcased within the film as Andrew likes to collaborate with creatives rather a lot as the top picture is testament too. Anything like that is great to see but especially for me as a designer it was just fantastic, a few of them below. I've gone on too long, it's 2AM and I'm tired.
So little information about this film to be found online. For anyone who's interest has been stirred you can try the link below...
As per usual it's been quite some time since my last post on this blog and I now have quite a bit of work backlogged to begin to blogging over the next week or so. To that end here is one of my final projects from the end of 1st year at Chelsea. For anyone who isn't aware I am just over one month into a four month exchange programme at F.I.T. in New York. Blogging stuff has been the last thing on my mind (until homework day comes round) hence it's taken this long for me to get round to it.
Above is my redesign of Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left vinyl cover worked on as a collaboration with our guest tutor Peter Chadwick of Popular studio. Looking back at how I approached this project I suffered with my normal method of approaching a project and even regressed back to a high school style of being afraid of our teacher as I hadn't done the work certain weeks, didn't see him and therefore lost out. Lesson learnt.
I think I got that thing you get when you are at home for too long and get so ridiculously bored that even the smallest, most pointless thing will entertain you for a few long hours. Having said that here's a short film I made of my printer whilst at home in Norwich last week after noticing that whenever you print something it does a little (happy?) dance. It amused me so hopefully it'll amuse some of you.
Back in London now so slightly less cabin-fever-ish...
Loads more stuff to come soon hopefully as and when I get some free moments
Movie poster for our film 'Golden Foam' will be collated with the 9 other groups posters and be printed as one long reel. Photos to come of when that happens and stuff. Oscar night is almost upon us, hopefully there will be some photos of that too appearing at some point after Thursday!
Last Wednesday the entire class spent a entire day in the Graphics Studio with Nigel & Pete who organised something of a one day print workshop for us.
We were each told to bring in one mechanical or electrical item that that had once served a purpose in our lives and that we no longer needed. We then were told to take them apart into as many pieces we could manage and arrange them by size, shape, colour, material etc. Above are is my super old digital camera pre disassembly and my final taxonomy piece from the workshop. After arranging all of our pieces very neatly and photographing then we were told to ink up and print as many of the pieces as possible in a printed taxonomy. Things quickly got messy, photos below...
This is a bit of an out of the ordinary post for me I'll admit
This post is a dedication to an extraordinary singer, songwriter and poet who has died aged 62.
I discovered Gil Scott-Heron and his work whilst working on a college project last term and have not stopped listening to him since. The results of the work have still not yet been finalised but, due to recent events their release may get pushed forward by the people I have been doing it for and hopefully you will see it soon.
I'm not going to link you to any of his music, you can find it yourselves. His recent collaboration remix album with Jamie XX is highly recommended though. Instead here is a quote of his I get to see every so often painted on the wall of his record company's office. I only wrote it down last week; to me it's perfect.
"There is a proper procedure for taking advantage of any investment.
Music, for example. Buying music is an investment.
To get the maximum you must
LISTEN TO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER OPTIMUM CONDITIONS
Not in your car or on a portable player through a headset.
Take it home.
Get rid of all distractions, (even her or him).
Turn off your cell phone.
Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles.
Yesterday we had our third meeting with our tutors about the current film brief. Now halfway through we have 3 weeks left and have just decided on the final story of our film, the real work begins now I guess but I am super happy with the idea and can't wait to make this film.
Just got back from Canary Wharf after doing some location scouting. Such a weird area but managed to take some nice photos one of which is above...
Just some hand drawn type I did as as test for the LP redesign brief this week. After coming to Peter on Friday with a selection of different ideas and concepts we decided to go for a combination of all of them. Not going to reveal too much just yet as I want to do some test shots and stuff but I'll be making something physical and photographing it.