Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bringing in a New Year

photo by Micha L. Reiser, permission details here

New Year's has to be one of my favorites. I love the idea of opening a new chapter with new goals and a new outlook full of hope. It's quite refreshing. Granted, you could choose to do this any day of the year. There's just something about starting the calendar over that says, "Clean slate. Go for it."

I could use one this year. After only five months in New York, I'm trying to get out. Don't get me wrong, there are many fantastic things about the city. And if you haven't visited Brooklyn, you're really missing out. Do it. But life in NYC is missing so much that I find important. So why am I paying more than most people's house payments to live there? You tell me.

Now I am working on clearing my slate. I left my job in NY a month and half ago. (It took a lot of courage, but it felt so good to take control and get out. It was just working out terribly, details not included. In the end, I'm very proud of myself.) My apartment is up on Craigslist, and I am trying to prepare myself mentally for the parental move-in. I need to recuperate while I look for something truly full-time, and I am lucky enough to have parents who love and support me, who are willing to let me stay with them while I get my feet on the ground. Come on, Recession. Go away, already!

</personal tangent>

Besides all of this, I love mixing up traditions from different countries on New Year's. I readily welcome any extra luck it will bring. Here are a few tricks I may try:
  • Eat 12 grapes at midnight, and make a wish on each one - one for every stroke of the clock, and one for every month of the new year. Only problem is, how will I be kissed with 12 grapes in my mouth?? - Spain
  • Throw old dishes at all of my friends' houses. You're welcome!! - Denmark
  • Pour molten lead into water and interpret the shape it makes, a fortune-telling technique called Bleigiessen. Results shown in above photo. - Germany
  • Physically clean and de-clutter my living space. - Multiple countries
  • Wear yellow underwear. Sounds weird, but it's said this will attract positive energy in the new year! - Ecuador
  • Bang on pots and pans to chase evil spirits away. - Iran
  • Or I could just leave the doors and windows open to let them out. - China
  • OR, I could open the back door at the first stroke of midnight, letting out the old year and its bad luck, and open the front door on the twelfth stroke to let in the new year and its luck. - Wales
  • Cook myself a feast of luckiness:
  • Ring in the year with laughter. - Japan
But most importantly, I will be wishing my friends and family love, health, happiness, and prosperity in the coming year, and I will be missing those of you I can't be with. I'm entering the second decade of the new millennium with very few regrets, and I'm excited about what's to come. Let's kick it off with a bang! Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Come On In

This weekend, I was so lucky as to have a friend visiting from Minneapolis. We went on an art walk in DUMBO, the neighborhood I work in, and grabbed dinner in Soho. It may not have been the best for my cold, but it was totally worth it, really great to see her.

She kept asking about my apartment and made me promise to post pics - especially after I told her my friend Katie says it looks like it's straight out of a Wes Anderson film (think Royal Tenenbaums). I know there are others of you out there that might be curious as well. So here's a glimpse at the new residence.

The entrance hall is really my favorite part about the place. Fan-freaking-tastic. Huge fan of the green and orange wallpaper.

I'm not gonna lie, the inside is still lacking. Amazing architecture and nuances, but still deep in transition. I'm still posting photos of the living room and kitchen. Just keep in mind that I moved in with a girl who's new as well, and a guy who's been living here for 2 years already - trying to find common decor ground and use what's already there. Not as easy as it might sound.

No, the TV doesn't work. Nor does the chandelier, nor the lamp in the corner. None of my own posters are really up yet. Like I said, long way to go. But can you see the potential here? I really wish I could just get rid of all of the junk and go to town on this place. I'll let y'all know if it ever comes together.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Obscure of the English Language

Hello!! It's been quite a while! I've been settling in to my new place (still not done) and exploring. My dad and sis came to visit the other weekend...they took my car home with them. I am now officially stuck.

When they were here, I showed them around a bit. I think the only thing we really did in Brooklyn was the Prospect Park Farmer's Market. We had apple cider donuts, chocolate milk (Which is evidently usually made from bloody milk - I don't find this out til the week after. Ew.), and some really good nectarines. But my favorite find at the market was Nicola and the Newfoundlander.

Nicola and the Newfoundlander was set up at a little table on a corner across the street from the market. Their clocks were what first caught my eye. Then the Newfoundlander (the non-female, so by process of elimination...) then explained the work, and I got really excited about these magnets! More so, I got excited about what they're about.

First of all, I should say that everything is made from reclaimed wood - he specifically mentioned wood from Brooklyn water towers, the Coney Island boardwalk, and wine barrels. And these magnets that I'm now in love with feature words forgotten from the english language, words that have no equal. Some are beautiful, many are ironic, and all are due for a comeback. Take it in.

petrichor - the smell of rain on dry earth

maieutic - to give birth to ideas

ploiter - to work with little purpose

zizany - a bad apple that spoils the bunch

vicambulist - a person who wanders the city streets

fey - having a strange, almost other-worldly, whimsical charm

ergophobist - one who fears work

mungo - one who finds beautiful things in the trash

kakistocracy - a government run by its worst citizens

rememble - a false memory

dulosis - the enslavement of ants by ants

limerence - the first moments of love

malist - one who thinks this is a terrible world, but not the worst of all possible worlds

musophobist - one with a deep and sustained fear of poetry

*interesting fact: Only half of these words got the squiggly red underline when typed.

I don't know about you, but hearing of these words (especially knowing that some of them passed the spell check) made me really think about the english language, how limited it can be, and how we limit ourselves even more by using only a few of the words available. I also laugh a little. I know plenty of ergophobists, but I believe I have yet to meet a musophobist. I shouldn't laugh, I apologize.

you can also visit their etsy shop

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Commute

I feel like I should write something about New York so far. You can't just up and move to New York and not write anything. I'm just trying to decide what's worthy of an entry.

Well, I've become a New York commuter. Except I do a commute that nobody in their right minds would do: Queens to Brooklyn. I have to be at work at 9:00. So I leave at 7:30. First day? I was half an hour late. Granted, it was because of random train delays and stops. But still. Anyway, I was pretty much on time the rest of the week. The subway is weird. It's incredibly boring and interesting all at once. I think that's what I'll talk about.

I say boring because there's so much waiting. And it's so dark. You're under ground. In other cities you might be driving or taking a bus to and from work. Both are outside, with the sun shining in and sights passing by. The subway is a little depressing in that way. But it's a great place to people-watch.

I've been serenaded four times on the subway, and heard one very long sob story (we're talking 2 stops worth of harships). I love the random music. There was one guy with a guitar, two mariachi bands (yes, I am just that lucky), and my favorite, an Alanis Morisette type. It seemed like the perfect location for acoustic Alanis-type music.

There have been some interesting people near me, too. One man was standing on a napkin. I didn't think he was aware at first, but then he moved. He realized the napkin was no longer under his shoe and made the extra effort to cover it. It went on like this for a while, and I never did figure out his reasoning.

One guy was reading a newspaper printed on light salmon-colored paper. I had never seen this before. I saw it later and read the title, the Financial Times.

Another was a couple who were playing a guessing game. He said, "Okay, you get three questions." I thought oh cute they're on their first date. Her first was, "Is it something I would wear?" Okay, so he bought something for her, and was letting her guess. What could I do but guess myself? I know this all sounds very intrusive, but you have to understand this train was extremely empty, and they were sitting next to me. Not using their six-inch voices. I'm pretty sure he bought her a necklace.

One day there was a hornet in the train. It only landed next to me once, but I was not a fan.

You should know, people in New York are so friendly. Don't let someone tell you otherwise. You can ask anyone a question and always get an answer. One lady (much older) even got off of the train and walked me to the right train. I understood where to go long before we got there, but she was just too sweet. New Yorkers are just more blunt sometimes, and maybe have shorter tempers. But they're humans, too, and chances are they know what it's like to be in your shoes. Whatever your problem, there's usually a helping hand.

Well, I have news. I found an apartment in Brooklyn! It's in this amazing brownstone in Park Slope, and I couldn't have found a better place. This is means I will no longer be such an avid commuter. Which is both good and bad news. My days will be both less boring and less interesting all at once. Less suits.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wherabouts is the Pop, Y'all? Fuhgeddaboudit, Pizza Pie!

My apologies for the absence of posts. I know I have millions of dedicated readers who have been on the edge of their seats just dying to hear from me, and I'm sorry to have neglected you. I'm still here, you are important to me, thank you for holding.

Truth is, I'm moving! (I'm sure you got that right away from the post title.) I got a job in New York, the perfect opportunity for me, so I'm up and moving. Again. I was doing this exact thing almost 12 months ago. Cramming my belongings into my little Scion xD and driving for two days. Only this time, the Big Apple. I just hope New York is as excited as I am!

I hope this news brings a little sparkle to your day, I know it's quite a contrast to the bankruptcy and downsizing that you normally hear about these days. I can't believe this has worked out so well, but it has!! I'm not about to argue with it. So you should no longer come expecting the view from MN. It will soon be coming from Brooklyn, not unlike every other blog. I'll try to keep it interesting.

I will miss Minnesota. I've had quite a crazy stay here. I got to work for one of the most brilliant design entrepreneurs in the business, a great man, in the worst economy possible. I was here for the Republican National Convention, just before we elected our first African American president. It was the worst winter they've had in about 10 years, and we also lived through the "hottest" day in years (nothing compared to Houston). I tried honeycrisp apples, rhubarb, lefse, a Juicy Lucy (thanks Sheraton!), hot dish, cheese curds, fried Snickers on a stick with powdered sugar (had to, State Fair), a Mexican sub sandwich, homemade doughnut pieces (thanks, Josh!), mochi ice cream, oodles of random beers, and delicious homemade root beer. Never durian ice cream, though. Just couldn't do it.

The people are nice, there's tons of things to do, beautiful lakes, great farmer's markets, great music, great art, fun winter sports, extremely talented designers, good food, and to top it off, the Mississippi runs through it all. Great, great, great. I highly recommend a visit to the Twin Cities in your lifetime.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cristiana Couceiro, Sete Dias

Cristiana Couceiro's illustration style is one of my favorite things I've come across all year. Absolutely beautiful. A perfect balance of lines, shapes, and diagrams, interesting grid use, and the icing on the cake, vintage photography. The design is very clean, but there's definitely a sense of playfulness. I'm sure her work will speak for itself.

Cristiana works form Lisboa, Portugal. To see more of her inspiring work, visit her blog, Sete Dias.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Breaking the Norm

Alright, so you know how I warn you in my sidenote to the right to come prepared for anything? I'm going to make good use of that today.

I've been doing a lot of the same, lately. Too many routines. And when things start feeling like this, it can be kind of nice to do something differently. Something small, something normally routine. Something you usually do without thinking.

I don't know why I followed this urge today, but I did. It was my walk. I have a way that I normally walk. Without thinking, that's how I transport myself from one point to another. I couldn't even describe it to you if I wanted to. It's just natural. You're probably the same way.

But if you take your time to change something in your walk, the entire experience is different. Me, I took longer strides. Not that anybody else would notice, but I did. It was entirely new. I covered more ground with each step, my hair bounced more, I could feel the wind in my face, and I got the feeling that I was somehow more important. For about ten seconds, everything was new and I wasn't doing something routine.

This is crazy talk. I'm not sure why I'm posting this necessarily. I guess it just helps to remind yourself that you always have control over the little things. Hell, you even have control over the big things, if you let yourself. Maybe this type of experiment is a good thing to try every now and then.

I actually wrote this post a month or two ago, and ended up saving it as a draft because I thought it might be crazy talk. But as I read over it tonight, it made me smile and I realized it is relevant.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Better Days

"Progress's natural companion is nostalgia for the way things used to be." - from episode 6 of This American Life, the TV show

I don't know about the rest of the world, but for me the sentence above is a perfect summation of our existence, as of late. I remember growing up and hearing adults complain about how fast everything was changing, that one day we wouldn't be able to buy the newest version before another was released. Well, I get it now. Are we there yet?

The above quote is from an episode called Pandora's Box, from a sequence on pig farming. The story explores man vs. nature, scientists trying to create the perfect piece of meat, and in the process losing the essential pig altogether. Different things happened in the course of pig-perfecting, and basically scientists and farmers ended up simply trading quality for quality. At one point you start to think, Have they really moved forward at all, or are they just running in place?

Since I've moved here, I've been reminded time and again of how young I am, and how much has changed in my life. The biggest realization of this happened when I was introduced to one of the computers I work on at CSA. It reminds me of the computer I used in the days of middle school and the Oregon Trail, when AIM first came out and chat rooms were the bee's knees. (That is a great phrase, don't knock it.) But there are people I work with that remember when they bought that computer and it was absolutely state-of-the-art. When was this? Not much more than 10 years ago. In that time, we've progressed so much that I don't even know how to work this computer anymore. I'm like the out-of-date teacher that can never find the power button.

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I get more cases of nostalgia, and I wonder if this is because I have more years to reminisce, or because things are changing so quickly that I have too much to think back about. More of my conversations begin with, "Remember when..." I find myself longing for the days of renting a VHS, of listening to CD's in a boombox, even of the old Facebook that was only college students. I miss actual photographs and snail mail. I miss running to get the phone in time, not knowing who it would be but hoping it was that certain boy. I miss Pac Man, Super Mario, and Boy Meets World. Hell, I miss scrunchies.

Every time they change something and claim that it's new and improved, all I can think is, Again?? I just don't buy it. I know of people who still own their appliances from the 40's and 50's, who haven't had as many problems and repairs as appliances bought last year. It's all just one big quality trade-off. I don't think we'll ever get all of the kinks out, but if we did I'd probably miss them.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Whole New Paper Art

I've noticed a rise in the trend of paper cutting. It's amazing when done right, but it's beginning to feel like my favorite song that's been played on the radio too much. I was browsing ffffound today when I stumbled across the work of a Mr. Simon Schubert, a German artist who specializes in his own kind of paper art. This is something I've never seen done before. I would really love to see these in person.

Can you just imagine if these were life-size? Or bigger??

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hairy Faces

I ran across something this week that made me smile. A lot. The 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships. I had no idea what an extreme sport facial hair was! There are categories and everything. They should make a travel bingo game out of this. Or maybe a reality show.

The categories. Where do you fit?

Eric Brown, Sideburns Category (yes, really.)

Willi Chevalier, Freestylin' Category

Xavier Lozano Carreras, Musketeer Category (ya think?)

Elmar Weisser, Full Beard Freestyle Category

Aaron Suring, Alaskan Whaler Category

I wonder what their secrets are. Do they have strict diets and a vitamin regimen? Do they use special shampoos? Have they hired a stylist or is that a job for the wifey? Are you allowed to dye your facial hair? Does anyone cheat and use extensions? Perm? Ohhh the questions I would ask!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Results Are In

This past week, Good 50x70 (the contest I entered on the late end) posted their decision of "shortlisted posters," mine not included. Oh well, c'est la vie.

As it ends up, it was not an easy choice. The contest had 4,210 entries this year! It's so exciting to see so many designers across the world contribute to these causes. There are a lot of great concepts in the shortlist, and a lot of posters that would really stop you in your tracks. This type of propaganda will make a difference.

Climate Change: "Don't let it go up in smoke!" Caflisch Notta, Switzerland

Healthcare Deprivation: "Just Another Number" Dawn Houser, United States

Nuclear Emergency: "Russian Roulette 2" Ahmet Erdogan, Turkey

To learn more about the different causes Good 50x70 artists stand for, see even more inspiring posters, and keep up with progress and events, visit the Good 50x70 website. Bookmark it, while you're there. And spread the word.

P.S. I realized that I never did post my entry. For those of you that have been curious, here it is.

My thought was that implementing nuclear energy as a solution to our energy problem would make it way too accessible to terrorists. At a time when so many people are trying to do harm and the threat levels are always at orange, I do not see experimenting with such deadly substances as a wise decision. I have since added a paragraph of text to better explain the cause. What is shown is the copy that was sent to Good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Me and Myself

Alright, so I know that my work doesn't belong on here with the greats of the art and design community, but I was kind of proud of my little post-it self portrait I drew tonight. It's my first attempt at life drawing since Drawing I & II. What do ya think, any resemblance?

I joke now, but I was once not too shabby in the portrait arena. Back in the day. In fact, one of my self-portraits ended up being my first piece to win a spot in a juried show. I'm not gonna lie, I was extremely excited! Freshman didn't get into this show. Ever. I really didn't think I had a chance. For this reason, I highly recommend entering anything and everything, even if you are doubting yourself. Don't let your second-guessing get in the way. Just go for it!

Temptation, by Stefanie Pepping The image shown has been very roughly pieced together from photographs of the original, but I actually kind of like it this way. Actual drawing is much, much bigger than a post-it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Smashed Pennies

Tonight my random string of clicking on links has been type-based. Which, of course, led me to Marian Bantjes. I can not get enough of her work! This recent project of hers seems like it might be worth the flight cost to Toronto, plus two dollars and a penny. Isn't it the most beautiful smashed penny you've ever seen? (Evidently that's the technical term.)

"So I thought about what one might conceivably want to have on a copper thing that might mingle with your change in your pocket. Ultimately I decided on 'Empathy,' because really that’s all the world needs is a whole lotta empathy, and I imagined that you might look at that Empathy penny from time to time and it might actually influence how you viewed a situation." - Marian Bantjes, via her site

This penny is part of a series of four that were commissioned by Motherbrand (Motherboy? Anyone?) in Toronto. You can check out the others at Penny Smash. Of course, Marian Bantjes' design is by far my favorite. I love her thoughts about it, and the image itself is absolutely beautiful.

Thank you, Toronto. Finally, someone is putting something besides historic scenes and zoo animals on smashed pennies! Those types of images do make for a nice souvenir every now and then, but it's great to have the option of smashing a penny with substance.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moving Pictures

This weekend I took my first vacation in about a year. Where did I go? Lubbock, Texas. You may snicker, but you really don't know what you're missing. Flat can be fabulous!

Anyway, I brought a gift for a friend's baby, a book called Gallop! This book is ingenious! It's been out for a while, but none of my friends in Lubbock had seen it before. I realized that a normal person wouldn't really pick this book up. Unless you have kids. What can I say, I like picture books.

Why is Gallop! so special that I made my friend stop the car to look at it? The pictures move! I know, moving pictures, what a concept. How does this work, you say? It's called scanimation, and it's really hard to wrap your head around. You see, as you open each page, the image is pulled behind a series of black bars. The bars block parts of the image, so you only see certain lines at a time. This is what a naked image looks like.

But what you actually see as you open and close the page is a cat running. Your eye connects the image shown between the bars and recognizes a cat, and as different lines show through the bars, the cat moves. Here to better explain his creation is Rufus Butler Seder, himself.

When you understand it, this technology (is that the word?) is actually so simple! I just want to use it on something! Alas, there is a patent. I'm telling you, children's books is where it's at. The next time you see Gallop! or Swing!, pick them up! They do things!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Zetus Lupetus!!

I like to think I was not the only teen to still like the Disney Channel. I'm telling you, there were some great movies on there! Pete's Dragon? Teen Witch, the ridiculous 80's film with a rap that ended up on 30 Rock? (Kenneth definitely did it justice.) And let's not forget Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century, the debut of Kirsten Storms.

Guess what, Zenon fans. Their hand-held video phone things may not be far in the future! I read a little rumor today that Apple has come up with a new device that is very similar. I'm not sure if you would have the capabilities to see the person you're talking to, like they could in the movie, but it's sooo close!!

How did that song go, again? "Zoom zoom zoom, make my heart go boom boom boom..." So good!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I absolutely could not believe it when Adobe came out with CS4. I had just bought CS3 only a few months before, which as we know is not the most budget-friendly purchase. Every time I turn around, they've done it again!

However, after reading a review for CS4 Photoshop and Illustrator, and I'm thinking the purchase might very well be worth it. If nothing else, just because Illustrator now allows multiple art boards! That's right, the review says it allows for up to 100. You know what that means. Sooo much less time wasted switching back and forth between Illustrator and InDesign. Now you can design and manipulate type and images in the same program you organize it all in! Sounds like heaven.

If I'm going to upgrade, now would be the time. After April 30th, the upgrade will be $200 more expensive. Plus there's a really good deal for AIGA members at Adobe that only lasts through May. I would be able to get an extra twenty percent off! But I'm still apprehensive.

Have any of you been working with Adobe CS4? Do you have a feel for the ups and downs? Do you think it's worth it to upgrade from CS3? Are there any compatibility issues, like what happened between CS2 and CS3? Is Illustrator fairly easy to use with a multi-page document, or do you miss organizational qualities of InDesign? Any thoughts? I would love to know.

(P.S. Speaking of great deals, have you checked out CSA Images lately? To keep site traffic and interest up, we're offering some of our images for free! Of course, I believe there are a few restrictions, but this is something that is definitely worth checking out.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Polaroids seem to be all the rage right now. I guess it is true, when you take something away from the people, it becomes ever so much more popular.

I stumbled upon this site a while ago called Polanoid. It's basically a huge collection of Polaroids. Some have been yellowing in attics for decades, some where the chemicals were messed up, and some were shot yesterday. But they all have that amazing instant Polaroid feel in common. Great source of inspiration. Here are a few I've stumbled across.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm an Idiot.

For those of you who have followed from the beginning, with the bathroom incident, you probably have a good idea of my luck. For those of you who just met me, you should know I'm rather accident-prone. Bad things happen. But they always make for good stories later!

Well, this week's shenanigans come with a lesson, so I thought I would pass it on. I can sum it up for you right now. You don't even have to sit through the entire story. When you decide to enter a contest, and are researching requirements, you want to be fully aware of the time zone being used. That way, when the due date/time comes, you'll know. And, my friend, that is a good thing to know.

I know my readers are all brilliant, so you've probably guessed it by now. I missed the deadline for Good 50x70. I went to the website this week, and there was an update saying that the deadline was extended to (what I thought was) midnight April 10. I was so excited! I had been so busy that I thought I had missed it. Well, I threw together a poster, and got some feedback from good friends. Everything was looking pretty good.

Then Illustrator went haywire. Won't even open. I had no way of editing. Luckily, I did make a jpeg version earlier on. Of course, it is minus all of the improvements I had made, but it's something.

I get home at 8:00, and figure I have plenty of time to submit. I go to the website to get it over with, and it says submission is closed! "You have missed the deadline by two hours." Really. At 8:00 on April 9th? Then it hits me. Time zones! Merde! Two hours ago, somewhere in the world, it was midnight, the morning of April 10th. Leave it to the selfish American to think everything is in her time zone.

So when things go bad for me, they really go bad. The Adobe Gods and Father Time against me! I just couldn't win. I guess Massimo will never know. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Lecture Tonight

Hello! Quick post, today. Just wanted to remind y'all that Ellen Lupton will be speaking at the Walker Art Center tonight, and as with Experimental Jetset, the lecture will be webcast live on the Walker Channel. Tonight from 7 to 9.

You know who Ellen Lupton is, I promise. Amazing design writer. Thinking with Type? DIY: Design it yourself? Various articles in Print and Readymade? You don't want to miss this.

(But of course you don't actually have to worry about missing this, because the lecture will remain in the Walker archives for some time now. Just don't forget about it.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Accidental Genius

This package design has been showing up in the blogs lately. Designed by artist Justin Gignac, "Garbage" is meant to prove that package design is highly influential, and that good packaging can make consumers want to buy just about anything. Even something that nobody would ever want to buy. I think he may have underestimated the value of "Garbage."

I see so much meaning in the product as a piece of art, more than the artist may have intended. I happen to think this piece is absolutely genius. Allow me to elaborate.

Let's face it, this is a great souvenir for New York. When buying a souvenir from somewhere, you look for something that captures the essence of a place. The best souvenirs come from the natural environment of a place. In the mountains, you might bottle the fresh mountain air. At the glaciers, you might collect a piece of glacier. If you visit a honey farm, you might take a piece of the honeycomb. It seems only natural, if you want to take home a real piece of New York City, to bring back "Garbage." Sure, you could get a Statue of Liberty lighter, or an I (heart) NY shirt, but do those really say much about the culture there? Go for the trash, I say.

I also see "Garbage" as a sort of time capsule from one of the most cultured cities in America. These random pieces of trash collected from the streets say a lot about what we were doing, how we were living in 2008/2009. So much of our world is changing constantly, so many favorite objects are slipping through our fingers, that it might be sort of nice to have a packaged piece of what's going on now. For instance, there is a rubber band in this box. Now, rubber bands have remained fairly similar for a long time now, but who's to say that won't change soon? You know that somebody's going to make a scientific breakthrough and invent an indestructable rubber band. And it's going to come in fancy colors, and it's going to feel completely different, and it's going to smell different. It probably won't even be made out of rubber any more. There is also a chip bag included. You know that packaging is going to be constantly changing. What if the redesign of that chip bag was as controversial as Tropicana or Pepsi? This "Garbage" becomes artifacts. Evidence of "...what life was like back then," for future generations.

Depending on how nosy you are, it also poses questions. I've been watching episodes of CSI lately, and it's got me thinking like everything's a crime scene. The package says, "HAND-PICKED from the fertile streets of NY, NY." You know what that means. Litter. At least, that's what it implies. I wonder how many of these packages this artist was able to make. How much litter is readily available? How quickly does the supply renew itself? You could totally get prints off of these. Bust every single litterer in the city of New York. Or you could just reflect on what this means about how much we really care about our actions.

Although I'm not about to drop $100 on garbage, I would really like to own one. I don't think I would want it as much if the packaging wasn't as nice. But I do see so much more concept in the contents than in the packaging itself. You could say I'm adding unnecessary meaning, that this is just another piece of artwork on par with "Fountain," by Marcel Duchamp. But as the viewer, I actually get a lot out of this piece. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

I don't think I'd ever open it.

P.S. I would like to remind you that, if you missed the live webcast of the lecture by Experimental Jetset that I posted about earlier, it is still in the archives at the Walker. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You're Invited!

One of the things I am loving about Minnesota, as I have mentioned, is the multitude of events. The active lifestyle. This month, it's been lectures at the Walker. A series of design lectures, to be specific. We've already seen Process Type Foundry, local heroes responsible for the Facebook type among other things, and David Reinfurt.

This week's speaker is someone I just had to share with you. It's the one people don't want to miss - tickets have been sold out for weeks now. The speaker I am so excited to see this week is - (insert long, suspenseful pause) - Experimental Jetset! You may be familiar with their posters for the movie Helvetica, or their design for the blu-ray version (shown below, along with other inspiring examples of their work).

Helvetica Leterpress Poster, limited edition of 100

Helvetica Blu-ray Packaging, record album size

Invitation to 'Architectures Typographiques' exhibition at Galerie Anatome

Graphic Identity for Reunion des Musees Nationaux

No, I did not post this just to gloat. If you live elsewhere, or for some reason missed out on tickets, you are not out of luck, my friend. The Walker is holding live webcasts for each lecture, which will also be stored in the archives for later viewing. Feel free to listen in this Tuesday at 7! (This week and next week, when the amazing Ellen Lupton will be speaking.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happiness and Cold Places

I've been reading this book, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, on and off for about a year now. This is one hundred percent my fault as a flaky reader, the book itself is extremely interesting.

Eric, a foreign correspondent for NPR who was all too sick of catastrophes and bad news, took it upon himself to research happiness. The science of it, the theories, where it thrives, what makes it survive, and how different cultures perceive it. He does so by traveling to the source - ten different countries that are either at the top of most "Happiest Countries" lists or are often associated with the subject.

The portion of the book that I read today was about Iceland, and throughout I found a few similarities to Minnesota. Both are freaking cold and get little to no sun in the winter, but the people are generally happy. They have embraced their cycle of seasons and have come to enjoy it.

The author points out that research has found happiness to correspond with colder climates. This is one of the conundrums he spends a lot of the book contemplating. An interesting theory that he mentions in the Iceland chapter is the "Get-Along-or-Die Theory," which is exactly what it sounds like. In warm weather, nothing requires a group effort. Resources come easy. But in colder weather, it is much more necessary to cooperate to ensure survival.

This idea is rooted in times when it was necessary to work together ensure a good harvest and food supply for winter, but remains a habit of Minnesotans. People are very likely to help out if they see that anyone is in need. I'm always hearing stories of these little good deeds, or even experiencing them. After an (almost) experience a few weeks ago, I can see how this "help others" mindset is closely related to survival. On my way home during a horrific blizzard I saw a school bus stranded on the side of the freeway. I was completely ready to pull over and pile in as many kids as could fit into my car, to get them safely out of the cold. Luckily there wasn't anyone in the bus, but it could have quickly become a matter of survival for them.

Another interesting thing about Iceland that contributes to the happiness there is the widespread creativity. The author calls what is going on in Iceland a Golden Age, and loosely compares it to the Renaissance and other great eras. Evidently everyone's a writer, everyone goes through multiple occupations, everyone is an artist of sorts, and they are working together to form their culture. There is no envy involved, they seem to be in a sort of creative harmony.

I've seen similar levels of creativity in Minnesota. It seems like anyone I meet on a given day or night is creative in some form. I'm not sure what the cause is - it could be the temperatures, the seasons, the landscape, or maybe it's this inspirational energy that comes from living among each other. I am amazed at what I have seen of local artists, musicians, and writers, and it just keeps coming. It really does make me happy. :)

P.S. You should probably know that there is an actual World Database of Happiness that is dedicated to the research of happiness. No joke.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vintage Israeli

The vintage European design style has always been so wildly popular that it completely overshadows vintage design from any other part of the world. But if we look further, there are some true gems from other areas as well. I was really inspired by a few articles on grain edit showcasing vintage Israeli design. Check it out.

Jean David, Israeli travel posters, 1950's

Eliezer Weishoff, posters (not sure for what), 1960's

Eliezer Weishoff, Israeli environmental stamps, 1975