Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Craigslist - Creepy + Art = Awww!

I have always had a soft spot for Craigslist Missed Connections. NOT BECAUSE I HAVE EVER USED THEM. Nooooo. No. No no no no no. But, I think the romantic in me likes the idea of noticing someone from afar, and pining, and then reaching out in the faint hope that they might also be pining, and then you would find each other and live happily every after, and you would have this awesome story of how you met, and you would giggle about it over hot chocolate while the sun sets over the windowsill of your charming Nob Hill split-level. Or whatever.

Artist Sophie Blackall seems to share the love, and has created a dreamy series of illustrations of random Craigslist Missed Connections using Chinese ink and watercolor. In an interview with the NY Times, she describes coming upon the ads for the first time:

“I got completely sucked in,” she said. “I lost about two hours of my life reading them and thought this is just an extraordinary mine of material, ranging from the lyrical, poetic to unintentionally hilarious. Many of them threw out ideas for images to me right away.”

My favorite is the one where the guy says he was "having a bad day and looked offal," and she draws his head as like a huge tumor thing.

Sophie Blackall - Missed Connections
Via Laughingsquid

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Quarter Underway!

Fall quarter began on Monday, and the craziness has kept me away from the blog! Many courses are full, but it's not too late to sign up for one that is still available, should you desire (fall catalog PDF available here).

Also, good news for students who were not able to enroll in the ever-popular Introduction to Digital Photography -we opened another section that will meet next Monday, September 28. To enroll, click here.

I hope to return with art tidbits soon, but in the meantime, here's a video of a collaborative mural project between Blu (who brought us the awesome MUTO) and David Ellis.

Via Boingboing

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sleepin' Ain't Easy

I have always been, and will always be, a terrible sleeper. Like many people, I'm restless, fall asleep late, wake up too early, wake up in the night, etc. I like to think that I'm demonstrating evolutionary skills that would have served my ancestors well, like if you are sleeping in a cave and have to wake up really quickly because there is a tiger outside. But really, in this modern age, there is no reason for me to wake up with a start because the upstairs neighbor flushed his toilet.

Anyway, I identified strongly with Christoph Neimann's piece Good Night and Tough Luck in the New York Times. His simple illustrations perfectly capture the comedy of errors that is trying to get a good night's sleep.

For example, this is totally exactly what it's like to wake up at 4:30am and wrestle with getting up to go to the bathroom. As you can see on the little man's face, he goes from misery, to anger, to sadness, and finally to acceptance.

Also, am I the only one who has been drifting off to sleep, and then shot up in panic because I realized that the mole on my back in probably an aggresive melanoma, and I probably have like, three weeks left to live, tops. Anybody?

At least I know Christoph is with me. See the whole piece here. And if you haven't seen it already, be sure to check out his other great piece I Lego NY.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Food Flags!

Art Rule #47: When delicious food is arranged in a creative and pleasing manner on a white background, that is excellent.

Actually, I made that up, but I think it holds true for a lot of good advertising design. Take, for example, this campaign for the Sydney International Food Festival. It's flags of countries, made from food! Food from THAT COUNTRY!

I think this is so cute and funny, and it makes me want to eat sushi. But what doesn't, am I right folks? Also, Scott will probably use this as an opportunity to remind me that we need to get a food photography class together.

Via Laughingsquid

Friday, September 11, 2009

Artists Have Mortgage Payments Too

Just because it's Friday, I wanted to share this clip of a commercial Salvador Dali did for Lanvin Chocolate in 1968.

Rough translation: "I'M CRAZY...FOR LANVIN CHOCOLATE!"

Awesome. P.S., the exact same thing happens to me when I eat Lake Champlain Five Star Bars. The camera zooms in on me and my moustache curls.

Via Jezebel

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ghana Has the Best Movie Poster Paintings

The blog Ephemera Assemblyman has a collection of awesome movie poster paintings from Ghana. What is a movie poster painting, you might ask? According to the blog:

"In the 1980s, video cassette technology made it possible for “mobile cinema” operators in Ghana to travel from town to town and village to village creating temporary cinemas. The touring film group would create a theatre by hooking up a TV and VCR onto a portable generator and playing the films for the people to see. In order to promote these showings, artists were hired to paint large posters of the films (usually on used canvas flour sacks). The artists were given the artistic freedom to paint the posters as they desired - often adding elements that weren’t in the actual films, or without even having seen the movies."

The paintings are surreal and strangely affecting. Let's look at some of my favorites (I highly recommend clicking the images to enlarge):

First of all, good 'ole Cujo has a St. Bernard's head on a Doberman's body. Secondly, he is shooting us the come-hither glance of a 1950's era silent film star. Thirdly, there is a stream of blood coming out of his eyeball. And lastly, the kid's father is Kim Jong-Il.

Moving on!

This Terminator looks like a member of Menudo who is working on an emo side project. Note that the "O" is a heart.

If I saw this hanging outside of a sushi restaurant, I would go in and eat at that restaurant.

Check out all the posters here (via Boingboing).

Google Street View: Cuter Than WALL-E? Discuss.

My Mom hates Google Street View. I mean, she haaaaates it. I really only have myself to blame, because one day I made the mistake of being like "Mom, look, you can see a picture of your house on the Internet." She was like "HOW DOES THE INTERNET HAVE A PICTURE OF OUR HOUSE?" and I was like "Um, a Google van drives around and takes pictures of neighborhoods and makes a pictorial map" and she was like "AAAAHHHHHH!"

I understand that she feels threatened by the fact that the Internet has basically destroyed the idea of privacy and anonymity. It's pretty crazy that someone can see what my house looks like. I think at the time, she made the argument that it would be that much easier for a stalker to find you, and I countered with the fact that, if a stalker has your address, they will probably find you anyway, because stalkers are pretty motivated. But I do understand the ick factor that this feature produces in a lot of people.

However, even my Mom's cold, cold heart would melt at this adorable video that explains how Google Street View works. The animated Google car reminds me of WALL-E, and also, the blocks that the city is built of are totally the blocks that we all had growning up! You know, with the arches, and colums and stuff? Don't even tell me that you didn't play with those blocks.

Here is the squeal-inducing video. My favorite part is when the tiny robot paints over the license plate numbers. Because Google cares (cue chimes).

Via Laughingsquid

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roxann Arwen Mills Will Make You See the Light

Often when counseling students, we'll talk about taking their photography to the "next level." That may be a bit cliche, but it has a ring of truth. Many people have a lot of experience shooting, but they feel stuck, and are not sure what to do next. I think what happens is that sometimes new photographers find a style of shooting that feels comfortable and gives them confidence. They get good feedback, and tend more and more to stick with that style or practice. But over time, shooting the same way can get boring, and you don't feel like you're developing as an artist.

That's where Roxann Arwen Mills comes in. Her Master Photographer course Developing Personal Vision is all about getting out of your comfort zone and learning to express yourself in new ways. She asks her students to keep photo journals of thoughts, ideas and inspiration that may spring into their heads, which is a great way to get going creatively when you feel stuck or can't think of a project. She also pushes them to experiment, sending them into the street to shoot from the hip, ignore the viewfinder, and think about composition in new ways.

I can personally vouch for the fact that the work her students produced in the last class was really exceptional (you can see samples here, here and here). Though it may have been frustrating at first, I think they all really benefited from being pushed to think about how they could make their work more personal and emotionally effective.

Roxann herself is also pretty much as inspirational as they come. Professionally, she has an endless list of commercial credits, and her fine art has an ethereal quality that is haunting. She is an endless source of energy and creativity, and she makes every project seem like a grand adventure. Since her work really spans a huge range of subjects and styles, I chose a few of my favorite pieces to include, but I definitely recommend going to her website and checking out the galleries. Her artist statement quotes the poet Rumi, which I think is a beautiful coda to her work:

"Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same. Every wonderful sight will vanish, every sweet word will fade. But do not be disheartened, the source they come from is eternal, growing, branching out, giving new life and new joy. Why do you weep? The source is within you and this whole world is springing up from it."

- Jelauddin Rumi

Images via