This Empowering Innovators video series by Intel is very cool. As an artist, of course I’m a Mac person, but lately my drawings are getting more complicated, so I’m trying to figure out a way to speed things up. If you’re targeting artists, showing the creative process is really powerful advertising. I’m not sure that I’ll go right out and buy one, but i did google it immediately, and my ipad can’t do this. Not like this.
Even if you’re not an artist, these videos are worth a watch—very interesting and really well done.
I woke up at 4:30 this morning and didn’t know what to do with myself because it’s never happened before. It seemed too dark to get up—too quiet to stay inside, and too dangerous to go outside. So I stayed put, and started reading about Saul Bass while listening to Daytrotter on my iPad. (new favorite thing)
I think it’s a well-know fact that Strand is the best browsing bookstore in the world. Usually I’m not looking for much besides a good idea or two, but if I am looking for something specific, I almost always leave with something else. They get me every time.
The last time this happened I went looking for a small Francis Alÿs book, and left with a huge Saul Bass one. This book is so incredible it sucked me in. After an hour of leaning on a table flipping through the pages, it became clear that my life would suffer if I didn’t own it. Off we went to Avenue B.
This morning I planned to skim through it and write a Saul Bass post before the clock struck 6. How silly my brain is in the wee hours. Nobody can write a decent post from a book that’s 1.75 inches thick, and about the greatest designer in the whole wide world. It’ll have to be a series. Congrats, you’ve now completed part 1.
A few weeks ago I went to MoMA, and once again found myself glued to a dimly projected video on the wall of a gallery I rarely frequent. Last time it was Strand & Sheeler’s Manhatta, and this time it was the title sequence to Goldfinger, looping in a far-off corner of the architecture and design gallery.
I’d suggested going to The Cloisters since it was such a sunny day and I hadn’t been there in 17 years, but my friend, knowing of my love for a good title sequence, insisted on Goldfinger: The Design of an Iconic Film Title. It was definitely awesome, but I’m still not sure who’s cooler—James Bond, or a monk who carves plot-driven bible stories into rosary beads the size of peas. Toss up.
MOMA WALL TEXT:
As memorable as the film itself, the title sequence of Goldfinger (1964)—the third film in the James Bond series—captures the sexual suggestiveness and wry humor of the Bond mythos in just under three minutes. In the work, the first title sequence to enter MoMa’s collection as a design work in its own right, scenes from the film are projected on the gilded body of bikini-clad starlet Margaret Nolan.
Graphic designer Robert Brownjohn (American, 1926–1970) conceived, designed, and directed this sequence, one of the earliest examples of a title that is distinct from the overall art direction of the film and succinctly evokes the themes and narrative to follow.
“Eventually everything connects—people, ideas, objects…the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” —Charles Eames
I watched a good documentary, Eames: the Architect and Painter, the other night on Netflix. I knew pretty much nothing about them—knew they designed chairs and that’s about it. The workshop they ran in California seemed like a magical world of design, art, film, sculpture and anything else that suddenly struck their interest. There was no division between art and life, personal and commercial, work and play. I’ve always liked the Powers of Ten video below.
I’ve always liked the way graphic novels look, but I got into a habit of skipping over the storylines because they stressed me out. Not knowing what order I was supposed to read things in, I’ve always focused on the rest of it that fascinates me—fragmented drawings, cinematic angles, crowded or empty frames, small or large, vertical or horizontal etc. I’ve been looking at the visual narrative completely separate from the written until about a year ago, which seems like a weird way to go about things now that I’m thinking about it, but I think my ideas were ahead of me. My approach to graphic novels made sense because I was mostly concerned with making still images like these, and their cinematic quality was an afterthought.
Back in 2008 I was looking at Chris Ware a lot. His graphic depictions of the Chicago landscape influenced a lot of the work I did while living there. I was looking at Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth while making these photos, not realizing that the sequencing of graphic novels is so obviously related to video–which I was also doing at the time. Now that I’ve started to read the stories, my understanding of the relationship between sequencing and narrative has started to come together. It seems like everything I was doing back then was concerned with narrative, I just didn’t realize it yet.
Chris Ware | page from Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on EarthSome interesting excerpts from an interview with Ware in May 2010, International Copenhagen comics festival
Ware: I think that writing is a means of thinking and of creating. I couldn’t plan anything piece by piece in script form before I drew it. The drawing is as much the writing, if not more the writing, as the actual words themselves.
MW: You’ve sometimes used the analogy of music instead of film.
Ware: Well, fundamentally, a comic is that. When you read it, it creates this sense of rhythm or music or melody, even if there’re no words in it. If you listen to the sounds in your head when you read a comic that doesn’t have words in it, you’ll actually hear these kinds of imaginary sounds in your mind. It’s sort of like when you try to think about what the voice in your mind really sounds like? Whose voice is that? Is it really your voice? So I’m trying to get at that a little bit. Which I think is something that all writers try to get to, but I’m using pictures as well.
MW: Is it also something you do when you think about laying out the page or the sequence, I mean in terms of having a unified melodic or rhythmic formula?
Ware: Yeah, I mean, fundamentally, it’s an art of composition, the same way that, if you’re a musician or a composer especially, you’re trying to compose something that is coherent and holds together, the same way that our memories are coherent and hold together, but our experiences are not. We take in our experiences and then put them together in a way that makes sense to our personalities and explains our lives and our friends. But the experience itself can be very incoherent and sort of uncomfortable. I guess that sounds pretentious. I should just be telling dumb jokes.
I’m playing “Fantasy Art Collection,” inspired by games like Fantasy Baseball. Go to the main page to get the idea.
Fantasy Art Collection pick #12
I started off the new year with 2 resolutions—to install a working fire alarm in my apartment and go to Orlando. I guess sitting on a balcony in Orlando right now makes the new fire alarm seem unnecessary, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the new year, so I’m buying 2 Josef Albers paintings. (kidding about Orlando, I’m here for work).
When I was a young art student my dad and I spent a Thanksgiving in NYC so I could interview for painting apprenticeships. Once the stress was out of the way, we went to the Guggenheim to see the Claes Oldenberg retrospective. I knew how to draw, but I didn’t know much about art yet—Matisse was still my greatest inspiration. But Claes made a huge impression on me. Art could be fun, funny, cool, pop? sweet.
We wandered around the museum shop afterwards and my eyes zeroed in on a t-shirt of this yellow Albers painting on the left. I’d never heard of Albers, but I loved the image so much, I bought it with all the money I had. Within the hour I left it on the subway and was terribly sad about it. Of course in the large scheme of things it’s a silly thing to be “terribly sad” about, but my dad sensed the mysterious importance of it to me and bought me a new one to replace my new one. It was important to him because it was important to me, and I wore the Albers for a year without knowing anything about him (pre-Google). I finally found out what I’d been advertising when I took my first color theory class in 1996—still my favorite class I’ve ever taken, and taught many years later.
Albers had been off my radar for a while until I went to the DeKooning show last year and started thinking long and hard about abstraction. I realized that ‘I tend to write off a lot of abstract art because I’m impatient, and more interested in art that reflects an experience of the world rather than an experience of paint’. I tend to like either representational or abstract because I’m frustrated by the grey. I like one or the other—I’m extreme.
But I love Albers’ paintings for the same reason I’ve always loved the work of Robert Irwin—it’s about perception.
I love the Homage to the Square paintings because they’re so abstract, they reflect an intense experience of the world—more so than any work in my collection so far. They never look the same to me, and I’m amazed by how color changes the way I see and experience space. Albers formal exploration of this phenomenon is exactly how I see the passing moments I study with the video camera and make art about.
Albers gets my first “between mediums artist award” of 2012 because he was a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, painter, poet and educator, influencing so many artists throughout his life as a professor at the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College and Yale.
But what I love about these paintings is the beauty in their simplicity. Like the quickly passing moments in life that I try so hard to capture and slow down with my camera in order to see them, these paintings remind me to stop, take a breath and look at the basics—the foundation that makes everything else possible.
I watched Art & Copy the other day, and was reminded that advertising is just as powerful a medium for artists to express themselves and tell their stories with as any other. It might not be often, but when it happens I find it incredibly moving. I used to know this, but a surplus of recent projects made me forget.
It’s a very inspiring film. I, too, believe that creativity can solve anything.