Archive for October, 2009

Petah Coyne

Published October 29, 2009 by Molly

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The artist Petah Coyne refers to her sculptures as “girls”, and who’s to argue with her? At a given exhibition you’ll find the girls suspended from the ceiling or stationed on the floor, their anatomies formed of earth, trees, branches, roots, silk flowers, ribbons, wax, hair, chicken wire, plywood, rubber, tar, hay, sand, taxidermy and….other stuff. Lots of it.

The Oklahama City-born and NYC resident cites as her influences Dutch still lifes, baroque sculpture, her strict Catholic upbringing, Miss Havisham (from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. The artist engineers her sculptures to look delicate but they’re actually behemoths, weighing enough to crush a human if they fell from the ceiling. Some of them are layered in 75 coats of wax. Others resemble wedding dresses. You could easily stare at a Coyne sculpture for two hours and still not exhaust the interpretive possibilities of the work, which can’t be said for most contemporary sculpture—even the best of it.

We Were Once a Fairytale – Behind The Scenes

Published October 28, 2009 by Dallas

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So, as you may or may not know “We Once Were Once a Fairytale” Spike’s short film video collab with Kanye hit the internets last week a little bit shy of its official release via itunes. In honor of the event we thought we’d add a bit of unseen footage to the pile – Enjoy!

I Like To Draw Things

Published October 28, 2009 by Molly

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If textbooks were illustrated by Emma Kelly, we might have learned a lot more in school. Just sayin’.

The London-based commercial illustrator looks to the world around her for drawing inspiration, transforming mundane sights (the tube, a local launderette, an old record player) into visual delights with a minimum of flash.

Kelly also has a way with color and a charmingly titled website, I Like To Draw Things. Hop on over for a fresh look at everything from Dame Edna to banana seat bicycles.

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The Teacher Salary Project

Published October 28, 2009 by Graham

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It’s dangerous to underestimate the societal value of quality public education. And yet we routinely overlook the economic problems with our school system, perhaps because they aren’t seen as urgent or media-friendly enough for the 24-hour news cycle. Luckily, The Teacher Salary Project is helping shed light on the people and stories behind under-funded public schools.

Inspired by Teachers Have it Easy, a 2005 non-fiction bestseller written by Dave Eggers, 826 National co-founder Nínive Calegari, and Daniel Moulthrop, The Teacher Salary Project is a feature-length documentary currently in production, helmed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth. They already have a wealth of material to work with thanks to Eggers and his cohorts, but the project is now seeking visual submissions from teachers across the country. If you or someone you know teaches and has something to say about it, send in a video diary, song, dance, collage or chalk drawing to The Teacher Salary Project and get your voices heard!

Mads Lynnerup

Published October 28, 2009 by Molly

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We’d all agree that art loses something in the translation from real life to web. Paintings never look as good online as they do in real life. Drawings shrink; colors get screwy, there’s no sense of scale and what’s intended to provoke treads softly.

That said, some work translates better than others, and Mads Lynnerup’s videos––while more intense in their intended installation settings–are an experience worth catching online. The Denmark-born artist splits his time between Copenhagen and New York, and has shown work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, at P.S.1, at the Zacheta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw and in many other places.

Check out his 2008 video Routine here.

A Tour of Jim Henson’s Brain

Published October 27, 2009 by Graham

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Muppet man Jim Henson was known to dabble in experimental cinema. Maybe that’s an understatement– after all, practically everything the man did was an experiment. He wasn’t one of those cautious, measured individuals who simply puts a fresh spin on a successful formula. No, luckily for us, Jim Henson was more interested in remolding the world in a way that made sense to him, paving his own path along the way.

What’s special about works like Ripples and Limbo, The Organized Mind, is that we’re treated to an intriguingly abstract vision of Jim Henson’s thought process. We’re given a glimpse of Henson’s deeply contemplative inner world. Can you imagine The Tonight Show having the audacity to air a piece like Limbo on national TV today? Even back in 1974 when Johnny Carson was still in charge, it seems unlikely that anyone but Henson could have brought a film this unusual (and rad) to the mass audience of late night TV.

Keep an eye out around the 3:29 mark for Henson’s sly homage to his pal Maurice!

via Andy Neuhues. Thanks for the link!

We’ll Eat You Up, Pt. II

Published October 27, 2009 by Molly

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Who wants some more dessert? First up, an extremely accurate and blue-colored cake from Sweet Tooth Fairy.

Second, a bi-layer masterpiece with leafy foliage from Samirah.

Third, a yummy vanilla cake layered with milk chocolate ganache and decorated with fondant by the best mom ever. How joyful is that kid?!

Keep it up, gang!

Skulls Unlimited’s Commanding Centaur

Published October 27, 2009 by Graham

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Someone thought it would be just peachy to make a centaur skeleton. They must have been onto something, because this thing is as awesome as it is eerie. It would fit right in at The Mütter Museum.

Although Skulls Unlimited generally articulates species that actually exist, we are sometimes asked to create custom skeletal mounts, such as this Centaur. Created using the torso of a real human skeleton and melding it with the body of a horse, this mythical skeleton turned out to be an interesting and fun project.

Also, “Skulls Unlimited.” What a good name for an articulated skeleton shop, am I right?

Get Socky Part II

Published October 27, 2009 by Molly

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It’s no secret that humans respond positively to repetitive forms. Architects deploy this principle to great effect, designing buildings that please the eye with recurring elements. So do artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Sandy Skoglund, Yayoi Kusama and a billion others. The pleasure of repetition is one reason why sushi rolls look so delicious, and why giant bins of candy cause kids’ brains to short-circuit.

We were pleased to find that the same principle applies to clothing. These socks are made in Turkey at a family-run business that supplies socks for both the Belgian and Turkish armies. They’re woven on Italian machines computer-controlled to guarantee the exactitude of each pattern (ROBOT SOCKS!)

We think they’d make equally good hand puppets.

Tiny Vices Redux

Published October 26, 2009 by Dallas

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Well, it’s about time! Magic picture maker and WLYS friend Tim Barber finally got around to revamping his mega-photo-tastemaker-archive Tiny Vices and we are definitely stoked. Spaces for books, shows, portfolios, and all the links any creative director could ever want to chase. As he notes on the site they will be slowly adding new artists and new features over the coming months. It’ll be just like revisiting an old buddy.