By Nina J P Evans

Friday, November 21, 2014

The sketchbooks of Shinro Ohtake

Film editing if done to perfection happens in the blink of an eye so it appears naturally seamless, hear Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake offers a similar viewing experience with his collection of handmade sketchbooks. I am so impressed with his creativity and productivity, and that he never seems to repeat himself maybe it's impossible to because of the very method of cut and paste. In the photograph of the sketchbook unopened each page is a unique, the multiple vertical colours of the paper edges pick up every colour in existences without even looking at the creative designs inside, he has produced something very beautiful indeed, perhaps impossible to paint too, as each time the sketchbook stands the pages flex and breath and I should think subtle visual changes occur with the stress of the paper and the key positioning of the pages.

Inside the sketchbooks is an array of montage images with references to both American and Japanese popular culture. He's collected stuff from endless sources such as from magazines, comic books, billboards and urban empheria, found, displayed, posted and re-assembled into multilayered pieces using a variety of creative compositions and artistic materials. The pieces naturally take on new meanings from the juxtapositioning and abstractions, where cut ups of language the Japanese pictograms are added, but undecodable to me. I feel a visceral response, a kind of visual engagement with certain pieces more than others. Sometimes the pieces are created using natural forms interwoven with other media and materials. I greatly admire his visual colour sensibility, odiously inspired from the collected materials he assembles, aimed to catch the eye and sell products or the inspirational dreams to lure us to buy, though fragmented and separated from their original contexts,  don't lack impact, the dream is just more creatively manipulated and emotive.

I am delighted that the handmade sketchbooks are the finished art, sure he's done larger scale stuff and sculptures too, whereas artists like Turner kept watercolour sketchbooks and then produced a finished piece indoors in a studio. These are an artistic journey in themselves, it's  just a pity that when they are displayed within a gallery setting they are often preciously arranged inside glass cabinets. Part of the beauty of the media is the tactile quality, you want to touch, to smell, to look closely. However, you could say the same about film, at a cinema the best seats are where your eye's level with the screen, situated dead centre, with rows of seats stand in front and behind, but when the lights go down it's only you there. In the blink of an eye these visually interactive pieces are quite mesmerising.

Shinro Ohtake discusses the influence of American and Japanese cinema throughout the course of his 
artistic practice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Movie Theatres in South India

With a proud and overstated sense of colour, shape and decorative style  that could easily be taken from deco influences.  These Indian cinemas are distinctly modernist in style built from 1945-1980s and quite recently photographed in 2011-13 by Geramn duo Haubitz+Zoche, are set in urban landscapes. What is interesting is that they are dated, they are certainly not modern multiplexes. The photographs are set far back enough to show the area for car parking that appears quite small and oddly not a single car is parked at any of the venues. As a result the photographs of the cinemas look all the more authentic and magnificent, not as grand perhaps as our earlier deco picture houses, but they certainly stand apart.
Photos from The Guardian - In pictures
From current exhibiton at Nusser & Baumgart gallery

Sunday, November 09, 2014


A very popular concept is to visit film locations. I’m guessing primarily that a lot of research needs doing, as it would be disappointing to discover the background sets were CGI or a mock-set, filmed entirely in the studios that doesn’t exist otherwise. New York is notoriously rich in film locations from the Hollywood years to present day. With such greats as: An Affair to Remember to Breakfast at Tiffany’s and  Ghostbusters and Bridge of Spies. These concept photographs by Chirstopher Moloney were first featured in the classic Vanity Fair magazine.

He describes the original concept of FILMography as film and photography fused together. As seen from the photographs he matches movie scenes with their present day location: kind of like movie selfies if there is such terminology, it adds a certain authenticity to the endeavour that otherwise could be mistaken for being photoshopped. I like his upbeat thoughts discussing the art project, describing how he’s re-created a remarkable 250 location photographs around the city of New York, and finds it a little hard to believe that very different directorial styles and genres coexist within the city districts of the same New York. The photographs featured are credited at the bottom of the article to encourage a bit of guesswork. Here are just a few examples please do checkout FILMography. The piece below was written by Jonathan Pace, Chris Rovzar and Jeremy Megraw, and decided to include as is.

Journalist Christopher Moloney walks to work through Central Park on most days, and last Summer he made an observation. “Every day I walked past tons of locations from popular—and not-so-popular—movies,” he explains. He decided to start printing out stills from the films and comparing them to their real-life counterparts. “Since then, I’ve re-created more than 250 scenes around the city.” His work—which includes movies as varied as Midnight Run, The French Connection, and Shaft—can be found at his Web site, FILMography. “I’m actually surprised that locations used in the 1940s and 1950s haven’t changed that much,” he says. “But places used in movies last year are virtually unrecognizable.” New York also changes depending on the director, Moloney adds. “You can tell just how much filmmakers like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee love the city. It’s sometimes hard to believe that those three very different places are all the same city.”

References: Filmography: Matching Cinematic Stills with Real Life

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen, from Annie Hall, on 68th Street in Manhattan.
Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, outside their apartment building on 71st Street, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Jane Fonda in Any Wednesday.
Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sleepy’s, from Die Hard with a Vengeance.
Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze walk past Lower Manhattan’s Federal Building in Ghost.
Jane Wyman and Van Johnson stroll in Central Park during Miracle in the Rain.
Cary Grant passes the entrance to the Plaza hotel in North by Northwest.
Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro walk by a largely unchanged information 6 booth in Grand Central during Midnight Run.
Midtown’s Grace Building makes a cameo in Superman.
Cary Grant at the New York Athletic Club, on Central Park South, in That Touch of Mink.
A subway tunnel at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in The French Connection.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Art in Film

This blog is about featured artwork in films its curator Martin Cole keeps the site fresh with the ability to connect with his audience and accept submissions online, I do hope it grows so much more. The artwork could be anything really from a sketch, photograph, sculpture, cartoon or tattoo. Sometimes these are from films where one of the characters is known as an artist, others are gallery scenes and homely spaces and everything in-between. Be sure to checkout The Art in Film site as I'm sure you’ll have your own personal journey, and may want to submit or a least keep your eyes peeled whilst viewing the nuances of film. It’s interesting seeing how aptly the art fits within the scenes and the unspoken messages that the art piece conveys about the character or film narrative. Finally, it’s hilarious seeing the film stills showing the character’s engagement with the art, its out of context in the way that there’s no moving picture or sound. But as they are—they made me smile.
All film stills referenced are mentioned on Art of Film online.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Design Quotes

Chip Kidd Quotes

“A book cover is a distillation. It is a haiku of the story.” 

“Design is a response to a specific problem. You are given a problem to solve, and then you let the problem itself tell you what your solution is.” 

“I wouldn’t buy a book simply because I like the cover. I would pick it up. The jacket can call your attention to it. But in that sense, Oprah Winfrey is worth all the jackets in the world. A jacket is basically trying to do what she does all on her own.”

“You know, it sounds really corny to say it, but since most of my projects are book jackets, for the most part I’m inspired by whatever the book is, or by the manuscript itself. And while there aren’t a lot of graphic design ‘rules’ that I adhere to, certainly one of them is…somewhere within the problem lies the solution. I do truly believe that. I think the inspiration comes from the text, and then you sort of take it from there. A really good book cover has to work regardless of what it’s about, on a visceral and emotional level.”
Paul Rand Quotes

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions, there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”

“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”

“A logo doesn’t sell, it identifies. A logo derives its meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around. A logo is less important than the product it signifies; what it means is more important than what it looks like.”
Neville Brody Quotes

“Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society.”

“People think that digital language is a fixed language, but it’s not: it’s very fluid. It’s like I’m doing a painting where the paint refuses to dry.”

“Design is more than just a few tricks to the eye. It’s a few tricks to the brain.”
Stefan Sagmeister Quotes

“My granddad wanted to become a sign painter and designer, but was stopped; my dad would have had a real talent for language, but was stopped. When I expressed a desire to become a graphic designer, I was not stopped.”

“I don’t think there is a particular responsibility on designers that is not on other professions… I think there’s a responsibility for all of us to engage on all levels.”

“Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.”

“It is very important to embrace failure and to do a lot of stuff – as much stuff as possible – with as little fear as possible. It’s much, much better to wind up with a lot of crap having tried it than to overthink in the beginning and not do it.”

“Hobbies are for people that don’t like what they’re doing.”

“You can have an art experience in front of a Rembrandt… or in front of a piece of graphic design.”

“…I think it’s ultimately inhuman to only see things for their functionality. We want things to be more than that. The desire for beauty is something that’s in us, and it’s not trivial.”
Paula Scher Quotes

“Another thing they don’t teach you in design school is what you get paid for… Mostly, designers get paid to negotiate the difficult terrain of individual egos, expectations, tastes, and aspirations of various individuals in an organization or corporation, against business needs, and constraints of the marketplace… Getting a large, diverse group of people to agree on a single new methodology for all of their corporate communications means the designer has to be a strategist,psychiatrist, diplomat, showman, and even a Svengali. The complicated process is worth money.That’s what clients pay for.”

“Find out what the next thing is that you can push, that you can invent, that you can be ignorant about, that you can be arrogant about, that you can fail with, and that you can be a fool with. Because in the end, that’s how you grow.”

“Be culturally literate, because if you don’t have any understanding of the world you live in and the culture you live in, you’re not going to express anything to anybody else.”

“It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”

“The work needs to get out of your head and on to the table, and it needs to be done from the heart.”
“A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.” ~ Bruno Munari

“You are what you are seen to be.” ~ Erik Spiekermann

“Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.” ~ Dieter Rams

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” ~ Coco Chanel

“A shoe is not only a design, but it’s a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you’re going to mauve is quite dictated by your shoes.” ~ Christian Louboutin

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” ~ Walt Disney

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It take a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Interesting things never happen to me. I happen to them.” ~  Bernard Shaw

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~ Leonard Bernstein

“There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.” ~ Massimo Vignelli

“You can’t do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously.” ~ Wim Crouwel

“Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response.” ~ April Greiman

“Think outside the box.” ~ Unknown

“The difference between good design and great design is intelligence.” ~ Tibor Kalman

“The details are not the details.they make the design.” ~ Charles Eames

“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” ~ Milton Glaser

“Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.” ~ David Carson

“I’ve never had a problem with a dumb client. There is no such thing as a bad client. Part of our job is to do good work and get the client to accept it.” ~ Bob Gill

“If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for other bad clients.” ~ Michael Bierut

“Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare” ~ Japanese Proverb

“Good design is good business.” ~ Thomas J. Watson Jr

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

“Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.” ~ Edward Tufte

“Design is intelligence made visible.” ~ Alina Wheeler

“Invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” ~ Thomas Edison

“Nothing’s impossible.” ~ The Doorknob (Alice in Wonderland)
Saul Bass Quotes

“Design is Thinking Made Visual.”

“I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

“Sometimes when an idea flashes, you distrust it because it seems too easy. You qualify it with all kinds of evasive phrases because you’re timid about it. But often, this turns out to be the best idea of all.”
Alan Fletcher Quotes

“I like to reduce everything to its absolute essence because that is a way to avoid getting trapped in a style.”

“Design is not a thing you do. It’s a way of life.”

“Design is what happens between conceiving an idea and fashioning the means to carry it out.”

“A person without imagination is like a teabag without hot water.”

“Thinking is drawing in your head.”

Special Thanks Inkbot Design

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Autumn morning

There’s something very cool and refreshing about pastel colours. Here’s an array of candy coloured art installations, photographic architectural details of everyday, paintings, Wedgwood’s colour pallet and some rather odd looking cats. Text captions are from Another Magazine from the Good Things in art and design archive, to aid further research. Sometimes the nostalgic allure of pastels complements the sweet melancholy of an autumn morning.

Bert Danckaert has an eye for fantastic palettes in every day buildings.
Heather Carson chose light as her medium and in her installations, inspired by Josef Albers.
Matti Braun’s dyed silk panels in pastels and gradients.
Late 1800s Wedgwood colour pallet.
Olivia Boudet’s canvases depict the simplest silhouettes of rooftops, chimneys, towers.
A heady concoction of toxins by Louise Zhang she has produced this array of pastel delights. 
Tim Walker captures the recent craze for dyeing your pet a pastel colour.