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SVA Students Celebrate Halloween with Typographic Twist

sva pumpkins
(Photos: Cindy Davis)

As you put the finishing touches on your Zapf Dingbat Halloween costume (spooky!), feast your candy-craving eyes on the passel of pumpkins created by students at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Designer and faculty member Irina Lee, herself an SVA alum, gathered the group for a pumpkin-carving session with a typographic twist, from personal monograms and elaborate drop caps to the classic “BOO,” accented with the New York skyline.

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(Photos from left: Maxwell Beucler, Elfe Marschall)

Wherefore Art Thou X-Acto Knife? Kevin Stanton’s Cut-Paper Shakespeare Classics

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A cut above. The title page for the Signature Shakespeare edition of Romeo and Juliet, illustrated with hand-cut paper artwork by Kevin Stanton.

hamletKevin Stanton remembers the first time he picked up an X-Acto knife. “In an introductory Chinese class I once took, I obsessively chose the hardest pattern for a cut-paper project we did out of construction paper,” he says. “I was struck by how detailed I could be with that knife.” He ended up with a fish that shimmered with painstakingly cut scales and a taste for slicing paper, a technique he returned to during his freshman year at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. “I’d done a portrait in small strips of color-aid for my LCD class that was ridiculously meticulous, and I’m convinced the only reason I passed my drawing class was because my drawing professor liked it so much.”

Now a few years out of Pratt (he graduated in 2010 with a BFA in communications design), Stanton has honed his knife skills to the point that Sterling Publishing enlisted him to illustrate several volumes of its Signature Shakespeare series with his hand-cut paper artwork, which is reproduced in all its multi-dimensional glory in laser-cut tip-ins and scans. On Saturday, Stanton will be among the mix of established and emerging artists and designers participating in Pratt’s annual Alumni Art and Design Fair, where books, accessories, jewelry, paintings, and photography by more than 40 Pratt alumni will be up for sale. We asked Stanton to tell us about the process of taking a blade to the Bard, his experience at Pratt, and what he’ll turn his sharp eye (and sharp edges) to next.

What was your process like for illustrating new editions of the Shakespeare classics?
The process for the Shakespeare classics started with large lists of ideas for spot illustrations that were put together by Sterling’s Shakespeare expert (a Columbia professor, I believe). Then a ton of thumbnails and discussions about colors and sketches and ideas and revisions. Then better sketches and revisions. And basically by the end, I had two weeks to finish both pairs of books! It was crazy, but amazing.

What was the most challenging aspect of this project?
The sheer quantity of illustrations with the time, I think. But working with a group of people brings its own challenges too, but I think we cobbled something special together so it was worth it!
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At Pier 57, a Magic Carpet of Cargo Containers Takes Flight

Design lovers got a good look at Pier 57, built in the early 1950s atop floating concrete boxes for New York’s Marine and Aviation department, last month when the historic shipping terminal played host to the inaugural Collective Design Fair, but there will be ample reasons to return now that developer Young Woo & Associates and the Hudson River Park Trust have joined forces to restore and redevelop the pier. The transformation kicks off with “Magic Carpet” (pictured), an installation of 36 shipping containers suspended from the ceiling in the pier’s south head house.

The project was designed by Spanish architect Josemaria de Churtichaga, whose firm, Churtichaga + Quadra-Salcedo (founded in 1995 with Cayetana de la Quadra-Salcedo), focuses on “the intimate relation between physical and unphysical aspects, trying to understand architecture as a sensorial interface, as an atmosphere between the man and the environment.” Among their projects are the Cinema Center Matadero and the Library at Villanueva de la Canada in Madrid.
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Olé! Wanda Barcelona’s ‘Fantastico’ Celebrates ICFF, Language of the Fan

The W New York Hotel Union Square helped ICFF celebrate its 25th anniversary with an exotic installation imported from Spain. We equipped writer Nancy Lazarus with castanets and sent her out into the sultry night.

(Photos courtesy W Hotel Union Square)

Wanda Barcelona is heading back to Spain with many new fans. The design firm, which specializes in “paper dreams, ephemeral architecture, and creative spaces,” created “Fantastico” (above) for display at the W New York Union Square during ICFF. The enormous yet graceful wooden fan with intricate paper cutouts celebrated the history of furniture design, the Spanish “language of the hand fan,” and the recently completed renovation of the W hotel property.

During a Monday evening event at the hotel, the trio from Wanda Barcelona (below) was on hand to shed light on their fantasy construction, created with the support of Interiors from Spain. Inti Velez, the firm’s architect, said the fan structure was inspired by the way “high-society Spanish girls used to communicate with their lovers during Spanish colonial times.” For example, fanning very quickly meant they were engaged. Velez noted that it reminds him of today’s rapid text-message exchanges.

The name “Fantastico” not only conveys hand fans and fantasy, but also translates well into English, Spanish, and other Romance languages, noted Dani Mancini, the firm’s designer. He said they used white along with gold accents to “capture the feeling of elegance and to fit well into the new décor of the W Hotel’s lobby.”
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‘Paper-Punk-a-Thon’ Unfolds at TEDActive

(Photo courtesy Grace Hawthorne)

It’s TED time, and among the attractions at TEDActive, the parallel event taking place this week in Palm Springs, is “Paper-Punk-a-thon” (pictured), a 25-foot-long installation by Paper Punk founder Grace Hawthorne. We asked the ReadyMade veteran–an entrepreneur, artist, author, and educator who heads up the Creative Gym course at Stanford’s–to tell us more about the interactive project as it unfolds.

What is a “Paper-Punk-a-Thon”?
An all-you-can-fold buffet of Paper Punk shapes. Attendees feast on a limitless assortment of shapes, patterns, and colors, and fold to their heart’s content.

What did you create for the installation?
I made three large anchor panels out of hollow paper blocks to kick things off. Attendees are populating the other nine smaller provided panels with paper block creation that expresses an assigned word.

How have TEDActive attendees responded to your installation?
Enthusiastically! They get to make something with their hands and share it with each other by putting it up on this progressive/collaborative wall. Some of their creations have blown me away.
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Quote of Note | OK Go’s Tim Nordwind on 2013

“I want this year to be the year of the DIY gadget maker. People who have really good ideas should be able to find a way to fund them through Kickstarter and other sites. OK Go’s style is very DIY. We make our own videos; we make our own records. In the beginning, our videos were made for next to nothing, but we were able to put them out there and anyone with a computer and access to the Internet could watch them. I like that style of making–just having a good idea and letting people decide whether they like or not.”

-Tim Nordwind, bassist for OK Go and Pyramids, in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal

OK Go’s most recent video, “Needing/Getting”:

DIY Fashion Week with Apliiq! Seven Questions for Fabric-Loving Founder Ethan Lipsitz

Textile messaging. Creative clothing from Apliiq, founded by Ethan Lipsitz (pictured below).

New York Fashion Week is once again upon us, and with it, the haute Halloween of Fashion’s Night Out (look for us at Bergdorf Goodman, contemplatively fondling the Chado Ralph Rucci garments). No matter where you stand on the sartorial continuum of Carhartt to Carolina Herrera, you can spice up your wardrobe with Apliiq. The Los Angeles-based company collects rare, deadstock, and recognizable textiles and applies them to everyday garments (think crying-out-for-customization American Apparel tees). With an ever-changing assortment of limited-edition products and a vast fabric library, the Apliiq website offers a dizzying array of possible color and texture combinations for the DIY-minded. “The name derives from the French word ‘appliqué,’ which means ‘apply,’ and we literally apply fabric, cut into different geometric shapes, onto clothing,” explains founder Ethan Lipsitz. “It’s all online and made to order within a week in downtown LA.” Lipsitz, who graduated from the University Pennsylvania with a degree in urban studies and did a post-grad stint with design studio Dickson Rothschild, paused in his fabric scouting to answer our seven questions.

What led you to start Apliiq?
I have always enjoyed being creative with what I wear. In high school I started hand-stitching my mother’s fabrics onto my hoodies to add a little personal flavor. In college I stitched a Karate Kid headband onto the hood of a hoody and it became a coveted item amongst my friends. Needless to say, I started making Karate Kid hoodies for all my classmates. I quickly discovered the local fabric district in Philly and began playing more with lining hoods and stitching the fabrics onto hoodies in creative ways. By my senior year I had learned how to use a sewing machine and was customizing hoodies with my fabric collection for friends and shops around Philly. From the get go it was always about letting them customize and relaying that feeling of wearing something that’s uniquely theirs. With help from friends I built a website and kept the company going as a hobby business while living in Sydney and working in architecture and urban design. In 2008 I decided I wanted to be my own boss and see if this hobby could be something more, I moved back to the States, set up shop in Los Angeles, and gave myself a year to get Apliiq off the ground. We’ve been running ever since.

What makes a good/successful Apliiq fabric?
Sometimes we can tell when a fabric is going to be a hit, and other times it’s a mystery what takes off. We try to vary the library, but I definitely skew towards bold, simple prints that clearly convey a story or message. Right now animal prints, native, southwestern, and African fabrics are seeing a surge in popularity. It’s often a combination of pattern and motif as well as a particular model and example garment we show that contributes to a fabric’s success.

What are some of your favorite recent additions to the Apliiq fabric library?
I’ve got a bunch of new faves. We have this beautiful vintage soft striped woven fabric that has a linen texture called right stripe that we have only a few yards of. We also just picked up some amazing African fabrics of which Oduele may be my favorite. I spotted it across the shop, and we took it down from the window display—got the last four yards! I’m freaking out on ikats. A friend from Indonesia sent us one a few months ago, and we’ve recently come across an amazing stockpile of Indian ikats that are really fresh. I love how the weave of these fabrics are so engrained in the aesthetic. Lastly, we recently discovered a crazy vintage abstract print online that totally reminds me of Kandinsky, thus named after the man himself.
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F+W Media Gets Crafty with Acquisition of Interweave

The parent company of Print and HOW magazines is stocking up on arts and crafts titles. F+W Media has acquired Interweave (Aspire Media) from private equity firms Frontenac Company, Catalyst Investors, Clay Hall, and several members of the Interweave management team. Terms of the deal, announced today by F+W, were not disclosed. The acquisition will add to the F+W stable of “enthusiast”-geared offerings magazines such as Quilting Arts, Beadwork, American Artist, and a dozen more consumer art and craft magazines, along with some 350 craft books, 33 websites, and 11 consumer events. Immediate plans for the company include boosting digital content, including the ebook and digital pattern business, and expanding the live and online education and event business.

Tom Sachs to Receive Aspen Award for Art

Fresh from his triumphant mission to Mars, Tom Sachs has been named this year’s recipient of the Aspen Award for Art. Previous honorees include artists Roni Horn, Marilyn Minter, Fred Tomaselli, and Ed Ruscha. Sachs will pick up his honor next week during ArtCrush, a three-day benefit gala for the Aspen Art Museum (its new Shigeru Ban-designed building is slated to open in 2014) that kicks off on Wednesday with a wine-soaked soiree and culiminates in a Friday bash at the museum, where we hear that Sachs has “a special intervention” in store for gala-goers inside the tent. After a seated dinner, Oliver Barker of Sotheby’s will take the floor for a live auction of artworks by the likes of William Eggleston, Tom Friedman, and Amelie von Wulffen, who has a solo exhibition opening today at the museum (where she is this year’s Jane and Marc Nathanson Distinguished Artist in Residence). The real pocket-emptier, however, will be Sachs’s own “Poche Vide” (pictured). Completed this year, the mixed media work contains all of the tools for a modern mogul—something of an Aspen specialty—there are speakers, amplifiers, oodles of dials, a kitchen knife, and a necktie, just in case. It’s the perfect accent piece for your chic chalet-cum-rustic ski cabin.

Magazines Get Crafty with Print: Flaunt Dresses in Denim as Wallpaper* Goes Handmade

Flaunt’s all-denim July/August issue and three of the 30 covers commissioned by Wallpaper* for its upcoming handmade issue, by (from left) Quentin Jones, Peter Miles, and mcgarrybowen.

Step away from your iPad. Two summer magazines are best appreciated in their glorious print versions. First up is Flaunt‘s denim issue, which hits newsstands this month. Covered in the rugged fabric (and an Ellen von Unwerth photo of Claudia Schiffer) thanks to sponsor Guess, the magazine is chock full of jeans-themed goodies, from Agave Denim’s Pacific Coast roadtrip postcards and a graffiti-inducing stencil from Kill City to a pull-out booklet of AG Adriano Goldschmied creative director Sam Wu’s favorite L.A. haunts and an iron-on transfer from Genetic Denim. Advertorial? Indeed, but for every Rising Sun kerchief and sheet of Hudson Jeans wrapping paper, there’s a still-life spread on rivets and a rumination on the 1959 exploitation film Blue Denim.

Meanwhile, over in London, Wallpaper* has been busy preparing its August issue, a tribute to the handmade. Subscribers were recently given the opportunity to customize their copy by choosing from one of a whopping 30 covers (below) featuring work commissioned by illustrators and graphic designers including Anthony Burrill, Rob Ryan, and James Joyce. Jonathan Ellery whipped up a duct-tape homage to the magazine’s signature asterisk, while ad agency mcgarrybowen interpreted “handmade” ultra-literally and created one from fingernail clippings (on a chalkboard, of course). Inside the issue, readers will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the third annual Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition, held in Milan in April during Salone del Mobile.
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