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Quote of Note | Marc Jacobs

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“…Jamie [Bochert, fit model and muse] comes in with jet black hair and traipses in some old Victorian dress in the middle of summer. And you know what? She looks cool. So you sort of say, ‘Why not?’ We started looking at things that are Victorian. It really started with a pair of surf shorts and a Victorian blouse….There were a list of reasons: the final scene of Pippin. This book of women in Tahiti wearing Victorian blouses and making these tropical print quilts. Maybe a bit of what Prada’s men’s show was. Maybe a lot of things I’ve taken in. Then Jamie walks in with this dress and all of a sudden you’re adding things up, and somehow I make a logical connection between those things. There is no right or wrong.”

-Marc Jacobs discussing the origins of his spring 2014 Marc Jacobs collection (pictured) in an interview with Bridget Foley in WWD Collections

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Chinese Artists Will Transform Your Instagrams into Oil Paintings

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Watch your back, Richard Estes. A photo and, at right, the resulting Pixelist painting.

Make 2014 the year that your Instagram masterworks break free of their pixellated prisons and start a new life as…photorealist oil paintings! That’s the transformative promise of Pixelist. The startup offers handmade oil paintings of any image you can capture or create, with “commissions” starting at $150. How? A bunch of willing and able Chinese painters sourced by founder Will Freeman, an Emory grad now based in Hong Kong. He made time to answer a few questions about the burgeoning business.

pixelist exampleHow did you get the idea to start Pixelist?
Pixelist came from a love of all things custom and creative. We’ve spent years designing our own clothes, shoes, furniture, and art and hunting for the best craftspeople to bring them to life. So we were naturally attracted to the idea of harnessing the popularity of Instagram to revive commissioned painting.

That part really describes me and my years in China and Hong Kong. But my business partner, Conor Colwell, originally came up with the idea. Conor and I used to work together and would always bat around startup ideas on our lunch break. I took him to visit one of China’s “art villages” in Shenzhen and he was hugely impressed by the painting quality. Conor has always been into Instagram, so he thought it would be a great way to immortalize photos people already loved. I loved the idea because I was already deeply into getting things custom made.
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Quote of Note | James Dyson

“You learn from [negative feedback]. Often it starts a line of development: Well, yes, that person said they want a light vacuum, which is impossible, because motors are very heavy. So you say, ‘We might develop light electric motors—no one’s ever done it before; we must do it.’ About eighteen years ago, we set off on that journey. It took us fifteen years before we launched a revolutionary small, light motor. Negative feedback is really interesting. I enjoy it in a masochistic way.”

-James Dyson, in Bloomberg Businessweek

Illustration of James Dyson and his trusty Air Multiplier by Adrian Tomine for The New Yorker.

Quote of Note | Miuccia Prada

look36“Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human. It touches the bad and the dirty side of people. You know, this might have been a scandal in fashion but in other fields of art it is common: in painting and in movies, it was so common to see ugliness. But, yet, it was not used in fashion and I was very much criticized for inventing the trashy and the ugly.”

-Designer Miuccia Prada, in an interview with Andrew O’Hagan for T: The New York Times Style Magazine

Pictured: A look from the spring 2014 Prada collection

Multifesto, Because Design Is a Verb

sample multifesto

What do you get when you cross a haiku with a manifesto and multiply it by the power of the web? Multifesto, a communal design manifesto created by New York-based design consultancy 2×4. Have your say by adding a three-word call to arms in the form of a verb, preposition and noun. Then tell your creative friends to do the same. “Multifesto is born of the idea that design is a verb, not a product, and a collaborative endeavor, not the mark of an individual,” says the team at 2×4. “We welcome contributions by designers everywhere and from every discipline.”

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Andrew Galuppi and Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami ‘Bring the Globe Home’ in Online Tag Sale

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“I really got some crossed looks when I brought this Indonesian mask back from a trip overseas,” says Andrew Galuppi (at right). “I took up most of the overhead bins!”

CM_portraitsLooking to ward off the evil eye with a wedding Hamsa from North Africa, amass an instant collection of Japanese liquor bottles, or add a Moroccan Beni Ouran rug to your living room? These exotic treasures and many more are just a click away thanks to interior designer Andrew Galuppi and architect Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami. The pair have teamed up with flash sale site One Kings Lane for “Camera Mundi” an online tag sale that begins today.

The collection of homegoods, priced from $20 to $3,000, includes rugs, furniture, statuary, and other objects collected by Galuppi and Sardar-Afkhami during their travels around the world. “Every handcrafted item is infused with someone’s story—they probably were taught their skill by a long-lost relative and spent hours on each piece, and without the help of a machine,” says Galuppi, who travels to India every winter. “This is part of the world I like supporting, because each piece carries with it an energy and a real story that gets transferred to your home.” We asked the globe-trotting designers to tell us more about “Camera Mundi,” the objects in the sale, and where their worldly, contemporary aesthetic will take them next.

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How did you come to work with One King’s Lane?
Ahmad Sardar-Afkhani: One of my close friends, Nate Berkus, was doing a sale with another friend, Ethan Trask, who works at One Kings Lane. We began talking and he proposed I create a sale mostly with the rugs and textiles I have been collecting.

Andrew Galuppi: Ahmad didn’t want to do the sale all alone—it’s more fun with a friend—so he knew my apartment was stuffed to the rafters with bits and bobs and he thought the mixture of our two collections would create one great big exciting assortment…kinda like a crazy bazaar!

Tell us about the significance of the title, “Camera Mundi”?
Sardar-Afkhani: In Latin, it means “room of the world,” where objects from different historical and cultural backgrounds can be displayed next to each other. I’m all for this type of juxtaposition, where new meaning and beauty is derived from assemblages of objects that would otherwise have little in common.

Galuppi: In addition to what Ahmad has explained…I think that a lot of people have really well curated homes these days, and including an object from some far away place will add texture and personality to a space to make it really feel finished and unique. That’s where “camera mundi” comes into place: bringing the globe home.
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Talkin’ Toys with Kidrobot Founder Paul Budnitz

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ARTGIANTS4FootDunnyArtist, designer, author, filmmaker, entrepreneur, creator of stunning titanium bikesPaul Budnitz is a man of many talents, but he is best known as the founder of Kidrobot. More than a decade after its founding, the company’s ever-changing family of limited-edition art toys ranges from blind-boxed, collect-them-all figures to a high-gloss uberDunny that stands four feet tall–and will set you back $5,000.

Budnitz returns to his toy design roots with a new twist on the DIY Munnys that remain among Kidrobot’s top sellers: on October 16, Skillshare will launch his “Beautiful Plastic” online class in toy design. We seized the moment to ask Budnitz how he got his start, the first toy he designed, and what toys have caught his eye lately.

How did you get started designing toys?
In 2001 I fell in love with some very early Michael Lau toys that I saw in Hong Kong. And almost simultaneously, discovered that Bounty Hunter was making toys in Tokyo. I thought they were beautiful–a perfect combination of pop-art, design, pop culture–just these amazing little sculptures. Because they were all limited edition, when they sold out they were gone forever. That made them precious. I founded Kidrobot in 2002 to make toys with my friends, mostly street artists and designers and graphic artists.

Do you remember the first toy you ever designed?
I think the first toy was actually Dunny, with Tristan Eaton. I have to credit him with the brilliance of that toy, he is one of the greatest illustrators alive in my opinion. We spent about a year on it (I think) trying to get the design right. The idea was to make it the best canvas possible for other people to draw on. That is why the face is so big and flat and round. It’s also got attitude. We put one foot in front of the other, and cut the shoulders at an angle, so when the head turns in looks a little menacing. It’s still Kidrobot’s most popular toy.

What is your toy design pet peeve?
I left Kidrobot several years ago to work on my bicycle company and do some other things, since I just felt like it was time for me to move on. I love the company, but it is difficult for me to see the direction it has taken. I know that the people over there are working to renew some of the original spark and originality. I encourage them to do so.

To me it’s sad when great things get watered down and become obvious and corporate. Creating magic through design is difficult to maintain!
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Inside Pentagram with Partner Eddie Opara

“The creative philosophy here is that there isn’t one,” says Eddie Opara of the many-splendored life at Pentagram, where he has been a partner since 2010. “No one’s trying to tell you to change your philosophy or methodologies of design, but [to] live within, or live with, other philosophies, because there’s never one.” It’s a multifaceted perspective that Opara has applied most recently to Platform, a new non-profit that aims to boost participation of underrepresented groups—particularly African-Americans, Latinos, and women—in technology and entrepreneurship. The designer and his team created the identity and website for the organization, as well as the graphics for the first Platform Summit, a TED-style confab held in July at the MIT Media Lab. Sneak a peek inside Pentagram and learn more about Opara in the below video, created by Athletics as part of the urbane graphic design extravaganza that is “Image of the Studio,” which opens today at Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography.

Quote of Note | Peter Buchanan-Smith

sam mcgee axes
Best Made’s “Sam McGee” American felling axe.

“I took an axe that was made by someone else, and I just painted the handle. The hard part was selling it and developing a catalogue and world around that one painted, simple axe. It was done overnight in a way. I had no business plan when I started. I literally painted 12 axes, photographed them, and two or three weeks later, I built an e-commerce site, and they were up for sale online.

It has been very slow to develop and craft some of the products that I want out there. That’s what’s been hard; it takes time and money, and that doesn’t come quickly unless you’re willing to sell half of your company or something, even if that were possible. But, I’ve learned a lot from my manufacturers. We work with a 140-year-old axe company that is still run by the same family. It is really inspiring to go down there, to watch them run machinery that was built 80 to 100 years ago, and see that they’re not anxious about growing really quickly. To them, it is about long, sustained growth. No one is thinking, ‘Let’s get rich quick.’”

-Best Made Company founder Peter Buchanan-Smith in Kern and Burn: Conversations With Design Entrepreneurs, a new book by Tim Hoover and Jessica Karle Heltzel

Color Me Keith Haring: Coloring Book Gathers Artists’ Illustrations to Fuel Young Imaginations


Inside Outside. From left, ready-to-color versions of “Oath of the Pond” by Koichiro Takagi and “Pizza Face” by Ohara Hale. (Photo: UnBeige)

It’s that time of year again, when even those who haven’t stepped inside a classroom for decades feel the unbearable urge to stock up on school supplies. Break out that fresh box of Crayolas—or Prismacolors or Copics—for Outside the Lines, out today from Perigee. This “artists’ coloring book for giant imaginations” is the brainchild of Souris Hong-Porretta, who gathered line drawings (most commissioned especially for this book) by the likes of Shepard Fairey, Exene Cervenka, Gary Baseman, Ryan McGinness, Jen Corace, and 100 other creative masterminds ranging from animators to video game artists. We asked Hong-Porretta, a self-desciribed “art enthusiast, idea enabler, and yay-maker” to tell us more about the colorful project.

What led you to create Outside the Lines?
My daughter, Lulu! She has lots and lots of coloring books and I noticed that she had a preference for coloring books with illustrations by established artists such as Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. After watching her scribble outside the lines of a Moebius coloring book, I thought it’d be cool if she could color artwork by our creative cabal so I wrote a list of folks I knew and one by one asked them if they would contribute work for a coloring book. I had several dozen yeses in a short amount of time—enough to motivate me to write a book proposal. The rest came together rather quickly.

How did you select the artists whose work you wanted to include?
Nearly all the artists included in the book are personal friends. Some very old, some newer. A few are friends of friends. But nearly every artist in the book has a relationship with me by way of previous projects or a social tie. Also, because I had once worked for a lifestyle magazine called, Tokion, I was able to call upon friends I had made from the ’90s, before they were rockstar photographers, illustrators, fine artists, graffiti artists, musicians, and much more.
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