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Christoph Niemann, RISD’s Rosanne Somerson Among ‘Doodle 4 Google’ Contest Judges

2013 winner
The 2013 national Doodle 4 Google winner was 17-year-old Sabrina Brady from Wisconsin.

christoph-niemannPut on your inventor’s helmets and break out the fancy Prismacolors, kids, because the Doodle 4 Google contest is back with a new doodling prompt: “If I Could Invent One Thing to Make the World a Better Place…” (Magical video glasses is probably too on the nose).

“Our theme this year is all about curiosity, possibility, and imagination,” notes Google, which has run the annual competition since 2008. Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in U.S. schools are invited to complete that sentence in the form of a redesign of the Google logo. The winning doodle will be animated and featured, for one glorious day, on the search giant’s homepage, and the lucky doodler receives a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Among this year’s illustrious guest judges are artist, designer, and author Christoph Niemann (pictured) and Rhode Island School of Design interim president Rosanne Somerson, who are joined by the likes of Lemony Snicket, LEGO robotics designer Lee Magpili, and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The Lego Movie. Start dreaming and doodling now, because all entries must be received by March 20.

Tel Aviv Architecture Gets Illustrated Tribute

tel_aviv

A stubborn Israeli landlord is partially to thank for a delightful new Tumblr. When that building owner refused to extend Avner Gicelter’s lease, he and his partner were forced to search for a new apartment in central Tel Aviv, which in 2003 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its collection of more than 4,000 Bauhaus and International Style buildings. “That process awakened my dormant passion for Tel Aviv’s unique architecture, and I got more interested in the buildings than in the apartment we were looking for,” says Gicelter, a graphic designer. He decided to share his interest with the world through Tel Aviv Buildings, a site inspired in part by Jose Guizar’s Windows of New York. “I wanted to use this simple yet very honorable way of design to show my love for my hometown and its most beautiful buildings.” We asked Gicelter more about the project and some of his favorite Tel Aviv buildings.

How do you describe the architecture of Tel Aviv?
I don’t really have a professional way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture, only a point of view as a designer—in Tel Aviv’s central area (where you can find most of my illustrated buildings) there are two major architecture styles: the eclectic style which was active during the 1920s and 30s, and the International Style which was the major architecture movement during the 1930-50s and led UNESCO to name Tel Aviv as a world heritage site for its International Style architecture. I think that the difference between these two styles creates an unique and very interesting dialogue throughout the street of the city. In my opinion this dialogue is the best way to describe Tel Aviv’s architecture.

How do you decide which buildings to illustrate?
I start by walking throughout the city’s old areas. During that I shoot photos of buildings I find interesting, whether it is their architectural style, the way the residents designed their balconies or the presence of the building in the street. After choosing and shooting the buildings, I illustrate them with the pictures as reference.
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Marcel Wanders Debuts ‘Milestone’ App

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It’s a milestone year for Marcel Wanders. The Dutch designer’s work is the subject of the first major design exhibition to be presented at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum since its 2012 reopening. The survey, “Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk,” opens Saturday–a date that will surely live in infamy on Wanders’s iPhone, as he has just launched his first app.

Milestone,” free to download through iTunes, is something of an anti-calendar: it allows users to look back fondly by marking and sharing the number of seconds since a major personal event (a first date, when one stopped smoking, the day a museum first acquired a “Snotty Vase”) took place. It’s also possible to countdown to anticipated events, but in a more festive way that the watch that just reminds you how close you are to death. “Measuring special moments in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, or days gives a new perception of time,” says Wanders. “Marking significant occasions becomes a personal experience which you can share with others, and with groups of people through your social networks.”

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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Paddle8 Launches Sister Site for ‘Extraordinary Experiences’

Still museum
Still got it. A private, curator-led tour of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver is among the experiences now up for grabs on Gavel&Grand.

Did Santa (or UPS) fail to deliver for you this year? Still in search of a worthy cause for an under-the-wire 2013 charitable donation? Head straight to Gavel&Grand. The recently launched site expands Paddle8‘s online platform, rounding up philanthropic auctions that are studded with extraordinary experiences. Hurry to get your bids in for the Aspen Art Museum’s Freestyle auction, which runs through tomorrow evening on the site. The big-ticket items include a stay at a private chalet and a membership at The Caribou Club, but we’re coveting the Inez and Vinoodh commissioned portrait, private tour of the breathtaking Clyfford Still Museum, and a San Francisco art junket that promises an intimate look at Ai Weiwei‘s forthcoming Alcatraz Island installation.

Fred Armisen Is MOCAtv’s Ambiance Man

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Fred Armisen dressed like Beau Brummel and helping people to overcome awkward situations. Don’t be confused by the period dress or 1990s-Canadian-sitcom-level production values, this modern-day superhero is Ambiance Man, a new series created by artist Alix Lambert for MOCAtv, the YouTube channel of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ambiance Man is a series about a superhero who fixes what we really need fixed in our day-to-day lives,” says Lambert, who previously teamed with MOCAtv—and Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5—for CRIME: The Animated Series. “While most superheroes are focused on preventing the end of the world, Ambiance Man is focused on transforming the moments that feel like the end of the world.” The 13-episode series also features Jack Black, Jibz Cameron, Peter Macon, and Atsuko Okatsuka.


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Quote of Note | Ralph McGinnis

paeoi“I’ve been blogging since 1999 so I’m neither [a print publication nor a website]. But there is a difference. Magazines are about editing and choice, while the Internet is about immediacy. The art of making a magazine is editing. You have to make a choice, stick with it, then it’s out in the world and it’s done. That’s why I don’t believe print is dead. It’s not just old people, it’s young people too. A 20-year-old photographer doesn’t care if their photograph is posted online. But if that photo gets in a magazine, they love it. They understand it’s a big deal.”

-Ralph McGinnis, co-founder of tasty zine Put A Egg On It, in an interview with author Jeremy Leslie in The Modern Magazine: Visual Journalism in the Digital Era (Laurence King)

Season’s Greetings: Cards That Give Back

santa hat

Americans spend around $2 billion on Christmas holiday cards each year. Wouldn’t it be great if that amount could also go to help organizations ranging from animal shelters and art museums to international relief organizations and environmental groups? That’s where Cards That Give comes in. The site provides links to–and information about–more than 200 nonprofits that sell holiday cards to help fund their charitable work. Notes Houston-based founder Anne Furse, “If it were easy for individuals and businesses to buy their greeting cards from non-profit organizations, card sales could generate millions of dollars for worthy causes.”

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having signed up to twitter ourselves. Look to the official UnBeige Twitter feed, for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and free candy (OK, we’re still working on the physics of that last one). The mediabistro.com tech wizards have added to the sidebar at right a handful of our most recent word bursts (limited to 140 characters), but you can sign up to follow all of our twittering, and start twittering yourself at twitter.com.

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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