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Archives: September 2013

78 Firms, 1 City: ‘Image of the Studio’ Exhibition Offers Portrait of NYC Graphic Design

image of the studio
Among the graphic design firms participating in the “Image of the Studio” exhibition are (from left) Pentagram, Craig & Karl, and RoAndCo Studio.

“Giving visual form to the city is a special kind of design problem,” wrote urban planner Kevin Lynch in his 1960 book The Image of the City. But how does the urban environment, in all of its forms, affect those who spend their days solving design problems? A new exhibition looks for answers in a cross-section of New York City graphic design firms, from Alfafa Studio to Zut Alors.

Image of the Studio,” which opens tomorrow at Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, features original work from 78 firms that are then tied together—through data visualizations and information graphics—in a shared portrait of what it means to be a New York design studio. Co-organized by Athletics, which is also among the participating firms, the show aims to “map the contours and trace the edges of a dynamic discipline in a city that is itself always in flux.” But not everything is in flux: all materials from the exhibition will be archived at the Herb Lubalin Study Center and online here.

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Rodarte Teams Up with ‘Magazine Junkie’ John Baldessari for Garage Cover

garage russiaOn these shores, the fall/winter issue of Garage comes in two varieties: one features urban cowgirl Andriana Lima photographed by Inez & Vinoodh (and styled to the gold-and-denim hilt by Carolyne Cerf de Dudzeele), while another features that same image as interpreted by John Baldessari, the subject of a solo exhibition that opened last week at Garage editor-in-chief Dasha Zhukova‘s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow. Baldessari’s work also makes the cover of the Russian edition of Garage, for which the artist collaborated with Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. The cover image (pictured) is reproduced from a collage featuring a trippy blue, black, and pink tie-dye pattern developed for Rodarte’s fall 2013 collection. “We were really honored to collaborate with John Baldessari, as he is our favorite artist and we admire his work greatly,” said the Mulleavy sisters, who have previously collaborated with the likes of Catherine Opie, Alec Soth, Stephen Shore, and Frank Gehry.

Meanwhile, back in the American edition, Baldessari chats with Zhukova in an extended Q&A that weaves among images of his work. The artist reveals that one of his goals “is to be to known for something besides [putting dots over people's faces]. It’s going to be hard.” And did you know he loves magazines? “I’m a junkie,” he tells Zhukova of his predilection for periodicals. Art magazines? Fashion magazines? “Sure,” he answers. As for his relationship to the fashion world, Baldessari takes a more personal approach. “When I get up in the morning, I have a mirror. I think about whether this color might look good with that color. I’m not obsessed with it, but that’s certainly about fashion,” he says. “On the other hand, a former studio manager said that she doesn’t even look in the mirror in the morning.”

Christopher Guy Opens New York Showroom, Looks to Web to ‘Add Another Dimension’

You may recognize the deco-inflected globetrotter look of Christopher Guy from the sets of The Thomas Crown Affair and Casino Royale. In the wake of the ribbon-cutting on the brand’s showroom at the New York Design Center, designer Christopher Guy Harrison was on hand to discuss his “contemporary with classical values” style and how he conveys it in an increasingly digital world. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to pull up a sumptuous chaise longue and observe.

CGuy speaking

CGuy eclairageWhile online platforms have left their mark on interior design in recent years, they’ll never replace the need to discover and experience design in person. Interactive technology has created innovative ways for designers to build their brands and businesses, communicate with clients, go shopping and provide inspiration, said Elledecor.com editor Amy Preiser at last week’s New York Design Center What’s New/What’s Next event.

Digital platforms are certainly not a substitute for perusing a design showroom, especially when it’s a colorful state-of-the-art NYDC penthouse. Christopher Guy Harrison, CEO and founder of Christopher Guy, shared his brand’s approach to digital from his new flagship space. His furnishings have been featured in movies such as The Thomas Crown Affair, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Hangover, and he’s designed hotels like the Bellagio and Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas as well as the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.

“We need to embrace the internet to add another dimension. At its start, the internet was just an extension of the catalogue,” said Guy. For his business, the web and digital tools have become a priority, and he reported having a dedicated web staff of 20 in his Singapore office. He uses the platforms to showcase interactive spaces, share design influences, and convey different moods.
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Wherefore Art Thou X-Acto Knife? Kevin Stanton’s Cut-Paper Shakespeare Classics

romeo_juliet cover page
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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Carrie Mae Weems Among New Crop of MacArthur Fellows

Carrie Mae Weems

Syracuse, New York-based artist Carrie Mae Weems is among the 24 new fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Announced today, the 2013 cohort of MacArthur Fellows—selected for “their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future”—also includes choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, writer Donald Antrim, and audio savior Carl Haber, an experimental physicist developing new technologies for preserving inaccessible and deteriorating sound recordings. Each fellow will receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years. The MacArthur Foundation has previously bestowed its unrestricted largess upon fellows such as architect Jeanne Gang, typographer Matthew Carter, filmmaker Errol Morris, artist Tara Donovan, and lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. Click below to watch the foundation’s video of Weems at work:
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Design Jobs: National Geographic Kids, New York Media, ONE/x

This week, National Geographic Kids is hiring a contract photographer, while New York Media needs a creative director. ONE/x is seeking an art director, and Mission Athletecare is on the hunt for an senior art director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

natgeokids130

Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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

RISD Museum Debuts Manual: A Journal About Art and Its Making

manualWith its fresh Project Projects-designed identity and website in place, the RISD Museum (formerly known as The Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design) is getting hands-on with publications. Yesterday’s “Design the Night” event in Providence celebrated the launch of Manual: a journal about art and its making.

The academic arts journal-meets-design magazine, helmed by editor-in-chief Sarah Ganz Blythe with S. Hollis Mickey, will be published each fall and spring, using the museum’s collections, exhibitions, and collaborations as an impetus for essays and interviews, artist interventions, and archive highlights.

The inaugural “Hand in Hand”-themed issue (pictured) draws upon the expression first recorded in the 16th century, and includes cartoonist James McShane on the intaglio printing process, curator Elizabeth Williams‘ peek into the museum’s archive to reveal the production designs of Gorham Manufacturing Company, and curator Kate Irvin‘s exploration of Bauhaus artist Gunta Stölzl‘s proposal for a double-weave textile.

NYC Planning Commission Sets Plans for ‘NY Wheel’ into Motion


Wheel’s Up. A rendering of the New York Wheel, to be built on Staten Island.

The wheels of Uniform Land Use Review Procedure are a-turnin’ for the New York Wheel, the London Eye-style “observation wheel” bound for the isle of Staten. At 625 feet—roughly 60 stories—high, it will be the world’s tallest and function as the all-seeing, crowd-concentrating anchor for a new outlet mall: a 340,000-square-foot retail complex designed by SHoP Architects. New York’s City Planning Commission recently announced its support for both the wheel and the development known as “Empire Outlets,” marking the final stage of land use review that will end in a City Council vote scheduled for October 30—and sure to be followed by the sight of savvy young New Yorkers costumed as giant wheels for Halloween. Both projects are slated to begin construction next year, with a grand opening planned for 2016.

So, How’s Your Graphic Novel Coming?

Need a nudge to get moving on the graphic novel you’ve been writing and/or drawing in your head for years? First, seek inspiration from Code Monkey Save World. The graphic novel in-progress–based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton, written by Greg Pak, and drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa–completed a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year (earning nearly ten times its original goal). According to the creators, the project was born after Pak joked on Twitter about writing a supervillain team-up comic based on Coulton’s characters. Coulton tweeted back “DO IT.” And so they did. You can, too, and the Mediabistro mothership is here to help with an online course that promises to move your graphic novel out of your head and onto the page–and beyond. Marvel Comics veteran Danny Fingeroth leads the eight-week learning adventure, which will take you from devising a proposal and writing word balloons to surviving Comic-Con and handling Hollywood. Learn more and register here. Sessions begin Thursday, October 17.

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