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Archives: November 2005

A Fine General

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If you’re a pal of mine, you know I go a little nutty for production and motion graphics folk. I can’t remember my mother’s middle name, but I can usually tell you, or give a good guess, as to what production house worked on what. I was ecstatic when, for Jewelboxing over at Coudal, I did interviews with Eyeball NYC, 2000 Strong, and Raphael Macho, formerly of Imaginary Forces. So whenever I come across somebody new that hasn’t crossed my radar, I’m always thrilled to watch everything they’ve got. That said, I’d seen Masayoshi Nakamura’s music vid for Earlimart’s Elliot Smith tribute song, “Heaven Adores You,” but for some reason never followed up on who had put it together. But no longer! A freelance designer now, he’s also worked for MTV doing show packages and for Palm Pictures and Click 3X. Make sure you check out his drawings, his other motion graphics work, and his print. Some brilliant stuff.

You Have a Lovely Interface

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Nothing substantially nor wildly interesting here. I just wanted to share two photographers who have nice layouts to their portfolios. You see a lot of fairly bland or overly complex sites out there that aren’t very compelling to look at. So here are two exceptions:

1) Ran across Stephen Allen, who works in higher education and prep school photography, because he’d sent in a sample case to us at Coudal showing off what he’d done with our product, Jewelboxing. Wound up spending a lot of time on his site, not because I had any use for his work, but because the navagation and layout was easy and innovative enough to keep me interested.

2) Although Antonio Carusone’s client photography speaks to me personally about as much as Stephen Allen’s does, once again we’re seeing a terrific layout, and a simple, clean navagation system. And once again, using Flash as Flash should be used. I don’t have time to sit around and wait for things to zip around, but I have all the time in the world to sit around and aimlessly browse through your work if you’ll make it easy on me. Though I’ve got to say, as an aside, the photos under Carusone’s “Play” section of his portfolio are drop dead gorgeous. Someone hire me so I can hire him for something.

That’s all. Like I said, nothing spectacular here. Just thought to throw that out there. Oh, and note, that photo above is by Antonio Carusone, from this exhibition.

Posting Posti

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A few weeks back, over dinner at my girlfriend’s parents house, we were talking about why I’d visit Northern Europe (Finland, Denmark, Sweden) over the Europe that everyone always visits (England, Italy, etc.). The debate, at some points, got mildly heated, as pointless arguments can sometimes get. In the end, there were three of them against one of me, so I had to quietly return conceed that they had some valid points and that I’d like to visit everywhere, that there was no longer to be any favortism on my behalf. Now, after seeing the work of Helsinki-native Pietari Posti, I feel as though I have a way to strike back next time this comes up. Look at those sketches! It’s like old Russian poster art! More Northern allies! (sorta) Look at that confident simplicity! Look at the way he’s incorporating the best parts of sketching and screenprinting all at the same time! Well, if that doesn’t win at least some part of the battle, then I don’t know what will. Granted, maybe they could come back at me by saying, “But didn’t he just move to Barcelona?” which I’d have no answer to, or, hell, they might even say, “We don’t care about design!” which would defintely shut me up. But still…

A little more info: a quick interview with Posti.

The Finest Form of Flattery

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Chances are, you probably aren’t working under something as nice as a Tizio Lamp by Richard Sapper, but most likely you’re near enough one that was highly influenced by his work, along with those of other designers like Achille Castiglioni and Ingo Mauer. The bad news is that, if you want an original, you’re probably going to have to keep working under those awful flourescent lights at your day job for the next seventy-five years, saving every dime all the while. The good news is that now you can buy and assemle damn fine homages to them from The Designer Emulation Kits company. Well, not yet, but they say they’ll be out soon. From the mouth of creator, Mark McKenna:

The Designer Emulation Kits (DEKs for short) are meant as the sincerest homage to some of the greatest modern designers of our time. The lamps and designers being emulated have a particular importance. They are represented in countless design tomes extolling the various movements, and they are held up as prime examples of good design.

We revere these objects, but they are also a bane and a challenge. How can we ever measure up to the genius of Castiglioni, or the sheer concentrated emotion of Maurer? The truth is we cannot. We have to find our own voices, our own vision.

Our DEKs might not help us decide which way to go, but at least they let us laugh at ourselves along the way.

Jay Ryan And the Mysterious Production of Posters

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If you’re at all familiar with some of the side projects we do over at Coudal, or you’re a fan of poster art, you’re sure to recognize the name, Jay Ryan. Founder of the supremely talented screenprinting company, The Bird Machine, Jay has designed posters for bands like Jon Spencer, The Decemberists, Stereolab, Fugazi, and Calexico. These past couple of years, Jay keeps getting more and more high profile, what with designing the cover for Michael Chabon’s newest book, “The Final Solution,” to all of the amazing artwork accompanying friend Andrew Bird’s album, “The Mysterious Production of Eggs.” So it only makes sense that striking will the iron is extra hot isn’t a bad idea, and thus, we have Jay’s book, 100 Posters, 134 Squirels. Here’s the scoop:

A greatest-hits collection of the last decade of Jay Ryan’s compelling rock posters, 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels showcases one of underground poster art’s most prolific and talented practitioners. Framed by essays from luminaries in the music, poster, and design worlds – including Steve Albini, Art Chantry, Debra Parr, and Greg Kot- as well as an interview with Jay, 100 Posters, 134 Squirrels offers a unique look into Ryan’s unusual approach to poster art.

Also maybe of interest: Jay’s terrific band Dianogah and Coudal’s short film about his shop, 6 Colors, 1800 Pulls, 2 Dogs.

A Brief Hello, Some Blah, Then Getting Right Into It

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Howdy. I’m Steve Delahoyde, guest editor for a couple of days here at Unbeige. For a little on my background, I work at the ad agency/design firm, Coudal Partners, where, like everyone else there, I’m sort of a jack-of-all-trades. Primarily though, I’m the guy that handles a lot of the writing for the firm, as well as the producing and editing of film/video work, from tv spots to video for the internet. I got my start in the business by making far too many silly short films along with my cohort, Wakiza Gamez, some of which we have posted up here. Following that, I became a freelance editor and director, as well as a motion graphics designer. My directing work has appeared all over the place, from MTV to CBS to The National Lampoon Network, and my writing has popped up here and there from Time Out to McSweeney’s. So, yeah, kind of all over the place. Hope I’m worthy of the fine Unbeige name. Here’s some posts…

The Dance Party Was Most Certainly Not A Rhetorical Description

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A few weeks ago we received an email from Lisa Strausfeld, our new Pentagram bff, entitled “Public Service Announcement — PLEASE READ.” Since we are nothing but the most excellent amanuenses, we followed suit accordingly. Here’s what we read:

Over the past two decades we have observed a steady decline in one of our most important human rituals. The absence of this practice poses a significant threat to the mental and physical well-being of our generation.

We are writing to urge your participation in an event that aims to raise awareness about the benefits of “getting down.”

THE OVER 40 DANCE PARTY

Having no swerve, we had next to no clue of what this was or where the location, described only as the “club formerly known as M.K.” was. After last night, we realized it was the best dance party we’ve been to since a sophomoric Twilo stop, and that the Pentagram offices, back in the day, were a club known as M.K. Musical highlights included Billie Jean, Jamiroquai, Madonna, and assorted other late-eighties’ (we were four) awesome.

People-watching highlights included graphic designers Seymour Chwast and Paula Scher; architect/author Alex “Get Down” Gorlin; architect/writer James “En Fuego” Sanders; architect Enrique Norten; designer Lisa “Mostest Hostess” Strausfeld; sound artist Ben Rubin; Sex and the City writer Julie Rottenberg; Sidekick; and a lot of other people who were the most unironically, and the most awesomely, getting down.

Anytime, Lisa. Anytime.

We Knew We Weren’t The Only Ones Paying Attention To Marina

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On the three nights we watched Marina Abramovic at the Guggenheim we saw a few people over and over again. One of them we knew was an art critic — mostly from the way she was (at times skeptically) watching the entire thing almost as intently as we were — and a few others we guessed from the surehanded way they handled a reporter’s notebook. No easy task. So we were both vindicated in our guess and totally pissed at ourselves for not saying hi when we found Roberta Smith’s take in the Times. Not quite as minute-to-minute, but she got some things we missed. Like the fact that an EMS team was anonymously called in on the Lips of Thomas evening, almost left, but then came in when they heard there was a naked chick cutting herself on stage.

Exactly.

People Who Play Video Games Are People Too, Apparently

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We have a very large amount of truck with video games and the people who (at least compulsively) play them. We thought this was pretty straightforward, understandable even. But we might have been too quick to judge. Today’s Gray Lady gets behind the screen and sits in on a video game design class at Parsons the New School for Design.

“So you have these four basic types that occupy the environment: the Achiever, the Explorer, the Socializer and the Killer.”

Nick Fortugno, the 30-year-old teacher, turned away from the whiteboard and faced the 14 undergraduate and master’s-level students in his Thursday seminar. “Killers act like predators, and like any ecosystem, if you increase the number of killers and facilitate them, you decrease the number of achievers and socializers.”

A forestry class on the ecology of the African savannah? No. A psychology course on the ways of the grade-school playground? Closer, but not quite.

Later, the story says it’s entirely likely that this is a completely new cultural paradigm and it’ll be like going to film school was when our friends tried to do it and their parents were like why would you do that???

Unsold. But not uninterested.

Madonna’s Icy On The Cake

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On the rare occasions that we’re not reading, and on some that we are, we’re listening to music. Usually the same album over and over and over again until we get so sick of it that we can never listen to it ever again, which is what–tragically–happened with My Prerogative. And that is what we’re doing right now with Confessions on a Dance Floor. Which, as much as we’re focusing on the outright awesomeness that is Hung Up, made us think about the cover design. Given that yesterday we were looking at the worst covers ever. We like Confessions. It’s shiny. So we tried to find whoever was responsible, and found an interview with the designers from Pixelway nyc, who were given Steven Meisel’s photographs by the art director Giovanni Bianco, and had to process them to make them easily reproducible and in keeping with the whole return-to-disco thing.

It’s interesting although at times slightly linguistically confused (see above), but then again so are the album lyrics. “If you can’t stand the heat, get off my street. Get off my street. Get off my street. Get off my street. Get off my street. Get off my street.”

And repeat.

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