Throughout the day today we are posting the honourable mentions, runners-up, and the winner of the "It's a Creative & Curious World" contest with They Draw & Travel. If you missed this contest, take a look at the contest page to see all of the creative submissions.
Congratulations to all the honourable mentions!
In the spirit of the arrival of Spring, and celebrating the Easter holiday, I thought I would post some photos of my rabbit, Angel. At Christmas my husband surprised me with a trip to the Calgary Humane Society to choose a rabbit to take home. We had talked about getting a dog, but since we live in a condo, we didn't think it would be fair to keep a dog cooped up all day.
Having Angel as our pet has been a wonderful experience! She lives in her cage while we're at work, but roams freely around the condo when we're home. (We had to do some bunny-proofing, of course) A lot of people ask me if she needs to be walked. As much as I would love to take her for a jaunt in the park, Angel likes to do her own form of exercise–running laps around the coffee table in the living room at warp speed! Rabbits need 2-4 hours of exercise, play and socialization a day, and Angel gets plenty of that.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter!
post by Cara Howlett
Dear Human is a husband and wife ceramic company based in Vancouver, Canada. Correy Baldwin, UPPERCASE's copy editor, interviewed the duo made of Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O'Connell for Issue #21's Dynamic Duo section.
Dear Human displayed their project Patchworked in Canada, a project using tiles shipped from Portugal, at the Toronto Design Offisite Festival in January. After the festival ended, Jasna and Noel applied magnets to the tiles and took them to the streets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver encouraging passersby to find unanticipated beauty in the urban landscape, inviting a moment of pause and response.
We asked Correy about his experience of finding a tile in Montreal.
I found the tiles quite late on a Sunday evening. I was walking home after a night of playing music with friends in their living room on the other end of town—a pretty classic Montreal evening. So when I got home I had a banjo in one hand and a Portuguese tile in the other.
I had already been in touch with Jasna and Noel from Dear Human, so I knew the tiles were around and had been keeping my eye out for them. I’d actually gone out hunting for them specifically a few days earlier, but hadn’t seen any. That night I found them quite accidentally, which seemed more appropriate somehow.
I only took one of the tiles, and left the other one for someone else to find. At first I kept it at my workspace, but in the end I did probably the most ordinary thing possible and stuck it to my fridge. Jasna and Noel had put magnets on the back of the tiles, so the fridge seemed an obvious place to put it. It’s still there. Maybe this summer I’ll place it on the metal railings of my balcony.
I interviewed Dear Human a few days after I found the tile. Noel wanted to know which one I’d found, and he recognized it as soon as I described the pattern on it. If I hadn’t already been in touch with them, I would have called the number on the back for sure.
A few blocks from where I found [my tile] there’s a small Portuguese square with a lot of beautiful Portuguese tiles around it. I knew they would have found it an irresistible spot, and sure enough, I found a number scattered around the square. I pulled a couple of them off and looked at them, then put them back. A couple of old men had been watching me, and as I left one of them went over and look at them, too. So if Dear Human got a phone call from a confused old man, it’s my fault.
The project was inviting us to be more aware of our surroundings, to pay more attention to the smaller details around us, and I think it did a great job. Long after I found a tile I kept looking a lot more closely at everything while walking around, even in other neighbourhoods.
And I wasn’t just looking for tiles. I was just looking.
Here's a very intriguing series by Terence Hannum.
"Typically one does not engage with the material of the cassette. Unless it was being eaten by a tape player, the average consumer never gazed upon its reflective spool. To this point most media requires a certain precious handling of it, the CD, DVD and LP require the listener to hold only the edge."
"Perhaps speaking to the ubiquity of the digital file these days, the MP3, FLAC, WAV and others have no real handling instructions. I want to focus on the surface as an engaging texture."
"I am a visual artist and musician who has used cassette tape in my music and now my material and subject in my visual art. I have an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and teach Art Foundations at Stevenson University outside Baltimore."
"I expected we would talk about her work and hopefully connect but imagine my joy when I realized Janine had paired us perfectly, we were totally kindred spirits! What are the chances of finding another creative, multicultural, from Vancouver, collaborative, tattooed lady in our little town? I don’t know but thankfully they were in our favour!"
I suspected the two might enjoy meeting one another and since Mariko is relatively new to their small town they hadn't yet met—even though they're just four blocks apart. The meeting inspired a brilliant idea for a blog series called Match + Maker. I look forward to reading more stories of creative folks matched for interviews and studio tours on Oh My Handmade.
Kathryn John sent in a pitch, which led me to explore her website where I discovered this collaborative video project made with Jo Keeling. An ode to collecting, Kathryn writes, "That is my voiceover and the script came from something I wrote for Jo, the filmmaker, with a few tweaks from her to suit the shots she visualized." It was their first effort as part of a digital film making class—I hope they continue their collaboration!
I received a wealth of submissions for the recent Open Pitch. Not all of them can be included in print, so I will share some here on the blog.
The following submission is from Shantanu Suman, a graphic designer from India who currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina:
After working as an art director for over six years in India, I left my job in 2010 to get my Masters in Graphic Design at the University of Florida. During this unanticipated adventure I found myself exploring a long buried love for the truck art of India. During the summer of 2012, I traveled to India for 45 days, carried out extensive research and collaborated with friends to make Horn Please—a documentary film that narrates the story of the Indian truck art. I was accountable for developing the concept and doing the research of the project. I also acted as the joint director, director of photography, and art director to work with a team of individuals who played their own role during the making of the film."
The trucking industry of India has played an instrumental role in shaping Indian trade and commerce for decades. It’s a common belief among the truck owners of India that a beautiful truck is good for business and therefore the owners decorate their trucks with ornamented designs and vivid colors. My initial research during 2011, demonstrated that little has been done to document this vernacular art form of India. It was this lack that inspired me to do further research. During the summer of 2012, I traveled in six cities of India and collected information about the Indian truck art and people related to this art form. The information collected during this trip has acted as a catalyst to develop some design projects, an exhibition and finally a documentary film — Horn Please.
The designs painted on the trucks do not merely represent an aesthetic purpose, but also attempt to depict religious, sentimental, and emotional viewpoints of the people related to the truck industry. My research focused on the ways in which this vernacular art form influences not just the world of art but also the lives of its artists and the truckers who interact with it on a daily basis. Largely, it investigates whether this traditional art, as a unique form of expression, will survive the modern day demands of the industry.
Project Horn Please is aimed at raising social awareness and engaging people through voices and aesthetics of the Indian trucking Industry. It marks the starting of a campaign in which design would serve as research rather than another visually pleasing piece of work. Although I have spent the last couple of years researching on the truck art of India, I believe that there is more that needs to be accomplished. During my research trip in India, I stumbled upon something really beautiful. What I found in these places of decline was a sense of pride among the people working there. There was an excitement to share their stories—about their families, about the journeys, about the beautiful symbols and motifs and of the age old tradition of decorating their trucks, of which still not many are familiar with. They are the torchbearers of a beautiful custom of adding a personal touch and creating an identity with their vehicles.
Over the past couple years, I have been working on improving my "scrawl" as I call it. I use UPPERCASE projects as a reason to get out my brush pen and start lettering. Some efforts are more successful than others, but overall I think I am finding my style.
As a Christmas gift to you, dear readers, here is the UPPERCASE creative manifesto available as a free download until December 26. (After that, it will be available as a print for sale in the new poster section I'm setting up in our online shop.) I hope my quirky lettering will inspire you in your creative endeavours through the coming year. Merry Christmas!
Other than a photo of Finley with Santa from last year, we don't have any photographs of our son on display. I have to confess that when Finley was a baby, though I absolutely adored taking pictures of him in the moment and am so glad that I did, it was too emotional for me to look at those photos later... he was changing and growing so fast, all these little amazing moments were so fleeting. Trying to put together a baby book, I failed a few times. With the exception of two Blurb books of Instagram photos, I still haven't made him a baby book.
Earlier this year, I watched a crowdfunding campaign that promised to turn digital photos and Instagrams into oil paintings for less than $150. I'm always taking personal photos but they end up stored in the cloud and on my laptop, rarely to be seen again. Curious, I decided to support the campaign and recently I received my Pixeli.st painting in the mail. I am so pleased with the resulting painting, it is so much better than I imagined.
I knew that the paintings were made by Chinese artists, but the thing that was lacking with the final oil painting was a credit and brief bio about the individual who created it. I emailed Pixeli.st and asked them about their process. Will Freeman replied:
China has a number of "art villages" which are generally small areas of cities where artists congregate. Some are famous for creative and cutting edge art like "the 798" in Beijing. Others are places where less successful artists find cheap housing and hang out with their peers, "like Songzhuang" in Beijing. Still others are centres for art production and export. Xiamen, a smaller city in Fujian province, where our artists live, is one of these. Xiamen actually has two "art villages", but artists and export factories are scattered all around the city. A lot of the oil paintings you find in home-interiors shops, hotel rooms, etc are made in Xiamen or Shenzhen. Most of these are done by migrant workers who create the same paintings hundreds, or even thousands, of times over in an assembly line fashion (one person paints the top corner, the next person paintings the bottom corner, and so on). The artists we use tend to be art-school graduates who do custom one-off painting projects and act as art directors for these assembly line sort of factories. They are extremely talented painters, but tend to see painting as a fun job—a means to earn a living—rather than purely a creative pursuit.
When we receive an order, our team's most important job is to chose the right artist for the particular photo. Some of our artists excel in human portraits; others paint mostly landscapes; others prefer cityscapes; and so on. A painting is usually finished about ten days after the order is placed. Our art staff then reviews the painting to make sure there are no alterations are needed. I'd say about 30% of our paintings require revisions. When someone places a custom order with us, we bring them into this process by sending them photos of their finished painting and allowing them to comment on any changes they'd like. After a painting is approved for shipping, we do all packaging at a central location in Xiamen and ship with various express carriers. The whole process tends to take 3-5 weeks, depending on how burdened the shipping companies are at a particular time.
Will said that artist bios was something they were working on. I think giving credit where credit is due would only add value to a painting that was relatively inexpensive and created by someone with genuine talent. Thank you to whomever painted such a lovely portrait of my Finley—I can tell it was done with care and great skill!
Find out more about Pixeli.st here.
The countdown to my New York trip is on: the whole family is leaving this Saturday for a week-long experience. I'll be a judge at the Society of Illustrators and will be attending the Nearly Impossible conference. It's going to be a whirlwind, but if there's anything that you think is a must-see activity, event or destination, I welcome your suggestions in the comments on via Twitter.
To get in the New York state of mind, this weekend I thoroughly enjoyed watching the documentary Bill Cunningham New York . It chronicles the 80-year-old-and-then-some Bill, an intrepid street fashion photographer. It is an amusing and touching portrait of a man who has literally dedicated his life to his creative pursuit.
The film also introduced me to classic celebrity photographer Editta Sherman—she just celebrated her 101st birthday.