September 30, 2016
Once upon a time I lived in Seattle, not too far from Archie McPhee’s store. Often, on a typically wet Saturday afternoon, after I’d wrapped my Positive Vibrations reggae show and enjoyed a satisfying late lunch at a cool joint near Gasworks Park, I’d pop on over to McPhee’s, which was just around the corner. It was always a wonderful treasure trove of peculiar/funny/strange/odd/silly things. “Strange Friends” were not there in those days if I remember correctly. But it was items like “Strange Friends” a series of action figures featuring people wearing animal masks,that kept me going back to the quirky store. Now you too can enjoy the peculiarness of Archie McPhee’s by shopping online…I make no excuse for raving on about the new music I discover. There has been so much recently that I would love to shout about. It almost seems like there is something in the air encouraging talented people from all over the globe to work hard at producing simply wonderful, wonderful music. A perfect example is the duo of Frankie and Rebecca who present their sublime music under the moniker of Samana…Good Good Blood is another name you need to check out. This is the alias of James Smith the brains behind the very clever Fox Food Records. On this outing an EP called Motion Sickness, James has collaborated with Nancy Kells of Spartan Jet-Plex and Catherine DeGennaro & Suzy Jivotovski of GRNDMS. Don’t miss out on these musical gems…some people put out such engaging blogs and you need to know about them, here is one, t.tex’s hexes…before I lived in Seattle when I lived in my hometown of London, I had a studio in Mayfair’s Shepherd’s Market. Just around the corner was Curzon Street and there, in the same location since 1875 was Geo. F. Trumper. A gloriously old-fashioned, men’s grooming emporium. Since those far off days, I have continued to use the Trumper products. The shampoos are fabulous, but it is the colognes and aftershaves that are splendidly unique. Try them and I promise you’ll never use anything else again…Hikaru Cho’s newest body paintings are titled Intimate Illusions. Go on over to her site and check out all of the content, but pay careful attention to her illustrations, in my humble opinion they are worth the visit…it’s always a delight to discover yet another young photographer with a keen eye. Sophie Tajan based in Paris displays quality work on her site. Nice work with the product shots alongside the understated fashion spreads…Dutch illustrator Levi Jacobs caught my attention. Yes, yes, I get the references, but none-the-less, clever, well-executed work here.
August 30, 2016
Not a lot of smiling going on in Hana Knizova’s work. Nevermind, the Czech-born photographer currently based in London appears to like documentary assignments. She has some nice ideas, even if they are a little contrived like her “Family Matters”” and “Couples Exchange” series. Do visit her site, there is a lot to see and enjoy…Alessandro Gallo was born in Geno, Italy. He studied law at Genoa University, then he turns up at Central St. Martins School of Art and follows that by nipping down the Kings Road to Chelsea College of Art. (The art school references are here for all the British art school train-spotters). Alessandro makes disturbing life-like sculptures of humans with animal heads. Not sure I want one in my living room, but they are kind of quirky fun…OK, so I’m obsessed with making mention of London Art Schools I didn’t attend. It’s the result of going to the best school for Graphic Design that rebuffed the Art School moniker at the time. And at the time, (the late 60’s to be precise), Slade School of Art in London was held in high esteem. Lowly Graphic Designer wannabes had no place at Slade. So, it should not surprise you to know I still shudder a little when I read a resume with the mention of Slade. Of course Zsofia Schweger will have no knowledge of my ancient paranoia of Art School status. Which is probably a good thing, seeing as the smart painter is young enough to be my grand-daughter! The Hungarian-born Schweger has a keen eye and should not be easilly classified. Take a good look at her site and make sure you watch out for her future output…Go to Art Book Stand click on Recipes and then search the rest of this tumblr. Afterwards, we can compare notes over high tea…in the mood for a little soulful songwriting and singing? Try Atlanta’s Macy Todd and her new single I’ve Got A Feelin’…first of all, Peeps is out of Toronto, a metropolis so vibrant and full of creative energy, it almost bowls you over. Secondly, Toronto is the home of a Life Elsewhere favorite, the extraordinarilly talented Barzin, so you know it has a substantial pedigree. Peeps is a print magazine, a digital forum and a live talk venue with the byline, “Tracking cultural shifts around the world”. Founder Greg Salmela has put together a brilliant team from academics to professional researchers, to artists, all committed to sharing stories about lived experiences. There is lot to discover and enjoy here. Take your time, but whatever you do, make sure you do not miss visiting Peeps.
May 30, 2016
Sometimes I can’t remember how I came across a site I want to share. Here are a few examples: Andrea Tomas Prato from Italy says he began photographing in 2010 after a basic course and from 2013 he has taught photography. He also adds that he had a Tumblr for years, but it was closed for unspecified violations…attention graphic designers, creative directors or anyone who appreciates brilliant design, Flat File is a weekly publication featuring one piece of graphic design at a time, all courtesy of the Herb Lubalin Study Center. The legendary Fletcher|Forbes|Gill who morphed into Pentagram are featured, reminding me why I wanted to be a graphic designer in the first place, all those years ago…the accomplished journalist Soledad O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group in 2013, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories. I urge you to check out their site and view their productions…I want one of these: a powerful electric bike full of features, even a cup holder. It’s the Super 73 by Lithium Cycles. They have a Kickstarter and say the bike will ship out in November…San Francisco-based filmmaker and stereoscopist Bill Domonkos creates darkly humorous animated GIFs. He says about his work: “I experiment by combining, altering, editing and reassembling using digital technology, special effects and animation to create a new kind of experience”…wonderful and lovingly curated selection of design, furniture, architecture and much more at Esoteric Survey. Make sure you spend time enjoying the archives.
April 10, 2016
The London-based fashion desig partnership of Matthew Cunningham and John Sanderson begin this selection. Superb clothes, elgantly displayed on their site. My attention was caught by the excellent photography skills of Rafael Krotz and the choice of of model, Sarah Stabler…Next we go to Edinburgh, for Pissed Mondernism. What a great name for a visual art exhibition that combines Art, Politics and Craft Beer, inspired by the incredible feeling of political awareness in Scotland during the Independence Referendum. Of course, you have to know that “pissed” means “drunk” in the UK to get the joke. A plethora of excellent work on display here, including Ursula Cheng…based in Taipei, photographer Long Chong goes by the moniker of Puzzlemen. I like the straight forward style here and the easy site navigation…Leo Lei had a passion for all things minimalist, so he founded Leibel to exhibit his wonderful architecture, interiors, furniture and product discoveries. There is a lot to look at here, take your time and puruse leisurely, as all minimalist afficianoados should….fashion photographer and director, Guy Aroch has made the short movie, The Magic Gap, with commentary from passers-by in New York’s SoHo and Central Park who were probed to define the defination…“I’m a graphic designer looking for a job” was the blatantly honest message I spied by Gabriel Benderski. The independent graphic designer and typographer says when it comes to design, he enjoys integrating his concepts with the use of typography. Hopefully we may have helped getting him the attention he seeks…
March 16, 2016
If you spend a little time at BACK. you’ll note that I have thing for minimalism. So, it’ll come as no surprise then to find me raving on about Cereal, a twice yearly, travel and lifestyle magazine. Not only is this publication a beautiful example of all things minimal, it also has a cool writing style. And, if that were not enough, it’s produced in one of my all-time favorite places, Bristol…the surreal self portraits of Japanese photographer Izumi Miyazaki caught my attention long enough to recommend you visit her site…there’s nothing there yet, but remember I told you to visit Tony Visconti’s new website…and talking of all things to do with the late and undoubtably great, David Bowie, this site should interest anyone who needs more info on the legend…travel without getting out of your chair and enjoy the wonders of EarthCam…Champ is another magazine discovery I suggest you check out. It’s a biannual international printed magazine from Tokyo and London with lot’s of cool articles and talented contributors. I particularly like the fashion spreads with acute use of smart creative photography…Men In This Town is a street style blog worth investigating from Canadian photographer, Giuseppe Santamaria, currently residing in Sydney. Although, possibly a teeny bit confusing is the rather unfortunate label of MITT used for the masthead and book…I will admit to not having much of a fondness for science at school, because science involved math, and math was my nemesis. If only Quanta Magazine had been around when Mr. Stark, my science teacher, took obvious sadistic pleasure in watching me crumble under his imperious glare and bewildering questions. Launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science, Quanta is an online publication I recommend you check out, even if you don’t suffer from dyscalculia…
December 14, 2015
Even though we just aired the 3rd Annual Life Elsewhere Holiday Gift Special, where talented and creative guests selected a dazzling array of wonderful ideas, it has not stopped me from taking a peek at what other clever-clogs are up to gift-wise. For instance, what could be better than a Jackite Dove of Peace Kite from Winward Kites. Suggested by sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey, the principals of Hovey Design. On their blog, they offer the following, “Happy Holidays to all! We hope someone can fly that peace dove kite over Europe, the Middle East and many of the American presidential candidates this season. Love really should be all around! “Agreed!…Lara Alegre a Spanish photographer based in Berlin, impresses me with well conceived work, in particular the fashion shoots and exquisite choice of models…for the De Stijl T shirt design by graphic designer David Iraheta, he says, he took inspiration from the work of Piet Mondrian, mixing it with a more street wear style, the number 17 was selected given the period of time of the movement (1917 – 1931). Nice, so is the rest of his work…I’m sure I’ve written about fashion stylist Tokyo James before, he goes by his given name of Iniye James with the creation of Rough magazine. “Rough is for the thinker. Rough is for the individual. Rough is for the creative.” says James. Take a look around, I liked the Art & Culture pages…Wrong Side Of The Art! is an excellently curated aggregated site of low budget and cult B-movie posters and other promotional material. There are some real gems here and it’s worth spending time investigating…Aint-Bad Magazine is a bi-annual publication that promotes new photographic art. In their manifesto they say, “Photography is our best tool for documentation. Images have the power to influence us today and inform us tomorrow”. Explore the carefully curated work and enjoy the informative copy…
November 4, 2015
Not sure how I discovered Colin Quinn, but I do remember thinking this is interesting, I knew the American stand-up comedian and actor was also a writer, but I did not know he had a knack for graphic design. But of course, it didn’t take more than moment to realize this Colin Quinn was a different animal from the bloke I’d seen numerous time on MTV, when it was worth watching back in the 80’s and his Saturday Night Live appearances from way back when. So I got it sussed, because this Colin Quinn, made it simple, “I’m Colin Quinn, a Graphic Designer, Photographer & code-twiddler based in Berlin” he boldly states on his site. Colin presents a couple of nice things, including collaborations. I particularly like his Softwood Furniture, “Designed and built based upon my intellectual, aesthetic and technical capabilities in conjunction with my interior design goals,” he says. I’d like to know more about this chap…Discovering a new beer I really like, because it actually tastes damn good, is a real treat. Almost every new brew I’ve been encouraged to try recently has a painfully ironic name, concocted by wannabe lumberjacks, with far too much facial (and probably other) hair and obligatory tattoos ’n’ piercings. Having said all that, I have nothing against the now standard brewmaster uniform, ‘cause it’s more than likely, the splendid posse at Left hand Brewing are all clad the same way. The difference is, they make one very cool brew, I’m mad about, Milk Stout Nitro! It is most certainly dark and decidedly delicious. Fact is, it’s the best beer I’ve discovered in many a year. I have not tried any of the many other beers Left Hand conjure up, but I’m fascinated by their clever and expertly crafted site…The Art Of Vintage Leather Jackets is quite simply a wonderful site to spend ages lapping up all the glorious detailed information. There is an obvious passion on display here. There is a link also, where you can order your very own custom made jacket…You can troll around on Tumblr for hour after hour in the hope of finding something more interesting and judiciously curated than yet another porn site, but chances are you get more of the same, predictable rag-tag offerings. That is, until you stumble across (like I did), the extraordinarily smart, The Underestimator. “Punk Rock Time Capsule For A Future Generation” announces the sub-header, but, it’s much more than that. Someone who cares about what they are doing, carefully selects the content and makes up-to-the-minute observations about th crazy world we live in. You literally could spend days here, soaking in all the memories, if you are old like me, or wishing you had been there if you’re a young’un…coming soon on Life Elsewhere, my interview with Paul Trynka, author of Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, now out in paperback. In his biography of the ill-fated Stone, Mr. Trynka challenges the myths and legends surrounding the band and confirms much of what I’ve been waffling on about for almost half a century. In fastidious detail, Trynka documents almost perfectly, the earliest days of the Stones, drawing from the often conflicting memories of major players and fleeting cast members. Make sure you don’t miss the interview, it should be interesting, when Paul learns that I was right there at those first Stones’ performances…You should also know that Paul Trynka, known for his writing on music and popular culture, has an engaging blog called Loomstate. It’s all about information relating to workwear and denim. Highly recommended…
October 19, 2015
The capable work of Graeme Coop has been on my radar for some time now. The talented producer from Brighton, otherwise known as Birkwin Jersey has just rewarded my interest with a new album. With long-time collaborator Vienna, Coop has come up with the first album I have listened to nonstop, in a long, long time. And that is massive praise from someone who usually gets bored after track two of most recent albums. In fact, the only long-player I can think of in recent memory, that I’ve repeatedly played in full, is the plaintive and deliciously beautiful, To Live Alone in That Long Summer, from Barzin. The Birkwin & Vienna album is titled Diane and every single track I want to hear again…and again. It’s that good. As I listen to all the splendid tracks on Diane, I cannot help from reflecting on what if Edward Ka-Spel and his cohorts in The Legendary Pink Dots, were starting out now, instead of 1980? Sorry, that was for all the trainspotters in attendance. This album from Birkwin & Vienna is achingly modern. It’s now. Yet the duo demonstrate on track after track how much they understand and respect the glorious history popular music has to offer. In a word, Diane is brilliant!
October 10, 2015
It was circa 1969, when I bought my first pair of Docs, (Oh, dear, that makes me very old!). Lurve magazine, a biannual Paris-based publication has a nice piece on Dr. Martens® fall release of a new custom version of the 4-Eye shoe and the 6-Eye boot, made exclusively for Supreme. Make sure you explore all the wonderful posts at Lurve…Antoine Henault’s photography suggests to me a movie I’d like to watch, snuggled up with a snuggly friend and splendid bottle of 1999, Château Simone Palette Rouge…She was born in Canada, studied in Canberra at the Australian National University School of Art, and now lives and works in Melbourne, her recent pieces include sculptural works made of soap, glass and silicone. Noël Skrzypczak’s work would look terrific in my home. Not that it really matters, but I cannot find dimensions anywhere…I recommend an engaging read titled, Delirious Moscow in Architect, exploring the wonders of Constructivist Architecture…the chefs at the Nexon Computer Museum in South Korea have come up with a computer keyboard you can eat for breakfast. Yes, it’s the waffle keyboard! At their Cafe Int. named after a programming code Integre, the offerings include, (as they put it) a Keyboard Waffle, complete with delicious sauces and a dusting of powdered sugar…some sites are just essential visiting, like Daily Input. Endless fun and inspiration here, curated by Frankfurt-based, Marcel Hausler and Daniel Weberruss, who deserve a big round of applause for their keen observation skills.
October 6, 2015
For this installment of BACK. I’m concentrating strictly on music. So much new music comes my way, yet I don’t have a regular, ongoing platform to share all my discoveries with you. Occasionally, I include a new cut or two in the weekly Life Elsewhere show and sometimes, I squeeze in a few delicious examples at BACK. But, there is always so much more music to bring to your attention. So, stand-by, here comes a full-on array of new music, you must hear and will most likely need to own…to begin, Real Blue, a glorious single from St Germain’s latest album. It’s hard to believe that this is only the third long-player from mastermind, Ludovic Navarre. I have been playing this cut non-stop. For train-spotters, I hear a reference to Small Axe, lurking in the mix…Perth is like a place Ricky Gervais would set The Office, if it were in Australia, a well-travelled friend told me recently, as I was marveling over the top talent that continues to emerge from there, Amanda Merdzan, being no exception. She has been making music for a number of years, mostly in an indie-folk vein. Her latest single, Matter, shows Amanda taking a different tact, which I encourage. She says this is the first single off her new EP, due out next year…given my unadulterated enthusiasm for Killing Joke, it may come as no surprise then, that I should cast my gaze upon Hey Colossus and their 2nd album, Radio Static High, after one reviewer penned the following provocative line about the track, Hop The Railings: “It’s like Killing Joke’s ‘Wardance’ drowning amid waves of surf guitar.” Well, I get the reference, but not so sure I wholeheartedly agree. None-the-less, Hey Colossus deserve your attention…amongst my happy musical finds is Echovolt Records out of Greece, who proudly announce they are an “independent record label based in Athens, releasing all kinds of unusual, quirky, deep and atmospheric electronic music by producers all around the world.” The video above for Ophelia by producer and mixer, JT Stewart is an excellent example of Echovolt’s offerings. Another is Tlim Shug with Surf Dude…Sydney Bennett, known by her stage name as Syd tha Kyd or more recently Syd, won me over a couple of months back with this cut, Get Away…Amsterdam-based artists Stijn Hosman and Hessel Stuut are Polynation. Their debut EP, Allogamy on November 13 via Dutch label Atomnation Damp, is tasty slice of deep, melodic house with gorgeous pads and organic textures…Russian-born, US-based producer and violinist Ilya Goldberg (a.k.a. Lapa) has just released his debut album, Meeting Of The Waters. If the rest of the album is as striking as The Origin, then Mr. Goldberg has a winner on his hands…Don’t Even Think from Twin Limb sounds eerily familiar, but at the same time achingly different. Is it Kevin Ratterman’s distorted guitar that builds and builds? Could it be the mix of Lacey Guthrie’s vocals and accordion or Maryliz Bender vocals and percussion? I gave up digging for influences and references to sit back and enjoy this band from Louisville, Kentucky, who definitely deserve your attention…some Mp3’s arrive in my mailbox with scant information, like Space Above with Fall Through. Seems they are also a trio who incorporate New Zealand’s So Below. More info is needed please…British twins Rob and Katy Pearson go by the moniker Ardyn, and if I remember my schoolboy Latin, means enthusiastic. Which is less frivolous than Kitten and Bear, which is what they used to go by. Universe is their first offering I heard and indicates more treats are in the making…hope you enjoyed this excursion into music at BACK.
August 30, 2015
Very cool fashion spread by the always excellent photographer Willy Vanderperre, inspired by the slender sculptures of Alberto Giacometti, for Garage, a magazine and site I urge you to spend time drooling over…I’ve always been a little suspicious of the motives behind hyper-realistic painting. The lingering question for me has always been, “Is it all about technique over substance?” The work from husband and wife collaborators, Oda and Kit King may give me pause for another evaluation, after reading this quote from Kit King, “I’m very much a recluse, who has a difficult time forming interpersonal relationships; painting in this manner of fabricated reality is my way of connecting to subjects, while simultaneously sending a strong message to the viewer.” OK, I’m not sure what that message is exactly, but you got my attention…just really nice illustration work here by Emma Adbåge. Make sure you check out all the content. Once again, I am reminded of the good old days when illustration was an important part of graphic design…Kelly De Martino with her perspicacious song Bumblebees was featured as a recent Hit That Never Was. Her bio says she is an actress, fashion designer and musician, who departed for Paris. We searched for updated info on her but came up short. If anyone has the latest news on this talented lady, please pass it on…Coffeemegane appears to be a restaurant of sorts in Taiwan. The translations may seem amusing, but the obvious good taste in cool design and preference for intelligent literature lends an air of sophistication I would love to explore and learn all about who is behind this site. Spend time here, discovering quotes like this: “When the way home you can pick up a rock put in your pocket ( and touch it ) pretend you’re a rock”. And follow the leads to places such as Tarasukin Bonkers. Wonderful!…Very cool creative ideas from down-under keep showing up, which means I must make that long overdue visit sooner, rather than later. Douglas & Bec are an excellent example of design talent to look out for. I particularly like their bedroom collection. Of course, what I like does not appear to be available online, oh well, I’m saving for a ticket…OK, here is gist, if you don’t know who Tony Wilson was, then a visit to St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson may not make much sense. The question then has to be, “Where have you been hiding all this time?”…a new print magazine? Yes! Two smart young people, Allison and Ben appear determined to make it happen, with All In. Show your support, if like me, you love holding a real “print” magazine in your mits…more magazines: Wrap is a publication that bridges the gap between being a magazine and a product, each themed edition comes full of interviews and features on an eclectic range of creative endeavours, it also includes ten illustrated wrapping papers made especially for that issue, printed on five double-sided pull-out sheets. People like me who rave and rant about the need for more illustration will be happy that Wrap includes such a brilliant array of talent, including Karolin Schnoor, a German freelance illustrator and designer based in London…“advertising free” always perks the interest of some of my more purist creative friends. So, they should take notice of Address, an independent, advertising-free, journal for fashion criticism. It’s more than that and well worth a visit. Lots to look at and explore. Quite lovely…
July 10, 2015
I know I’ve raved on about how you must visit Backseat Mafia before, but soddit, I urge you to spend time over there investigating all the wondrous delights they collate. And, I especially suggest you hang out at their “Art” page, where you’ll find previews of excellent artists and their work. For instance, take a gander at Norwich-based artist, James Epps. He says, his work comes through a period of experimenting, and exploring the possibilities of what an artwork might be. Thats sounds about right…all I know about Ann Lee is she is currently in South Korea and her photographs document her skillful observation. Enjoy viewing her Tumblr …OK, I admit to having a thing for stark and brutal mid-twentieth-century Modernist architecture. So it will come as no surprise then, that I love Lucy Williams work depicting apartment blocks, swimming pools, and shop fronts, using intricately detailed paper cutting. The London-based artist uses absurdly detailed cuts. No line is too fine, no detail too small for her to recreate. I cannot wait to see these superb works in “real life”…Zoe Ghertner takes very cool photographs using natural light. Her clients include Hermes, Celine, Chanel, and Dior. I particularly like her still-lifes and“Spruzzi“ a movie she co-directed with Gillian Garcia. The editing and sound are also by Zoe. Sculptor Matt Paweski launched Studio Spruzzi for a line of multifunctional lamps, with Garcia, his partner…I appreciate artists tackling different subjects and techniques, yet sometimes it can be confusing as to what their real passion is, take the work of Ward Roberts, the New York based photographer clearly has a lot of ideas, but for me some shine brighter than others. His “Courts” series being a fine example…“My paintings delve into the world of adolescence, depicting clusters of young women in natural, domestic, and institutional settings.” Says Zoe Hawk about her work. The artist doesn’t stop there, she goes on, “Within these vignettes there develops an intricate play of yearning, contention, camaraderie, and mischief.” I wonder if we would look at Zoe’s creations differently if she were not so confidant in explaining her work?
June 23, 2015
I have no idea if Blaise Cepis is influenced by the brilliant work of Steve Hiett, I can only presume she has taken a peek or two at his superlative photos. If Hiett is an influence, in my opinion that means you have a good eye and from what I can see, Ms Cepis definitely has that. Make sure you also check out her Tumblr…Alice Tye is an illustrator based out of London, and she has representation in North America, so creative directors on this side of the pond should give her work a serious look. I particularly like her monotone illustrations for “Lost Shops Of Soho”, reminiscent of a style and technique from a bygone time, yet at the same time, very now…OK, I admit to having a bit of a thing for cookbooks. So Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks is a wonderful discovery. San Francisco-based Swanson says her focus is primarily on natural, whole foods and ingredients, which works well for me. This is a beautiful and easy to navigate site, where I could spend hours drooling over the delicious recipes curated by Heidi…Spanish artist David Cata, regularly uses his body as a canvas, he sews portraits of the faces of people who have left their mark in his life – family, friends, partners and teachers. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of Mr Cata’s work, but I think, like me you’ll take your time exploring his site…if you name your site Jollygoo, then you can be sure of catching my attention. Creator Hiki says she is from Tokyo and her feet are always cold. She also says, “I like to photograph what make me smile and that is pretty much what you see here”, which is cool because she has an excellent eye. Oh, and she runs a web shop called UGUiSU where she sells Japanese stationery and zakka(?)…”I’ve been working for apparel international companies for more than six years designing womenswear and I’m currently working freelance as a surface pattern designer”, says Carmen Fernández Sanz a designer based in Madrid, Spain. Her graphic bed linen designs caught my attention and I’m hoping Carmen is in talks with the smart buyers at Target so I can give my bedrooms a makeover…Catherine Cordasco is a freelance illustrator based in France, she says, “Everyday life is probably my biggest source of inspiration: nature, animals, scenes of daily life – I always try to express my vision in an uncluttered style” and she manages to do just that with well conceived and executed work. I love her seemingly simple and sometimes loose draughtsmanship…is there such a thing as a bad T shirt design? I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s “who wears it and how”. Whoever is behind Fuck Yeah T Shirts probably thinks along the same lines…and this leads us conveniently to Laurent Laporte’s site, Where Is The Cool. Take a look, see if you agree with me, this is a pretty impressive selection…
March 21, 2015
My grandmother on my father’s side had this wonderful collection of massive encyclopedias and each one had page after page of incredible detailed illustrations. Scary ones of the human body where you opened up a part of the illustration, then another and another. Fascinating and frightening at the same time. The opening page of Wolfgang Natlacen’s site has a perfect example of why those creepy illustrations were so tempting to return to, again and again…Austere is a quarterly paper & digital publication produced by young creatives for young creatives. Their words, not mine. I particularly like the photographic work of Morgan Chidsey, for the Life Is But A Dream feature. My words, not theirs. Spend time at this excellent site, even if you are not a young creative…in the recent edition of Life Elsewhere devoted to the songs of David Bowie from 1964 to Station to Station, I made reference to a now cult favorite British TV show called, The Strange World Of Gurney Slade featuring the ubiquitous Anthony Newley. If you are a wee bit curious about the show, you can do no better than to rummage around Cathode Ray Tube, a brilliant and informative site by freelance writer, event and project manager, Frank Collins. The man clearly has an unabated passion for British TV, and rightly so. We are going to reach out to Frank and invite him onto our program…the archives at Sound Shapes Future Civilizations goes back to March 2007. That dear readers is all I can tell you about this site, except you must check it out…Shawna Lernay is an author of six books of poetry a book of essays and an experimental novel titled, Hive, which is about the possibility of the existence of a woman art forger. She has a pleasant site called Calm Things, which I hope you’ll visit…an exquisite art and photography manual at the edge of fetish, fashion and philosophy is how the creators of Tissue Magazine describe their very cool Hamburg-based publication. The work of female photographer and artist Ulrike Biets is certainly worth investigating…
March 5, 2015
We begin this post with two words that cannot be said enough, Imagine Peace. Thank you Yoko Ono…Slanted is a German magazine, blog and shop about typography and design, you need to take some time to explore…staying in Germany, we turn to One Poster A Day, a project by Marcel Häusler, a freelance graphic designer based in Hamburg…here is a perfect reason why I would enjoy being back at art school, Critical Writing RCA…Peter Judson, is a designer and printmaker based in London. His illustration work, while referencing some obvious sources, does have a smart wit. His typography, again not exactly revolutionary, is well considered…I could not resist posting FYI I’m A Graphic Designer. I realize it may not be so funny to those of you who are not graphic designers, but I promise you, it really is, honestly…as I was putting this post together, news came in that Albert Maysles, one half of the famed movie directors, Maysles Brothers, had passed away at the age of 88. Coincidently, The Maysles Brother’s legendary and classic documentary Grey Gardens marks its 40th anniversary this year. The film has been restored by Criterion and put back into theaters today. Here are “Favorite Moments From Grey Gardens”. For those who haven’t seen it, make sure you do, soon…finally, take a look at this video for A Message by first generation Ethiopian-American, Kelela. The Los Angeles-based singer sports magnificent dreadlocks which she appears to chop off in the video – or does she? And, pay extra careful attention, is this about a same-sex relationship? It’s that pause between “ex” and “girlfriend” coupled with the animation part, where she transforms into a virtual goddess, seemingly at war with herself that has my mind conjuring up a beautiful and unforgettable sapphic relationship. Love it.
February 14, 2015
The LOVE post…what better way to start than a polite nod to one of my favorite magazines, Love. If you haven’t visited there before, you’re in for a treat. Give yourself some time, because you’re gonna find a lot of magnificent images to drool over. The talented folks at Love, present their Valentines Day message with a luscious video promoting Hiller Jewelry, directed by Daniel Jackson…apparently, many people need books to help guide them through the mysteries of Love. Amazon’s Top 10 Must Read Books on Love, Dating, and Relationships, offers a selection that would no doubt scare me if I spied them on a date’s bookshelf…cartoon characters have a unique way of illustrating Love, so who better than the ubiquitous Bugs Bunny to demonstrate?…we asked acclaimed New York creative director, Robert Newman to explain the iconic “I Heart NY” logo. Listen to Robert in the sound file at the bottom of this post to. The image for this bit, which references Milton Glaser, the famed designer of the “I Heart NY” , comes from Tattly, a recently launched designy temporary tattoo shop. I came across the photo in an interview with Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss designer based in, where else, NYC. The interview with Tina is at The Great Discontent, a site I encourage you to spend time exploring…consistently for the last couple of years, when I’m putting together a Love mix, or deejaying a late night session, where the vibe is right for a serious Love injection, I’ll cue up Fet & Moi with Paris Is For Lovers. Its always a crowd pleaser; but inevitably someone will eventually realize, I’m playing Justin Timberlake, and briefly think about raising an indignant eyebrow. Then, as they get deeper into this hypnotic semi-lounge cut, they’ll say how much they Love it. I agree, its brilliant, Timber’s original vocals are blended so perfectly into the acid baseline and those spacey synthesizers. I managed to snag a limited edition white label 12”. You’ll probably have a hard time tracking down a copy, but you will be happy to learn you can find the cut right now on Youtube, with dizzying video that will leave you gasping, if not motion sick, as you ask “Is that real? How did they do that? How much speed do you need at dawn in Paris?”…while we are on the subject of Love songs, I have to include The Twinkle Brothers, with their spectacular 10” EP of the same name. This astonishing effort came out on the Virgin Frontline label in 1979. Norman Grant and his brothers sing their earnest songs about the human condition, songs that are probably even more relevant today. This EP stands up to the test of time so well. It should be in everyone’s collection. As The Twinkle Brothers say so emphatically, “Love Is The Answer”
February 6, 2015
“My bubble of inspiration” says the author of Cherry Blossom, a delightful blog by “a girl from Norway” who writes, “these are a collection of things I find inspiring: interior design, styling, music and photography”. She maybe too shy to add that she has an excellent eye and exquisite taste…talking of having a good eye, I wish I knew who is responsible for Future Milk, because I’d like to let them know how much I endorse the caustic wit needed in curating such a brilliant collection…I will admit to being somewhat apprehensive as to what image to use to represent Body Anxiety. You’ll understand when you go to the the site and take a look around at all the various images on display and learn the intent of the curators, Leah Schrager and Jennifer Chan. In Body Anxiety, Schrager and Chan have selected a collection of female-empowering artworks to present in one single location in hopes of reshaping pre-existing narrative of gendered appropriation. Make sure you spend sufficient time here to fully comprehend what Body Anxiety is all about …this is what I like about Ponor, the creator Linda Palmer writes “I’m English and I live in the UK, currently I make two things. I make physical works, oil paint/canvas/objects and I make digital images some of which I like to make move about – where these two main areas touch is my personal Point Of No Return. P O N O R. Perfect! take a good look around her site, Linda has some interesting ideas and I’m thinking a lovely sense of humor…San Francisco-based writer, director & filmmaker Joshua Moore’s most recent film Keep A Tidy Soul is a must see. I’m not going to tell you anything about it, except that I watched it again and again, plus, it’s playing festivals around the world. Joshua says, when he’s not making films, you’ll find him riding along the Northern California coastline on his vintage motorcycle. A splendid idea!…regular readers of BACK. will know of my passion for illustration, and understand the mention of Drawing Room, which is the only public, non-profit gallery in the UK and Europe dedicated to the investigation and presentation of international contemporary drawing. I haven’t been there yet, mostly because I’m thousands of miles away, but I suggest if you happen to be in south east London, be sure to visit Drawing Room and report back to me with glorious details…
January 21, 2015
I have often wished I had the talent or perhaps the wherewithal to be able to make a living in print-making. From my first potato-cuts through to primitive linocuts venturing to woodblocks, silkscreens and finally large scale multi-plate etchings, I’m fascinated by the balance between the physical and the creative requirements to produce a satisfying work of art. Because of my ongoing love of printmaking, I continue to take careful notice of artists who are dedicated enough to work with printmaking as their prefered medium. New York based artist, Polly Apfelbaum’s latest massive works are a perfect example. I’ve been lucky enough to catch site of Polly’s work in a number of collections and I’m impressed with her bold use of color and intelligent way with patterns. Durham Press has some wonderful examples of her woodblock monoprints available. I encourage you to take a slow peruse through their catalogue…since 2009, the primary focus of Coming Up Strong has been to promote and expose young, emerging photographers from around the world. The blog was founded by Yuli Sato, who currently lives and works in Montreal, Canada. There is a lot of cool work to look at here, I particularly enjoyed Sarajevo-based, Sumeja Tulic’s curiously intimate photos of family, friends and strangers…for my money, there can never be enough good graphic design. Studio Network is a graphic design studio based in New York whose tastefully executed site will give you a big clue to the tidy, restrained work they produce. For those of you old enough like me, to remember those hot boutique design agencies of early 70’s London, will know exactly what I mean when I suggest that Studio Network remind me of Crosby, Fletcher, Forbes or perhaps Minale, Tatterfield, Provinciali? That of course, is a huge compliment…Yumna Al-Arashi says she is a photographer based between Los Angeles and New York City. Make sure you check out her Diary page…Clemens Tissi out of Germany, presents excellent minimalist furniture on an attractive site that is fun to navigate…easy to navigate while being interesting to look at, is fast becoming my criteria for how long I’ll scroll through someone’s work. Jody Rogac, currently in New York, originally from England and raised in Vancouver, Canada, managed to hold my attention long enough to go back a couple of times, in case I missed something…
January 13, 2015
Early warning, I have just read what I predict will not only be on my best-book-of-the-year list, but also on many other best-of-lists. That book is Unbecoming: A Novel by Rebecca Scherm. To say this writer has an astute way with words would be an understatement. I cannot think of another writer capable of using the word cunt so eloquently. Totally brilliant! As I neared the end of the book, I slowed down my reading to make the pleasure of enjoying the astonishing writing last longer. You can expect an in-depth interview with Rebecca Scherm soon on Life Elsewhere…what did we do before Google? Everyone uses the ubiquitous search engine, but of course not everyone searches for the same things, in fact you’ll be amazed at What Each State Googled…how many times will you watch The Best Reverse Gif Of The Year?…no rubber ducky here in the master bathroom of an apartment with an unobstructed view from the top of New York City’s Tallest Apartment Building…is this more self-possessed art crap? The navigation on William Powhida’s site is worth the visit…what I like about Paris-based graphic design studio, Maquette & Mise en page founded by Christophe Michel is the mention of helping with choice of papers, printing processes, document presentation and supervising production, just like graphic designers were trained to do, when I went to art school, way back when. Oh, and yes, Christophe and associates create superb work, make sure you check everything out. Also, nice navigation…Japan Trend Shop is a site you may become addicted to, its that good. Make sure you check out the Disaster Goods page and like me, you may wonder why the Perfect Guard Pants are not included there, after all, as the copy clearly says, “No need to feel ashamed. It’s happened to us all. After a few drinks too many or when your stomach is not feeling right, sometimes we have accidents. And there’s nothing worse than having to go to work with wet underwear. Put on the Perfect Guard Pants if you have these worries!”…apparently FAT stands for Fashion, Art, Type. That sounds reasonable to me as the smart people who create FAT Magazine from the Copenhagen design agencyen skillfully use all three ideas in their splendid publication…nice collection of photographers work at Many Many, although I noticed a couple of the links were unfortunately out of date…
December 30, 2014
This is the last post at BACK. for 2014…love is always a good place to begin, so check this out, 17-year-old Cas Stonehouse out of Toronto who describes herself as “a high school student attempting to do film stuff,” yet on seeing her work, like me, you may already consider she is a gifted filmmaker as well as a songwriter/singer: she wrote Made of You, heard in her video, Kiss Me. Cas asked 8 teenage couples to share a kiss on camera. She wanted to capture the essence of teenage romance. And, I think she managed the task better than filmmakers twice her age…Famapa, the London-based creator of My Funny Eye, says “I like taking pictures. A lot”, which is a good thing, ’cause she takes splendid photos and proves her funny eye is also discerning…creative weaver, Hannah Waldron says “her work often explores the textures, patterns, forms and structures of her surroundings, and has an interest in the development of landscape over time”, Hannah explains her work well, but she does not mention how a dilettante like me would love to have a room-full of her fabulous weaving. Make sure you check out her “Shop Editions”…according to his bio, Viktor Hachmang was born in 1988, which means he is still a young person. I relish in discovering new emerging talent, while some of my peers grumble and mumble about “young people today not having original ideas”. Vicktor is an illustrator and designer based in The Hague, his work needs to be seen by all the (aging!) creative directors on the Life Elsewhere mailing list…in my search for new magazines worth taking the time to visit, I discovered Smith Journal, who say about themselves, “We are quarterly, Australia-based publication that takes unexpected, interesting, funny and sometimes complicated stories and tells them the way you would to a bunch of friends at the pub” then many words later they finish with, “Smith isn’t about being clever. It happily confesses to knowing nothing, but considers that positive, because it means it’s fascinated by everything”. Smith Journal does a much better job than I could have, in explaining why you should check their magazine out…I know little about Okay-Kaya, except that she was born in New Jersey, moved to a peninsula outside of Oslo and currently lives and works in New York City. Her real name maybe Kaya Wilkins and her contact email is associated with the same label as Willis Earl Beal, I featured in an earlier post at BACK. Oh, and on the evidence of this small sample of her work, Okay-Kaya is a name to watch out for…blueberries on gessoboard, hair and steam in shower stall, rust on canvas, steel wool & pins, these are just some of the materials Rebecca Szeto uses in her witty artwork. The San Francisco-based artist says, “I am interested in the poetic intersection of the material and the immaterial – a transformative, and often humorous, synthesis of confounded expectations.” Ms. Szeto’s site is a delightful place to spend time marvelling at her works, she describes as “markedly concise and quiet, steeped in wordplay”…I’ve always enjoyed the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and recently discovered Wanda Gág’s glorious Tales from Grimm. Gág (1893–1946) was a pioneer in children’s book writing, integrating text and illustration, her translation of classic Grimm tales, accompanied by her whimsical illustrations is a must have…papercutting artist, Maude White’s work reminds me of the sensation when standing at the top of very tall building and looking down, its thrilling and scary at the same time. Ms White makes intricate, delicate work with such dexterity, you’ll wonder how on earth she manages to cut so precisely without making a mistake. What really impresses me with her artwork is the way she uses positive and negative space to create fantastic scenes and stories…
December 16, 2014
Remember the early days of MTV? If you do, then chances are, you stopped watching the ubiquitous music channel right around about the time reality shows like The Real World dominated the cable channel’s line-up. Since then you may have caught a glimpse of a music video here or perhaps there, mostly when someone posts a Miley Cyrus-Wrecking Ball-type parody on Facebook, or perhaps when the original bloviator himself, Bill O’Reilly feigns outrage and disgust as an excuse to show yet another non-stop-loop of almost bare breasts and bums. Meanwhile, without even looking for rotation on MTV, the new legion of music artists have turned to creating music videos to promote their releases. For the most part these visual accompaniments to songs are seen via YouTube and in turn through the magic of smart phones. Unless you’re a young person, (under 25?), you probably never get to see most of the videos being produced. Because I devour pop culture in all it’s many forms and happen to be on the mailing-list of indie record labels, I frequently come across, new exciting promotional videos. If you care to scroll down the posts here at BACK., you’ll see I’ve included a number of them over the last year or so. Now, here’s the thing, as of late, I’ve noticed a definite, (could it be deliberate?) move toward a certainly more creative approach, but also, an unavoidably obvious and more sexy or sexual tone. In particular, girl-on-girl themes are prevalent, even if the song may not indicate as such. To illustrate, I’ll begin with Yumi Zouma with The Brae from their late 2013 debut EP on the Cascine imprint. Yumi Zouma is Charlie Ryder, Josh Burgess and Kim Pflaum, friends from New Zealand now divided amongst New York, Paris and Christchurch. The cover of the EP could be as misleading as the video directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko, featuring Dasha Nekrasova as The Girl, Vishwam Velandy as The Boy and Lucile Littot as The Neighbor, until you discover there is another video by the same director and the same cast, for the song, A Long Walk Home For Parted Lovers.
You’d be forgiven if you think Lolawolf protest too much that they are a real band and not Zoë Kravitz and her backing fellas. After all, the moody-sexy video for What Love Is does present the starlet-offspring of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet as the main attraction. Despite the unabashed sexuality of their visual promotion, you’ll thank me for suggesting you check out their album Calm Down.
Filmmaker and photographer, Camila Falquez produces splendid and often sexy work from her bases in New York and Barcelona, so its hardly surprising that she came up with a stunning video for Jungle Lady by Lion Babe. This sensual delight was directed and edited by Ms Falquez, with Lucas McGowen directing the photography and stylist Jeffrey Williams adding their obvious expertise. Three and half minutes of a simply gorgeous video. Oh, and New York duo Lion Babe, aka Lucas Goodman and Jillian Hervey, have made music good enough to be on repeat play at my house. And, I guess this dates me, I interviewed Jillian’s mother in 1983, a few days after she became the first African-American woman crowned Miss America, yes the lovely Vanessa L. Williams. If you’re old enough to remember the beginning of MTV in 1981, then you’ll also recall, that Ms. Williams had to relinquish her title after a scandal arose when Penthouse magazine bought and published nude photographs of her. How times have changed…or have they?
See the videos by clicking on the photos
December 10, 2014
Robert Newman, the highly-regarded creative director, frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere and genuinely all-round good guy teamed up with Linda Rubes to produce The Holiday 2014 issue of AQ: Athletes Quarterly. This is the second issue produced by the team and certainly worth checking out, as is Newman’s informative Newmanology…What We Wore: A People’s History of British Style by Nina Manandhar and Ted Polhemus is a wonderful visual timeline of UK fashion since the 1950’s. The book encompasses the worlds of Mods, punks, ravers, grime kids, and everything in between, with photos submitted by everyday British people as well as celebrities. Anyone fascinated as to why fashion is such an integral part of British life, may find clues in this lovely tome…which leads me perfectly to introducing you to the wonders of London’s S.E.H Kelly, who states: S.E.H Kelly makes an unassuming sort of garment — a garment which is pleasing to wear, when you think about it, satisfying to use, when you need it, but which, the rest of the time, is quiet and simple and modest. Agreed, but I’d also add these are clothes you must wear to really appreciate, which explains why their site address is on my Holiday wish list…I like WAX, even though my days of surfing are now a distant memory. WAX is a bi-annual print publication exploring the intersection of art, culture and surfing. Each issue is organized around a unique theme and shares the stories of area surfers who are also artists, designers, authors and auteurs. The dedicated enthusiasm displayed at WAX is infectious…I’ve mentioned my love of illustration here at BACK. regularly. You could say I’m on a constant crusade to encourage and prompt my creative director friends to consider using more illustration. Seems, I’m not alone, Anneke Krull, out of The Netherlands, has the same passion for illustration, aptly demonstrated with her superbly curated I Love Illustration. The work of London-based, Paul X. Johnson is showcased here to nudge you to visit Anneke‘s site. And while you’re there, be sure to take a gander at Ms. Krull’s excellent work…I’m sure Anneke will not mind if I point her (and you) in the direction of an illustrator and lovely man, whose work I have admired since the 70’s, the ridiculously talented Malcolm Bird. His Biba era illustrations have to be my favorites, but I do advise you to rummage through all of his delightful work…my love of minimalism has not gone unnoticed by some of my more observant friends who often enjoy teasing me about how I probably dream of living in a John Pawson designed home. So, it should come as no surprise then, if I get to visit Venice anytime soon, I’ll make a beeline for Legrenzi Rooms. With just six rooms, this is my kind of luxury boutique hotel, (perhaps I should add a possible reservation to my growing Holiday wish list?)…
November 29, 2014
Karine Chane Yin & Patrice Fuma Courtis are the founders and art directors of Spoon magazine. It began on the internet in 1996 when, as they mention, there were only 100,00 sites active. A lot has happened since then, including Spoon going through a number of critical changes. The founders write, “We are ready to start again this utopian project, and we will try to make it the same way and only way we know :with no compromise, and with a bit of fun in it.” Perfectly good reasons why you should check out Spoon and enjoy all the creativity they have to offer…I discovered the delightful work of Denef Huvaj, from Istanbul and encourage you to do the same by spending time carefully scrutinising her work and blog…Jennifer Daniel has a wonderful sense of humor which should be immediately obvious from the title of her website where you will find clever, witty and original thinking…someone by the name of Joey has put a lot of time and effort in curating the charming Anonymous Works site. A treasure trove of exceptional finds, savor slowly…photographer Alan George has a keen eye, I especially like the “Domesticated” series…“I am interested in smells rather than perfumes: I love the scent of fresh grass and old castles,” discloses Ramdane Touhami who, alongside his wife Victoire de Taillac, is the Parisian behind the revival of Saint Germain-situated beauty brand Buly 1803. The short videos for their lovely smelly products can be exemplified by the extraordinary video, “Water Drop Odyssey” by Julien Bouver & Xavier Favre…I’m always on the lookout for new artists who show serious promise with affordable works for collectors like me with unlimited taste but limited funds. South African born, Brooklyn-based, Emilia Olsen is a name to look out for and hopefully an artist I can add to my collection before too long.
November 18, 2014
It must have around three years ago when I first saw Petrina Hicks excellent work. I remember making a note that I must share her video The Chrysalis, but as so often happens, the note was buried quickly under other notes and reminders. But luckily, every so often I clear off my desk and discover those treasures once again. Australian photographer Hicks has a deliberate, concentrated style, which is at once both disturbing and intriguing. What do you think? Share your thought with me about the work I select for BACK …based in beautiful Seville, Spain, illustrator and designer Martin Sati is creating some wonderfuly clever work. I particularly like his GIFS…with Christmas just around the corner, it may time to start thinking about what to give your favorite graphic designer. How about a book that will guarantee squeals of delight from even the most restrained designer-type: Paul Rand : A Designer’s Art…my days of being a dedicated dandy are not altogether long gone, but I must admit to not spending as much time these days worrying about the length of my jackets or the cut of my pants. But, if I were in need of a little inspiration, Gianni Fontana and his Style Buff site would do the job very nicely…Truth Facts graphic designer does a brilliant job, I could spend ages here…Egyptian bodybuilders pose with their mothers in striking portraits by Denis Dailleux. Be sure to take careful note of the rest of his superb portfolio…according to PhotoSeed, their site represents an evolving online record of the early fine-art photography movement. It’s a private archive with simple goals: beauty, truth, scholarship and enjoyment for all who visit…the nice people at Hot and Cool sent me a reminder to say their new issue is available. Be sure to check out the News (blog) page and scroll down to find Reely and Truly: A Short Film on Photography (Director’s cut) by Tyrone Lebon. Creative directors, test your trainspotting skills by name-checking before the credits roll. To buy Hot and Cool go to the wonderful Antenne Books out of London and make sure you take your time indulging in their magnificent catalogue…Jillian Steinhauer has appeared on Life Elsewhere and you should know she has a site where you can find links to her terrific writing…competent graphic design work from José Canales, based out of Austin, Texas. I particularly like his posters page.
November 4, 2014
Louise Zergaeng Pomeroy, a talented illustrator based in London, graduated from Kingston Uni, an institution that has a very special place in my early history. Louise attended a school where the heritage of exceptional talent is long and notable. I’m sure she might like to rummage through some of my treasured memorabilia, where she will discover earlier talents from Kingston art school she has so much in common with. Do make sure you check out her blog…take a look at The Checkered Blouse, 2014, oil on linen, 8 x 10″ by Jonathan Gardner and you’ll want to see more of his charming work. I’m sure you’ll agree, we should keep an eye on this smart artist…I like Berlin-based Katja Hentschel’s portraits, but I advise you to also check out her excellent videos and blog…Chicago-based design and art director Monte Beauchamp has skillfully produced Blab! an annual anthology of visual art. The selections here are simply magnificent, illustrating (sorry), once again, that illustrative art is so vitally important…Shopdrop: To covertly place objects on display in a store. A form of “culture jamming” I think this link maybe out of date, but none-the-less, the idea is a lot of fun, scrutinize carefully. Good stuff here…you like books? Lot’s of lovely reading matter at World Food Books. Founded in 2010, in Melbourne, they are dedicated to presenting a quality selection of international contemporary art journals, monographs and artist’s editions…how wonderful to be able to live between Marseille, Paris and Buenos Aires and work as a freelance graphic design and art director. Anaīs Bourdet does just that. Her work covers editorial design, branding, packaging and illustration. I particularly like her packaging for Compagnie de Provence…and now for some animation, here is a brilliant collaboration between Charles Huettner and Joseph Bennett. The audio is from a street recording provided by Ben Kronberg. Make sure you check out Ghost Stories at Late Night Work Club. Be advised, I almost missed a meeting because I was so entranced by the superb variety of animation here…finally a video for a song I’ve had on repeat play for a few days now, Natasha St-Pier with Tu Trouveras. Pardon, Francophiles, I hope you’ll find this as enjoyable as I do. PS: I love her haircut!
October 14, 2014
I read recently, I don’t remember where, that women prefer men with light growth of beard. Not too much but just enough to be more than your cliché five-o-clock shadow. There must be some truth in this, if you notice how many men of all stripes and ages are sporting a little manly stubble. Hopefully this will mean the long overdue demise of those sad wispy goatees so many young fellows have paraded, along with the requisite tats and shaved heads. Full beards also appear to making a comeback and not just for those blokes you see shuffling around in micro-breweries. This trend has caught the attention of someone with a good eye, because they have curated a splendid collection of images at Facial Awareness…talking of curating, a judicious eye has to be behind the content of Fuschia Groan, I’m curious to know the origination of the name…Berlin, is a short movie by Elif Kalkan a photographer and filmmaker out of Istanbul, from what I can determine…Weltenbuerger, which means World Citizen, started out as a concept dedicated to cutting edge vintage/street fashion as well as independent design culture from the U.S. and Germany.Weltenbuerger now have stores and a website offering a distinctive variety of clothes and accessories. What I like most here is the simple but effective design and navigation on their site which faithfully compliments the products they have for sale…Vrag is an online magazine featuring fashion, art, photography and youth culture today, based in London. The youthful spirit instead of yet another retro wannabe, comes across, which I applaud…Johan de Lange says he spends most of his time between London, Amsterdam and South Africa. He can be found practically anywhere on the planet, at the moment he’s in South Africa and he is also, Joh Del. Well despite Johan’s possible multiple personalities and non-stop globe-trotting, he manages to come up with decidedly excellent work…Helsinki is the currant base for Ernest Protasiewicz. Take a slow meander around his site, interesting work here, particularly, the portraits…“sexually charged fashion, rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia and female supremacy” is the statement from ladies behind Badlands777. They say their friendship was born out of an appreciation of al things bad. Badlands777 started out in 2010 as a blog, dedicated to women, fashion, film, music and art. Take a look at the first issue of their magazine, entitled ‘The Sisterhood”…the creator of Crushevil says, “I’m an artist based in Brighton, my blog is for inspiration and research images. I’m particularly interested in masks, costumes, shamanism, ritual, ancient traditions, the occult, primitivism, body art, anthropomorphic ceramics, art brut, jellyfish, superstition, bright colours and dark thing”. Full marks for being based in lovely Brighton and bonus points for a first-class site.
October 8, 2014
I came across the work of Jennifer Medina a 21 year-old photographer based in NYC, some while ago and made a note to mention her work here at BACK., but I had not taken the time to check out her self portraits. As soon as I did, I knew I couldn’t hesitate, I had to share her work with you…Spitalfields is an area of London I know only too well, having lived there for a fair portion of my 20’s. It’s a wonderful place full of charm and history, not least of all, parts of Roman London, including the ancient Roman wall are still standing there. A wall I should add that was in literally, in spitting distance of my living room window. (I had never thought of the obvious connection between the name Spitalfields and the action, before). Someone who goes by the name of The Gentle Author, has lovingly, put together a site, dedicated to Spitalfields Spend some time here and discover not only the ancient Roman wall but also wonderful events such as the Royal Horticultural Society Harvest Festival…take a look at photos from rarely seen of Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana and others by artist and photographer, William John Kennedy…you could spend a lot of time exploring the enormous array of superb graphic design from Folch Studio based in magnificent Barcelona…Stephan Vanfleteren is a talented photographer from Belgium. His bold stark style references a number of obvious sources, yet he maintains his own distinctive approach, which I think may be best illustrated by his “Facades & Display” series. When you go to his site, you’ll find many, many wonderful images to look at, although I do wonder if some are verging on the exploitive…on a flight to New York the other day, the business-suited gentleman sitting next to me commented on my socks (tangerine, sky-blue and leaf-green horizontal bands). “Very bold!” He said, and then went on at length about how he would love to wear “colorful socks”. I should have about asked for his email address and sent him the link to Strathcona, a project by artist/designer Ryley O’Byrne. In 2010 she launched her first collection of limited edition printed socks. She continues to work abroad and from her studio in Roberts Creek, Canada, where she creates weird and sometimes beautiful patterns. Ryley’s retro porn design maybe a little too much for the man on the plane though. Perhaps Chup, a line by Japanese producer Glen-Clyde may suit someone taking their first steps into wearing “bold” socks?…new music I’m listening to: Laurie Anderson’s O Superman has always been a conundrum for me. I admit to being probably being the first people to play the damn thing on the radio. Although, I gritted my teeth, while airing it week after week, because I had the suspicion it was a daft, pretentious joke. I still do. Over the years, it has been lauded as a dramatic, forward-thinking art-piece. Yet, my reservations have remained. Recently I discovered a reworking, titled, You Don’t Know Me by MP (Mark Pritchard), Can I say I like this much better than the original, without getting harangued by the legions of Anderson devotees?
Minnesota-raised, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Carlie de Boer, caught my attention with Traditions
September 22, 2014
Sara Barnes curates Brown Paper Bag a daily art blog out of Baltimore, MD. Thankfully, she loves illustration and all things creative, probably as much as I do. Be sure to rummage through her delightful site, its packed full of wonderful work. Tuesday Bassen is a perfect example, above is her illustration for a Playboy column called, “Does Sex Attract Bears?” Tuesday illustrated several queries, this question was, “Is It Okay For Vegetarians to Swallow?”…interesting stylized work from Moscow-based photographer, Pavel Samokhvalov, but when you scan though his portfolio you’ll see he has a lot more ideas…even if you don’t speak French or a translator gizmo is absent from your computer, you should still be able to enjoy Etienne Pressager…AQQ is a design “firm” or “collective” or “whatever” (they announce), based out of Los Angeles. AQQ was started and is run by Matthew Sullivan; “this is as relevant as it is incidental” their blurb continues, adding. “AQQ believes that most confidence is meretricious and ostentatious. Also, sanctimony is disgusting”. Apparently, they have a very definitive point of view, which I like. They also have some choice offerings, like this Kartell chair (below). Be sure you visit the AQQ Index, lots of linteresting images here…and now for lovely work, lovely photos at a lovely site, make sure you check out the Inspiration page at Hiddenforms by SAŠA ANTIĆ…Friends & Family are a creative agency comprised of designers and builders, based in Brooklyn. Spend a little time searching through their site, you’ll fine some good examples of smart thinking and workable solutions…Dickpig Sux is a diy zine written and illustrated by Homegirl Weaver, she says she does album covers, flyers, t-shirts for mad cheap. Somebody take her up on that offer and then pay double. When you take a look a her tasty work, you’ll agree she deserves every extra penny…I like the navigation and the work on display by Holiday. They say they were founded in New York by two creative technologists, but with a Seattle area code, I wonder if they absconded to the Pacific North West?
September 9, 2014
Recently the number of promotional music videos landing in my inbox has increased. Many follow a predictable format relaying on goofy production techniques. Only a few capture my attention enough to prompt a click on the repeat button. Here then, a selection of current music videos I’ve viewed more than a couple of times, and suggest you do the same. Female homoeroticism has been showing up all over the place in media lately. Could the trend have been initiated by the 2013 movie Blue Is the Warmest Color written, produced, and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos ? Possibly, although I’m sure I will hear from some quarters that “no prompting” was needed. All the same, the video for Why Can’t I Be You, the debut track from Swedish duo R.A.B.B.I.I., directed by Isabella Carbonell, will most assuredly raise some eyebrows and I guarantee hits on the repeat button…and talking of raising eyebrows, the green-screen effects gadget is in full effect with what has to be a disturbing/alluring video for She’s Bad by DyE feat. Egyptian Lover directed by DentDeCuir, this quirky vid has a stylistic tone that we here at Life Elsewhere thinks works, especially bringing Egyptian Lover back. We wonder where he has been for the past 20 years or so?…Catarina Dos Santos has the lead and almost solo role in the video directed by Lydie Bárbara for Mom and Dad the first single from Xinobi‘s forthcoming debut album. Ms. Dos Santos looks as if she is practicing golf in an abattoir, where she has disgusting gloop flung at her already painted face…any excuse to get yet another glimpse of the tragically beautiful Jim Morrison is perfectly fine in my book, here then is People Drive Strange by The Doors vs Kavinsky as imagined by Phil RetroSpector…finally, as I studied these new music videos, it got my befuddled brain thinking back to what I consider to be one of the first movies designed to accompany the release of a record. It’s Peter Whitehead’s extraordinary 1967 film for The Rolling Stones’ sarcastic ode to the British establishment, We Love You. The song and the film were hastily put together at Andrew Oldham’s bidding, after the notorious Redlands bust and Mick and Keith were awaiting appeal hearings. The film began with the sound of prison doors closing, and the accompanying scenes included allusions to the trial of Oscar Wilde. The original uncut version of the film is worth tracking down…which of course, leads to me to suggest you should also track down Rober Frank’s Cock Sucker Blues, but thats another story…
September 3, 2014
We start this post with an iconic image that has been given a witty make-over. The wonders of Photoshop and GIF wizardry continue to amaze me. Thankfully there are creative types with an excellent sense of humor who rise above the masses of tiresome re-worked photos, spewed out by wanna-be clever-clogs…Food For Thought, I almost want to hate this site for being so damn lovely and appealing. There are a lot of sites dedicated to food, in fact, there may well be too many. This one though, is way beyond most of the others, simply because of the way it looks, the way its written and the obvious passion for good food that oozes from every single page. I could, in fact I have, spent ages here ogling the photos and lasciviously digesting the mouth-watering words. If you do the same, send a note to Marte Marie Forsberg and tell her Norman B sent you…it was circe 1977 when I first discovered the genius of Margaret Howell. My first purchase was one of her exquisite crisp white shirts. The uninitiated could not understand why I would spend more than a weeks wages (at that time) on what appeared to be no more than an ordinary plain white cotton shirt. But, if you were a careful observer of style and taste, you’d notice the details, the perfection of the fabric and the deliberate shape of the collar, which looked grand when left buttoned but without a tie. I became, I admit, addicted to Ms. Howell’s fastidious clothing. I loved the superb way she combined the finest source materials with a referential take on traditional British clothing. Ms. Howell’s passionate endeavors have paid off, her empire has deservedly grown from the tiny shirtmaker I stumbled upon all those years ago. Thankfully, I can still fit myself out in her seriously understated threads and so can you, if you have any interest at all in what must be the finest minimalist clothing available. Make sure you check out her site…it would seem that in each post at BACK. I urge my creative director friends to take notice of an illustrator I’ve discovered, here is another one, Wayne Pate who unassumingly announces on his site that he “is an artist and freelance illustrator of sorts”. Mr. Pate may be deliberately coy, but his work is wonderfully bold and ready for a close up, Mr. DeMille…once you see this site, Things Fitting Perfectly Into Other Things I promise you will never look at anything, and I mean anything the same again…and now it’s time for a deluge of music that has been stacking up in my “Must Share” folder for some time. First up, The Golden Filter with Heady Filthy, a slinky slice of sparse sounds that draw you in and mess with your sense of space and time, just as the vocals start. Perhaps, this is a possible soundtrack to pursuing Margaret Howell‘s catalogue?
Next, Los Angeles based producer / DJ Jason Stewart is Them Jeans with a deceptively enticing cut titled, surprisingly, Swedish Band
According to his bio, Louis La Roche is “perhaps the next great hero for the British dance music scene”. Louis says he has undoubtedly been influenced by UK legends such as The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx, alongside the unmistakable French house sound of the 1990’s. At just 22 years of age, Mr. La Roche has a lot of years ahead to gather in more inspiration, but by the quality of The Way She Makes Me Feel, he is doing just fine so far
WENNINK, the name of a project by London-based singer and writer Oliver Wennink. His influences can be identified as ranging from Thom Yorke to Four Tet to James Blake. These influences helped form the glitchy percussion, the spacious ambience, the fragility of the overall sound, the underpinned melancholy and the beautifully rich vocals of Hard & Squared.
August 21, 2014
What would Sid think? Did I just come up with the latest Meme? One can presume the long-departed John Simon Ritchie aka Sid Vicious would sneer and gob all the way to the bank with the royalties from the new Acura TLX TV commercial. Although, I’m sure I’m not alone in being perplexed by the use of the Vicious version of My Way. The schmaltzy ballad penned by Paul Anka and made popular by Frank Sinatra was covered by Sid, who in turn chose to base his parody on Elvis Presley’s histrionic reading. Vicious didn’t know all the lyrics to the song when it was recorded, so he improvised several lyrics. Vicious‘ reference to a “prat who wears hats” was an in-joke directed towards Vicious’ friend and Sex Pistols band-mate John Lydon. Sid’s My Way charted at No. 7 in the UK in 1978, but over the years, it has continued to turn up on soundtracks such as the closing credits of the films Goodfellas and Juan of the Dead. A snippet of the song is also heard at the end of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Lovers Walk”, as part of a running joke about vampire Spike’s enjoyment of the Sex Pistols, as well as a reference to a snippet of the Frank Sinatra version that played at the beginning. In the film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle the original footage for the track shows Sid Vicious at the end taking out a hand gun and opening fire on the audience, hitting two of the audience members. Sid then sneers, throws the gun away, and flicks the V’s at the audience and ascends the staircase he walked down to the stage from. For the music video version, director Julien Temple removed the original footage featuring actors playing the audience and the final graphic violence and replaced a few of the audience cutaways with stock footage of a theatre audience from the 1950s (he also drowned out Sid’s use of the F-word in the third verse with audience applause). Although the censored version was still controversial, it merely showed Sid wildly shooting a gun towards the crowd. All of the footage of the bullet impacts and corpses were removed. The music video was recreated for director Alex Cox‘s film Sid and Nancy, with Sid (Gary Oldman) shooting girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), eerily foreshadowing her alleged murder at Sid’s hands. However, in the film, she gets up and the two embrace as the stage lights are turned off. I suspect the creatives at Mullen L.A. the ad agency responsible for the spot have no interest in the back story, moreover, they expect that the demographic who lust after an Acura TLX have no idea who Sid Vicious was…as a public courtesy, I searched through my files and came up with this rare gem as an introduction to Sid Vicious for the uninitiated. Originally shown on Manhattan Cable’s public access channel in the 1970s, here is the entire one hour episode of: Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen, Stiv Bators (of The Dead Boys) and Cynthia (of The B Girls) appearing on Efrom Allen’s Underground TV show. Two weeks after this was shot Nancy was killed in the Chelsea Hotel and Sid was arrested for her murder. After detoxing in jail, Sid was released two weeks later and promptly OD’d when he did his “usual”dose of smack. Several months later Stiv was hit by a car in London and died the following day…”Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about design and visual culture” so say the people at Eye. A big bold statement, yet they clearly have put some hard work into this decent looking project. Please make sure you check it out…in my constant search for new and interesting illustrators, I came across the work of Amy Borrell. I’m impressed with her “Portraits” and encourage my Creative Director friends to commission her without delay…I may have said this before, but its worth repeating, “I love GOOD pop music!”. London duo Avec Sans are a perfect example. Their new single has all the flourishes of a 80’s New Wave, yet manages to deliver their own distinctive toe-tapping-catchy-sing-along style. I love it. I also recommend the accompanying video directed by Craig Murray. Make sure to get a good look at her hair-cut. That’s what the world needs now, more smart hair-doos…at Album Artifact they ask: “How far can you boil something down until you reach it’s core essence? What does it take to create something new while still keeping the integrity of the original source material?” Their version of New Order‘s sleeve for Power, Corruption & Lies may give you a clue…here is a fun place to visit, Time Traveling Photographs Reveal History In The Present. I hope more people have a go at this, the results are sometimes quite amazing…wonderful video here about the Church Of Type…the fervent clamor for all things Frida Kahlo has often, I will admit, escaped me. So, now I’m totally confused why someone would devote a whole site to Ms. Kahlo nude or reimagine her as Patti Smith
August 5, 2014
I have to admit, it took me by surprise when just the other day I had Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick playing in the car and my passenger asked, “Who is that?” How could it be possible I wondered, that a person of a certain age did not know of the inimitable and truly wonderful, late, great, Ian Dury? As soon as I returned home, I immediately searched out this very cool video of Mr. Dury on The Michael Parkinson Show as a quick primer. Make sure you see part two, and train-spotters may be interested to note a glimpse of the aging blond bombshell Diana Dors and noted British union leader Arthur Scargill, plus if you look carefully as the credits roll you’ll see legendary keyboard player Georgie Fame… there is a superb online arts magazine out of Toronto I highly recommend, with a decidedly cool name, Squid Face & The Meddler. If you need a little prompting, this excellent illustration by Ukraine-based Irena Zablotska should convince you to spend some time visiting… no doubt someone sent me a link to The Dullest Blog In The World. I apologize for not giving you credit, but thank you… I like Marginamia a lot and you should too. Go and explore and tell Kristen Gregg I sent you… “This is a collection of images I found online”, says Michele Novello out of Milan, Italy, about Officina Macedonia. Makes sense to me. Enjoy the exquisite curating… discovering a new source of incredible shoes is I admit, a possible addiction. Here then is a company out of a city I love, who have given me another reason to visit, so I can pick up a pair of their splendid wingtips, Amsterdam Shoe Co… Morin Zasly was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. She began her career as an illustrator in 2010. She says, “The majority of her work conveys the female aesthetics that visually revealed the fundamental essence of the illustration itself. The refined detail in her illustrations depicts very much the look, mood and emotion of the idea and story behind it”. I do hope my creative director friends will take note… here is a nicely curated collection from Parisian-based art director, Jean-Baptise Sinniger… this maybe a good topic for an upcoming show, is the word “Porn” being abused? A lot of clever clogs are adding the tag “Porn” to all kinds of topics or collections. Yet, I must give kudos to whoever came up with Cabin Porn. What works here is the obvious enthusiasm some of these Cabin aficionados display. And, many of the photos are quite lovely… James Phillips Williams writes that most everyone calls him JP and he has been a designer in New York for 20 years. His blog Amasblog deserves your attention, especially if you are into typography. JP says his blog would not have happened without his good friend Laura Silverman, “A writer with amazing ideas who always finds the right word for every occasion”. Make sure you pop on over to her site too… Paul Chen has excellent taste in images, take a look at his site… this video directed by Montreal-based Paul Labonté for Ryan Hemsworth’s Against a Wall (feat. Lofty305), has been lurking on my must-share-list for perhaps a year, mostly because I love the high contrast photography a wee bit more than I like the track… finally in this post, a link to a Tumblr site from a young lady who apparently resides in North Carolina who takes self portraits and landscapes. There are a lot of sites now where attractive people take pictures of themselves. Yet, often they throw in the obligatory moody-nudie shot, which can divert from the fact that their creative talent is unfortunately lacking. Kara Souza, from the evidence she presents, including naked bits and pieces of her body, indeed does have ability. I hope she finds more ways to explore her talents and moves on from the obvious. She has a good eye and yes, she is blessed with undoubtedly a lovely physicality…
July 20, 2014
This post is all about music. Without going into a lengthy dissertation, I love music, always have. My taste has and I’m positive always will be catholic. An essential part of my musical appreciation has always been to keep an open mind and be receptive to the unfamiliar. For some (perhaps many), getting older means to turn a deaf ear to new sounds and constantly relive and revive glories of the past. As much as I love the heritage of the music I’m passionate about, I also believe in listening to the new, the original and the unproven. On that note, let’s begin with a track released in 2011 by an artist I love for a myriad of reasons, the best being because her music is infectious. Plus, as you can see from the image above and when you witness the video (and her other videos), she is also delightful to look at. Riff Cohen was born in Tel Aviv, to a Tunisian father and an Algerian-French mother. She is a songwriter, actress, and musician who performs songs in Hebrew and French. If her single A Paris does not seduce you into wanting to know more about her or at the very least have you up, sensually gyrating around, then blame me for being so off the mark in spotting a delicious example of modern music…
…hopefully Ms. Cohen will forgive my lapsed French but I believe she is singing about the Paris she loves and its colors and parties. She says there is no parking in Paris but there’s perfumes and beautiful handbags. There are magazines and umbrellas. Beautiful, busy boulevards and yes perfume and beautiful handbags. In Paris she insists there’s no car in the studio it’s too hot in Paris and there’s no car park but it is beautiful…who am I to disagree?…South London duo Funktionslust on this outing prove they deserve our full attention on any future releases…
there is so much I could write about Willis Earl Beal, yet I’m not sure you’d be no more knowledgeable about this musician from Chicago than I am. Mr. Beal appears determined to go where and how he pleases in the world of entertainment. Or is he just having one big laugh while we try to fathom what he is up to?…
Lost Film is the minimalist guitar pop project of Jimmy Hewitt based in Northampton, MA. His side or former project is, I understand Orca Orca. I want this track to go on and on. Which reminds me, after listening to Lost Film I wonder what happened to bands making nine minute plaintive tracks a la Television?
Ipsum Magazine is a music and arts collective based in Brooklyn, NY. With ties with the music community, they put out an art and design publication. Make sure you visit their “news” page…searching around the internet-machine I discovered Village Green, a London based recording and publishing company with a broad platform of artists operating in the worlds of alternative pop, modern classical, minimalism, electro-acoustic and ambient music. A fine example of their catalogue is John Matthias is a musician, composer and physicist. Spreadsheet Blues is from his album titled Geisterfahrer. The superb video was directed by Albert Sala…Out Of Touch is the first single from Hannah Taxman, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, moved to Boston, got accepted at Berklee and looks destined to have a fine career ahead making immaculate, soulful music…
Los Angeles native, TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) has a mini album Desiderium which is the first record to be released on her new label, Young Art. Take a listen to Realla, featuring Anderson Paak
Melbourne based producer and Indian classical musician Shūnya (aka Bal Singh) offers us Petrichor EP, featuring the lovely voice of Nisha on Lovingenious…
July 17, 2014
Niall McCormack is a commercial artist based in Dublin, Ireland. He specializes in music packaging and book cover design, he also writes about Irish book cover design on his blog aptly titled Vintage Irish Book Covers. Mr. McCormack clearly has a remarkably good eye…see if you can decipher what Agenda Inc is all about…Codex 99 is a interesting place to spend some time, make sure you scroll down to the piece on Pokemon…just the other day, a friend who has a clothing store in Bristol, UK, raved on about her love of all things Steampunk. I do believe she would love the art of John Coulhart, as will those of you who have a fascination with H.P. Lovecraft…don’t you just love languages? TiT Art & Design provide a prompt to study up on my Norwegian… Worldometers may intrigue or depress you, depending on the numbers you look at…there really is no other reason for including this, than the obvious: no matter what the amazing invention is, you can bet someone will figure out how to make sex a part of it’s function…what the world needs now, Arty Bollocks!…I love discovering new graphic designers, it gives me faith that talent still exists. Take a look at this spot-on logo by Brighton based art director, designer and typographer, Judith Wilding…it would seem that there are more photographers out there pointing their cameras at naked women than I’ve had or will ever have hot dinners. So it does come as a surprise when I discover someone taking nudie snaps who projects an honesty in their work. But I do have to wonder why he uses the moniker Mr. Chill?…the work of Angela R. Thalls and Neil R. McKenzie is the perfect combination of art and technology and their A R T design site displays it impeccably…Love magazine has been on my must-read list since the first issue. Katie Grand in her Creative Director role and Photographer Liz Collins along with the rest of their talented crew, especially the ridiculously lovely Cara Delevigne, have created this gorgeous video, you’ll want to watch again and again…recently I spent a day at a water-park with my son and seven of his buddies. While the boys splished and splashed, ran here and there, laughed a lot and generally had a magnificent time, I parked myself in the shade and tried to stay cool. The non-stop passing parade of bodies of every shape and size, but mostly overly large, displayed oceans of tattoo ink. As each person trudged by, I became bemused by the awfulness of their tattoos. They ran up and down legs. Across backs. All over arms and hands. Circled chests. surrounded necks. And on occasion, distorted faces. It wasn’t just a few, a tramp-stamps here or a defiant statement there. The tattoos were everywhere, all-over, everyone. And I mean everyone, except for what I presume are children below the legal age for getting inked. More disquieting than the masses of ink on mountains of flesh were the sloppy, unimaginative, poorly executed and downright hideous attempts at artwork. Perhaps I was trying to dismiss those grim recollections when I stumbled upon Sacred Tattoos Of Thailand by author Joe Cummings and photographer Dan White. How is it possible, that the ancient art of tattooing can be so admirable in one culture, yet so unappealing in another?…I’m always on the search for new music to point in your direction. Some Minor Noise, the Toronto-based duo of Wayne Doe and Jane Void, with their retro-punish names and cleverly stark video, just made my task easier. “The songs are about boys, going crazy and the summer. The usual” says vocalist Jane about Anachronisms, their just released album …staying on the subject of music, here are three cuts that are in rotation on my playlist while attempting to sweat away a few more pounds at the gym: a nice slice of ominous techno, with a curious pan-pipe sound from DMX Krew with Ring of Brodgar; I love the upfront pop, a la Kate Bush affectation of the singer on Shiver (Ecstasy Remix) from Avec Sans. Finally, a luscious thick syrupy bass and unintelligible vocals make for engaging listening courtesy of Manfredas with Uumellmahaye…
July 10, 2014
Lucyana Kolendo is a photographer, animator and graphic designer from Poland. I would normally be a little hesitant of work such as this, putting it in the “a little too obvious” file. But on careful consideration, I believe there is an acute talent here. You are advised to take time to search through her work…Blood is the New Black seeks to propel the careers of emerging artists and support the underground community, all while creating wearable, stylish clothes with a point of view. BITNB products are proudly made in the USA. Every part of their production and distribution celebrates one person, and that’s the artist. Some of the designs do have a nice sardonic edge which I approve of…if you happen to be lucky enough to be in London this summer, you cannot miss Return of the Rudeboy, the new exhibition at Somerset House, focuses mainly on him as a style icon. The Rudeboy never really went away; he is cool, edgy and always looks razor sharp but never ever in a try-hard way. Originating from the streets of Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1950′s, Rudeboy (or Rudie) came to represent the young rebels who wore distinctively sharp sartorial styles such as Mohair suits, thin ties and pork pie hats. As is prevalent in the Rudeboy culture, the origins were appropriated and then twisted. For example, R&B was imported from the USA to Jamaica and reworked into what became known as Ska, the first and fundamental music for Rudeboys. The late 1950’s was very much a time of migration, thus the culture, music and attitude travelled to the UK shores and across the world from Jamaica. (and admission is free!)…Lil Silva is 24 year old TJ Carter who recorded The Mabel EP at his home in Bedford, UK and LA. The more divergent contrast between the locales may possibly account for the curio properties of his excellent work. I have Mabel on repeat play as I type this. Sublime!…
last Christmas, I bought my son a couple of rather cool hoodies from Urban Outfitters. Thanks, he said nonchalantly, turning his attention to the Nike T shirts he also received as gifts. The UB clobber was relegated to his pile of not-so-cool clothes. That was seven months ago, a lifetime in a twelve year-old’s world. Cut to last week, on a sweltering hot day he’d donned a UB hoodie and slyly suggested we go to the mall and perhaps pop into Urban Outfitters. My pre-teen is now a pre-teen with serious fashion aspirations. I have to admit trolling around the Urban Outfitters emporium does make me wish I was attitudinal teen again. Not least of all because I discovered a lovely release by Sharon Van Etten. Not so sure my son is so smitten with Ms. Van Etten yet, but I think you’ll thank me for including Taking Chances…
Skye McNeil says she travels constantly but calls the Pacific Northwest home. Top marks for that. She also reckons that she has worked in museums, hospitals and on boats, and has the goal to someday learn how to do everything in the world, which she assumes will take her entire life. She is a daydreamer and a romantic and tries to eat kale everyday. She likes bicycles, pumpkins, environmental activism, baking, sewing, surf and skate culture, punk culture, zines, yoga, campfires, playing banjo, thunderstorms, going out to brunch, and autumn days. If, in my wildest of dreams I ever thought of peeking in on a dating site, Ms. McNeil would certainly get my attention. Plus, I particularly like her textile designs. I wonder if I could get a sofa covered in this print?…Los Angeles-based photographer Adrianne Techasith, likes getting very close to toys…I like Chyrum Lambert’s artwork, better still I like what he says about his work: All work (unless otherwise noted) is painted by hand in ink / dye / stain / acrylic / wax / epoxy / oil. All work has been cut with a blade and reformed / shaped into resulting ends. All work is performed and hand tooled on paper or plastic. All of the above information is believably irrelevant. While a well defined work ethic and learned craft hold importance in the employment of the creative act, The honest value of an image is not of its substance, the honest value of an image lies in the viewing of its image…if I were going to spend over $41,000.00 on a table, Duffy London have this beauty available…San Francisco photographer Michael O’Neal won 1st Place – Animals in the 2014 iPhone Photography Awards with this charming study…and finally in this post, a delicious treat for my creative director friends, a stunning video from the Milanese art direction team of Braga+Federi. Exquisitely styled, cast and shot for legendary hat-maker Borsalino. Marco Braga & Giuliano Federico’s beautiful work is completed by the stellar photography of Emilo Tini and the impressive music score by Anfrea Ratti…
July 2, 2014
What surely has to be the best cameo ever, the incomparable Charlie Watts barely moves in this video featuring Mick Jagger introducing the Monty Python Live (mostly) Press Conference. Yet, Mr. Watts steals the show. Watching this, I can’t help thinking of the often (now) repeated story of how Jagger in a boastful moment called Charlie “his” drummer. So the story goes, and I have every reason to believe it to be true, Watts thought about Jagger’s braggadocio and decided he’d had enough and marched into the diminutive singer’s hotel room and landed a powerful whack on his cheeky mug. The video with senior citizens, Watts and Jagger promoting the equally elderly Python gang caused one wag to label the video as a salute to wrinkly old men…since 1980 when the first issue was published in the form of a hand-stapled fanzine with text produced on a typewriter, (which I have and treasure), ID Magazine has consistently been one of my top sources for all things creative. The beautiful A-Z of Beauty video is a perfect example…I love this introduction to Reinoud Oudshoorn’s work, “He takes the perspective of the illusory language in painting and applies it to his sculptures. He creates a bridge between the spatial illusion of the flat surface and the concrete reality of the three-dimensional sculpture”…in Michael Clinton’s collection of American Portraits the photographer captures the diverse faces that make up the American mosaic. The Americans in these photographs trace their ancestry to 100 different countries. This celebration of the American melting pot, was published to coincide with the 124th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty’s dedication to the American public…
June 10, 2014
I like the energy displayed by the team behind FaceCulture out of The Netherlands….you’ll have fun spending a little time at Judgmental Maps, perhaps you’ll be inspired to create your own….it should come as no surprise to learn that I have always had a passion for good shoes (scroll down to see my story about lusting after a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s). I recently discovered Northern Cobbler, an English company created by two individuals with a passion for footwear and a desire to own their own brand. They’ve make their wonderful shoes even more desirable with an elegant, well executed site….take a look at London-based photographer Ellie Smith‘s site and make sure you hit the “moving image” tab to see a film for Betty Magazine with Lomography….the Contemporary Jewish Museum has a movie with a title that could easily be a new show on Comedy Central: Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism….Japanese Art Director Rikako Nagashima started her own brand “Human Nature” in 2013. Her designs and the way the page loads are worth visiting….I continue to discover new talents out of Canada, for example, The Editorial Magazine is an independently run publication on art and fashion. It started out as an online magazine, featuring up-and-coming artists in the Montreal area. They now print the magazine quarterly….Monika Mogi is a photographer based in Tokyo. Make sure you see the video “Observations”.…John Carter, born in London, raised in Wales. is an aspiring short film maker with a passion for composition and cameras as well as the Japanese language. His ultimate goal is to find work and settle in Japan some time in the near future. His reel suggests his abilities will get him where he needs to go…. I’m told Broken English Club also go by these aliases: Birdland, Id, Life, Raudive, Seeker and Veil. Oliver Ho a UK techno veteran, is the man behind the different monikers and he seems intent on making almost retro-drugged-sluggish-electro-wave music. Which of course, I love. This track is titled Casual Sex, but as yet I haven’t been able to decipher the lyrics. No matter, it’s a fine example that new music matters. Enjoy.
May 27, 2014
World Cup Brazil 2014, begins on June 12. Life Elsewhere will present a World Cup exclusive on May 9 with the Robert Priest, Founder and Editor in Chief of Eight by Eight – The Magazine The Beautiful Game Deserves. Robert is a long-time, highly acclaimed creative director who has put together with his partner Grace Lee, an incredible publication and website dedicated to the world’s top-rated sport. Don’t miss this exclusive interview and for a preview go to 8by8mag.com….how could I resist a blog titled Abandoned 7”S? Better still the curator writes this: “I have lived in the same BK apartment for 12+ yrs and over that time I’ve had approximately 1 million roommates, most of whom were former punk/hardcore kids. These are pictures of all the crappy 7″s that have been abandoned here, because they are funny”….this video has people either enraged or enraptured, I’d like to know what you think? The song is Chandelier by Sia, the video is directed by Sia and Daniel Askill, featuring Maddie Ziegler….check out these designer’s interpretations of the classic Fred Perry shirt….this is the site of artist Peter Stanick, just keep clicking and enjoy….Svetlana Jovanovic is from Belgrade, Serbia and lives and works in The Hague, The Netherlands. Her stylized work is no doubt enhanced by the stylized navigation at her site….whoever puts together A Stranger’s Hand, congratulations on your exquisite taste….CONFETTISYSTEM is Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho, a duo working as artists, stylists, and designers. A friendship born from their shared love of communal celebration and craft-making has brought them together to create a new system….PIN–UP is a magazine that captures an architectural spirit, rather than focusing on technical details of design, by featuring interviews with architects, designers, and artists, and presenting work as an informal work in progress….founded in 2007, Three Star Books is the creation of Christophe Boutin, Cornelia Lauf and Mélanie Scarciglia. The company is based in Paris, you need to check out what they do….click on “camera men”, then click on “regarding men” at Shutter Sisters….to round out this edition of BACK. a nicely curated site by German copy writer and lecturer for design history, Andrea Riegel
May 15, 2014
Lisa Jane Persky is a frequent contributor to Life Elsewhere, she also happens to be an actor, journalist, photographer, artist and lovely person. I was fortunate to run into Lisa during my recent trip to Seattle. Ms. Persky has a stellar pedigree in the music business: she was a founding member of New York Rocker, her work has appeared in Mojo, Q, Uncut, The Los Angeles Times, L.A.Weekly and Fortean Times, among others and currently she told me she’s working on a memoir of growing up in Greenwich Village. The untimely death of Lou Reed happend to coincide with her remembrances, which she shares in this eulogy, she titles Lessons from Lou and the Village of Old New York. You can read Lisa’s piece at the excellent Popular Music Studies.…you have to see this, a 3D Poem Hat! I really don’t care about the how, why or what, I just want be in a place where I see a lovely lady walking down the street wearing one….I discovered the work of the infuriatingly young Mercedes Esquivel at the equally youthful Young Shot site. As the name implies, Young Shot is a platform which aims to showcase and inspire the work of photographers under the age of 25. “Young Shot places an emphasis on subject matter and strong aesthetics while promoting the importance of printed content.” says editor Tom Coleman. What Tom doesn’t mention is you can spend hours here, engrossed in some truly lovely work. Mercedes Esquivel being a perfect example with her often shadowy and almost naively erotic photos, which includes an array of impressive self-portraits….Apparent Motion is a resource and blog dedicated to the theory and practice of contemporary art, video, sculpture and photography, which for my money is a good enough reason to spend time here enjoying the treasures….Female Persuasion is the “original site for political and provocative female artists”, reads the sub-header. Fair enough! Another site with a lot to look at, do yourself a favor and seriously search out their archives….and now, time to catch up on music. So many excellent releases have come my way recently, it’s hard to know where to begin. Tom Of England made the task easier with this gem, 30,000 Women. I love the cheeky double entendre. Originally from Cambridge, UK, Tom Bullock has been bobbing around since the late 80’s, now ensconced in the US of A, often remixing under the Welcome Stranger moniker. Enjoy!
May 1, 2014
April was a busy month for me, which explains in part the long gap between posts here at BACK. Some of my time was taken up with traveling to my long-time home of Seattle, where I hosted Kiss The Sky! The Orca Freedom Concert at EMP Museum’s Sky Church. This was probably one of the most unusual events I ever been involved with, from the unique line-up to the extraordinary venue. Seattle’s famed sisters of rock, Heart were joined onstage by the legendary Graham Nash and virtuoso cellist Jamie Sieber. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts had the audience pogoing. Country Joe McDonald took us back in time as he spelled out F-U-C-K. Rising star, Arielle garnered rousing applause and generous nods of approval and Andrew Morse proved why seasoned musicians rate him so highly. The highlight of the evening for me was learning that Ian McLagan was joining Andrew Morse on stage. I’d long admired the acclaimed keyboard player of the Small Faces, in the Green Room, backstage, I told Ian, how I remembered seeing him back in the day with his earlier band The Muleskinners. “Bloody hell!” Cried Ian, “Your taking me back to my Art School days!” What a coincidence I said, I was at Art School at that time too. “What school did you go to?” Asked Ian. Twickenham, I said innocently. “Fuckin’ hell!” Shouted Ian McLagan, causing everyone in the room to turn and stare in our direction. Pointing at me and shouting at no one in particular, Ian yelled, “He went to the same bloody Art School as me!” From then on, if anyone had cared to notice, two silver-haired Englishmen, reminisced about their glory days at Art School in south west London, circa mid 60’s. It turns out that Ian was two years ahead of me, so although we may have bumped into each other occasionally, the Art School hierarchal system meant we didn’t run in the same cliques. I vaguely remember someone mentioning that Ian something or other had gone on to become a famous pop star. But as time went by, I guess I forgot to make the connection. It was a wonderful meeting and brought back intense memories for both Ian McLagan and I. One last thing, Ian McLagan is a lovely, engaging and witty man. He also plays keyboards really well….ex Art School student Ian McLagan may appreciate some of the talent I discover and mention here at BACK. For instance, check out the work of George Barber who lives and works in Berlin and Stockholm and goes by the moniker of ATAK, I particularly like his image, English School Boy….staying with European graphic artists, you need to take a look at the work of Zeloot, a Dutchman living in Germany, who’s work is fun and as always, I hope my creative director friends take notice of both these talented artists….I like Eric Ruby’s work and I like that he includes photos of himself, which appear to say, “hey, I’m just an ordinary guy who take snaps”. Except his ordinariness is complicated by his carefully studied compositions, subjects and the changing color background of his home-page. Nice….the navigation at TANK is lovely and you’ll most likely spend a lot of time here exploring….Flaming Pablum I approve of, check out the smart writing and tell Alex Smith I sent you….have fun at The Eyeballing Game, but you’ll be surprised at how inaccurate you are….more cool navigation at Bureau Mirko Borsche a graphic design studio in Munich….Hadas Maor is a contemporary art curator based in Tel Aviv and her site makes me want to have dinner with her, so there.
April 9, 2014
Are you interested in graphic design, music and magazines? Excellent, because we’ll combine all three topics in the next edition of Life Elsewhere. Frequent contributor and highly acclaimed Creative Director, Robert Newman will join the program to talk about a splendid article he just compiled for Adweek Magazine’s Music Issue, titled, 101 Kick-Ass Music Covers. The most awesome, iconic and controversial magazine images of the last 80 years. Newman miraculously and painstakingly researched and sifted through literally mounds of magazines to compile a truly memorable display of covers. He says, “We hope this compilation will encourage a vigorous exchange of opinions”. Noting that, “Readers have said to me: “You have to put [insert name of one-hit wonder] on the cover!” Or, “How could you put that no-talent [best-selling artist of the year] on your cover?”….Robert Newman, like most Creative Directors I know, often lament about how illustrators are undervalued in the world of advertising or publishing. In turn, I cannot help myself from constantly prompting them that wonderful illustrator talents abound. For instance Ben Lamb, a competent British artist, manages to effortlessly morph from one style to another. I especially like his renderings of quintessential English pubs….OK, while I’m at it, allow me to point you in the direction of Art In The Dancehall. A lovingly curated site celebrating illustration and design in Jamaican music, from 1979 to the present day….here is an interesting and site worth exploring and I like the name, Dirt Cheap Mag.…I mentioned in an earlier post at BACK. that I was always on the lookout for the perfect denim shirt. I should have added, I’m always on the lookout for a new pair of “real” denim jeans. I know, I know, there are many to choose from, but the cut, the fit, the quality of the denim is all so important. Perhaps I’m fantasizing, but I’m sure when I bought my first pair of 501’s and lay in tub of cold water for hour on end to get the perfect fit, the denim was so much different then? Yes, that was more years ago than I care to really remember and yes, the denim was most likely different then. The last pair of jeans I bought that had the feel I crave today, were from Fiorucci. And that was back in the mid 70’s! Suffice to say, I’ve been scouring the internet-machine, earnestly lusting after the ultimate pair of jeans. Hiut Denim Co out of the UK, reckon they do one thing well, “No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything. No trying to conquer the whole world. We just do our best to conquer our bit of it. So each day we come in and make the best jeans we know how.” Fair enough, I guess I better find out….Frenchie Rocky and Pop C collaborate on a blog with the moniker By The Way… take the time to check out their bit on Teddy-boys, Rockers, Mods, Skins and more. A lot of excellent photos that help explain the critical consequence of fashion and style during the years I grew up in England….
March 30, 2014
OK, let’s begin with a word or two about the image above. Its a frame from a music video directed, produced and edited by Robin Plessy for Indian Moon Ballad by Under Tears. Straight forward so far, except the clip is from a video that is so dark, so disturbing, you really may want to be selective as to when and where you play it. Under Tears is the solo project of Dubliner, Julie Fogarty who also goes by the moniker Julie Chance who happens to be one half of the Berlin based duo Kool Thing. I hope you are following this, ‘cause it appears Ms. Fogarty/Chance is currently based down under. I’m not sure that gives us any clues as to why she’s so intent on eating her lover’s heart, but it does suggest she gets around quite a bit….in my ongoing quest to discover intelligent photography, I came across the work of Estelle Hanania. Her photographs have been collected in the book Glacial Jubilé, her first monograph, which chronicles Hanania’s staggering work of documenting European folkloric customs and traditions. Glacial Jubilé is published by Shelter Press….here is a most watchable video directed by Mona Fastvold for Pretty Nights by Norwegian group Maribel, from their 2012 album Reveries….want to snuggle up with a good read? You can’t go wrong with Saints of the Shadow Bible, the latest in the Detective Inspector Rebus Series from Scottish author Ian Rankin. He manages to take the reader on unexpected twists and turns, while brilliantly evoking scenarios with what can only be described as clipped and studied dialogue….I don’t know whats going on with me and my fascination of all things Canadian (check out the Life Elsewhere Barzin show and my unapologetic enthusiasm), but here we go again with a nod to Montreal’s Marie Davidson. (It does help of course, that the lovely Marie ignites a blurry recall of my naive adolescent fantasy of Françoise Hardy. Two of Marie Davidson‘s alluring videos are here and here and examples of her music are below…..
March 19, 2014
On today’s edition of the ongoing silliness that is Morning Joe, the insufferably bumptious Mika Brzezinski voiced an extraordinary disparagement “bit” on Vladimir Putin. Facts were mixed in with speculation, alongside a gratuitous clip from The Daily Show and a dour commentary from her dad, Zbigniew Brzezinski. The whole segment came across more like a parody of a Fox News piece. As the saber-rattling increases, you should be better informed by listening to the Life Elsewhere show on Russophobia and reading Masha Gessen’s book, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. The saving grace about MSNBC’s, onetime, clever and watchable morning show, is the deft move of switching the disarmingly handsome and articulate Thomas Roberts out of the 11.am slot to play third wheel to the two numb-nuts who still take home massive salaries for nattering away inanely every morning. Plus, I still have a fondness for the ego-centric, but always on the money when it comes to media observations, Donny Deutsch. Despite Donny D’s obvious primping, he knows his stuff and is a fine counterbalance to Scarborough’s conservative-gonzo rhetoric and Mika’s never-ending and excruciating face-pulling….and now back to our regular programming….you have to go to the Loup Blaster site c/o Cargo Collective, a unique personal publishing platform. Louise Druelle, originally from Northern France is Loup Blaster, she makes wonderful illustrations, animations and more. I do hope a few of my Creative Director readers, will search Louise out and give her excellent work the exposure she deserves….I love this site’s name, Dishlicker and I love the idea of learning about food so good, you want to lick the dish. Lovely idea and well presented….David Neevel does a lot of different interesting things, including hosting this site, Dog Shit Selfies, I promise, you will never look at Selfies the same again….I recommend that you take 10 minutes out of your busy day to watch Apricot, a short film written, edited and directed by Australian, Ben Briand….
March 7, 2014
Despite his wicked sense of humor in giving himself the moniker of Pâté, there is something “terribly British”, (and yes, sardonic), about Paul Pateman’s work. His work reminds me of what I still reckon were the glory days of British graphic design, circa late 60’s to early 70’s, which coincidently was around the time I was fresh out of art school. Spend as much time as you can savoring his exceptionally lovely work….Stephanie Duval says she is a storyteller, she writes: “I started out in life as a voracious reader, went on to study literature and ended up becoming a journalist. Stephanie explains a little more about herself and lists in chronological order, many of her achievements, including the year she was born in Antwerp (1985) and the year (1999) she bought her first camera. Ms. Duval authors the enchanting blog, 70 Percent Pure, where she shares her thoughts about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in her life….Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities is an engaging site about unique books, visual and textural curiosities. It doesn’t appear to have been updated since early 2013, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out….and talking of books, here are three I’m currently enjoying, Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger by Ken Perenyi, who had an uncanny ability to grasp the technics of the Old Masters, which resulted in over three decades as a professional art forger….Clare Mulley recounts the extraordinary story of Christine Granville in The Spy Who Loved. A fearless spy who saved the lives of several fellow officers, including many of her lovers, just hours before their execution by the Gestapo. More importantly perhaps, she gathered intelligence that significantly contributed to the Allied war effort….I was reluctant to delve into yet another aging rock icon’s bio after being sadly disappointed by Patti Smith’s white-washing and blatant misrepresentation of facts in Just Kids; Keith Richard’s Life also failed to win me over as Keith seemed to wallow in his belief in the cartoonish caricature of the junkie/rocker/pirate….and good ol’ Pete Townsend was predictably on form as a whining miserablist in Who I Am….all three bios never get close to revealing who the artists really are, but I am more than happy with Ray Davies‘ Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story, there is an honesty here the other tomes are lacking….if you happen to be in Manhattan through till March 22, you may like to stop by the Danziger Gallery and see for yourself up close the work of Hisaji Hara. His work After Balthus, made over a five year period, using a medium format camera is uniquely Japanese and much more than imitating Balthus….I stumbled across Nous Vous a London based collective who work in a variety of media, the little I’ve seen of their output intrigues and I’m hoping they get their new website up soon. Meanwhile check out their smart blog….recently I went on a hunting expedition in the warehouse where I keep my ludicrously large collection of vinyl and rediscovered this 12” four track gem from 1988 on the Quark label. I said it back then and excuse me if I say it again, Drifting (Sweets Mix) by Jomanda, should have been a massive hit!
March 2, 2014
I’m delving into 85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne in preparation for tomorrow’s edition of Life Elsewhere’s World Famous Post Oscar Show. The nominees for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director etc are unusually good this year, which means our celebrity guests on the show will have much to enthusiastically talk about. Renowned actress, raconteur, photographer and writer, Lisa Jane Persky, will report live from Hollywood, after a heady night of attending the Awards Ceremony, dashing from one star-studded party after another all in her relentless quest to capture unguarded moments to share with listeners at Life Elsewhere. Bob Ross, legendary film and media critic will also join us to give his masterful take on the outcome of the 2014 2014 Academy Awards….and onto Math! My son, now almost 12 years old, has math homework that may as well be from another universe as far as my comprehension goes. Ever since I was about his age now, I’ve had the most difficult time with Math. I recall telling my math teacher at the time, “I don’t see the point in asking a class of 30 plus kids to solve a math problem. You want all of us to get the same answer?” I protested. To back up my brilliant notion and total lack of aptitude to compute little more than 2 + 2, I offered this as a viable explanation, “We are not expected to get the same answer when writing an essay!” And so, I’ve struggled through life, blindingly unable to manage even the simplest math problem and of course, unable to assist my son with his homework. But I have been blessed with a fanciful imagination which has allowed me to turn my hand to any number of creative pursuits, which may explain why I enjoy Archery so much. The sub-title reads, “A perspective on mathematics, the pattern, and the abstract”. I’m none the wiser about math or the codes included, but the images are wonderful and fascinating….when you click on Geoffrey Lillemon’s site you enter a world like no other. Truly bizarre. Make sure you see, everything here and I do mean everything….Meathological Radioactive, another reason to like Tumblr….Adeline Mai was born and raised in Paris, she takes lovely photographs and makes videos you need to see like this one of the Elf Sisters….here is a Tumblr, Hoppip where the creator says, “Hello! I make a lot of gifs of various things, but mostly cats”, make sure you check out the music page under the gif list….founded in 2005, Hi-Fructose is a quarterly print art magazine, which I highly recommend you subscribe to or at the very least grab a few copies. The feature on Federico Pietrella’s rubber date stamp paintings will give you a lovely idea of what Hi-Fructose is all about….and back to the Oscars, here is a montage I put together of the 9 Best Picture Nominees and 1 Best Documentary Feature Nominee. Hurray for Hollywood!
February 18, 2014
The image to the left is a still from Hors d’oeuvre a short movie by photographer and director, Monica Menez, who says “My productions are often about sexy women in unusual situations”, and “I’m deeply inspired by the work of John Waters“. Her universe is anachronistic, visually vintage but ultra modern at the same time and I would suggest she probably watched David Lynch‘s catalogue, particularly Blue Velvet more than a few times.Do make sure you see all of Monica Menez‘s photo work, especially the series titled, “Torture”….Christopher Schreck has wonderful taste, which he writes about at his superbly minimalist site. Stay a while, lapping up the gorgeous artwork and Schreck‘s well-considered prose….now here is a blogspot I stumbled upon, but have no idea if the creator(s) are trying sell music, services or what, but I do like the illustrations….Jim Linderman likes Art, Antiques and Photography and his collection of Vernacular Photography, Folk Art, Ephemera and Curiosities is a wonderful place to spend time pouring over his finds….I like books. I like Erik Heywood‘s site. I like the “book shelves” page….Max Lamb has some very cool ideas, be sure to check out the “poly chair” video, I guarantee you will think about making one….it was not just the Winter Olympics at Sochi that caused me to learn more about the host country and it’s people, I was prompted mostly by my interview with Masha Gessen (Gay & Happy In Russia? Life Elsewhere 8/12/2013). Here are four books I’ve read recently and recommend you search out…
….it’s not that I don’t like cats, it’s more that I once had a cross-eyed Siamese cat named Billy who had a perverse fetish for my underwear, which he would steal from a drawer then surreptitiously drag to his food bowl and eat with a pair of Marks & Spencer’s finest gracefully draped over the rim. I think that and the fact that the little bugger would talk (as in make sounds that were neither purr or cat-like) made me believe he and all his feline family were put on earth to secretly plot a heinous take-over. So, over the years I’ve edged away from getting too close to cats, specifically the ones who insist on rubbing themselves up against me or plonking their full cat-weight on my lap, (which is usually almost every cat I come into contact with). Consequently, I was rather pleased to discover The Catorialist with it’s snarky take on the Sartorialist blog….Punk will never die, is how the saying goes, or something like that. The continuing interest in all things Punk does not amaze me, after all it really was a terrific moment in popular culture. Here then is a site with more links to all things Punk than most Punks have had hot dinners, 7 Inch Crust….art lovers unite! Well, at least take a gander at Modèle Puissance, a collective of four artists, whose manifesto makes for interesting reading if your translation from French to English is only as good as Google’s….apparently Horngry is about sex and food and according to Tiff, the blogger, who reckons she is a proud feminist dislikes flirting, waiting in lines and has road rage. Sometimes she says her blog is about food and sex at the same time. It should go without mentioning, this is blog clearly Not Safe For Work….and to round out this post, a scrumptious piece of thundering bass with vocals from Jenny Burton‘s “Bad Habits”, Loefah with Veal on the Swamp 81 label, more about them in a future post….
February 10, 2014
The image to the right, should give you good reason to not hesitate to check the video its from. The artist is FKA Twigs, you need to know she is on The Young Turks label out of London, go there immediately and discover all the wonderful releases they have and tell them Norman B pointed you in their direction. You also need to know that the other videos to her songs are in equal parts disturbing as they are compelling, be warned Papi Pacify is most certainly not for the faint of heart or anyone who has a phobia about other people’s hands near their mouths….why can’t I have a BEACH round the corner from my house? Delve into this treasure trove of scrupulous design-consciousness. Young art directors and graphic designers, please pay very careful attention to the totally timeless work they feature by Bob Lawrie, a friend from the 70’s…if I had enough empty wall space, I’d buy a few pieces by Bjorn Copeland….if you haven’t been there yet, I urge you to go to this link, which will tell you all about my friend, the brilliant Creative Director, Robert Newman; the horrible accident he suffered and the amazing support his admirers and friends generated by creating My Favo(u)rite Magazine….the afore mentioned Mr. Newman, made this observation recently about my selections for BACK. “You like furniture, don’t you?” Well, yes I do. I’m always searching and looking to find that “different” piece, if you happen to have a store or collection etc, you think I may be interested in, make sure you send your info to me at normanb(at)lifeelsewhere(dot)co. There is a fine mid-century table I would love at Bright Lyons….Melissa Paget live and works in Vancouver B.C., I hope you enjoy spending time exploring her art as much as I did….Two Times Elliott caught my attention first, not because the design consultancy based in London’s Notting Hill produce excellent work. but because of their name choice, I went to Elliott Comprehensive School and always thought the name had star quality….OK, back to furniture, I could not resist this, Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table….sometimes, I’m driving and feel the need to crank up the music, today it will be the late Hugh Mundell with the 12″ Extend Mix of the sublime Fellin’ Alright Girl.…s w o o n !
February 5, 2014
We begin today with another enchanting gif to amuse you….true story, I found iweartights by way of a couple of links from Contemporary Art Daily, completely enthralled as I scrolled through lovely image after image, totally ignorant of the site’s subversive title….here is a interesting idea at Type, eyeglasses based on fonts. There are only two fonts at the moment but make sure you click on the Font tab, it’s entertaining….need an iron plate? Perhaps a small hat bowl? Maybe a long handle mug? These and more are all at Kazakes Ceramics, make sure you go to the News page….attention all my art director and creative director friends, take a look at Le Gun, founded in 2004 by a group of graduates from the Royal College of Art, it’s an independent narrative illustration publication you need to inspect closely….often, I find myself at a loss trying to describe how big the suburbs of London are and how so peculiarly British, now I have found adventures in suburban London, the perfect tumblr to illustrate my discourse….Codex 99 “is either an occasionally updated weblog or incrementally expanded website about the history of the visual arts and graphic design”, according to the info on their About page, which is good enough for me….Karley Sciortino has a blog titled Slutever, where she says this, “This is a blog intended to trick strangers into thinking my life is more exciting than it actually is”. She also writes a lot of bloody columns, takes pictures, directs movies about giving blow-jobs and no doubt has a cooking show somewhere. I recommend my male readers take note of Karley‘s wit. Note to self, we need to book her for Life Elsewhere….enjoy the entry into James Mountford‘s site, this British fella takes nice pictures, reminding me vaguely of Barry Lategan‘s exquisite restrained style….I found this nifty description of Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold‘s Camel Toe Central, “From it’s exquisite ambient intro ‘Camel Toe Central’ weaves it’s seductive spell. This is soon dispersed by a solitary kick-drum at heartbeat tempo. The track then teases and builds with layers of p-funk percussion until the sleazy dub-bass drops with speaker shuddering intensity. Throw in some off kilter psych-rock guitar and an exchange between a playful French maid and her Machiavellian master and you’ve got a powerful cocktail ready to ignite the senses with erotic mystique. Ohh la la!” Then, on further investigation, I discovered Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold had got their hands on the original multi-track tapes for ex-Roxy Music guitarist, Phil Manzanera‘s Listen Now. Enjoy!
February 2, 2014
Welcome to February. Where did January go?….d’you ever feel like you’re falling? I love this gif….speaking of gifs, you must check out the Life Elsewhere show on Selfies and Kyle Warfield‘s brilliant gif….seriously, you couldn’t make up a headline better that this: “Super Bowl 2014 Halftime Show: Will Bruno Mars wear a hat? Will the Red Hot Chili Peppers go shirtless?” OK, maybe you could: “Super Bowl Countdown: Anthem singer ‘shocked,’ Bruno Mars ‘ain’t scared,’ scalpers are angry” …. Switching Sides a pleasant Tumblr about portraits of photographers by photographers….one of my favorite places ever, is Vancouver, B.C. when I lived in Seattle it was an easy getaway for the weekend, in those far off days when crossing the border meant a nice polite “Hello sir” from the border guards on either side. Often, If I was traveling back on a Sunday, the genial guard on the US side would recognize me, then quizzically question how I managed to be on the radio at the same time I was crossing the border? I’d explain the wonders of magnetic tape, then be cheerfully waved on my way, down I5 to the Emerald City. I was reminded a long overdue visit back to Canada’s beautiful, cosmopolitan city is needed, while perusing Old Faithful Shop‘s very cool offerings….next we visit Montreal, for the exceptional work of Ying Gao, who spends part of his time in Canada, the rest in Geneva. Make sure you spend enough time here exploring all the exceptional wonders, which will lead you to learn about Arduino and be fascinated, and if you’re brain works similar to mine, have sleepless nights dreaming of the possibilities….check out this film by Celia Rowlson-Hall at Metal, a wonderful magazine I can devour for hour after hour. Truly inspired photography and exceptional casting….if I were a Creative Director today, I think I may be overwhelmed by the wealth of talent available, Fumi Nagasaka is no exception. Her video page is worth exploring in part because of the intelligent music choices….true story, I once suggested to a radio program director that I should host a Miserablist show. “People love sad, desperate, I’m-so-lonely-I could-die music” I insisted. If I recall correctly, he laughed and told me to go get laid to cheer myself up. Nice. I was reminded of this story when searching through my library to play for a grumpy friend, Draw Your Swords by Angus & Julia Stone from the Australian due’s album Down The Way. Take a listen, wouldn’t this make a nice Top Ten Hit on my imaginary Miserablist station?
January 27, 2014
Putti. A wonderful, possibly risqué-sounding word, almost unabashedly plopped itself into the conversation in the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, (January 27). I had asked Mark Burstein, the President of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America about Mr. Carroll‘s much-debated penchant for taking photographs of naked or near-naked young girls. Burstein, eloquently replied that in Victorian times, the sight of near naked young people were conspicuously adorning the walls of almost every home. “They were called, Putti!” He chuckled. Mark Burstein had a point of course. I recall those overly dramatic scenes in prints from paintings, hanging in both my grandmothers home’s. They always featured nymphs or languid, perhaps dying, scantily-clad young girls on boats or misty landscapes, with mysterious doorways or gates nestled into rocks, with shadowy Cyprus trees creating impenetrable swaths of darkness. Yes, I remember those pictures, similar images appeared on china-ware, jewel boxes and all manner of trinkets and nic-nacs. Yet, can these tableaus be compared alongside Lewis Carroll‘s photographs? I’m not so sure, so we will follow-up on Mr. Burstein‘s assessment in the next edition of Life Elsewhere (February 3) with another take on the topic with Lindsay Fulcher from The UK Lewis Carroll Society….Meanwhile, while doing research on Putti, I discovered this amazing video from director Rino Stefano Tagliafierro….I wonder what Lewis Carroll would make of Girls With Vinyl Records?….Unmarked are a Mexican company making very cool shoes. I like the choice of colors for the laces….while I’m on the subject of apparel, what could be better than a sweater designed for the Morrissey fan….I’ve never really been into motorbikes, but I can understand the appeal, Dice Magazine helps….lovely, inventive photography from Italian, Ramona Zordini. Make sure you check out “Changing Time 11 2013”….there is always room, in my opinion for a fine art approach to fashion photography, NYC based Dominik Tarabanski does this very well. Here is her artist’s statement to her series entitled “Transitions” “What if you could carry a meadow with you? Grow into the cotton fibres. Get so close so you could become one, but still be yourself. Dilute into it, diffuse, disappear. And become another.”….it happens often, someone riding in my car says, “What’s that?” about the music playing. It happened again today and took me by surprise, because I thought everybody must have heard Uptown Top Ranking by Althea & Donna! Then, I realized I was playing the Jamaican singing duo’s Going To Negril. It’s a bit rare, so I’m sharing it with you….
January 20, 2014
Before I went to art school, I knew more than the average moody-broody-long-haired-corduroy-clad-graphic-designer-wannabee about art, because the head of my high school art department ran his domain of approximately four raggedy rooms as if they were on a par with The Royal College of Art (or Parsons in New York). Dennis Huntley was his name, he had laid claim to fame by designing stained glass windows for Guilford Cathedral, he also created sculptures of some note. Plus he was worldly-wise and didn’t ignore the current darlings of the then, modernist art world like his peers did. Instead, Dennis encouraged me to learn more about David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj, John Hoyland, Patrick Caulfield, Bridget Riley, Peter Blake et al. But what was really wonderful about my first serious art teacher was the love he had for all genres and generations of art. One time, he took the class to a chic but purposefully-austere gallery (on Cork Street if my memory serves me well), where a startling show of the magnificent Joseph Albers‘ work was on display. Available at the show was Albers‘ Interaction of Color, which remains an essential resource of color, it is as pioneering today as it was when Albers first created it. How wonderful then, that I discovered there is now the Interaction of Color app. It truly is a must-have, no matter if you are an artist or not….it was not too long after discovering Joseph Albers and all the other wonder-makers of Modern Art, that I fell in love for the first time. Not that that was a difficult event in Swinging London as the 60’s psychedelically morphed into the 70’s. The model (literally), all the young ladies I knew took their cue from, was the waif-like Jane Birkin who had shocked all and sundry by frolicking around naked with David Hemmings and Gillian Hills, in Michelangelo Antonioni‘s remarkable Blow Up. This was the first time a director had instructed his “actresses” to not only slip out of their teeny-weeny Biba frocks, he actually directed them to offer his lusty audiences an unadorned full-on view of pubic hair. Couple the image of Ms. Birkin‘s lithe young body with her scandalous duet with Serge Gainsbourg on Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus, then you be halfway to understanding why I and thousand of other languid art-school youths were madly in love with her. The reason I went such trouble to tell you all about my first love, is because I came across a re-release of her 1973 first solo album Di Doo Dah. By that time, dear Jane was already a mother and I had moved onto real and obtainable muses, but her record stands up to the test of time, despite the snickering I hear from the back of the class. In other words, do check it out, impress your children, parents, friends or whoever you feel the need to impress with you discerning taste….here are two graphic designers who for some perverse reason like to specialize in wedding invitations, yet they actually do the kind of work a lot of graphic designers wish they were able to do….
January 18, 2014
You’ve read the lurid stories, the legendary tales of successive generations of artists who have cohabited and created there, among them John Sloan, Edgar Lee Masters, Thomas Wolfe, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Sam Shepard, Sid Vicious, and Dee Dee Ramone. Why, I even stayed there for a few nights circa 1970-something, it could have been a week, most likely it was just a couple of days, but my memory of those far-off days is most definitely blurred by my then-occupational diet of questionable stimulants. Inside The Dream Palace, a new book by Sherill Tippins has helped to jolt my brain pan into looking back without rose-colored glasses….check out the navigation and the magnifying app at Yuri Shimojo‘s site….have you ever wallpapered a room? My dad was a master at it, matching the patterns exactly takes great skill and patience. I wonder what he would make of these very cool designs?….time yourself to see how long it takes you to discover all the Birdsongs at this enchanting site….you gotta have a few good unadorned basic white t-shirts in your wardrobe. With that thought in mind, I poked around the internet machine to see if anyone liked plain white t-shirts as much as me. Well, surprise, surprise I came across the very cool work of photographer, Nicholas Maggio who has this to say on the topic: “I started a little ongoing series a couple weeks back. Call it a “passion project.” Sure, it’s basically dramatic shots of beautiful girls in white t-shirts and jeans, but there is a bit of an underlying story as well. The idea is to “strip” everything from these models except for a standard tee, no makeup, no hair stylist, no direction, and take pictures of them being them. Give them the opportunity to do whatever they want and be whomever they want for 20 minutes or so. With a career consisting of being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, its fun to give a little power back to the girls and let them have total control of the images. It gives the project a human quality and an aspect of realism I hope people can connect with. And yes… they’re also really pretty girls”. Warning! Some readers may spend more time enjoying Maggio‘s work than expected….California Surfing and Climbing in the Fifties, the title caught my eye, even though I never surfed or climbed in California in the fifties, despite being almost old enough to have enjoyed both activities in that decade. This book then, allows me to fantasize, just a little that I could have ridden the Pacific waves and scampered around Mount Shasta in a bye-gone age of innocence….I’ve seen nothing but positive reviews for On Such A Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee, “Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading” says Andrew Sean Greer in The New York Times Book Review. This devoted reader was not aware of Lee‘s previous work, but I’m glad I discovered his latest release….you’ll have fun with Daniel Brown‘s site, drop him a line and say you discovered his work at Life Elsewhere….Creative Directors, check out Nathalie Choux‘s work, I particularly like her “objects”….
January 7, 2014
Happy New Year! I’m going to try and catch up with some of the wonderful music that’s come my way over the last few weeks….first up, we go to Dublin, Ireland for a singer-songwriter you should be hearing a lot more of in 2014, Hozier. Check out the video and make sure to hear all the tracks on the 4-track EP, Take Me To The Church….based in London, Angèle David-Guillou has some music bloggers waffling on about her album Kourouma with self-revealing passages, like: “This is the sort of music I like to play when I write. Where I can suppress all the randomness in my head, ease my focus, and lose myself in an other worldly trance. Really feels like I’m trapped in some of my best & memorable childhood fantasies”. While others get straight to the point and mention that the lady has a striking resemblance to Isabella Rossellini
….talking of beautiful women, here is a site you may like, featuring the work of New York based photographer Karl Rothenburger, make sure to check out his “Outtakes” page….more lovely pictures to spend a few moments enjoying, by Brazilian photographer Adriano Damas, I particularly like the simple navigation feature….nice big colorful photos and cool navigation (again), from Dan Cermak out of Zurich….do you like gifs? I’m not sure I understand the reason people post them, on the other hand….this live cover of Daft Punk‘s extraordinarily bland Get Lucky makes me want to get Daughter‘s album If You Leave ….art directors, your attention please, here are two illustrators you need to take notice of, Anna Gleeson and Yumiko Froehlich, the smart-witty captions were automatically translated by my Mac, I hope you have the same clever little app….
December 24, 2013
Happy! Jolly! Merry! A Christmas post full of wondrous links for you edification….we begin with a charming video on embroidery, check it out before you pass judgement, I guarantee you’ll as impressed as I was….
what’s the point? No matter, I love this, it’s daft and of course a compulsive time-waster….Abandoned Places is fascinating, the navigation and graphics are smart and the links are worth a click or two….Helen Barr‘s video is deliberately out of focus with that oh so distressed patina, but oh so sexy and the music is very cool….I like oats, but if I didn’t this film directed by Charlotte Wales and Clare Byrne, featuring model Solomiya would surely convince me to eat my porridge every day….Running From The Camera, these are the rules: he puts the self-timer on 2 seconds, pushes the button and tries to get as far from the camera as he can….people watching has become a de rigor in the blogosphere. Koo does an excellent job in selecting and presenting….it would seem reasonable to believe that all the art directors and creative directors who read BACK. have already discovered 50 Watts, but just in case they haven’t, here is the link….I cannot decide if this is funny or cruel, probably due to the fact that I know too many bass-players….nice work here by London based photographer Ross Shields, I particularly like his choice of models….
December 18, 2013
The Life Elsewhere Christmas Gift Special generated an incredible amount of enquiries about the books our creative guests selected….share your thoughts, let me know what you think of Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s rendition of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Hey Joe”. Produced by Beck for the new Lars von Trier film “Nymphomaniac” ….
serious art lovers may like to get serious and intellectual with Unframed….if you like sound, would you call your blog The Sound In My Head?….I saw this photo alongside a caption which I thought read Nazis in Bondage, which may indicate what goes on inside my brain-pan or I desperately need new reading glasses. Nazil Bozdag is a Turkish fashion designer whose site has very cool navigation….excellent collection of art, fashion, photography and style here, but why the name Spleen?….I could spend hours, days even discovering the never-ending supply of photography sites, Masha Demianova is from Russia, her work deserves your attention….surfing around the world wide web machine you can come across sites that amaze, amuse and confound, here is a sample….
December 13, 2013
Christmas is almost here and the frantic scramble to find the perfect gifts is on. Relax, Life Elsewhere is here to help, on the next edition four brilliant creative minds will offer their smart, entertaining and fascinating ideas on what books to buy and ask for this Christmas….talking about radio, explore Steve Erenberg‘s fascinating site, where you’ll find oddball and scary scientific stuff….here is a blogger who has a discerning eye and their music and video selections are perceptive….recently, I talked at length (yeah, I know surprising, right?) about art directors being a little more adventurous and getting back to using illustrations, a good start would be to take a look at Canadian Naomi Cook….there is one photo here, I like very much, can you guess which? Make sure you devour these photos, slowly….will this book be on any of the lists our expert guests will offer on the Christmas Gift Special Edition of Life Elsewhere, Monday December 16….I haven’t painted for over two years, mostly because we moved from a massive loft space where I had more than ample room to work on 7 x 8 foot canvases, this site prompted me to consider working on a smaller scale….fascinating, you’ll spend ages here, make sure you check out Land Surface Temperature Anomaly on the Global Maps page….for the minimalist shopper….I love cookbooks, if I didn’t already have hundreds I’d start my collection here….it’s a simple idea, why not try it yourself?….have you ever got tired of scrolling down a page?….here are a couple more Christmas gift ideas, FCC rules prohibit me from mentioning them on the air in detail….this wonderful site is meant for designers but I like to think anyone, make that everyone will find it useful and fun….the very wonderful Barzin just emailed to say he will have a new album out in the new year, you’ll hear if first on Life Elsewhere shortly, meanwhile, here is a reminder of just how good his music is….
December 4, 2013
I’m not sure how many times I’ll say this, but here I go: I receive a lot of music, some of it quite brilliant. Yet, because of the amount of music I receive I’m not always able to share immediately.
Here is a perfect example of my dilemma, a track from the album “Muchacho” on the Dead Oceans imprint, by Phosphorescent, aka Matthew Houck. It was released in March this year, I played the bugger out of it for a number of weeks, annoying all and sundry with my ranting, no make that raving about how “bloody wonderful” it is. Then as often happens more music came along and “Song For Zula” drifted behind in my playlist. As if to prompt me, a video arrived, which I barely looked at, distracted probably by the phone, Skype, email, text-messages or something, no doubt anything, ’cause at the beginning of the video, the camera pans ever so slowly over a desolate landscape of leaves with a solitary figure hunched-over in the distance. I’m sure I thought, “I don’t have time for this artful doom and gloom masterpiece!” Then today, I’m searching through ancient emails (at least four or five months worth), looking for an address, when I stumble across what turns out to be an extraordinary video directed by Houck and Djuna Wahirab. I have no idea what, if anything they are saying, but the concept of a bedraggled young women, showing lots of leg as she smashes the chains that bind her with a rock, is as disturbing as it is captivating. I promise, you will watch this again and again. (Oh and the song is still one of the best this year!)….perhaps you’ll do a better job than me figuring out who and why someone cares enough to put this together, but I’m glad they did….I want to have a wall big enough in my home to do this….Wonderwall is a Japanese interior design firm, their website navigation is brilliant….Helsinki based fashion designer Satu Maaranen impresses with her form, color and references….
December 3, 2013
My interview with Martin Glover, aka Youth of Killing Joke
fame has resulted in a an record number of downloads of the Podcast, get your’s here….The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, what a lovely title. You should be equally impressed with John Koenig‘s video….it maybe presumptuous of me, but I do hope all creative directors who happen to stumble across BACK. have already discovered Nathan Manire….“My work explores the intersection between language and the body and their interaction with the physical and emotional environment” writes Jen Pepper….this is called Violent Power, after you have exhausted all the possibilities, see if you can find more of Rafaël Rozendaal‘s work….
not sure what inspired me to dig out this beautiful Maurice Deebank track, except I seem to remember reading somewhere recently, that Deebank‘s solo work was going to be re-released this year. Deebank is best know for his stellar work as lead guitarist for the 1980’s cult favorites, Felt. If you are unfamiliar with Maurice‘s & Felt‘s work, I highly encourage you search them out. Plus, if you want to impress a lover this Christmas, I guarantee you’ll get especially NICE thank-you’s by giving this music as a gift….
November 24, 2013
Today, I recorded a long, relaxed interview with Martin Glover aka Youth of Killing Joke fame, via Skype, at his home and studio in Spain. My exclusive chat with one of popular music’s most prolific producers will air soon in an upcoming edition of Life Elsewhere…. lovely work I wish I could afford….this is Beni Bischof‘s paint(h)ings page, depending on your browser, you may get the English translations for the titles. It’s worth running a translation app if you don’t. Then see if you can navigate to Bischof‘s main page and have fun there….Michael Chow of Mr Chow fame told me, circa 1973, “No one becomes cool, you either are or you’re not”….there are a lot of tumbler‘s where people appear to spend an inordinate amount time putting them together or perhaps they just have a damn good eye….it’s possible that you won’t investigate thoroughly all of the links I suggest, which would be a pity, but do make sure you see all of the pages here….I showed this site to a friend who after scrolling through said, “And so, what’s the point?”, not sure that matters in this instance….This Long Century is an ever-evolving collection of personal insights from artists, authors, filmmakers, musicians and cultural icons the world over. Bringing together such intimate work as sketchbooks, personal memorabilia, annotated typescripts, short essays, home movies and near impossible to find archival work. Warning, you may well find yourself engrossed in this for hours on end….Dutch artist Para has a lovely site….thinking of Christmas presents yet? Books are always top of my list to give and (hopefully) to get, here is a suggestion you’ll win many a curmudgeon over with….
November 23. 2013
I know it dates me I know, but I’m old enough to remember the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, albeit I was just a mere lad at the time and I also happen to have vivid recollections of the day after when Doctor Who was first broadcast on BBC One TV at 5.15pm on Saturday, November 23, 1963. Much debate has ensued over the years as to who was the “best” Doctor and who the Daleks really symbolize. For most fans of Doctor Who, Tom Baker‘s fedora and elongated scarf clad version is by far the first choice. Of course, ignorance is bliss as the saying goes, so those fans should be excused for not being old enough (like me) to recall the magnificent portrayal by the original Doctor, the late, great William Hartnell. Coming in at a close second has to be the irascible Jon Pertwee, whose reading of the third Doctor was witty and engaging as he delivered his lines with a thespian’s practiced lisp. As for the true meaning of those dastardly (very scary when you were a schoolboy) Daleks, Professor Ed Webb, a two-time guest on Life Elsewhere has written compellingly on the subject. Hear my interview with Ed Webb here….I like the captions to the photos at this site and I love that someone has taken the time to acknowledge what cyclist’s wear….once you go here, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it….remember when you would hear someone say, “That’s neat!” They never meant everything was lined up in a row or not untidy. It does seem to have gone out of fashion now, thankfully. But, this is neat….“in my blog I will share what I like and what inspires me as well as my own projects” says Mathilda Clahr. You can’t get more concise than that….nice work here and I like the simple navigation….this work makes me want to work with clay again. Make sure you check out the blog area….
November 19. 2013
Here we go, another example of lovely music you should know about, (it’s been on repeat- play in my car for a couple of months now). From Sydney, Australia, Hayden James on the Future Classic imprint with his self titled EP, don’t miss this one….is Ricky Gervais the UK’s Larry David? Or should that be the other way around? Gervais‘ series Derek currently running on Netflix tackles humanity head-on, with a cast of characters who surprise, endear and appall in equal parts. Gervais uses Karl Pilkington as a nihilistic fall-guy while destroying the illusion he created when he cast the same actor as the object of his constant derision on the Podcast (and later animated series) The Ricky Gervais Show. Derek is hard to watch at times because Gervais tackles a subject so often avoided, not unlike Larry David‘s deliberate stinging observations on the foibles of human nature. But Ricky Gervais is British and he knows it, he relishes in the peculiarity of the ordinariness of British life. Which is why for me, Steve Carell and the American production of The Office, could never capture the unavoidable cynicism (read Britishism) behind Gervais‘ David Brent….while we are comparing versions to the originals, do yourself a favor watch all the episodes of House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey on Netflix. Then try the original BBC series from 1990, featuring the late Ian Richardson, magnificently playing the dastardly amoral and manipulative Francis Urquhart. Spacey is good, very good, but I wish he had made his Frank Underwood his own and not a pastiche of Richardson‘s uniquely diabolical Urquhart….global warming, or not?….affordable health insurance explained….in case you were wondering….
November 13. 2013
If you appreciate exceptional design, take the time to explore the wonderful creations of Katharina Eisenköck….art directors, creative directors and especially lovers of typography need to see and support this Kickstarter project by Rob Saunders , Curator of the Letterform Archive….and speaking of typography, enjoy these marvels from The Typefight Print Shop….Johnson Hartig is apparently, the creative force behind the clothing line Libertine. Go directly to the about page, then decide if you need to look any further….please do let me know if after watching this video if you really care what the site is selling….innovative, exciting website navigation by Bleed a design consultancy based in Oslo and Vienna for Oslo photographer Andreas Kleiberg. I’ll be interested to know how long it takes you to figure out which way to scroll….I never did get a tattoo, too late now because I believe the cut-off date for getting inked should be 21! Only young taut unblemished skin can handle a needle jabbing ink into it. The whole tattoo thing never had any appeal for me anyway, even more so with the ubiquitous dreary conformity of most skin ink today. If only tattoos had to meet a certain standard, a good start would be the excellent work of Chaim Machlev out of Berlin….
November 12. 2013
I’m not complaining, but I do receive a lot of music and only have so much time to review and listen. The bigger issue is deciding what to share. For instance, I have been raving on about Canadian electronic musician Milosh for a few years now and included a number of his tracks on the earlier version of the Life Elsewhere site. Then Mike Milosh teamed up with with Robin Hannibel of Quadron, two years ago after he was commissioned to remix a Quadron song and the pair formed Rhye. Milosh & Hannibel moved to L.A., then released their debut album “Woman” in March this year. Because it sounded so good, I expected Rhye would hardly need my help waxing lyrical via Life Elsewhere, so I held off including cuts from Rhye on the radio show or this site. Yet, as the months have passed, I have not heard or seen Rhye getting the exposure they so readily deserve. So, I’m including two cuts from what I believe to be one of the best releases of 2013. I’m sure your interest will be aroused and you’ll want to know about the Sade-like vocalist? Surprise, surprise, that is Mike Milosh…
….you need to see this….automobiles have never been a must-have or a big deal for me. I guess because growing up in London where owning a car is crazy expensive, just to find a place to park the damn thing. With economics in mind, I’ve tended to go for the practical over the exotic. Having said that, I’ll now go and contradict myself by admitting to loving this….
November 8. 2013
In my ongoing quest to search out beautiful, minimalist design, I discovered The Viridi-anne. OK, so the clothes may not be designed with an old geezer like me in mind, but I love the whole concept….excellent ideas and reading here….just enjoy this slide show….sometimes playing with color works, make sure you check out everything here….I want one of these chairs, but according to the wobbly translation, they sold out….I predict you will thank me for this and you will madly re-blog/post/send/tweet/fb/email/etc….in all seriousness, this is essential for your “favorites bookmark”. I promise hours of fun entertainment….in my constant search to discover photos I can ooh! and ahh! over, I also discover photographers whose work I can salivate over while oohing! and aching! Here is a perfect example….just in case any (or all) of my creative director friends have not seen this, please acknowledge the humor, (something we can all use, occasionally)….Hot and Cool is certainly worth checking out, notice there are no stockists outside of Europe. But if you go to the buy online ink, you’ll discover the wonders of Antenne Books….
October 31. 2013
Let’s begin with a lovely video from just graduated Joshua Stocker….Shira Tarrant, PhD talks about Perversions and Sex and Sex and Four Hour Erections on the next edition of Life Elsewhere….lot of nudes here from Christian Peterson, photographer, graphic designer and video artist based in Seattle….I like minimalism, I like Ben Pogue‘s site….lovely work here from collaborators German photographer, Zoren Gold and Japanese graphic artist, Minori Murakami….an intelligent blog about books that is actually readable….am I the only person who did not get the appeal of Breaking Bad? Perhaps it’s because I cannot forget the real-life tragedy that is Meth?….under “info” it reads “custom textiles/installation/styling”, not that it matters, I just happen to like what is here….I’m sharing this with you because, well because….some blogs deserved to be shared because of the name alone, for instance, fuck you very much has a certain je ne sais quoi, but I especially approve because of how the two bloggers describe themselves….
October 24, 2013
TV observations: will “The Crazy Ones”, Robin Williams new, er, um, comedy series on CBS, survive the first season, even with the supposedly magic touch of creator David E. Kelley?…Alex Wagner just gets better and better on “Now With Alex Wagner” over at MSNBC. She is blisteringly quick witted, concise, clever and well, just lovely to look at….while “New Day” on CNN has a local-news-quality awkwardness. Handsome and ever-so earnest Chris Cuomo always looks as if he’s expecting his earnest handsomeness to be acknowledged in cutaways. Kate Bolduan is doing all the “right moves,” just like her coaches instructed, but that slight arched eyebrow move, she cannot help making, says she’s trying too hard to compete with handsome and earnest Chris, while no doubt thinking, “Mika Brzezinski doesn’t have to go through this!” And then over to the side is Michaela Pereira, who reads the news well enough, even though she looks for all the world like she’s biting her lip, trying to not let out a flurry of barbs to pretty-boy Chris or yell at pained Kate, “Relax baby, relax!” Oh, and the set is sub-local-news bland….MSNBC‘s late afternoon plodder “The Cycle” is obviously overly focus-group-researched. On paper, I bet it looks great, but any program with the smug self-aggrandizing Touré is hard to take seriously….Comedy Central really wants to keep us watching after Jon & Stephen, with two shows already aired, I will give @midnight another try but I can’t promise more than that….in the last couple of weeks, Al Jazeera America has garnered more and more of my attention, especially “Consider This” with Antonio Mora….one-time brilliant parodist William O’Reilly is losing his touch of late, watch how often he does the lip-licking thing when he’s not totally into the “bit”….
October 23, 2013
The Halloween edition of Life Elsewhere will feature an interview with professor Verlyn Flieger on the myths behind Halloween; film critic and media expert Bob Ross will discuss horror movies, the classics, the spoofs, modern gore hits, slasher movies and those odd early special effects classics….if and it’s a very big IF, I were going buy jewelry, I’d go here…. next, a good example of why I abhor labels for the music I like to listen to and why the Pandora’s and Spotify’s can never come up with a play-list that works for me. Play this very loud with headphone on, while browsing some of the photography links I’ve selected for BACK….
October 18, 2013
Next up on the Life Elsewhere radio show, an interview with best-selling author Nicholson Baker. His latest book, “Traveling Sprinkler” chronicles the further adventures of what some see as Baker’s alter-ego, Paul Chowder. It’s a funny, clever read, Baker‘s almost obsessive fixation on details of the mundane, make this book so relatable….incredible feedback on my interview with Martin Atkins, led me to think perhaps we should have both Martin and Sir Mix-A-Lot on at the same time to discuss cultural issues. Both men are articulate, experienced in the ways of the world, genuine in their opinions and able to bring a big ol’ smile to listener’s faces….I did ride my old decrepit beach-cruiser bike to the gym most days, that was until I got a flat front tire. I tried to repair it which resulted in my discovering the thing that holds the other thing that holds the wheel in place was a rusted crumbling lump of one-time metal that seriously needed a long overdue resting place. So, I’ve been on the lookout for a new bike. I want this one ….
Question: does anyone know where really great denim shirts are? I need replacements, my ancient threadbare ones are now beyond repair. The fit, the feel, the color has to just right. When I find those elusive shirts, I’m going to start wearing them with suits and predict denim shirts will be hot next year….you’ll thank me for turning you onto Beijing Cream….white women with black hairdos, photos by Endia Beal…. Binchotan charcoal, renowned for it’s purifying properties. Now it’s the secret ingredient in a toothbrush. At $7 it seems like a steal. It’s a work of art….always on the lookout for more nice photography….
October 15, 2013
President Barack Obama said yesterday in lieu of the debt ceiling not being raised on October 17, the US now faces “a good chance of defaulting,” a development that would have a “devastating effect” on the economy…Stephen Patrick Morrissey, whose autobiography cleverly titled “Autobiography” is slated for publication on, wait of it, October 17. So far, no official word from the icon of maudlin music about this coincidence. We do know that Morrissey‘s (hopefully revealing) book, is only scheduled to be published in the UK. The good news for SPM fans not in the UK, is the book can be ordered from Amazon. We also know that the book originally had a December 2012 publication date and some self-important high brow book lovers are having a hard time that it’s coming out on the Penguin Classics imprint, while I suspect most readers are more concerned to discover if SPM will dish the dirt on his guarded sex life….Al Jazeera America, finally a news channel that’s reporting news responsibly like BBC and CBC….this book has been out some time and still worth reading: “The Rest Is Noise – Listening To The Twentieth Century” by Alex Ross….more allegations against photographer Terry Richardson, which reminds me of Stephen Saban writing in the original Details magazine (if I recall correctly), something along the lines of, “you’ll see more sexy photos in fashion magazines than any of the so-called “Men’s” rags”….the latest edition of the Life Elsewhere radio show, featured an interview with attorney and critical thinker, Ted Corless on Parody News Vs. Real News. Which lead me to ask, “Where do you go to get news updates when the Daily Show is in repeats?….My Favo(u)rite Magazine a new one-off newsprint publication, is the brainchild of former Huffington Post editor, Andrew Losowsky and Jeremy Leslie, who curates the magCulture website in London. The publication is simply “wonderful!” and for a very good cause. It was created to aid Robert Newman brilliant creative director, regular guest on Life Elsewhere and an old friend. Bob had an accident earlier this year which resulted in him being in a coma for two weeks. His recovery has been long and costly, he is still unable to fully function normally. The creators of My Favo(u)rite Magazine have enlisted contributions from nearly 90 print designers. If you have an interest in design, you cannot afford to miss this splendid publication. All the proceeds of My Favo(u)rite Magazine will go to Bob and his family….
October 8, 2013
One of my four lovely nieces lives and practices her art in Berlin, this is her website. Admire at your leisure….I was tested for color blindness in my first year at art school, probably because I repeatedly painted the sky in my landscapes, green. I was diagnosed with “green blindness”. Imagine the results I get taking this Color IQ Test….on my bedside table now: “On Late Style” by Edward W. Said, (a birthday gift from Mr. H, I’m on my 3rd re-read!). I hope you don’t have to born in Surrey, England circa pre-1970’s to appreciate the brilliant humor in “Notwithstanding” by Louis de Bernierès. Candi Sary‘s engaging and ready for the screen, “Black Crow, White Lie”, listen to the interview here. ‘The Crying Heart Tattoo” by David Martin, it’s so good, I’m delaying reading the final chapter. Antonia Fraser‘s “Must You Go?-My Life With Harold Pinter”. I dip into this every so often and read aloud, playing out the characters. My Antonia is frighteningly good, according to my son….I was thinking about the folkloric tale of how a young cocky Andrew Loog Oldham locked Mick & Keith in the kitchen, threatening to not let the pair out until they had penned a couple pop hits. Even though this tale has been repeated numerous times, including accounts by the conniving Mr. Oldham and renown scalawag Mr. Richards, I just don’t buy the story. There can be no doubt the budding impresario was eager to get his lads to knock out a couple of nice little earners, but would the Glimmer Twins really have knuckled down on command?….
October 1, 2013
My Manolos: Dateline London, early 70’s. A balmy Saturday afternoon, I wander into a quaint and hushed boutique on Church Street, just off Chelsea’s bustling King’s Road. I’d stopped in to buy a pair of shoes. Not just any shoes. These were a pair of brown and white leather, co-respondent shoes. Truthfully, I’d never laid eyes on shoes so splendid before. Being an aspiring dandy, I knew I just had to have them. It was a few days before, after visiting my hairdresser, who’s salon was located a few doors away, that I causally peeked in the diminutive shoe shop’s window. At first, all I saw was hardly anything apart from a couple of pairs of outrageous women’s shoes in dramatic colors with impossibly high heels. But, as I peeked closer, I spied the amazing brown and white co-respondent shoes. Men’s I reckoned, (although later I discovered they were designed for and worn by both sexes). Instantly, I made up my mind, those shoes were going to be mine. I pushed the front door, blissfully ignoring the “Sorry we’re closed” sign, scrawled on a paper napkin and hastily smacked lopsidedly onto the glass door. “Bollocks!” I spat, then hurriedly dashed back to Gregor’s hair emporium. “Do you know when that little shoe shop opens?” I demanded from the otherwise engaged crimper. He was lustfully stroking the sumptuous mane of a gangly, barely-dressed model. Gregor, who’s heavy-lidded eyes betrayed a recent bout with keef, remained focused on the lithe young thing he was dutifully caressing. “Oh! That’s Manolo, he opens when he wants!” he sighed. “Try Saturday!” He added, “He should be open then”. The impeccably dressed Mr. Blahnik graciously served me, managing to hide any sign of bemusement, as I noticeably flinched when he announced the price of those coveted shoes. At that time, the early 70’s, I was about to fork over the equivalent of a month’s wages on a pair of shoes. But it was too late. I tried them on. They were exquisite. They fitted perfectly, they looked so cool, I could not leave without them. In the photograph above, I’d had the shoes for at least 18 months, I wore them constantly. They were so comfortable and they never seemed to wear out. I took great care of them, cleaning fastidiously and always using shoes trees as the shoemaker had recommended. I was still wearing them some years later when I happened to be at a Ramones‘ gig, held in the always beer-sodden Rainbow Tavern, Seattle. It had to happen at a Ramones’ gig at a beer hall of course, someone managed to steer a full pitcher of beer down my legs and over my precious Manolos. Later that night on close inspection, those remarkable shoes showed no sign of trauma, except for the soles, which were by now paper thin. I did manage to find a decent cobbler who kept them wearable for a few more years but eventually they were relinquished to box in a loft. I was prompted to recount my Manolo’s story after flipping through page after page of books on The Rolling Stones for research I’m doing on “Boomers“. There they were, my Manolos! Page after page of Michael Philip Jagger, in all his youthful glory wearing my shoes! Thinking back, I remembered, there were only three other pairs in the shop, all in much smaller sizes, according to Mr. Blahnik, hence the ambiguous appeal of the shoe. And, I never did see one other person promenading around London (or anywhere else for that matter, certainly not The Rainbow Tavern in Seattle), wearing those wonderful shoes. From the number of pictures, I’m guessing Mick enjoyed them as much as I did.
During the time I lovingly wore my precious Manolo Blahnik shoes, I will admit to enjoying life with proper hedonistic zeal. An essential element was dancing! My ear for the slightly of-kilter dance track led me to deejaying sets that ran from The B52‘s to Ranking Joe or Soft Cell to The Supremes. Although my live DJ sets are far and few these days, I still get excited when a particularly interesting release comes my way. I know nothing about Red 7 (not sure if that is the label or producer), but I Lost My Shoes On Acid is the perfect addition to this post. It came to me on a one-sided platter with zero information. I’ve listened carefully to the samples and breaks, so far recognizing the terrific 1984 hit Don’t Go Lose It Baby from Hugh Masekla. Listen and see what you discover. (Oh and put on a nice pair of shoes when you do!).
September 25, 2013
I just finished reading Nicholson Baker‘s latest novel, Traveling Sprinkler. A delicious, witty, gob-smacking romp that every boomer who has a passion for music, should devour. Looking forward to interviewing Mr Baker, air date: October 21….Hyperallergic a blog recommendation….this is Andrea Mary Marshall‘s site. I have not seen her work in real life. Something tells me I shouldn’t pass judgement until I have been able to get as close as possible to an artists’ work. After all, looking at the Mona Lisa in art books couldn’t prepare for me for how tiny the painting actually is. Standing in front of that legendary masterpiece for the first time, actually did take my breath away, as I marveled at Leonardo da Vinci‘s extraordinary ability to describe untold depth with a brush. Or, witnessing Fra Angelico‘s magnificent frescos mere inches away from his glorious work, left me questioning how such sensual images could be the work of a devout and celibate man? A query I could not have gleaned from looking at their works in mere books. Yet, art has long been available as a printed or reproduced image. For example,my appreciation of Aubrey Beardsley‘s penmanship was only slightly elevated upon seeing his original penmanship. Even though Ms. Marshall‘s work reminds me of possibly far too many references I could care to blabber on about here, I do think seeing her (work) in person may provide answers to my as yet, un-asked questions….
This is a photo of a man who was striking a Captain Jack Sparrow/Keith Richards-like pose long before the real or the make believe characters knew what khol was or jingly-jangly bracelets, flowing scarves, scary earrings and occasional dreadlocks. I’ve known “Mean” Ricky for over three decades, he reigned supreme for many of those years as the swashbuckling acid-tongued agent provocateur of Seattle’s salubrious Belltown. Thankfully, he has almost always been charming to me and has allowed me to snap his portrait regularly. Here he is entertaining my son, who for some odd reason donned a motorcycle helmet for the shoot, circa September, 2010….I promise, you’ll want to watch this short movie by Dustin Lynn again and again….excuse me while I mention that Alex Wagner‘s sharp wit and a great haircut makes MSNBC worth watching….at Lena Corwin’s blog the byline reads: “Posting observations and inspirations related to design, patterns, fabric, fashion, crafts– or anything else”, and why not?….attention graphic designers, you can never get enough inspiration….
All selections are for review purposes only