You know, the computer screen just doesn't do any of this work justice, but that's certainly not going to stop me from gushing. And this year there's a number of innovative twists on this old-timey medium which always makes for compelling work. So, here you are, best of the best (at least from my seat) printed pieces of 2010.
This poster is most memorable for it's darling childish hand and classic message. A father & son collaboration, by Studio on Fire and Koen (age 6), the doodles were assembled digitally and letterpressed 14x20" with yellow and gold ink. $30 for sale here.
For Matthew Hoffman it's all about identity. On the casual outward glance he's a 9-5er, a career oriented young chap, probably unknown to some as...shhhh....an artist. But over wayside he runs Multi-Polar Projects, a rep house for artists Sighn, H. Mathis, Ervin Orion and Mateo. An art collective of four dudes pursing their own separate works. Which is bad-ass alone, yet is ostensibly all very straight-forward, until you learn the entire Multi-Polar Projects crew is just a single person. Hoffman. Which then begs the question, where is the artist and where is the person? And also how? And...When does the sleeping happen?
It's not really a question that needs answering, it's a delightful enough proposition on its own. It's seems to be merely the only way Hoffman knows how to be an artist. It's ingrained in his process and can't be teased out.
Better still? He's dropping a new project after a year-long art-making hiatus.
What ensued was an extensive back-and-forth between myself, Sighn, H. Mathis, and Multi-Polar Projects. Hilarious because Hoffman's playing all the parts from separate addresses.
Sighn's the moniker responsible, working in his typical text-only emotive style. ITSOKCOLORWAY is the rainbow-hued edition of his ongoing ITSOKAY Project. As the Tweeps and Facespaces erupt with millions of electronic blurbs per day and viral campaign after campaign goes zipping into internet obscurity, he's busy carving pithy witticisms out of wood with a life-long goal of 1 million wooden ITSOKs. It's a permanent snap-shot of communication, forged from materials that once grew in the earth. Part sculpture, part talisman, all parts delicious typography and wordplay, you'd have to be a cyborg not to have feeeeeeelings when taking in the work.
I shot Sighn a request to answer some light-hearted interview questions, and what ensued was an extensive back-and-forth between myself, Sighn, H. Mathis, and Multi-Polar Projects. Hilarious because Hoffman's playing all the parts from separate addresses, poking fun at himself the entire time. In the end it ended up as a snarky not-so-subtle, and entirely unintentional, jab at long annoying email chains. Oh my stars and garters kids, this email at its most artistic (and meta) indeed... For this designer, blogger and typography geek, that's the black hole of perfect.
So here you go: H. Mathis' illustrated responses to Sighn's interview questions. By Matthew Hoffman. I think.
6. A love letter to your favorite snack:
I guess this is what I call reinventing being an artist. Old schooling the new school. And there's no tells just how far this kid can go. It's mayhem! Mania! It's going to rule, bro. Someone please save me from myself, before there's ecstatic-induced vomiting like that kid in Adam Sandler's Big Daddy.
Learn more and order your own piece here. ITSOKs come in 10 colors, plus natural unfinished bamboo or basswood. $20 each.
Bet you cool cats haven't seen a recipe visualized in quite this way before, eh? It's new to me too and it's got my mouth a-watering. Ikea's actually behind this delectable book which is called Homemade is Best. It features desserts, all meticulously styled in a way that's completely new to food photography (hat tip to Carl Kleiner for that). Sure, I still want a fat slice of the cake, but now I have so much more appreciation for what goes into it. Makes it seems so much more simple to make, no?
Given some of my previous post subjects, it seems I'm definitely attracted to immensely colorful and heavily patterned artwork. Perhaps it's because it differs so much from my own comparatively minimal & restrained design work? Regardless, I think it's the irrepressible energy of this type of work that keeps me coming back for more. Young Brooklyn artist Morgan Blair is no different with patterns-a-plenty, rainbow colors, and style that easily traverses from illustration to painting to grafitti. She cites Legos, Maya Hayuk, nostalgia and forts (agreed, who doesn't love a good fort?!) as a few of her influences. If you're nerding out over this like I am, frankly, you should drop what you're doing read this interview with Morgan over at Doodler's Annonymous. She actually drew the answers to their interview questions. What a clever monkey.
On first glance Buff Monster and his art present a picture that's the opposite of your typical "grown-up". Giant Mohawk, heavy metal music, graffiti, heck--even a installation of porn-related art. But there's a chink in that facade though, and it comes in the most exuberant shade of pink. It's the kind of color that's hard to hate and it dominates Buff Monster's work. Loud, cartoonish, and fun, even Mohawk-haters would have to agree. So when Buff's rep emailed me to get some press out for his fall openings, I was happy to probe a little more into this interesting artist.
Russian graphic designer & graffiti writer Aske wants to keep a low profile like most street artists, but lately his work has been making the rounds on design channels, and with obvious good reason. Even a new site showcasing his brilliantly colored, irreverent and witty typography pieces and other design projects has appeared. Aske's work runs a gamut of clients from Nike to Beautiful Decay, not to mention his Russian graffiti magazine, Code Red.
Fun thing! Courtesy of our bff The Internet, where nothing is lost, I just discovered that there are entire blogs dedicated to archiving vintage album art. Project Thirty Three, Groove is in the Art, and Stereo Sack are three such sites run by Seattle used vinyl shop, Jive Time Records. Everything from jazz to classical to psychedelic abound with a rainbow of colors and cheeky typography, all of which I am filing away as design inspiration fodder.
It's just amazing how well these have aged, design-wise.
I'm only slightly stepping out of my art/design role with this fashion-related blog post. Enter Forage, a new line of mid-century inspired bow ties. Brains behind this classy-quirky line are Shauna & Steven who run a delightful Etsy shop, somethingshidinghere. Forage draws heavy inspiration from industry greats like Louis Kahn, Charles Eames, and Le Corbusier, people whose work has definitely made an impression on my tastes too. I mean look at all these awesome patterns and colors...Beautiful, right? Forage didn't skip out on any of the other details either, the packaging, photography & styling and the craftsmanship are all obviously top-notch too. I'm wishing I was A) a dude or B) able rock one of these in some way. These ties are debuting for purchase at the Curiousity Shoppe.
Whether it's with graphic design or business planning in general, the tendency to add lots of features, color, graphic elements, bells, whistles, and whizzbangs is incredibly common. It's an irresistible and misleading strategy for people who want their product or project to stand out and aren't really sure how. More often than not it will distract the audience and is going to be more expensive to produce.
So how to cut the fat without the impact? Start by hiring a great graphic designer, limit color choices, and use high quality printing. That will get you there every time. Better still, explore printing alternatives like screenprinting or letterpress. Often times they are on par with traditional offset printing, and in some cases, cheaper if it's a small enough run of prints. Not to mention it affords the obvious wow-factor that just ain't happening over at Ye Olde Copy Center Plus. Plus it supports an age-old craft, and the person behind it.
Still not convinced? Take a look at these beautiful printed pieces, all designed with just one or two colors. Budgets are included for the projects that listed those details.