Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

19 APRIL, 2011

Everything Is Going To Be OK: Aesthetic Anesthesia for the Soul

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An antidote to cynicism by way of typography, or what it’s all right to have everything you want.

In a world brimming with cynicism, it’s a rare and wonderful occasion to find an oasis of sincerity and optimism. That’s exactly what we found in the recently released Everything Is Going To Be OK — an absolutely lovely pocket-sized anthology of positive artwork from a diverse lineup of indie artists, designers and illustrators, including Brain Pickings favorites Marian Bantjes, Marc Johns and Mike Perry. What makes the book exceptional is that it manages to take existential truisms we’d ordinarily roll our eyes at, reframe them in a context of honesty and simplicity, and deliver them through such outstanding graphic design that the medium itself becomes part of the delight of the message.

Everything Is Going To Be OK is reminiscent of the lovely Live Now! project and Mico Toledo’s Music Philosophy, an absolute treat of design and a priceless existential reminder of what we too often forget: Life is beautiful, our fellow human beings are good, and happiness is within our reach.

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18 APRIL, 2011

Quakebook: Twitter-Sourced Anthology for and by Japan

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What Yoko Ono, William Gibson and Kings of Leon have in common.

The March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan are among the greatest natural disasters in modern history, affecting thousands of lives in unspeakably gruesome ways. While we’ve been skeptical of designers, writers and other creators flacking their work as a way to “help” Japan by donating a small portion of the proceeds while trying to sell large volumes of posters or t-shirts or novels — such schemes tend to feel like piggybacking on tragedy, disaster-washing, if you will — a new ebook by and for Japanese earthquake survivors tells a beautifully different story.

2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, also known as the #quakebook project, was put together in a little over a week by a team of professional and citizen journalists who met on Twitter and set out to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in a thoughtful way that puts their strengths and talents to use. They collected essays, artwork and photographs from people all over the world — from ordinary people, from victims of the disaster, from journalists who covered it, from prominent writers like William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein, who created original work for the book, and even from Yoko Ono, who captures the tragedy and turmoil of the moment in a poignant essay titled Awakening — and published them in an anthology the full proceeds from which benefit disaster relief efforts in Japan.

The idea for this book came out of desperation, desperation to do something for a country on its knees. As I write this, intense aftershocks still force me out onto the street with my daughter in my arms, even though we live far from the hardest-hit areas of the country, and far more comfortably than the thousands in refugee shelters.”

The book features 87 narratives, eyewitness accounts and essays covering — with raw and moving candor of lived experience — beauty, bravery, distance, escapism, God, morality, harmony, remembrance and everything in between.

Those of us who live in Japan are in a state of war. But not a war against a nation, or even nature. We are fighting defeat, worry and hopelessness. The question is: Are we strong enough to overcome? [F]or the many people around the world who care deeply about Japan, this book is a snapshot of a nation in crisis, told by the people affected, in their own voices.”

Besides the beautiful story of how the book came together and the profound bittersweetness of its goal, what makes the project unique is that 100% of the $9.99 you pay goes directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. It’s the product of the sheer creative altruism of those involved, and of those choosing to support it — we urge you to join us amongst them.

via The Domino Project

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15 APRIL, 2011

The Ancient Book of Myth and War

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What Roman warriors have to do with Pixar and medieval Middle-Eastern legends.

Nearly two years ago, we featured The Ancient Book of Séx and Science — the racy and whimsical side-project of four Pixar animators, which went on to become the most popular book in Brain Pickings history. But it was actually a follow-up to an earlier project by the same team, at the time out-of-print and near-impossible to get online, less a few exorbitantly priced four-figure collector’s copies. Now, The Ancient Book of Myth and War has magically reappeared on Amazon, where we were able to snag a copy for under $75. Needless to say, the book is an absolute gem worth every penny — a collection of stunning experiments in shape and color exploring the strange and wonderful world of mythology and legend throughout the history of the world. (As Amazon reviewer J. Brodsky eloquently puts it, “The only point to be made here, is that you simply must do yourself a favor and buy this art gallery they call a book.”)

The four animators — Scott Morse, Nate Wragg, Lou Romano, and Don Shank — manage to capture the essence of legends from around the world and across time with a rare blend of irreverence and cross-cultural curiosity, sweeping you into a journey into the soul of heroic mythology.

Playful and poetic, The Ancient Book of Myth and War is an absolute treat for art aficionados and mythology lovers alike, blending history and design with the kind of visual eloquence Pixar has grown legendary for.

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