Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

29 JUNE, 2012

Creative Legend George Lois on Ideas as the Product of Discovery, Not Creation

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How to cultivate the mental medley that sparks the alchemy of ideas.

In celebrating the greatest living graphic designer’s 83rd birthday on Tuesday, I somehow forgot that Milton Glaser shares his birthday with another creative world icon, two years his junior — legendary designer, author, and contrarian George Lois, often regarded as the greatest art director of all time and called, much to his disgruntlement, “the original Mad Man.” To celebrate his 81st birthday, here’s a wonderful short film by On Creativity, in which Lois reflects on the combinatorial nature of creativity and echoes insights we’ve already heard from other great creators — the power of cultivating a personal microculture, the idea that to invent is to choose, the importance of “being-in-the-world-ness,” the notion that to create is to discover and connect rather than “invent” out of thin air.

I don’t think I create anything. I’m really serious — I discover the ideas.

[…]

If you understand how to think… If you have a background of graphic art, and you are a sports fan, and you’re literate, and you’re interested in politics, and you love opera, and ballet’s not bad either, and if you understand people… and you understand language, and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products… and you put that all together in about ten minutes — the idea’s there.

Lois’s new book, Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator, George Lois, came out earlier this year and is precisely the kind of no-bullshit, feather-ruffling gem you’d expect from the beloved curmudgeon.

Swiss-Miss

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28 JUNE, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Pop-Up Book

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“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!”

As a lover of all things Alice in Wonderland and of extraordinary pop-up books (and neo-pop-up books), imagine my delight in stumbling upon Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation (public library) — a kind of “Victorian peep show” version of the Lewis Carroll classic by pop-up book artist and paper engineer Robert Sabuda, and a beautiful testament to the whimsy of paper books.

Then the Queen, quite out of breath, said to Alice, ‘Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?’

‘No,’ said Alice. ‘I don’t even know what a Mock Turtle is.’

‘It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,’ said the Queen.

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27 JUNE, 2012

Isabella Rossellini’s Kooky Educational Films about Bees

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What Shakespeare and Aristotle got wrong, how bee spit becomes honey, and why having sex all day makes one totally helpless.

As the granddaughter of a beekeeper, I’ve always found bees to be utterly amazing and their social organization remarkably intelligent, so it breaks my heart to see their future so woefully precarious in the grip of colony collapse disorder. Yet despite their marvels and recent newsworthiness, bees remain largely misunderstood. Luckily, the ceaseless talents of Isabella Rossellini are here to help: After her delightful Green Porno series — fascinating, funny, kooky, and illuminating short films, in which Rossellini, clad in various bodysuits, reenactments the sex lives of the animals most biologically different from us with comically incongruous scientific accuracy — Rossellini has joined forces with Burt’s Bees to produce three equally kooky educational short films about bees, mixing goofy live-action with lovely lo-fi animation.

In the first, “Burt,” played by Rossellini herself, talks to the worker bees and shows us, among other things, why Aristotle was wrong and how honey is actually made. (Bee spit + plant nectar = deliciousness.)

In the second film, “Burt” meets the queen bee, also played by Rossellini, and learns about her utilitarian nymphomania, why Shakespeare was wrong, and how male bees are born fatherless from unfertilized eggs:

In the last, “Burt” meets a male drone — representative of just 11% of a bee colony — who is only capable of having sex and is otherwise helpless:

For more of Rossellini’s endearingly quirky science education, treat yourself to her Green Porno.

BOOOOOOOM

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