Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

20 OCTOBER, 2011

A Collection a Day: An Obsessive Homage to Order

By:

Why we’re drawn to things organized neatly, or what sea urchins have to do with vintage erasers.

On January 1, 2010, artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon embarked on an unusual project — for 365 days, she was to photograph, draw, or, in the case of imaginary objects, paint one collection a day. She documented her process online and recently joined our own collection of blogs so great they became books.

A Collection a Day catalogs all 365 of Congdon’s quirky, obsessive, endlessly curious collections of tchotchkes — erasers, pencils, vintage stamps, mushrooms, receipts, medals, maps, sea urchins, and just about everything in between — in a beautiful volume that’s somehow calming and centering in its neatness, a rare oasis of order amidst the chaos of the everyday stuff that surrounds us.

Since I was a young girl, I have been obsessed both with collecting and with arranging, organizing and displaying my collections. This is my attempt to document my collections, both the real and the imagined.” ~ Lisa Congdon

For a peek inside Congdon’s creative process and what makes these collections so alluring with her wonderful recent talk from the San Francisco chapter of Creative Mornings — bonus points for the Ursus Wehrli, Andy Goldsworthy, and Edward Tufte references.

I think that ordinary objects become something different when they’re arranged with other like things… Seeing things with other like things helps us to see them in new ways.” ~ Lisa Congdon

Beautifully photographed and illustrated, A Collection a Day is a charming meditation on objects and stuff, part Obsessive Consumption, part Things, part its very own peculiar project with its own peculiar character.

Images courtesy of Lisa Congdon / UPPERCASE

Donating = Loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.





You can also become a one-time patron with a single donation in any amount.





Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

20 OCTOBER, 2011

Spike Jonze’s Handmade Stop-Motion Love Story for Bibliophiles

By:

How to punch a whale, or what Dracula has to do with Faulkner and Macbeth.

When beloved director Spike Jonze, he of Being John Malkovic and Where The Wild Things Are fame, met handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan, he fell in love with her intricate embroidery and asked for an embroidered cover of Catcher in the Rye to put on his wall. Le-Tan agreed, but asked for a film in return. The result was Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side) — an absolutely beautiful stop-motion animation for book-lovers that’s part This Is Where We Live, part Going West, part creative magic only Spike Jonze can bring.

Set inside iconic Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, the film tells the story of the skeleton from the cover of Macbeth, voiced by Jonze himself, who falls in love with Mina Harker on the cover of Dracula. He sets out to meet her, but loses his head to a French version of The Big Clock on the way, trips and falls into Faulkner’s Sartoris, and is then swallowed by Moby-Dick. Harker, voiced by French singer Soko, springs to his rescue, punching the legendary whale in the face with a mischievous smirk. The happily-ever-after ending comes only after an appropriately dark and grim twist.

(We also seem to have a running theme of whales this month, first with the stunning Moby-Dick in Pictures, then the poetic animation about the afterlife of a whale, and now this embroidered stop-motion goodness.)

You just start with what the feeling is. For this one the feeling definitely started with the handmade aesthetic and charm of Olympia’s work. Instantly I had the idea of doing it in a bookstore after-hours, imagining the lights coming down and these guys off their books. Me and Olympia both wanted to make a love story, and it was fun to do it with these characters. It evolved naturally and it all just started with the feeling. From there you entertain yourself with ideas that excite you.” ~ Spike Jonze

Here’s Jonze on the inspired making of the film:

via Slate

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

19 OCTOBER, 2011

A Sky Full of Kindness: Rob Ryan’s Remarkable Cut-Paper Illustrations

By:

Lessons on love from two illustrated birds, or why we never really grow up.

I have a soft spot for intricate paper art, and hardly does it get more intricate and beautiful than in the work of British artist Rob Ryan, whose papercuts and screen prints are imbued with a kind of whimsy to which the screen does little justice. His new book, A Sky Full of Kindness, captures this delicate analog magic through a narrative crafted entirely out of exquisite cut-paper illustrations that whisper to you pithy, poetic words to make your heart smile. It tells the story of a few adventurous birds, but it’s really a story about love, overcoming fear, and being human. A follow-up to Ryan’s equally delightful 2009 gem, This Is For You, the slim but infinitely delightful tome is as much a work of a work of art as it is an homage to the beauty and poetry of paper books.

Ryan’s work is also on Etsy and the fine folks there have put together this lovely short film about him, part of their excellent Handmade Portraits series:

We’re all the same people we were when we were children, we’re just bigger, and pretend that we’re not.”

One of the most poetic artworks from the book is also available as a screenprint on Etsy:

Simon Lewin over in the UK has a wonderful Instagram sneak peek of the book itself:

Part Live Now in spirit, part The Night Life of Trees in analog whimsy, and entirely original at its heart, A Sky Full of Kindness is a rare piece of visual philosophy bound to make you glow on the inside.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.