Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

14 OCTOBER, 2010

And The Pursuit of Happiness: Maira Kalman Illustrates Democracy

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Yes, we love Maira Kalman. Last year, the iconic illustrator published a wonderful and quirky illustrated 12-part meditation on democracy in her New York Times blog and today, the series is released as an equally wonderful illustrated book.

And the Pursuit of Happiness begins with Barack Obama’s inauguration on Chapter One, with each subsequent chapter representing a month in Kalman’s yearlong quest to explore the underpinnings of contemporary democracy.

In February, she travels to both costs, so the respective chapter is dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. In March, she goes to an actual town meeting, the quintessential haven of democracy. In April, she visits the Supreme Court and the office of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which prompts a rumination on women breaking social barriers. For December, she concludes with a chapter on George Washington and a thoughtful reflection on happiness itself.

Brimming with Kalman’s childlike aesthetic, delightfully kooky typography and subtle wordplay, And the Pursuit of Happiness takes you on a playful yet philosophical journey into the human side of politics and democracy — a genuine treat for eye, mind and heart.

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14 OCTOBER, 2010

Remote Palette: Warhol 2.0

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In 1985, Andy Warhol painted Debbie Harry on the first Amiga, creating a timecapsule of cultural history as he illustrated — both literally and figuratively — the dawning possibilities for creativity in the digital era to come. But as Warhol placed his first pixelated technicolor-like strokes on the 16-bit beast, we have to wonder what he would have said, what he would’ve created, had he been able to envision, let alone play with, the remarkable advances in creative technology available to us today.

That’s exactly what inspired London-based digital agency Dare to create Remote Palette — a visionary iPhone and iPad duo app that demonstrates how the two devices can work together across space to empower rich and engaging drawing experiences.

Remote Palette does exactly what it promises to do — the iPad screen serves as the blank canvas, with several base colors available, upon which you can draw using the iPhone as a remote palette. Although the actual interface is incredibly simple and basic in terms of artistic capacity, we’re excited about what Dare calls “invisible technology” and its possible applications in everything from education to collaborative creation.

Meanwhile, a hat tip is due to the Dare team for the clever promo: To demo the app and pay homage to their inspiration, Dare got their own Innovation Director, Perry Price, to reenact Andy Warhol’s iconic hamburger-eating scene, only this hamburger is served on an iPad:

The app is only $0.99 in the App Store, so grab it and explore for yourself.

And for a related Warhol 2.0 bit, don’t miss the brand new Andy Warhol augmented reality app the Andy Warhol Museum in New York launched yesterday, which adds a layer of Warhol-related locations to the popular Layar augmented reality browser.

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13 OCTOBER, 2010

Nina Paley: All Creative Work Is Derivative

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I’m a big believer in creativity as a combinatorial force — a great big puzzle you construct from existing pieces in your mental pool of resources. Which is why I strive to continuously highlight tidbits of interestingness and inspiration, in the hope that each of them lies dormant in your mind until, one day, it sparks some incredible new creation. So the concept of remix culture is both a frequent topic and a point of passion around here. Now, from filmmaker Nina Paley of Sita Sings The Blues fame comes a simple yet brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed case for the combinatorial nature of creativity.

Paley photographed archaeological artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and animated them to illustrate her point: All creativity builds upon something that existed before and every work of art is essentially a derivative work.

If you’re intrigued by this concept, I highly recommend checking out the roundup of similarly minded projects here and taking a peek at Steven Johnson’s insight on where good ideas come from, most notably his absolutely fantastic new book on the subject.

A free hi-res download of Paley’s animation is available at the Internet Archive.

via Open Culture

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06 OCTOBER, 2010

Conversations with Mr. Lois

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Legendary art director George Lois, an original Mad Man, came of age in the 1960’s, when his Esquire magazine covers revolutionized graphic design and shaped the aesthetic direction of magazine publishing for decades to come.

Conversations with Mr. Lois is a series of four short clips of Lois, charmingly profane and non-linear and curmudgeonly as ever, sharing his thoughts on everything from the moral state of advertising the essence of magazines to the sensual sterility of tablets. The series was timed around MoMA’s George Lois retrospective and the publication of the fantastic companion book earlier this year.

There are too many assholes in advertising now.” ~ George Lois

People say the magazine is dead — bullshit it’s dead!” ~ George Lois

When you read a magazine, you put it on your lap, it’s like a lap dance. [With tablets], you’re just looking at a screen.” ~ George Lois

Hat tip to the SPD filmmakers for using Cat Power’s “The Greatest” as the score for the final part of the series.

When you do a magazine with great content and real visual excitement — oh my God! — pages of it, or spreads of it, every week, every month — wow, that’s fun! Let’s do this, let’s do that — it’s terrific stuff. It’s stuff where you can really influence the culture. I don’t care what magazine you do, any kind of magazine [should be] a cultural provocateur.” ~ George Lois

The series was a teaser for an event where Wired creative director Scott Dadich sat down with Lois to talk about his iconic Esquire covers. You can watch the hour-long program below:

We highly recommend George Lois: The Esquire Covers, MoMA’s beautifully curated anthology of Lois’s most influential work. You may also enjoy our recent look at the evolution of magazines over the past century.

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