Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

21 OCTOBER, 2010

The Threadless Story: A Tale of Creative Entrepreneurship

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Ten years ago, two guys in Chicago won $1,000 in an internet t-shirt design contest, but they got more than a prize — they got an idea: What if people could submit their t-shirt designs online and have others vote on them, then print the best ones and sell them? The wonderful Threadless was born. This year, to celebrate the big anniversary, they’ve put together a book. But it’s not about t-shirts. Instead, it uses t-shirts as a vehicle to tell a wonderful and inspired story about art, design, creativity and community.

From profiles of individual designers who share their creative process to essays by prominent Threadless fans like John Maeda and Wired‘s Jeff Howe, Threadless is both a visual treat and a truly inspirational manifesto for the power of creative entrepreneurship.

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20 OCTOBER, 2010

Street Artist JR Wins 2011 TED Prize

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In a highly unusual yet utterly inspirational move, TED has awarded the 2011 TED Prize of $100,000 to one of our favorite street artists, the shadowy Parisian JR. Known for his large-scale graffiti murals touching on subjects like freedom, identity and limit, the anonymous 27-year-old artist has recently entered filmmaking — his powerful documentary debut, Women Are Heroes, based on the 2009 exhibition of the same name, premiered to astounding acclaim at Cannes this year.

JR creates “Pervasive Art” that spreads uninvited on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or the favelas in Brazil. People who often live with the bare minimum discover something absolutely unnecessary. And they don’t just see it, they make it. Some elderly women become models for a day; some kids turn artists for a week. In that Art scene, there is no stage to separate the actors from the spectators.”

Previous TED Prize winners have included Bill Clinton, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, educational entrepreneur Dave Eggers, and chef and nutrition activist Jamie Oliver.

We’re thrilled to see TED further expand its celebration of creativity and philanthropy with work that lives outside the world of traditional high culture and even the law, yet touches millions of lives in a very human and powerful way, injecting joy, pride and humility where they are needed the most.

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19 OCTOBER, 2010

I Wonder: Marian Bantjes Explores Joy Through Typography

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Marian Bantjes is one of those creators that make pigeonholing impossible. Trained as a graphic designer, with a decade-long career as a typesetter under her belt and a penchant for the intricate beauty of letterform illustrations, she calls herself a ‘graphic artist’ and is an avid advocate for self-education and self-reinvention. Stefan Sagmeister, a longtime Brain Pickings favorite, calls her “one of the most innovative typographers working today” — with no exaggeration. (So innovative, in fact, that Sean “P. Diddy” Combs felt compelled to shamelessly, blatantly rip her off recently.)

I exist somewhat outside of the mainstream of design thinking. Where others might look at measurable results, I tend to be interested in more ethereal qualities like does it bring joy? is there a sense of wonder? and does it invoke curiosity?”

Bantjes’ highly anticipated new book, I Wonder, is out today and I couldn’t recommend it more — a remarkable journey of visual joy and conceptual fascination, intersecting logic, beauty and quirk in a breathtaking yet organic way.

I’m using my own writings as a kind of testing ground for a book that has an interdependency between word and image as a kind of seductive force. I think that one of the things that religions got right was the use of visual wonder to deliver a message. I think this true marriage of art and information is woefully underused in adult literature. And I’m mystified as to why visual wealth is not more commonly used to enhance intellectual wealth.”

For more of Bantjes’ unique brand of visual curiosity and creativity, don’t miss her excellent TED talk.

I Wonder is positively one of the season’s finest visual communication gems.

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19 OCTOBER, 2010

projeqt: A Creative Storytelling Platform

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The new language of the creative polyglot, or what tweets have to do with portfolios.

Much has been said over the past few years about the future of publishing and content on the web. Terms like “transmedia storytelling” and “cross-platform publishing” are tossed around like giant balls of cotton candy — delicious, fluffy but, ultimately, without much substance. And while certain platforms have made multimedia storytelling possible for publishers and visual artists, none offers a truly holistic proposition.

This week, the launch of projeqt offers hope for a platform that does it all and then some. Dubbed a “creative storytelling platform,” it’s Tumblr meets Slideshare meets Cargo Collective — only a more flexible Tumblr, a sleeker Slideshare and spanning more media than Cargo Collective. And if this isn’t enough of a treat, it’s also device-agnostic — built entirely in HTML5 for cross-platform compatibility and specifically optimized for iPad and iPhone, projeqt is part publishing CMS, part portfolio-builder, part something else entirely.

projeqt is simple, intuitive and highly social, playing nice with other platforms by allowing you to mesh together text, image, video and feeds within the same projeqt, so you can embed your Vimeo uploads, post photos from your Flickr stream, import your blog’s RSS feed and even your tweets — in other words, it’s a creative polyglot that invites you to tell your story, whatever creative languages it may be in. (The reader experience is equally flexible, allowing for seamlessly switching between line, grid and full-screen view.)

Great stories keep us riveted to the page. Or the screen (whatever shape or size it happens to come in.) Great stories get shared and are retold time after time after time. Great stories always leave us wanting more. Projeqt gives you the tools and technology to tell your story. It provides a robust architecture, with unprecedented flexibility and possibilities.”

We’re thrilled about the creative possibilities with projeqt. If you’re a cross-media creative type who writes, designs, does photography and has a significant Twitter presence, you can pull all of these personalities into one cohesive portfolio. If you’re an educator, you can use it as sleek storage for your research. If you’re a content curator, you can put together digital exhibitions around specific topics. In fact, to get a first-hand feel for projeqt‘s capabilities, we’ve curated a thematic projeqt about data visualization — take a peek to see how it all works.

Though projeqt is currently in beta and invite-only, we’ve secured a limited number of invites for our newsletter readers — to request one, subscribe to our free weekly newsletter if you haven’t already, then shoot us an email with “projeqt” in the subject line. [UPDATE: We’re no longer taking names (though we’re still kicking ass) but you can still sign up for the regular waitlist on the projeqt website.] Meanwhile, follow projeqt on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

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