Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘omnibus’

09 APRIL, 2009

Paper Whimsy: Top 5 Artists


The best thing to die for if you’re a tree, or what Darwin has to do with the visual scent of winter.

Let’s get one thing straight. We aren’t fans of “pointless paper” — we take our toilet paper recycled, our notes digital, and our magazines online. And while the waste of paper is frowned upon around here, its artistic uses are a whole different story. Here are 5 fascinating instances of paper-centric creativity.


Russian-born, UK-based artist Yulia Brodskaya is a creative force to be reckoned with.

Her meticulously detailed, brilliantly crafted paper typography is unlike anything else we’ve seen. Not coincidentally, clients like Wired, Starbucks, Nokia, The New York Times Magazine, and many more seem to share our sentiment — Brodskaya’s work has graced the covers of various top-tier magazines and has appeared in multiple ad campaigns by the world’s leading creative agencies.

For us, it’s just a testament to the fact that you can take something utterly mundane, douse it in your unique brand of creativity, and transform it into something utterly original.


This has to be the most innovative fragrance advertising we’ve ever seen.

Swiss visual communication student Adrian Merz decided to capture the essence of the fragrance Winter 1972 in an elaborate kit that comes with every 100ml bottle of the perfume. In it, there’s a poster that unfolds into a room transformed into a whimsical winterscape composed of thousands of white Post-It notes.

Adrian actually created the scene in his own living room — an undertaking just as laborious as you’d imagine it to be. But the end result is nothing short of phenomenal, both visually compelling and conceptually brilliant.

See more of the impressive making-of, and never look at a Post-It the same way again.


UK-based artist Helen Musselwhite has the imaginative prowess of a brilliant art director and the hands of a skilled craftsman. Her hand-cut paper sculptures are as impactful as they are visually stunning, drawing you into intricate and whimsical scenes that take on a life of their own.

Each sculpture has at least 4 layers of different-colored paper, assembled on top of each other to give the image dimension.

You can order some of Helen’s artwork online — the one tricky thing about appreciating paper art from a digital distance is that you lose out on all the rich tactile and dimensional detail of the piece.

via Design*Sponge


We’ve always had an odd fascination with toilet paper rolls. Unfortunately, we never did much with it. But Japanese artist Yuken Teruya did.

In his signature style of taking everyday objects and transforming them into works of art reflecting on contemporary culture, Teruya creates intricate trees without adding or removing anything, just by cutting silhouettes into the paper and folding them out — a conceptual critique of contemporary consumerism and our tendency to add more to our lives while taking away from nature.

Teruya also works with paper bags, crafting objects of visual irony by juxtaposing the very resources that consumerism depletes with its quintessential symbol — the shopping bag.

via BOOM


Most of us don’t see A4 paper. To us, it’s just a carrier for whatever message is typed and printed on it. Not so for artist Peter Callesen, who has a special relationship with the materiality of A4 paper — a literal tabula rasa, each neutral and unassuming sheet allows him to create paper sculptures brimming with romance, tragedy and offbeat humor.

The sculptures are an exploration of probability — what the paper could be, how it could expand into the space surrounding it.

The negative and absent 2 dimensional space left by the cut, points out the contrast to the 3 dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in many of the cuts.

See more of Callesen’s creations and revel in the artistic potential of your office space.

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.

31 MARCH, 2009

Sound Meets Image: Visual Tributes to Music


The world’s most international passport, why cassettes are the new Buddhism, and what Thom Yorke has to do with motion typography.

We love music. We love art. Naturally, we love seeing the two meet and make out. After last week’s Meta-Vinyl Creativity, we’re on a mission to dig up creative projects that pay visual tribute to everything music stands for, both aesthetically and conceptually. Here are our top three finds.


To celebrate the culture-crossing, border-blind power of music, Palestinian and Israeli radio station RAM FM channeled its slogan, Music has no boundaries, through a brilliant visual metaphor — artist portraits “painted” with travel stamps.

It’s one of those rare concepts that you instantly get — not merely because the campaign creative captures the positioning brief so wonderfully, but also because you can simply relate to it on a personal level. We certainly can — what better way to live vicariously, to connect and converse, than through music?

RAM FM is actually known as Peace Radio and serves a greater social purpose — to serve as a cultural bridge between the people of Israel and Palestine, through the most universal social glue there is: Music. Which makes us love the campaign on yet another level.

Out of Gitam BBDO, Tel-Aviv.

via Abduzeedo


Non-traditional media artist iri5 works with old books, playing cards, magazines, credit cards and other everyday miscellany to create compelling, double-take-requiring artwork. Her Ghost in the Machine series uses recycled cassette tapes to create phenomenal portraits of musicians from their original cassettes.

Bob Dylan

The project is inspired by the philosophical sentiment that the body is but a package for the spirit.

Robert Smith

I imagine we are all, like cassettes, thoughts wrapped up in awkward packaging.

Jimi Hendrix

via NoiseAddicts


The GRAMMYs. What a cultural icon. While it’s easy to dismiss them as an entertainment industry popularity contest, we like to think of them as a way of honoring the music that inspires, impacts and moves the greatest number of people.

This year, The Recording Academy wanted to capture this very sentiment in a fully integrated campaign that asks a simple yet profound question: Do we make great music or does great music make us?

It’s no secret we’re big fans of motion typography, so we love both the concept and the brilliant execution.

Out of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

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.

24 MARCH, 2009

Meta-Vinyl Creativity


Clocks, wine, and what Frank Sinatra has to do with couch cushions.

We love vinyl. And we love people who channel their love for vinyl into something tremendously creative. Here are 3 such vinyl visionaries we just can’t get enough of.


Jami and Nicholas Worth, a.k.a. The Grateful Thread, are an American 3D animator and French architect living in London.

Their strong design background and love for all things music result in such wonderful goodies as recycled vinyl wall clocks, LP-inspired couch cushions, and recycled vinyl jewelry.

If SXSW had a gift shop, we think it would be full of The Grateful Thread‘s quirky, delightful little gems. So get your hands on some and go a-braggin’.

via Inhabitat


VINE-YL is the self-admitted bastard love-child of a wine geek and a record freak. And we think the kid is a wunderkind.

It’s simple. They pair a record and a wine that go together beautifully, film a video that tells you just why the two are such an exceptional match, and give you a review of both that’s as professionally sophisticated as it is unpretentious and relatable.

They update every Thursday, so check back often.


We’ve featured mixed media artist Daniel Edlen‘s brilliantly inspired work before. But his Vinyl Art deserves all the credit it can get — it’s a truly unique message-meets-medium portraiture technique, using the physical canvas of artists’ talent — their records — to paint portraits of them in white acrylic. The result is simply stunning.

Daniel has painted some of the most iconic performers of our time, from Armstrong to Zeppelin, but bur favorite has to be Sinatra — captured in his mischievous youthfulness, Old Blue Eyes peeks at you from behind a record label the color of his legendary nickname.

It also doesn’t hurt that Daniel is one of the brightest people we’ve met on the Interwebs — and there’s something about respecting the artist beyond the merit of their art that makes the art experience itself all the more gratifying. So do check out his phenomenal work, and follow him on Twitter for a glimpse into the mind of incredible talent.