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Why egocentricity is the new philanthropy, or how to turn your city know-how into a child’s bright future.

It’s a well-known fact that the advertising industry is a self-revolving beehive that buzzes solely about itself, glorifying and aggrandizing every effort that leads to awards meaning nothing to anyone else. Or so the stereotype goes.

But regardless of its veracity, we applaud it when someone takes a perceived fault and turns it into something that benefits others.

lbbThat’s exactly what Little Black Book, the publisher of guide books and online city directories for ad folk, is doing in their charity partnership with One Laptop Per Child. (Which, as we all know, we’re big proponents of.) All you have to do is recommend a restaurant, bar, hotel, squash club — any good place to take a client — in a major advertising city. LBB has pledged to donate £1 for every new recommendation, up to £20,000.

In essence, all you’re donating is your time, and a child in the developing world gets a shot at a life of knowledge and self-sufficiency. You’ll never feel better about your bar-hopping expertise.

via Creativity Online


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.


Bicycle Built for 2,000

Why 2,088 people are singing Stanley Kubrick’s praises for $0.06 each.

Here’s a blast from the Brain Pickings past — remember Amazon’s Mechanical Turk? What about data artist extraordinaire Aaron Koblin? After his brilliant Sheep Market project, Koblin is back with another fantastic crowdsourced art effort.

Bicycle Built for 2,000 is an audio-visual collage of 2,088 voice recordings collected via Mechanical Turk. Each person is asked to listen to a tiny sound clip, then imitate what they heard, without any knowledge of the full context of the clip. The voices are stitched together to sing “Daisy Bell” — a symbolic choice, as this is the first example of musical speech synthesis in history. (It also happens to be the song HAL is singing at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

You can click on each note to view the waveform of its various iterations and hear how different people “sang” it.

Participants came from 71 different countries. Each singer was paid $0.06 — not quite the Broadway gig, but we find it utterly MoMA-worthy, so it more than pays in street cred.


The MacGuffin Library

The secret lives of props, or what Hitler and Mickey Mouse have in common.

Cinema history trivia: MacGuffin is a term, allegedly coined by Hitchcock, which stands for a cinematic plot device, most likely on object, whose only purpose and value lie in driving the filmic narrative.

So how would such an object — whose very essence, form and function are defined solely within the context of fictional circumstances — inhabit and relate to the real world? This is exactly what non-traditional product designer Onkar Kular explores with his project The MacGuffin Library.

The objects that he creates are neither products, nor sculptures, nor props, but a strange medley of all three, challenging the way we perceive art and design. They stand somewhat awkward and unsure of themselves, reminiscent, in all their black polymer resin glory, of Frankenstein’s monster.

Each MacGuffin comes with a one-page synopsis of a non-existent screenplay that inspired it. There is a plot for every taste as themes range from futuristic thrillers to midlife crisis dramas.

The exhibition is incredibly engaging since the role of each object is not specified in the adjacent synopses. Endless possibilities of interpretations and lively discussions arise.

Unlike other, more traditional art exhibits, where one sees, nods, and moves on, the enjoyment of The MacGuffin Library lies exclusively in the quantity and quality of the viewer’s own engagement. So go ahead, engage.


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