In an effort to branch out of our typical indie-folk-rock niche, we’re doing something a little different today. Something a bit more mellow and grown-up and brimming with the settled contemplative power of an award-winning composer who’s lived through commercial jingles and critical acclaim.
That’s exactly the sort of vibe you’ll find in composer-turned-vocal-expérimentateur Peter Buffett‘s latest album, Imaginary Kingdom. It’s a hard-to-classify but rather successful intersection of seeming opposites – from the keyboard magic of Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of The Moon period to the dreamy tromp of Death Cab for Cutie.
Among the hidden gems up Buffett’s sleeve is the off-album Anything, featuring Akon, which even echoes some of Byrne & Eno‘s socially-conscious lyrical sensibility and ambient electronica.
(And from the department of interesting asides, a tidbit on the Imaginary Kingdom album cover: It was designed by LA-based artist, Lois Keller whose whimsical illustrations and paintings have graced the silos of such high-culture institutions as The Milwaukee Ballet and the Cincinnati Opera, as well as commercial darlings like Disney stores around the world.)
So go ahead, raise your own cultural brow with some music for grown-ups. It’s okay.
Absinthe, portraiture, and where a hipster-elitist can finally feel at home.
By Maria Popova
We’ve always been fascinated by shopping. How we use “things” in order to define ourselves, relate to others, and make sense of the world. And since consumption is such a major component of our capitalist ego, it’s only fitting that the retail experience itself be treated with the kind of attention to detail that its cultural status warrants.
That’s why we applaud inspired efforts to rethink and revolutionize the realm of retail. Case in point: BBlessing — a boutique-slash-gallery-slash-hangout in New York, dedicated to men’s fashion and all the lifestyle essentials that go along with the broader concept of personal style.
BBlessing is a boutique dedicated to redefining the retail experience as it pertains to modern life. BBlessing features a unique, tightly edited selection of bleeding edge men’s fashion, art, music, literature and film, all in a constantly evolving environment.
The retail interior, designed by artist Daniel Jackson, was inspired by a turn-of-the-century Parisian absinthe bar, which migrated to the Pacific Northwest via the Lower East Side.
Besides the selection of both up-and-coming and established menswear designers from New York, Japan and Europe, and the signature BBlessing collection, BBlessing offers a meticulously curated selection of art, film, literature and (really, really good) music, making for an experience the cultural antithesis of a trip to JC Penny.
Shepard Fairey on George Orwell, where we live, 8 decades of iconic cover designs, and what Banksy and a tranny have in common. Oh my!
By Maria Popova
Covers. Quite the underappreciated art form. And if no one judged a book by its cover, why does so much creative gruntwork go into designing the truly best ones? After doing a piece on books by famous designers recently, we got inspired to hunt down broader tributes to the art of book and magazine cover design. And here’s what we came up with.
Ever since the very first issue of The New Yorker in the 1920’s, the peculiar Eustace Tilley character has been gracing its cover. Last week, The New Yorker wrapped up their second annual Your Eustace contest soliciting reader reimaginings of Eustace.
And as much as we like to think of New Yorker readers as unnecessarily self-righteous cultural elitists without so much as a smidgen of original thought, we have to admit they turned out to be a pretty creative crowd. At least that’s what the submissions, ranging from the bizarre to the brilliant, indicate.
As for the 12 winners, we can’t help appreciating the sheer audacity of the clever Banksy mock-up and the hopelessly hilarious trasvestite Eustace — after all, judgments of The New Yorker‘s merits aside, cultural relevance is the one thing this iconic publication has always stood for. And what more culturally relevant than Banksy and trannies?
ESQUIRE COVER GALLERY
Believe it or not, not every Esquire cover ever designed is a meticulously decorated storefront to Hollywood’s half-clad A-list. Back in the olden days, it was more about delightful Claymationeseque cartoonishness and less about Jessica Simpson’s plunging or altogether nonexistent neckline.
How do we know that? It has come to our attention that Esquire maintains a rich and extensive Cover Gallery, dating all the way back to 1933. And it’s quite extraordinary.
They do book cover designs. No, really. And they do them well.
The Fwis Covers collection is as broad and eclectic as it is creatively marvelous. It spans the entire spectrum of design — from the gaudy manga kitsch of Tezuka, to the delightfully somber minimalism of Against Happiness, to the appropriate retro-geekiness of Game Feel, to the unmistakable Shepard Fairey take on Animal Farm.
Go ahead, explore the Fwis Collection — you’ll find yourself curious and intrigued and hungry for books…judged entirely by the covers. It’s okay.
THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE
Granted, this isn’t really about covers — although it kind of is, implicitly, by way of being about something covers couldn’t exist without: The wonderful world of books. Easily one of the most wonderful stop-motion films we’ve ever seen, this one comes from Apt and Asylum Films, celebrating 4th Estate Publishers‘ 25th Anniversary.
How three worlds of fascination collide through negative space and positive brilliance.
By Maria Popova
The most talented of artists are, without a doubt, tremendously curious by nature, which results in an incredibly eclectic and diverse pool of inspiration. Fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø fully embodies this notion — his latest experimental project, Perroquet, is infused with Sundsbø’s lifelong fascination with science photography and nature documentaries, blended through the lavish and colorful aesthetic sensibility of fashion imagery.
Fascinated by the movement of a bird in flight, Sundsbø set out to stitch together a series of “frozen moments” from the flight of a perroquet, a small, slender, long-tailed parrot. Shot with high-speed cameras in a controlled studio environment, the slow-motion shorts capture the graceful silhouette of the bird mid-flight in a series of abstract images, brimming with cropped viewpoints and a wonderful play on negative space.
The resulting series of 8 short films is absolutely stunning, a beautiful convergence of aesthetic design, science, and motion graphics.