Monthly Archives: June 2009

What does your music smell like?


Love this short film by Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey Terri Timely entitled (and inspired by) Synesthesia, that fascinating condition that makes you experience your senses in interesting ways. It also jives with that fabulous little everything is everything piece/concept I wrote a few months ago. Art = science; music = color, etc. The video is an interesting visualization of the different ways you experience and process things. You don’t have to (officially) have synesthesia to “get it”, really.

I’m thinking of how the woman is cutting up the words/recipe and baking it; to me, it calls to mind one of the many reasons people enjoy cooking so much (beyond the food=good part): the passing down and sharing of recipes among family and friends. The stories that go into and come out of the meals we share together. In terms of the food eliciting different sounds as the boy plugs into them? Well, every ingredient has a flavor and texture to it, and each adds to a dish much like all the many different notes mix together to form a song. Music, scent, and food dig such deep niches into ourselves and our psyche. Hear a song, smell a perfume and you can instantly be taken back to a moment. Maybe you hear a certain song, and it transports you back to a vacation when you were young. Through the song you’re back on the beach, you can almost smell that salty air and feel the wind rushing passed you, the sand on your feet. You hear that song and you see the blue of the ocean, and the blue of sky, etc.

It’s all connected really. I’m sure if you think about it, you can rustle up some of your own examples of the many different and visceral ways we experience the world in a way that veers off the textbook.

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The Great Downgrade


Conspicuous consumption; we all know that it’s just not cool anymore. So, now when you buy a fancy schmancy iPhone (because they are awesome, after all) you can buy a cover that takes it’s sexy appeal and brings it down a notch or ten. No sir, no need to buy a super pretty art cover when you can make your phone look like one of our former favorite phones and music devices that have been tossed around a little or a lot; like some old gadgetry you’ve taken apart and has a steampunky appeal; like a piece of the city’s sidewalk! I’m definitely a bit sweet on old-school Gameboy reminiscent cover pictured above by Michael Sison. I like how it has a hint of girlyness. Reminds me of my old gameboy on which I used to play my super rad Little Mermaid game.

We’ve got the zweiPhone stickers, which use photos of old, used mobile phones to “bring back a piece of classic design history on the back of blank and impersonal iPhones.” Their motto: downgrade today.

Paul Burgess’ Urban Dirty Collection. The grime and decay of cities can be beautiful. Dress your phone up with a grass/moss tinged sidewalk crack with“Greenary”, a “Grimey Grill”, or a rusty lock with “Got it on lock”.

The 80’s have long gone, but the era has been bopping around in fashion lately. Now you can have that boombox-to-your-ear look without the weight of the out of date real deal by using Lyle Owerko’s Boombox or Boombox II stickers. Oddly enough though, I’ve still seem a few fellows carrying around a smaller sort of boombox blasting music while lounging in Washington Square Park.

Steampunk-y renditions by Colin Thompson with his “Steampunk” ( the gears, perhaps of a steampuk phone revealed) and Underworld (the “interface”, perhaps, of said steampunk phone) stickers.

And, of course, you can always go for the straight of motherboard look. For the true tech-y. By Derek Prospero.

Intriguing little trend, is it not?

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Hello my little robot friends!


I’m kind of smitten by Stephane Halleux‘s found object robot-esque creations:

“I like crazy mixtures, unlikely associations, advanced technology mixed with mechanisms of long ago. I’ve always been fascinated by robotics, its advantages and contradictions. The importance of robotisation and its increasing influence on mankind. Who never dreamt of owning a robot able to do the dirty work. But where are the bounds? How far is a robot useful to men and when does it begin endangering their life ? That’s what I want to make: caricatures of robots that have gone beyond the limits, all that with a fanciful vision of the future. The future we imagined some years ago: big computers full of cables with warning lights everywhere. That’s what I like: an old fashioned universe’s future.” -Stephane Halleux via

Frankly, I love that: an old fashioned universe’s future. I kind of want to adopt it.

They look like they popped out of some amazing fantasy stop motion film. They would be amazing in something like that because the amount of character and life in his work truly sets my heart aflutter. I really love the found objects and metals combined with the stitched together leather. Seriously, swoon.

The level of work that went into these is phenomenal. Please do go to his site where you can see them (and many, many others) in further detail.

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Ask, and ye shall receive (!!!)


Not too long ago I got all googly eyed thinking about:

And lo and behold, out comes two new (killer) iPhone apps:

Sherwin Williams Colorsnap
Benjamin Moore ColorCapture

I immediately swooned and downloaded both applications and have played around with them both a bit.  And, voila, here are a few initial observations:

Sherwin William’s version is nice because it gives you the RGB numbers (always helpful), and the color picker is a little easier to use as it has a little arrow and box so you can more easily see and pinpoint exactly what spot you’re picking from. When you save the primary color, it includes swatches of the secondary colors. I find it a bit annoying that, at least thus far, it only gives you one palette set to go with each primary color.

Benjamin Moore’s version give you the option of looking at the primary color with a palette of varying colors that might go with it, as well as looking at a palette of the primary color you chose with a palette in similar hues much like you get in a normal paint chip. It’s nice because it also has a color wheel you can play with, so you don’t necessarily need a photo in order to peruse colors. When you save a color, just a swatch of that particular “primary” color is saved and you can add notes for your own reference. Also nice is that you can click a color so that it fills the screen so you can sort of have a large paint swatch at your disposal to hold up to walls or what-have-you. At the moment, I’m a bit let down by the actually “color picking” – you just scroll your finger around without the definition of an indicator to see which exact spot your picking from. Granted, if I hadn’t seen Sherwin William’s picker, I’d probably have no complaints. I also wish it could access RGB info for each color – probably my main complaint, as otherwise it’s pretty awesome.

Super Simple Summary: Overall, they’re both nice but Benjamin Moore’s ColorCapture has more features to play around with so it’s a bit more useful perhaps as an all around tool for color lovers; Sherwin William’s ColorSnap is definitely great at it’s prescribed task at being able to extract a color from a photo, which is all some people might need. It could be an easy decision if you prefer one brand of paint to the other, and are strictly using it to hunt down a particular shade – for this use, each application also will use the iPhone’s GPS to direct you to the nearest retail location.

I wish, for either and/or both of them that you could create your own palettes, be it by picking individual colors, combining other “saved” colors, or being able to extract multiple colors from a photo and save them as a palette (which could be pretty handy), etc.

Regardless, I’m exceptionally excited that these two application exist. Dreams do come true!

Much love to Design*Sponge for the heads up!

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The warm fuzzies return: Free Encouragement!


Do you remember way back in January when I posted about the Free Encouragement collaboration project between booooooom and designformankind? Users submitted words of encouragement like

for the first part, and for the second artists submitted their artistic interpretations. And now! It’s over! And you can buy them as postcards over at the projects etsy shop.

Check out some of the adorable results:

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Photoshop Anywhere!


If you spend a lot of time starring into your computer screen, spending hour upon hour cavorting through Adobe Photoshop, you’ll find the above picture very, very familiar. We all know that once we get up from the computer we like to indulge in real world delights, sometimes scorning the computer completely after too many mind numbing hours of work; but, after all that time things start to look a little weird without some of the features of our digital world to which we’ve become so accustomed, which is where this Photoshop frame by Irina Blok will come in so handy. Now, when you come home or leave your studio and you start to feel anxious because in the real world you have no windows to click in and out of, no erasure tool to clean up that spilled spaghetti sauce you can look to your Photoshop frame to give you just a little bit of ease. It’s ok, because now the digital world can be a part of your real world. And it’s damed hilariously awesome if you ask me.

Breathe easier, Adobe Addicts.

(Now, if only you could actually play with the photos, too, even if it’s only by included a layer above the photo so you could doodle over it or something with dry erase sorts of markers, for example.)

via DesignBoom

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The color I was talking about


Back when I first moved into the apartment in which I am presently living, I attempted to have a conversation with my brother about the colors I was contemplating painting this New Room. I think I got a little too intricate though, because when I said “I kind of want a purple-y mauve-y but greyed down with maybe a hint of rose so that it looks kind of Victorian-y but Victorian-y in a way that it’s like you’re visiting this old old mansion and this is what the walls look like after years and years of disuse, they used to be brighter but now they’re all musty dusty with time and memories and it’s almost more beautiful that way, y’know?!” he said he didn’t know. He had no idea what I was talking about. It was probably kind of like when I’d recruit him for help with some particularly difficult math type equation and he’d start rambling off all these numbers or variables or theories (?) and I’d be sitting there bobbing my head along like when you dangle something in front of a cat and they go cross-eyed trying to follow it. And when he was done he’d say, “Make sense?” And I would say that, no, it made no sense, you lost me about two steps in.

And this, my friends, is why a picture (or a step by step working out of an equation on paper so I can see it) is worth a thousand words. So, Mason, this is pretty much the color I was rambling on and on about…. I’m pretty sure at least.

Even if it’s not, it’s really pretty isn’t it? The light falls on it in such a lovely way. And I’m getting giddy thinking about incorporating some sage-y greens, green-ish yellows, and soft sunshine-y colors into the room….I think the bedspread might sort of had that kind of green in it. All kind of softer bright colors. Kind of French Macaron-y.

It sort of feels mildly akin to using a chocolaty brown or nice non-institutional gray. Neutral but color. But. That might only make sense in my head/my own little world. Like how in my world red can pretty much go with anything.

Yes, I get really riled up about color. *blushes*

photo by Simon Bates

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Travail / Travel


I can’t really paint. I’ve tried. I even took an oil painting class in college. Alas, even though we painted balloons over and over (and then over) again, I could not make them look real. Sigh. I just can’t really make what I see in my head appear on the canvas, even when the look I’m going for is abstract. Which is why it was kinda fascinating to watch a little video of the above painting by Nigel Van Wieck being painted.

Neat, yes?! I was first attracted to the painting because of the subject matter. Sitting on the subway, slumped over in contemplation.. I’ve been there. Lots of people have been there. And I thought, hey, lets continue on theme of missed connections (from my last post) which so often occur during our daily travels.

Anyway, it’s really interesting the amount of work and layers that goes into a painting, isn’t it? I look the creation of the piece, and I’m constantly thinking, oh, interesting, because I wouldn’t have thought that such a little dab of paint, a little smudge of an unexpected color lends itself to the finished piece the way that it does. I think about how I don’t know if I have the patience for that. But, then, it’s funny the things we do have the patience for, because I can think up a piece of clothing and visualize in my head how to create a flat piece of a pattern that will assume a 3-D shape. I assumed that most people can do that, at least those involved in fashion design/patterning at least, but one interviewer at a job I was applying for complimented me on the skill, and said that not everyone can. Don’t worry, though, I’m not bragging because, hey, I didn’t get the job. But, it really can be fascinating to see what odd shapes are required to create an effect for a garment you are used to seeing fairly regularly. The sum of the parts. Once I start making stuff again, I hope to document the process for you all. Anyway.

So, I still can’t paint. But, I have gotten more into photography over the years. A somewhat less laborious medium of moment capturing; but still, the end result doesn’t always turn out the way you expected. It both captures exactly what’s there, and reveals unexpected facets to the moments.

Continuing in the moments of travel spirit, a few favorite shots from my study abroad trip through China/Japan in 2006:

A few classmates during an infrequent moment of rest on a train ride from Tokyo to Kamakura.

Boat ride through Hong Kong’s junk boat shanty town on the way to the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Our lovely boat driver

I don’t know if they’re stunning on their own, but I sure enjoy them as a piece of the puzzle of the trip. The colors, the light, the delight of being someplace where you don’t know the language and the culture is so very different from your own…. I’d settle for a return to lovely Paris, though, even though I technically known the language..(can you tell I’m suffering from a bout of wanderlust?).

Oh well, it’s all a part of the process. To work (travail) and travel!

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Lost & Found


I can’t lie, I really enjoy perusing the craigslist missed connections section. In this crazy city we pass by tons and tons of people daily in the street, accompany hundreds on the subway (packed in together, sometimes, not unlike sardines), lounge with them anonymously in the parks, etc. Missed connections serves as a little spot where strangers reach out to say the things we didn’t get to say to each other in the moment because we were too shy or the constant stream of people hindered the opportunity (and so much more). The postings run the gamut from heart-breaking to hilarious and they always last only 7 days.

It’s certainly an interesting medium for expression and artist Sophie Blackall has recognized the beauty in their fleeting nature and has taken posts from missed connections and made them into art:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
– m4w (exiting to the street)
cursive, on leaving, stepped on my foot
wish i could have stricken up a conversation

Saturday, March 28, 2009
– m4w – 19 (Uptown 3 Train)
If not for your noisy Tambourine, I would not have seen you.
Your green skirt looked terrible, but that leather jacket makes you look just right.
I was the attractive guy sitting to your left just before you got off.

Thursday, March 12, 2009
-m4m (East Village)
Phoenix w/crutches
I would love to carry you around piggy back until you can walk again…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
-w4m -22 (williamsburg)
i bought you that milkshake
you just didn’t realize it.

Monday, March 23, 2009
-m4w (Harlem)
Remember? Uptown A train. Sunday at around 9pm. I was the black dude reading Bukowski’s Post Office. You were reading the Arts and Leisure section. You passed wind rather loudly and started chuckling. I’d like to see you again. The flatulence wasn’t a turn-off.

More of Sophie’s Missed Connections.

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