Thursday, June 26, 2008

Get Schooled By The Intern: The James Dean of Design.

There have been many rebels in our time. Some have been plastered on our television screens, their faces gracing the front page news and their names clogging our RSS fields. However, in my on-going quest of interesting weekly (or more than a week) research, a light was shed on a whole new subculture of rebels. And unlike the movie title, these rebels have causes.

Google bombing, Whirl-mart, Subvertising, Stickering and the Billboard Liberation Front are just some of the groups I looked into this week to provide you, my faithful reader, with some knowledge in my new favorite James Dean of designers: culture jammers. Typical aims of culture jammers can include many things, ranging from super serious to not-so serious. In the end, the basis is to have a good laugh at the expense of prevailing social events (sounds good to me).

The phrase “culture jamming” comes from the idea of “radio jamming.” Radio jamming stems from the idea that public frequencies can be pirated and subverted for independent communication. Here is your crash course in the fine art of culture jamming:

Google Bombing :: a widespread effort to purposely influence the automated association of specific keywords and results produced by internet engines. Whirl-mart :: an event that seeks to mimic and mock what they perceive as the absurdity of the shopping process, often by organizing a crowd to walk around a Wal-Mart in an apparent daze for several hours, buying nothing. Stickering :: placing stickers on stop signs to create messages. For example: “Stop War,” “Stop Eating Animals” “Stop! Hammertime!” and so forth. Billboard Liberation Front :: billboard modifications are done in the style of original billboards, by groups or individuals.

There are many artists that are involved with said ”culture jamming,” and a lot of them having pseudo names. This mysterious aspect of them, though intriguing, makes it hard to find information about them online. However, there are a lot of forums dedicated to the whereabouts and recent happenings of some of these artists.

BANKSY is a well-known pseudo-anonymous English graffiti artist. His artworks are often satirical pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture, ethics and a lot of his influences come from Blek le Rat (who worked with stencils in 1981). Banksy’s messages are usually anti-war, anti-capitalist and/or anti-establishment. He sticks it to the man, you might say. Banksy produced a quantity of spoof British £10 notes substituting the picture of the Queen’s head with Princess Diana’s head and changing the text “Bank of England” to “Banksy of England.” A large wad of these were thrown into a crowd during a Notting Hill Carnival and some tried to spend them in local shops.

RON ENGLISH began his liberation on billboards, where he would (illegally, he’s even been thrown in the slammer a few times) replace a billboard with his own politically inspired vision.
His work may sometimes lead to a literal revision: Apple Macintosh starring Charlie Manson with Ron English’s logo replacing Apple’s apple (left image). Or other times, they simply remark on the nature of advertising. Much like his mimc of Norman Rockwell, English emulates Picasso, Warhol, Munch and a host of other canonical Western artists to surprising effect. English is more interested in popular icons. Nothing is sacred, and in his new world, Mickey Mouse is more pertinent than Jesus.

MR BRAINWASH aka MBW aka Thierry Guetta, is a French filmmaker turned graffiti artists. His style is reminiscent of Banksy’s, and like other culture jammers, he takes cultural icons and warps them into interesting pieces of work. Recently, his art work has been unleashed and randomly appearing, wheat-pasted up and down Los Angeles and Hollywood. On my way to work, actually, I’ve noticed posters sprouting up and about. Why is this, you ask? “Life is Beautiful” is the first exhibition ever mounted by Mr Brainwash. Taking place in an old Hollywood studio complex, it will feature over one hundred paintings, sculptures and print alongside an installation made from 100,000 shoes. The exhibit hours are from June 27th-29th from 1PM-9PM and is on Sunset Boulevard. Leah and I checked it out last Friday and it definitely lived up to the hype. The space was gargantuan and MBW did not waste any space. The walls were covered with graffiti and his artwork. From 3D pieces to elegantly framed ones, it's definitely a must-see show. And it’s free to the public, so if you’re in the neighborhood, you should definitely check it out. Here's a link to the site as well.

Reading about these artists and their compassion, influence, and drives have provided me with a reminder of the reason we do art. We don’t do it to make money (but this is a nice perk, of course). We don’t do it to climb the social and economic ladder. We do art to express ourselves and what we believe in. And that, my friend, is a lesson well-learned.

Which brings me to the project I worked on to accompany my research on our artistic rebel rousers. I’d like to preface with an apology for my absence the past few weeks in delivering you with something to read from me. Forgive me! My project is inspired from a quote that I stumbled upon when working on my Nick Egan inspired collage a few weeks back. It was from an interview with an artist (the name escapes me, sorry) and the question was, “What made you decide to be an artist?” The response was, “I get to play God.” I liked this quote because it kind of leads back to the roots of the phenomenon of culture jammers. They ruled the school, they were kings of the world, they got to play God.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A glimpse at the new Becca Straus

Laura Narikawa and I were very busy shooting a new campaign for Becca Straus this past week. Below is a sneak peek shot of behind-the-scenes action during the editorial shot by Laura modeled by Tammy. So beautiful, wait til you see...

I also styled and snapped some stills of Becca's beautiful gems!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gas Sucks

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Super Saturday 11 The Game

Thanks to the very talented and supernice Justin Van Hoy, who helped draw the logo, lovely clouds, grasses and framework for this year’s Super Saturday 11 to benefit The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Super Saturday in the Hamptons was named the “Rolls Royce of Garage Sales” by The New York Times and raises thousands of dollars for OCRF each year “ fund research, find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer.”

Here are some of our past designs for OCRF 1 2

Friday, June 06, 2008

Get Schooled By The Intern: Hope you’re eager for some Egan.

n i c k E G A N :: IN EXCESS
[ ]

London, England didn’t know what was coming in 1958.

He graced the halls of Watford College of Art and Design and whilst in school, Egan designed for upcoming artists such as The Clash and The Ramones.
Later, he designed album artwork for Bow Wow Wow’s “See Jungle,” [pictured left] which was recently voted into the Top 100 Album Covers of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. His clientele is impressive, having worked with Oasis, Alanis Morisette, Mick Jagger, Sonic Youth, Duran Duran, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue and INXS. From the beginning, he’s worked with some of the most eccentric characters in film, fashion and rock ’n roll.

Egan’s worked closely with designer Vivienne Westwood on her “World’s End” clothing line. Invitations and art directed fashion shows in London and Paris are just a few of his contributions. He also designed the label for the first collection EVER for Marc Jacobs, called “Sketchbook.”

After living in NYC for awhile, he moved to LA where he became one of the world’s premiere music video directors. His first vid was Iggy Pop’s “Real Wild Child.” Soon after, he started collecting all sorts of awards and worked through PROPAGANDA FILMS where he chilled with fellow directors Spike Jonez, Mark Romanek, David Fincher and Michael Bay. His talent doesn’t stop there, though. He also moved on to shooting and directing commercials and innovative TV spots for: Coca Cola, Levi’s, Nike, Nintendo and Sony Play Station.

According to his MySpace, he enjoys the movie Bladerunner, the book Treasure Island, and listening to Run DMC (these are all just the highlights).

RECENT NEWS :: The latest buzz on Egan is the collection of t-shirts with a Japanese company, 2K T Shirts. 2K hosts some very cool Japanese graphic artists, as well as Yoko Ono, Jean Michell Basquait and Andy Warhol. Egan also has his own line of t-shirts with Superfine Jeans and also did a special shirt for Kate Moss. He’s expanded with a line of scarves for a label called Nickel and jacket linings for another Japanese company, Nave. Egan has also designed a website for Sir Ken Robinson, so everyone should go check it out here. Sir Ken is also the first person to commission one of Egan’s paintings. Painting is also another hobby of Egan’s, one that has always been personal, but as of late, requests have been coming for him to paint more, so get excited!

Nick Egan is married to producer, Ann Haugen, and has two sons, Roman (14), Dashiell (7) and a daughter, Ava June (3). Recently, he appeared in VH1’s “Most Shocking Celebrity Moments of the 90s.” Nice!

**Special shout-out to Mr. Egan for providing me with a plethora of great material to do my research.

Along with my research, I created this piece. It’s heavily inspired by Mr. Egan’s work. It’s an experiment with 3D (somewhat) photo collages. The panel is split into three parts: the top including women falling from the sky; finding themselves planted mid-panel alongside men. The bottom and final panel’s environment is underground. This piece is titled: Fall Into The Gap. Props to Brian Romero for his mad photography skills.

Until next week,

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Get Schooled by the Intern Part Deux

We are pleased to introduce the freshest design intern in town, Jessica Endaya. She travelled all the way from Blue Springs, Missouri to enjoy a thorough Faustian hazing this summer. Look out for Jess’s first blog on Friday, she will be schooling you on designer Nick Egan!