everynone: losers.

It’s no secret how much I love Everynone. They have an amazing knack at cutting together visceral, universally human moments into montages that almost everyone can immediately understand and identify with. Their vids are amazingly shareable (the term “viral” should be banned from the internet lexicon, btw…) because they strike a chord that’s direct and true. From the exquisite balances cast in their last vid “Symmetry” to their gorgeous type-based series “Words”, they exemplify the power of a quick, well-shot visual to tell incredibly vibrant tales.

As of this writing, their latest video “Losers” is at 7,000 views on Vimeo in only 5 hours. I guarantee you that it will be all over the internet in the upcoming days…as it should be. With the growing awareness of the true impact of bullying, I think this type of raw, insightful and connected portrayal of the slices that bullying cuts out from all of us is exactly the type of thing we need to see, and continue to see, until we do something tangible and real to stop it. I know what it feels like to be called a “faggot” in my high school highway. I also know what it feels like to call someone else a name because I was weak and want to feel stronger. As with any type of bullying – no matter which side of it you were on – it’s something you get over, but not something you forget.

I particularly love the shift in meaning from the beginning of the video to the end. Humourously unassuming at first, I laughed while not knowing where I was being lead yet. Then I realized I was slowly being shown that the losers are everyone. Each of us has the power both to bully and the responsibility to to learn we must end bullying. The true impact came at the very end when I realized that, only two minutes before at the beginning of the video, I was being the unwitting bully myself. It’s that kind of immediate emotional impact, and psychological realization just afterward, that lets you know you’ve just watched something very special.

hudson + dropbear: against the grain.

Before we continue, I need you to know something about me: I take art supplies very seriously. Always have, always will. I obsessed over markers, cried over broken crayons and openly coveted my Dad’s set of Prismacolour pencil crayons that he would sometimes let me touch, but never draw with, because they had metallics in them. I repeat, METALLIC PENCIL CRAYONS.

In Grade 3, my Mom, in some sort of  back-to-school buying haze, bought me the 20-pack of Laurentians instead of the 24-pack I’d clearly requested. Then, in her bloodlust to shut me up and get me back in school already, she acted like it was no big deal. This was unacceptable. I needed the extra four colours. One was robin’s egg blue. What was I supposed to do; draw with the ultramarine and peacock blue at the same time and hope for the best? Obviously not. So, I promptly rode my bike to the local drug store and was almost immediately caught shoving the 24-pack down the front of my pants. It seemed like the only logical thing to do at the time. I was trapped in an A Time To Kill-esque moral dilemma and the only solution that made sense was to just steal the extra four. There was simply no other way.

Long story short (too late!) this is all to say that pencil crayons are the undeniably awesome tools of youth and memory, and this nifty stop-mo vid for Hudson’s “Against The Grain” by animator/filmmaker Dropbear is making me feel like stealing something. Wait, I mean… drawing… with pencil crayons. Yeah. That’s it.

(I also punched my fist through my Lite Brite once because I was one peg away from completing the Clown Face and discovered that I was missing the last peg. It was an insurmountable tragedy at the time, and I resorted to violence. I was four years old. But that’s a story for another time…)

+ via Vimeo Discover

matt wisniewski.

Like a mad chemist mixing potions, collage is a brand new elixir divined from ingredients we all know into a brand new kind of magic. I find that the art of collage can sometimes fall victim to the “my kid could do that” attitude of modern art; the assumption that piecing existing imagery together is somehow easier than creating something from scratch. The point that they’re missing, obviously, is that, like so many things, the amalgamation is a brand new creation that exists wholly unto itself. Particularly, I find myself inspired by the work of: Tierney Gearon, Greg SheglerPaul Butler, and Christian Hückstädt. Today, happily, I can add Matt Wisniewski to the roster of collage awesomeness.

[Read more...]

friendly fires + david lewandowski: hurting.

Friendly Fires are a reliable go-to, a steady member of a stable of cherished artists who I know will deliver how I like it each and every time. “Kiss of Life” is one of my have tracks ever, and it’s Chris Cottam-directed video makes me want to dance. While waving palm fronds around. I knew the Fires and I were on the same wavelength when they chose an image from Sølve Sundsbø’s Perroquet series as the cover for their 2011 album Pala (which, not to brag, but I totally blogged about back in 2008), so I knew we had the same taste in photography. Having the same taste in photography is like taking the carpool lane right into my heart. Click here to once again ogle its gorgeousness.

Today’s video for “Hurting” – the third single from Pala – is no visual disappointment. Sure, we’ve got a hot hipster broad/love interest with a disturbingly elastic neck, but the real draw here is lead singer Ed Macfarlane limping through his love and throwing his boogie down in an attempt (much like the mating dance of birds, which leads us back to parrots – I’m seeing a synergy here!) too woo her. And by “woo”, I mean “prove cool enough for,” because she kinda looks like a bitch. Which is really to say, if Ed Macfarlane wanted to dance with me, I wouldn’t say no.

There’s an easy urban whimsy going on here; it’s sunset-lit, street-wise and dance-y. And if you’re wondering why that cube is so next level good, look no further that director David Lewandowski, who, in case you don’t know, worked on a little piece of mind-altering, visual magnum opus/digital genius I like to call Tron: Legacy. (Say what you want about the plot, the 3D animation was without peer.) Click here to see some highly-detailed posts and videos about his work for that film.

+ via Antville

sticky monster lab: the loner teaser.

As Mrs. Peacock said during the dinner party in Clue, “I mean, I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. Or what I’m doing here, or what this place is about, but I am determined to enjoy myself. And I’m very intrigued, and, oh my, this soup’s delicious, isn’t it?”

So, soup aside, we find ourselves watching Sticky Monster Lab’s trailer for a “new animation and compilation album” called The Loaner. Much like Mrs. Peacock (and you’d be surprised how often I find myself genuinely thinking that), I’m very intrigued.

I’ve been a fan of designer toys and monster for as long as I can remember, and here they are: animated, in a digital world, living their lives. The ultra-digitized animation style is one of my favourites, and when it’s done as well as this I get giddy. These monsters are on point.

Alright, The Longe, I’m not sure what’s happening yet, but your teaser is triumphant. Consider me teased! I anxiously await the end of November 2011, when all will be revealed.

Also, I’m not sure who the loner’s little pink animal friend is, but it reminds me of that episode of Futurama where Fry finds out the dog he thought forgot about him spent the rest of his life waiting for him to come get him. It’s called “Jurassic Bark,” and if you want to weep until all your innocence is lost, I suggest you go watch it.

the sound of arrows: wonders.

Swedish 80s dream-pop duo The Sound of Arrows just tweeted the link to their latest video. “Wonders”, fresh of their just-released, highly-buzzed about debut full length album “Voyage,” delivers everything we’ve already come to crave from them. Long story short, they sound like unicorns playing synths riding through space dust, on their way to watch The Neverending Story with David Bowie. While drinking Crystal Pepsi… sitting on a couch made of clouds and dollar-store laser beams. Walkin’ on sunshine, and don’t it feel good.

I’ve had a mild to mildly unhealthy obsession with them since falling crazy in love with their video for “M.A.G.I.C.”

And, um, no big deal, but I’m now tweeting with them about the video. Day = made. Oh, and if you’re looking for me, I’ll be busy being friends with them now. Stefan and Oskar are stand-up gentlemen.


everynone: symmetry.

In the middle of watching Everynone’s lovely Symmetry, the thought that overwhelmed me was “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That Newton, he was a smart cookie. I love the philosophy of science; that is, that Newton’s Law of Motion is much more than a scientific truth (though it definitely is that). It’s also karma. It’s kindness. It’s what goes around comes around. It’s how the transference of love and respect is a psychological action that, like ripples in a pond, created a tangible, physical reaction in those who experience it from you.

In a whiplash, purely visual style that reminds me a lot of one of my fave short vids, Chris Milk’s Last Day Dream, the vid starts out light-hearted, but further in I realized that was just part of its elegant ploy. Start with simplicity, entice us to watch, and then the symmetries become harder and more thought-provoking.

Symmetry is filled with a deep ease, a contemplative review of questions asked but not answered. Because each of these truths – the steak-eater or the cow, the light bulb or the sunshine  – will be different for each of us. The power is not in that we agree, but that we recognize and understand what they mean to us. Are you a consumer or a creator? A destroyer or a deliverer? For everything you do, each of your action, what reactions are you sending back into the world?

+ via kateoplis

matt pyke & friends: super-computer-romantics.

Any time Matt Pyke is about to release new work feels like Christmas Eve. My favourite digital artist and motion designer ever, Matt’s simply unbeatable at creating innovative, organic and jaw-dropping work for his own studio, Universal Everything, and some of the world’s biggest brands. (You may have heard of them: Nike, Chanel, Nokia, MTV and the London 2010 Olympics. Whatever. NBD.) He’s also the mastermind behind my favourite motion design project ever, the inimitable Advanced Beauty. If you haven’t seen it, get it. Buy it. Find it. Watch it. It’ll change your life.

One of my fave facets of Matt’s work is how it never seems forced or even “created” – somehow it feels like everything he does (“organic digital” is what I like to call it) just comes into being. It flows as easily as if it washed up on a shore or floated in on a breeze. Plus I’ve emailed with Matt a few times and he’s also a really stand-up guy and a class act all around.


In his first ever solo show, Matt’s taking over Paris’ La Gaîté Lyrique with Super-Computer-Romantics. Guest-curated by Charlotte Leuozon and with sound design by Matt’s brother and frequent collaborator, Simon, the exhibition features 8 separate environments covering more than 26,000 square feet. Pyke says “The approach is one of a romantic view of technology and of really kind of being optimistic about what you can do with technology and how you can create beauty with super-computers, how you can create pieces of video work and pieces of audio-visual work.”

Reading La Gaîté Lyrique’s extensive info on the event, I started to get light-headed and giddy: “Here, a 3 meters high walking monster, endlessly transforming itself. There, a monolithic block invites viewers to peek into a singular experience – witness the birth of materials at a molecular level. On the mezzanine, stands a crowd of generative living sculptures, grown from code. Facing them, a huge projection of a never-ending procession of bodies, struggling against a hurricane of sound. Each piece can be considered a supercomputing beauty seeking emotional sensations and feelings whose magic breaks with rational functionalism. Remixing primitivism, minimalism, pop culture and 19th century landscape painting, the exhibition Matt Pyke & Friends takes us to a romantic theatricality reaching a subtle and meaningful relationship between technologies and the viewer.”

Opening this Thursday and running until May 21, 2011, the show will also feature a full-sized theatre screen with a retrospective of all of Pyke’s commercial and artistic work to date as well as a public lecture, from Matt himself, on the subject of “creation.”

Getting me all hot and bothered for the upcoming show, today Nowness debuted a stunning teaser vid for “Supreme Believers”, one of the installations from Super-Computer-Romantics. The Universal Everything Vimeo channel has also released a teaser for the exhibition. Both are classic Pyke and I want more, more more.

Here’s a video of Matt himself talking about his vision for the exhibition (and giving some visual glimpses into what he’s got planned). 

I need to see this show. I NEED IT. If anyone would like to take me to Paris to see Super-Computer-Romantics, I’m not above begging. I’m a pretty decent conversationalist, I sleep well on planes and I know some French. I’ve also never met an escargot that I didn’t like. Just putting that out there.

If you want more Matt Pyke (and why wouldn’t you), here are past posts on Forever, a video installation for the Victoria & Albert Museum; the new brand identity they created for MTV International; their gorgeous 2010 reel; and here’s one of Universal Everything’s most recent works, a series of digital installations for Chanel:

+ via @universalevery

marc quinn: self.

I’m fascinated by the limits to which some artists push the envelope. Not only the message or appearance of their works, but also the possibilities for finding new extremes to use as the medium itself. A contemporary of Damien Hirst and one the legendary YBAs of the early 90s, the work of British sculptor Marc Quinn makes Hirst look like nothing more than a really enthusiastic taxidermist.

Most recently getting media and art-world buzz for his solid gold sculpture of Kate Moss in a revealingly contorted (and sublimely absurd) yoga pose, Quinn has long-since gone to an extreme of using his physical body as material that would make Marco Evarissti proud. Quinn’s famed 1991 work “Self” is a frozen sculpture of his own head, made from 4.5 litres of his won blood which was slowly taken from his body over a 5-month period. Now that, calling a spade a spade, is really fucking hardcore.

self

Sure, I get that there’s an immediate, visceral reaction to something made from human blood. The sculpture itself, though well done, is fairly unremarkable except for the material it’s made of. But that’s precisely the point: the brilliance of the statement is in heightening the meaning of our desire to catalogue and honour and document our physical selves from clay and marble to our very own blood. A sculpture from our own DNA.

Then the over-reactions begin: it would be easy to freak out, be grossed out, and call Quinn crazy. But why? This is a study of how the medium of a work of art can not only equal the statement of the work itself, but completely eclipse it. And why should we be so repulsed by something that flows so critically and intimately inside each of our bodies anyway? Similar to the use of shit or piss in art (though I would defend it as equally meaningful as a statement if done by an artist of this calibre) the use of bodily fluids as an artistic medium usually raises similar ire. The difference for me is that those are things our bodies regularly gets rid of. Aside from menstruation, our bodies never intentionally discrete our own blood (and even then I’d argue there’s a difference between the monthly cycle of menstruation and the over-riding vitality of our regular blood). Blood is vital and universal and holds our entire health within it. Blood is as natural as tears, yet still people can have such abhorrent reactions to seeing it.

Kept in a refrigerated case where it must be constantly maintained at -12˚ Celsisus, “Self” was sold to an anonymous U.S. collector in 2005 for £1.5 million. Not a bad profit for its first owner – global advertising legend, renowned art patron/gallery owner and husband of Nigella Lawson, Charles Saatchi, who reportedly first bought “Self” in 1991 for “only” £13,000. That’s an 8666% return on investment. Not too shabby. Not that he does it for the money… I’m just sayin’.

Since 1991, Quinn has cast a new version of “Self” every five years. That means that there are 3 out there and one more (hopefully) on the way in the near future. And, with any lucky, many, many more to come… long live the art, and blood, of Mr. Marc Quinn.

glasser: ring.

Never underestimate the power of good cover art. I might have passed over Glasser if I hadn’t been stopped dead in my tracks by the gorgeous cover, below, to her upcoming debut album “Ring.” And that would have totally been my loss, because Glasser is basically now my favourite new thing.

The home-project pseudonym of “one-woman orchestra” Cameron Mesirow, Glasser first got some buzz after releasing her debut EP “Apply” in May 2009. Recorded in Garage Band, she clearly showed right out of the gate a natural ability to make the rough edges endearing.

But “Home”, the recently-released first single from “Ring”, is what really got me excited. The audio evolution from her EP seems so natural and the imperfect wooden percussion; swelling synth chorus; swooping strings; and dreamy, chanty call of Glasser’s voice has been on heavy rotation in my brain since I first heard it. Like siren song, I can’t shake it. And that’s a good thing.

“Ring” comes out Sept. 28 from True Panther. Pre-order here.

Here are two grainy, misty, analog-feeling vids for two tracks from her EP “Apply”:

“Apply” directed by Jacinto Astiazarán

“Tremel” directed by Sarah Enid Hagey

Via Pitchfork.

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