Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

How’s the Wevther?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

 

Archimedes, had his famous eureka moment while taking a hot bath. For Jacob Heftmann, it was a hot shower. While trying to figure out what he was going to wear after showering, Heftmann came up with the idea for Wevther.com, a stylish and smartly minimal site that offers up fashion inspiration depending on the weather outside. Heftmann created the algorithm and design himself, and despite the site only launching recently, it has already garnered praise and coverage from Swiss Miss to Refinery 29, and has even attracted a few resumes from those eager to work on the new project.

Heftmann’s studio/apartment in the heart of Bushwick is not unlike his website – it is tasteful, spacious, well-curated, but also approachable. It’s orderliness however belies the insane amount of work coming out of the space. Juggling the newfound attention to Wevther.com with Heftmann’s demanding client work can be especially challenging at times when there’s an overwhelming urge to work all the time when your studio is ten feet from the shower. To keep a balance between work and play, Heftmann often throws dinner parties at his ten seat table, and makes a concentrated effort to meet clients and collaborators at coffeeshops, or in our case, for a short walk around the neighborhood to shoot photographs and answer a couple of questions right outside the Morgan train stop.

What led you on the path to becoming a Graphic Designer?

I actually studied philosophy and art history at the University of California – Santa Barbara. I spent half of the year traveling and competing as a sponsored snowboarder, and in the summer and fall I would take 20 units worth of classes so I could graduate on time. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was in school. After I graduated I realized it was going to be hard to get by on degrees in philosophy and art history. I came from a very art and design conscious family so design just sort of happened on its own. I’ve always been interested in technology and when I started to see the potential of design in that context, I knew what I wanted to do. That was around 2007. I was frustrated by my choice of degrees at first but in retrospect I’ve come to appreciate their value; philosophy taught me how to think and art history taught me how to see, which are good tools for a designer.

What are your inspirations for your creative activities?

I’m dubious about the idea of trying to force inspiration. The best ideas come from a combination of seemingly unrelated concepts, and that has to happen organically. To borrow from Chuck Close, you have to kind of just show up and get to work.

The closest you can get is to put yourself in the right situations. I almost always have a camera with me. It reminds me to keep my eyes open, rather than just floating along. I try to travel three to four months out of the year, which is a big part of why I work for myself. It sounds pretentious, but I can’t stand glamorous travel. Traveling is the best way to learn if you allow yourself to be in uncomfortable situations.

One thing I try not to do is look at what’s happening in graphic design, especially digital. It makes for derivative work. I follow it, of course, but I’m more interested in other disciplines, like architecture, photography and science.

Can’t decide what to wear today? Visit Wevther.com, or view more of Jacob Heftmann’s work at his website.

Life of the Afterparty

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

We met Lauren Silberman recently during a night out dancing at Kinfolk Studios, and were thrilled to discover her great series titled Afterparty, a candid and colorful collection of the chaos, disappointment, and beauty that is the after party. We caught up with Silberman afterwards to ask her about her work.

What was your inspiration behind the Afterparty series? So it’s hard to say where the inspiration came from – I guess there are a few things. When I began the series, I was going through a very hard time and dealing with the loss of someone close to me. I was trying to negotiate finding happiness in the sadness that had consumed me. There is something obviously sad about these images. When printed large, they confront the view with a party that is over… the viewer missed the party.  The room is empty, with only traces and evidence of something that happened there. But the images are lush and full and colorful – all qualities that I am drawn to and find beautiful, and make me happy.

The series is shot in various unique Brooklyn spaces. How does your connection to the scene influence your work?
The series is informed by my connection to my own nightlife scene in Brooklyn that’s very (I hesitate to use these words because they are so overused) underground and DIY. I’ve been participating in events for years in some way or another, and I have a real connection to these events that are true labors of love by their participants. I am really drawn to the attention, care and sometimes obsession that people put into creating their own culture – and that’s exactly what these events are about. People spend so much time decorating the space, booking acts and DJs, and organizing the door and the bar – a lot goes into these to create a very special experience for people who attend the parties. Without events like this, New York would be really boring.

What’s up next for you (what’s after the Afterparty)?

As far as for what’s next, the Afterparty series is kind of a long running project that I’ve contributed to slowly over the past 5 years.  During that, I have spent a lot of time in New Orleans shooting friends and acquaintances who are loose members of the post-Katrina burgeoning art scene. It’s such an amazing city, where unlikely people flourish in an unlikely place. People really make things happen for themselves there in their own way, that is really different from the way people do it in New York, and I find it really inspiring. They’re not trying to be a part of something else or bigger, but just doing what they do, and doing it for themselves, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air. I’m also really interested in exploring the city of Los Angeles, and have been researching the history of its nightlife spots. The architecture in the the city is fascinating, and there are some really beautiful venues with a history that I would like to photograph… but that’s very much in the beginning stages.

View more of Lauren Silberman’s work on her website.

Carry On…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Like superheroes, all companies have their origin story. For Brooklyn Industries, it began with two young artists – Vahap Avsar and Lexy Funk in a Chelsea apartment in 1996. Staring out the window, Avsar often found his gaze landing on an old Marlboro billboard that had been weathered from months and months in the New York weather.

Sifer-Chyper, 1991, Vahap Avsar

Drawing inspiration from his large body of work that mostly concentrated on the semiotics of visual language, 3rd world bricolage, and upcycling art from common objects, Avsar began sewing the bags in their apartment, and when demand outgrew their tiny quarters, the partners moved to a warehouse in the then gritty Williamsburg where they worked and lived without heat or air conditioning. When the amount of knocks on their warehouse door became untenable, Funk and Avsar opened a retail space that was to become the genesis for Brooklyn Industries.

Last year, the company began re-establishing production in Brooklyn with one craftsman and one sewing machine making one bag at a time. One year later, we’ve set up a small production facility at our current headquarters in Brooklyn called Factory, and are celebrating it with the re-release of the Crypto Billboard Bag. Prior to the re-release of the original line, we’ve released a number of new designs made in house this past year, including the Sunnyside Bag, the Java Tote, and the Corlear Bag. As an added bonus, each bag comes with a limited edition, numbered screen printed poster commemorating the re-release.

Each custom-made, waterproof messenger bag is completely unique with its own different cuts and decontextualized designs. With digital advertisements dominating the visual landscape, Avsar sought to bring back a sense of nostalgia towards tactile messaging. The Crypto bag line is the latest in Brooklyn Industries’ new releases that is helping the company establish a greater local manufacturing presence.

Free Screening: Brooklyn Castle at Brooklyn Industries 1 Boerum Place

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Working in such a vibrant community, we often get sent music, movies, artwork, among other things in hopes that we can help share it with the world. When this disk landed on our desks, we weren’t sure what to make of it, so we popped it in the player. After a couple of hours and a few teardrops later, we had immediately made up our minds.

We had to do something to help.

Brooklyn Castle documents the after school chess club at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg through the personal stories of a handful of players and their committed instructors. I.S. 318 is a humble middle school in every sense of the word – including financial, yet their inner city chess program has developed into a national powerhouse, routinely capturing national titles – 26 to be exact. But more crucial than the awards, the documentary highlights the empowering effects the game has on the students’ lives, from academics, to their home lives, to the emotional maturation of the adolescents – in a sometimes ridiculously heartwarming fashion. With severe cuts to school budgets in the city, the chess club, among other after school programs, is facing extinction. We called up the Director, Katie Dellamaggiore shortly after, and decided to collaborate on a T-shirt design, with portions of proceeds from the shirt going to help fund the program. The design plays off the name of the county the school resides in – Kings County, and is fashioned after a varsity athletic feel because at I.S. 318, the chess players are the star athletes.

The film initially debuted at SXSW last March, and is scheduled to screen at Sundance in October, but a week before on Saturday, October 13th, Brooklyn Industries will put on a free Brooklyn screening at our 1 Boerum Place location. Come see this amazing film for the first time, help support the movie and chess club, and try your hand at defeating some of these young chess athletes for special prizes (warning – you probably won’t win). RSVP at pr@brooklynindustries.com.

Shop the BK Castle Eco Tee. Portions of the proceeds to the I.S.318 chess program.

Live, Work, Create. A New Tumblr

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

One of our favorite new projects we’ve been working on here in our studio and around Brooklyn is our new Tumblr: Live, Work, Create. Unlike most other Tumblrs that pull from other websites (something we don’t mind at all), LWC is comprised of content 100% produced by our design team. So pardon us if we’re a bit excited.

Go See Cooper Hewitt’s “Graphic Design: Now In Production” on Governors Island

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

One of the best graphic design exhibits in awhile is now showing just a $4 East River Ferrry ride away on Governor’s Island. While most of the work has developed iconic status on the web, the all-encompassing curation gives you a chance to see the work in its original form or in proper scale. Bring a bike or rent one there afterwards to unplug from civilization just five minutes from Lower Manhattan.

 

Christopher Doyle’s amusing Identity Guidelines for himself.

Albert Exergian Swiss-ifies American television shows in his Iconic TV poster series

Ink, a collection of wallcoverings designed by Abbott Miller at Pentagram

SALT, a cultural institution in Istanbul incorporates the missing type parts of the typeface KRALIÇE.

Scenes from 1 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Photography Follows Form: Charlie Engman

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

We’ve been fascinated by the work of “photographer” Charlie Engman lately, and we put the word in quotes because the line between photographer, painter, and sculpture is pretty thin – and strange…

For the Domestic Diorama series above, Engman’s paintbrush is the human body. The series below looks like what would’ve happened if Egon Schiele and Josef Albers had a love chld.

Photo Diary: The Artwork of Koh Suwa, from Studio to Window to Art Party Installation

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Zoe Strauss – Ten Years, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I had the opportunity to check out the Zoe Stauss ten-year retrospective which opened two weeks ago at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her photos, which aim to capture “an epic narrative about the beauty and struggle of everyday life,” was made all the more impressive considering Strauss only began her photography at the age of 30, exhibiting for the first time in 2001 on her own without any gallery representation.

Most of Strauss’ work documents her own neighborhood and surrounding areas, and there’s definitely a feeling that she isn’t far removed from her subjects, giving her portraits a real sense of intimacy. Between human subjects, unique architecture, consumer culture, and disarming snapshots of text, the volume of work is impressive, keen, and witty, capturing everyday scenes removed from its original context. Strauss’ work also included photographs addressing current events, and her pictures from her time spent volunteering and rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were poignant reminders of the event.

My personal favorite from the show was a series of images featuring mattresses. The image above simply doesn’t do it justice – the print itself is luminescent, transforming something normally vulgar into a visual that is quite captivating.

Strauss’ efforts to make her work as publicly accessible as possible are also a source of inspiration. Since 2001, Strauss has annually presented her “I-95” shows, displaying her photographs underneath elevated sections of the aforementioned highway for all to see, and offering printed works for only five dollars. For the show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Strauss even lobbied (unsuccessfully) to reduce the admission price. For those unable to make it to the exhibit, prints of her photographs are installed on 54 billboards around the city. You can plan your route around the city to see them all, and her entire catalog is available online. If you happen to be in the neighborhood at our store in Philly, you’ll find yourself triangulated by three billboards just a short bike ride away (one of them is pictured below). – Tommy, E-Commerce

Lately, we’ve really been enjoying printing photographs on T-shirts. Check out two of them below, Family Photo and Party Time.