Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Last week, Wink published a review of Cat Food for Thought and Dog Food for Thought by Warren Dotz. Coincidentally, we had an interview with Warren in the works, which we just published, along with a few of the mid-20th-century pet-food labels from his book."
Here's a snip of Warren talking about some of the auctions he won to build up his collection:
“I found a scrapbook made by a woman who had collected all the food labels she used from 1970 to 1972,” recalls Dotz of one auction. “I also found a supermarket’s salesman's catalog that contained all the labels for its generic, store-branded products. When I bought that catalog, I was hoping I would find a fantastic pet-food label, and sure enough I did. It was for a brand of cat food called Corky — it looks almost like the Napster logo.”
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Lisa Hix has just finished an interview with London-based author and design critic Stephen Bayley, who spoke with her about Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything. In our piece, the two discuss the intensely subjective nature of the things we perceive as being beautiful or ugly."
Ugliness is also surprisingly hard to design on purpose, as Bayley discovered both teaching and speaking with architecture students. “If you give a class of architecture students a project, saying ‘Please design an ugly building,’ they actually find that difficult. It’s very difficult to create ugliness, although you wouldn’t believe it by walking around in any big city. Ugliness often is just an accident, but it’s often utterly fascinating.”
Reading Ugly, it’s not too difficult to suss out Bayley’s personal preferences: He’s all about clean lines, right angles, and functionality; he finds neutral colors and the natural tones of wood more tasteful than bright hues or shiny things. He’s got no use for elaborate glass paperweights, loathes taxidermy and all Victorian hobbies that attempt to capture and catalog nature, finds tattoos tacky, and has no patience for mid-Century kitsch relating to Elvis, Vegas, or tiki bars—things like aloha T-shirts, souvenir mugs, or velvet paintings.
“I’m aesthete at heart,” confesses Bayley, who also published a book called Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things in 1992. “I’m one of those people, for good or for bad, who determine the value in anything by its appearance. People think appearance is superficial. I don’t. I think appearances matter, and actually the classical Greeks felt the same. They thought beauty had a moral character. That’s my fundamental view of the world. I can’t walk down the street and not be both exhilarated by beautiful cars and beautiful buildings and dismayed and depressed by ugly cars and ugly buildings. I am just one of those poor souls.”
My friend Rob Walker writes a great column every Friday on Yahoo Tech called The New Old Thing, which "tells you about what’s not-new—but still great and available to you right now thanks to the magic of technology." His latest column is about my recommendation, The Art Renewal Center.
The Art Renewal Center bills itself as “leading the revival of realism in the fine arts,” and it’s fair to say that founder Fred Ross has a passionate point of view about the value of realism and modernist efforts (in his view) to denigrate it.
“Before visiting Artrenewal.org for the first time (about 10 years ago),” Frauenfelder says, “I’d never heard of William Bouguereau, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Waterhouse, Lord Frederic Leighton, Ernest Louis Meissonier, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Frank Dicksee, James Joseph Tissot, or John William Godward.
“Looking at their work makes me feel like I’ve entered a secret museum that was closed off to the public for fear of a mass outbreak of Stendhal syndrome.”
Every two years, Minnesota artists build a temporary village on a frozen lake near Minneapolis, crafting colorful, creative parodies of traditional ice fishing shanties that are open to the public for four weekends. The event is juried. Dozens of groups submit proposals for shanties, but only 20 are chosen. Each shanty has a theme, and each theme comes with some kind of interactive programming — whether scheduled events or stuff to do in the shanty as you wander through. In 2012, 20,000 people visited the shanties at Medicine Lake. (That year, I followed some Minneapolis makers as they built and launched their monster-themed shanty.)
The 2014 Art Shanty Project opened last weekend on White Bear Lake, north of St. Paul, and my husband I took our daughter and went to see what we could see.
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Socks Studio has a short article and a bunch of photos of "The Toy."
“The Toy” was a self-assembly project made in 1951 by Charles and Ray Eames and sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. This construction kit for children sums up the simplicity and playfulness of most of the Eames’ works. It comprised dowels with pierced ends, pipe cleaners and brightly colored panels (four square and four triangles) of plastic-coated resistant stiff paper. The pieces of “the Toy” came packed in a hexagonal tube and could be used to produce multiple structures, playhouses, theatres and shelters.
Drew Friedman is one of the best portrait artists alive. I once had the opportunity to see a few pieces of his original art and was surprised to see how small they were. The originals are smaller than the printed version. This is the opposite of how most illustrators work. The usual route is to create work that's larger than it appears in print. I don't know how Drew is able to include so much detail in his drawings. He must have excellent eyesight and a steady hand.
So, if you are going to see Drew's Old Jewish Comedians exhibit at The Society of Illustrators in New York (March 05, 2014 - May 03, 2014), bring a pair of strong reading glasses. That way you'll be able to appreciate every one of Drew's lovingly applied liver spots. If you can't make it to the show, I highly recommend Drew's three Old Jewish Comedians books, published by Fantagraphics.
Working at Google X is a dream job for makers and designers. It's the "moonshot factory" where the self-driving car, Glass, Project Loon, and other futuristic technologies are being developed. Mason Currey of Core77 got an invitation to visit X and he reported on what he learned there.
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Artist Nate Hallinan has a good tutorial on painting creature fur in Photoshop.
"Fuzzy bunnies, big-eyed girls, meat, magic, and mystery." That's Taschen Books' capsule description of the things that artist Mark Ryden often includes in his surreal, cotton-candy-colored paintings. They did't include "Abraham Lincoln, snow, and candy," but that's OK. You'll figure that out on your own when you see the masterfully-rendered paintings in the pages of his latest book, Pinxit, which came out in April.
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Arie van't Riet was an x-ray physicist who worked in hospitals in the Netherlands. A few years ago, he turned his skill with x-rays to art, creating some really beautiful and far-out images of animals, insects, and flowers. You can see some of his art at the My Modern Met blog, and watch van't Riet explain how he creates these images in a TEDx talk.