Playground designers' whimsical whales, krakens and dragons

MONSTRUM founders Ole Barslund Nielsen and Christian Jensen create imaginative story-based playgrounds in their native Denmark and around the world. A few examples below: Read the rest

Weird and wonderful 1980s video game box art

Liza Daly writes: "I’m fascinated by the fertile period between ’79 and ’83, when computers and consoles went mainstream and hundreds of game companies sprung up overnight. These developers were often obscure — sometimes just a P.O. box and a single teenager — but a few racked up enormous profits. And while there were no real rules yet, there was one agreed-upon convention: graphics were primitive and were never to be shown on the cover. This led to an awful lot of experimentation, for better or worse."

Box Art Brut: The no-rules design of early computer games Read the rest

Gorgeous and colorful vaulted murals of Rotterdam's Markthal

Rotterdam wanted to honor the history of its public market by creating a space that felt open even though it was enclosed. The resulting Markthal has a beautiful vaulted ceiling adorned with bright murals of food. Read the rest

6-step guide to designing your own hipster logo

Tim Delger not only reveals the secrets of hipster logo design, he'll also sell you the necessary fonts Read the rest

Alexander Calder, the artist who redefined sculpture

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Alexander Calder's (1898-1976) father was Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945), who sculpted George Washington as President on the Washington Square Arch in New York. His grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder (1846 – 1923), sculpted the 37-foot tall William Penn statue, which stands atop Philadelphia City Hall. His great-grandfather was a tombstone carver.

So it's not surprising that Calder become a sculptor as well. But unlike his forebears, Calder was not interested in traditional sculpture. Instead, he invented a new art form -- kinetic sculpture -- the most famous of which were his "mobiles," (a word coined by his friend, the artist Marcel Duchamp). These delicately balanced sculptures consist of biomorphic shapes cut from sheet metal and painted in black, white, orange, red, white, yellow, and blue, and which hang from metal rods and wire. Read the rest

Proposed redesign of Ticketmaster's ugly and confusing tickets

After working as a volunteer usher, Matthew Lew reimagined Ticketmaster's hard-to-read tickets. His ticket stripped out the redundant info, made the seating information clear, added an anti-counterfeiting strip, and is the size of a business card so it fits in a wallet without folding.

Dear Ticketmaster: It is time to redesign the master of all tickets Read the rest

Cool old cigar box art: Moonshine Crooks

I want someone to do a comic book series about moonshine crooks. (Via Shelley Rickey) Read the rest

Human digestion for the LSD set - LIFE magazine 1962

Earlier today David posted a 1962 LIFE magazine photo of a ski mask that would appeal to the family in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I took a look at the scanned copy of the magazine at Google Books and came across this article about human digestion, titled "How Food Becomes Fuel: The Phenomenal Digestive Journey of a Sandwich."

The hallucinatory illustrations were painted by Arthur Lidov and I have to assume that they reflect LIFE publisher Henry Luce's wife Clare's strong interest in LSD. Read the rest

The tattoo work of Wan Tattooer

The World's Best Ever has been showcasing tattoo artists in a series called Flash Us, and they brought to my attention the work of Wan Tattooer, who works at Wild Rose Tattoo in Seoul, South Korea. His Instagram feed is terrific! Read the rest

Interview with MAD's Jack Davis about his Tales From the Crypt comic book days

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "We just published an exclusive interview with MAD magazine cartoonist Jack Davis, who spoke to us about his Tales From the Crypt years in the early 1950s. Our article, which features a new drawing by Davis of MAD publisher William Gaines posing alongside the Crypt-Keeper, coincides with Mondo's Tales From the Crypt exhibition opening on October 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

It was Bill Gaines who gave Davis—recently honored in a 2011 Fantagraphics retrospective book called Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture — his first break. The young artist, who’d been drawing since kindergarten, had published comic strips in middle school and high school, in the Navy, and at the University of Georgia. When he graduated in 1950, he hoped to land his dream job working on the newspaper funny pages so he could afford to marry his college sweetheart, Dena Roquemore.

“I wanted to be a cartoonist and get syndicated,” says Davis, who worked as an assistant to Ed Dodd, creator of the syndicated “Mark Trail” comic strip, while he was in college. “I figured I had to go to New York City because that was where everything in publishing was, including the comics syndicates. I took a year at the Art Students League in New York, and I’d look for work. I’d go up and down Madison Avenue, where I was rejected at the syndicates and at a lot of the publishers.”

But not all of them. “I saw a comic book one day and went down to the offices of Entertaining Comics, where I met the publisher, Bill Gaines.

Read the rest

Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Sketching London's burlesque artists

"I find myself using a large Rowney sketchbook to carve my way through the evening crowds around Piccadilly Circus, following Eros' arrow up to the narrow streets of Soho, London's notorious sleaze quarter."

Dog-chewed shoe sells on eBay for $378

Eric Bradley says: "I saw this eBay listing for a wingtip shoe some guy’s dog chewed up. He positioned it with a very well-written description as a ‘work of modern art’ from his dog, Jack. It sold yesterday on eBay for $378. The seller says he is donating a portion of the proceeds to a pet rescue center in Washington, D.C." Read the rest

Banksy's Ronald McDonald sculpture gets a shoeshine

"A fibreglass replica of Ronald McDonald having his shoes shined by a real live boy. The sculpture will visit the sidewalk outside a different McDonalds every lunchtime for the next week. Today: South Bronx." -- BanksyNY (Be sure to click on the link to get a good look at Mr. McDonald's facial expression.) Read the rest

Entrepreneurs in NYC charge $20 to peek at Banksy stencil

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Drawing a potato chip bag

James Gurney says: "Using colored pencils and markers, Marcello Barenghi draws a super-realistic potato chip bag. Here's his list of the art materials he uses for these videos." Read the rest

True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969 (Gallery)

Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson have lovingly compiled a picture book about crime magazines from the mid-20th century called True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969. It's loaded with exceedingly lurid, attention-grabbing magazine covers and illustrations.

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the “Dickbooks,” referring to a popular slang term for a detective.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however. When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the “detectives” turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts, and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Cover lines shouted “I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,” “Sex Habits of Women Killers,” “Bride of Sin!,” “She Played Me for a Sucker,” and most succinctly, “Bad Woman.”

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime and punishment over five decades.

Read the rest

Documentary about four illustrators from Italy

Andrea Chirichelli, a journalist, writer and video-maker, says:

I made a documentary called Illustrators, that describes the job of four Italian illustrators who are world famous and have been awarded many prizes and recognitions: Alessandro “Shout” Gottardo, Emiliano Ponzi, Olimpia Zagnoli, and Francesco Poroli.

The documentary lasts approximately 70 minutes, is subtitled in English, and offers a wide view on the secrets of a new job, that has transformed completely ever since the Internet’s arrival, that has marked a pivotal change in the world of publishing, commercials, and magazines.

Illustrators is a journey of images in the creativity of a nation, Italy, depressed and mortified under the political and economic aspect, but still capable of showing its best side and bound to live, at least under the artistic profile, an outright “Second Renaissance.”

Read the rest

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