• 3.23.15   Mac Premo’s Bucket Board Does The Green Thing

    The responsibility of any generation is to pass on what they've learned to the next, and to do so with minimal destruction. This year, the World Wildlife Fund asked 15 artists to take materials that already exist and recreate them to give them new life. The project, Do The Green Thing, aims to use creativity and art to fight climate change acting as "a gentle nudge towards a more thoughtful and more sustainable way of living." For Mac Premo, who was tapped for the project by Pentagram London, the challenge was very familiar. “That’s pretty much what I do for everything,” he explains. “So I rephrased the challenge in my brain – I thought, what do I give a shit about, and can that be made out of trash?” Reaching back into his memory from when he bought his daughter her first skateboard, one that was made by hand out of artfully constructed wood, he got in contact with Don Sanford, of Sanford Shapes, the company that made the board, to ask, “Can we make skateboards out of trash?” As a venerable "Stuff Maker," a project like this is a natural fit and just a matter of finding the right materials. And they did find them. In excess. Buckets. Lots of buckets. In the refuse of construction sites, namely the dozens of buckets that are used and discarded with nearly every construction project, Mac found a practically renewable resource for his own project. “There are thousands of them thrown away on every job site and it goes in the earth and it stays there,” says Mac. The robustness of the buckets make for a skating surface that is durable while the flexibility ensures a gracefully made board. Pretty quickly they started producing the boards and it was something of a paradigm shift for both Mac and Don. “The concept of taking stuff out of the landfill and giving it a second life is just fascinating,” says Don. “There’s no material cost in these things, they’re free. All we have to do is build them.” The cost may be free, but the value is far higher. For Mac, it's all about passing the love of skateboarding on to the next generation. “When I got on a skateboard as a kid I didn’t just learn how to roll, I learned how to express myself,” he says. “For a while in my life a curb was just a curb. But then it was an opportunity. And that changed the way I saw the world.” By creating these boards from what is essentially nothing, he and Don are able to pass these lessons and that empowerment on to those who need it. They’ve almost literally created something out of nothing in such a way to change how people interact with their worlds for the better. For more information on The Bucket Board check out Mac and Don’s website.  
  • 3.31.15   Chris Buzelli Reveals a Young TS Eliot

    100 portraits is a lot. Especially when you have very little time to complete them. But this was the task recently brought to painter Chris Buzelli who buckled down and designed his own way through the gauntlet. That project forced Chris to approach this work in a new way, and learn a lot about it. Between efficiency of line and depth color, the vast compendium caught the attention of Designer Rodrigo Corral who asked the painter to help create a book cover for a biography of TS Eliot, “Young Eliot.” Rodrigo’s request fit directly in line with the massive exploration of portrait Chris had just completed, and he continued his investigation through this portrait. “The painting is fairly small, but I do that so you can really see the brush strokes,” Chris says. “I try to be really frugal and use the least amount of brush strokes as possible; in his jacket and tie and shirt there’s maybe seven or eight brush strokes. It just feels fresh and alive and feels like you can breathe.” By using fewer strokes, a method he perfected in necessity with his previous project, he is able to show a demand over his craft, bringing life to the work. There are only a couple images of TS Eliot as a kid, so there was a level of creativity that Chris had to employ in order to complete the image. Accuracy came from the two black and white images that he was able to secure, but coloring was entirely invented using whatever resources he could. Chris' style is already expressive, using proportion and shapes to tell stories about his subjects that wouldn't come through using photorealism. It's the same for Chris' use of color. Even in his portraits you'll find he uses blues and reds in a way that to our eyes doesn't seem to be realistic, but as Chris explains it, he's actually getting closer to life. “When you really have fun and have really lit what’s in front of you well, and you really look at their face you can see all types of color reflected,” explains Chris. “There’s a lot more color in the face than you first notice, especially when you see them live instead of a photo. I try and put in those colors that I see in life and make those portraits come alive.” It's about creating a depth that is deceptively relatable. In a way Chris' use of color tricks us into seeing more in his work because he gives us information we're looking for without even knowing it. Although what he’s created may seem alien on the surface, he’s giving us a version realism we were already searching for.
  • 3.30.15   Thayer Allyson Gowdy Does Chicago in a Day

    When Good Housekeeping contracted newest B&A roster addition Thayer Allyson Gowdy for their profile on actress Sophia Bush, they knew from the first moment it was going to be a busy day. Picking five different locations around Chicago, the setting of Sophia’s NBC show Chicago P.D., meant that they were going to have to move quickly at each location. Each spot they picked, from a taco joint, to a pie lovers dream, to a beer company, came with its own unique challenges and pitch perfect charm. “It was crazy we did like five locations in one day. It was basically just run and gun,” explains Thayer. At each location they had to set up, photograph, and take down in less than an hour each time. It was a challenge, but it wasn’t a problem at all. For Thayer what made the day possible was the teamwork brought together through her crew, that at times included Sophia. At times it was all hands on deck, and although no one ever asked anything from Sophia than to show up and be beautiful, she did much more than she had to. “Sophia was so great,” says Thayer. “She was just part of the team. It was pretty awesome. She just jumps right in. No judgment. No pretension. She’s a fantastic person.” With everyone working towards the same goal, making sure they could get every shot possible, they were able to spend more time working on the photographs than setting up and taking down the shots. And even that was easier because of how Sophia acts in front of the camera. For Thayer, a high speed, high-pressure shoot couldn’t have asked for a better kind of subject. She was shooting someone who was comfortable in front of the camera and ready to show up and work every moment. “Actresses are so great to shoot,” says Thayer. “You tell them what you need and they just deliver. Sophia is used to a high pressure schedule being in TV that it doesn’t phase her at all.” Every moment at every location was used to its greatest potential. They got every shot they needed, and then some. In fact, at one stop, Antique Taco, they were able to take a little time to enjoy some of the restaurant’s wares. As you can see in the behind the scenes video, they noshed on some tacos. And Thayer doesn’t mince words when it comes to her praise of those tortilla wrapped yumyums. “I live in San Francisco where we have fantastic tacos,” explains Thayer. “I’m a taco snob. It was the best taco I’ve ever had. I’m not joking.”
  • 3.24.15   Jonas Fredwall Karlsson Composes Risk for Vanity Fair

    Perched high above the ground in Yosemite Valley, Jonas Fredwall Karlsson hugged the granite rocks that form the El Capitan formation. Free climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson just recently completed the first climb of the 3000ft Dawn Wall, a sheer route on one of the most difficult climbs on earth. Jonas iis there with a team, including producer Ron Beinner, for Vanity Fair for their Spotlight on these two climbers who risk it all to get a little closer to the sky. Jonas climbed up, standing on the those stone of Yosemite but it was a little different from the rock face the two climbers had scaled where ledges of two inches are considered rest stops. Still, with wind whipping and a vast expanse of sky behind the climbers, it was the bare peak of a mountain. The image of Caldwell and Jorgeson are part of a larger series by Vanity Fair of Rock Climbers and Adventurers shot by Jonas. This series of 23 images includes bungee jumpers, hot air balloonists, and dogsled drivers. Jonas has noticed a through line shooting people at this level of adventuring. “They’re all obsessed in a way,” he says. “And I think you have to be that at this level of anything you do.” Obsession is a condition that begs risk and offers reward. For those willing to focus and take the steps, only the world is in front of them. Or maybe even more. The next great adventure is a continuing one with unlimited potential: the adventure into space. Virgin's Galactic program saw the fatal failure of their most recent test flight forcing many to question the intelligence and responsibility of private space travel. Fans are quick to remind skeptics that because of NASA's quickly expiring funding, private space travel may be humanity's best hope to get closer to the stars, and democratizing space travel may be the boon it needs to revive public interest. In their highlight of the ongoing progress of Virgin Galactica, Vanity Fair used a previously unseen image that Jonas had taken of CEO Sir Richard Branson in 2010. Jonas met him on the runway where he took responsibility for Virgin Galactic's future using his own image (and promises to board the first commercial flight with his children). While Branson is wearing a space suit, the whole conceit around Virgin Galactic is an accessible trip into space; all passengers will wear their own clothes. No space suit required. As William Langewische explains in Vanity Fair’s piece, there's still some distance to travel before Virgin Galactic is ready to carry passengers. But Branson is as eager as ever to offer his customers a piece of the sky.
  • 3.27.15   Serge Seidlitz and Andrew Rae Show the World Through a Child's Eyes

    Imagine if we all saw the world as children do. Endless potential and opportunity, each path ahead of us an avenue of imagination. The shapes of clouds turning into medieval battles, and the whispers of rivers our favorite new songs. Each moment is unlockable, revealing a new game, a new way to play, and a new way to see our world. The voices of children, no matter how loud while at play, are piteously silent when considered by very important adults with very important adult lives with very important adult decisions. London's Museum of Childhood asks its attendees to explore the value of a child’s eyes, offering the challenge to shrug off our man made apparatuses that mercilessly eat up our days. Inside the museum are exhibits, events, and activities that remind attendees of their own childhoods, and teach about the childhoods of people worlds a way. But the lesson doesn’t need to stay within those four London walls. As a part of an environmental campaign, the museum teamed up with more than a dozen artists to create art out of the natural and pedestrian landmarks around London. Each artist created original work that played off native points of interest: a door's natural wear turns into an interested ostrich with the addition of an illustrated face. A crosswalk becomes the gaping mouth of a curious bird. For those of us that aren't around London right now, photographer Lydia Whitmore plays as our eyes. Hunting each native piece through the streets of London, Lydia fits each and everyone into her viewfinder so that we may see London in some different way. You can experience Lydia’s journey through London using the “See the World” micro site that includes Lydia’s photographs and the locations of each piece. Andrew Rae and Serge Seidlitz were a part of the creative roster to eke out the imagination of London's populace. Each environmental piece of art featured the Museum of Childhood’s bold encouragement to “See the world through a child’s eyes.” Serge Seidlitz’s “Ostrich” face, tail, and long legs are carefully arranged around the shipped paint of a fire exit on Brady Street. Splashes of paint on the wall of a self-storage facility on Sidney Street become the torrents from a thunder cloud, Serge’s creation “Cloud.” In Andrew Rae’s “Bird” two markings that had been painted on a crosswalk at Shipton Street and Columbia Road were repurposed as the beak of a large blue, aggressive bird.  Following Lydia's path through the map provided to us by the museum, we're able to use Serge and Andrew's imagination to see London with all the imaginative details that a child would bring to their vision, and that new sight changes the way we see the city. Now the question remains: how does it change your own vision?
  • 3.25.15   Serial Cut Shows Us Cisco's New World

    The future doesn’t come at us in leaps and bounds, instead it’s built slowly, invisible piece by invisible piece until we turn around and notice it’s suddenly here. Almost like it appeared while we slept. Multinational Technology company Cisco Systems is building that future, innovation by innovation, tackling each tiny tech problem we face and building into a future we may not recognize. The company’s motto is “Tomorrow starts here,” and their latest campaign with creative studio Serial Cut shows how they’re updating our world to be what we need our future to look like. A series of three ads explore three different sectors Cisco is working on using Serial Cut’s CGI artistry. The three photo-realistic pieces use familiar images with unique elements combining into captivating compositions that catch the eye. “I love it when people spend time looking at an image, having fun within it and with its details,” says Sergio del Puerto of Serial Cut. “And also I like when they can't figure out how it was done, whether it's real or digital.” Usually it’s a combination. Usually Serial Cut will use both photography and CGI illustration to build a final image. But not this time. Each of the images are completely computer generated compositions, painted pixel by pixel into the final creation. Focusing on child safety, online shopping, and the flow of traffic, Cisco and Serial Cut are bringing attention to moments in our lives that are so common and every-day that we barely have the brain space to notice they could get better. These events are such seamlessly inherent parts of our lives that it’s almost unbelievable they could change. Cisco proposes that the ways we handle these issues now are already outdated, and it’s time to shift the way we see them. Serial Cut’s demonstration of this proposition is to make us see familiar objects with completely new composite parts. The car they’ve created to avoid traffic is created entirely from circuit boards. A teddy bear is wired in a way to communicate information through ports and connections, like if it’s been recalled or needs a design shift. A shopping bag is reimagined as a server, dynamically reshaping itself to keep customers happy and streamline the systems. When asked why they chose to illustrate these images and ideas in this way, Sergio’s response may be surprising. “I never felt like an illustrator but an image-maker,” says Sergio. It’s more than just creating a picture, but telling the story.  
  • 3.26.15   Douglas Friedman's Welcome Challenge

    When the call came in from Harper's Bazaar for Douglas Friedman to shoot Julie Macklowe again, he knew exactly what to expect. He and Julie's family have been working together for about seven years; Douglas has shoot Julie no fewer than three times for Harper's Bazaar. Even though they clicked immediately the first time, each progressive shoot develops their relationship resulting in deeper and more expressive photographs. "She gets better and better," Douglas says. "I think what makes our working relationship, our creative relationship, so special is that she is very willing to trust me and trust my ideas." Those ideas result in Julie climbing into the windows of her apartment, playing telephone with her daughter, and lounging on a bed surrounded by inflated frogs. Douglas' particular talent is being able to frame expressive portraits in beautiful interiors. When asked how he does it, he says there's no trick. He's really shooting two photographs every time he hits the shutter. He explains the demands of what he has to shoot: "Beautiful interior shots that could exist on their own, with or without Julie. And then you’ve got to take a beautiful portrait that could also exist with or without the interior. Kind of marrying those two together." What results are environmental portraits on another level. They’re expressive and contextual, telling us a story that each element couldn’t tell independently. “It’s always a challenging process,” Douglas says. “A welcome challenge.” When asked about the more experimental aspects of the images, like a population of frog balloons with Julie’s daughter jumping on her bed, Douglas responds with a knowing humor. “We like to be a little playful at Harper’s Bazaar. Amp up or elevate the reality a little,” he says. That elevation crystalizes the story a little more so Julie’s personality and temperament leaps off the page. Since Douglas has gotten to know Julie so well, we get to meet the woman he knows – and she’s a lot of fun.
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
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