• 5.17.16

    HBO's Game of Thrones Gets the B&A Royal Treatment

    A well-told story outlives the words required to create it. It will ignite the imagination and tease the heart. It inspires and lives on long past its telling. A good story elicits a response. HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrested audiences the world over with its sweeping epic tale and characters that create homes deep in our psyches. To kick of this season, with the help of Bernstein & Andriulli they commissioned five artists to create artwork inspired by the series and tapped Tristan Eaton, Pop Chart Lab, and Jeff Nishinaka, CYRCLE and Marcos Chin for this original work. The collection of work was called "Art the Throne," and for good reason: each artist created a veritable royal masterpiece for all to enjoy.

    “As I grew up I only wanted to paint characters in the streets,” says Tristan Eaton. “I’ve always had that affinity for nerd fantasy. I’m proud of it.” Tristan created a series of six paintings, each a play on the same image. A greyscale portrait of Daenerys Targaryen, the dragon queen, is replicated in each painting, with additions that reflect relationships and story points that have arisen along the way. Each painting has its own color themes, creating a final series of images that both reveal something about this crucial character and play with the eye. “Game of Thrones has some of the most amazing, strong female leads out of any show I’ve ever seen,” Tristan explains. “That really inspires.”

    Pop Chart Lab were inspired by one of the series’ most gut wrenching scenes known as ‘The Red Wedding.’ In this horror show, a family of a spurned bride-to-be murders the family who didn’t hold up their end of the marriage bargain. Complicated rules of promise and honor factor into the event, resulting in the almost complete decimation of a bloodline. The families in Game of Thrones each have their own histories and lore, weaving into the rich fabric of the story. “Each family is so unique from the next,” says Becky Joy, a designer for Pop Chart Lab. “There’s a lot of symbolism throughout.” They wanted to remember the Starks with a huge 12-foot tall, engraved glass piece that memorialized the family while offering dread by lighting it up totally red. “I’d like people to walk away from this feeling like something bad happened here,” says Ashley Walker.

    One of the biggest conflicts in the series is the ever-present danger from the North, the White Walkers (a type of ice zombie) are constantly threatening to invade the Seven Kingdoms, overrunning everyone and everything and covering the land in an icy death. When Jeff Nishinaka was looking for inspiration he turned to a scene where in the midst of battle the White Walkers raise our hero’s fallen allies from the dead turning them into White Walkers themselves. “It really does have a huge emotional impact,” says Jeff. “It’s kind of one of those ‘Oh my God!’ moments.” With the raising of his arms the leader of the White Walkers raises these zombies from the dead, and that’s the exact moment that Jeff wanted to immortalize in paper. Hundreds, if not thousands, pieces of cut paper come together to create the White Walker as he raises his hands above his head, bringing a kind of foul life to those who have fallen around him.

    'Art the Throne' was on view in NYC’s Lower East Side at the Angel Orensanz Center for a limited time, but you can see the art of these B&A artists, as well as CYRCLE and Marcos Chin, here and teaser videos that we’ve included below.

  • 3.3.16

    Pop Chart Lab and Land Rover Explore

    There’s a whole world to explore.

    Experience is on the other side of our front doors, and nature is practically begging us to return and see what’s out there. Land Rover is encouraging their community to find wonder outside with their booklet “Unparalleled Journeys,” that not only shows off the beauty of their cars, but also gives the informational resources to engage exploration. As each page in their booklet is turned there’s material on one of their vehicles paired with a fold out map that features a planned day trip that anyone can take. Pop Chart Lab was on hand to create the maps for the booklet that are typographically accurate and to scale, making them not only beautiful but supremely functional. “When we first started working on it, these were going to be more stylized maps,” Ben Gibson, co-Founder and Creative Director at Pop Chart Lab, explains. “And then as we got into it, since they are supposed to be functional road maps that have a kind of grid and muscle to them, the concept developed to where it seemed like geographically accurate maps were more to the point.” Pop Chart Lab and Land Rover wanted customers to use these maps, not just hold onto them as souvenirs.

    Part of making the maps as functional as possible was ensuring that they provided topographic accuracy as well as directional accuracy. Pop Chart Lab had to straddle a line between form and function when it came to the typography. “We went through draft processes where earlier iterations were a lot simpler, more style than substance, but it kind of looked fake,” Ben explains. “We knew that the only way to really pull off a topographical map was to literally draw the typography.” Instead of being entirely stylized, they created a middle ground that brought a creative look while still offering the right amount of accuracy that was required for their customers. “Hopefully it goes well in hand with Land Rover’s refined style,” says Ben. The result is a map that will give the experience that Land Rover customers are hungry for while still satisfying Land Rover’s aesthetic, making the maps as beautiful as the lands which inspire customers to explore.

  • 10.28.15

    Pop Chart Lab Gets in the Driver's Seat with James Bond and The Washington Post

    There are few franchises as deep and pervasive as the ongoing story of James Bond. The British spy broke into the popular zeitgeist with Ian Flemming’s series of novels but erupted in 1962 with the release of the first Bond film, Dr. No. Since then, the world has followed the exploits of this international gentleman through 24 movies and seven actors playing the titular character. Bond has developed with the world as it has changed over the last 53 years, but there are some things that haven’t changed at all. Even while he’s dabbled in international conflicts, even while the movies have offered commentary on global concerns, Bond has maintained his famous style and grace under the most intense pressures in the world. In celebration of the latest Bond film, Spectre, releasing in the coming weeks, The Washington Post teamed up with Pop Chart Lab to illustrate some of Bond’s most iconic and critical tools: his cars.

    The class that James Bond has represented came with a driver’s license (alongside his license to kill) and Q Branch, MI-6’s technology wing, has always provided Bond with vehicles (in addition to the few he’s commandeered along the way). These cars (and a truck or two) have changed and evolved alongside the spy, providing indispensable support in his missions while also making a statement about luxury and class in each age. Traditionally Bond’s cars have been furnished by Aston Martin, with a brief visit by BMW for a few movies with Brosnan’s Bond. The cars find themselves filled with gadgets while also providing parallel aesthetics to match the tuxedoed man of mystery. Pop Chart Lab carefully scrutinized each film to pick out the most significant ride of each car, and offers it up on washingtonpost.com in an interactive display that gives the necessary context of each vehicle.

    They’ve pulled out the car’s make and model, as well as describing each car’s best scene and an appraisal of current value. (It should come as no surprise that their values ratchet up as time goes by; Spectre, with a budget of around $300m, is the second most expensive movie ever made.)

    There’s always more to learn in franchises that are as big as Bond’s, and you could spend a significant chunk of your day clicking through what Pop Chart Lab and The Washington Post have created for your enjoyment. Check it out now before you run off to the theatre to see Spectre!


  • 8.11.15

    Pop Chart Lab and Shutterstock Examine the Lasting Impact of Star Wars

    The genre of Science Fiction has a unique status in narrative human history as being able to discuss human issues in ways that we were unable to do so before the genre appeared. It’s much easier to talk about the presence of deities when we imagine science answering all questions in the universe. It’s more challenging to think about what makes humanity special when androids are indistinguishable from our organic bodies. And while these questions are crucial to understanding our future, the honest answers to these questions reveal more about ourselves than we would discover by simply musing on hypotheticals. Instead our narrative tradition requires that we dive deep. Few stories have had an effect on these questions as Star Wars. The original trilogy turned series turned media world has become a touchstone for the genre. Anyone with a passion for sci-fi is acutely aware of this. Even the folks at Shutterstock and Pop Chart Lab.

    We’re thrilled to help unveil the latest collaboration between Shutterstock and Pop Chart Lab that investigates and identifies some of the ways that the world of Star Wars has impacted how we tell science fiction stories to each other. Through a painstaking process of teasing apart these elements that were born, or perfected, in the 1980s with George Lucas’ seminal classics, they began identifying where the themes began to better find the threads through history. For Pop Chart Lab, the challenge was nothing like work. Instead, it was something they were all destined to enjoy. “We’re all pretty big Star Wars fans in the office, though there is an employee who’s only ever seen Episode I and is rightly shunned and forced to sit in the corner every day,” says Ben Gibson from Pop Chart Lab. In many ways it was a solemn duty to make sure they were both accurate and respectful to the material they were handling.

    If you’ve ever seen the movies, you don’t need anyone to tell you the sheer amount of lore and mythology that’s wrapped into these stories. So much so that they reached the annals of Joseph Campbell as being considered a part of the monomyth: the story that is retold generation to generation with different characters. Whether it’s Frodo bringing the One Ring to Mount Doom or Odysseus returning home or Luke defeating the Empire, this is a rich human story. There was a lot of information to work with and bring into one piece of work that would ultimately celebrate Star Wars as the franchise enters its newest life with the next three episodes. Ben explains it like this: “We are quite experienced at taking an almost insane amount of raw data and shaping it into a more manageable, aesthetically pleasing form. In cases like this, image-size constraints are actually a positive, as it forced us to go with mostly the most iconic, relevant and/or resonant choices—along with our usual understanding that certain irrational personal favorites are going to go on there no matter what.”

    Take a look at everything Star Wars has meant to this storytelling community and see how many you recognize.

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