Dan Craig Breaks Through for UGG
In the latest collaboration between Illustrator Dan Craig and UGG, time is an illusion. In a subversion of the myths we’ve told ourselves, Dan has created a series of classically styled paintings that reflect stories from times of old. Each one is massive and a take on images you already know: Simon Vouet’s Venus, François Boucher’s Hercules & Omphale and Alexandre Cabanel’s Apollo. Of course, they’re all a little different, but that’s the point. They’re all remixes on a classic.
This latest campaign celebrates the collaboration between UGG and Y/Project, a series of new styles that remix the classic UGG look, so it stands to reason that the new styles would be breaking through the past and into the present. Each of Dan’s illustrations are painted life-size and feature cutouts so that live models pop in and out of them, showing of their very human faces and the UGG styles featured in each image. Whether they’re a heeled version of a boot, or a men’s style that’s three-tiered or a take on a flip-flop, these are styles we’ve never seen before with DNA that runs back to the very beginning of the brand and their most iconic styles.
It’s a blend of new and old that makes this campaign created with Plus Agency burst through to the future, with each image offering a tension that demands the audience gives a second look.
Marc Hom Reveals the Breadth of Willem Dafoe for Esquire
Willem Dafoe has made a reputation for himself as being one of the most engaging and agile actors of his generation. In the latest cover story for Esquire featuring Dafoe and photographed by Marc Hom, the magazine makes clear the breadth of roles he’s taken on. Everything from a death god to players on both sides of the Holocaust, to the Green Goblin and Vulko. Now: he’s playing Vincent Van Gogh. What makes this range so profound is that Dafoe has an unmistakable look, he’s able to reshape his energies and body language to inhabit these roles. For this cover story, it was up to Marc to ensure that we see the range even when he’s dressed up in the latest fashions with nothing between him and audience but Marc’s discerning eye and flair for composition.
In only eight images we see a multifaceted man, the same man that’s revealed through the companion interview. And he’s never out of place in the fashions he wears: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dries Van Noten, Ferragamo, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Hermès. It’s all the names that make the most fashion savvy weak in the knees, but on Dafoe they’re perfectly at home, and pieces that he’s able to use as tools in his arsenal. See one photo where he’s balancing on a table, slicing an apple, a vision of an effortless leading man. In the next image, he’s a total creep in an oversized jacket. Then a blissed-out meditator in a full wool suit. Marc’s ability to capture each moment from the actor proves not only Dafoe’s versatility but Marc’s instinct to reveal to us all he sees and invite us into every moment.
TEVA Straps In with Taylor Rainbolt
TEVA is undergoing a transformation. What used to be an outdoor sandal brand is now expanding into new markets thanks to the explosive and exploratory nature of today’s fashion community. This season the brand is underscoring the shift with a campaign shot by Taylor Rainbolt in collaboration with Chloe x Halle, the R&B duo blessed by Beyoncé’s mentorship. The resulting campaign combines the two artist’s unique style sensibilities with the cultural heritage of TEVA. “We wanted to keep it raw so that we felt like it wasn’t too high-end where it wasn’t accessible to people. Giving it that rawness from nature. TEVA can be for anybody, so we decided to show the actual scene and give it that,” explained Taylor. “They’ve noticed their products showing up a lot in New York Fashion Week, so they came out with a line that you could wear every day, not just to the beach or hiking, or just camping.”
The shoot features Chloe x Halle lounging in styles that they chose on a set that gives away its own secrets: you see C-stands, sandbags, and clips holding up pieces of flora or the draped seamless. Everything was brought together to play with the tension inherent in the pieces that bring together the final look. “We used plants to cast shadows onto the wall, to keep both together. Keep fashion and nature together. And then if we didn’t cast a shadow we put plants in the scene to give it that natural vibe. It’s cool vibes, it’s so versatile you can wear it with an outfit or go camping,” Taylor explains. “And then we played with the color because I feel like it really gives it that pop.” Chloe x Halle are set in this specially created world to bridge the gap, but it’s not just the aesthetic that got it to work. It was also the energy that Taylor was able to create with Chloe x Halle on set.
“They came to set right away giving everyone hugs and were super excited about it and we created the dynamic where we know everyone’s excited. They were great at collaborating and it was just really amazing,” Taylor says. “It’s cool that it was bringing young women working together; just collaborating with younger women.” The collaboration between all three women created a dynamic set of imagery that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else.
Emiliano Ponzi Goes West for The New Yorker
The scale of America is often misunderstood. It’s not until non-Americans attempt to span the country, or you lay a map of the US over other countries, that the sheer size of 48 contiguous states make sense (not to mention Alaska’s yawning enormity). When Emiliano Ponzi embarked on a trip through the American west, he gave himself nearly two weeks to cover a massive but relatively small corridor of the country. Throughout those 12 days, he illustrated what he saw, handing his work over to The New Yorker who shared it via their Instagram. “Drawing is the most ancient way to represent the world and I wanted to be a witness to Western America using just my drawing tools,” Emiliano says. “Visiting places and meeting new people can make us feel smaller or bigger, speechless or emotional. Simply different. Visiting new places is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. To do that, we have to leave our biases at home and see things for what they really are.”
Throughout his journey, Emiliano captioned each of the moments with his impressions of the experience, watching where time and cultures have compressed and expanded over time. After leaving Los Vegas he made his way to Antelope Canyon, where he was confronted with the Native proverb that says: “You cannot see the future with tears in your eyes.”
“Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on Navajo land in Arizona. During the visit, a Navajo man in traditional clothes entertained us with a hoop dance,” Emiliano tells it. “The music came from an iPhone and I glimpsed the Nike shorts he had under the straw skirt. I saw the connection between the past and the present and wondered what the future holds for these people who are keeping their traditions alive.”
Continuing out through the desert, the sheer size and heat of the place became oppressive and worked its way into Emiliano’s work and experience. He began to see gas stations as oases, if for no other feature than to break up the monotony. “No phone service for hundreds of miles, no shaded areas, no food or water during the long rides from one destination to another,” says Emiliano. “I found these modern oases during my journey. They were a vector of hope, a sign of civilization in that specific context—things you barely notice walking along the street in everyday life.”
Emiliano continued his journey through the desert into Palm Springs, and beyond into Monterey, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. Check out everything on The New Yorker’s art Instagram.
Sharing Human Stories with Jason Madara and Best Buy
Our cultural economy has changed. As the world grows smaller, we’re more connected than ever before thanks to a constant deluge of information streaming from never ending communication and expression. These connections have given everyone the ability to parse between what is real and what is fake, forcing major brands like Best Buy to tell the story of their company entirely without artifice. That is not an easy thing to do. So when Best Buy made the shift to invest in that kind of a brand identity they went to Jason Madara to help them do it. The Creative Director of Best Buy, Denton Warne, explains:
“Jason Madara’s body of work intrigued us right away. His framing and composition always feel timeless and his light is meticulous – but what we loved most about his work is the character he’s able to draw out of his subjects. It takes a huge amount of care and intuition to capture a frame of someone who has never modeled before and turn it into something you are immediately drawn to.”
For Jason, the challenge of bringing truth out of a subject is the sum total of his job. He works on every element: lighting and wardrobe, casting and makeup. But the deepest part of the work happens between him and his subjects, translating those moments into images. But even beyond that, it’s about more than just making something great for his clients. “When I’m away from my family and I’m doing work, I want to find a way to not just enjoy shooting the job and going to work, I want to really become part of it,” Jason explains. “I find something to connect with for everybody, and that is really important to me.” By investing himself in every moment, the subjects meet him on that level and open up. It’s a collaboration: they work together to tell the best stories in the way that supports their message.
And the message is shared humanity.
Best Buy is a massive company with huge stores filled with hardware and electronics. But with this campaign, they were able to fill every location with authentic human moments. “When I walked into Best Buy and I saw this campaign for the first time in Manhattan and in LA, I saw the prints in the stores and there is a certain sense of nothing feeling forced. Everything feels warm,” Jason explains. “Humans are the core of the story, and I think that’s true in life.” The campaign created the opportunity to fill every location with human stories, setting the tone for the future of Best Buy, but also giving Jason the platform to connect with people in a meaningful way.
Serge Seidlitz Saves Us From the H*ll of Home Mortgages
Entering into a home mortgage is long term relationship. The 15 or 30 year commitment with a lender is one of the most comprehensive and invasive agreements that most will enter into, and Habito Mortgage knows it can be a scary prospect. That’s why they teamed up with Serge Seidlitz to illustrate those fears and to assuage the audience that there are other options.
With characters and settings created entirely by Serge, the 30-second spot shows a young man beginning the process of applying for a loan and unfurling the mile’s long application that launches a host of grabby hands, each one with a different goal: it’s not just every penny in his pockets they want, they also want his gold tooth, his skeleton, and even his spirit. It’s a profound message that many home owners can relate to. Serge brings us along with the character’s journey every step of the way: mixing comedy with the real fears that arise from these processes.
Of course, the savor is the product and Serge’s client: Habito Home Mortgages a brand that works to demystify the process and rescue hesitant shoppers from their fears. In just a single moment, Serge changes the entire tenor of the message with the introduction of Habito’s website and product. Quickly the hell that has been carefully created is replaced by serenity and calm, each mood balanced and executed by Serge’s illustrations and Strange Beast’s production.
Check out the spot below, and see if you recognize your own home mortgage hesitancies in Serge’s exciting characterizations.
Nickelodeon and Radio Get Creepy for Halloween
There are few days more exciting than Halloween. As a holiday it is a thrilling mixture of fear and potential, combined with dressing up, the promise of candy, and a suspension of rules still unclear to forming minds. It is a cornucopia of adventure, but a feeling that gets tempered with age and the unexpected becomes a little more predictable. This year, Nickelodeon and Radio celebrated the season by bringing those feelings back to life for children and adults alike, and the results are the best kind of creepy.
Each of the spots, set to play on Nickelodeon to let kids know what they’re watching and what’s up next, tells its own little story from characters who are living a whole Halloween life. And each one has its own silly payoff. A haunted house is inhabited by a group of friends that includes a flaming skeleton, a werewolf, a living headstone and an animated coffin. Over the course of these idents, the gang gets up to their own late night antics: giving the werewolf a festive trim, scaring the headstone with an explosive boney hand, and even dunking a flaming head into a carved jack-o-lantern to complete the seasonal fun. There’s a ton of them.
“We worked closely with the Nick team, coming up with concepts that relate to each show, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, as well as a few generic ID’s, all featuring our beloved crew of characters,” says Radio. “The house, characters and environments were all created from scratch and then brought to life by our team.” This was more than just a few videos: this was a top down recreation of Nickelodeon’s identity for the season, and Radio made every moment of it.
How First Responders Respond with Brian Doben and AT&T
Since Brian Doben officially launched his At Work series in 2013 it’s become a new window through which to understand his own work. By attaching the stories he tells to the work that his subjects spend their lives pursuing, it affords an opportunity to see them operating at the height of focus and passion. He was recently invited to a shoot for AT&T, embedding into a disaster zone situation to see how AT&T’s FirstNet gets everyone up and running on the other side of tragedy. “It was an incredible experience for me because I had the opportunity to work in a natural disaster environment with professional firefighters who embody the At Work philosophy of loving what they do,” Brian explains. “They’re very passionate people who work their entire life with their main goal of saving lives.”
There were no lives to save during the shoot: the entire situation was manufactured to create the campaign, which afforded everyone on set to take their time and get every epic moment possible. “They created a small town and they just made it look as though it was hit by disaster,” Brian explains. “They set fire to buildings, we had helicopters, and torn down buildings and had people working through the buildings. It was kind of a little bit of everything.” Briand had full run of the place while real firefighters and first responders did the work they would normally if the situation had higher stakes. This way, Brian was able to get the images that tell the stories of these incredible people without getting in the way of what they were doing. As an audience we need to understand how that work is done but without the risk of impeding it.
As part of At Work, Brian’s process is to have as light a touch as possible. He meets his subjects in their work spaces, spaces that are markedly theirs, and composes the images to highlight their unique personalities. There are no sets and nothing is manufactured. But this massive, Hollywood style, creation was something different. The truth of the work from his subjects is still intact, but the setting was created for the images. That was really fun for him. “I get to see people in all facets of life, usually it’s either creative people or business people, but to see people in action was kind of a different form which was exciting to be in,” Brian explains. “I got to be a kid and I got to hide under pieces of metal and in burnt out buildings and try to capture these moments because I was really left to my own accord to make epic images.”
Brian is always our guide when he enters a space and presents it to us later. This time he was able to show us something that the luckiest around us never get to see. And he did it in a way that was as safe as it was truthful.
Enroll in Tinder University with Alexandra Gavillet
The digital age has allowed all of us to create our lives in the shape that we want them. Everything is available at an arm’s reach: delivered food, concierge laundry, and even phone-initiated relationships. Apps like Tinder have connected strangers and formed relationships that are unique to the digital age, and even as we’re still discovering what the contours of those relationships are, we can celebrate the new landscape. Alexandra Gavillet recently photographed Tinder’s latest campaign, dubbed "Tinder University," that imagines all of these new relationships formed through more traditional routes. More specifically: it sees what Tinder looks like in action in a University setting.
Alexandra has shot an entire campaign for them already, with three unique images releasing to the public, each playing with different conventions. In all of them we see how the life of a curious student lines up parallel to the needs that Tinder satisfies while still staying true to the cheeky concept.
The first image of Alexandra’s features a young woman in a library, doing her “research” both in the science of Chemistry and ostensibly the chemistry between the curious she’s meeting through her phone. In another, a couple is studying together, doing the work necessary before a test, and they’re “just trying to figure shit out” – both in their subjects and between each other. Finally, we a see a crowd of seven young people, each offering their unique qualities with the title “Thank Goodness for Multiple Choice.” Each image is filled with the humor and a balance of authentic accessibility and expert crafting that Alexandra is known for.
This is our first presentation of Alexandra Gavillet’s work, and we’re looking forward to showing you more. Please join us in welcoming her to the B&A roster.
The Power of Women Speaks for Variety with Joe Pugliese
Our culture is finally beginning to wrestle with what it means to put women at the center of our conversations. For generations, the male voice has been the default but in the last year or two the paradigm has begun to shift. It’s only the beginning, and it’s been a rocky start, but considering the work that has yet to be done: the start is good. Variety just unveiled the five covers for their Power of Women Honorees, and though the distinction is in its 10th year, the event has never been more prescient. Emma Gonzalez, Tiffany Haddish, Lena Waithe, Natalie Portman, and Regina King, each earned the platform to share causes that are important to them, and the cover of their own issue of Variety. Joe Pugliese was on hand to collaborate with each of these women and create imagery that would speak to the messages they have to share.
“I’m a conduit for their message, I’m a tool for them to get this out,” Joe explains. “I believe in diversity of views and vision and photography is benefiting from that and has a lot more to give in that respect, so I don’t take it lightly when I have a project like this.” Joe’s portraiture is always about finding a way to let his subject best speak for themselves, and never to apply anything on top of what he finds. Rather than being driven by concept: he acts as an observer to show us what we would experience if we were in the room.
That’s why in almost all these photos you see the subjects hands (“Hands are as expressive as faces,” he says). That’s why there are textural flares in the corners (“I wanted to add some depth and I also wanted to show that this is organic in camera, there were no effects”). Each element isn’t just an invitation in, it’s a removal of an obstacle between Joe’s subject and our experience of the photograph.
If there is an added element, it’s the unique color that was applied to each one of the honorees. But that was done to express the range of this group of powerful women, and underscore moments special to each subject. “We also tried to make sure that their expressions are lifted through the color and that it’s not overwhelmed,” he explains. The look on Waithe’s face is even moodier with the shade of green, the light blue behind Gonzalez becomes almost ethereal when filtered through her expression. “It was something to separate but tie them together, in kind of a chromatic way. They all lived in their own chromatic worlds but it was clear that they were related. I didn’t want it to be the same treatment for all five subjects, I wanted it to be that they are their own but they’re together.”
The invitation to photograph the Power of Women covers was more than a creative challenge for Joe but he accepted the job knowing that he could step back and make it about the women who were telling their stories. As Waithe said on her Instagram, sharing the cover image, “Thank you Joe for creating such a safe space and for being one of the dopest photographers on the planet” - a compliment that Joe ranks as “the highest compliment I could have received.”
Rod Stanley Gets Curious with Gucci
There’s a reason Gucci is on the minds of everyone in fashion: the brand is forging new ground. Their FW18 campaign is no different. “Curious Collectors” is far more than fashion films: they’re a series of documentaries that reveal an entire lifestyle around the brand that offers a window into a world that you may be shocked to learn doesn’t exist. Roderick Stanley helped create these new worlds thanks to his direction.
Roderick was on set in Austria, directing and improvising with the actors in three videos that follow collectors of butterflies, stuffed animals, painted portraits, and more. These stories draw us in closer than just how the actors are styled and the experiences that they exude; each one implies a whole lifetime, a fully realized obsession, experience far beyond the boundaries of the video.
What reveals itself in the final execution is the depth of detail that Roderick gets to. He scripted some of what we see on set in real time but also took ample time to explore and improvise. It’s that edge of curiosity, that real-time trudging forward into the unknown, that sparks on screen. We know that they’re finding the truth of these moments together, and it draws us in. And it just so happens that they’re wearing some of the most progressive fashion, with the most fully realized point of view, in the industry.
Roderick reminds us that a brand’s potential is in its totality, not just in the pieces we bring home. Roderick sells the lifestyle, proving that it is a top-down vision and not just snippets on a line sheet. And once we see that, thanks to his humanization of the experience, we’re ready to join in.
Jason Madara and ABC Carpet + Home Invite You Out
Joshua Tree National Park is an expansive otherworldly space outside of Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles, California. You’ve probably seen pictures, but there’s nothing quite like being there. “It’s a mysterious terrain and everything about it is so surreal, you really feel like you’re somewhere else,” explains Jason Madara, who shot his latest campaign for ABC Carpet + Home (his sixth) in the unique location. It’s true that there’s nothing quite like Joshua Tree, but there’s also nothing quite like getting there. “When you go to Joshua Tree you go to this place called Twenty-Nine Palms, which is literally like out of a David Lynch movie. It’s weird, but it’s cool. You’re only an hour from Palm Springs: great hotels, flashback to the 50s and 60s, great restaurants. And then you’re in Twenty-Nine Palms which you feel like you’re in a weird, bizarre, alternate universe. And then you go to Joshua Tree.” The desert is filled with Yucca palms, also known as Joshua Trees, recognizable for their unique look and even stranger taxonomy.
It was on this backdrop that Jason wanted to create the newest campaign, one that is markedly different from the previous five. This latest campaign has a much deeper sense of space. “I feel like after we did the caves (last year), I was like, how do you outdo the caves?,” Jason says. “I love landscapes, I love product design, I love nature. This was everything. This is a portrait of an environment more than anything else. There’s always that balance of the rug and the tree and the nature of the lighting… There are always those elements that we use in everything we do.” By bringing nature into the campaign in a new way, the balance of those elements became ever more complex. But each of those complexities offers new depth.
It would be impossible for Jason to light the entire sets like he did in all the previous campaigns. These scenes stretch out for thousands of feet and feature mountains in the distance. Instead, for the first time, Jason harnessed the light of the setting sun and the vibration of the moonlight – in addition to carefully, and conservatively placed lights. Ultimately, that’s what sets this campaign apart from the rest. “There was a delicate balance between the ambient light, the sunset, the clouds, the moonlight,” Jason explains. “We had to combine all these elements and I knew right away that the only way they were going to work is if the sky shots had clouds. Everything had to have some side of clouds and texture and the feeling that you could touch it. Everything had to have a tactile texture to it.”
Jason has created these campaigns for ABC Carpet + Home for years, and they’re literally about selling rugs. But more, they’re about showing space. A home is a place of comfort, an enclosed private space that we shape and mold into our own self-contained worlds. But in this latest campaign, Jason takes that fantastical idea of “home” and opens it up. Walls are replaced by mountains, tangible clouds and arcing star trails become a ceiling. Instead of inviting us in, Jason and ABC Carpet + Home are now inviting us out, showing us what it’s like if we make the whole world our home.
Jess Rotter Illustrates Parker Posey's Truth
Parker Posey is a unique brand of celebrity. Her humor percolates like a pinball from anecdotes to painting uncommon moods and knocking her audiences off balance in the most charming ways. When it came time to deliver her own personal story through her memoir, the approach was unconventional and she presented it unconventionally: it’s an invitation to spend time with her more than anything else. ‘You’re on an Airplane’ enfolds you in Posey’s stories in ways only she could tell them, and she collaborated with illustrator Jess Rotter to bring us even deeper into that experience. The results are far more than a traditional collection of illustrations.
Jess’ work is always injected with a sense of whimsy and nostalgic authenticity that she shares with Posey’s work, so the collaboration is seamless. Illustrations meet photographs (both new and vintage), brought together with type and composition that feels as contemporaneously hilarious as it does like a moment out of a bygone era. “The illustrations were a whimsical collage collaboration with Parker directly as an homage to zines and books of the past evoking spirit over modern slickness,” Jess explained. “Super grateful to be a part of this awesome project.”
The imagery is playful, but there is a rich solemnity to it: it reminds us that we’re reading a memoir. When we tell our own stories, we tell them from our own vision, through the glass of experience. Our experiences are what bring a color to what we remember and what we tell. Jess’ creative interpretations of Posey’s tangible histories elevate the truth into memory, bringing us into the often foggy experience of reliving and retelling our histories. In some ways, the results are more truthful to the experience of Posey as she and Jess were able to create representations that feel the most true even if they’re not entirely real.
The book is full of these collaborative collages and although we’re sharing a number of them here, the only way to get the true experience is to pick up a copy for yourself.
David McLeod Helps Reinvigorate BBC2 with Eclectic Stimulation
Every television network is a curated collection of experiences. They each have their own identity crafted by their programming and catered towards an audience that’s always growing and changing. They must stay dynamic and it’s ultimately a collaboration between their staff and their viewers, but it always comes down to the core message of what a network is trying to do. At BBC Two, they’re in the midst of a reinvigoration to be the home of the newest and edgiest programming, and as a part of that they’re presenting themselves through a series of creative and progressive Idents (the short spots between programs that remind you what network you’re watching). They asked David McLeod via B&A London to create two of these Idents to help spread the message of their identity.
“The new channel branding reflects this constantly eclectic and stimulating mix of programming and I am so excited to see it help define this next stage of the channel’s evolution,” explains Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two. Each of the 16 Idents, that include work by other artists like Futuredeluxe, The Mill, Aardman, and Mainframe, play with the unique curvature of the numeral 2 in ways that are exciting and seductive. David’s two pieces use similar textures but tell two different stories.
One uses a combination of amorphous three-dimensional shapes whose color combinations form the curvature of the numeral, and then bounce and move, cycling through different hues, until they reform back again. In the second Ident, David created forms as if fireworks and fungus came together into a single construct, rippling and exploding in waves of color. Each unique execution vibrates and moves, peaks and settles, in its own special tempo to shape the viewer’s experience of how to understand BBC Two’s identity.
“This project is one of those gift briefs that not only allow for the best art and design minds in the country to come together - but also has an immediate effect on popular culture with millions of eyes seeing it every day,” explains Laurent Simone, Executive Creative Director of BBC Creative. “Only the BBC offers such a large public platform for creative expression and exposure.”
We’re honored to have David McLeod’s work as a part of this project.
Paola + Murray Get Stuffed in Houston for GQ
325 million people live in America, and that number represents just as many palates, preferences, and food cultures. There are thousands of communities ready to display their unique takes on new and classic menus, and while some are part of an expected roster there are surprising additions all the time. This month GQ highlighted the food scene in Houston Texas and asked Paola + Murray to document their own time through the Space City. “Murray and I loved shooting the Houston story for GQ,” says Paola Ambrosi De Magistris, who makes up the photography duo with her husband Murray Hall. “It was our first time in the hot and sticky city and we were not expecting to find such an interesting mix of people, foods, architecture, art, and culture.”
Houston is a massive city built by a confluence of cultures that each offer fantastical flavors and a roster of special personalities. “We met a few different characters but our favorite was definitely the Bookity Bookity Boudain Man,” explains Paola. “We had to hunt him down on our first night in Houston. You will usually find him in the Walmart parking lot in the outskirts of the city but only on certain nights and the only way to find him is via his Facebook page that is not always up to date. We could not find him right away and had to drive to two different parking lots in different spots if the city… He was the nicest guy, one that did not have an easy life but he loves to share his passion for making boudains and making people happy. It was really late when we found him and we had eaten so much already but we could not say no to the ‘boudain man.’” Their hunger and curiosity were sated by the exploration and experience that ended with a great meal, a meal you could only find if you looked hard enough and cared more about the experience of your taste buds than eating off freshly pressed linens.
Every food scene is different, and no one knows that better than Paola + Murray who have followed their tummies and camera lenses the world over. They know something about what makes local food great. “Quirkiness, big hearts, and open arms were a common denominator of most of the people we met in Huston,” Paola says. “This GQ assignment was honestly so much fun and so different from the many other travel assignments we have been on, mainly because of the people we encountered and the diversity in the food we tasted and photographed.” If the photos whet your appetite, at least now you know where to get your next meal.
Yuko Shimizu Gives Face to SK-II's Regional Exclusives
Japan is known the world over for cutting edge skincare, earning global fans for dozens of brands that offer their own varieties of scrubs and serums, masks and toners. All of those products find themselves wrapped up in trends that aren’t only based on what’s available but also what the communities are using. For SK-II, a Japanese brand that caters to consumers all over the world, those trends come and go, but they’re always aware of their customers. SK-II recently invited Yuko Shimizu to create a bevy of unique boxes for specific markets, and Yuko created a collection of different pieces that plays on the cultures, aesthetics, and habits of those different markets.
SK-II is based in Japan, but their products are distributed everywhere, especially in Asia. So, Yuko created six different illustrations that were affixed to packaging that made its way to Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, China, and Japan. She filled each image with cultural references specific to the exclusive release locations. The China image features a Chinese woman covered in hibiscus flowers in front of Shanghai’s skyline, while the Japanese image finds a woman weaving through bamboo in front of a sea referencing Hokusai’s famous block print under a red rising sun. Every image features Yuko’s signature sense of humor, her loyalty to detail, and astounding creativity.
The process was far more expansive than what we get to see in the final compositions, and if you’re curious to see more head over to her blog for some added insight.
The boxes were made available exclusively in the markets described at the local airports and catered towards women who partake in the Art of Travel. Plus they were limited edition, so if don’t have a box already: you’ve probably already missed out.
Taylor Rainbolt Vibes with Migos and Finish Line
It’s not every day that Migos opens a car wash, but in a recent campaign with Taylor Rainbolt for Finish Line, they did just that. Taylor met up with the hip hop trio to pop off on the whips, for the latest in the ongoing Shoes So Fresh campaign. Taylor captured a series of images that highlight Migos’ favorite products from Finish Line’s current selection. “We’re trying to create the vibe that it’s a party all the time, so it’s a lot of loud music, a lot of talking to talent and getting them excited and recreating almost an 80s party scene with the lighting and everything,” Taylor explains. “[Migos is] like actors in a sense where they just want the product to be amazing and do the take over and over again until they felt like it was right, so that was really great, it was a really great collaborative.”
Riverdale actress Vanessa Morgan was also in attendance for when the party moved out to the pool.
You’ll notice a lot of the images are from different mediums, including digital and Polaroid, and that’s something that Taylor really enjoyed. “It was really cool because [Finish Line was] really adamant about me using film and stuff like that so I got to mix digital with film and play around with it,” Taylor says. “People like having tangible things and being able to process really fast. So, I’m getting what they are actually giving me. The mood is more authentic and we’re taking our time because I only have so many Polaroids in my camera.” With each moment being precious, a ton of care was brought into the creation of every image. The results are calibrated and carefully constructed in such a way that feels effortless. And when you’re partying with Migos and Finish Line that’s exactly what you want.
Ryan McAmis, The Economist, and the Face of the 21st Century
The Digital Age has done more than merely change how we interact with one another socially, it’s also reshaped the entire economy. With these new relationships have come new jobs, and some of those jobs are super niche. Emoji Designers, playlist curators, international tutors, all these specialized jobs (and hundreds more) are only possible thanks to our online culture. And some of them are a little hard to explain. The Economist recently started a series on the 21st-Century jobs and asked Ryan McAmis to help bring them to life. Each article describing the stories behind these particular careers is preceded with a 3D mixed media collage from Ryan that offers a characterization of the worker and their unique career.
Because Ryan uses a bevy of different materials, each creation is filled with different textures and colors, as well as surprising depth and emotion. Because of the sophisticated simplicity of the compositions, Ryan has to be careful about the choices he makes, and that affords him the opportunity to experiment a little bit. In the latest piece about the Emoji Designer, Ryan saw the chance to include a special light feature for the first time ever. He used a dollhouse light to give the designer’s phone a familiar glow. “I don’t know why, it just kind of pops into my head and it just works,” says Ryan. “And then after I photographed it, I tweaked it in Photoshop to make it look even better.”
Part of the fun of these pieces is introducing whole new careers to an audience that’s generally of the traditional capitalism and commerce model. Ryan similarly doesn’t run into these unique careers frequently, so he’s finding it to be an educational experience himself. By approaching it this way, he’s become the ideal voice to introduce The Economist’s readers to this newer edge of the economy. “I’m terrible with technology so the one I’m doing today I had to do a lot of research on so I’m learning a lot,” explains Ryan. “I’m trying to explain it to people that don’t know either.” All of us, whether we’re creating brand new jobs for ourselves or watching them form from the outside, are better served by actively pursuing a greater understanding of the new economic landscape. Thanks to Ryan and The Economist we can learn a little more every day.
Shotopop Is Full of Surprises for Foot Locker and ASICS
Sometimes sneakers are more than just sneakers. Foot Locker’s latest collection with ASICS, the Dojo Collection, tells a whole story about integrity, courage, and discipline – thanks to Shotopop. Before the shoes released, Shotopop directed and animated an anime series of five episodes with Luka Sabbat on his own samurai adventure. Ghosts, ramen, and a lot of akido converge in a campaign that extends beyond the animations. After all, the Bushito code is all encompassing, so why shouldn’t a sneaker campaign be, too?
The Sun and The Snake is the name of the collection and the animations, but it also represents the two dojos of two classes of samurai that Sabbat’s character is torn between. The Snake is where he has been training while his shoes were stolen by the nefarious Rising Sun. Over the course of five episodes, Sabbat is tested. His skills, his courage, and his loyalty all come under fire and the question is how he will come out the other end.
Creating five minutes of original animation is a massive feat, especially when creating a new world. Shotopop developed the characters and aesthetics before Sabbat was even cast, so while Shotopop had some images locked down, they tailed the characters to match the actors who would play them. (You can see the behind the scenes development and how these changes were implemented if you head over to their Instagram.)
But the artistry didn’t stop there. ASICS even used art from Shotopop on the packaging and distribution of the sneakers.
The series is a lot of fun (and plenty funny). We won’t spoil it, but you may find that ultimately everything is not what it seems.
Remain Calm with Kyle Bean and The Observer Magazine
Calm is an elusive emotion. It seems like the world is set up to stress us out – and for good reason. When we’re stressed we act impulsively, and not always in our best interest. That can mean buying products we don’t need or indulging when we normally wouldn’t. That’s for most of us. But some of us have to act valiantly under pressure, under stress. For those people, they have to find a calm in any situation where they can work from a place of power. That’s the topic of this month’s cover story of The Observer Magazine, and the publication invited Kyle Bean to bring the concept to life in a single image. Of course, Kyle went above and beyond.
Teaming up with London-based photographer Sara Morris, Kyle invested in an inventive concept that he was able to explore in a series of different executions. Remembering the old steady hand buzzer games where the player is meant to navigate a metal wand over a fixed pathway or risk a light and buzzer, Kyle created the same game but used the pathway as a way to communicate. In the first incarnation, Kyle spelled out “CALM” to be emblazoned across the front of the magazine. He kept it going by also engaging the light, and with those two images was able to create a GIF that shows the light blinking as if there were failure. A second version of the concept uses the metal path to illustrate an EKG’s reading of the human heart.
Both versions of Kyle and Morris’ creation play on what it means to stay calm under pressure, even when the challenge is the calm. These moments are indescribably crucial: Sully Sullenberger landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River or South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordering evacuation ahead of a hurricane. These choices can often involve the lives of thousands and depend upon acting with a clear head. Finding calm under immense stress is a skill and a tool, and one that you never know you may need until everything is on the line.
Does that stress you out?