Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Make That Face Again Tom

These faces are awesome!

Good ol' Tom Edwards. Every time I browse past his bookmark on my morning trot around the blogosphere (oooh yucky word) I think to my self, "who is that tom edwards?"

Then I am quickly reminded.

Is there anything better than a complete mastery of, well, unmastery?
There is just something about his work that bypasses all of the "well that's shitty" sensors and activates all of the "woah thats beautiful" ones.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bradford's New Sounds

If you didn't steal his album off of media fire when it leaked then you are probably not an Atlas Sound fan. Or maybe you are a really good one. Well, maybe you are just nice.

Bradford Cox writes a mean pop song. With the reverb drenched bedroom LP Let The Blind..., I'm convinced of his songwriting super powers. Maybe it's all he does, and this is okay, because he's got me listening.

Like I mentioned before, Logos was leaked in an unfortunate mistake, but although it came close to ruining things, Cox rewired and set out again in 2007 to make Logos. Besides the frustration of having your work out in public hands too early, the songs that he's written are quite, well, amazing. I think it acts as Bradford's answer to Person Pitch and what better way to do that than have Noah Lennox sing with you?


Walkabout (ft. Noah Lennox)

Atlas Sound - Drunken Clam, New Years Eve

Broken Amps

It's their cleanest sounding album, but by no means is it meant for grandma's stereo, unless she likes that sort of thing. On a side note, I will still be listening to it when I am old.

Times New Viking is damn good at writing catchy poppy songs that bore into your brain and stay there for weeks. Is it so wrong that they leave a bit of static in their wake? Their step towards a cleaner sound was one that I feel was in favor of having a more diverse landscape to bury their songs in. There is a powerful set of melodies, and the songs are faster, but there is never a hint of Time New Viking having rushed them. These tracks are lean in a way that lends to a pleasantly catchy outcome. There is a present punk attitude on Born Again, but the pop shocks you out of being too angry when the LP comes to a close.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Experiment

Now that I'm back at school I'm finding myself more and more just sitting, staring at a computer screen. Especially since I'm back at more practical courses meaning, computers in class, computers for homework, computers at home during chill time. I've decided that quite frankly, it's a little ridiculous the amount that I am stagnantly staring, browsing, wasting time at my computer. I'm finding it hard to find other things to do. That scares me a little. Maybe it's because I'm so uninspired right now, maybe it's because I'm not being creative enough, or maybe it's because I don't have enough to do yet, but something is driving my motivation for other activities away. Thus an experiment. This week (Wednesday23 -Wednesday30) I will spend no more than two hours a day on my computer (I count tv too, but I don't really watch it except on my computer) this means, two hours, for email, browsing, blog reading/writing, tv, other reading, etc. Two hours is MORE than what I should be spending so maybe I'll even aim for 1.5hours. Let's see if I can do it. (Fun Fact- the average american household spends four hours a day watching tv alone, that's gross).
Ideas: draw/paint, walk more(though I do a lot of it and sometimes get blisters between my toes from too much), guitar(maybe I'll finally get good), reading, living in general.

Any ideas for inspiration on the drawing/painting idea? I'm kind of fresh out of passion right now (maybe the empty blog is a hint of that)

Note: I am not including homework time, class time, work (I make websites sometimes) time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Standing Downwind from Semihemisphere

I don't think I will ever get old of CalArts graduates.

If I can say anything at all about Miwa Matreyek, it is that she embodies the life blood of fresh ideas. Her work speaks for itself, but I can't help but notice that her textures are making me vibrate like a bowl of oranges in a spring time earthquake. Her work reminds me of a post apocalyptic world that went strange and wasn't evil.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh some more?

I heard Bradford Cox in an interview say that making music is hard work. That is especially true in the current waters of the downloader freeloader audience. But Deerhunter makes music and Deerhunter works hard and their release of The Rainwater Cassette Exchange has me impressed again. It's clear that as young bloods, they are bursting with ideas, and the fact that they had just released a double LP doens't seem to factor into how much they end up laying down in the studio.

It is an EP and it has 5 songs.

Usually EP's are unworthy deviations from bands but because there is nothing unfocused about Deerhunter, what ends up happening is a tremendously well produced thumbprint of the band's current interests.

Like Flourescent Grey, but in reverse, it is the winding down of a satisfying arrangement of what is so easy to love about them. Cox's vocals are delightful and the bass lines get into your bones and shake you loose.

Doesn't the cover look a bit like Hercules and Love Affair?

Go and buy it, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Part One: Gettin' Messy

I had a conversation with Alex last night which was started by one of the best questions I have been asked in a long time. Feeling pretty beat by the summer, "what are you stoked about?" caught me off guard. Immediately I wanted to say nothing, but instead I quickly realized that I had silently put myself on hold for these hot shiny months, and in fact, I was stoked about something.

Now don't get me wrong, when I read a mammoth manifesto by Denise Gonzales Crisp this summer, I did not understand a word of it, but with the help of one slyly placed question, I'm willing to work it out. Crisp thinks that decoration is due for a reorganization within visual culture and she's doing with her project called The Decorational. Where Crisp is concerned, 'functionality is completed by ornament'.

I want to get messy. I want to know how far ornament can go. To what extent does the decorational extend?

I'm smitten by Yokoland. I'm also thoroughly convinced
they are one of the greatest graphic design firms working across the pond. To me they are the cornerstone of low-fi graphics, but it's their patterns that really get me crazy. Espen Friberg is one half of this, and his work carries the same strength.
His work seems to slide back and forth between the thoughtful and naive uses of collage, and mindbending ornament.

You can catch it most in his zine work where textures pile up and rub your eyes. If function and ornament are inextricably tied, then this work is the decorational in the body of a highschool doodle.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do you know about....?

My sister introduced me to this handy lil' guy earlier this summer.
you can play virtually any song ever from all over the world. There's only 1 I haven't been able to find and that was from an unsigned band so I guess it makes sense. If you're looking to hear a song without downloading this is the best way. Sometimes the search mechanism can be picky, and it won't fix your spelling errors so you have to know what you're looking for but I've used it so much this summer and maybe it will be useful for you too!
Happy listening

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gothic Axeman: Gregory Coats

When I say Gothic you think Goth.

There shouldn't be such a strong link between some of the most interesting architecture, and some of the silliest uses of make-up to date (well, besides the Scene appeal). I want to disrupt, for the moment, this link in favor of talking about something interesting.

When they teach typography in our program, they usually associate epochs of type with architecture to further reinforce the idea behind the time. The most common being Gothic architecture with the Texturas and Frakturs and later on the Bastardas and finally the Rotundas with Renaissance architecture, primarily brunileschi's Cathedral in Florence.

There is nothing interesting interesting about this primarily, but it is quite interesting when the powerful decorative nuances of Gothic architecture seep into the very marrow of someones work.

When I think Gothic graphic design, Gregory Coats has it. Its lush, its manicured, it has all the graceful marks and decorative appeal of centuries past. Its beautiful.

Summer Music: A Review

If you remember, closer to the beginning of the summer I blogged about summer music. Well this summer is starting to wind down (only a few weeks left!) so I may be doing this a bit early but it's on my mind this morning.
My summer soundtrack is this.

Animal Collective- sleected songs from Merriweather, and Strawberry Jam (favourites Summertime Clothes, My Girls, Brothersport, Fireworks, Purple Bottle)

Cut Copy- ANYTHING from In Ghost Colours (try hearts on fire, light and music)

Phoenix- Amadeus Wolfgang Phoenix was amazing (try listomania, 1901)

Regina Spektor- even though I haven't seen it 500 Days of summer (watch the trailer) inspired this throwback to 2 summers ago with the song Us. Fidelity, on the radio, better, and remember that time are up there too.

Metric- Fantasies is a Real solid album (try sick muse, help I'm alive)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- So mad I didn't get to go to their concert (try heads will roll, hysteric)

I think this summarizes summer music of 2009 for me quite nicely. Of course there are others but these were the ones I turned to again and again.

Do you have any summer anthems?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

MMmmmm vintage clothes.

Lately I am really hating stores in malls. They can be ok but... overpriced and unoriginal.
Here are some things I am digging.from Santokivillage on EtsyFrom Le Skinny on Etsy

From VintageETC on Etsy

What do you think? Like any?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hometown Heros

I was out with a friend a few weeks ago, checking out the ghost town that is James St. N on a Monday afternoon. Besides choosing one of the worst days to cross stitch along James St., it was worth it, because even when the galleries aren't open, the street still hums with action.

Us being desperate to look at anything on paper, I found myself shyly edging into The Assembly, in hopes that we could still catch a show. What I found was a room of bare walls, and a very humble Mark Byk keeping the place warm. He let us look at the only remnants of what we sought (a single print left behind) but more importantly, he let us know about Ampersand Ampersand.Whenever I get one of those business cards that promote artists I almost always dismiss whoever is on the giving end of it. This is rude. I can't say that I was not rolling my eyes when I put the bare looking card in my wallet, but I can say that I am glad it ended up there.

Mark Byk and Kristine Tortora who occupy both the name Ampersand Ampersand and The Assembly, are two graphic designers that impress me every time I see one of their posters. I'm overjoyed to see such strong work come from designers who choose to call Hamilton their home. It is great to see posters on the street that don't share the same polluted aesthetic that goes into the usual event bill.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Design Crush

Whilst researching for a paper for my 'Matter of Technology' class last term I heard a statistic that states about 2/3 of the sites you randomly browse you've already been to. If that's true how have I never been to FromKeetra before?
I've seen her stuff a lot. I discovered today that it's everywhere- she's been featured multiple times on BOOOOOOOM!, core77, notcot, and FFFFound!. At first glance I thought it was good but this morning after seeing an intriguing photo I delved deeper into her work. Now I have the biggest design crush on Keetra Dean Dixon.

Her work is quirky, thought provoking, and well just plain good. I can't find much about her seeing as she's fairly young and new on the scene but what I do know is this. She works out of New York, got her BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. For her thesis project, Keetra made a photobooth that analyses peoples pictures and overlays them with patterns and words:
I was looking for a light hearted, experiential based tradition with a standardized ritual tied to an individuals public persona. Ideally the booth is displayed in a semi public areas - malls, boardwalks, carnivals etc. The booth holds no denotation of it's unique qualities. Users enter the booth, pose for 2 shots & exit as usual. During the developing process, the photos are "analyzed" & customized with forecasts consisting of patterns, symbols & messages - the resulting portrait presents an unexpected interference over a traditional photobooth image
In her portfolio it is evident that all of Keetra's projects are approached with a similar sense of playful reflection. It's just so great.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do you appreciate the subtleties of taste?

If you're in or have ever been involved in art (or anything creative) you know it can be really discouraging. Why is it discouraging? Well I recently watched an interview with Ira Glass (host of radio show This American Life) and he describes the problem so well. He talks about how people get into any creative discipline because of passion and taste. It seems taste has everything to do with your development as an artist.
The problem is, as an artist you have awesome taste and great vision but sometimes your abilities are not developed enough to be able to execute it the way you want. It's something you have to work on and develop- and that can take a long time. This is why so many creative people get discouraged, they know what they want, they have great taste and vision but don't know why they can't produce what they want to. Most of the time they are conscious that what they make is not what they want to be making, and a lot of people give up.

The only real way to get where you want to be is by practicing and doing. A lot. This in itself is a paradox, you hate what you make so you don't want to make more but you have to make more to like what you want. It's a vicious cycle. Personally, I'm finally seeing bits and pieces of things I produce that I like, I mean really like. It's a challenge to drive yourself to keep making when the results are mediocre at best but it is the best thing to do.
Anyhow, thanks Ira, I think most people go through this and don't realise that it is SO common and normal. I think it's advice everyone should hear (look where it got Ira!) Have you been stuck in this rut? How do you overcome it?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grizzly Bear is Amazing: An Album Review

I'll get it out of the way before I begin: I'm so very much a fan of Grizzly Bear. It is a bias like this that threatens to make this post a crappy echo of better opinions thrown around the internet. Especially in the wake of a new album. As much as I can remove myself from that, I will still be fascinated by these musicians, but I have been chewing on the album for a while now, and I think it is time to take a crack at it.

From what I can tell, and as far as Veckatimest is concerned, these songs are not exciting.


they are intricate, sincere, and expertly constructed. Save the prancing keys of two weeks, this album is really quite docile. It begins so covertly with Southern Point, which chugs along to the gang supporting Rossen's mysterious and raspy wanderings. Rossen is supplement to the more expansive songs on the album, where Droste leads the melancholy pop songs that has everyone trying to sing along, even if they can't match his choirboy aptitude. Speaking of choirboys, the album comes complete with its own section of clandestine chimers, which acts as testiment to how much time Grizzly Bear is willing to take for their songs.

Structurally this album feels much like Yellow House, in which the lower half of the album drags. And just like their debut, Veckatimest has no loss of intricacy in any part. Surprisingly catchy About Face will most likely go unnoticed by most, and it will definitely take a while for the needle to wear down Ready, Able. This is all besides the fact that they have succeeded to make a brilliantly sculpted pop album, which will get more playthroughs than Yellow House ever managed. So yes, you don't have to excersice your skip button between Cheerleader and While You Wait For The Others, there's something to listen to.

I've heard reference of 'chamber pop' when people mention obvious winners like Cheerleader, but I don't know why. Is it because these songs sound like they were recorded in the drawing room of a Neo-Classical manor? Or is it because the instruments used, being so old and so clunky yet able to produce such rich sound, could only be contained in an adequate chamber of sorts? The only need I see for placing the label of 'chamber pop' on this album is to distinguish it from from the music of our grandparents, who would love this album just as much, if we ever let them get their hands on it.

Of course, there are other songs that will most likely be forgotten, like the detuned Hold Still, which seems to be a small reminder that even in the midst of such an agreeable arrangement of sound, Grizzly Bear will not be done with their experimental side. What I don't understand is why we can't see that they have obviously done that experimentation inside the cabin of what might be considered as, above all else, pop music. Maybe that is what they mean about chamber pop.

Whenever I consider the overall standing of the album, it seems to sit in the head space between Yellow House and the meaty diversion that was Department of Eagles. For Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear has explored the region in every way we could be satisfied with. And they have built up a reputation of producing expertly well written songs. Music that shows evidence of skill. With Veckatimest, these musical laureates exhibit that they can make good music. Really good music.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grizzly Bear is Amazing: A Concert Review.

I didn't know it was possible. My appreciation for Grizzly Bear has doubled since I saw them last Friday (June 5th) at the Phoenix in Toronto. Here is why.
The Opening band Here We Go Magic from Brooklyn New York were damn good themselves. Normally openers for an $18 concert aren't the best. Typically some semi-okay local band good enough to pass some time. But Here We Go Magic played a really solid set, with great energy. Their songs ranged from up beat and poppy to more mellow and experimental. It was a really pleasant surprise given my past with sucky Toronto openers (a few being The Beauties at Broken Social Scene, not bad but totally not suited for the concert. Grouper at Animal Collective made people sleep, and one I still can't forget: Viva Voce from Portland Oregon because they announced who they were after EVERY SONG from The Shins 2007 concert ). Another good news item: set change didn't take too long. They were pretty dang efficient.
Grizzly Bear themselves were awesome. They played a solid set of Veckatimest and Yellow House songs mixed with a few older and rarer songs. It was such an enjoyable concert; such a relaxed atmosphere, no insecent pushing or violent crowd. It was the most beautiful concert I've ever been to, the music was such a high caliber and so dreamy. Some of my personal highlights would include: Colorado, Knife, and While you Wait for the Others. Another big highlight was a guest performace by Leslie Feist. Feist came to perfom Service Bell (off of Dark was the Night) with Grizzly Bear and also Two Weeks off of Veckatimest. I think everyone in the crowd was happy about that, but I'm sure at least half had entertained the possibility (come on, it's Toronto, anything can and will happen). I left the concert in a great mood. Really happy about the whole thing and kind of wished I knew them better when they played 2 summers ago at LOLA fest (maybe a repeat performace this summer?! Hopefully but probably not). It was simply a fantastic show.

If you haven't heard Veckatimest their latest release (came out a few weeks ago) you really ought to at LEAST check it out on their myspace and if you haven't even heard Grizzly Bear (where have you been?), same thing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Style vs Skill

I'm at an impasse. I am and have been learning SO much both in and out of school about so many things. Through all this learning I've been learning about my own opinions and styles. Here's my problem: as much as I am learning what I like and dislike I can't really put it into professional use yet. For the skills I am able to market right now I'm not fully able to have complete control. In fact, there is very little control. I suppose it's enough to keep me happy, but I'm wondering: if I keep doing the same kind of projects that cause this to happen can I break out of it? Once you get comfortable with something it's easy to stay in that comfort zone. I suppose by pursuing more projects for myself this won't be so much of an issue. Another question: if I keep doing projects like this will I ever be able to find other means of work? Will I pigeonhole myself into doing what I don't want to do?

It's become a question of skill versus style. Right now I am a student, looking for whatever I can get, trying to gain experience, and build credibility. I'm a little concerned that I am I creating a box I won't be able to break out of. When will my style outweigh my skill? Will it ever happen? Web design is a huge market right now, and I know how to do it pretty well. Even if it's not my favourite thing a relevant job is a job. Don't get me wrong- it's not that I don't enjoy it, I'm just worried about the direction it could take me. Worried that it's the wrong direction. I guess I'll just have to keep on doing what I am doing and see where I get.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Conclusions About Poetry

It's hard to be poetic.
I find it difficult because poets are cheesy and I don't want to be cheesy. I exercise a strict policy to eschew my own poetic tendencies, but still, sometimes I just gotta do it. Mostly I harbor this as a terrible addiction, something I can't kick so why should I? At least I keep it to myself, for the most part.There are certain individuals who are able to transcend the self-conscious monster that tamely licks at your ego. People who are poetic while at the same time, are able to avoid the criticism of trying too hard. Kim Hirothøy, a long time Graphic Designer, DJ, and owner of Rune Grammofon, a successful record label in the heart of Norway. Although his monogram is no longer in print, He has recently released pretty much the next best thing.

Money Will Ruin Everything 2 is a celebration of 5 years of Rune Grammofon. It comes with 2 CDs and pages upon pages of album art work, all of which is designed by Kim.When I look at Kim's work, all I am immediately aware of is the feeling of poetry. To me, he doesn't need to be doing anything on top of that, even if he is. It's something about an non-rhythm that gets me, and how nothing-shapes become instantly meaningful. His photographs contain a kindness that is dragged out by his shapes and I can't figure out how so little could become so much. Its not a silly 'less is more' fixation, Kim is able to make the endless beauty and hidden importance of the unfamiliar, instantly noticeable.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Have you noticed... Summer music time

So. I am one week shy of being on summer vacation for two months. 'Awesome!' may be the initial reaction but... it's been bittersweet.

Sad fact 1:

I have no job. I've been looking, applying like CRAZY since before READING week. I officially hate this 'recession' business.

Sad fact 2:

living at home can be hard. Like you can NEVER be alone and you have to be more aware of people in your house (ex my mom wakes up easily. She's not to happy about my coming home in the am's).

Sad fact 3:

I miss London friends, house, and parties/dance places. That is something I for sure have taken for granted over the last 3 years. (HOLY CRAP THREE YEARS!)

Happy fact 1:

Dundas friends are AWESOME, I love my family, and I get to travel more for cheaper (hi nine dollar ticket to Toronto).

Happy fact 2:

I get to do more things I WANT (reading for fun, making stuff for fun ETC).

Happy fact 3 (and here's where music comes in):

AWESOME CONCERTS. I've seen some pretty awesome shows so far this summer. OH! Fest in London was SUPER awesome. Animal Collective at Sound Academy was amazing (but some of the crowd SUCKED (what Animal Collective has more music than just Merriweather Post Pavilion?!)). MOREOVER this week I get to go see Grizzly Bear at Pheonix, as well as Lovely Feathers with the Ghost is Dancing at Lee's Palace. Lovely Feathers are FINALLY releasing their new album. If you're in the GTA come to the show on Saturday. It's only eight dollars and I promise it will be awesome. This kind of brings up the topic of summer music.

I tend to listen to certain music during certain seasons. For example Bloc Party and Arcade Fire are winter bands to me. The Shins and Matt Pond PA are fall bands. Spring music... is... I can't think of any... maybe because spring is a weird mix of all the other seasons. But Summer, summer is a new story.

Summer music is some of my favourite, because I find it the easiest to tie memories too (super cheesy right?!). Last summer was MGMT, (LOVE), Andrew Bird, and some others. Previous 'summer' bands have been Modest mouse, gorillaz, Crystal Castles, Girl Talk, Delgados... I think you get the picture. So... does nyone else do this? Am I the only one who makes soundtracks in my mind?

Well this summer will have a DAMN good sountrack. I was inspired to do this post by Vivian who brought Think about Life's new album (oh god so good. I need to start listening to them again) to a BBQ lat night. I think that'll be one. Also Yeah Yeah Yeah's It's Blitz is making my life complete. I'm anticipating more Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Lovely Feathers love OH AN MOST SERENE REPUBLIC. Ok. I think thats enough.


Friday, April 24, 2009

absjdkfnerlk! New Most Serene Republic!

Ok so, I got the new Most Serene Republic song, Heavens to Purgatory, the other day (you can listen to it here). MSR are on Arts and Crafts label and have been one of my favourite bands ever since I heard the exquisite sound of Phages. They have 2 full albums (Underwater Cinematographer and Population) and a tour album (Phages). The great news is... in July this year they will release another album entitled "...And the Ever Expanding Universe". I am super excited for this album. Most Serene Republic is one band whose music I never tire of. Every time I listen to it I am in awe of the blending of sounds and voices, lyrics, and the sheer brilliance of it. They have never made anything I haven't liked, and they always leave you wanting more. Last year I saw them three times in concert and each time was better than the last, if you ever have an opportunity go see them. Anyhow... I think you get it now.
I'm excited.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Role of Art

Hey look! A blog post! Ok, so I've been off school now for a little more than one week, and I am lovvvvvvving it. Thus far, my summer has been great, although not exactly a summer (with the beautiful exception of today). Anyhow, all this time sans blogging has left me thinking about things more. It's a little easier to think about your perspective when you have time to.
So lately I've been reflecting on all the STUFF I've learned this year, and you know, it's quite a substantial amount. There's been a lot of things I've never thought about, never known, never realized, you get the picture. Now one topic that seems relevant enough to post about is the role of art in the world. Not just art but ART whether it is painting, photography, design, film, music, literature, anything. I've been trying to figure out it's point in the world. There are so many different approaches people can take, and I think that's why identifying an answer personally has been so difficult. Not only this, but what do I WANT it's role to be? Because the truth is- art serves whatever purpose the creator made it for wanted it to serve.
Some just want to create, they get a burst of creativity and manifest this into something physical. I think there's a lot of controversy over this issue because a lot of people want another person's art to serve their purpose. I think there's a place for everything., every idea. I do think art has the power to change things, and like when art challenges the way you look at things, like a lot of movements and artists have (think banksy, duchamp, magritte, surrealism, dada, etc.) have. I don't know if I agree with the art for art sake thing, but I do think art should be accessible to everyone so if that's how it happens than so be it. Regardless, I think there should be some sort of meaning (I guess even art for art's sake has meaning, so I'm kind of contradicting myself).
I guess I've been thinking about this trying to figure out where I can fit in. What do I want to do with the things I make? Do I want them to challenge? Do I want them to be purely functional? Can the these things go together? I suppose it's something only more work can determine. What do other people do?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The end has no end

Why hello there blog readers.
It has been a great term, full of blogs. As seems to be the current trend I am now posting my 'last post'. This blog was started because this past term I was enrolled in a blogging course. It was pretty fun, I learned a lot through practical application. My homework was my blog, and my blog, in a way became my life. In everything I was searching for things to blog about; blogs are a super way of communicating with others that share interests all over the world. Anyhow... this past week was the final for blogging, I am no longer required to post five times a week. However, it has become so routine for me to open up blogger and share things that I will keep this blog up. I probably won't blog 5 times a week, but I intend to post regularly.
Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, comments, or finds it mildly amusing. You have truly made it a pleasure to blog for.
Ok! On to the madness that is the last week of school. I'll see you around the blogosphere LATER.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The idea of an artists process has always baffled me. So many people invest their time and energy into asking artists some of the most banal questions, in hopes that the result will be some soulful connection. The shrouded ghost of process is no real threat, but it seems to haunt anyone confused as to how any anything could have fallen from the hand that produces so. (and so, and so.)
What most people seem to miss is that Process, is by nature a intrinsically boring event. If anyone tries to enlighten you otherwise, it usually pads out to be bourgeois reenactment of something that is not anymore amazing than clipping your toenails. This maneuver itself is a pasty attempt to make some sort of safety-net-separation between talented creative types and, well, the rest of us.

Having said that, this investigation surprised me. I have not seen such an honest approach to understanding process than what Charlotte Cheetham has done with designers she is interested in. Sure there is theoretical explanations throughout, but none of them are pretentious pandering. Most of all, this is an honest examination of what process is, probably bet put by Montreal's Julien Vallée:

I don’t think I have a particular way of
working, even if it turns out that I have some
habits, some non-official way of proceeding to
create my pieces of work : sketching,
collecting opinions about a topic, stressing,
pumping up the volume of the music, waking up
at night and sketching all over again, getting
drunk and thinking I hold the perfect concept,
waking up in the morning and start all over
again, re-considering my profession, changing
the music, brewing some coffee, adding a new
project in the pipeline, sleepless night,
starting over again in the morning, buy some
material I end-up not using, start over again,
send some sketches to clients (knowing I would
never do this at the end), brew more coffee,
create the final piece, swear myself I won’t
take more than one project at the same time,
get some sleep, accept a new project, start the
process all over again...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Best Website

Once in a while you stumble upon something that takes your breath away literally. This recently happened. I perchance came to the most amazing website I have ever seen. I was in awe. I just wish I had made it first, the design is amazing. BEHOLD (click here)! I'm not really sure if it has a name, but it appears to be made by some guy named Bjorn. Whose accomplishments include:
I have outlived many of my greatest enemies.
I have learned to cook the cuisines of several cultures from every continent except for south america.
In statistics class in college when we made the paper airplanes, mine stayed in the air the longest.
I have climbed a bunch of mountains.
I chased the children of zapatistas around dressed as a loonie and they fed me some food and I thought I was going to die for the next month after getting an infected fistula.

It includes content such as A Zardoz screening where:
Byob, there is borscht provided.
Come to 2320 Capitol Way,
oct. 18th, at 20:00 (8 pm).

Or, What are you doing this Autumnal Equinox? "Come to my birthday which happens to coincide with the Autumnal Equinox, and a celebration called Mabon, the second harvest party. The time when people begin looking with trepidation towards the coming darkness and the biting, ruthless cold that follows. We will feast on weenies and sup on fineries beyond your wildest dreams, all you must do is turn north on wilson st. off of state ave, follow it until 12th where you take a left and then an immediate right and then park at the end of the block by the dumpster, where there is also a trailhead leading into the unknown forest, its width unknown. Follow the trail for 100 yards or so, staying to the left. If you have the ruby glasses and a small amount of bravery you will be well rewarded. Bring a drinking horn and some goat leggings."

I highly suggest visiting this site, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Photoblog- The Art in my house

So, I took a whole bunch of pictures today for a photoblog. To make some kind of coherent sense, I've decided that the theme of said photoblog will be 'the art in my house'. Give you a smattering of the visual glory I surround myself with. After each picture (or group) I'll just write a little bit of what it is. Enjoy!

Window (yeah there are a few windows that look into other windows... kind of weird) in my house decorated with various jelly sticker things. There's some flowers, and a bird and a whole bunch of nice shapes. Fun to look at!
Tacky picture that came with our old house. We would always put it in a closet or turn it down, but whenever we came back to the house in the summer it was displayed prominently on the mantle. Naturally we took it with us to this house. Also the artist now sells pictures for $8000.

Posters in my room. They're all silk-screened and awesome. You may recognize one of them from here!

Various surfaces (ie fridge and bulletin board) with fun images etc. on them. If you look closely you can see pins/magnets that I made.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Photoblogs- Camilla Engman

I've found a few photoblogs that I think are pretty neat. My favourite is Camilla Engman, she is an artist and illustrator from Sweden. She mixes media and her work often depicts people or animals. Her style is pretty unique, and she's done work for several large companies, "Once you’ve seen her work you won’t need to know this, but Camilla has been commissioned by the New York Times, Converse, Google – to name but a few".
Her photoblog is typically done in sets of three, with kind of a mini-journal entry. It's sometimes about her day, her work, observations, anything. They are really short and leave a lot to the imagination, but I think that's a good thing; they tell little stories, and you kind of get to make up the rest. Anyhow, I find it really quite interesting.

Tomorrow: photoblog. I'm going to take pictures of whatever strikes my fantasy (things that I think look cool) and post the best ones. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Islands Fold- residency and publishing house

I was recently introduced to Islands Fold, and it really intrigues me.
Islands Fold™ is an independent publisher and artist residency created and operated by Angela Conley and Luke Ramsey. It's about inviting artists into our home, supporting
creative identity, collaborating, promoting health and well being and producing unique art. Established on Pender Island B.C, Canada in the Spring of 2006.
It's housed over 25 artists and designers since it began. It's also a publishing house, you can buy art on the website, "Selling art online is the business side of Islands Fold. The residency is not a business, but a way to make friends and art". There are also associated exhibitions worldwide and workshops.
I think it's a really cool thing they have going on. It's a good opportunity for creativity, collaboration, and experimentation. Art communities are probably the coolest thing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh! Bringing art and music home since 2009

Things happen where you make it happen. To anyone who has ever thought 'my town is boring' or 'this place isn't big enough for cool things to happen' OH! is proof that this is not true.
Open House Arts Collective (Oh!) "is a group of musicians, artists, and art enthusiasts based out of London Ontario Canada, working together to motivate, support, and inspire the London arts community and to promote the community's endeavours within the larger Canadian arts scene." Their mission is to promote "the London art community through music and art events. Oh! shares ideas and creates partnerships with the London community to raise awareness of local culture".
Recently Oh! participated in the Indie Media Fair held at the London Public Library. This also launched the Oh! Compilation One album.
The album has 12 tracks from 12 different artists (well, some overlap between acts), and since I procured this album from Grooves on Monday (for the too low price of $5.99), it has not left my ears. Well, ok that's not true, I bought Dark Was The Night at the same time, so I've been alternating. On first listen I was astonished. Astonished that this whole production came out of London, astonished because of how quickly this has all happened, and astonished because of how good all the music is.
Time for an anecdote: I was sitting in my living room with Andrew (roommate), playing every other track from Dark Was the Night (basically 31 songs from the most well known indie artists of our time), and every other track from Oh! 1, and during an Oh! song he asked "still dark was the night"? Every track is so well done, who knew all this talent existed in London?
Back to the music. There's a great range of styles on the album, folk, indie-rock, to more electronic music. Here's a little about some of my favourite tracks (sorry too hard to profile them all! Maybe later):
Sidewalks is by A horse and His Boy, a five piece band, it's layered with lots of different sounds and textures mainly by synth and vocals, with drums and guitar added. For some reason to me it's like what would happen if Wolf Parade and MGMT got together.

Tidal Wave is by The Whipping Wind. I actually... can't find anything about this band, but it's one of my favourite tracks. Maybe it's the horns, strings, the bells, the ukulele (or is it banjo?) and hand-clapping bridge, or the way the voices blend so beautifully together. It's a really well constructed song, with great lyrics.

The Decline is by Olenka and the autumn lovers, it's very melodic, the vocals blend really well together and has a great build up filled with horns. It's a really interesting and catchy song. Olenka and the Autumn lovers also put on a great show, they played at LOLA last year, go see them if you're lucky enough to be in an area where they're playing sometime. They also won CHRW album of the year.

There are so many more great tracks on this album, I wish I had time to profile them all (this has already taken me an hour and a half) but I urge to to check out the Oh! myspace to hear some of this incredible work. They truly are proof that you don't have to be signed, or even well known to make incredible music for people to hear (The album was also reviewed in London Free Press). It's really impressive, and if you like what you hear, support it! Without support things like this would never happen. Watch out for big things in the future from Oh! It's just a matter of time before you'll be hearing about them everywhere.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Could it be the End?!

A week ago today in my Blogging class we watched a three part mini-series about how new media is affecting more traditional media. I think this topic has been fairly widespread in recent news, classes, and even discussions (at least for me- then again, I am in MTP). The End aired on CBC (you can watch it online though), and discusses radio, TV, and print. Since watching I have been left with several questions to ask myself, especially since I participate in several of the media that have raised this issue (ie: blogging, watching TV online, downloading, research online, etc.). Over the past week I have monitored my mediaviour (haha get it?! media behaviour?! Clever, I know) to come to some kind of a conclusion.
Over the past week I have:
1. WATCHED ON TV- DVD of Wickerman (another Nick Cage MASTERPIECE haha), an episode of Oprah on cell regeneration (I'm not a big fan but this was actually fascinating, and a roommate was watching it), The Rick Mercer Report twice (because I love it), and of course, The Office (but it was recorded on our PVR).
WATCHED ON THE INTERNET- Scrubs, Some Youtube videos.
2. READ IN PRINT- 3 issues of the Gazette, Print Magazine, and Watchmen.
READ ON INTERNET- Several Webcomics, electronic sources for essays (normally I do books but not for this essay), COUNTLESS blogs, articles on things I think are fascinating.

3. LISTENED TO RADIO- Every morning I wake up and listen to about an hour of most beloved CHRW.
NOT ON RADIO- A podcast for a paper, music from cd's (dark was the night, and OH! compilation on heavy rotation right now), myspace songs (Fantasies by Metric available for streaming!), and downloaded music.
So now I come to the part where I discuss my views, opinions, and theories on the matter at hand in conjunction with the mini-series. I don't think any of these media are at risk of dying out provided they have supplement themselves with more accessible content. I know this can pose a problem for some smaller companies, they have to PAY for streaming. Who knew?! It's a fast paced world out there, everyone is looking for a way to be more efficient, they want things that are convenient, and these new forms of media (blogging, youtube, streaming, online news, etc.) are providing it. They are also acting as an alternative to main stream media, it's refreshing to hear new opinions and ideas. That being said, sometimes there is nothing nicer than sitting down with a cup of tea and the Globe and Mail, a good book, or watching Scrubs on TV, or waking up in the morning to the radio, not knowing what you'll get.
I like the system of new media supplementing more traditional media. Here are some reasons:
1. I think it's easier to hold onto an idea, or get attached to something more tangible, the internet is always changing, always evolving, always updating, it can be hard to keep up to date on things or even remember what you have or have not read (fun fact... every new site you go to there is a 2/3 chance you've already been there courtesy Spark podcast #28). I find it easier to remember or get into a song I stumble upon on the radio (I'll immediately go look it up), or a book I can hold and read (easier on the eyes too).
2. I feel like blogging and alternative news sources have too many opinions, I like that I can read news from papers (even though I can't read it right now as a poor student), and then read articles on the internet about the same thing to hear other opinions, but there are so many on the internet it's overwhelming.
3. Media, and communication technologies are ALWAYS being replaced by new and better ones. People think this is the first time it's happening, but it's not. Think of how much has changed over time: there used to be people that memorized stories and re-told them, then people wrote them by hand, then the printing press happened. It's just the fact that we are progressing so quickly now that is making people see this transfer.
So there you have it, my ideas based on observations from my life. I think if anything, these mediums will have to re-invent themselves, much like radio did with the advent of TV (a shift from stories and variety hours to news, music, and talk). Maybe they should become more publicly owned and operated with more independent programming (I would love more stations like CHRW). Look at the issues and the facts, what do you think? Do any of you think that print, tv, and radio are dying? What do your mediaviours tell you?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bands I sometimes forget exsist but are AWESOME #3- Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave was one of my first true musical loves. It started in grade 11, but back then you couldn't find their music in Canada (I have no clue how I found them, back then I was a machine because I had just realized all the good music there is out there). Anyhow, I had probably 5 of their songs from various locations (limewire probably...) and in grade 12 I went on a trip to Memphis with my high school band (yep... but really like 2/3 of the school was in band (maybe that's because of awesome trips like Memphis (where we went to a music festival that had acts such as: James Brown, B.B. King, 3 6 mafia, Bryan Adams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Train, basically the most random assortment) and an 11 day cruise to the Bahamas where we played once for 30 minutes), plus I really loved making music... still do) and I found my heaven. Tower records gave me access to millions of c.d.'s I had never seen in Canada. I spent at LEAST an hour in that store, had a stack of 20 albums I wanted to buy all for very reasonable prices. However, I decided to tone it down, and choose three. The results were: Sufjan Stevens, Matt Pond PA, and Rogue Wave.

Some (matching... although not on purpose) friends and I in 2006 in Memphis after riding the 'duck' in the Mississippi River

All of these were instant love. I still love all three of these bands. I rediscovered old Rogue Wave music yesterday when I realized that I hadn't uploaded 4 cd's to my computer, one being Out of The Shadow, Rogue Wave's first cd. I am listening to it now, and it inspired this blog (listen to End Game, Man-Revolutionary! (listen here from my music player to the right!), Falcon Settles Me, and Endless Shovel). Their second album Descend Like Vultures is also awesome (Catform, Love's Lost Guarantee , and Temporary is my claim to guitar tabbing, It was the first and only solo I've ever tabbed on the internet). Their third album, Asleep at Heaven's Gate, was released in 2007 and took on a much darker feel (due to several issues members were dealing with: organ failures and surgeries, deaths of close family members... it was to them what Funeral was to Arcade Fire). It was also a change in labels from Subpop to Brushfire.

Rogue Wave is a great band, and if you haven't heard them, they're worth a listen. They're kind of similar to The Shins with a little more... edge? They bring me back to high school in a good way. Simpler times, nostalgia, and the like.