If you happen to be in Minneapolis you should check out this exhibition:
Sonnenzimmer at The MCAD Gallery
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design
January 18 – March 3, 2013
More info here. Sonnenzimmer website here.
From the MCAD website:
Sonnenzimmer is the Chicago-based art, design, and print studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. Merging backgrounds in typography, fine art, printmaking, and publication design, the couple’s commissioned and self-initiated work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including a recent exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Known primarily for their idiosyncratic take on printed matter, especially the screen printed poster, Sonnenzimmer has carved out a niche for their small commercial art studio, servicing an array of clients as varied as the Poetry Foundation, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sub Pop records, and numerous free jazz groups. Their work has been published by Gestalen, Rockport Publishers, and Princeton Architectural Press and is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Design and Architecture collection and the Museum of Design Zürich’s poster collection. Founded in 2006, Sonnenzimmer sees a bright future for the graphic arts as a new generation of image-makers emerges.
My favorite poster.
Kraftwerk box set, DAP
FW Books, Dutch Contemporary photo books
Paper Monument-Saddest ashtray ever
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe – Marlborough Gallery
Swiss Room (one of my favorite rooms, above 5 pictures)
Desert Island Comics
The folks at Cheap & Plastique headquarters have decided to do a few extra special things to celebrate the 10th issue of C & P. We asked graphic designer extraordinaire, Tonya Douraghy, to design a poster commemorating issue 10. We will have some of her lovely
18″ x 24″ posters available at the C & P booth at the Fountain Art Fair this weekend.
Stop by, see some art, say hello, pick up a poster, maybe even shake your rump like Jarvis Cocker would. Friday night is the opening party (details below)!
Quote taken from Pulp’s Like a Friend.
Fountain Art Fair Hours & Special Events:
Friday, March 9, 1 PM – 7 PM – VIP & Press Preview
Friday, March 9, 7 PM – 11 PM – Artlog presents: Public Opening Night Reception,
Fab 5 Freddy (DJ set)
Saturday, March 10, 7 PM – 11 PM – Art For Progress presents: Saturday Night Party
General Hours: Saturday, March 10 & Sunday, March 11, 1 PM – 7 PM
More art fair info here.
C & P: How long have you lived in Ljubljana? What do you like most about living there? Least? Did you grow up in the city?
Zoran: I didn’t grow up in Ljubljana, I grew up in small town called Rakek which is a 30 minute drive from Ljubljana. I moved to Ljubljana six years ago. The best thing I like about it is that in the last couple of years the center of city is slowly banning cars from the city centre which is great if you like to walk or drive a bike through the city. I think people feel more comfortable because of it. I don’t know what to point out about the dark side of Ljubljana. It’s not a big city and sometimes you get the feeling that you know everyone. I personally miss a record store. There is no place to buy records in Ljubljana which really bums me out.
C & P: Does being in Ljubljana inspire your work?
Zoran: Funny question. I don’t think so.
C & P: Do you feel that there is a lot of interesting artwork being created in Ljubljana right now? What is your favorite artspace/gallery?
Zoran: For sure. One of the best things in Ljubljana is that there is lots of street art all around so I think the city definitely has it’s art vibe. Apart from street art there are lots of painters and sculptors and in last couple of years, there is definitely a big new wave of illustration. Almost every month there is at least one interesting exhibition in the city. I don’t have a favorite gallery but if I had to chose a part of town with lots of art to offer I would definitely point out Metelkova, which is a huge complex of music venues, galleries and studios. Walls of buildings are filled with murals and graffiti and there is a lot of different sculptures standing around. Every night there are music gigs in different venues. I guess you could easily compare it to Christiania in Copenhagen.
C & P: I have to ask you about the band Laibach and the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, as I have a few US friends who are completely obsessed by the band and the NSK. Are both Laibach and the NSK well-known in Ljubljana? At one point, in the early 80’s, the band was banned from using the name Laibach because of it’s association with the Nazi/German occupation of Ljubljana during WWII but it seems that there is less controversy with the band and the use of the name Laibach now. Do people appreciate what Laibach have created over the years?
Zoran: Laibach and also NSK, are some kind of Slovenian phenomena. As you mentioned they were banned during the communist era in Yugoslavia but now they are worshiped as rock stars and everybody loves them. I think they even played at national ceremonies in front of politicians that used to ban them from TV and radio. It’s kinda hilarious but they are definitely well respected. I have friends who never were into any kind of alternative music like punk, metal, industrial, etc. and they love Laibach. NSK is not that huge, but in art scene they are very respected. Their art is exhibited in National Gallery of Modern Art so like Laibach they emerged out of alternative scene and became part of bigger art world.
C & P: I need to make the trek to Slovenia and Ljubljana one of these days. Where would you tell a visitor, interested in art, design, and illustration, with three days to explore, to go? What are the most interesting/creative neighborhoods to explore?
Zoran: I would definitely recommend Metelkova, I was mentioning it before. It’s the most interesting and alternative part of the city and everyone interested in any kind of weird music or art can find something for himself there. The other place to check out would be the Rog Centre, which is an old, abandoned bike factory which was later squatted by artists. It’s pretty similar to Metelkova, but they have more legal problems with people from the city which results in not that much stuff happening there lately. The third option is Kino Šiška which is a huge renewed building run by the city and their program consists of exhibitions, music gigs and workshops.
C & P: I met you when you were traveling in New York last summer, was that your first time in the city and in the US? What is your impression of the city? Is NYC someplace that you would ever want to live?
Zoran: Yeah, my first time in the city and first time in the States. I had a weird first impression of NYC. It reminded me of an abusive relationship. I loved it, but at same time there were some things that would probably stop me from ever wanting to live there. The huge mass of people is definitely one of the things that turned me off and when I heard how much people pay for rent I didn’t know what to say. But I definitely loved its art vibe, I was really happy to see Secret Robot Project, which I loved. The huge choice in art and music gigs, amazing food, and really friendly people are the things that impressed me the most. I guess if you want to make a living with your art, it’s one of the best spots on planet to live. After I returned home from the States, everyone I was talking to about NYC had the same problem. The first impression they had about the city was weird, but something kept them coming back and now everyone loves it. Six days were definitely not enough time to get the right feeling about it anyway so I want to get back in the near future.
C & P: Do you prefer one creative process (drawing, silkscreening, or painting) over another, do you incorporate all of these in your work?
Zoran: I try not to be bored when I’m working and one of the ways to keep it interesting is to try new things and techniques all the time. I usually start with paper and pencils and end up on computer putting everything together. I love to experiment with mixing all of the techniques together.
C & P: Do you draw by hand? Do you use a computer when creating your pictures? Or both?
Zoran: Usually I start drawing by hand and then I scan it and continue the work in Photoshop. I use a Wacom tablet, I think it’s a great tool but I try to keep everything hand drawn and later transformed on a computer.
C & P: Do you have any formal training as an illustrator?
Zoran: Actually no. I finished the University for Graphic Techniques which was more about printing processes than about drawing or painting.
C & P: Your illustrations are populated by somewhat dark figures and creatures, such as crows, owls, wolves, figures in creepy masks, a man dressed in Klu Klux Klan garb, Norweigan churches. Why are you drawn to dark imagery? Is there any hidden meaning in this imagery?
Zoran: I honestly don’t know. If I had to blame one thing it would probably be music, but I like very different kind of music and not all is dark and gloomy so I guess I just like my stuff dark. But I wouldn’t think about myself as some dark character. It has some meaning to me but I’m not sure everyone sees it, I hope everyone gets some personal impression and sees his own story within my art.
C & P: You collaborated on a zine called Satanic Diarrhea, how did this collaboration come about? Where were these zines distributed?
Zoran: Satanic Diarrhea was collaboration between four friends. We all grew up going to hardcore and punk shows and we still meet each other at those same places. Since we all do some kind of art we decided to make something together. The title is just a stupid joke, we couldn’t find any other name so we just went with the most stupid title we could come up with. We gave the zines to people for free since we didn’t have big expenses printing it. We just wanted to do something and put it out there.
C & P: The style of your images recall flat, 1950’s style illustrations but with a dark, evil twist. What illustrators/artists do you admire? Who is your biggest inspiration?
Zoran: I don’t know about inspiration, it’s everything around me I probably don’t even notice. If I had to choose one thing, that would probably be lyrics from the bands I like. I even made one zine that was based on my favourite lyrics. But usually I just walk my dog and get some idea in my head and when I come home I draw it down. When I work a on poster for some music gig I try to listen a lot to the bands that are playing and I always try to transcript the music into artwork, but still within my style.
I admire a shitload of artists but if I have to point out couple of names that would be Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch, Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, Evgenia Barinova, and Justin Bartlett.
C & P: Do you have a narrative in mind for each illustration? Are the characters in your pictures purely fictional/from your imagination?
Zoran: It depends. Usually there is a story behind, but sometimes the image just pops in my head and I draw it down without thinking twice. I make up all the characters in my head.
C & P: You have created many posters for bands outside of Slovenia (such as Wolf Parade, Dum Dum Girls, Dan Deacon). Do you do work for a certain club in Ljubljana or have the bands contacted you to do posters for them when they are playing in town?
Zoran: I am working for musical promoter from Ljubljana called Buba and it is one of the best client-artist relationships I ever had and it’s still going on.
C & P: What people / music / places / things inspire you?
Zoran: It’s mix of all things I consume in my life. From lyrics to other people’s art, music, movies, record covers, books, dogwalks to good coffee, seeing different places and people.
C & P: Do you currently spend your days creating artwork or do you have a “proper” job to support your art habit?
Zoran: Right now I am working as graphic designer at a marketing agency. I do all illustration stuff in my spare time. I would definitely love to support myself only with illustration and that is my goal for the near future, but let’s see what will happen.
C & P: How your work been commissioned by magazines/bands/other companies?
Zoran: I did couple of record covers and t-shirt designs as well as some illustrations for various magazines I design at work, but mainly my work was commissioned for gig posters. I would love to do more other stuff too, editorial illustration is one of the fields I would really love to work in.
C & P: Are you a magazine/zine junkie? What are some of your favorites?
Zoran: I really enjoy stuff published by Nobrow (who are also featured in Issue 9 of the magazine), Think Faest, Nieves and Svart Konst. But usually I buy zines directly from artists, when I stumble across their work online. Magazines are also one of my obsessions since the company I work at works mainly in magazine publishing field. I love to read well designed mags and sometimes I love just to flip through magazines because of the design, even if content doesn’t interest me at all. I regularly follow Creative Review and Computer Arts which are a kind of bibles if you work in the design industry. Recently I discovered New American Paintings Magazine. I also love how Bloomberg Businessweek looks like and I love to go through it every time I get the chance.
C & P: You have a portfolio website, a Twitter account, a Flickr stream, and a Tumblr blog. How long have you had all of these? Does your internet presence help you to find people to collaborate with? Do a lot of people outside of Ljubljana find your work through these sites?
Zoran: Publishing your stuff online is the best and easiest way to get people to see your work. I published my first portfolio website a year ago. Before that I published all my stuff on flickr. Tumblr is the latest addition, I mainly got into it because it’s the most popular blogging platform at the moment and people can find your work through it way easier than through other blog providers like Blogspot or WordPress. People I collaborated with so far are my friends, but lots of people got in touch through each of the web platforms.
C & P: What could you imagine doing, if you didn’t do what you do?
Zoran: Tough one. I can imagine doing everything, from be a professional dog walker to being a bad writer or just working at a coffee bar.
Next weekend is the NY Art Book Fair and I am getting very excited! Last year was amazing (see my pics here) and I assume it will be either just as great or even better this year!
Printed Matter, Inc. presents
THE NY ART BOOK FAIR
September 30–October 2, 2011
Free preview: Thursday, Sept. 29, 6–9 p.m.
More info here.
22-25 Jackson Avenue at 46th Avenue
Long Island City, NY
Photographed Browns studio in London when I was there in July for Print Magazine. It was fun to hang out at the studio for the afternoon & explore/snoop around all 3 floors of the amazing space (studio & Jonathan’s home). I really enjoyed seeing Browns fabulous work in person. Jonathan Ellery was incredibly nice and has pretty damn good taste, in both design and music. Browns seems like a great place to work! See more of Jonathan and Browns work here. Pick up the current issue of Print for a Q & A with Mr. Ellery, or see the Q & A on Print‘s blog here.
In a special visit by one of the world’s most influential and beloved graphic designers and design teachers, Karel Martens will headline AIGA/NY’s fall season.
Martens has been practicing for fifty years and continues to create forward-looking and technologically ground-breaking work that is comfortable in the current moment but not consumed by it. He is a highly influential book designer but considers himself more broadly a “designer of the printed word.” But he’s really a designer of language, even abstract and photographic language. His work extends with equal innovation and clarity of communication across almost all imaginable media, from coins and postage stamps to monoprints to ASCII art to experimental video to electric signs to textiles to building facades. Martens himself says simply that his work should “respect the receiver of the message” and be “answerable.” Honesty and economy of language and material are crucial values in his work, but so are rhythm, color, and “delight.” Martens has described form as content’s “melody.” Robin Kinross says Martens’s work “is not wrapped up, as a closed and sealed thing. Rather, there is openness, textures that you can feel with your hands.” Paul Elliman has pointed out Martens’s love for “working or thinking in the language of the things around him” and says his work invites recipients to feel “how we ourselves, our ideas and perceptions, are formed by what happens around us.”
Indeed, teaching has been an important and integrated part of Martens’s practice since the 1970s. “Every generation,” he says, “has the duty to find form freshly, and the continuation of the status quo is by definition something to be avoided.” In 1998, Martens co-founded the Werkplaats Typografie, a masters program in graphic design that has often emphasized collaboration and commission, in Arnhem, Netherlands. He has also taught graphic design at Yale University since 1997.
Martens is a unique presenter and speaks about his work in a way that nobody else can. This is a rare chance in New York to hear him describe design in his way, through his own work. Register early! Reservations will be first come, first served.
Keetra Dean Dixon
Fresh Dialogue 27: Design Dualities
Young Designers always have reacted towards trends, simultaneously often creating new ones. The stale computer generated graphics of the late 90′s ushered in a new crop of designers desiring to use their hands, make a mess, make mistakes & get away from bezier curves. This field of young designers started to see their work often as bigger than standard commercial graphic design. They allowed themselves to pursue illustration, printmaking, product development, sculpture and even exhibition.
These young creatives are just as devoted to their design careers as their art careers, writing careers, etc. and believe that the duality makes their end work more rich and vibrant. Four great examples are Mike Perry, Keetra Dean Dixon, Andrio Abero and Timothy Goodman. All of which are young designers pursuing multiple avenues within their work. This year for Fresh Dialogue, AIGA/NY has invited these four to participate in a panel discussion moderated by New York chapter board member Chris Rubino discussing their approach to work, both commercial and personal. It’s sure to be an insightful night touching on process, inspiration and surprise.
Fresh Dialogue 27: Design Dualities
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 7 PM
Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th St.
More event details here.