(Thanks Matt! source)
I recently contributed a two-page piece to the current issue of Geez magazine (#15: The Slippery Issue) on “Good design,” featuring and commenting on several winning posters submitted to Good 50×70, an independent, non-profit initiative that aims to promote the value of social communication, provide charities with a free database of communication tools, and inspire the public via graphic design. (Designers submit their works on a pro bono basis, thereby offering their talent to charities such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund or anyone who wishes to use the posters to further the featured causes).
An effective poster engages (by arousing interest) and informs (by conveying a message) within seconds, though only if the context is conducive to the audience’s understanding. This dramatic poster entitled “It’s High Time” (designed by Pamela Campagna and Thomas Scheiderbauer of Seville, Spain) captures our attention by means of the seemingly absurd juxtaposition of imminently rising sea levels and a long-necked giraffe, allegorically the animal with the greatest chance of “surviving this mess,” as the designers put it.
The decontextualized giraffe draws our immediate empathy. We share the anthropomorphized fear and disquietude of a threatened “figure” removed from its natural “ground,” even as the urgency of a timely intervention ticks on. The poster refers to the upcoming UN conference on climate change. In December, the global community will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to work out a new global climate deal aimed at protecting the future of our planet. The poster’s call to action is for global leaders to heed the warning signs when they meet in Denmark.
New York, New York
Few in modern times have been as engagingly direct in pointedly speaking truth to power as the late George Carlin. Throughout his illustrious career as a stand-up comedian he was an outspoken critic of the United States’ war-mongering tendencies—e.g. here and here (filmed decades apart, both with explicit language warnings) are excellent samples of his pacifist Leitmotif. You certainly can’t accuse the man of being subtle…
Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980, aka Maria Gorska) was a Polish painter known for the “soft cubism” by which she epitomized the sensual side of the Art Deco movement (her renderings of stylishly sexy, bedroom-eyed women remain unmatched to this day). Tamara attended boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland before moving to St. Petersburg, Russia (where she experienced the Bolshevik Revolution)— then on to her own bohemian twenties in Paris during the Roaring 20s, where she quickly became the most fashionable portrait painter of her generation (especially among the haute bourgeoisie and aristocracy who both criticized and admired her “perverse Ingrism.”)
Images above: Lempicka’s iconic Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti and Saint Moritz from 1929, Young Lady with Gloves from 1930, and The Refugees from 1931 (drawn from an impressive online collection of 149 works, here).
Leo Obstbaum, the creative mastermind behind the designs of the Vancouver Olympic Games, died suddenly in his home of natural causes in the early hours of Friday, 21 August 2009. Leo was just 40 years old, and left behind his beautiful wife Monice and young daughter Dakota. Leo was admired and respected by everyone who knew him, as was demonstrated by the hundreds who attended his funeral and remembrance celebration.
Mark Busse has written a moving and beautifully illustrated tribute to Leo here, and the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) has awarded Leo with posthumous professional membership (MGDC). A poignant description of Leo comes from one of his colleagues at VANOC, designer Ben Hulse:
“The brightest of eyes. The biggest of smiles. The warmest handshake. The proudest father. The cool hunter. The king of design. The king of the party. But most of all a dreamer. He helped each of us realize a dream, and how fortunate that the biggest dreamer realized so many of his. He remains an unstoppable inspiration to all of us. Leo, you are an icon. You will be missed dearly, but through us your dreams live on.”
Rest in peace, Leo… forever young!
Be present. I would encourage you with all my heart—just to be present. Be present and open to the moment that is unfolding before you. Because, ultimately, your life is made of moments. So don’t miss them by being lost in the past or anticipating the future.
Don’t be absent from your own life. You will find that life is not governed by will or intention. It is ultimately the collection of these sense memories stored in our nerves, built up in our cells. Simple things: a certain slant of light coming through a window on a winter’s afternoon. The sound of spring peepers at twilight. The taste of a strawberry still warm from the sun. Your child’s laughter. Your mother’s voice.
—Jessica Lange’s 2008 commencement address to the graduates of Sarah Lawrence College
(photo: Ernest Hemingway kicks a can…)
Hera is half of the talented street-art duo Herakut… cautiously optimistic (Can you glow in a dystopian genre?), silently provocative, and street-smart proletarian in execution—(s)pray without ceasing.