“Design is everything. Everything!”

Yes I’m quoting the Paul Rand. We’re going into the last weekend of the Graphic Design Festival in Breda, and the organisation has tried to live up to Paul’s quote as much as possible. Most of this biannual festival takes place in public space, making it accessible for more than just the people in the industry. 

Graphic Design Festival Breda 2010

Graphic Design Festival Breda 2010

 So what’s this festival all about? I can’t tell you yet, because I’ll only be checking it out myself later today. One thing I definitely want to see are the Designer Toys XL. One of them is painted by a designer I recently discovered, the talented Louis Reith. Another expo I want to go to is O.K. Festival, which presents the presents “the energy and the visual explosion of strange, beautiful and original magazines.” Not only do I love magazines, I have been following the founder on Twitter for quite a while now and am happy I can finally check out his work. Last but not least I am also kind of curious about the Graphic Surprise so I will be passing that by, just like all the other exciting things that are going on. 

This edition's theme is Decoding. That's me standing at one of the many signs that are all over town.

This edition's theme is Decoding. That's me standing at one of the many signs that are all over town.

A plus is that I have my flatmate and her boyfriend with me, who both are graphic design students. I´m looking forward to their take on things. I think GDF is a great initiative, but to make it a true festival it needs more workshops, moments of interaction and parties. If you want to check it out yourself you need to be quick, because the GDF ends tomorrow! 

P.S. Paul Rand is also known for the following design quote that I love: “Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated.”


Too much time on your hands

Often I come across crazy things on the interweb where one might think ‘that person has way too much time on their hands.’ However, I’m sometimes jealous of those people (I’m typing this after getting up at 6.45h to go to the gym, go to work afterwards untill 19:30h, go home to cook, only to continue work untill writing this post at 20:45h). Having too much time means you have time to think, time to get inspired, time to create. Here’s some great examples of completely random awesomeness that came after having too much time.

First, there is photographer Stefan. For the duration of one year, he’ll post pictures of what Stormtroopers do on their day off. Not only are the pictures of amazing quality, it’s also fucking funny. You can get your daily dose of stormtroopers via Flickr, e-mail, twitter or Facebook.


Stormtroopers by (c) Stefan

Stormtroopers by (c) Stefan

Stormtroopers by (c) Stefan

Second, there is this 15 year old kid who created a painting in MS Paint, the most tedious Microsoft program out there. It took him 4 (!) years to create it and such perseverance is admirable on its own. You can see the whole painting and details in this video.

Third, there is this cool parkour motion reel that I unfortunately can’t embed here. The video says it is illustrated with technical pen, frame by frame. That sure does takes patience but it’s worth the effort. Enjoy!

Who said documentaries are boring?

Last week I was lucky enough to see two really interesting documentaries in Amsterdam. I have to admit that I was late for both of them thanks to my wonderful planning, but I’ve seen more than enough to know they are worth watching.

The first and most amazing was the documentary ‘Let it Ride’ about the legendary Craig Kelly. The documentary shows Craig, his view on snowboarding and life in general. What impressed me the most was the footage of Craig snowboarding in Iran, the first foreign snowboarder ever to do this. While watching you get a hint of what ultimate freedom he must feel when boarding of the most incredible mountains. To me, and I’m a person who doesn’t really like to watch sports in general, it was just amazing. What even made it more magical was the music used to support the documentary, with Björk’s Hyperballad at the end as an absolute favourite. I’ve seen most of the documentary, but I will definitely go back to see it all. If you happen to be in Amsterdam , you should check it out at FOAM. It’s part of a bigger exhibition curated by Ari Marcoupolis – viewable until 16th of June 2010.

Art & Copy Poster

The second documentary I saw was ‘Art & Copy’, which is about advertising and inspiration. On their website they say the following: “it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry.”  They show all the classics (unfortunately mostly US-based) and also have old footage that gives you almost a Mad Men feeling. I found it interesting to see the development of the advertising industry and how some of the well-known people in advertising think about their work and the industry as whole. If you like advertising in any way, make sure you go to SMART Project Space where the documentary will air until March 30th 2010.

Recession art

Recession / Recessione, a nonexcisting exhibition

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Although probably no artist likes to admit this, one needs money to be able to create art. Recession is therefore bad news for art. A design studio in Italy came up with a creative way of showcasing art when money is low with “Recession / Recessione – A Nonexistent Exhibition“.
According to the creators, this book (or actually more a catalogue) is a great example of an exhibition that will never take place due to budget limitations. It’s a nonexistent exhibition, you can create one yourself in your own space with the art provided.

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Between September and November 2009, 35 artists worldwide were asked to interpret the R word through texts, images, artwork or music. Their work is combined in a 1 kg book and an audio CD, which you can amazingly buy for free (you only pay shipping costs). Best idea ever! I ordered mine last week and thanks the lovely people at the studio I received it within days. The ones I liked best were Maxime Buechi and Slavs & Tartars’ “The Hustle”, Camille Vivier’s “Candle II”, Mark Borthwick’s romantic picture “If were pioneer’s”, the design of Paul Bouden’s “Bring it on” and the imaginary mixtape full of miserable songs (“The light at the end of a tunnel…is a train”) by Dirty Sound System. Go order one yourself here, there are only 800 copies available and I have the feeling they are going fast!

Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam 2009

Affordable Art Fair AmsterdamAround two years ago I wrote about affordable art at the Secret Show of Royal College of Art in London. Little did I know Amsterdam had it’s own initiative of bringing the (modern) arts to a larger group of people. It’s called ‘The Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam‘ and it shows contemporary art at a beautiful location. Most important aspect though is the fact that all art displayed ranges between 100 and 5000 EUR.

Last year I couldn’t go, but when a photographer friend invited me to join him last Thursday I of course couldn’t say no. It was incredibly busy, so the whole experience of checking out some fantastic work was made difficult. I also have to say that not all stands were as impressing. Work of some people that were worth noting down (personal opinion all the way) were Ronald Ceuppens (BE, graphic artist, very scenic), Marcel Hoes (NL, photographer, unfortunately his fantastic Amsterdam pictures ar not on his website), Russel West (UK, love the technique, colours and texture) and Fiona Morley (UK, great combination of wire and canvas, hard to capture on picture).

SOHO VI  45cm x 75cm Oil on Wire on Board by Russel West

SOHO VI by ©Russell West (45cm x 75cm Oil on Wire on Board)

'Untitled' by ©Fiona Morley (100cm x 100cm, Wire and Emulsion on Canvas)

'Untitled' by ©Fiona Morley (100cm x 100cm, Wire and Emulsion on Canvas)














Main question remains of course whether I brought a piece of art back home? Unfortunately I didn’t, but I will go back next year and look for something that fits both my taste and budget :-)

Doel – the saddest place in Belgium

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Silent protest on the Doel streets

Earlier this year I went to the free film festival Pluk de Nacht. One night I was there they showed a short documentary about Doel (“Doel leeft” by Tom Fassaert). It’s a little village in Belgium waiting to be demolished completely for the expansion of the Antwerp port. The documentary showed the last inhabitants that were unable or unwilling to move. Pretty depressing and surreal situation which the documentary showed perfectly.

Last weekend I went to Antwerp and via Twitter I was reminded about Doel. Took the car and in the middle of nowhere we found the town. Even more empty than in the documentary, it was a true ghost town. The one nice thing about it was the abundance of (street) art. Luckily I had my DSLR with me so in the short time I was there I quickly shot some pictures. Via a friend I found a great Flickr set of someone who has been there the same day I was. It’s still unclear when the town will be wiped off the map, but if you want to see it for yourself you’ll have to hurry up.

Sleeveface: Vinyl art

Golden toilet with old recordsI love old LPs and am collecting them for quite some time already. And since a few months, I can even listen to them when I got a new LP-player :-) I don’t only collect LPs for the great music or that wonderful scratchy sound, but also because of the great design of the sleeves. In one of the first student-house where I lived, I even painted the toilet gold and covered the entire walls with old records!

Sleeveface John Lennon

This week, I saw another initiative in a newspaper on how to be creative with LPs, or more exactly, the sleeves. The idea is simple: take a sleeve, take a face and obscure or augment any part of your body with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion. The result is often strikingly good or just plain hilarious. I included a sleeveface of John Lennon which shows how simple it can be, but how cool the result is. You can visit the official website or check their facebook page for more great examples. Inspired and don’t know how to make your own sleeveface? Check this video.