The Phoenix is Closer than it Appears

One of the exhibits I saw this summer at Ålborg’s art museum, Kunsten, is a piece by Thilo Frank called “The Phoenix is Closer than it Appears”. Frank focuses on creating collaboration between the artist’s work and the public.

This piece is a giant glass cube with a swing inside. One person is allowed inside at a time, creating a strange feeling of isolation while being surrounded by a gajillion mirror images of yourself.

Glass cube exterior at Ålborg kunstmuseet by Thilo Frank.
What you see on the outside...
Glass cube interior at Ålborg kunstmuseet by Thilo Frank.
What you see on the inside...

The Density of Things

Recently an acquaintance posted a Google maps comparison of where they grew up and where they currently lived. The contrast in density was stark, and made me think about the places I have inhabited – from a small farming town in Central Oregon to a city in Danmark known for its rowdy bar scene.

So I made simple map illustrations of where I’ve lived, presented below in the same scale and in chronological order. Reflecting back on my dwelling places was an interesting study of how I felt in relation to what the maps showed me. Maybe the next step is to make a more interpretive version of these?

Map of Madras, Oregon showing transportation, green spaces and waterways.
Then: an idyllic confinement. Now: a confining respite.
Map of Ålborg, Danmark showing transportation, green spaces and waterways.
Wayfinding and hope.
Map of San Luis Obispo, California showing transportation, green spaces and waterways.
Hurry up and wait.
Map of Portland, Oregon showing transportation, green spaces and waterways.
Work, work, work, play. Repeat.

NJ the Intern Scores Big

Today at Jelly Helm Studio we celebrated NJ, the summer intern. It was a party to behold for his last day: Jelly repeatedly yelled WOOT WOOT, I spilled pizza all over myself and the rug, and Mark packaged his going away gift in custom made wrapping paper. While I only got to know NJ briefly, his mellow demeanor and quirky nature made him instantly likable. To commemorate his time at the studio, Jelly, Mark & I gave him five (yes, FIVE) trophies.

Five trophies in one summer...must have been quite the intern.

In addition to snagging the “Intern of the Year” award, NJ also garnered rave reviews for his “Best Axe Wall of 2011”, “Best Bullshit Book Cover of 2011” and “Best Wiener Cutting Film of 2011”. To top it off, he even won the trophy for “Most trophies for an Intern in 2011”. What a guy! To see what all the fuss is about, check out some of his accomplishments.

NJ didn’t leave without returning the favor – he made a custom deck of cards listing lessons he had learned (or unlearned) during his stay. To my disappointment, during his summer here he did NOT interview his house-mate who rented a closet under the stairs (YES, you can rent a closet under somebody’s staircase).

No award ceremony isn’t complete without a photo of the winner gloating over their achievements, so here is NJ making his best monster impersonation. It was nice getting to know you NJ!

Hopefully he has a really big mantle for all those trophies.

Happy Projects Are All Alike

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So starts the novel Anna Karenina, which was the subject of a poster project I completed a while ago. It was the first time I had worked directly for another creative entity (a local theater company), and I was excited to be working on a topic of literature with a fuzzy deadline entire months away.

After talking about the creative process we decided that we would volley ideas back and forth in various levels of completeness, ranging from very rough sketches to more refined digital comps, until we arrived at a final poster design. The first round of creative went over well, focusing on some main themes from the book.

Round 1 Sketches

The art director and I decided the strongest idea was the smoke type (upper left sketch), and that I should explore that further before we chose a final executional style.
Continue reading “Happy Projects Are All Alike”

Monster Portraits

I’ve been thinking about monsters lately, so I decided to get them out of my brain by making some monster portraits of my new compatriots over at Jelly Helm Studio. I admit, I wasn’t sure how these would be received. When a child draws garish representations of their family members a mother can’t do anything but reply “Oh, honey, these are wonderful!” But when a grown woman likens her workmates to monsters, well…

Luckily the response from Jelly, Mark and NJ was delight and guttural exclamations (also of delight, I assume), after which we hung the family of frames outside the studio door. Why yes, we have a security system on premises: four fake monsters.

After debuting the quartet I asked their human counterparts for a first impression interview which are transcribed below, and are 90% accurate to what was recorded on my iPhone during the interviews.

Ten Second Interview with NJ the Intern
Bureau Representative: What were you thinking at the moment this portrait was taken?
NJ the Intern: Erm. Hmmm. Ugghghhh. Tphhht.
Bureau Representative: Unsure?
**NJ reaches out and softly strokes his fuzzy tan fur**
Bureau Representative: How does it feel to touch yourself?
NJ the Intern: Um. Uhhh. Uggg. Feels good.
Bureau Representative: What sound is your little mouth making in this portrait?
NJ the Intern: Glerm.
Continue reading “Monster Portraits”

The Domestic Transformer

This is a video about Gary Chang, a Hong Kong architect who transformed his 330-square foot apartment into a super-efficient “24-room” domicile. What an incredible use of space that shows the versatility of what a home can be, and what can be achieved even with such strict parameters. Design solved this nicely.