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Design

'The Joy of Type Design': These Massive Alphabetic Prints Were Created Using Just Four Shapes

November 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Using the Brico System for letterpress printing requires thinking of every possible combination from A to Z. The simple method involves just four shapes to create typographic forms and geometric renderings, and it founded a recent collaboration between artist and printmaker Anthony Burrill, designer and printer Thomas Mayo, and Oli Bently, who helms the Leeds-based studio Split and the People Powered Press, a non-profit printer that’s the largest letterpress operation of its kind in the world.

Together, the trio created one monochromatic print of every letter, which span 1.5 meters. “With near endless possibilities of letter forms, weights, sizes and styles, it was created so that anyone can share in the joy of type design,” they say.

The group is selling the monochromatic pieces to fund the work of People Powered Press—email Split to see which are still in stock and make a purchase—and pick up the book documenting the entire process from the studio’s shop. You also can try your hand at the Brico System with this simulator.

 

 

 



Photography

Adventurous Snails Find Themselves Thrust Into 'The Slimelight' in a Quirky New Book

November 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland, courtesy of Broccoli, shared with permission

Snails, they’re just like us! Teeming with cinematic photos, a new book pulls back the curtains on the slimy critter’s vibrant social lives, as they slip out of their shells for shopping, shenanigans, and a night on the town. Snail World: Life in the Slimelight chronicles the quirky adventures and nostalgic miniature scenes occupied by the tiny creatures, which Illinois-based duo Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland (previously) have arranged for years. Paired with an array of puns, the playful photographs feature the critters bellying up to a bar, sliding across a Twister mat, and sipping bubble tea.

Grab a copy of Snail World: Life in the Slimelight from the women-led press Broccoli, and follow the intrepid creatures on Murawski’s Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Smell Like A Million Books With Powell’s Books New Fragrance 'Eau de Bookstore'

November 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Waft this new scent for hints of wood, violet, and… musty paperback? Powell’s Books, the beloved independent shop in Portland, recently announced a limited-edition perfume that smells just like its seemingly endless rows of new and used titles. “This scent contains the lives of countless heroes and heroines. Apply to the pulse points when seeking sensory succor or a brush with immortality,” Powell’s says about the forthcoming release.

Termed an “Eau de bookstore,” the unisex fragrance was spurred by customers saying they missed the aroma of the shop during the ongoing pandemic. The packaging of Powell’s by Powell’s even resembles a bright red hardback that can sit inconspicuously on a shelf with other titles.

If you’re in the United States, you can pre-order a bottle now. As Powell’s notes on Instagram, you’ll smell “like a million books.” (via Kottke)

 

 

 

 



Photography

BLACK SUN: Amorphous Flocks of Starlings Swell Above the Danish Marshlands

November 12, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Søren Solkær, shared with permission

Captured in the marshlands of southern Denmark, Søren Solkær’s ongoing project documents one of nature’s most mesmerizing phenomena. BLACK SUN focuses on the quiet landscapes of the Danish photographer’s childhood where nearly one million starlings congregate during the vernal and autumnal seasons. Set at dusk, the photographs frame the migratory birds as they take to the sky in murmurations, amorphous groups that transform the individual creatures into a unified entity.

The fluctuating flight patterns swell above the horizon as the birds move from tree to tree or sometimes, in response to an impending threat. “Now and then, by the added drama of attacking birds of prey, the flock will unfold a breathtaking and veritable ballet of life or death,” Solkær says, further comparing their airborne appearance to inky sketches or calligraphy. He expands on the starlings’ adaptability:

At times the flock seems to possess the cohesive power of super fluids, changing shape in an endless flux: From geometric to organic, from solid to fluid, from matter to ethereal, from reality to dream—an exchange in which real-time ceases to exist and mythical time pervades. This is the moment I have attempted to capture—a fragment of eternity.

BLACK SUN culminates in a forthcoming book by the same name, which will be released November 16 and is available for pre-order in Solkær’s shop, along with prints and some of his other works. Follow the photographer on Instagram to keep up with his phenomenological projects.

 

 

 



Photography

A New Book Documents the Magnificent Experience of Swimming with Humpback Whales

November 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jem Cresswell, shared with permission

Between 2014 and 2018, Jem Cresswell spent countless hours submerged in the depths of the southern Pacific Ocean surrounding Tonga. There he captured a group of humpback whales as they gracefully maneuvered around him, allowing the Sydney-based photographer to unveil the details of their grooved underbellies and barnacle-clad skin. The original project has culminated in a new book that documents the creatures’ movements and idiosyncrasies in striking black-and-white images.

Giants spans 220 pages detailing the humpbacks and their calves. To complete the massive book, Cresswell pared down more than 11,000 shots, the majority of which haven’t been published previously. The photographer shares memories and historical details about the massive creatures throughout, including the incredible awareness that comes from swimming with sentient beings so much larger than himself. “You never forget your first humpback experience,” he writes. “The sublime sense of insignificance that it instills in you. It has to be one of the most humbling experiences on Earth.”

Only 1,500 copies of Giants, which are signed and numbered, are available for purchase on the book’s site, which also offers glimpses into Cresswell’s process creating the compendium. To stay up to date with the photographer’s latest underwater projects, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Textural Sculptures by Artist Jessica Drenk Use Junk Mail, Book Pages, and Q-Tips to Explore Materiality

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster. All images © Jessica Drenk, courtesy of Galleri Urbane, shared with permission

Montana-born artist Jessica Drenk (previously) employs simple materials, like shopping flyers and standard No. 2 pencils, to create organic sculptures that are chaotic and arresting explorations of the substances themselves. Bundled Q-tips spread across a site-specific installation like the roots of a tree, a carved section of plywood reveals concentric patterns, and strips of junk mail are plastered together in long waves.

While Drenk’s latest series, titled Transmutations, is diverse and ranges from wall pieces to cavernous sculptures, each artwork explores materiality and how disparate shapes and textures combine to create forms that are new both physically and conceptually. The artist explains in a statement:

In treating everyday objects as raw material to sculpt, I practice a form of conceptual alchemy: through physically manipulating these objects their meanings become transmuted. Each piece is a direct response to material—a subversion of the meanings associated with it, and a reference to the life cycle of objects through time.

If you’re in Dallas, Transmutations is on view at Galleri Urbane through October 31. Otherwise, follow Drenk’s textural works on Artsy, and watch an interview with the artist at her studio below.

 

“Contour 3” (2020), carved plywood, 47 x 38 x 3 inches

“Implement 68” (2020), pencils, 22 x 18 x 17 inches

“Cerebral Mapping” (2020), books and wax, 132 x 80 inches

“Compression 3” (2020), books, wax on wood panel, and wood frame, 44 x 38 x 2 inches

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster

Top: “Aggregate 3” (2020), junk mail, 28 x 130 x 2.25 inches. Bottom: “Aggregate 2” (2020), junk mail and plaster, 20 x 78 x 2.5 inches

Left: “Circulation 18” (2020), books and wax, 31 x 29 x 1.5 inches. Right: “Circulation 19” (2020), junk mail and cardboard, 36 x 36 x 1.5 inches