kris tate.

I like the collision of colour and greyscale, and also of forms that are literal with those that aren’t. Which is a fancy way of saying that I like it when deer wear bad 80s sweaters and lasers shoot out of cats’ eyes. Which is all an elaborate lead-up to the fact that I really dig these illustrations from British graphic designer Kris Tate. Even better, she’s got some gorgeous prints for sale online at Society 6, and if one of them could magically appear on my wall that would be mint.


Sometimes art follows the same ideal as the scientific principle Occham’s razor: “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.” While there can be beauty and complexity in an appearance of excess – Jackson Pollock is the first example that pops into my mind – there is a polar, but equally “complex simplicity” in the restraint and deftness needed to create an equal eye-catching visual from the simplest building blocks.

Plus, retro shit is just cool.


Toronto’s own Superbrothers (a.k.a. Craig D. Adams) takes the building block of the digital age, the lovely little pixel, and works his magic by cleanly and masterfully making art that is both retro and forward and groundbreaking all at once. It’s not a recreation of the old pixel as much as re-imagining of it, not a re-use but a way of taking the energy and creativity of the old 8-bit universe and imbuing it into new work. There’s a crazy beauty in examining the little things that make up everything else: oxygen molecules seem lowly until they gather to create wind; a water molecule seems miniscule until they coalesce into the ocean. And pixels are the foundation for all our digital canvases, with Adams giving us a fascinating view, as if through a microscope, into all the possibilities the little guys still hold and the magic they wield even in their most unaugmented form.

Adding to the coolness are two videos, created by Superbrothers, for the amazing Jim Guthrie (which he composed, appropriately and amazingly, on a Playstation…)

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.




If you’re into it (and why wouldn’t you be…) then head to the Superbrothers Shop to pick up prints and tees.

anonymous: just douche it.

So this little puppy turned up on Adrants today. Apparently it’s about to appear in a yet unnamed international publication, and the equally anonymous tipster told them “We prefer to keep the publication anonymous for now but this will be going to print in the very near future and we expect it to provoke some discussion and probably some threats of legal action.”

Looks very Adbusters-ish to me, but who knows. I like Nike. I wear Nikes. So I’m not posting this to trash them. Because the only thing I like more than my right to enjoy and support a brand, no matter how ubiquitous it may be, is the right of anyone else to hate it enough to make fun of it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jake for letting me know that Just Douche It did actually turn up as the back cover on the latest issue of Adbusters. Sweet.


markus hofko: the rainbowmonkey.

I’m going through a big German illustration fan-boy phase, and today is no exception. The Rainbowmonkey is the online portfolio site of German-born, currently New Zealand-based designer, musician, and artist Markus Hofko. Chock full of design goodness, his stuff ranges from graphic design to illustration to photography to brand identity work to music videos. And all of it is completely kick ass.











I found this hot-ass print on one of my fave sites (and everyone else’s), Swiss Miss. Swiss Miss knows her shit. Anyway, upon some further digging I found this was just one part of a completely amazing brand and identity suite created by Buenos Aires-based design shop NNSS for  digital development company Naturaleza Digital.

Organic and prismatic, the inspirational hook came from the idea of “a mere drop of water separates a beam of light into a million colours”. Give it up for Sir Isaac Newton. Anyway – the print idea above is just the beginning. It takes a lot to make CDs and folders look this crazy good, and they’ve completely killed it.

In addition to that, here’s some other identity and print work NNSS has turned out. Amazing stuff all.

mickey and johnny: procrastination.

Brothers Michael and Johny Kelly are designers, illustrators, and filmmakers from Dublin, Ireland. Working both independently and sometimes in collaboration, their site, Mickey and Johnny, is a grab bag of goodness. From short film to photography to illustration to tee shirt design, they’ve got a bright, colourful, minimalist style that they’ve translated beautifully across all the media they work in.

One of my faves is their short film procrastination. Visually kick ass with cut to the bone insights about just how lazy we get sometimes. The voiceover, by Bryan Quinn, is equally awesome. There’s something about frustrated yelling that just sounds so much better when it’s done with an Irish accent. Canadian yelling completely pales in comparison.

Johnny has a whole bunch of of varied works, including an animated short about a lobster named Shelly that falls in love with vinyl records, and this sweet tee, “Body Shirt”, that he did for Airside in 2006.

Michael has a few series of photgraphic works, mostly simple and straightforward crowd, outdoor, and people pics. They’re well composed and pleasing. My favourite is this one from the series “Abstract”. I can see their faces, but they just look so content:

Thanks to Five Husbands for the tip

jonathan haggard: roygbiv.

I love this piece from illustrator and designer Jonathan Haggard. It’s got that dusty 70s feel I enjoy, plus it’s called “Roygbiv”. It’s one of my favourite words. Well, it’s really an acronym. But if Milf can be a word, so can Roygbiv.

I want it on my wall, but he doesn’t have it produced for sale. So if you feel like writing him a harrassing encouraging email asking him to produce some, feel free.

Via Why Me?

marmite: hate/love.

Every country and culture has one of those inherent tastes you grow to love. The kind of social oddities that bind certain groups together while simultaneously disgusting the rest of the world. It’s kind of like the secret handshake to your national culture club. Then you can go backpacking to some other country and give a little nudge nudge wink wink to a fellow national as you hash out the difference between Pop and Soda (by the way, in the Southern US they call all flavours of pop “Coke”. How’s that for being top of mind?), or the great Canadian/American dilemma: Macaroni & Cheese vs. Kraft Dinner.

If you’re British, you’ve got Marmite. The non-British hatred and mockery of Marmite is so universally stereotypical that I feel like a boring wannabe for getting on the bandwagon. I like to think of myself as a little more worldly and open-minded, with the discerning palette to match. And so I tried Marmite once. Upon tasting Marmite, there is one very immediate, logical, and overwhelming conslusion: Marmite absolutely tastes like a yeast infection. There’s no other way to imagine it. It’s heinous almost beyond words. Even the little jars it comes in look nasty:

If you’re Australian, then you’ve got Marmite’s evil twin, Vegemite. Never say never, and maybe I’ll be totally loaded in Australia one day and throw caution to the wind, but based on my Marmite experience I can fairly safely say I would need to be water-boarded for several hours before I’d even consider trying Vegemite.

If you’re Canadian, then you’re likely all too familiar with the pure liquid evil that is Buckley’s Mixture. Famous for its brilliant tag line “It tastes awful. And it works.”, your first time drinking Buckley’s is a physical and mental experience akin to losing your virginity or getting waxed for the first time. It’s simply something you don’t forget. That’s how overwhelmingly vile it is. If you haven’t tried it, it boasts a consistency and flavour similar to what could really only be described as salted, mentholated snot. Or, let’s all be honest, semen.

Both brands have taken the perfect angle of not fighting against their inherent grossness, but instead capitalizing on it. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In their latest print campaign from DDB London, Marmite has created a series of posters where each image is a play on either loving Marmite or hating it. You can check out the full series here, but this one is my favourite:

Officially, it’s supposed to be a play on either putting a Marmite rice cake either into your mouth or into a garbage can. I’m pretty sure that nobody at DDB London missed the fact that what it really looks like is pulling a Marmite rice cake out of someone’s ass. Or, if that’s your sort of thing, putting it in someone’s ass. Which is appropriate, because ass is pretty much what Marmite tastes like.

As for Buckley’s, they recently knocked it out of the park with a viral and TV campaign showing the iconic “blind taste test” where people couldn’t tell the difference between Buckley’s and a host of other disgusting fluids, my personal favourite being “Buckley’s vs. Spring Break Hot Tub Water”:

Other highlights include Used Mouthwash, Snail Trail, Trash Bag Leakage, and the terrifyingly vague “Public Restroom Puddle”. Ah, the subtlety.

sky tv: “titanic”, “godzilla”, “king kong”.

One of my favourite art collectives working today is eBoy. They pioneered an entirely awesome, pixellated, throw-back style that’s influenced artists and designers around the world. These new ads for Sky TV are no exception. Super fun and filled with insider winks to film buffs, click on each one to see it full-sized and search out the cinematic references. Or, just check out how kick ass cool they are…

(Agency: Giovanni + DraftFCB São Paulo. Illustrator: Up Ilustração.)

christian hückstädt.

There’s something about nudity, adultery, and all the other jealousies that boil just below our surfaces depicted in cardboard and vegetable collages that somehow makes it all seem a lot more scandalous.

German illustrator Christian Hückstädt’s work is a balance of contradictory extremes. Sure, it looks like something you’d find pinned on a pre-schooler’s refrigerator door, but the subject matter and nuance of emotion is distinctly adult. The simplicity and child-hood association with his media choices make it easy to overlook just how skilled he is. With just a few pieces of cardboard he’s got not just pictures, but entire stories, coming to life here.

This next one is a favourite of mine. I don’t know much German, but the onomatopoeiac beauty of “Putzmeister” isn’t too hard to decipher. Plus, there’s a toilet nearby, so that helps…

That’s just the beginning. Hückstädt also does some pretty amazing photographic work with fruits and vegetables. It’s not that easy to make a watermelon look trepidatious, but he pulls it off big time:

There haven’t been too many times in my life where I’ve said “Gee, I wish I knew more German.” (and I’ve been to Berlin…) but right now I really wish I knew what all these vegetable posts were saying. I have a feeling it’s subtle and brilliant and probably one of those things that’s a bit too smart to translate into other languages. Like reading José Saramago; if it’s that kick-ass in English, imagine how mind-blowing it is in Portugese.

These are just from two sections from Hückstädt’s site – we haven’t even gotten into his vector, graphic, and print work yet. To delve deeper (especially if you can read German) check out his prolific career on his site.

Via Lifelounge