Friday, 27 February 2009

Voices inside my head

What makes rhythm, the beat, the sloooww and tantalizing sound that reverberates and bounces off walls like fuzzy striped yellow balls speeding out of a steady steel machine that drums, drums, drums...french manicured fingers tapping a white Formica table.

The beat wrapped and tightened around the everyday, the camera helps me see, the sounds of beatific tunes trailed on our heels as we swirled through Camden. Dogs barked and cranes squawked along a Regent walkway.

It was fun to have a Friday off (especially given the thick and syrupy rich tension that envelopes the office, blue felt partitions mingle with anxiety and uncertainty to truly separate warm but no longer present bodies) and spend it with family visiting from France.

I am ready for the next turn ahead (actually I am getting a crink in my neck from looking ahead, behind and all around; it's lurking like that the Mr Strings advert).

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Going All Hollywood

I'm really bent on this idea of collaboration, and how social media and a shifting industry reinforces the need for partnership more than ever before. It's all about the Hollywood model, the collage of talented people, from scriptwriters, directors, producers, lighting technicians, photographers, actors, sound specialists, etc, that work together to weave together narratives that form the rich tapestry of our culture. OK, now the communications industry may not be taking over the movie business, but I do believe it is going to take a new approach to engage deeply with people, one with creativity at its core.

A lot of the projects I have in mind would necessitate contributions from a host of talented folk - from illustrators to designers (from comics to Twitter stories to Open source API)...

Any thoughts on collaborative projects you're working on or have heard about?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Underground reprieve

This is what I miss about NYC. Beautiful breaks in the madness. Creativity just waiting to be discovered all around you (usually in the most unlikely places). I remember being a kid, going to spend the weekend with my Pop on the Bowery (Lower East Side Manhattan) and riding the D train from Park Slope. Graffiti artists had tagged a certain tunnel with beautiful images that moved along with you like a motion picture. It was magical. It was a colorful story unfolding for a brief moment in time.

Walker Evans' subway series captures passengers caught in between time, turned off, no pretence, no act, no charade- taking a reprieve from the above ground world. The shots are haunting. (I'd love to do a similar project in the modern underground, unfortunately, I'd probably get sued. Walker Evans had a small camera hidden in his coat that allowed him to snap away unnoticed).

There is something raw and mysterious about the subway. The underground reprieve.

The MOMA has given the daily grind more flavor and color by filling Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street subway station with reproductions of over 50 works of art from Picasso to Warhol. MOMA is sharing its prints but also asking people to reciprocate by posting own photos, which are displayed on MOMA's microsite)Some photos and video tour below.

The 'invitation' copy is pretty engaging:

We know you’re moving at warp speed to get from here to there, but take a breath and take a look. We hope what you see in the station changes the way you see the world today, if only for a moment. And it’s a reminder that the real MoMA is only a short ride away.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Digital Portfolio Pains

Wow. I'm lucky to have such a fracking patient, sweet and supportive (and with basic knowledge of DreamWeaver) partner. I also have a new found appreciation for producers generally. People who animate ideas and understand the mechanics and usability of a medium. We've been literally in front of the computer for like 6 hours, and managed to create 3 pages. Mind you, our skills combined are far from professional when it comes to html and css. Hence the massive time consumption. But three pages in, I'm happy. Great start (the landing page was the hardest to configure). The more simple things seem, the more complex they are, and perhaps vice-versa. Creative writing and design homework will have to wait in line, right next to buying theater tickets for in-laws (due to arrive this Wednesday), cleaning the house, preparing for not one, but two pitches, and well everything else in between.

Here's a taste of the landing page...(still under construction)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Commute

Wind screamed and whistled
like a big Texan at a rodeo
subway intimacy
staring into sand, honey and blond
blue ridged rubber floor
holding onto strange surfers
the buzz of the silver car
sounds like time travel
quietening petulant morning fears
held tightly in the embrace of warm bodies
rocking to and fro
a collective set of leaves
on a parched bark
a respite
break from destinations
Chinese beats faintly
pepper the backdrop
deep rumbling below
like miniature jack hammers
which jolt to a halt
as the train swings or swigs
a drunk losing his step
while holding unto the bottle
moments held frozen underground

Friday, 20 February 2009


A friend once told me that we live many different lives in one lifetime. It's almost as if you can look back and see the different versions of yourself, the eighties self, plastic earrings and acid wash jeans, the obnoxious, loud mouthed teenager, melancholic Cure/Smiths listening boarding school kid, there are so many sides of our coined lives. Of course you recognize yourself somewhere inside, probably squirming.

Moving often helped me create and leave behind all these characters, and gave me the freedom to imagine and reconstruct every time (I just envisioned a band of slightly altered clones peppered across the world;).

I feel the same way about a career - the growing, uncomfortable, change and morphing part. I am on the cusp of reincarnation. Oddly coinciding with one of the biggest financial agitation of our time (or at least my time). Strange but exciting. Who will we become next?

Image courtesy of dharmaprotector.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Dirt under fingernails

I've been doing some research on DIY and it seems like the minute I poked my toe in the water, I was surrounded by a pool of info.

Perhaps given the current market shake-up, DIY has become a necessity (this is not a revelation by any means, but what is interesting are the types of DIY projects that are cropping up). We're witnessing the birth of a more expansive, quite unique form of DIY. (What's more unique than a Buddhist monk building a temple out of Heineken and Chang bottles?)

We’re all making our own things or remaking or repurposing what we already have, from the revival of crochet, knitting, and development of certain skill-sets. In service-based economies, people are rediscovering the joy of craft and the art of making things (the tangible!). When coupled with social media, these groups increase and solidify, with events, discussions and meetings centered around newly found passion centers (guerilla gardening).

Enabled and driven by advances in technology that allow us not to be geek-fabulous to do things on own own, we are doing more things by ourselves than ever before. People are taking great pride in either saving money, expressing themselves or doing the green thing, some examples:

• DIY Cocktail nights (making your own wine and beer has become quite popular)
• Dinner parties (from making bread to DIY exotic food kits)
• Home fixes and quick make-overs (people are holding on to their property and turning them into homes); which may include recycled lamps or other home items
• Shopping (from creating new things out of old, rediscovering old pieces, designing new pieces, to swapping with friends or even strangers
• DIY entertainment of all sorts (making our own music, albums, videos)

A visual expression of this new modern DIY below...

What are you doing yourself that you may not have done before?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Fabric Destiny

Went to see the Hussein Chalayan exhibition at the Design Museum, and I suppose I wasn't really expecting it to astound. Well I really enjoyed the art direction, the themes, the entire environment surrounding each room and experience, exploring issues of cultural identity, displacement and migration.I loved the Manifest Destiny sign. Wouldn't it be great if fate and purpose could just appear on a wall right in front of our eyes.

Magical Mapping

SCINTILLATION from Xavier Chassaing on Vimeo.

Experimental film made up of over 35,000 photographs that combines an innovative mix of stop motion and live projection mapping techniques.


Sunday, 15 February 2009

Information or personal?

I was speaking to a prospective client about Twitter. He recently unfollowed a bunch of folks because he thought they filled his page with random useless information, from inner thoughts to constant life updates. He doesn't see the value in this exchange, but rather prefers to follow people that share information about the world, technology, or his field. That got me thinking. I actually like a blend of the two. Sometimes I enjoy the personal flavor of Twitter, hearing about how people feel about Thursday mornings, or what motivates them to eat a cheese and bacon sandwich, and of course I discover all sorts of interesting information that I wouldn't find anywhere else. Twitter helps organize and flag some of the most interesting topics, discussions, events going on both off and online. But I still like the medicine cabinet feel of Twitter as well.

Another conversation with someone in the Advertising industry was quite different, although this related to blogging. He basically expressed blog fatigue when it came to people pontificating about how much they know, a type of web-posturing I suppose. He loved the personal life-story element of blogging, and felt turned off by cold peacock parade of knowledge.

I spoke to my partner about this. I suppose I was wondering if I had something valuable to add, or how to achieve the balance between sharing info and sharing bits about my life (but hey I really may not be that interesting;). He responded that I blogged to share, not just to enter a one-way dialogue (otherwise why put it out there?). Perhaps whether someone reads it or not is another story. I need to build my connections, comment on people's blogs, refine my own writing, my own stories, my own information. To strike the right balance between the informative and personal (which can border on the mundane).

What do you think? Why do you blog?

Valentine's Day - perfect night for the Circus

Went to see La Clique this V Day. Highly recommend it!

I've always loved subversive cultures, a way of living this thing called life differently. A goodbye to convention and societal pressure. All bets off and sky's the limit (especially for trapeze artists). Gypsies, punks, circus performers and artists enthrall me. Giving the inverse peace sign to the staid rules, they chose to live by their own beliefs.

La Clique was a highly entertaining Cabaret meets Circus meets Vaudeville show, from an amazing contortionist, roller-skating dare devils, sensual hula-hoop number, burlesque man in wet jeans in a bathtub and female trapeze artist, it was superb.

Made me want to join the circus. That would be the coolest gig - traveling the world, making people laugh and creating your own pace.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Ineligible bachelors

Standing, sad and gray
covered in braided gold chains
that twirl and unlock to make out grand letters
trilby hats stacked and cocked to the side
30 minute shadows grow like black weeds
piercing through pores like mid-evil spears
a revolt against middle-aged mediocrity
YSL bags under deeply pocketed eyes
reveal miles crossed, the furtive search
for brand name meaning
foot on top of pedestals
weary yellow curled toe nails
poke their way out of undersized plastic flip-flops
Charcoal fly wings cover pale and emaciated calves
in stark contrast
to a grossly overworked upper body
confidence from the waist up
dressed and wrapped like shining Christmas gifts
silver, blue, red and white
swirl across the sparsely haired chest
Hawaiian tee-shirts screaming
thickly trimmed tortoise shell frames
leaning slightly forward
in a desperate attempt to stand out and up
against the greasy skid jump of a nose
sprinkled with blackheads
disguised as sun-kissed freckles (feigning health)
forgetting their origins
in the shocking pink of it all
an exhibition of caricatures
colored and removed from natural habitats
leaving behind cubicles with random pictures
tacked into blue felt partitions
amidst cacophonous symphony of rings, bleeps and shuffling
the caged listless animals
let loose
prowling squeamishly on presumably trendy streets
filled with UGG laden damsels secreting money and honey highlights
in front of made-up men
doing a peacock-feathered rumba
putting the Queen on display
like a cheap prostitute in ripped fish-nets
creative scarlet lipstick bleeding outside the lines
the crass walk of fame
echoing with the footsteps of pointed two-toned
flat carnival shoes
click, clack, click, clack
an almost sexual cooing call
pronouncing a muted desperate cry
of a people lost
still fumbling, crumbling
at the feet of deceptive gods
while some hide behind lush burgundy velvet curtains
cackling at the sheer absurdity
of grown men with piercingly white teeth
decorated in gold caps
(no silver lining in sight)

Dating Electric, Fabulous photography by Adrian Samson, located in the reception area of the Proximity building. Amateur renditions shot by yours truly.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Black and white bars
scrape raspberry flesh
rubbed raw with sandpaper reality
ash-covered pieces of paper turn and fold
flapping like dog ears without a care in the world
the wind on a warm summer's day
orange skies set like tangerines huddled together in the distance
people walk past, rushing, trying to catch today's news
printed stories and rebellious typefaces litter the kitten gray sky
some songs creep out of plastified ears
hanging over heads like cartoon clouds
the brisk speed at which swarms travel
make it easy to miss
the sepia profile crushed like sticky grapes
dripping against the oppressive weight
of metaphoric cages, incandescent rages
hands pushed against the barriers
individual patterns faded and mixed
with the grainy paper
frozen in an everlasting moment
soul squeezed like fresh fruit on display
in wooden crates (grapefruit, melon, peach)
lined up along Broome Street
bodies move in a flurry
cigarette ashes make little circles above hard concrete
blending, blurring, a rhythmic scurrying
folks feed and feast on earthly delights
while underfoot, if you look really closely
spirits strike a strange pose
against metal, paper, steel, grit and grime
layer upon layer
hidden but present

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Core

After much thought and dabbling, I finished my Core brand project for design class (see previous blog posts here and here).

I chose textile colors to represent the physical aspect of this MP3 store and combine the virtual and the real (especially when the logo is online); and flowing typeface to illustrate the movement of music.

Now I just need to find the right partners and seed capital.

Rockin' @ the Core...

Thursday, 5 February 2009


i love things, people and places that just don't seem to belong together but that find themselves connected.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Speeds past the energizer concept

I would have enjoyed the brainstorm session that lead to the development of 'what's faster than fast (no speeding bullets), building layer upon layer of speed...shaved rabbit and caffeinated pilot. Superb.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ad Parade

I've never been a big fan of the Superbowl, but I certainly appreciate the Ad parade that marches around this time of year. Coke's Heist does a good job at recreating some fantastical and magical elements reminiscent of childhood (although I used to be quite apprehensive of the Big Bad wolf soundtrack;). I especially enjoyed it on a snowed in day in London. Brought to you by w+k.

Monday, 2 February 2009

The view of the record breaking storm...

...from my window. I like working from home sometimes, and there's nothing like listening to absolutely chuffed kids playing in the snow. I'm glad the UK is not as organized as Canada (we would have had salt and plows roaring to go at the crack of dawn). Let's see what tomorrow brings (hopefully more snow;).

What are you hiding?

I was in research mode today and during my web trawl I came across a couple of interesting campaigns. The first is HBO's Everybody has something to hide.

One of the tactics is HBO's 'Big Love' Headphone Jacks, a hard-hitting engagement idea (to promote its upcoming Big Love series that has been off the air for some time) that invites or entices people to plug in their headphones and listen in on snippets of secrets (people could hear a recording of a different secret about people pictured on the street-level billboards).

Sounds entertaining and like the perfect distraction from the daily grind (evidence of this escapism: Hollywood produced its first billion dollar month in January).

The people revealing the secrets are not characters on the program: they seem to be a cross-section of modern-day city residents. This part of the campaign, created by the ad agency BBDO New York, is meant to illustrate the campaign’s tagline, “Everyone Has Something to Hide.”

The actual characters' secrets revealed on the HBO microsite, here.

Creativity lives in the content and delivery...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Digital duplication or redefinition?

I wonder how alter-egos, avatars, characters and sketched profiles, affect the development of our personalities, or do we just become a bit more schizophrenic?

Are there clear lines drawn between the selves we construct online to the actual people we project in the physical world (if that world is any more real than the digital one, I'm not too sure. As to what defines 'real' is perhaps up for debate. I said perhaps and it depends what mood you're in;)?

How is our behavior affected by this transmutation or bifurcation? I am finding (probably because I don't have the proper connective equipment - errm iPhone) that I lead divergent lives, off and on screen (and not as glamorous as it may sound).

Although I am weaving these together with some ideas (as per a few of my recent blog posts), I suppose I have more work to do than the Millennium Gen, which has always know one world (more or less). Umbilical cords abound...

Do you have a digital persona? Have you mastered the off/on line balance?

Excitement & frustration in equal measure

I feel a major kvetch coming on but I know I should stop myself immediately, because moaning is not going to do any good. I'm frustrated because I am attempting to make a logo for my design class. The frustration stems from not being able to navigate the CS4 terrain with agility or dexterity, in other words, I am skiing down a black diamond with skis crossed in a bizarre triangular shape (not good). I have a habit of trying to run when i have barely finished crawling. Long story short, I haven't learned the basics of Illustrator and I am frustrated (but I think I've made this point).

So, the idea is fleshed out in my head. My High Street retail brand is called CORE. One definition of core is: central part of different character from what surrounds it. It is also...'the horny capsule containing seeds' from which new things grow.

Core is a MP3 music shop, but since it is virtually selling air, it aims to become an experience in music.

Core will fuse the best of old school record shops with digital ease, both which have at its nexus the social aspect of music (sharing, from expertise to information). This brand concept will reinvent or refresh the definition of a music store.

Core = shop + talk + stage = musical journey

Core brings it back to the essentials of music by having:

Music experts as its staff, so you get a personalized, up-to-date specialized and even esoteric advice and recommendations
Live music jams: concerts, shows, sessions = experience (and of course the artist's recommended playlist on sale)
Music curators: celebrities and special guests compile their playlists and chose artist of the month (there will be in-store displays that include the person's profile and description of musical tastes and explanation of their choice)
The spins: DJs would spin during lunch and after work on certain days of the month
Band auditions would be held @ Core in association with MySpace
Talking Tunes: events that feature different panelists to discuss various issues associated with music (music journalist night, influence of music on art and vice-versa, etc.)
Fashion shows where music and catwalks entwine
Video pre-release parties
Core lounge evenings
Music tutorials: from learning an instrument to new technology

Core is more than an ordinary store, it is a space where music can be experienced in all its forms, and a place that connects the visceral, tangible, real, tactile and experiential with the digital music realm. It will also exist online and will give Amazon and Apple a run for their money, since it will offer MP3s, podcasts and the like, but also connect people to in-store events (ticket sales), specialized playlists, interviews with musicians, ezine, and more.

So now I just have to create the logo...(as you can see the form that comes easiest to me is the written word. But I want to learn the basics so imagery and design can work with words to convey meaning and expression). I think I'll hit the drawing board (literally).