Skate Art

I am by no means a “skater”.  I think I’ve been on a skateboard once in my life and I felt like I was going to fall off and end up with a completely scraped and bruised body.  Yes, I know that it has a similar feel to a surfboard in the way that you steer etc, but there is something about coming in contact with concrete that scares me.  I prefer to go plunging into water even if there are hidden rocks and the possibility of carnivorous predators lurking below.

However I enjoy the artwork.  Not necessarily the graffiti look that is often associated with skating and urban jungles (although I do like some of it), but what I really is the combination of materials and the simplicity of the shapes such as in the work of Geoff McFetridge:


Yes, I enjoy the art but more importantly I like the way that the film was made.  An interview of this kind could be considered rather dry but with the quick camera movements, which admittedly I usually don’t like too much, and the movement around the studio, it actually works.  And on another level, it gives me confidence that there is a future for artists, even with everything moving into a digital culture.

Thank goodness for some things that just work better off the screen sometimes.

Rejuvenation :: Putting it on Paper

There are two things that I’ve found that help when I’m stressed.  1) Working out any frustration with rigorous exercise and 2) writing it down.  Just getting whatever is bothering me off my chest and taking a few minutes for myself makes all the difference.

Now this is going to sounds silly, but the notebook or journal that I write in makes all the difference as to how much I like to write and how it makes me feel when I do it.  Paper quality is a huge thing.  No one likes to write on rough paper that makes the process even more difficult than it needs to be – because if you’re like me, I can’t seem to write fast enough sometimes.  I need smooth paper for quick pen action.

Another thing is if the paper has lines on the page versus a plain sheet.  If the lines are spaced too far apart of too close together, I have no desire to read write on that kind of page.  The page color, the pocket in the back for storing small moments and even the  cover changes the way that I write and the inspiration can be gone in a second if I don’t like my notebook.

My favorite notebook in a long time has smooth plain pages, perfect for sketches, notes and a nice big pocket on the back cover.  It even has a nice elastic band for keeping the pages together when the additional pieces of paper get too much for the spine.  Recently, it’s been something like these notebooks:

Enrico Mazzanti

I love the diversity of locations that people take these notebooks and that the can inspire so much creativity.  They say that Hemingway used these notebooks when penning his latest work.  This video inspires me to go somewhere new and note my observations.  Perhaps the whole point of Moleskine notebooks?

What inspires you to get your stresses out?

Goodwill :: Making Charity Beautiful

If you went to the kind of schools that I went to, giving your time back to the community was always a big deal . We had to log a number of hours each semester just to graduate from my high school and in college, many of my PR class projects were for non-profits.  Usually this was in the form of creating promotional pieces in print or video form and the most we got out of it was a grade and the simple satisfaction that we helped someone else.

After years of volunteering at soup kitchens and fundraising for cancer research, the hard truth of charity can come through and make things look a little drab at times.  Because lets face it – charity makes you take a hard look at what is not quite right with the world and trying to change that is often messy. I know that it’s worth it in the end to help those less fortunate than yourself, but just for once it would be nice for it to look nice too.

And that’s what Michael does – he makes charity beautiful:

Cory J Pop

I realize that this is my admiration for designers coming out again, but this is something rare that as someone in the creative industry, it’s nice to see beauty and charity coming together.  I only wish that my work space looked as nice as Michael’s!  Something to aspire to, right?

And with that, I’m off to start prepping for Thanksgiving as I’ve been put in charge of cooking this year.  How did that happen?  Stories of dried out turkey and a messy kitchen most like due for next week.  Wish me luck!

Art Meditations :: Cover Art

I draw to relax but that doesn’t happen very often.  I usually get sucked into watching TV or something just as mind-numbing.  Silly considering I stare at a screen all day at work and usually I’m sick of it by the end of the day.  But its so much easier to turn on a movie instead.

Would I still like drawing if I did it for a living?  I doubt I would have the patience to make that happen and who would want my stuff when there are artists like this out there:

Danny Cooke

Nothing I could ever draw would look this dynamic or detailed, which is one of the reasons why I admire this video so much.  The artist, David A. Smith blows me away with his attention to detail and I love the time-lapse used to show his creative process.

The funny thing is that as soon as I saw this video I thought of John Mayer‘s album cover for “Born and Raised” and after actually looking at the filmmaker’s page a little more closely, realized that the same artist did the cover artwork for both albums.

This video is a lot longer than the one made for The Kings of Leon and I’m not a huge fan of the style used but I think the creative process is fascinating.  It makes me very glad that there are people out there who still use century old methods of creating their work.



Feeling daunted to draw something?  I bet you could come up with something pretty incredible yourself.

Art Meditations :: The Great War

For those living in the US, the Great War is something that we generally skim over in history class- we generally focus on WWII.  For those living in Western Europe, it’s a very different story.  You study WWI for years at a time, at least you do in England, and if you’ve studied it in the last 15 years, you’ve probably gone on field trips to the battlefields.  You’ve stood in the trenches, in crater holes blasted out by bombs and seen the remnant shells stacked up along farmers’ fields- those shells that were never cleared away after the end of the war.  At least that’s my experience of studying the war.  You almost fell guilty for not doing your part even though it happened decades before you were born.

There are reminders of the sacrifices made during that time all over Europe, intertwined with the memories of WWII.  It’s a part of the land and something that you can’t ignore.  There really isn’t anything to compare it with in the US – even Civil War battle grounds aren’t the same.

I found this video a few months ago and in the end, bought the book for my dad as a Father’s Day gift:

ww Norton


Most of my studies have come from books, some from old newsreels etc. but this book gives the Battle of the Somme a whole new light.  It makes it into something visual and puts across the magnitude much better than any other source that I’ve seen.  It actually gives the numbers a human element and not just statistics on the page.  This beautiful book is art and fact all combined into one and I love it for that.

I don’t see this book as being about tragedy, although it does encompass that.  I see it as a chance to truly understand something that is beyond our reality and to take in something that is one of the largest world conflicts in history.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Meditations on Paper

As much as I’m loving this unusually warm summer for the Pacific Northwest, I have one complaint: The heat makes me lethargic.  It makes it kind of hard to get things done when I just want to lay on the beach somewhere or glide around on a paddle board. However, that isn’t something that I can do all the time right now.

The high temperatures also make my thoughts wonder- it probably has something to do with the fact that the sun is shining and it always grabs my attention when I’m near a window.  I find it kind of meditative, something that drawing also does for me.  I don’t do it all that often but it makes me relax – something I associate with summer and warm weather.  I would never say that I’m any good at drawing or that what I produce is even worth keeping but I like how it makes me forget whatever is going on in my life.

I’m always in awe of those who produce art for a living- I’ve only featured artists multiple times on this blog, but for this month I’m just talking about artists that draw for a living.  I’m always fascinated by their way of conveying their ideas and thoughts or even their


Until next week though, I leave you with a short video that makes me relax and imagine that I’m somewhere else.  It makes me feel like its summer no matter what the weather outside. And as my summer travels are very limited this year, this gives me just a couple minutes of escape.  Enjoy!

Poppy de Villeneuve


Meet :: The Illustrator

I’d like you to meet Victo Ngai. She is a very accomplished freelance artist and if you read the NY Times, the New Yorker or other similar publications, you’ve probably seen her work. How cool is that?! I bet most of us have seen her work at some point or other but never knew it.

like knows like

I’ve been working with all sorts of artists over the last few months and it’s amazing how many are out there, but most people never realize it.  This is one of the reasons why I like this film- it gives us a chance to know the artist behind the work in our newspapers.

And if you liked learning about Victo, then check out Like Knows Like, a project that shares the behind the scenes stories (just like this one) of those artists that inspire us, but for all intensive purposes are invisible.

Ohana :: The Bear and the Hare

The John Lewis Christmas Ad is one of the most anticipated of ads in the UK every holiday season.  It’s kind of like the much awaited window displays in the larger department stores down Regent Street.  The best part is that you can now watch these ads anywhere in the world.

John Lewis

Admittedly, John Lewis is encouraging the public to buy the greatest gifts of the season but their message is always a good one- do something special for those you love this Christmas.  We could probably take a lesson from that other times of the year too.  I think my favorite part of this video is that it doesn’t seem to matter what species the characters are- they all come together to celebrate.  And of course don’t forget that they do what they can to include those who wouldn’t usually be able to be there.

I couldn’t help but post this as well- the making of The Bear and the Hare.  I am always in awe of animation production, but this takes it a whole new level.


So there you are, two videos in one post and hopefully they made you smile even during this stressful time of year.

Classroom :: Art

I openly admit that I have an addiction to typography and it seems to be getting worse as I spend more time working on design projects for work. Why didn’t I go into graphic design?  I didn’t realize that I liked it until I got waist deep in video and there was no turning back then!  Anyway, I had to share this find:

[vimeo w=640&360]

I was never that great at drawing at school although I still try from time to time.  I don’t know if I would be any good at creating type- maybe someday I will try it.  For now I will continue to find fonts that I like online and use them in my video and the odd print design that I have to come up with.

Classroom :: Geology

Al Boardman

I never took a geology class per se, but I did take oceanography and we examined a lot of rocks and sand particles our Thursday afternoon labs.  I know the ocean is a far cry from our highest mountains, but really it’s not as far as you many think.  They are remarkable linked due to the rock cycle.

I like this video for many reasons- one is that I happen to live in the Pacific Northwest where there are mountains on either side of where I’m currently living.  As anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while will know, I love going up into the mountains and hiking as much as possible in the summer.  Another reason I love this video is the animation and the presence of Mt. Kilimanjaro- a mountain that I have actually summited, and Ojos del Salado in Chile, which I’ve looked at from a distance.  It all boils down to the fact that mountains make me feel at home and I love that someone has created an ode to these magnificent natural monuments.