Monday, November 30, 2009

Pattern Play: Knockout

Happy manic Monday to you all, hope this finds you well! I’ve got some exciting new patterns to share with you today! Aren’t these crazy? Collectively, they’re called Knockout! I created them using three very old drawings that I drew while I was attending the SMFA in Boston. I came across the drawings a year ago, when I was moving studios, and just now decided to turn them into patterns. 

I totally love the way the patterns came out! I tried changing the drawings a bit, by adding black here or there, but in the end, it was the original drawing that made the best pattern. I even decided not to add any color, since I thought the black and white suited the repeat really well. 

I especially like how the black stripes contrast so boldly with the white background, and how the montage of geometric shapes in the foreground, create a lovely grey tone that floats across the surface. Eventually I would like to develop these patterns into color ways, but for now, I think they’re perfect just the way they are! If you have any color suggestions, feel free to leave a comment. I would love the input!

{Be sure to check out more patterns from the Cosmos Collection here}

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Visual Diary: Geordie Wood

Hello Folks! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Today I have some lovely eye candy from freelance photographer Geordie Wood. I came across these gorgeous pics on Oh Joy! and was immediately drawn to them. 

During fashion week in NYC this September Susan Woo debuted her second collection, Spring 2010. The following week Geordie Wood took to Space 523 in Brooklyn to shoot the new collection. Following the shoot, Geordie made 8×10 inch prints and hand painted the photographs. These lovely photographs are the end result! I just think they’re wonderful. 

I’ve always been a huge fan of mixed media in fashion/editorial photo shoots. It seems to add a whole other dimension to the photos and the subject. I especially love the choice of black dots, as they add texture and movement to the model’s rather stagnant stance without distracting too much from the clothing. Be sure to check out Geordie’s blog to read more and see some behind-the-scene pics. Enjoy!

{All images via Geordie Wood Blog}

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Visual Diary: I Heart Book Design Con't

Hello all! Hope you had a nice weekend. Sorry for the delay in posts this week, I've been struck by a horrible cold and have been out of commission until now. Today I thought I would continue with last Thursday’s theme of book design, and post some of the covers I designed while working at Houghton Mifflin Company.

I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the covers I'm inspired by with the covers that I create. Here I've shown just a few of my most favorite designs. A very small collection, considering in my four years, I designed a total of over 420 covers. But even among these few, you can identify my love of silhouettes, strong graphics and bold typographical treatments.

In general, I had complete creative license when designing these covers. Occasionally there would be an image request, or a color change, but overall by the time the project hit my desk, the creative elements were left to me. For a designer, it was a pretty ideal situation.

I think the most challenging aspect of the job was to create a textbook cover that was both visually appealing and stimulating enough to get a student to WANT to open the book. I approached each cover with the question, "If I were a college student and I was totally procrastinating, what combination of type and image would get me to open the thing." And that is how I went about designing these covers. I can only hope it was successful in the end. What do you think? Do you find these covers interesting? Do you want to open at least one? And if so, which one? I would love to hear your thoughts!

{All published covers © Houghton Mifflin Company}

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visual Diary: I Heart Book Design

Hello and happy Thursday everyone, the weekend is almost here and I’ve got some lovely eye-candy here to get you through to Friday. For those of you who don’t already know, when I first went into graphic design, I was very specialized; I only wanted to design books and most of all, book covers. Fortunately for me, I landed a job doing just that, fresh out of school.

For four years, I worked for Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston, designing textbook covers for the College Division. On average, I created about three covers a day, for books covering everything from mathematics to science, to humanities, etc. And although rewarding, the job was creatively draining. On the days that I couldn’t get the artistic mojo flowing, I would flip through two of my favorite books about book design; Front Cover: Great Book Jacket and Cover Design by Alan Powers and, By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design by Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger. These books have saved me many a time during periods of creative frustration. Even since leaving my job at Houghton, I still refrence these books for the graphic genius they contain.

Here I’ve showcased just a sample of some of my favorite covers from each book. I tend to gravitate towards books designed between 1940 and 1960; I especially love the late-modern use of sans serif type and strong silhouetted graphics that were popular throughout this time. If you have any interest in design, particularly the design of books, be sure to check out either of these titles the next time you hit the book store, it’ll be worth it. Happy reading!

{All images via “Front Cover: Great Book Jacket and Cover Design” by Alan Powers and, “By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design” by Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Sketchbook Project: #4

Another day, another post…and another sketch to hit the pages of my Moleskine! I have to admit, this past weekend was a creative struggle; I had a hard time getting started in the studio. In fact, for this sketch, I had to begin with a quick spray of sumi ink to jump-start the creative brain. And although the drawing is quite different from any of the other sketches in the book, it definitely echoes some of my earlier works that I did in 2006 and 2007. I think it most resembles “Bridgescape Birds” shown below…

I particularly like the texture that the sumi ink brings to my drawings; it creates a sense of depth that I think compliments the line-work well. Overall, I’m excited about the new sketch. I think that it will develop nicely into a new pattern…something I will certainly explore in the future! So, stay tuned to see the metamorphosis! Until then, if you’re interested in seeing more of my earlier drawings, be sure to take a peek at my online gallery…have fun and enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Website Redesign by Barry Menard @ Solid Uncoated!

Hello all, hope this finds you well! I want to give a rather overdue shout out and a BIG thanks to my great friend and awesome web designer, Barry Menard. He is the web mastermind behind the Cosmos Creative website and it’s most recent redesign/update. Be sure to check it out, if you haven’t already! Barry has also helped me pimp out the Cosmos Creative blog; perhaps you’ve noticed the new and improved layout, featuring larger-than-before images, and the adorning background pattern? Lovely, aren’t they?

Barry is the founder of Solid Uncoated, a small web design firm located here in Providence, RI. He is totally committed to quality service and professional grade design and development. His specialty is designing, developing and maintaining high quality, standards-compliant websites and other graphic design projects.

One of the things I love most about Barry is his easy-going temperament; second to that, are his amazing typography skills. In fact, the COSMOS in the Cosmos Creative logo was custom rendered by Barry. If you know anything about typography, you understand that hand-rendered type is an amazing skill, one that I unfortunately was not blessed with. That being said, be sure to check out Solid Uncoated to learn more about Barry’s mad skills and services. Surely, you won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Visual Diary: The Music Library

About three years ago, I traveled to the UK for my cousin’s wedding in London. It was an amazing trip, on which I managed to visit many museums, galleries, shops and sights. In case you missed my previous post, it was the same trip upon which I scored my “Devonshire Clotted Cream” tin. It was also on this trip that, on foot, guided by many maps etc., I managed to stumble across the ICA, located just down the street from my hotel, near Trafalgar Square

The ICA is an amazingly innovative and influential cultural institution that showcases a daily program of contemporary arts, ideas, film and culture in London. In addition, they have an amazing book store/gift shop. In fact, I think I actually spent more time in the shop than I did in the gallery. But anywho, it was in said shop, that I came across this amazing book, The Music Library

If you are at all interested in music and/or design, this is definitely a book you may want to invest in. And I say this because, like most art books, it ain’t cheap…but it definitely is worth the price. Featuring over 325 sleeves, plus an exclusive CD, this book is a “graphic joyride through some of the greatest unseen and unheard music ever made."

Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s “Library Music,” also known as source, or mood music, was made for use in animations, commercials, films and TV programs. The Music Library is a fascinating compilation of cover art, showcasing beautiful Library LP's that were never commercially available and were manufactured in limited numbers. Collected by some of the top UK collectors, compiled by Jonny Trunk and published by FUEL, this book, is an amazing source of inspiration and endless visual stimulation. To prove it, I initially bought it as a gift, but later bought myself my own copy. Yes, this book was worth buying twice! 

Here I've showcased just a few of my favorite sleeve designs, but if you want to see more, be sure to check out the details on the FUEL website and perhaps buy your own copy. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Sketchbook Project: #3

Hold on to your pants folks, the third sketch to hit the pages of my Moleskine has arrived! Loosely based on an earlier sketch, I did about a year or more ago, this sketch is pretty different from the other two I’ve done already for the book. It has more of a futuristic Sci-Fi element that tends to pop up every now and again in my drawings. It excites me when this happens, because it sort of opens the floodgates for what’s possible; new elements emerge that, like letters in an alphabet, I re-use over and over again throughout succeeding works. I especially like the curvature in the horizon that is happening in this drawing. It reminds me of how the earth’s surface can look from an airplane window…depending on your view, etc. Hope you enjoy it! More sketches to come, hopefully sooner than later, so stay tuned.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Visual Diary: Mr. Brainwash

Today, I’d like to do a quick follow-up about the artist behind the “awesome” graffiti images I posted on Thursday’s entry. Because I came across the images on the NYLON blog, where there was no mention of who created the Madonna posters, I had no idea that they were the work of "well-known" street artist, Mr. Brainwash. Apparently, I live under a rock.
Mr. Brainwash, or MBW, is the moniker of an eccentric French filmmaker, Thierry Guetta. MBW spent nine years attempting to make the ultimate documentary about graffiti art. But while shooting many of the world’s most renowned street artists such as Bansky and Shepard Fairey, MBW quickly developed an interest in making his own art. He soon graduated from a few hand drawn stickers to giant billboard sized paste-ups and is now recognized as one of the most prolific street artists in California.
The Madonna Posters, located in New York City’s Meatpacking District, were part of a commission of several murals painted along 9th Avenue. The poster itself is also one of nearly 20 other pieces supporting the cover art for Madonna’s greatest hits compilations called “Celebration.”
If you haven’t already heard of Mr. Brainwash, or you have, but would like to learn more about him and his work, be sure to check out the following links for interviews and images. Enjoy!

Artwork Magazine 
{All images via Artwork Magazine}

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Visual Diary: Graffiti Goes Cross Generational!

Hello Folks, another entry for the Visual Diary today. I’m happy to share this pretty amazing graffiti that I came across on the NYLON blog a couple of weeks ago. And although you may have already seen it, I’d like to reiterate how awesome I think it is. Not only does it reference Madonna, the 80’s pop icon (yes, I still think of her as such, because she was the hot-new-thing when I was growing up…and yes, that was in the 1980’s) but it also references, Andy Warhol’s famous portrait of the 1950’s pop icon, Marilyn Monroe. Whom, interestingly enough, Madonna has referenced many times throughout her chameleon-like career.

In a nutshell, this graffiti is the new millennium referencing the 1980’s that referenced the 1950’s, and in total, encapsulates the post-modern obsession with regurgitating what once was, in order to make something that is.

Unlike most creative and commercial attempts, I do believe this graffiti successfully combines the old with the new, in a manner that creates something that is very much cross generational and therefore timeless. I only hope that in the next ten years, tomorrow’s creative environment will do something other than vomit up the past and put a new spin on it. So to all of the creative peeps out there…myself included…let’s break bad habits like we broke the sound barrier! It’s time to move on.

PS: The NYLON blog, just today, featured The Sketchbook Project that I am participating awesome! You can view my sketches here...Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Visual Diary: NYC to PVD

Been going through some of my old files lately trying to clean up and unload my laptop a bit and I came across this video I shot back in 2006! It was taken on the train during one of my many trips between NYC and PVD.

Although it lacks everything that is “professional,” visually I just love this video. I believe I used the “Silent Film” setting, which shoots in black and white, speeds up the frames and removes all of the sound. Oddly enough, it’s a great setting for parties, but here it gives modern day NY an old time/vintage feel. If it weren’t for some of the obviously modern structures, graffiti, and cars, one could easily imagine this was shot mid 20th century. Don’t you agree? Either way, I think it’s a great source of visual stimulation, and I wanted to share it. So, enjoy! More lovely eye candy to come soon…

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tintastic: SOLO Saffron

Check it out! Another lovely little tin from the collection; SOLO Saffron! And little it most certainly is…standing only 2.25 inches tall and just over .75 inches in diameter; this tin is one of the first few that I ever collected. Where I bought it and how much I paid for it, I can’t recall, but I’ve always loved the typography featured on this itty-bitty beauty. It’s also in fantastic condition and sports a wonderful red, white and blue color combo. I have to say, this tin is one of my most favorites. I especially love its red cap featuring just the brand name in all-white capitals! Beautiful.

It’s interesting to note that saffron is the world's most expensive spice by weight and is native to Southwest Asia. Apparently a pound of dry saffron requires 50,000–75,000 flowers (the equivalent of a football field’s area), some forty hours of labor and prices at wholesale and retail from $500 to $5,000 per pound! Seriously, now I understand why the tin is so tiny! More tiny tins on the way, so stay tuned and stay inspired!