Category: #FF

#FF / Guys & Dolls

Upon hearing of guys and dolls in the same sentence, one might think of G.I. Joe or Chuckie or maybe, just maybe, that small musical production of the same name. But here are two male designers whose doll-related projects are far better than life in plastic, they’re fantastic!



Kyle Hilton – Paper Dolls

I first came across Kyle Hilton‘s paper dolls while searching for Ron Swanson on Pinterest, because I mean, who doesn’t? This led me to his entire collection, where I realized he was also the genius behind the Downton Abbey paper dolls (duh) which made the Internet rounds a few months ago.


One of my favorite design approaches is taking an ordinary, outdated, or overlooked object and reinventing it with a contemporary graphic touch. Kyle’s work takes two seemingly disparate ideas – beloved television characters in one circle of the Venn diagram and paper dolls in the other – and the point of intersection is a collection of clever and perfectly illustrated paper dolls. Check out all of the interchangeable outfits, accessories, hairstyles and expressions right here if you’re a fan of Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, It’s Always Sunny… oh or Ryan Gosling.




Jason LevesqueAnatomical Nesting Dolls (via Colossal)

Likewise, Jason Levesque takes the kitschy Russian nesting dolls and re-imagines the layers that one would actually find within the ‘doll’ exterior. Enter his slightly disturbing but mostly genius anatomical nesting dolls consisting of the vital organs, the skeletal system, and outer epidermal layer.


The dolls are beautifully painted and an interesting work of art. Not as informative as the Invisible Man/Woman but also not as creepy as Heidi Klum - just right.

#FF / Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day on Sunday, today’s #FF honors two endeavors which would not be possible without major technological innovations, and yet they give us the chance to visualize, experience, and appreciate our physical world in ways we would not have imagined.


Google Earth

All of the effort and technology pouring into Google Earth enables us to fly around the world, re-live the history of our planet, and even locate our long-lost birth mothers.


(What did you expect? it’s Google)


Frozen Planet

I don’t know what it is more captivating – witnessing a pod of killer whales ingeniously tag-team a poor unsuspecting seal, seeing the Arctic glaciers melt and re-form again before your eyes, or watching it all come together in the ‘Making Of‘ clips behind my newest favorite series - Frozen Planet on Discovery Channel. (Plus, it’s narrated by Alec Baldwin – good God penguin!)


This show highlights the happenings of the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions and features some of the most spectacular footage I have seen. In the clip here titled Technology + Innovation, they explain on how breakthroughs in high-speed and timelapse photography, phantom cameras, and onsite data storage enabled the scientists and photo/videographers to capture moments that would otherwise go undocumented.


Celebrate Earth Day this year by tuning into the series finale this Sunday.

#FF / 2D or Not 2D

One usually thinks of a photograph as a flattened version of a scene, a memory, a crazy night, some thing that exists in the physical universe. But just like movies, photos can have another dimension and these artists have created photographic works that are pretty spatial (no glasses required).




Anna GarforthWandering Territory

I first came across Anna Garforth‘s work while image searching for edible typography, I found this, and this led me to her portfolio of playful installations. I appreciate her love of typography and creative use of materials, and she is no one-trick pony – each project has a unique approach and context, whether it is a chain link fence or a secretive brick wall. Anna’s projects impart words of wisdom and inspiration, and in more eye-catching ways than a note scribbled on a bathroom wall.


As a departure from art-bombing various neighborhoods, Anna collaborated with the design company Vinke to create the model above for an exhibit for the Museum of the Image in Holland. They worked to project a 2D landscape photograph onto a 3D digital model, which would then be fabricated as 2D cardboard pieces and then constructed into a 3D physical model… still with me?


The sculpture is meant to symbolize the ‘migration of the animal kingdom into the urban one’ and like all of her pieces, does so in a beautiful way. I look forward to following Anna’s work and seeing what she can make us smile with next!



Scott HazardPhoto Constructs (via Colossal)

With a background in landscape architecture, sculpture, photography and video, Scott Hazard understands a thing or two about depth and movement. In his series Photo Constructs, Scott tears into copies of the same image and incrementally layers them to give the illusion of a blip in the space-time continuum. The goal is to create a 3-dimensional experience through the physical (not digital) manipulation of flat images – to be looking at and through something all at once.


Scott seemingly creates portals into other worlds and while the final pieces look impressive, he also has more poetic intentions. He states that in this landscape series, the viewer’s gaze becomes more ‘articulated’ and ‘tactile,’ and overall his work pulls from ‘commonplace elements in the natural and built worlds to help people gain insights and understandings of the landscape around them.’


Scott has a way with words as well, so it is fitting he turns to another poet – Walt Whitman – for inspiration in his visual work: ‘the greatest poet dilates any thing that was before thought small…with the grandeur and life of the universe.’


I think what’s most interesting to me is that he is now focusing on photographing the physical photo constructs to continue the experience of viewing the objects… wait, is Scott Hazard really Christopher Nolan in disguise?

#FF / Peep Culture

Tis the season for Cadbury eggs, chocolate bunny rabbits, and those fluorescent sugar-coated marshmallow critters. While I’m not such a fan of Peeps myself, I do love humor and pop culture – and so does the Internet and society at large. These little guys have hatched flocks of websites, broods of recipes (including Peep s’mores), an award-winning documentary, and even the occasional Peep jousting tournament set in a microwave arena.


However, the best Peep offspring are the diorama competitions that pop up around the country, my favorite being the annual Peep Show* by the Washington Post. If you somehow missed the year’s biggest movies and news stories (Kate Middleton who?), never fear – you can catch up on your current events and pop culture in marshmallow form. (*I apologize for all of the video advertisements on the Post’s slideshows, but seeing all the photos is really worth the 15-second wait)


The official winner tends to be a scene ripped from the headlines, like the Chilean Mine Rescue last year and OccuPeep this year, though my 2012 favorites include Downton Abbey, hipster Peeps, ancient Roman Peeps, the Royal Wedding, and a theater of Peeps watching Titanic in 3D.


The concepts – spot on. The time and attention to detail (the OccuPeep artist even modeled her diorama digitally) – admirable. And the puns – I’m in love, truly madly Peeply.


Peepton Abbey

Titanic 3D: Experience it Like a Peep

Just Peeped

OccuPeep DC

Black Peep

#FF / All in a Day’s (or Night’s) Work

How does one depict ‘time’? Without resorting to a picture of a clock or watch, many photographers play with exposure to capture the passing of an entire day or night within a single frame.



Stephen WilkesDay to Night

I was lucky enough to witness Stephen Wilkes‘s Day to Night work when it was exhibited at the Clamp Art Gallery last fall. And I say lucky because I got to gaze longingly into the detail of these full-size full-color images, unlimited by the size or resolution of my computer monitor. There is a strong concept and process behind this series, and clearly more than the work of a point-and-shoot photographer.


Wilkes is able to capture the entire day-to-night lifespan of the city-that-never-sleeps in a single frame by focusing on one scene for 10-15 hours while perched in a cherry-picker. He first played around with ‘changing time in a photograph’ while on location in Spain over 15 years ago, and the cherry-picker entered the picture while he was shooting the Highline and later Washington Square Park in New York City. He gave a great interview with the Village Voice last year where he discusses the complexity of his process, capturing the city as a lifeform, and how amazing his views are – check it out here.


Wilkes spends hours perched 10 stories above ground to shoot these pictures, days sorting and blending hundreds of individual images, and weeks lassoing around individual taxi cabs, pedestrians, and even pieces of litter. This is clearly  a labor of love for this photographer, and I am in love with the results.


All of the images are stunning but my favorite is probably the panoramic skies of Coney Island. Seeing the dramatic lighting from changes from day to night, along with the long-exposure of the theme park rides, is impressive as a time-lapse video, but all the more unique as the still image.



Robert KnightSleepless (via Hey Hot Shot)

If Stephen Wilkes’s thing is multiple exposures, then Robert Knight‘s Sleepless series is all about one exposure – one loooong exposure. Long exposure photography is good for capturing low-light or nighttime subjects, when light is scarce and the camera sensor needs more time to gather light to create the image. Long exposure is also a helpful technique for ‘catching’ moving subjects such as fireworks, headlights, and even ghosts in the middle of the night.


After realizing that having kids means losing sleep, Robert started capturing his nightlife in a series of single frames. He places the camera in the bedroom and calculates the proper length of exposure so that the camera shutter will stay open for hours at a time throughout the night.


The result is a single long-exposure image which captures every toss and turn and movement of the subjects, though they appear wispy and ghost-like due to the motion-blur. The series is an interesting example of long exposure photography, and may also leave wondering if you too can see dead people.

#FF / Stitch It, Stitch It Good

I’m not the handiest with a needle and thread. I did take a sewing class in high school where I made a pretty sweet potholder and I’ve even sewn a small quilt, but at the end of the day I still ask my mom to hem my pants for me. My greatest textile accomplishment is probably a 6-8″ diameter cross-stitch carousel horse which I’m sure took well over a year of off-and-on interest to complete.


To the point, I am extremely impressed with needlework, cross-stitch, and overall textile arts because they require such patience and endurance. There is no copy-paste shortcut or HTML code which leads the designer to the final product – every stitch is crossed and knot is tied by hand. These two ladies have enriched their graphic design/illustration backgrounds by incorporating an unexpected technique, and the results are beautiful.



Evelin Kasikov

Evelin Kasikov is a graphic designer and illustrator who combined her knowledge of printing color models with a love of crafting to develop a unique CMYK cross-stitch technique. A printer creates images by layering pixels of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ink in specific locations and densities on paper and our eyes interpret these as various shades, similar to how television and computer screens mix combinations of Red, Green, and Blue light.


Evelin’s work is much more impressive and design-y than my cross-stitch carousel horse could ever hope to be, and I really love how she has integrated a digital graphic concept (CMYK pixels) and a love of typography with an extremely time-consuming and tactile craft. She has done editorial work for some big names like Kate Spade (image above) and the Guardian, as well as individual work for exhibits and publications.


She blocks out the colors on the computer, determines the CMYK values, and then translates this into a grid of overlapping and rotating CMYK X’s. With a palette of only 4 colors, Evelin is capable of creating any shade under the sun and I’ll bet she’s a lot more fun to hang out with than an Epson printer.




Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki is an also illustrator who has been known to dabble in textile and embroidery.  What first began as a learning process and side project (the Monster Quilt) led to a commission with Penguin Books to embroider book covers for three classics – Emma, the Secret Garden, and Black Beauty.


Jillian entered into the world of illustration in the hopes of doing books, and she found that her childhood interest of quilting really complemented her illustration style. Though the embroidery is time-consuming and laborious, she enjoyed the freedom of taking on a project like this, especially when she had connections with the selected stories.


In a day and age when books and other publications are abandoning their paper roots to go digital, publishers are always looking for new ways to emphasize the tactile qualities of physical books. Penguin creative director Paul Buckley says packaging and graphics are the way to go to engage readers and get them to pick those books up off the shelf. Before launching Penguin Threads, they also produced a series of tattoo-esque classics under the name Penguin Ink and a gold-foil Fitzgerald series.


I mean, who can say no to a Gothic Bridget Jones?




A pre-Friday #FF to go along with the blossoming spring theme today.



BLOOM (via Colossal)

This is such an interesting overlap of architecture, public art, and horticulture and though it was completed in 2003, it has been making the Internet rounds this week, due in part to a wonderful interview between artist Anna Schuleit and Christopher Jobson of Colossal.


I will mostly direct you to the websites of the artist, the project, and the interview because there is a wealth of information and ideas there. In summary, the Massachusetts Mental Health Center closed in 2003 after being in operation for nine decades. Faced with the question of what to do with the physical remains of the building, Anna imagined the hallways of the now-defunct hospital coming alive again, with the help of over 28,000 potted flowers filling almost every nook and cranny of space, even the swimming pool. A four-day installation transformed a decrepit artifact in to an explosion of color and more importantly, a living memorial.



AIDS Memorial Park Design Competition

There is a repeating pattern of commemorating buildings such a hospitals and medical centers, even long after they have served their purpose. Anna had previously completed an audio installation called Habeus Corpus at the Northampton State Hospital in 2000. In New York City, there are also designs to possibly develop an AIDS Memorial Park as an ode to the old St. Vincent’s Hospital which treated thousands of AIDS and HIV patients in the 1980s. As humans, we recognize that lives are literally begun and lost in these places and even when the walls themselves can’t be saved, we can still continue the life cycles of these buildings in other ways.

#FF / Aerial Artists

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a really cool picture taken from above! Why take pictures with your feet planted firmly on the ground and let the pigeons, airplanes, and hot air balloons of the world get all the best views? Especially when contraptions like this exist to help you capture bird’s eye views.


These artists have gone to extreme lengths for these shots, so I appreciate the process and planning in addition to the complete uniqueness of the images.



Gerco de Ruijter (via BLDG BLOG)

Gerco de Ruijter is a Netherlands-based photographer who achieves his sky-high imagery by attaching his camera and wide-angle lens to a kite or long fishing pole. By suspending the lens over a gridded tree farm, such as the one above, de Ruijter states that ‘the so familiar landscape is turned upside down’ and we can be ‘surprised’ by what is invisible to us. All it takes is a camera, a self-timer, and some creative thinking.


In addition to his ‘On the Grid‘ series, he also created a ‘Cropped‘ series documenting irrigation circles in the Southwest USA. And where’s over 1000 photos in a series, there’s bound to be a stop-motion video as well.




Wouter van Buuren (via This is Colossal)

While Gerco de Ruijter sends his camera up with a kite, fellow Dutch photographer Wouter van Buuren is a bit more of a risk-taker, and an acrobat at that. Van Buuren (alias Peter Parker) climbs to the tops of bridges, towers, and electricity pylons in order to create his 360-degree ‘total landscapes.’ The images are breath-taking, as the viewers are also undoubtedly thinking about van Buuren’s life being at stake with every click of the camera. I’m not sure if his mother can even look at them.


As further evidence of his badassedness, van Buuren doesn’t even use a photo-stitching software to combine the images into the final image (not that one even exists which could accomplish this). Instead he meticulously lays out well over 100 individual images to create these 11′x11′ spherical collages. Like de Ruijter, van Buuren says he is constantly stunned by the beauty of the landscapes he knew so well, and that from above ‘the mundane seemed more divine.’


And if photography ever falls through, there’s always the circus.

#FF / Incredible and Edible 2.1: Pantone Tarts

It’s not quite Friday yet but I love this too much to not share. It builds off of last week’s Incredibly Neat and edible imagery and it is so clever, colorful, and well-styled.



Pantone Tarts by Griottes (via Plenty of Colour)

Pantone is the king, queen, god, what-have-you of color palettes around the world (famously known for their PMS – Pantone Matching System, of course). Graphic designers anxiously wait on the edge of their seats for the announcement of the color of the year (Pantone 17-1463 Tangerine Tango, fyi) and their branding/graphics have inspired dozens of spin-off goodies such as Rubik’s cubes, folding chairs, magnets, and even temporary tattoos.


However, I think this photo set from the French blog Griottes is a fresh take on the Pantone scene, as she prepares and styles various foods to match the color swatch. Seeing the utensils and accessories next to the tarts just add further personality to the images, and I’m already drooling at the thought of hanging these in a kitchen or design studio.

#FF / Incredibly Neat 2.0: Edible Edition

Last week’s #FF featured artists who created incredible images with their outrageous organizational skills and patience. This week features photographers who, working with talented food stylists, are creating incredible edible visuals which should only encourage children to keep playing with their food.

Maren Caruso (via CMYBacon)
Maren Caruso‘s gorgeous food photography makes me want to invade the aisles of my local grocery store – stat. Though she photographs a lot of food shoots, she has also done editorial work for Hilton, Macy’s, and Target. Working from San Francisco, Maren says her documentary background has trained her to frame a photograph in any situation, which is evident in her Ingredients series where she captures food action-shots, such as a salad being tossed or oil mid-drizzle.


However, my favorite might be her Conceptual work with the deconstructed ice cream cone, beautiful gradients of produce, swirls of seeds, and whatever this may be.



Evelina Bratell (food stylist) and Carl Kleiner (photographer) for IKEA
This shoot may be old news in some circles, but IKEA’s cookbook Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best) is so representative of the company that it almost hurts. IKEA, famous for its flat-packed and self-assembly required furniture, hired food stylist Evelina Bratell to disassemble the recipes into the individual ingredients and arrange the parts into geometric abstract pieces of art. Click here to watch the amazing behind-the-scenes video for the making-of and here to see more of the images.


Carl Kleiner photographed the shoots and can now add IKEA to his extensive list of clients. He has an impressive portfolio featuring food, household products, clothing, facial hair, you name it, and his latest collaboration with IKEA presents their kitchenware in yet another innovative way. These kaleidoscopic versions were styled by Evelina Kleiner which is adorable, because it seems that IKEA has brought two people together (rather than testing the strength of their relationship). I’d love to see one of their dinner parties.