Every now and again you'll run into something really great on the YouTube. Check this out if you get a case of the Mondays... (even though it's Tuesday, but it feels like Monday, since we didn't have work/school yesterday...)
I know, I've been hyping this for a long time. I'm sorry. You've got to understand though, the stunning beauty of "balls," combined with the surreal sounds of José Gonzaléz is a dramatic piece of visual art. [As a reminder, those are REAL bouncy balls. 25,000+ balls were let loose in San Francisco. It's not CGI.] With that as background, you can understand how excited I was to see the follow up, "Paint."
Unfortunately, "Paint" just doesn't deliver. First, the decision to go with a rudimentary classical piece as score was a huge mistake. We've all heard this piece before in other TV spots. For me, it brings memories of dancing mops and talking vacuums.
Overall, the most interesting thing for me, is that the still images are far more stunning and dramatic than the video. The still photography of the paint suspended in air is much more powerful than the liquid fireworks. Granted, much of the film is really unique and fun to watch (better when you mute the audio). With a better director, break-though music, and a different selection of visuals (it does get better at the end when it starts to rain paint), this spot could pack more punch.
And the clown? Don't get me started.
Take a look at the still photography, don't you like it much better?!
Yesterday, Saul Williams appeared at a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair. I have known of the great Saul Williams for some time. I have heard several tracks of his and even saw him perform live a while back on Def Poetry Jam, but I was not prepared for the genius that is Saul Williams.
Saul Williams is a poet/spoken word performer/underground hip hop star. But, beyond that, he is incredibly smart and has brilliant musings on the state of hip hop today. He appeared on a panel entitled "Beats, Raps and Rants: Hip Hop in Prose, Poetry and Spoken Word" with other artists/poets Jair and Mike Sonsken (aka Mike the Poet). The panel was moderated by writer/critic Donnell Alexander.
Their conversations primarily focused on the hip hop as an artform. Not surprisingly, Saul Williams said the most intelligent and thoughtful comments. My favorite thought had to with his theory on sampling. He said (and I am paraphrasing) that when an artist chooses to sample a piece of music for his or her own piece, he is making a statement about that song. For example, if you look at "Ring My Bell" as a philosophy, 30 years later, you might not agree with the philosophy in its entirety, but you agree with one or two points. So, you take those points and bring them into your music by sampling them.
Sadly, Saul Williams is not performing in this area anytime soon, but I will be sure to let you know when he does.
Many moons ago, in my former life as an art school nerd, I spent the summer at the Rhode Island School of Design. There, in what I look back upon as the largest collection of hipster art nerds, I came across the work of Shepard Fairey.
The idea in its earliest incarnations was very simple. Fairey loved Andre The Giant. He loved him so much, he made stickers about him with his statistics on them and claimed boldly: Andre the Giant has a Posse.
At the time, the stickers were all over Providence. Fairey created the idea while at RISD in the late 80s and mailed all of his friends all over the world the stickers to place on light poles, walls, college campuses, shady bathrooms, etc. Most likely, you have seen his work all over the place and you probably didn't even know it. It's street art at its best.
His work has become a lot more stylized and iconic over the years, taking the idea of obeying Andre the Giant and encorporating that into other iconic figures such as Mao, Stalin, and even a couple of our current President.
Wiki tells it best: "the campaign parodies government sponsored propaganda by invoking Orwellian language (e.g. "OBEY") and the artistic style of Soviet
propaganda posters. These styles are strongly associated with the
spread of misinformation, and paired with the André the Giant image
indicating the joke nature of the message, reinforce the idea that
governments have methods to spread misinformation."
His work is beautiful and will be shown at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery starting September 16th through October 14th.
The Merry Karnowsky Gallery is located at 170 S. La Brea Ave.
As many of you know, I still can't stop talking about the Sony Bravia Ad, "Balls." It is the most beautiful piece of video I have EVER seen. Having worked in Advertising for many years, I'm always on the look out for great ads. For me, the greatest ads are true pieces of art.
In a seemingly unrelated, yet very related story, I just bought the most beautiful and amazing phone ever. Thanks to the crappy US carriers, I had to bite the bullet and get it via eBay. Oh, what phone? The Samsung X820. It's the world's thinnest phone. Think Nano thin. After loading a couple songs onto the phone, I just now decided to load the Bravia Ad, since it's amazing...and it should always be within arms reach (thanks Coke). So, I googled the key words to find the url.
That's when I discovered that they're making another ad. And they're done with the bouncy balls. This time...they're using paint. PAINT?! Yes, they used massive paint explosions. 10 days of filming. More than 18,000 GALLONS of paint. And 250 people. It's coming in the Fall.
Check out the latest info on the new spot here. When it's finished, I promise to post. In the last spot, they broke José González. Who's next?
"To simplify the complexities of immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border, and to show the realities on the ground. To date, we have received more than 1,500 photographs and more continue to arrive everyday. The pictures speak for themselves. They capture the humanity present on both sides of the border. They tell stories that no news piece or policy debate or academic study could convey. They are non-partisan and inclusive." - Border Film Project
Saturday on CNN, I watched the story about the Border Film Project. As a photographer, I thought it was one of the smartest ideas I had seen in a long time. Here is what happens, the lovely people at Border Film Project mail a package that consists of a disposable camera, a Wal-Mart gift card, a self addressed stamped envelope and instructions on how to mail the package (with pictures of what a US drop box looks like). The packages go to undocumented migrants looking to cross the border and the Minutemen who are trying to stop them at the border. (The Minutemen are rewareded with a Shell Gas gift card).
The photographs speak for themselves. They are real. They show the harsh conditions that immigrants face when crossing the border and bring us closer to what the Minutemen do all day and night as they wait for some action.
With all the talk of immigration these days, I think this project really drives home both sides of the issue: what people will do to be in this country and to what extent others are willing to stop them. I really think this is a great project and I encourage you to donate some money to buy some cameras. One camera package only costs $10.
Last weekend, with Lauren in town, I wanted to do something very cool,
very LA, yet not lame. I have wanted to go to Watts Towers for
sometime, but never really got my act together and with Lauren in town,
it seemed like a good reason for us both to go.
The Watts Towers is certainly one of the most unique pieces of art/architecture I have ever seen. I thought a lot about my trip to Park Guell in Barcelona when wondering through the property, but this was much different, largely because the towers were built entirely by one man, Simon Rodia. Rodia worked construction jobs during the day, but on the evenings and weekends, he scoured his neighborhood for odds and ends and built an incredible series of towers and objects out of mosaic tiles, glass, pottery, shells, and his own mortar.
He never used any modern tools, no scaffolding, no bolts, no rivets, no welding. The man was truly a visionary. The arts center offers tours on the hour for $5. It is money well spent. Our tour guide was excellent and they let you roam the grounds after the tour is over.
Last October, the LA Times had a piece on the Towers and the challenges it faces now. Read it here.
The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia is located at 1761-1765 East 107th Street.
As an art lover and an all around out of shape dude, I am a bit upset that I missed the first ever Downtown Art Ride last Thursday. eecue and blogdowntown participated. I suppose I would need a bike before I could participate.
From blogdowntown: "The idea is simple: the Art Walk is too big to walk, but perfectly sized to bike. Come on the ride, spend 10 minutes in each gallery, and when the ride's over go back to the ones you really liked to check out in more depth. We meet at 5pm on Art Walk days (second Thursday of each month) at Downtown Art Gallery. Ride leaves DAG at 5:30.