Back in design school, Edward Boatman began sketching seemingly ordinary objects such as cranes, trains and trees. "I was fascinated with their complexity and mechanics," he explains. "After a while, I began to think, what if I had a sketch for every single object in the world?" Several years and a couple of collaborators (wife Sofya and pal Scott Thomas of design studio Simple Honest Work) later, The Noun Project was born with the mission to unite people in building a global visual language that everyone can understand. Ready to help create a silent language that speaks louder then words? Head to the project's website to download symbols for use in personal and professional work, get details on upcoming "Iconathons" and upload your own symbols.
Fans of Pee-wee's Playhouse -- that is, everyone -- will recognize the distinctive creations of Wayne White, one of the creative minds (and voices) behind the show's puppets and insane charm. The designer, painter, puppeteer, sculptor and musician gets his well-deserved close-up in a new documentary, Beauty is Embarassing. The film not only examines White's deliciously madcap creative process, but also retraces his steps from childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee to parenthood in Los Angeles. "It has been the time of my life," says director Neil Berkeley of the three years he spent making Beauty is Embarassing. "I hope audiences get that sense of joy that Wayne has about what he does everyday. That's the lesson I learned from him...spend everyday doing work that makes you happy."
When it comes to design, Dzmitry Samal is of two minds: boldly futuristic and charmingly retro. The Paris-based designer's new-old philosophy comes into focus through his collection of pixellated eyeglasses. The craggy acetate frames, handmade in France for use with shades or prescription lenses, nod to '80s computer graphics and old-school video games in styles ranging from "4dpi" to "7dpi." For Samal, the specs (around $500 per pair) are daily reminders of the technology that inspires almost everything that is in use today. "Even something as utilitarian as glasses can be transformed using technology," he adds.
International travel is enough to give Americans a currency complex, as we compare our rather dull dollars to the colorful and exotic cash of foreign lands. "Technically, there are many limitations and complications when it comes to bank note design, but if the Swiss can do it on a regular basis, why can't we?" asks Richard Smith, the New York-based brand consultant behind the Dollar ReDe$ign Project. "Besides, our great 'rival,' the Euro, looks so spanky in comparison..." His multi-tiered campaign includes a petition to redesign the dollar, an ongoing call for ideas, as well as this bookmark-worthy blog: a chronicle of currency redesign news and intriguing concepts for better bucks.
Next time someone asks to take your picture, refuse to say "cheese." Instead, scream at the top of your lungs. That's the only way to get noticed by Billy Hunt's unique camera, which he has dubbed the Screamotron3000. "Think Rube Goldberg meets the Wizard of Oz," says Hunt of his converted boom box that triggers a photo when the subject's scream reaches a particular decibel level. "By using a machine, I hope to offer a window through the inherently artificial process of portraiture into real human emotion." Hunt's growing collection of "scream portraits" speak for themselves -- and loudly.
The hardest thing is to do something which is close to nothing. That's the tagline for Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, a feature-length documentary now playing on HBO and in select theaters worldwide. The film follows the artist as she prepares for her 2010 retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art. “The two main goals I set for myself in the beginning were to figure out how to make the subject appeal to a wider audience than just the rarefied art world and to avoid the trap of making a plodding biopic-style film,” explains director Matthew Akers, who made mesmerizing viewing of Abramović's MoMA performance-cum-staring contest. “My hope is that the film’s audience will have an experiential encounter with the concepts in Marina’s work in a way that might reveal something about themselves, as it certainly did for me.”