Tuesday, November 17, 2015



Sherpard Fairey lives and works in Los Angeles. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 with a BA in Illustration.

The Obey campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment. The Obey campaign attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the motive is not obvious, frequent encounters with Obey propaganda provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer's perception and attention to detail.

"Street Art is like the new punk rock--it's entering the mainstream," said William Haugh, director of Juxtapoz magazine. "And Shepard is behind all that."

For many, many years the mainstream art world looked at street art as vandalism. Now it's influencing the brands and the galleries. It's a natural evolution.

There's an unmistakable note of glee in his voice when he describes "bombing"--or shimmying up drain pipes and scaffolding to illegally paste posters--in nearly 40 public spots around San Francisco.

"When you walk down the street and see something in a crazy spot, there's something powerful about that," said Fairey. "The street will always be an important part of getting art out there for me."

If the first two decades of Fairey's career were dedicated to counterculture and skirting the boundaries of the mainstream art world, he's now riding the wave of success from his Obama posters into the next phase of art.

For interviews with Shepard Fairey, click here


Fairey created the portrait of Barack Obama that TIME Magazine used as the cover art for its 2008 Person of the Year edition issue. click here

In January 2009, the 'HOPE' image was acquired by the US National Portrait Gallery, and became a part of the permanent collection. It was unveiled and put on display at the Gallery on January 17, 2009.

Although Fairey rose to fame for illicitly papering cities around the world with his signature stencils, the Los Angeles-based graphic designer says he hopes his iconic Obama posters will inspire more than just an underground revolution: He wants to infect the masses with the spirit of change.

Fairey's transition from rogue street artist to art professional hasn'tdiminished his radical edge. He recently added an arrest to his already sizable rap sheet, this time for papering Denver with Obama stickers and fliers during the Democratic National Convention.

National Portrait Gallery

USA Network has announced the winners of the first-ever Character Approved Awards to honor individuals from a cross-section of creative disciplines who are positively influencing American culture. This years winner for Art is artist and street art sensation, Shepard Fairey. With a one-of-a-kind style and keen eye for design, Faireys unique approach to spreading art among the masses blended the worlds of pop culture and politics this past election cycle in a way no one could have ever predicted. His iconic HOPE image of President Barack Obama became a national sensation, recently being dedicated in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. For more information on Shepard Fairey and the Character Approved Awards, visit http://characterapproved.usanetwork.com.

Link: SHEPARD FAIREY-Winner Character Approved Awards 

Shepard Fairey on the Colbert Report

Thursday, November 5, 2015



b. 1941 Tokyo, Japan

Film director
Character designer

Nickname: the Japanese Walt Disney

He is also a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, an animation studio and production company.

Director, screenplay, and storyboards

The Castle of Cagliostro
1979 film: written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki (who also co-directed the first Lupin III TV series and directed two episodes of the second) before he formed Studio Ghibli.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
1984 film


Castle in the Sky
1986 film


My Neighbor Totoro
1988 film


Kiki's Delivery Service
1989 film


Porco Rosso
1992 film

TRAILER--Nausicaa, Porco Rosso, The Cat Returns

Princess Mononoke
1997 film


Spirited Away
2001 film (winner, Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, 2002)


Howl's Moving Castle
2004 film (nominee, Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, 2005)


2008 Film


The Wind Rises
20013 Film


Pom Poko
The story begins with a prologue set in late 1960s Japan. A group of tanuki is threatened by a gigantic and ongoing suburban development project called New Tama, in the Tama Hills on the outskirts of Tokyo. The development is cutting into their forest habitat and dividing their land.

Whisper of the Heart, 1995
Film: Screenwriter, storyboards, executive producer, sequence director

The Cat Returns, 2002
Film: Executive Producer, Project Concept Designer
The story follows a girl called Haru, a quiet, shy and unassuming high school student who has a long-suppressed ability to talk to cats.

MIYAZAKI had remained largely unknown to the West, until Miramax released his 1997 Princess Mononoke. By that time, his films had already enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan. Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan (until Titanic [1997] came out a few months later), and the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. His later film, Spirited Away, had that distinction as well, and was the first anime film to win an Academy Award, topping Titanic in the Japanese box office. Howl’s Moving Castle was also nominated, but did not receive the award.
Miyazaki's films often incorporate recurrent themes, such as humanity's relationship to nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. Reflecting Miyazaki’s feminism, the protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women; the villains, when present, are often morally ambiguous characters with redeeming qualities.
Miyazaki's films have generally been financially successful, and this success has invited comparisons with American animator, Walt Disney. In 2006, Time Magazine voted Miyazaki one of the most influential Asians of the past 60 years. In 2005, he was named one of the Time 100 Most Influential People.
Anime directed by Miyazaki that have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award have been Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
in 1984, Castle in the Sky in 1986, My Neighbor Totoro in 1988, and Kiki's Delivery Service in 1989.

Miyazaki takes a leading role when creating his films, frequently serving as both writer and director. He personally reviewed every frame used in his early films, though due to health concerns over the high workload he now delegates some of the workload to other Ghibli members. In a 1999 interview, Miyazaki said, "at this age, I cannot do the work I used to. If my staff can relieve me and I can concentrate on directing, there are still a number of movies I'd like to make."
Miyazaki uses very human-like movements in his animation. In addition, much of the art is done using water colors.
In contrast to American animation, the script and storyboards are created together, and animation begins before the story is finished and storyboards are developing.
Miyazaki has used traditional animation throughout the animation process, though computer-generated imagery was employed starting with Princess Mononoke to give "a little boost of elegance". In an interview with the Financial Times, Miyazaki said "it's very important for me to retain the right ratio between working by hand and computer. I have learnt that balance now, how to use both and still be able to call my films 2D." Digital paint was also used for the first time in parts of Princess Mononoke in order to meet release deadlines. It was used as standard for subsequent films. However, in his 2008 film Ponyo, Miyazaki went back to traditional hand-drawn animation for everything, saying "hand drawing on paper is the fundamental of animation." Studio Ghibli's computer animation department was dissolved before production on Ponyo was started, and Miyazaki has decided to stick to hand drawn animation.

A number of Western authors have influenced Miyazaki's work, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Lewis Carroll, and Diana Wynne Jones. Miyazaki confided to Le Guin that Earthsea had been a great influence on all his works, and that he kept her books at his bedside. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayao_Miyazaki)

Likes to make films with stories that have flying as part of the theme and the action.

His films usually focus on young protagonists or have children that play key roles in the plot.
Frequently includes scenes or sequences in which characters fly.
Frequently uses music by Jô Hisaishi.
Frequently makes references to nature, ecology, and polution by man in his films (My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away).
Films often involve human protaganists entering a strange land that are forbidden or otherwise inaccessible (ie: the floating islands of Castle in the Sky, the forests in Princess Mononoke, the spirit land in Spirited Away).
Films often have two main characters (male and female) one of which is magical or has an unusual past.
Usually includes scenes or stills during the closing titles that let the viewer see what happened to the characters after the events described in the movie.
[Labour] Films involve scenes with labour or hommages to working class people and children or women helping out (esp. in "Spirited Away" and"Mononoke").
[Aliases] Main characters often have an alias, like "Princess Mononoke"or "Porco Rosso" and are seldomly referred to their real names.
Often sets his films in Japanese-influenced versions of European cities.
Films often feature incredibly complex machines maintained by strange male characters. (The pirate's airship by the old man in Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta; The bathhouse boiler room by Kamaji in Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi; Howl's moving castle by Calcifer in Hauru no ugoku shiro.)
Female protagonists often become part of residences which are monumentally dirty in some respect and need their skills to clean it. (Howl's moving castle by Sophie in Hauru no ugoku shiro; The large bath in Yubaba's bathhouse by Chihiro/Sen in Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi; The pirate's kitchen by Sheeta in Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta.)
Many of his films criticize the use of violence as a means to an end while promoting peaceful reconciliation with one's enemies. (from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0594503/bio)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Art Star: Jan Švankmajer

b. September4, 1934 in Prague
Live and works in Prague

Jan Švankmajer trained at the Institute of Applied Arts from 1950 to 1954 and then at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (Department of Puppetry). He soon became involved in the Theatre of Masks and the famous Black Theatre, before entering the Laterna Magika Puppet Theatre where he first encountered film. In 1970 he met his wife, the surrealist painter Eva Svankmajerova, and the late Vratislav Effenberger, the leading theoretician of the Czech Surrealist Group, which Svankmajer joined and of which he still remains a member.
Svankmajer made his first film in 1964 and for over thirty years has made some of the most memorable and unique animated films ever made, gaining a reputation as one of the world's foremost animators, and influencing filmmakers from Tim Burton to The Brothers Quay.

Alice (Něco z Alenky) (1988)

Faust (Lekce Faust) (1994)

Conspirators of Pleasure (Spiklenci slasti) (1996)
Little Otik (Otesánek) (2000)
Lunacy (Šílení) (2005)
Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (2010)

The Last Trick (Poslední trik pana Schwarcewalldea a pana Edgara) (1964)
A Game with Stones (Hra s kameny) (1965)
Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasy in G minor (Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantasia G-moll) (1965)
Punch and Judy, also known as The Coffin Factory and The Lynch House (Rakvičkárna) (1966)

Et Cetera (1966)
Historia Naturae, Suita (1967)
The Garden (Zahrada) (1968)
The Flat (Byt) (1968)
Picnic with Weissmann (Picknick mit Weissmann) (1968)
A Quiet Week in the House (Tichý týden v domě) (1969)
Don Juan (Don Šajn) (1969)
The Ossuary (Kostnice) (1970)
Jabberwocky (Žvahlav aneb šatičky slaměného Huberta) (1971)
Leonardo's Diary (Leonardův deník) (1972)
Castle of Otranto (Otrantský zámek) (1979)
The Fall of the House of Usher (Zánik domu Usherů) (1980)
Dimensions of Dialogue (Možnosti dialogu) (1982)
Down to the Cellar (Do pivnice) (1983)
The Pendulum, the Pit and Hope (Kyvadlo, jáma a naděje) (1983)
The Male Game, also known as Virile Games (Mužné hry) (1988)
Another Kind of Love (1988) - music video for Hugh Cornwell
Meat Love (Zamilované maso) (1988)

Darkness/Light/Darkness (Tma, světlo, tma) (1989)
Flora (1989)
Animated Self-Portraits (1989) - Švankmajer was one of 27 filmmakers who contributed to this portmanteau work
The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia (Konec stalinismu v Čechách) (1990)
Food (Jídlo) (1992)


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Art Star: Michel Gondry

"Every great idea is on the verge of being stupid."
Michel Gondry

Paul Gondry and Michel Gondry (L-R):  Collaborators


MICHEL GONDRY grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band called Oui-Oui. 

The band released 2 albums ('Chacun tout le monde' and 'Formidable') and several singles until their separation in 1992. Gondry was the drummer of the band and also directed their video clips in which it was possible to see his strange world, influenced by the 60s and by his childhood. 

One of his videos was shown on MTV and when Björk saw it, she asked him to make her first solo video for 'Human Behaviour'. The partnership is famous: Gondry directed five other Björk's videos, benefiting by the huge budgets. This led to commissions for other artists around the world, including Massive Attack. He also made a lot of commercials for Gap, Smirnoff, Air France, Nike, Coca Cola, Adidas, Polaroid and Levi - the latter making him the most highly-awarded director for a one-off commercial. IMDb mini bio by: Raphaël Jullien

He has a teenage son named Paul who is also an artist.



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