Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kanchendjonga

Its this song I was hearing
Under the yellow sign that read
PCO

 Five minutes I saw you
The clouds parted just then.

 30 April 2011

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Parallel Worlds

I have observed fashion, styling, art directing, film, literature, graphic design and popular art, so to say, the components that define popular culture, for about five to six years with close attention. Its the one thing that I always do, consciously and subconsciously. Reading online, browsing websites, looking at trends in magazines, in graphic design, fashion design, going out of the way to get independent as well as mainstream films, from the past and present, running through the list of the most influential works of cinema in history, to music from rock to a bit of rap to mainstream pop, this has been my activity every waking second of my life. Most times, I cannot help but be immersed in it. But also many times I lead myself into it, because I love observing the culture and the ways of people in imagining and creating and influencing.

More and more I have come to recognize that the components that form popular culture are like parallel worlds. They exist in themselves but they are all interdependent and bounce ideas between each other.

When Black Swan came out, the style was quite interesting and new. Serif typography (some promo posters used Gotham-style type), dark ballet fashion, desaturated colours, and bold shadows, play with mirrors and reflection, classical music, these were some things that I spotted in use in the movie. Then I realized that the fashion world had taken the concept up by storm too. I can't say who did it first, but McQueen was also doing the feathers, and dreamy colours, photoshoots were happening in ballet training halls using the mirror for drama, Natalie Portman was promoting styling brands that could help you acheive the look that she had in the film, Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky was all the rage in the classical theatre again.

To me it is amazing how a concept well realized in one art form can take on the world by storm like that.

Another small example is when Inception came out, the whole idea was pretty new too. Few months later, Marion Cotillard was doing photoshoots for Christian Dior with similar dreamlike colour and concept. Not a rip off, but a nod of appreciation and borrowing of ideas to play with audience's familiarity.

In the 60s French New Wave cinema (that is influencing the hipster movement in New York and Europe till now) were influenced by the then contemporary school of thought that took pride in the independence of the young and the boundless. The Swinging Sixties in London took on the same ideology. In turn, people like Jean Luc Godard (a French New Wave director) influenced actresses like Jane Birkin, Chantal Goya (with her French ye-ye pop career that still influences the bohemian kids in urban cities), Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg and so on, and in turn they have influenced the contemporary style icons like Alexa Chung and Lou Dillon who now stand for the free spirited young. This also influenced directors like Wong Kar Wai in Hong Kong who in turn inspired a whole new generation of liberated many Asian young to create more works of art and films. And this is in no way a comprehensive list. They are just examples on top of my head. You can probably write a book-long thesis on lists of influences from the past to the present.

They are just a few examples to establish my point that all forms of art are very much interlinked and borrow from each other. And unabashedly. There is no need to apologize or to go out of the way to acknowledge the source of influence. All art and culture is shared. No one owns it. Its an open mine that is open for all to take from and add to.

Parallel worlds, they are. All forms and components stand side by side, looking at each other, admiring each other, jealous of each other, stealing from each other, complimenting each other, and in doing so, building each other up. Some things come, some things go, and because of that today does not look and feel like yesterday, and tomorrow will never be like today.

Fascinating!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Secrets of the Little Black Jacket - video, Chanel

I just watched this and said to myself: Why am I not making clothes?


The Secrets Of The Little Black Jacket - by Chanel

It must give the designer a lot of joy to see the clothing fit perfectly on a person. And to do the little corners of stitches somewhere in corners of the jacket, where no one will probably see, with utmost importance. It's like designing the little serif of a type letter. No one would even notice it, but the world would be a better place because of that little serif done well.

Quick Review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

his book is amazingly written. Like my friend Dan says, written like an accountant would have written it. 

The middle section where the photos are being studied and progress is being made was so gripping that it started stressing me out and I couldn't stop reading. The story right then took on a very horror-movie/story tone (which was of course undone as soon as the mystery started being cracked). It almost felt like the character was communicatig with spirits through medium regarding what happened forty years before through grainy black and white photographs. 

My only qualm with this book is the title. The Girl With The Golden Tatoo is nothing about the girl with the dragon tatoo. In fact the title could have been named the girl who never came home or the guy who got fired from his magazine, and it would have even made sense more. 

But im looking forward to reading the second and third book. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Designing For Internet

Here are a few observations. They are mostly (completely, in fact) based on my experiences with surfing the net, blogging and reading online.

1. Design (both fashion and graphic) that are seen online need to have strong/good silhouette/shape to grab attention.

That's probably why certain types of photos of people get noticed while some don't. This doesn't mean every styling needs to have silhouette-ed shapes. It can be the way the model is posing. Something that has a shape that stands out. When I'm browsing photos on, say, Tumblr, or even Instagram, I am not poring over each one of them in detail. I am scrolling the page constantly, and if something doesn't jump out, I have forgotten about the photos in seconds. And I find that things that jump out are shapes or form, or sometimes colour, though rarely. I find shapes/silhouettes more engaging.

This principle can be applied to texts. A person online will simply not read a paragraph set in fifty lined paragraph. But a nice shaped, thin paragraph will be read.

In a related topic, this might not apply to all, but I never ever read anything set in Arial, Comic Sans, Papyrus, or anything thats dancing before my eyes; not Edwardian script, or Blaktur. Georgia, on the other hand, is a font begging to be read, so is Verdana (though it can be quite ugly sometimes). Google web fonts have very beautiful options, and things are looking good for the future of web typography.

2. Websites that auto-play music when you visit should be sent to hell.

I know you're a teenager (or someone with a similar insecurity level) wanting to prove your point that you love music like this, and that this particular track defines who you are and what you do, but it is never nice to shove unwanted music down the throats of the kind visitors who have taken the time to visit your website.

Just two things I thought I'd get out of my head.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Times Square Signage Fail

Spotted this at Typo at Palms. Made for some wanderlusted fool who will not know the difference between the real Helvetica set signs of NY and the counterfeit Arial.

This is obviously a little minor detail that most people will not bother about.

But I will say it again: counterfeit.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A One Sided Conclusion of The Avengers

Ok granted that Avengers is a great movie. But I don't get why attacking the American city is always always on the to-do list of the visiting aliens.

It's been a few years since Independence Day. It's still almost the same story running since then. With a slight change, improvement if you want, in technology and special effects, the story is still the same. America (and thus, the world) is under attack from aliens.

I can't see through that. No matter how amazing Avengers was. Or even Independence Day. Or whatever films there have been.

Why can't the aliens have landed somewhere in Norway? In Pakistan? In Nigeria? In Timbuktu? Why couldnt the aliens choose to attack Tokyo with all the million occupants? Or Mumbai, with their skyscrapers and human population to spend (as they do)?

The world is round. Anywhere is possible.

--

This blog post is titled a one sided conclusion. Well, if you ask me, the movie was one-sided too. You had to become blind to some glaring facts to enjoy it thoroughly.

But hey, wasn't Calcutta and Austria (and a reference to Budapest) in the story too? That was a tip of the hat to other countries than America.

Why thank you Uncle Sam.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Type photos

Here are very cool type work from Christchurch, Queenstown and Arrowtown New Zealand.