Web-Wondrous Procrastination

If you, like me, have work to be doing, deadlines to be meeting, life to be getting on with yada yada… procrastination is probably where you’re really at 70% of the time. Our generation has been blessed with technological advancements that have brought the skill of time-wasting to extreme heights. Long gone are the days of daisy-chain making, mindless and male-dominated video gaming, or watching brain-numbing soap operas on the TV: we’re the web age, and boy can we procrastinate.

I’d like to think I’m pretty skilled at it – as most 21 year olds studying an arts degree are (no h8 plz lolz) – and I thought I’d share with you some little gems from the interweb where I spend serious brain power and effort, instead of conventionally productive avenues, such as completing essays…

Be this your last warning to stop reading: the following content is guaranteed to dispose of valuable working hours. I take no responsibility for any grades failed forthwith.

Great. Well if you’re still here, in no particular order, here’s some wonderful places to use up precious time under whatever category tickles your fancy, complete with Estimated Time Wasted (ETW) warning for the true follow-up procrastinator.

Fashion: Millie McIntosh’s Style Blog
ETW: 50mins
If you’re into fashion, this daily style blog is so pretty it’ll make you cry. Of course, some of us have the money and reputation to make such things happen. Others can only weep at their achievements and continue to slog. MacIntosh will give you reason to be intensely jealous over 2D images. The clothes too.

© Millie MacIntosh
© Millie MacIntosh

Film Short: Biting Elbows – Bad Motherfucker
ETW: 25mins
From Ilya Naishuller, the Russian director of his band Biting Elbow‘s first viral music video for their track ‘The Stampede‘, better known as Insane Office Escape, comes part two in this violent point of view web short. It’s bad, it’s noisy and it is utterly wicked. Don’t be put off (…) by the gorgeous blond and her erm, bikini top, on the opening screen, the short itself is jam packed with second to second, fast-paced action and gore. Playing with POV shoot ’em up style and compilation non-stop thrill you’d be mad not to give it a watch.

Science: The Scale of the Universe 2
ETW: 25mins
This is a wonderful bit of web tech: a cool slidy webpage where you move the scrolling bar to get nauseatingly propelled through animated objects in the universe – from quantum foam (is that a science joke?) to the estimated size of the universe itself. Buckle up for whooshy scientific madness set to trippy music. Not recommended for those under the influence.

© Crary and Michael Huang

Art: UNIQLO Dancers
ETW: 7mins
This art installation is a little unconventional; it’s not a photoblog or an artist or even an illustrator! (Surprise for those of you who know me!) This is  a UNIQLO Mixplay advert directed by Japanese Koichiro Tanaka under UNIQLO’s ingenious Creative Director Kentaro Katsube waaay back in 2006. From what I can find the dance troupe are Hamutsun Serve (はむつんサーブ) and all I can say is click play, and keep watching. No human body should be able to do that.

Animals: True Facts About… by Zefrank
ETW: 1hr
If you’re worried how the world of nature programmes will turn should the immortal David Attenburough, grandfather of a generation, stop teaching us valuable facts about the world we live in: fear no more. Zefrank is here, and sponsored by the BBC (breeding a new generation of broadcasters…?) to bring the best and more amusingly narrated facts about the animal kingdom to the world in concise, no more than your attention span videos. What is it about him that cracks me up so much? Is it the nasal attempt to pronounce words, or the only thing better than Zefrank’s voice: the factual content of this videos. Yes, that’s right. These are facts.

I love you, science.

Intellectual: The Bechdel Test
ETW: 15-40mins (depending on interest)
Intellectual? You think, why would you try and make me watch something even vaguely and tenuously intellectual in my procrastination? Simply this: The Bechdel Test (and it’s updated video The Oscars Bechdel Test) is the type of random thing you come across on the internet and provokes though. Whether it’s  “What other movies pass The Bechdel Test” (Ans: not many) or, “How can I prove this feminist bla bla is – just gibber jabber?” etcetera – guess what? You’re now taking that procrastination plane right off onto an individual and personal tangent. Nice work little video, nice work.

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And last but certainly not least…

Mystery Link: Where it will bring you, nobody knows.
(Apart from me, obviously.)
This week I’m channeling a certain director whose film is probably going to ruin a childhood novel, and the feeling of a 21year old with no direction. A definite internet pick me up. If you haven’t visited this mystery link before – shame on you. You’re in for a treat.

Highlight if you’ve no sense of adventure: Video by Baz Luhrmann and words, Chicago Tribune 1997 columnist Mary Schmich’s. Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen.

And that’s all for this week folks!
Happy Procrastinating to one and all!

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If you’ve any posts, links or web wonders you’d like to see shared with my readers (and a cheeky mention) don’t hesitate to comment or message me with suggestions!

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Watercolour Work: Sarah Singh Illustration

The art spotlight falls this week on a wonderful, softly spoken London-born artist (currently residing in NYC) with a degree in fashion design from Beckman’s Colllege of Art and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sarah Singh | Official Website

© Sarah Singh

 © sarah singh

Sarah Singh has been on the path to fame for the past ten years, and her work is a testament to that dedication and creativity. Exhibited in capital cities worldwide from NYC to Tokyo, her illustrations have accompanied powerhouses from Givenchy to Shu Uemura, magazines from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to Marie Clare  – to name only a select few from an extensive list of illustrious clientèle. (You may have noticed Singh’s illustrations recently fronting VOGUE’s ‘What Price Glory?’ Lynn Yaeger’s Adventures in Discount Shopping? Thank you, Facebook…) I love getting an insight into how an artist works, and who better to make this introduction than the lovely Singh herself…

Artist Intro: Sarah Singh for H&M

Her work utilises an impressionistic blend of sharp inked lines,  loose watercolour and dashes of vivid colour; her subjects mixed up in overlaid images and textual font. There’s something to be said for her characteristic mixture of typography and portraiture – it’s a beautiful blend of prints, form and colour. It’s this combination of detailed style and wistful rendering that brought Singh’s illustrations into commission from Sterling Publishers early last year, who picked up on her beautiful watercolour, pen and ink combos to grace the covers of their Splinter’s Classics line.  “…[W]orking with the books, the whole concept was to have the covers have a feeling of the clothing, and to capture the fabrics and details of the period” (Singh, Interview with Elle Magazine) and her covers for the Classic’s line has meshed to a gorgeous outcome with her fashion background.

I find the body endlessly intriguing. Drawing is a kind of stenography describing it. It’s faster than painting, but still tells a story. – Singh, for Brooklyn Public Library

Spot the drooling English Lit. student…

 © Sterling Publishers
Billowing dress in a light, wistful watercolour that captures the longing in Jane Eyre.
 © sarah singh
Empty landscape overlaid with navy figures – a dark Heathcliff and wandering Cathy.

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Check out her online portfolio for some beautiful fashion prints and illustrations – and as always, hit me up with any artists whose work can spend my afternoon lusting after!

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Statement Shoes: China

razz china shoes

It has to be in for when?!

When I came back from China last summer and got a plea for the editors of Razz My Berries to submit something for their summer edition ‘Style and Drift’, I hadn’t picked up a 2B pencil, let alone a paintbrush for about two years. Still, I knew I wanted to draw something. But I was also terrified that two years of artistic hibernation would have killed all my paint-soaked brain cells. The article was written. The equipment was hauled out dusty and mouldering from my cupboard. I had a blank page in front of me, and I had to do something with it.

Razz Shoe 2 Cycling Beijing paint edit
Razz Shoe 3 - Great Wall paint edit

Razz Shoe 1 - Emei Mountain 3099m Paint edit

And OK, so it’s not some of my best work; I was clearly out of practice and evidently, I hadn’t worked up the knowledge of post-editing (which the wonderful digital age has provided us with) quite yet. Those lines were dragged out, kicking and screaming, by the stress of a looming deadline. But as a rough and ready, quick blast illustration of some genuine fashion articles from the streets, mountains and walls of China? I’m fairly pleased, actually! To top it all off, the magazine gave me the OK and took my work off to be formatted and edited.

Clearly the ability to draw doesn’t die, it just sleeps quietly for a little while, and is, understandably, cranky when you wake it.

Don’t let your creativity hibernate.

Get in there and poke it with a stick.

I promise the results will be interesting, if nothing else.

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(I hope the bemused ladies who let me photograph their scandalous shoes are proud too.)

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Article written for Razz My Berries Magazine |Issue 12. Words and illustrations my own.

Fashion (+) Illustration (=) Bliss

There’s something wonderfully paradoxical about fashion illustration as the endpoint of an artistic process. Clothing of the fashion circuit has it’s genesis in the same  medium as the conclusion of these’s artist’s works; for these artists, the illustration is the piece. Hana Müller and Sabine Pieper’s illustations both capitalise upon and play with their relation to the fashion development process; Pieper’s in her use of material like swatches on a designer’s board, Müller’s in her focus on a character creation that harkens back to the good old process of branding.

The Seductive Monochrome:

You may know her better from her online presence as Myltan from days of old, but Swedish fashion illustrator Hanna Müller is moving up into the big corporate world of art and exhibiting from 11 May – 14 July 2012 at Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion. Working in aquarelle and ink (and always by hand) her smooth lined illustrations are simplistically and rather stunningly, beautiful. Granted, it helps that her subjects are model-esque figures clothed in a style blatantly aiming for high-fashion, but her soft, muted-tone shading and barely-there use of colour strikes a cool and sophisticated balance in her work.

Stalk @ http://loudmajor.com/myltan/

The Colour Explosion:

Sabine Pieper, also exhibiting this May with Müller, works in fashion and illustration from Berlin, and her mixed media creations are a sensual experience to kill for. Abstract and leaning heavily onto the art side of illustration, her work is an eclectic haven of rich colours, fabric, thread, and photographic manipulation. Her Vlisco ‘Delicate Shades’ campaign, 2011 [read more about it from her interview] showcases the exceptional innovation of her work and having established herself in commercial world, as well as making the foray into print, Pieper is moving swiftly up on the illustration circuit.

Stalk @ http://sabinepieper.com/

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What a beauty to behold… Ladies and gentlemen: paint me green, I’m dying of creative jealousy. x

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Felix McCabe Photography: Spine-tingling Shots

Photography is one of my favourite mediums and Exeter photographer Felix McCabe’s work continually gets me right in the heart in two ways. Firstly, yes, his work is brilliant. From the evocative lighting of his portraits, to capturing expressions that grip our curiosity, his shots are  bursting with character. Secondly, he’s self-taught, ambitious and – only nineteen, which makes the rest of us feel underachieving and old… All I can say is definitely check out his work on facebook/twitter/tumblr and keep an eye on this guy.      I know I will be.

Reblog of my own article, originally written for Razz My Berries Magazine.
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Images Copyright Felix McCabe

China: 798 Art District, Beijing

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“That is a nice black sculpture.”

Finally, I’m back in Beijing for my last free day in China before I hop on a flight back home for the remainder of summer. I decide to spend it getting my fill of modern art at the 798 Art District, Beijing. Unfortunately, my love for adventuring on Chinese buses (marvelling at their cheapness) means that I spend an hour getting there, while my backpacking partner takes ten in a taxi… However, I adore walking around the art district complex, it’s a very cool, relaxed space, dotted here and there with gargantuan outdoor exhibits and the odd, painted-up alley, and it certainly makes up for the time-consuming task of travelling there. Although you have to dodge the kitsch and tourist-orientated gift-shops, there are some great exhibitions on offer in the free galleries here – even the various print shops have a wealth of classical Asian reproductions on offer. It’s not as wacky as a media art gallery in Chengdu were we watched a woman vomit water, cook sushi with it and feed it to her friends – all on video, of course, so it’s art, not a nasty trick –  but if there’s one gallery not to miss in 789, it’s Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art. With free entry for students, and for everyone on lucky Thursdays, it’s a gallery where you can easily spend an entire afternoon. Open Tues – Sun, 10AM-7PM (last entry 630PM).

Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art
4 Jiuxianqiao Rd.
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
+86 10 5780 0200

Check out my guest post Artist Profiles (2 in 1) for ‘Razz My Berries Online Magazine for a few more words on the artists featured at Ullens, Sanrath Banerjee and Wang Mai!

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I’m relieved I didn’t miss this last check off my China trip; as I head back on home with my (quite dirty) rucksack, it’s gained weight from its original 5kg to 10 and it’s filled with mementos, presents, clothes, and odd bits and bobs from around my travels.

I’m finally headed home.

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Taiwan: Lotus Blossoms

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Cycling on a day-trip, I come across these amazing fat-budded lotus flowers bobbing on a lake. They’ve got a dramatic life-cycle, bursting from bright green buds, to graceful firm petalled flowers and then withering into alien, dried brown seed-husks.

Of course, I took photos.

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Taiwan: Chinese Poetry

So that’s what Chinese poetry looks like…

‘Doesn’t it seem a little wasteful of the paper?’ pops into my head. What a totally bizarre new perspective… I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about poetry before, and I own a lot of poetry books… It’s interesting that once you can’t read the characters, the space around them becomes so much more vivid. It’s a fantastic piece visually, regardless that it’s unintelligible to me. Large sheer white spaces, Chinese numbering on the inside edge to the page, left-to-right typeset. So INTERESTING!

Typical internal musings of a humanities student.

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