New Blog Design

colopaperEvery 6 months or so, I like to get a new blog theme for my blogs. I was way overdue with this one as I hadn’t updated it since May 2008. As usual when looking for an original WordPress theme, I went directly to Smashing Magazine as they always have the best looking designs for whatever you might be looking for. After digging around the website, I finally found what I was looking for: the ColorPaper theme designed by FTL. (more…)

Cool Twitter Graphics

A few months ago, I was searching cool Twitter badges on the Interweb and came across this website. Randa Clay has some very nice Twitter graphics over there. I downloaded all of those that have a transparent background and added them to my Twitter set on Flickr. If you’re looking for some original Twitter badges, that’s the place to go.

You can see one of Randa’s Twitter graphics in the sidebar of this blog.

Shepard Fairey’s “Duality of Humanity” Expo in San Francisco

If you live in San Francisco, you can’t afford to miss this FREE event.

Opening Reception: September 13th, 7-10pm
Exhibition Dates: September 13th – October 4th

White Walls Gallery
835 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
www.whitewallssf.com

Over 100 pieces will go on display at White Walls in a timely new show titled “The Duality of Humanity.” The show marks an evolution for the artist, whose unique form of reverse propaganda emerged from the spirit of the punk movement. With this show, Shepard touches upon, but also goes beyond the “calls to action” against mindless consumerism and war evidenced in previous shows like Nineteeneightyfouria, E Pluribus Venom and Imperfect Union.

Shepard says:

The difference between this show and the previous ones is that now the optimism of a potential Obama presidency is in the mix.

His recent work reflects his own personal shift towards a new optimism, a direct result of his involvement with, and inspiration by, the powerful political ideals of Barack Obama.

The title of the show, “The Duality of Humanity,” is inspired by the peace-sign wearing US soldier in Vietnam, “Joker,” in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. Fairey sees a strong parallel between the Vietnam war and the Iraq war.

Fairey says that:

this show addresses the human struggle between good and bad, hope and fear. One of the show’s central pieces is a child with a gun in his hand and a flower in his hat. The theme of soldiers and weapons bearing peace signs, or peace signs comprised of military effects, runs through many pieces in the show. Environmental themes also appear in some pieces, illustrating the tenuous balance between our dangerously uncontrolled consumption of non-renewable resources, and our well intentioned eco-concerns. Suffering and hope are seamlessly merged in a visual mash-up that defies expectations and easy answers.

“The Duality of Humanity” includes larger mixed media pieces on canvas and paper that have been covered with carefully collaged ephemera, self-printed patterns and found clippings from printed media. The backgrounds provide a seductive painterly texture and visual subtext, often allowing apropos words and images to bleed through the iconic images printed and painted over them. The multiple layers create a sense of depth, but also bring in temporal elements through preserved newsclippings, historic images and vintage printing effects. It is the images in the foreground, however, that give the work its power. They are crisp and provocative, communicating in a way that is direct and clear.

Source: Obey

George Orwell’s diaries turned into a blog

George Orwell's diaries

I have been a big fan of George Orwell ever since I read 1984. I remember the first time I heard about Orwell. I was 16 and we studied an excerpt from 1984 for our English class. I particularly remember this:

His eyes re-focused on the page. He discovered that while he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action. And it was no longer the same cramped, awkward handwriting as before. His pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals –

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER

over and over again, filling half a page.

This also stroke me when I first read it:

The Ministry of Truth — Minitrue, in Newspeak — was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

I think what I like the most about Orwell’s 1984 is that it was truly a visionary book that decrypted exactly how governments would monitor us, later on.

My favorite thing about the book is how the Government creates a new language called Newspeak. The government deliberately deletes words from the dictionary and from people’s mind. Think about it, if you don’t have a word for “freedom”, how can you fight for it? If you don’t have a word for happiness or sadness, you won’t be able to express your feelings, thus you will be following the leader like a good sheep.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Orwell Diaries, each diary entry is going to be re-published in blog form on WordPress exactly 70 years after it was originally written.  So, 9th August 1938 will be blogged on 9th August 2008 and so on.

The diaries will be published HERE.

I highly recommend you subscribe to the RSS feeds as it will be a very fascinating blog.

If you haven’t read 1984 and feel to lazy to read it, remember you can download a free audiobook of 1984.

[Via GAS]

Shepard Fairey illustrates photographs of Al Rockoff

Shepard was recently presented with the opportunity to illustrate some incredible photographs taken by photojournalist Al Rockoff. The images that were drawn to Shepard fit exactly with the current times and express same complex emotions many people felt during the Vietnam War and feel today with war in Iraq.

Al Rockoff’s photos reveal the brutality, but also the conflicted humanity seen in war. The risks Rockoff took to capture his images were often as great as the risks of the subjects he wished to document. I’m honored to be able to work with Al Rockoff. – Shepard fairey

Read

Mr. Brainwash’s new exhibition: “Life is Beautiful”

Here is what Shepard Fairey has to say about Mr. Brainwash

Mr. Brainwash is an enigma. I want to hug him one second and smack him the next. He is awesome, infuriating, almost impossible to define, but if an artist is defined by relentless, obsessive passion, then MBW is definitely an artist. Which kind of artist though? When I first met MBW he was a film maker. He started documenting me putting art up on the streets and in galleries back in ‘99. He has hundreds of hours of footage and often risked his neck climbing with a camera to very dangerous spots. MBW’s camera was ALWAYS on. Theoretically MBW is coming out with an OBEY documentary eventually. Somewhere along the way I introduced MBW to Banksy, which seemed to lead him to transition from just a voyeur to a participant, and he began making his own street art. MBW told me he used to paint and had actually sold his art to Michael Jackson years ago. Knowing this art background and his obsessive nature, it does not surprise me how quickly MBW rose to prominence with his street art, becoming one of the most “up” people in LA in a short amount of time. Not all of the work was magnificent, but it improved steadily, reflecting the maxim that practice yields results. Meanwhile, in addition to his street art, as flows logically, MBW was also making canvases and screen prints that could be shown in a gallery. In his usual style, MBW could not just do a small art show, he had to go completely over the top and put together one of the largest, most ambitious, non-museum shows I can think of (more detailed description below). Of course nothing can go smoothly with MBW and over the weekend he wrecked his car and fell off a billboard breaking his foot. A less insane person would have postponed their art show, but he instead postponed his foot surgery and is continuing work. With the ambition and commitment MBW has, I’m pretty sure he’ll pull the show off, but if he doesn’t, to paraphrase Malcolm Mclaren, a glorious failure is better than an underwhelming success. I will be playing records and a jazz band will perform, so it is going to be a good party.

Opens June 18th at 7pm
6121 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036

Link: www.artshow2008.com

Mr. Brainwash

 Mr Brainwash MBW Freedom Kiss

George Orwell’s 1984

big brother is watching youOpenCulture found out an audiobook of my favorite book: 1984, by George Orwell. If you haven’t read this book, well, at least now you can listen to it!

1984 is a novel that was written in 1949 by George Orwell, the author of the popular children’s novel Animal Farm. The book has been translated into over fifty languages and has had a major cultural impact in America. Terms such as “Orwellian”, “Big Brother”, and “Room 101”, all originated with the book.

In 1984, the world is divided into three countries, Oceania (North and South America, and Australia), Eurasia and Eastasia. Winston Smith (the book’s protagonist) lives in Oceania, which is a totalitarian society. Winston hates the fact that his life and every moment thereof is closely monitored and controlled by the government. Winston longs for something more. Winston eventually meets and falls in love with another character, Julia, whom he has enjoyable routine sexual intercourse with (an act prohibited by the government). Winston and Julia join the Brotherhood, an underground society of rebels (or so they think). The Brotherhood is actually a trap set by Oceania’s government to catch freethinkers.

Winston and Julia undergo many months of intense torture until they’re forced into total submission and renounce everything the government denotes as un-kosher.

Orwell maintained that the book was written with the explicit intention “to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society they should strive after.”

Visit OpenCulture to download this FREE audio book.