Sunday, January 1, 2017

But Do They Notice?

As a graphic designer, I spend most of my day rearranging elements around a page like a puzzle; hoping to convey the message in a hierarchical, readable, non-offensive way. What I do doesn't save or change lives... I just try to make things look pretty. So... do people notice?

Well thanks to a recent 99% Invisible episode*, I can take comfort in the fact, that at least Roman Mars does....

"I firmly believe that people do care, even if we don't know why, even if we don't know how to articulate it, we feel the effects of bad design, whether we consciously notice it or not....  Once you get people to notice bad design, your annoyance spreads like a virus." 
               – Roman Mars

In the episode, Roman talks with Kate Wagner of the website McMansion Hell; an architectural critic, focusing on ostentatious homes that are built to present an ideal image of wealth but give no consideration to the grammar of design. 
Wagner wants to empower people to have opinions based on design, rather than marketing. But mostly I think she enjoys that others now have to suffer with through her shared annoyance of bad architectural design. I mean, no one wants to suffer alone. 

I can relate to this, since over the years, I have introduced many a friend to Papyrus. And I am pleased that they now cringe every time the encounter it. 

So I will go forth and design on, in the happy knowledge that Roman Mars approves. 

*99% Invisible is my favorite. The fact that there are people out there who are constantly curious about random topics makes me love human beings a little bit more.

Update and Repost: Dimensional Fashion on Display in Grand Rapids

So I went back to the GRAM for another look at Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion
(yes it is interesting enough to warrant a second look!)
And I took the time this time to watch the footage of her runway shows. On mannequins, the dresses have a beautiful fascination, but when you watch someone try to move in them, you get a grasp of their absolute absurd ridiculousness. 
Honestly, these women look so uncomfortable and miserable. Mostly it's the shoes. The insane heelless shoes. I simply cannot get over them. I can't stop watching these 9-foot-tall toothpicks wobbling down the runway. And when someone is concentrating that hard on simply walking forward, it becomes less sexy and more degrading. 
So please, go see the show and enjoy it as art and sculpture, be awed by the materials, but I'm going to stop referring to the pieces as clothes now!

Original post published December 22nd, 2016  
If you find yourself in Grand Rapids during the next few weeks, I must urge you to check out the Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

On display, are about 100 innovative pieces from Iris van Herpen, a cutting-edge fashion designer from the Netherlands. The stunning craftsmanship of Van Herpen's work is not overshadowed by her use of unorthodox materials, such as umbrellas and metal screens. But she is perhaps best known for creating the world's first 3-D-printed couture fashions.

The 3-D printed clothes, don't look particularly comfortable and I don't anticipate seeing them hanging in our closets anytime soon, but they don't fail to enrapture. The futuristic styles compliment the human form in an organic manner, yet create designs that function more like sculpture than apparel. 
Van Herpen revealed her first collection in 2007, after graduating from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands. Since then, her work has appeared on international runways and she has designed couture pieces for fashion powerhouses such as Lady Gaga, BeyoncĂ©, and Bjork.
Van Herpen believes "Wearing clothing creates an exciting and imperative form of self-expression." This exhibition features outfits, while outrageously "different", are undeniable beautiful. 
The GRAM exhibition continues until January 15th. I cannot recommend a visit strongly enough. For a listing of hours of operation, visit artmuseumgr.org.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A New Year, A New Battle

When I sat down to make my 2016 holiday cards, I wanted an image that rallied strength and hope for things to come, but also reflected on the year that's passed. And let's be honest, a little bit of a lot of us was hoping that someone would swoop down and save the day before inauguration. 
So you combine that tiny bit of optimism, with my recent Halloween costume, and my sincere love for the US Postal Service, and the card just sort of happened. Yes, that's right, my holiday card was inspired by a postage stamp
The hand-painted image of a very buff, wonder(ful) woman punching out 2016 recognizes the challenges 2017 offers, and vows to fight on. 

Stay strong. Game on 2017. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wrapping up the Holidays

Looking for a simple, non-traditional way to decorate your holiday packages this year?

Try adorning your packages with hand-cut and hand-painted, paper feathers. This idea was inspired by Lia Griffith, who's gold-tipped feather wrapping is absolutely gorgeous and elegant
It took me about an hour to create 2 dozen feathers. I choose a set of feathers from Google images, cut from my selected paper—vintage sheet music for White Christmas—and then painted a variety of color accents. 
Paired with clean lines and solid kraft wrapping, the feathers add a whimsical and non-conventional touch to holiday gifts!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Free Hotel Kitsch

"Nothing dates a [hotel] room more than old art and floral bed covers." 

Well at least Mike Mueller, Senior VP of the Super 8 motel brand, is both -honest and aware. 

The budget hotel Super 8 may not be known for their modern decor, but as the hotel chain undergoes a redesign, the "not-so-super art" is being removed and replaced with a more contemporary style. 
But across the country, there are thousands of Super 8 rooms, so what do you do with all those discarded art pieces?  You let hipsters fight over it....

Super 8 is holding a series of "Super 8 Innov8te" art shows across the country, and is giving away the most eclectic pieces from their collection. The free art is available on a first come first served basis. 
The brand recently had shows in Miami and New York City, where Mueller says, “We had people literally fighting over pieces of old hotel art. It’s really retro and ironic, and I think that’s what people like about it.”

As the hotels rebrand, the rooms will incorporate hyperlocal black and white photography into their furniture and decor. 
There are 1800 Super 8s across the country, by early 2017 they anticipate the new look will have touched every location. So maybe it's time to revisit a Super 8.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for a chance to grab some historic hotel kitsch at an art show near you.

Monday, November 7, 2016

2016: Another One Bites the Dust

Halloween has passed, which means the next time I go into the store, I'll be bombarded with holiday decor. Christmas is right around the corner, followed by...[drumroll]... 2017

In preparation for 2017, or, to help you get your holiday shopping done early, I've released calendar designs for 2017 on Etsy. 

Designs for 2017 include:
Each calendar is a simple, clean, modern designs, that stand in a black wooden easel. Visit fivefeettall on Etsy to see the full line and place an order. Quantities are limited!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

8th Annual Recycled Art Market at City High

This Saturday is the 8th Annual Recycled Art Market at the City High/Middle School (1720 Plainfield). This is our favorite show of the year — this year there will be more than 70 booths showcasing goods made from primarily recycled materials. 
Every year, we like to debut at least one new product, this year it will be kitty bowties. Bows are made from recycled neckties and fabric scraps. These dapper accessories are perfect for all you're cat's upcoming formal holiday occasions!*
We will also have most of our standard items available too. Last year the booth was full and the day was busy. We're looking forward to seeing many familiar faces again this year. 
Items are one-of-a-kind and of limited quantity, so get there early for first dibbs! Generally, 11 am to 1 pm are the busiest hours, so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan accordingly! See you Saturday!

*Miss the show or want a sneak peek at some ties, check out ScrappyLynn.etsy.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Saving Halloween & Hiding Out at the Clique

When I started freelancing full-time, I thought I'd have all this "free" time to sew and read and cook. Frankly, that hasn't happened. It's been a whirlwind, and I feel like my feet have yet to touch the ground. 

BUT. Halloween did give me incentive to get creative and test my sewing skills, with two costumes I made entirely myself — I didn't even have to rip out any seams!

First up, Wonder Woman, which included designing a top, skirt, armbands, belt and head piece. A super shiny gold spandex for the accessories was the ultimate finishing touch (along with some killer boots from superherostuff.com).
My second costume needed to be bowling friendly. So I created "camouflage" for my natural environment... Clique Lanes. This included painting the wallpaper pattern onto fabric and then sewing it into a shirt. This was all around fun to make and fun to wear, and was a big hit with the bowling alley patrons.
Halloween will continue to reign as my favorite holiday, and the sewing machine was a great break from the computer. I'm inspired to make an effort to spend more time with needle and thread!