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A Carrot Up the Butt: The Joy of Subverting Ads into ‘Accidental Porn’

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Got Milk?
 
Mortierbrigade is an independent and integrated communications agency based in Brussels. Their motto is “confuse and conquer” which probably explains why their best work subverts the ordinary to make it interesting and original—which in turn explains why they have won over 250 industry awards. (They also run a hotel for trainees too—but that’s another story.) So not your ordinary run-of-the-mill bunch of creatives.

Recently Mortierbrigade linked up with Belgian humor magazine Humo (see what they did there?) to create an eye-catching and off-the-wall advertizing campaign that juxtaposed two seemingly innocent adverts into something far more saucy and subversive. Let’s call it “accidental porn”—where two incongruous images create…well...see for yourself….

Mortierbrigade and Humo clearly managed to convince their leading advertisers—such as Lidl, the Lotto, etc.—to play along.
 
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More accidental porn, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Iconic: Movie posters for classic films redesigned around their famous props and sets
12.05.2016
11:15 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
movie posters
Jordan Bolton

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‘Amelie.’
 
Most movie posters plug their product with suitably emotionally involving imagery from their content. You know the kind of stuff—action heroes with all guns a-blazin’; or slightly forlorn yet still ridiculously upbeat figures battling through some deep emotional trauma; or smug smiling idiots who want you to believe their comic misadventure is going to be really really funny.

Photographic artist Jordan Bolton has kicked that approach into touch with his series of iconic and beautiful film posters which use only the props and sets as seen on the screen. It’s a novel approach that certainly works.

For each movie poster, Bolton selects and creates the relevant props or set as featured. Each object or room is handcrafted. The finished objects are displayed together and then photographed. Bolton describes his work this way:

By focusing purely on the objects and colour palette of the film, I see the posters as providing an interesting and fresh perspective on the film’s themes and characters even for someone who has seen the film many times.

More like especially for someone who has seen one of these films multiple times.

It’s fair to say, Bolton has created a kind of dialogue with the viewer—but it’s one that’s self-reflective and that probably works best after you’ve already seen the film, and not before. Then the viewer knows what all these objects mean and how they reflects on their taste and intelligence. That said, I do admit that having missed out on the joys of a couple of these films—one look at Bolton’s splendid posters has placed these movies on my “must see” list.

Jordan Bolton’s posters are available to buy on Etsy and more of his work can be seen here and here.
 
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‘Fantastic Mr. Fox.’
 
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‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’
 
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‘The Shawshank Redemption.’
 
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‘Carol.’
 
More of Jordan Bolton’s “iconographic” posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fantastic vintage Japanese movie posters
12.02.2016
10:51 am

Topics:
Art
Design
Movies

Tags:
posters
Japanese film posters

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‘A Hard’s Day Night’ (1964).
 
A friend collects Japanese movie posters. He’s rich enough to afford it. The walls of his house are almost covered with these bright, garish, beautiful film posters. Last time, I visited him I asked why he never exhibited them or at least scanned them digitally to share on the Internet. He said he thought of them as art—and as art they had to be viewed in person and not through a screen. I thought he was just being a pretentious twat—but there you go.

Fair to say, it was an impressive collection—a mix of Japanese features and American/British imports. But his collection went no further than the late-seventies to early-eighties. I wondered why? This, he explained, was because the best Japanese movie posters originated during the Shōwa period—the time of Emperor Hirohito’s reign 1926-1989—when the printing process meant the posters were by artists creating collages from cut-up photographs. These were airbrushed and colorized to glorious effect. There was an art and craft to making these posters—which remained roughly the same from the twenties to the seventies—which the digital era no longer employs.

Inspired by my dear friend’s collection, I’ve collated together a mix of images which exemplify some of the best in Japanese poster design—and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want one of these hanging on their walls?
 
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‘Batman’ (1966).
 
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‘Bedazzled’ (1967).
 
More fantastic Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Nightmares’: The perfect calendar for 2017
11.22.2016
09:40 am

Topics:
Animals
Art
Design

Tags:
John Coulthart
calendars
Lovecraft

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If you think 2016 has been a bad year then be prepared for what may come in 2017 with John Coulthart’s magnificent Nightmares calendar.

Following on from his highly successful Lovecraft calendar last year, artist, writer and all round good guy Coulthart has pulled together a rich selection of his finest artwork to create an eye-catching calendar for 2017. His theme this time round is nightmares—which may be apt considering some of this year’s startling events.

Coulthart has picked some of his best known (and some little known) artwork from the mid-1990s—including paintings of Lord Horror, the Burroughs influenced Red Night Rites diptych and “one of the pages from [his] Kabbalistic collaboration with Alan Moore, The Great Old Ones.”

I like Coulthart’s work—it unsettles those dark corners where imagination grows wild—and think his Nightmares 2017 will look damned good on any wall. Order yours here.
 
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January: ‘Steps of Descent ‘(digital, 2008).
 
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February: ‘Untitled’ (acrylics on board, 1997).
 
Take a peek at what the rest of 2017 has in store for you on John Coulthart’s ‘Nightmares’ calendar, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Arsenic and old lace: When women’s clothing could actually kill you
11.17.2016
10:13 am

Topics:
Design
Fashion
History

Tags:
1800s
arsenic


A child’s dress dyed green with arsenic, 1838-1843.
 
Ah, the color green. Generally associated with good luck and four-leaf fucking clovers the color green was anything but good luck back in the 1800s. During the entire century and into the 1900s arsenic was used in all kinds of everyday products from wallpaper to paint as well as women’s clothing and beauty products. Yikes.

Originally known as “Scheele Green” in 1814 German company Wilhelm Dye and White Lead Company decided to try to modify the paint by adding arsenic and verdigris (a blue/green color that is made by using copper or brass to oxidize it). The new color was dubbed “emerald green” and was an overnight smash. It was soon being used for all kinds of things including dying dresses, shoes and flower hair accessories for women, among countless other products too numerous to mention. When the actual “recipe” for the dye was published in 1822 distributors attempted to temper the color as well as change its name so customers would keep using products that would eventually kill many of them.

Due to their constant contact with the deadly dye, seamstresses and makers of flower hair accessories were especially susceptible to the dangers of getting up close and personal with arsenic and would pay for it by developing horrific lesions on their skin or face. And they were the lucky ones. Death from arsenic poisoning was preceded by vomit that was a distinct shade of green, foaming at the mouth and convulsions. All things considered, as bad as things are now, they really seemed a whole lot worse during a time when looking good could literally kill you. I’ve included many images in this post of vintage garments, shoes and other items that drastically cut the average life-expectancy of a lot of ladies and anyone who liked cake because guess what? Arsenic was also used to color cake icing back in the 1800s! If this kind of historical weirdness is your kind of thing I highly recommend picking up the book Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David.
 

The effect of constant contact with arsenic on the hands of perhaps a seamstress or flower maker.
 

Boots dyed with arsenic, mid-1800s.
 
More deadly clothing after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Political ‘propaganda kimonos’ from pre-World War II Japan
11.16.2016
12:46 pm

Topics:
Design
Fashion
History

Tags:
Japan
World War II
kimonos


 
There’s something very alluring about secret codes intended to transmit a message of solidarity to a select few. Just recently in the wake of the presidential election, a significant number of people have adopted the practice of wearing a safety pin as a sign of resistance to President-Elect Trump and as a message of support to groups likely to be marginalized under a Trump administration such as African-Americans, Muslims, and women. Gee thanks, white people.

One example of this that I learned about recently was the Japanese practice of wearing militaristic propaganda in a way that only close friends and family would be in a position to notice—on ornate, specially designed kimonos. They were mainly reserved for inside the home or at private parties. Since the designs were often on undergarments or linings, a host would show them off to small groups of family or friends. These “propaganda kimonos” are called omoshirogara—denoting “interesting” or “amusing” designs—and were popular from 1900 to 1945, and for the first half of that period they had little to do with warfare.

For instance, in the 1920s and 1930s, many omoshirogara featured a bright consumerist future with gleaming art deco cityscapes and chugging locomotives and ocean liners. In the late 1920s, however, conservative and ultra-nationalist forces in the military and government started to assert themselves. In 1931 Japan invaded Manchuria and installed a puppet regime there, marking the start of a period of extreme militaristic nationalism and aggression as well as isolation from the West.

Norman Brosterman is one of the world’s foremost collectors of propaganda kimonos, and his website is a trove of arresting imagery. All of the kimonos depicted on this page come from his collection. He writes:
 

The Japanese tradition of pictures on garments took an insidious turn in 1895 and 1905 with the Sino-Japanese, and Russo-Japanese Wars, when kimono were first made with images of troops, cannon, and battleships. In the 20th century, kimono with a plethora of themes were produced – travel, sports, politics, fashion, and in the 1930’s, an outpouring of imagery of war. From 1931 and the Japanese annexation of Manchuria, until Pearl Harbor and the complete war footing it necessitated, Japanese propaganda in the form of clothing for men, boys, and more rarely, women, was produced and worn in Japan in support of the efforts overseas.

 
Here are some excellent specimens of the form:
 

This boy’s kimono with an image of a streamlined car.
 

This detail from a kimono from 1933 depicts the popular figures of “the Three Brave Bombers,” real-life soldiers who perished while laying explosives to clear out the enemy’s barbed wire defenses.
 
Many more remarkable kimonos after the jump…......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Russian prison tattoo-themed plateware (NSFW)
10.31.2016
12:34 pm

Topics:
Art
Crime
Design

Tags:
Russia
tattoos
prisons
ceramics


In Russian tattoos, the cat symbolizes a successful thief
 
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we brought you old-school ceramics with pictures of German nuclear power plants on them. There may be something of a trend happening here, for today our offering consists of similar ceramic plateware with astonishing illustrations derived from Russian prison tattoos.

Valeria Monis is the “multidisciplinary designer” who creates these amazing plates and vases, invariably in cobalt blue. Every object is handmade, so they are also quite individual; there is no mass production here. Monis was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The title of Monis’ project is “From Russia With Love.” It combines “the subversive art of Russian criminal tattoos” and “traditional blue porcelain design,” bringing together “two opposed but equally important and influential strands of Russian art history.” As Monis writes of this Russian tradition, “In the criminal world, a man with no tattoos has no status. ... The illustrations they wear on their skin tells the story of their closed society, a society with its own hierarchy and social structure.”

While transmitting information to others about a person’s crimes and prison terms, the tattoos more fundamentally express a kind of folk understanding of sex, love, honor, sacrifice, and happiness. Many of the images are deeply misogynistic, bestowing warnings of the perils of “whores” and “bitches,” although others celebrate sex, orgasm, and the delights of “playing with your body.” 

Not all of the tattoos are bawdy or boastful or are intended to denote status. Some of the tattoos depict visions of failure or loss, while others are markers of connubial bliss.
 

Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I, by Danzig Baldaev
 
Monis’ source material is FUEL Publishing’s remarkable series of Russian prison tattoo books by Danzig Baldaev.

These intriguing items are available for purchase. Small plates (roughly 6 inches in diameter) cost $95 or $99, large plates (11 inches) cost $120, and the vases cost between $250 and $300.
 

Vologda Transit Prison, 1950s
 

“Girls, find yourself a generous hand. You’ll be fed, dressed, and entertained, and you’ll play with your body….”
 
Many more of these marvelous ceramic items after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Splendor in the Cash: Incredibly intricate designs carved on coins
10.31.2016
11:44 am

Topics:
Art
Design

Tags:
hobo nickels
Shaun Hughes

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“Hobo nickels” is the term given to coins that have been altered with decorative carving. Though there is a long tradition of such carving going as far back as the 1700s, hobo nickels really came to prominence after the US Mint issued a new 5¢ coin in 1913. This coin featured an Native American head on one side and a buffalo on the other. This coin became known as the “Buffalo nickel” or “Indian head.” Due its size and the softness of its metal, the Buffalo nickel became a popular medium for trying out engraving skills by carving faces onto the coin.

During the First World troops were known for turning these coins into mementoes for sweethearts, family members and loved ones while awaiting departure for France at docks in Hoboken, NJ. Many of the hobo nickels produced around this time feature caricatures of Kaiser Wilhelm and German soldiers.

By the 1930s, it was mainly hobos who carved elaborate portraits or designs onto coins which they would then exchange for a hot meal or some essential goods.

British artist Shaun Hughes continues this tradition of hobo nickels by engraving beautiful, elaborate designs onto nickels, quarters and British pennies and shillings. His coins are pocket artworks which sell on eBay for around $5-$200 apiece—which is a nice way to increase the value of your cash.

Shaun doesn’t do commissions but you can see more of his work and his working processes here.
 
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More valuable coin art, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80’: Essential collection of prime U.K. punk paraphernalia
10.28.2016
10:22 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Design
Punk

Tags:
punk


Poster for Rock Against Racism Carnival, Victoria Park, David King, April 30, 1978
 
The U.K. punk scene represented one of mankind’s greatest explosions of populist mass art, as represented not only in the songs and the album covers the scene generated but also a well-nigh endless variety of punk clothing, handbills, flyers, posters, badges, fanzines, and who knows what all. The DIY and countercultural ethic of that moment reverberates down the decades to us today—and will for some time. We’re not done hearing the echo of that moment.

Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print, 1976-80, a new book from Phaidon Press, offers a detailed look at one of the world’s great agglomerations of U.K. punk ephemera, Toby Mott’s collection, which took decades to bring to its current state. This generous volume is bursting at the seams with punk energy, its whopping 500+ pages offering approximately that many riveting punk artifacts. The book is surprisingly affordable at $22.76.

Mott was in the thick of the action during the original U.K. punk era as one of the founders of the Anarchist Street Army, a late 1970s organization based in Pimlico that specialized in street disturbances. Later he appeared in Derek Jarman’s 1985 movie The Angelic Conversation, and the art collective he co-founded, the Grey Organisation, was responsible for the iconic day-glo cover art for De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising.
 

 
The Mott Collection includes essential punk artifacts such as Jamie Reid’s “ransom note” designs for the Sex Pistols, Linder Sterling’s astonishing “Orgasm Addict” art for the Buzzcocks, Barney Bubbles’ memorable work for Ian Dury, as well as grassroots fanzines such as Mark Perry’s Sniffin’ Glue.

The book features an essay by Rick Poynor, who writes:
 

One of the revelations of this collection is the unswerving focus on the bands. No matter how wild and thrashy the lettering and graphics may be, the pieces produced by fans mainly deliver pictures of the performers rather than other kinds of imagery. Punk was a highly sociable scene and it attracted people who loved to dress up and show off. They identified with the groups, and in fanzines like Sniffin’ Glue and Ripped & Torn they celebrated them as makers of their own grassroots culture. This is an illuminating departure from the usual picture of punk as an essentially political act of rebellion and the scene’s fixation on punk’s stars hasn’t been so obvious in previous surveys. Within only a few years, some post-punk groups would shun the spotlight and insist that the music was the essential thing, but the 1970s punks embraced the performer as an anti-glamorous star figure just as surely as earlier audiences embraced conventional versions of the pop star. The means of adulation were much the same. By 1977 Punk magazine was publishing a double-sided colour poster featuring all the favourite bands, the Clash were posing moodily for a pin-up in Oh Boy! magazine and punk was ripe for “punxploitation” in a picture publication titled Punk Rock Rules OK?

 
Here are some samples from Oh So Pretty:
 

Back side of flyer for Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Adverts, Motorhead, The Vibrators, Generation X and Buzzcocks at The Greyhound, Croydon, February/March/April 1978
 

Poster for X-Ray Spex’s single “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” October 1977
 

Poster for Siouxsie and the Banshees at Eric’s, Liverpool, May 14, 1977
 
Much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
For Sale: The Private Life of Marilyn Monroe

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This is what it comes to when we die: a wardrobe full of clothes, shoes, some scattered notes, several albums of photographs and a few good memories to be shared by others.

When Marilyn Monroe died on August 5th 1962, she left behind a shitload of personal effects from which we can learn more about her private life than any biography or old movie magazine interview could ever reveal. This November, Julien’s Auctions are selling some of Marilyn’s personal belongings from the collections of David Gainsborough-Roberts, the estate of Lee Strasberg and the estate of Frieda Hull. The lots up for grabs include clothes, costumes, jewelry, photographs, memorabilia, private journals, and poetry.

Julien’s shortlists the sale as follows:

Highlights from Marilyn Monroe Property From The Collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts include a sheer black beaded and sequined dress worn by Monroe in her Golden Globe winning role Sugar Kane as she crooned “I’m Through With Love” in the award winning 1959 film Some Like it Hot; an elaborate embellished stage gown worn by Monroe as she sang “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” in the 1953 comedy There’s No Business Like Show Business which was designed by one of Marilyn’s all-time favorite designers, William Travilla; a pink linen halter wiggle dress designed for Monroe by Dorothy Jenkins for the 1953 thriller Niagara

The Marilyn Monroe Property From The Estate of Lee Strasberg collection includes one of just a few pieces of fine jewelry ever owned by Monroe: a ladies platinum and diamond cocktail watch with movement reading “Blancpain, Rayvill Watch Co. 17 Jewels, Unadjusted Switzerland.” Other highlights in this collection include a beautiful 1950’s brown alligator ladies handbag from I. Magnin & Co. with matching accessories; a grey pony handbag from Mexico still containing three one peso bills; a number of other handbags, fur coats and stoles; a stunning ladies minaudière with the original box, featuring multiple compartments containing loose powder with cotton buffer, mirror, comb, two mercury dimes, eight Phillip Morris cigarettes and a tube of used Revlon lipstick in “Bachelor’s Carnation” with a date of 1947, a virtual time capsule of one of the star’s nights out on the town.

Déjà vu Property From The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe includes personal items originally sold at Christie’s 1999 and Julien’s Auctions’ 2005 Property From The Estate of Marilyn Monroe auctions and other consignors.

Among these incredible treasures are many of Marilyn’s intimate writings which reveal her frustrations with acting, her fear of being unable to love another, and various poems including one which might be about suicidal feelings:

Stones on the walk,
every color there is
I stare down at you
like a horizon
The space—air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories up
my feet frightened
as I grasp towards you.

The auction takes place over three days on November 17th, 18th and 19th, Los Angeles in what would have been Marilyn’s ninetieth year. View the catalogs here and full details of the auctions here.
 
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More Marilyn Monroe memorabilia auction, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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