So there’s been a lot of unrest at MICA (My alma mater) over the last year; there have been multiple allegations of sexual and racial harassment aimed at full-time faculty by the students for years that have not been addressed (some of these teachers I remember, and I don’t doubt the allegations for a minute.) Yesterday a majority of the full-time faculty voted no confidence in the current school administration, including the President, Provost, and COO. In a letter to the Board of Trustees, the group complains of “…poor communication on part of leadership; a lack of financial transparency; excessive workload demands; and unilateral, non-inclusive decision-making practices that neglect the expertise of faculty.”

Notably missing is any mention of harassment or discrimination, which is troubling.

Date posted: September 15, 2020 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

“Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass,” he wrote. “I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”

The UK artist Banksy bought a 90-foot former French customs vessel and gave it to a group rescuing migrants coming to Europe. On Thursday they rescued 89 people.

Date posted: August 28, 2020 | Filed under art/design, politics | Leave a Comment »

Here’s an interview with Robert Williams, painter, hot rod aficionado, and magazine owner, about the history of his ’32 Ford, working for Big Daddy Roth, and the future of car culture.

In my final year at MICA, he was featured in an exhibit at the school with a who’s who of other hot rod, lowbrow, and other custom culture artists. I remember seeing this car on the floor of our gallery (I recognize this shot from that show). I spent hours at the gallery staring at his paintings; his expressive brushstrokes and wild colors leapt off the canvas. I’m glad to see he’s still kicking.

Date posted: August 16, 2020 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

This is awesome. Artist Alexandra Bell re-edits and rearranges the front page of the New York Times to highlight subtle—and often blatant racism:

Seeing what she did with their front-page reporting on the Virginia white nationalist rally is just stunning. And looking closer at how they’re reporting smaller stories is equally disturbing; a simple article about a man in Tulsa accused of murder is revealed to be plainly xenophobic.

Good art looks pretty. Great art makes you think. I’m definitely going to be looking closer at how things are reported both visually and narratively from now on, because of this work.

And the New York Times should hire this woman on as managing editor today.

Date posted: June 27, 2020 | Filed under art/design, politics | Leave a Comment »

This is pretty cool: a website featuring thousands of high-resolution searchable, downloadable historical artworks.

Date posted: June 17, 2020 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

The installation folks showed up on Friday morning and put in two counters in the bathroom that match the seat and ledge in the shower, and it looks fantastic so far. We chose white round undermount bowls for the sinks, and due to some scheduling mixups we didn’t have the faucets purchased, so we’re looking at those and they’ll come back out next week to drill the holes. Then it should be a not-so-simple matter of setting up the drains (I’m not looking forward to that bit of under-counter gymnastics) and hooking up the water supply, and we’ll be able to use everything in there.

* * *

Finley and I took a drive into Baltimore to hit the MICA Bookstore for some art supplies in the afternoon. She was making linoleum cuts in art class at at school and decided she wanted to make a T-shirt design of her own, so we needed to find clean linoleum to work with. I figured I’d look and see what kind of scratchboard supplies they still carried, as it’s been forever since I’ve picked up the pen and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss it, and whether I could get similar results from an iPad Pro. The store is in a building directly across the street from my first Baltimore apartment, and I told Finley that my roommate and I used to throw frisbee in the parking lot (and under passing buses on Mt. Royal Avenue) out in front of it.

We found her supplies quickly and then split up to check out the rest of the store. I found scratchboard in the back, manufactured by a different company (I used to use Essdee exclusively, this is made by Ampersand), picked up some new nibs, and then found Finn a pin in the student goods section. Then I took her on a quick tour of the neighborhood and showed her some of my old apartments.

At home we set up a craft work area at the dining room table and she worked on her design for the rest of the afternoon while I tested out the scratchboard. I wasn’t going to overthink things so I just transferred a picture of the truck and started working with it, and found that I really like it. It has a good feel—the last few sheets of Essdee I used had a harder surface, harder to work with, and didn’t make clean marks. This cut cleanly and felt good under the nib, and after a lot of initial hesitation (oh, I remember that feeling clearly) I started to work out what I was doing and lost myself in the image. We broke for dinner after a test print of her design, and when we were done I pulled out my silkscreen inks and we printed her design on a blank shirt, then ran off several Scout shirts for Brian. (Linda, I still owe you several shirts).

* * *

I sold my old compressor on Saturday afternoon, and made back 75% of the money I spent on the new one. While we were out for some supplies in the morning I picked up fittings, hose, and a water filter, and installed them while I was waiting for the guy to show up. It’s going to take some serious reorganization, but when I’m done I think the garage will be much easier to use.

* * *

I’ve been on a Stephen King binge for the last two weeks after watching It: Chapter Two, which involved reading the book over again and listening to a companion podcast that discusses the book by section. It was one of his books I enjoyed the most, and it’s been decades since I read it last. There’s so much I appreciate about his style of storytelling, and apart from the problematic section toward the end, the story is as good as I remember. Listening to the podcast was a fun way to dive deeper and think about stuff I hadn’t considered when I was reading it (the perfect introvert’s book club, really).

The movie was better than the reviews would have made us believe; I don’t know who was complaining about the length or the lack of scares, but I could have stood for another half hour (or honestly, if they’d blown this out to a 6- or 8-episode Netflix series, which would have captured all of the detail better). The casting was spot-on, except, I think, for James MacAvoy, who I like, but wasn’t Bill Denbrough in my mind.

Date posted: March 8, 2020 | Filed under art/design, Baltimore, bathroom, entertainment | Leave a Comment »

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a couple of (months? years?) at WRI: a visualization of worldwide carbon emissions by sector in 2016, the follow-up to the famous 2005 version. It took years because we got the data from a partner, who used a different methodology for some of the sectors.

I think I started this in the bottom half of 2018 and noodled on it until this past December, when we finally got the updated data and were cleared to use it. Building the interactive Sankey was fun; building the static version was an exercise in patience.

Date posted: February 10, 2020 | Filed under art/design, WRI | Leave a Comment »

Open Culture has a great list of Free Online Data Science Courses to look over; there are a bunch in here that I’m going to check out.

Date posted: January 22, 2020 | Filed under art/design, general, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

John Margolies was an art historian and critic who traveled America and took photos of signs he saw along the side of the road. His collection, almost 40 years’ worth of work, was purchased and donated to the Library of Congress, who digitized the negatives and have now lifted all copyright restrictions on the photos.

As a student of design and a fellow enthusiast, this is like a bucket of dopamine injected straight into my cerebral cortex.

Date posted: August 30, 2019 | Filed under art/design, photography, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I wish this wasn’t based out of Boston, because I think Jen would be AWESOME at this job:

In this role, you’ll be leading visual design and further developing the Warren campaign’s visual brand on everything from social graphics to larger scale action-oriented products and campaigns, each with the goal of engaging voters with compelling visual storytelling across multiple channels.

Date posted: June 24, 2019 | Filed under art/design, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »