Street Art By Smithe

A small sampling of work by Mexican illustrator and street artist Smithe. A small sampling because, were I not to limit myself I would, most likely, just wind up hoarding every piece of art on his blog and transposing it to this one, which is poor form, really, no matter how much you like someone’s portfolio.

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The cartoonishness of his style works well with the subject matter, making sure that the exploded anatomy found in many of his pieces retain an air of playfulness so as not to overwhelm the viewer with grotesquerie. His newer illustrations (specifically the bio-mechanical heads) feature more of a comic book feel, with their dark shadows and copious hatching. This seems like a departure (though, no less successfully executed) from his previous work which features a looser, more animated style. Either way, I am a fan.

This Is My Home

From Kelsey Holtaway and Mark Cersosimo of Departure|Arrival Films, This Is My Home profiles East Village resident Anthony Pisano. Mr Pisano has a particularly spectacular home, so crammed with wonderful oddities that people often mistake it for an antique shop. This could also be because his home looks suspiciously like a storefront and Mr. Pisano is often seated outside near the entrance. Whatever the reason, he doesn’t seem to mind and is more than willing to let people look around anyway and gaze at his collection of baubles and bric-à-brac. Surprisingly, he says nothing has ever been stolen, though he has, on occasion, given things away. You can see some bonus footage of his densely packed abode at their site.

Via Laughing Squid : Too Much Nick : Reddit

Walter Schnackenberg’s Theater of the Strange

So, Will Schofield over at 50 Watts has a bit of a fetish for German poster illustrator Walter Schnackenberg (1880-1961) and I’m finding it pretty easy to see why. Schnackenberg’s work is almost like Salvador Dali and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (whose work Schnackenberg admired) had a child, swinging wildly between the more traditional theater illustration and extremely surreal dreamscapes and oftentimes these two worlds collide.

His figures are lithe and twisting, their faces many times animal-like — stretched and disfigured. The tone of many of these is hard to nail down, evolving as he grew older and introduced stranger elements into his work. His older work seems more playful, and certainly there is some of this in the later pieces, but one can definitely see a darker, more cynical streak enter his oeuvre as time went on. It all makes for a truly captivating body of work.

8 Consecutive Nights of KRAFTWERK! (NYC MoMA, April 10th —> 18th)

Holy shitballs. New Yorkers, you lucky ducks, you get to have ALL the retro-badass fun! Via East Village Radio:

Kraftwerk –one of the most important groups in electronic music’s relatively short history– will be the focus of a retrospective taking place in April at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the New York Times reports. The band, featuring lone founding member Ralf Hütter, will be present and performing as part of the celebration named Kraftwerk-Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8.  Starting April 10th [...] Kraftwerk will perform over eight consecutive nights, with each evening dedicated to one of the pioneering group’s albums in chronological order, starting with 1974’s Autobahn.

The concerts will be held MoMA’s (appropriately retrofuturetastic) Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Tickets go on sale at noon, February 22nd, $25 a pop. (Zounds, they’re gonna go fast!)

Eyepatch Party!

Eyepatches have long been a staple of alt fashion. From visual kei to burlesque, the eyepatch has been used to accentuate elements of romanticism, glamour, and mystique throughout the ages.

Advertising giant David Ogilvy knew this in 1951 when he created “the man in the Hathaway shirt,” a campaign that put a tiny company on the map by featuring a distinguished-looking man with a mysterious eyepatch in a series of ads that continued to run for over 25 years and inspired dozens of copycats.

David “Wear the Eyepatch” Bowie knew this in 1972 when he popularized the patch during his Ziggy Stardust era, influencing everyone from Peter Burns to Rihanna. And of course, film directors know that an eyepatch can create the character, from Quentin Tarantino’s Elle Driver to John Carpenter’s Snake Plissen. It can be said that the most (come to think of it, the only) memorable thing from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow was the sight of Angie with an eyepatch.

Of course, stylish eyepatches aren’t just for show. For centuries, people with eye ailments have incorporated the patch into their personal style. The first chic eyepatch-wearer may have been Spanish princess Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda. Around 1545, young Ana lost her eye in an accident during a playfight with one of her guards. Donning an eyepatch only fueled her popularity at the court, and it is said that she had a bejeweled eyepatch for every dress she owned.

Film director Fritz Lang’s eye problems started in 1916, the same year he stumbled into film. While recuperating from war wounds that would eventually cost him his eye, he began to write scripts and took up acting. In his younger years, he wore a monocle over his injured eye; later in life, an eyepatch under dark glasses. Knowing the director’s struggle towards monocular vision, Maria’s lingering robot wink in Metropolis somehow feels much more significant. Other fabulous/functional eyepatch-wearers include Slick Rick, James Joyce and Momus.

I never thought I’d have to wear an eyepatch for any reason other than a fashion shoot or a fancy night out. But following some recent eye problems, I have to wear one for at least a portion of each day, for at least a little while. Thus began my trawl through Tumblr, Flickr, and fashion blogs in search for the perfect patch. The search uncovered dozens of beautiful images from Coilhouse friends and family. After the jump, an epic collection of over 60 eyepatches featuring Mother of London, Salvador Dali, PUREVILE!, James Dean, Amelia Arsenic, Chad Michael Ward, Shien Lee, Antiseptic, Jane Doe, Alyz Tale, Atsuko Kudo and many others. I suspect that many of you have eyepatch photos as well. If you’ve got one, post it in the comments!

Randy Halverson’s “Dakotalapse”

Randy Halverson’s gorgeously ethereal “Dakotalapse”. Comprised of thousands of 20-30 second exposures stitched together, it was shot mostly near the White River in South Dakota, with additional footage shot in Utah and Colorado.

In the opening “Dakotalapse” title shot, you see bands of red and green moving across the sky. After asking several Astronomers, they are possible noctilucent clouds, airglow or faint Aurora. I never got a definite answer to what it is. You can also see the red and green bands in other shots.

At :53 and 2:17 seconds into the video you see a Meteor with a Persistent Train. Which is ionizing gases, which lasted over a half hour in the cameras frame. Phil Plait wrote an article about the phenomena [for Discover Magazine] here.

There is a second Meteor with a much shorter persistent train at 2:51 in the video. This one wasn’t backlit by the moon like the first, and moves out of the frame quickly.

The soundtrack was done by Bear McCreary, who some of you may know from his work on Battlestar Galactica If you like this there is a 23 minute(!) extended cut available for download.

Via lens culture

Cycle-Skating In Paris

If you were a Parisian gentleman in 1923 looking for the newest thing in personal mobility, you may have had a keen interest in the above: cycle-skating. Essentially small bicycle wheels strapped to your legs, they could be used with or without poles, “ski style”. Perfect for the hip, urban man on the go. Just make sure to hike those trousers up over your knee-highs.

Via Buzzfeed

The “Spirit Bomb” of Harajuku Culture

Featured previously on Coilhouse for her debut music video Pon Pon Pon, 19-year-old blogger-turned-singer Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (also known is Kyary, or Carrie Pam) is back with a new music video for her single Tsukema Tsukeru.

According to Super Happy Awesome, the song is all about the application, appreciation, and effects of false eyelashes. Kicking off the video with a sparkly-lashed wink to Kanye’s Power (which was also parodied to great effect by Freddie Wong), Kyary celebrates the art of eyelash extension through lyrics (“It’s the magic in a type of eyelash / My confidence changes, the way I see the world changes”), choreography (plenty of jazz hands emulating the batting of full lashes), set design (with some terrifying CGI depictions of the (lash-bedecked) Hamsa Hand floating in the background), and, perhaps most potently, costume design (featuring an extra head on top of her wig wearing lashes, a rather anatomical-looking corset decorated with an eye pendant, and two giant false eyelashes on her boobs).

The same team that created Pon Pon Pon was responsible for Tsukema Tsukeru. The song was produced by Yasutaka Nakata, one half of the electronic duo capsule. The video was art-directed by Sebastian Masuda, a pioneer of “kawaii culture” who also founded Harajuku fashion label %6DOKIDOKI. Masuda and Kyary also recently collaborated on an exhibition titled Table of Dreams.

In describing his first meeting and subsequent collaboration with Kyary, Nakata calls her “the ‘spirit bomb’ of Harajuku culture.” (The spirit bomb, the translator explains, “refers to an attack in the classic anime ‘Dragon Ball’, which channels the energy of surrounding life forms into a powerful sphere.”) Kyary’s success, writes Nakata, lies in her ability to infect people with enthusiasm for her projects. “I think it’s because everyone who gathers around Kyary feels like, ‘if I were with Kyary, I’d be able to express things that are new to me.’ That is, of course, how I feel too. So it’s different from a collaboration, and – to tell the truth – even saying that I produce her has a different meaning. The closest I can get is saying, ‘I’m doing it just for the fun of it.’ I feel like Kyary has this power in her to involve people that way.”

See also:

[via Nicole Aptekar]

Rabbit Rabbit Radio


(Rabbit Rabbit Radio illustration by Mariko Ando.) 

Next Wednesday, February 1st, professional musicians/married couple/doting parents Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi –whose various other projects have been mentioned on Coilhouse many times– are launching a very interesting new multimedia musical subscription service called Rabbit Rabbit Radio.

“Saying ‘rabbit, rabbit’ on the first of the month is a tradition here in New England,” Kihlstedt explains. “It is said to bring good luck and a sense of renewed purpose. We’ve taken it to heart and are releasing a new song on the first [day] of each month along with photos, videos, and other implicating evidences of our creative process, all on rabbitrabbitradio.com


The Kihlstedt/Bossi family: Matthias, Tallulah, and Carla. Photo by Eurydice Galka.

Last year, not long before the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (a legendary band they were members of) closed its doors, Kihlstedt and Bossi moved from Oakland to Cape Cod with their baby girl Tallulah. “Our lives have changed a lot since [she] was born and since we moved back East.” Kihlstedt and Bossi predict that their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project will help them to accomplish many things, warmly and comfortably, in ways that more traditionally grueling channels (constant low-budget touring is exhausting enough without kids!) could not:

“It keeps us in touch with you [our audience]. It conveys each song with much more depth and dimension than a simple iTunes download would. It holds us to an ongoing commitment to our own creativity. It allows us to be creatively independent from home, which in turn allows us to be good parents. In short, everyone wins. We have finally created our very own dream job.”

Fans who subscribe to Rabbit Rabbit Radio can choose to pay $1, $2, or $3 per month (but there’s no difference in content access; it’s just a chance to pay them a bit more for their efforts, if you can afford to). You can learn more –and get a taste of the quirky, sweet whimsy this lovely duo creates together– from the following YouTube pitch video:

RRR has its own Twitter account and a Facebook page as well.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is a fascinating-yet-simple premise that feels very new, and fresh, and… cozy! Kihlstedt and Bossi both hope this kind of project takes off: “there are lots of artists whom we would gladly subscribe to ourselves!”  While there may very well be other musicians out there attempting similar transmedia subscription services (and please feel free to give them a shout-out in comments, because we’d love to know more about them, too) it’s certainly not status quo quite yet. Fingers crossed that it soon will be.

The modern quest for reasonable and sustainable alternatives to a more staid career path in the arts is always worth discussing on Coilhouse. We live in interesting- no, scratch that, fascinating times. It might feel daunting to watch the old regimes fall down around our ears, but there’s no doubt about it: we are lucky to be alive during a time period where there’s so much opportunity to build newer, better, kinder infrastructures. Let’s stay tuned in!

Jim Henson’s Soulless AT&T Robot

A short film by Jim Henson from 1963 created for an AT&T seminar on data communication:

The organizers of the seminar, Inpro, actually set the tone for the film in a three-page memo from one of Inpro’s principals, Ted Mills to Henson. Mills outlined the nascent, but growing relationship between man and machine: a relationship not without tension and resentment: “He [the robot] is sure that All Men Basically Want to Play Golf, and not run businesses — if he can do it better.” (Mills also later designed the ride for the Bell System at the 1964 World’s Fair.) Henson’s execution is not only true to Mills’ vision, but he also puts his own unique, irreverent spin on the material.

Sure beats a PowerPoint presentation. This wasn’t the first gig for the smoke-belching, metal host either, it had already made a previous, corporate appearance in 1961, at the US Food Fair in Hamburg, Germany:

Via AT&T Archives : Poetv