Category Archives: Social Impact

April 20, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Designed to Heal

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On April 26th, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of “enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow laws” will be open to the public in Montgomery, Alabama. According to its creators, Equal Justice …

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On April 26th, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of “enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow laws” will be open to the public in Montgomery, Alabama. According to its creators, Equal Justice Initiative, between 1877 to 1950, more than 5,000 African Americans were lynched in the South alone. The names of the victims will be engraved within the monument’s columns, one of the memorial’s main architectural highlights.

For Boston-based studio, MASS Design Group, creating a structure meant to heal American society’s deep wound wasn’t easy. Michael Murphy, Executive Director at MASS Design explained in an interview that:

“Memorial design is a challenging and controversial thing these days. And many scholars talk about memorialization as a static or as a dynamic thing, is it temporary, or something very permanent?”

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The intention behind the design is the heal and acknowledge an important time in American history that still shapes many lives and society today. Murphy and MASS Design Group believes that architecture has the ability to heal.

Their about page frankly defines their ethos: “Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts.”

“The memorial will take us through a classical journey, like a almost familiar building type, like the Pantheon, but as we enter, the ground drops below us as our perception shifts where we realize that these columns evoke the lynchings that happened in the public squares. And we continue we understand the vast numbers of those who yet to put to rest. And their names will be engraved of the markers above us.”

– Michael Murphy executive-director of Mass Design, TED TALKS

You can visit the Equal Justice Initiative to learn more about the monument and visiting information.

 

All images © 2018 Equal Justice Initiative

April 19, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

In Perpetuity: Exploring a Unfulfilled Promise of Coexistance

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“We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers flow, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.” These are words allegedly spoken at a meeting between William Penn and Lenni Lenape Chief Tamanend at a meeting in 1683. Now, they …

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“We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers flow, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.” These are words allegedly spoken at a meeting between William Penn and Lenni Lenape Chief Tamanend at a meeting in 1683. Now, they are a central part of In Perpetuity, an installation by Duane Linklater.  In Perpetuity depicts this quote in the handwriting of the artist’s daughter in neon lights. It explores the erasure of native people from their land. Its location along the Delaware River was once a Lenape Meeting place.

“These words were given to the artist’s nine-year-old daughter, Sassa Linklater, to rewrite by hand as a kind of family pedagogy, a passing of Indigenous knowledge from one generation to another, a transmission of Tamanend’s poetry from one generation to another.”

Lenni-Lenape Indians occupied territory, including modern-day Philadelphia- almost 10,000 years before European settlers. Before settlers arrived, there were an estimated 15 to 20 thousand Lenape Tribe Members. After they were relocated to Indian Territory, there were less than a thousand.

The installation was made possible by Monument Lab, a public art and history group in Philadelphia.

Duane Linklater is a contemporary artist and Omaskêko Cree, from Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario. Linklater’s work will also be in New York as part of Agora, a group exhibition opening on April 19th at the Highline. He has proposed “a series of towering tripods that reference the elemental structure of teepees,” in sharp contrast with the architecture in New York. The name is drawn from the Agoras, or public gathering places along the lines of city squares, of ancient Greece.

Agora will look to act as, “a kind of collective voice of the people,” bringing together the works of nine artists from all over the world. It is intended to harness the power of art in very public places to provoke social and political change.Other installations will deal with issues including gender identity, immigration, the impact of ballast on modern cities, and many other fascinating issues in a variety of mediums. I wrote about one of the other artists, Maria Thereza Alves, last week.

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new york branding sports graphic design company

All images courtesy Monument Lab and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation

April 12, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Seeds of Change: A Botany of Colonization

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Maria Thereza Alves’ project Seeds of Change is a fascinating and deliberate statement on the history of colonization being deeply embedded in the landscape of major cities around the world, including New York. For centuries, ships have used whatever is financially convenient as ballast to stabilize ships. Often, this meant …

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Maria Thereza Alves’ project Seeds of Change is a fascinating and deliberate statement on the history of colonization being deeply embedded in the landscape of major cities around the world, including New York.

For centuries, ships have used whatever is financially convenient as ballast to stabilize ships. Often, this meant digging up land from one place and unloading it once a destination was reached. If there were seeds or plants growing in the ballast, which there often were, it would be unloaded as well. Repeat this process hundreds and hundreds of times and this simple act of convenience becomes a major factor in changing the physical and botanical landscapes of important ports around the world.

This significant but often overlooked trend, in conjunction with the migration of people through the slave trade, has been the subject of Seeds of Change since 2002, when the project launched. The video below is about her installation in Bristol.

“ The work revolves around migration, identity, and colonialism, posing the complex question of when exactly seeds – and by extension, people – become “native.”

-The Highline Art

The Garden of Ballast Flora: High Line will be one of three gardens that compose Seeds of Change: New York.  A Botany of Colonization by Maria Thereza Alves will, in turn, be a part of Agora. Agora is a group exhibition opening on April 19th at the Highline. The name is drawn from the agoras, or public gathering places along the lines of city squares, of ancient Greece. Agora will look to act as, “a kind of collective voice of the people,” bringing together the works of nine artists from all over the world. It is intended to harness the power of art in very public places to provoke social and political change.

For centuries, artists have used public locations—and the public in general—as the heart of for their work. By transforming public places into theaters and arenas for performances and collective actions, artists mobilize a kind of collective voice of the people.”

– The Highline Art

Other installations will deal with issues including gender identity, immigration, the relation between indigenous institutions and museums, and many other fascinating issues in a variety of mediums.

An iteration of Seeds of Change exploring the impact of Ballast on New York was installed in 2017 at the New School. It received the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics.

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new york branding sports graphic design agency

Images Source: Maria Thereza Alves

April 8, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Braille for All in Tokyo 2020

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Type Designer Kosuke Takahashi had experimented with the limits of language and type design to create the unique typeface Braille Neue. But what makes Braille Neue so unique? Well, this typeface ambitiously combines Braille with English and Japanese alphabets. It’s what Takahashi calls “braille for everyone.” By altering English and …

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Type Designer Kosuke Takahashi had experimented with the limits of language and type design to create the unique typeface Braille Neue. But what makes Braille Neue so unique? Well, this typeface ambitiously combines Braille with English and Japanese alphabets. It’s what Takahashi calls “braille for everyone.”

By altering English and Japanese characters around the Braille grid, a stylistic and friendly typeface emerged. The typeface makes it look effortless, but as we designers all know that is usually not the case. In the English alphabet, there are 26 characters, far less than the 250 characters in Braille that could indicate various letters, numbers, and articles. You could probably imagine how many attempts it took for him to get to the perfect character. Takahashi also found in his research the experimental typeface was legible to all sighted people as long as it remained confined within the six dotted pattern.

The intention of Braille Neue is not an idea that hasn’t been explored by others. However, this is the most recent project that attempts to do it at such a large scale. This typeface is aimed to meet everyone’s needs at the Olympics and Paralympics for Tokyo 2020:

“Our aim is to use this universal typeset for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 to create a truly universal space where anyone can access information…We aim for an inclusive society where using braille becomes commonplace.”

-Kosuke Takahashi

Braille Neue has two versions. The first is the Standard, which is exclusively in English and Braille. The outlined variant of Braille Neue is both Japanese and English with Braille. It’s unfortunate that this extremely useful typeface is not more available to the public yet. But it might be in the works soon as Takahashi hopes this will encourage more type universality in public spaces.

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new york branding sports graphic design agency

All images © Kosuke Takahashi

March 30, 2018

POSTED BY

Julia Fish

CATEGORY

Giving Art Destroyed by ISIS a Second Life

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I love art history class. It is a breadth of knowledge not traditionally emphasized in high school. Not only is the class centered around beautiful art, it also brings about a more thorough understanding of the history and culture of places I wouldn’t otherwise know much about. Oftentimes, however, the …

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I love art history class. It is a breadth of knowledge not traditionally emphasized in high school. Not only is the class centered around beautiful art, it also brings about a more thorough understanding of the history and culture of places I wouldn’t otherwise know much about.

Oftentimes, however, the class is frustrating. Too often we discuss a beautiful piece of art or architecture now in ruins or forever disappeared that was destroyed for a reason that seems either tragic or, to be honest, a bit ridiculous. The Parthenon? Used as a gunpowder magazine that then (big surprise) blew up. The cave paintings in Lascaux, France? Archeologists used to wet the paintings so that they would be more visible. The incredible art, architecture, and culture of the indigenous Americans? The Pacific Islands? Largely damaged by imperialism. Increasingly horrifying is the knowledge of the thousands of beautiful and significant artifacts being destroyed by ISIS.

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist by  Michael Rakowitz recreates destroyed artwork while emphasizing the relationship between packaging, food, newsprint and everyday life. His pieces are ‘ghosts’ of the originals, come back to provoke thought. 

“As the artefacts disappeared, I was waiting for the loss to translate into outrage and grief for lost lives, but it didn’t happen. So I had the idea of these lost artefacts coming back as ghosts to haunt us.”

Michael Rakowitz

One of these works is a lamasu made of 10,500 cans of date syrup. It is 14 feet long and will be unveiled in Trafalgar Square in London looking towards the middle east. Just like the rest of the series, it is based on an artifact destroyed by ISIS, which drilled the face off of a lamasu in February of 2015. – The lamasu were large stone winged bulls that have guarded Ninevah for thousand years. 

Michael Rakowitz comes from an Iraqi Jewish background. 44 years old, he is now a professor at Northwestern and a successful artist. His works have been displayed at the MOMA, the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, the Kabul National Museum, and UNESCO, Paris, among others.

March 24, 2018

POSTED BY

Brett Yoncak

CATEGORY

An Every Day Challenge

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It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you do something every day, you will slowly, but surely, see improvement. This is true in every aspect of life. It is only through practice that we are able to better ourselves. Whether it is a creative skill (photography, drawing, designing, …

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you do something every day, you will slowly, but surely, see improvement. This is true in every aspect of life. It is only through practice that we are able to better ourselves. Whether it is a creative skill (photography, drawing, designing, etc.), a life skill (meditation, selflessness, small talk, etc.), or a physical skill (skating, throwing a frisbee, playing drums, etc.), no one is born a master of anything. All things take time.

Today, I want to encourage you to pick something and do it every day, for the next month. That is 30 meager days. I’m going to do it with you! I have in the past, and I saw tremendous growth after the commitment. I learned something new every night, I challenged myself and it helped me to silence my inner critic. I want to start again today, and I want you to join me!

What you do TODAY matters.

Here’s the thing, it’s really not as hard as it seems. You have literally nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Even if you only spend 10 – 15 minutes on something every day, I promise you, you will see improvement. Getting started is the absolute toughest part, but once you do, follow these simple steps to make your journey easier, and the results sweeter:

  1. Set clear rules.
    What do you want to accomplish? When will your deadline be every day?
  2. Don’t be too ambitious.
    Pick something you know is possible within the amount of time you have available. Don’t try to paint the Sistine Chapel before midnight. It’s not gonna happen.
  3. Make it public!
    I don’t care if you plan on taking a new photo with your iPhone every day or meditating for ten minutes each morning. Letting friends, family, and even strangers know that you plan on doing so will hold you accountable. You’ll feel worse about not doing what you said you would. Not to mention, you’re likely to receive useful feedback and extra support.
  4. Keep a record of your progress.
    Post your creations online, or journal about how your yoga session went today, and tomorrow, and the next day. This will provide you with extra motivation and a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the month.
  5. Stop caring about what other people think.
    You’re doing this for you, and your own self-improvement. No one else. So who cares if it’s not the greatest painting that kid from Facebook has ever seen.
  6. Don’t give up!
    Even if you miss a day, it’s not the end of the world. Things happen. Just don’t quit and get right back to it the next day!

I will, once again, be stepping into the realm of Cinema 4d, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I’ll be making a piece of “art” every day and seeing where it takes me, creatively. I hope you choose something you are interested in or at least something you recognize needs improvement. Preferably both. This challenge can easily develop into a habit. Once you build momentum, it’s easier to keep it going. It becomes almost automatic, and the discipline needed to complete this challenge has potential to bleed into all other aspects of your life.

Remember that every day is an opportunity for growth.

Growing yourself, your relationships, your skills, your knowledge, should not be a finite goal. Sometimes we may find ourselves stagnant and feel as though we are stuck, or can not change. But this is never the truth. In fact, we are always changing, and always will be, even after our final breath leaks from our lungs, we will still continue to change. It is in the darkest periods of our lives that we learn the most about ourselves. I hope this post, and challenge, inspires you to look deeper into your own ways, and after you finish, you continue to do something every day!

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Benjamin Franklin

If you need some extra inspiration, check out the incredible work of Mike Winklemann aka Beeple. The artist behind the featured image. This legend has made something every day for the past 10 years. Never missing a day. Not even on the day his daughter was born. The man sat down for 5 minutes and created something, before heading to the hospital with his wife. THAT is dedication. It’s especially cool to look at where he started, and where he is now.

Also, check out “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. A truly inspiring book that addresses our greatest enemy, resistance, and offers ways to overcome it. I opted for the audiobook, ’twas an excellent decision.

March 23, 2018

POSTED BY

Jesus Ortega

CATEGORY

Banksy Strikes Again in New York City

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The graffiti villain strikes again! Banksy is back in town and Gotham has two new pieces plastered on its walls by this anonymous artist. Throughout the last couple of days, Banksy received a lot of attention from the press and social media. Of course, his artwork came with a political statement. …

The graffiti villain strikes again!

Banksy is back in town and Gotham has two new pieces plastered on its walls by this anonymous artist. Throughout the last couple of days, Banksy received a lot of attention from the press and social media. Of course, his artwork came with a political statement.

The first work by Banksy was stamped on the outside of a former bank on 14th Street. Located right on the corner of Sixth Avenue, he stenciled a rat running along the inside of a clock. It only took one image to send a deep, thoughtful message to his audience. Behind his frank imagery, lies emotional and political depth that is waiting to be deciphered by his wandering audience. Fans of Banksy might have noticed the rat he painted in the clock is a reoccurring symbol that represented concept of “the rat race in capitalism.”

The second work exhibited from Banksy in New York is a 70-foot long mural located nearby Houston Street and Bowery. This political statement was made as a protest against the imprisonment of Turkish Artist Zehra Dogan. This Turkish artist was incarcerated for painting a scene of a Turkish town being destroyed. Since her arrest, she has received support and solidarity from Banksy.  In fact, he has a mural right under her controversial painting in Turkey. In a statement released to The New York Times, he stated,

“I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence.”

The mural located within the Bowery area has numerous black hash marks to symbolize the jail cell bars and the number of days that Dogan has spent in prison. One of the hash marks is substituted with an image of Zehra Dogan holding a pencil. The Graffiti Artist Borf collaborated with Banksy to create the image of Zehra Dogan.

I really love this work and the political statements he makes with candid images. I am glad that our favorite villain is back in town. Make sure to check out these two pieces and be on the lookout for more!

March 17, 2018

POSTED BY

Brett Yoncak

CATEGORY

The Art of Movement

Art is hard to define, is it not? What is art? This is, and always will be, a highly debated topic. To me, art is so much more than what you might find in a museum. Art can be both beautiful and ugly. It can be intellectual, emotional, an expression …

Art is hard to define, is it not? What is art?

This is, and always will be, a highly debated topic. To me, art is so much more than what you might find in a museum. Art can be both beautiful and ugly. It can be intellectual, emotional, an expression of oneself, a bowl of ramen, a video game, even a political movement. A pool of tranquility in the midst of our hectic world, or a violent shock to your comfortable routine.

Most people are familiar with the visual, performing, and literary arts, but what about the art of getting from point A to point B? I’m not talking about opening up Google Maps, and getting from your house to the nearest Chipotle. I’m talking about parkour and freerunning.

The art of movement. I have been interested in the beauty of freerunning from a young age. I love running fast, vaulting over obstacles, flipping off of walls, and the freedom I feel while doing so. It is, most certainly, an expression of oneself.

I am by no means the world’s greatest free-runner, but I do enjoy following those who are. In honor of National Women’s Month, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the most badass women I know of, who are taking the art of motion to the extreme, and constantly blurring the line between impossible and possible.

Take the time to watch these videos and feel the “flow” these athletes experience, vicariously. Also, I’ve linked their names to their Instagram pages so you can see all the dopeness they share!

Lynn Jung

Katie McDonnell

Pam Forster

March 11, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

The Secret Life of Nuclear Gypsies

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In 1979 on a small island in Pennsylvania, after a myriad of complications, a nuclear plant omitted dangerous radioactive gases in the air. The Three Mile Island accident became the most alarming nuclear event in American history. This same event sparked Japanese magazines Garo and COM to call politically ardent manga artist …

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In 1979 on a small island in Pennsylvania, after a myriad of complications, a nuclear plant omitted dangerous radioactive gases in the air. The Three Mile Island accident became the most alarming nuclear event in American history. This same event sparked Japanese magazines Garo and COM tcall politically ardent manga artist Susumu Katsumata to create what we know now as Why Nuclear Power is Scary. Pages inked with fantastic visual interpretations of Katsumata’s interviews and research tells the unlikely stories of janitors working in a nuclear plant and the stark truth of their occupation.

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This year independent publishing company, Breakdown Press, republished an English translation of Susumu Katsumata’s work Fukushima Devil Fish, a collection of his illustrated documentaries on “nuclear gypsies.”  Despite nuclear power being one of the more feasible alternatives to fossil fuels, the fact of the matter is that nuclear power is frightening when things don’t go as planned. Even when it functions properly, its lethal properties poisons the environment, the 2011 meltdowns following the earthquake in Japan as a prime example.

Too many things can go wrong. And Katsumata wasn’t sold on this renewable energy source either:

“My impressions upon seeing a nuclear power plant? I’m a little prejudiced since I’m against nuclear power. But while the plants look clean and nice from the outside, inside they feel like a regular factory or plant. I don’t know if cluttered is the right word, but there are exposed wires and pipes everywhere, and cables squirming across the ground. […] You don’t feel like you are in the presence of the cutting-edge of technology.”

Structured into two segments, Katsumata tackles themes based on sociological conflicts of technology and humanity coexisting. While the first segment of Fukushima Devil Fish continues to inform the public on the dangers of having such a risky energy source, the second segment uses Japanese folklore to highlight Japan’s difficult transition into industrialization during the 60s and 70s. Edited by Asakawa Mitsuhiro and translated by Ryan Holmberg, this version of Devil Fish is more eye-catching than ever. This mindful graphic novel has remained as one of Katsumata’s best work. You can purchase this new version of the Fukushima Devil Fish on Breakdown Press.

All images © 2018 Susumu Katsumata

March 6, 2018

POSTED BY

Celeste Hylton-James

CATEGORY

Lacoste: Patches for the Endangered

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An iconic clothing brand, Lacoste, has spread its wings to help the environment. To protect 10 endangered species, they have replaced the signature crocodile on their white polos with 10 different patches that represent the wildlife they are trying to save. Already sold out, the polos represent 10 species at risk …

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An iconic clothing brand, Lacoste, has spread its wings to help the environment. To protect 10 endangered species, they have replaced the signature crocodile on their white polos with 10 different patches that represent the wildlife they are trying to save. Already sold out, the polos represent 10 species at risk of extinction such as the Vaquita Dolphin, Burmese Roofed Turtle, Northern Sportive Lemur, Javan Rhino, Cao Vit Gibbon, Kakapo Parrot, California Condor, the Saola, Sumatran Tiger and the Anegada ground iguana. This project is a result of an ongoing collaboration between International Union of Conservation and Save Our Species program.

Currently, there are only 1,775 polos that are being released, selling for $183 USD on their website. Each purchase goes to the IUCN to converse our earth’s abundant wildlife.

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new york branding sports graphic design group