The visual deus ex machina


Ed Ruscha on Los Angeles:

Being in Los Angeles has had little or no effect on my work. I could have done it anywhere.


Au contraire! David Lynch on Ed Ruscha on Los Angeles:

Ed has said California hasn’t influenced him one little bit, but I disagree. I like to think the California sun has burnt out all unnecessary elements in his work.



The incomparable Chris Ware delivers a Halloween-themed cover and comic for the New Yorker. (Cover, first page, second page.) All the Ware-isms are in evidence.

  • Not 1mm of wasted space
  • The flatly modernist feel of isometry
  • A wintry desolation that savors of Chicago
  • Pools of Hockney cerulean + a southwestern palette of pink-gray-browns
  • Keen visual wit (viz., the children’s masks = the iPhone-lit faces of the parents)
  • The quick frissons of loneliness, neglect, and distrust
  • Patterns of intergenerational friction and inertia


Levi’s wants you to feel that there’s something American about denim, and something deeply American about theirs in particular. (The Marlboro Man has done his part.) The company makes a poetic case in their recent Go Forth campaign, launched around July 4, with the help of Portland ad legends Wieden + Kennedy, who enlisted rising stars Ryan McGinley and Cary Fukunaga.

The “O Pioneers” spot is exuberant, full of activity. Not only does the camera whip around with Scorsese speed, dropping with the waterfall or sailing over the meadow, but the bodies twirl and careen forward, too, in explosions of motion that do call to mind some kind of pioneer restlessness. Using old Smithsonian wax cylinder recordings of (what we believe, want to believe, is) Whitman’s own voice reciting “Pioneers! O Pioneers,” the union of text and image stirs up an excitement that winningly connects the wild-hearted, hipster Generation O back to the Lincoln-era rhetoric of self-reliance and awe at nature.

The “America” spot draws its text from Whitman’s likewise titled “America.” It is night, again, and we’re out among the trees and lakes. The city doesn’t exist in this world, the daydream nation of country-boy turned metro-artiste Ryan McGinley, it seems, not in the form that we know it. The black and white photography, like the light of the fireworks, is a kind of equalizer: it finds visually common denominators. Against the hanging tension of the Final Fantasy song in the background, the vitality of the subjects—shirtless kids and suited businessmen, backflipping and flexing and chasing through waves of grain—is even more obvious. The snap of the final firecracker silences the violins, breaks the tension, and concentrates our attention on the handwritten go forth at the end. A great ad.



Okay, sometimes she’s cute. Wishing it was Saturday.



And TGIS. Last week was long and tiring due to a combination of a variety of things: weather, Homecoming Week at school = crazy students, workshops, trying to stay healthy, late buses etc. Late Friday night, we were both in a funk, just got off of work, but everything quickly turned around after making plans for some frozen pizza, Dark n’ Stormies, Double Chocolate Stout, Dots, and grilled T-bones. MMMmmmm. We capped the night off watching Grey Gardens with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

Btw, RISD girls, I thought of y’all and the Wild Colonial after mixing my own Dark n’ Stormy. Even BJ liked it!

tick tock


(A 1950s wedding dress to the rescue! This bride found out a few weeks before the wedding that her original dress would not arrive on time. Luckily, she stumbled upon this vintage beauty  soon after.) via Snippet and Ink | Photos by Jonas Peterson

Shoot, I got an engagement party to plan. I was against roasted pig, but after BJ fell in love with the pork cheek and dandelion salad at Feast, I think it’s back on the menu. No pig head. I think we can do without it!

some of the best things to receive


Lena Corwin’s Travel Poster from BJ. The mail gods were interfering with our plans to get this poster in our hands, but Lena persevered, and it finally got to us! The poster is basically a tour of European architecture—italicized!


Some of the best things to receive, buy, share are Mike Perry‘s printed works. I snagged Issue #2 (Swimsuit Edition) of Untitled, a zine devoted to his shifting interests. I admire how each element of it—the pictures, clothes, drawings, etc.—belongs to a collaborative effort and one does not outshine the other. Anna’s poetic black-and-white photographs and Mike’s innocent injections of color are the perfect complements.


Untitled Issue # 3 One Photo Shoot


This poster was tucked among the zines as a nice surprise. It looks like a dog-pile of monsters made out of sherbet. I think it’ll go perfectly in my classroom!

olly moss




Olly Moss‘s film poster remixes. Genius. I really admire how he uses  limited tools to perfectly capture the essence of the subject—something I try to reiterate to my students. I can’t blame them for thinking kitchen-sink maximalism is good; ads and magazine pages today are so crowded. I got a headache flipping through my sister’s Seventeen magazine last night. Those layouts are craazzzzy.

Gah. These are so good. And he’s only 22!

 Dear gamer who charged hundreds of dollars of ridiculous software from B’s account,



c + b

Friday, we watched Zombieland after missing the showing for September Issue. I cringed, screamed, and jumped throughout the first half. BJ even offered to get up and leave with me, but I wanted to wait until the food came, of course. By then, the gore was not so bad and the movie- pretty enjoyable! Best cameo of all time. Of all time!

I’ve been experimenting with fabric for the boys’ boutonnieres. Not sure how they’ll look in the end, but I like them so far.