Blog: November 2011

Tools of Criminal Mischief - Roger Gastman prints

Roger Gastman, collector of all things graffiti and co-creator of Swindle magazine has released this set of 3 hand-numbered posters showcasing his wonderful collection of vintage spray cans, Tools of Criminal Mischief: The Cans.

Designed to coincide with his new limited edition book 'Tools of Criminal Mischief', the posters featuring cans recently exhibited at MOCA as part of their Art in the Streets exhibition and include, "coveted brands such as Krylon, Rustoleum and Red Devil as well as off-brands with colors such as Silver-Skate Aluminum and Baa Baa Black".

The posters are available individually or as a set, so bag yourself some graffiti memorabilia here.

Images copyright Roger Gastman.
Via World Famous Design Junkies.

'Holly' Christmas cards now on Etsy!

Our second batch of hand-letterpressed Christmas cards, 'Holly' are all packed up and ready to ship. They're available here in packs of 10 with envelopes as are our 'Mince pies' cards.

There's still one design to come, so keep watching this space!

Vintage Thanksgiving Parade Balloons

Tomorrow the 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade will work it's way through the streets of Manhattan and what better way to celebrate (if you can't actually be there) than to look through these vintage photos of the giant parade balloons.

Happy Thanksgiving my American friends - have a great day tomorrow!

Images copyright Macy's.
Via Buzzfeed.

Wed 23 Nov 2011

Posted under: Photography , Ephemera


Soviet anti-alcohol posters

Rio Wang has some great Soviet anti-alcohol posters mainly from 1920 - 1990.

Their post “In eternal memory” outlines the background to these posters - Russia's social history, their struggle with alcoholism and drunkeness, cheap alcohol readily available and a drop in the average male life expectancy to 47!

Above are some of the more graphic ones that really caught my attention.

See the full post and collection of posters here.

All images from Rio Wang.
Via Notcot.

Tue 22 Nov 2011

Posted under: Advertising , Design , Posters


Our hand-letterpressed Christmas cards!

Our freshly printed Christmas cards are now available on Etsy.

Lovingly letterpressed by our own fair hands on our vintage press, they're the first of a few designs we'll have available for the festive season - watch this space!

Michelin Bibendum Building

I had the pleasure of seeing the Michelin Bibendum building for the first time a few weeks ago. It's a fantastic piece of architecture designed by Francois Espinasse - a Michelin employee at the time, who wasn't even a trained architect.

The building sits at 81 Fulham Road, Chelsea, London. It first opened in 1911 and over it's early years served as the company's general sales office, a tyre fitting centre, warehouse, distribution centre and in the 1950's, Michelin's UK commercial headquarters.

"A truly unique building that incorporated design ideas that anticipated the Art Deco movement 10 years later. It was the first building in London to use reinforced concrete in its
construction and its distinctive style was never copied, leaving Michelin House a totally unique building."

These days this magnificent building houses the Bibendum Restaurant, the Oyster Bar, the Crustacea Stall, a forecourt café and The Conran Shop. After being bought in 1985 by Sir Terence Conran and Paul Hamlyn who had the full building restored and all the original features put back to their former glory.
It really is well worth a visit, but if you can't see it in person there's more info here.

Before and after images copyright Bibendum.

Tue 15 Nov 2011

Posted under: Design , Inspiration , Architecture



Photograph by Tony Hepburn.

Fri 11 Nov 2011

Posted under: Uncategorized


From the reference box # 118

#118 - 1961 Karta över Skansen (Map of Skansen). This beautifully illustrated map is one of my favourites. I bought it purely for the folk style illustrations and had no idea what or where Skansen was.

After some research I was fascinated to discover that Skansen is a living open-air museum in Djurgården, Stockholm, Sweden - the first in the wolrd in fact!

Founded by Artur Hazelius in 1891 as the outdoor annex to his Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum), Skansen was the culmination of years of collecting and saving ethographical relics. In 1872 he had realised just how quickly life in Sweden was changing and set about " collect clothing, household utensils, furniture and hand-tools from the old farming culture: everything that needed to be preserved for posterity".

"At the beginning of the 1870s, three million of Sweden’s population of just over four million people still lived in the countryside. But country life had changed. The number of independent farmers had declined and the ranks of the landless had grown. The increase in population created a growing body of tenant cottagers, servants to the gentry and indentured labourers. Land reforms that destroyed villages and re-allocated the fields transformed the way of life in the countryside as well as its buildings. Agriculture became mechanized, industrial products did away with crafts and new means of communication opened up more efficient ways of distributing goods."

"The landless classes left their homes to seek work on the railways, in the shipyards and the factories and in the sawmills of northern Sweden. Sweden developed into an urban society. Crop failures at the end of the 1860s caused more than 100 000 Swedes to emigrate to America. This wave of emigration reached a peak in the 1880s when 325 000 Swedes left for America and a further 52 000 emigrated to other countries."

It wasn't enough for Hazelius to show static exhibitions, he wanted people to experience complete environments; the everyday life and sounds of the old Swedish culture, "fully furnished houses occupied by people wearing period costume surrounded by their domestic animals in a natural landscape". 

Skansen is still a popular tourist attraction today, though I think it will look a bit different to how it did in 1961 - here's the full fold-out map from back then in all it's glory...

Unfortunately I couldn't find out who the illustrator was, there is the word Järk in the map border, but that's the only clue. If you do have any ideas as to who it might have been, please let me know.

Rob Ryan at Castor + Pollux

Rob Ryan launched his lovely new book, 'A sky full of kindness' with an exhibition at Castor + Pollux last week. Once again I missed the preview but I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

"A Sky Full of Kindness’ which has been written and illustrated by Rob using his intricate and beautiful paper cuts, telling the story of two birds who are preparing for their egg to hatch."

The exhibition runs until the 5 December. It's a collection of new prints and hand-cut illustrations from the book, along with a selection of cards, laser cuts, plates, bunting, books and mugs always available at Castor + Pollux. Great for some early Christmas shopping!

Don't worry if you can't get down to Brighton though, there's a great selection of his work available from their online store.

Mon 07 Nov 2011

Posted under: Prints , Illustration , Books , Posters


80's Firework Packaging

With Guy Fawkes tomorrow I thought it was a good excuse to post up some of Jason Liebig's fabulous collection of 1980's fireworks packaging.  

This huge collection is pasted into a scrapbook, above are a few of my favourites, but there are pages and pages in his Flickr set, with 3 or 4 packages on each - I'm guessing Jason enjoyed the 5th November growing up! 

Another great collection of vintage fireworks packaging can be seen at the Firework Heritage Museum or read my previous post here.

All images copyright Jason Liebig.

Fri 04 Nov 2011

Posted under: Design , Packaging , collections


Warhol is Here

Entrance to the first floor gallery, sneaking a peek at Camoflage, 1986
Butterfly Day, 1955
Brillo, 1970 and Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol poster, 1978

Andy Warhol designed posters and commercial work

Dollar sign, 1981 and Cow, 1966

The De La Warr Pavilion is always a great weekend drive out - it's an amazing building, there's always an interesting exhibition on and the cafe has such delicious cake, what's not to like?! But until 26 February 2012 there's an added bonus to taking a trip out there...

Warhol is Here, the best collection of Andy Warhol work I've ever seen in one place. I've read a lot about this exhibition over the last month, but I was still amazed by it's size and content. There are some of Warhol's most iconic pieces in little old Bexhill, pieces I've discussed and written about in many art history lectures and essays so to see them in all their enourmity was a real treat.

The ground floor gallery guides you through the main part of his career from early pan & ink illustrations, through his commercial works, self-portraits, photography and on to some of his most famous 60's and 70's pieces; the wonderful Marilyn Diptych (1962), all ten Mao (1972) screenprints, the Brillo Boxes (1968), two prints from the Campbell's Soup series (Green Pea & Tomato, both 1968) and a selection of the Electric Chair series.

The First floor gallery, papered floor to ceiling in the bright pink & yellow cow print, focusses on Warhol's later 80's work including one of my favourite pieces - the giant bold and brash Dollar Sign (1981).

And for those with enough energy to make it to the rooftop foyer, there's a sound installation by Dr. Jean Wainwright to accompany the exhibition. Tape recordings of interviews, stories and conversations about Andy Warhol with those that knew him well.

I can't recommend this exhibition enough, it's exhibition of the year for me and to top it all, it's free admission!

"The show is assembled from a selection of works from ARTIST ROOMS, (a new collection of modern and contemporary art held by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland for the nation), as well as those sourced from Tate collection, The British Museum, V&A, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery other private collections."

All works copyright of The Andy Warhol Foundation for The Visual Arts, Artists Rights Society (ARS, New York/DACS London 

Tue 01 Nov 2011

Posted under: Design , Art , Prints , Exhibition



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