Illustration

How To Be Alone – for the On Being Project

Having recently gone through the loss of my second parent, I can tell you that even though you are surrounded by loved ones and friends, you are at times overcome by a complete sense of “aloneness”. And it’s OK. The feeling will sneak up on you and be triggered by the smallest of things. You are caught up in a memory, and then reminded that you are in a sense an orphan even though you’re still married, have siblings, close friends, and extended family.

Today while catching up with the latest On Being podcast I bounced over to Vimeo to watch one of their latest animated shorts. It was on a topic that is reflective of what I wrote above – being alone. This wonderful short animated film by Leo G. Franchi was written and read by Pádraig Ó Tuama for The On Being Project. It brings up the topic and places it in front of the viewer delivering its message with a calmness that captures those feelings, that that are sometimes, more often than not associated with being alone – anxiety, quietness, distance, awkwardness – and lets you know that its OK. That you simply need to breathe. To be aware of yourself and know you are alive at this moment in a universe that is forever changing.

LA Trance by Ben Radatz

I’m going to date myself with this post. Back in the early 1980’s, probably 80 or 81 I was at a shopping mall and happened to be in some store that sold home furnishings like plates, containers, small appliances, glassware and such.

The reason I remember this so well is because at the time I was blown away by row after row of teal, baby blue, and cinnamon-colored plastic items that looked like a mash-up of 1930’s art deco, and mid-century modern. It was as though the designer of this particular line of products had been channeling 1930’s Raymond Lowe and 1950’s George Nelson, and filtering them through 30 to 40 years of separation.

It was as though a faded memory of what these periods were like, or a memory that somehow blurred the line between the two periods and imposed a kitschy rendition of what it must have been like to have been there a few decades back.

This was common in the early 1980s. Look back at TV graphics from this period and you’ll see the same 1950s aesthetic applied with loads of pink, black, and teal all run through a New Wave blender creating a unique look that lasted a few years. Maybe I’m feeling more aware of this because of the album covers of bands I listened to back then.

Ah New Wave records from the early 1980s. 1980 to 1985 was such a good decade.

The reason I bring this up is that the video below brought all of this back to me this afternoon. The video itself is really well done, featuring some solid animation, great illustration qualities, and an electronic music soundtrack by Four Tet. The thing is though, it feels like a 2020 take on a 1980’s take of something from the 1950s. And there is nothing wrong with that. It just got me to thinking about all of the trends that get resurfaced, reworked, and filtered through decades of separation and made into something new.

The timing and transitions to the changes in the music are fantastic. The style of the illustration while reminiscent of something familiar to the late 1970s and early 1980s is original to Ben Radatz with an elegant look to them. The color pallet enhances the feeling of the 3 minute short and captures the city of Los Angeles. He even features Miss Donuts and Circus Liquor (an LA icon you should go if you are ever in the San Fernando Valley area)

Freeze Frame

What a great little animation by Director, animator, and sound designer Serafima Serafimova. Amazing line work, fluid animation, nice transitions between sequences. What a great way to escape all of the crap that has been happening since March of this year. It made me think about the Winter Olympics and that is the entire point of this piece. I love the linework that she uses, and if you want to see more like this click-through using the link above. “Still Life” is another little escape built around a series of dance moves blending ballet, swing, and tango.

The Winter Olympics played a big part in my childhood. It was always on the telly and I remember family time spent marveling at the athletes who, to this day, I still think of as superheroes. In a year filled with uncertainty and fear, I found comfort in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics and the joy and positive energy it will bring. I made Freeze Frame in the hope that it would recreate some of the magic I have grown to love and associate with the event. We could certainly use some of it to get us all through the winter months to come.

Art Direction & Animation: Serafima Serafimova
Music: Continent by Anbr
Music Remix: Mark Batch
Sound Design – Serafima Serafimova
Compositing & Moral Support – Giulia Bavagnoli

Mucinex Reminds You to Wear a Mask

In a time of a global pandemic there are a few rules everyone should follow, but a large portion of us don’t thanks to misleading information or a false sense of privilege masquerading as an infringement on our liberty. I for one am all about the mask. It’s not about my freedom, it’s about making sure I don’t spread Covid 19 to others if I am asymptomatic and positive. This sentiment is one that is being taken seriously by companies in the health care sector, and one that Mucinex is promoting with a series of ads illustrated by Israeli illistrator Noma Bar.

McCann Health New York has created a series of ads for the upcoming cold and flu season that tap into the current reality of the Covid 19 pandemic using negative space in the illustrations to drive home the seriousness of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of germs. Each poster sets up a situation of normality with the tag line “Back to normal is up to you”. The clever use of Noma Bar’s illustrations accents the “normal” by placing an emphasis on the activity we all miss with a clever visual play on the activity. Simple daily activities like sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, or getting a haircut. Kudos to the McCann team that put this together and for letting Noma Bar run with the illustrations and concepts. This is really great stuff.