Archive for Category ‘Look‘

John Halaka at The Mosaic Rooms

The Mosaic Rooms in London will be exhibiting John Halaka’s series of drawings, Landscapes of Desire from May 6-25, 2011.


From the gallery page:

Landscapes of Desire is inspired by the ruins of Palestinian homes and villages destroyed during and after the 1948 exodus…The repeated stamping of the words “remember,” “resist,” “return,” “rebuild” and “forgive”, defines the forms, textures and tones of the landscapes, becoming a visual mantra.

Halaka’s recent work in both painting and documentary film making investigates cycles of repression and displacement as well as the personal and political relationship between desire, denial and instability.

This series is haunting and worth the visit to see in person.

Tube-Nosed Fruit Bat

New to science; familiar to science fiction.


Herr und Frau Klein

This playful sign above a boutique children’s clothing store in Vienna is forged from genius.


My Fontbook Font Viewer

During these last few months I created and published an online font viewer that lets you browse through your catalog of installed fonts using only your web browser. The tool is called My Fontbook, and though it is primarily of use to designers, it is probably pretty handy for anyone trying to find an alternative to Times New Roman or Arial when drafting documents.

A brief anecdotal background…

I often do a fair bit of web design and layout as part of my duties as a freelance web developer. The aesthetic aspects of my work are a joy, but I feel like they can drag on for hours – days even – with no end in sight. The seemingly endless adjustments of a pixel here and a rounded edge there do not possess the finite nature of software programming. With software, it is complete when it works. Visual art does not have such a clear boundary.


At some point in the design process, usually early on, I go through the steps of settling on a combination of fonts to use. Usually this requires a heading font and then another typeface for the body content, and possibly a third or fourth font for sub-headings or navigational elements. I have a short list of my favorite fonts, but that does not stop me from opening Vector Designer, creating several text examples and then engaging in the meticulous process of applying nearly every font in my catalog to the example text.

After thirty minutes of this, I am typically left with a dozen or so typefaces from which to experiment with further. In January, I set out to find some font viewer software which would display my entire font catalog with samples and save me some time in the design cycle. There are many font management tools available on the market (some quite good), but I had to both pay a licensing fee and then install yet another program on my computer. If you have not heard before, the more crap that you install on your computer, the crappier it runs.

Font Viewer

I tried to find a font viewer online, that works from the “cloud” (in my browser), but there were not any suitable options. So in a effort to save myself fifity bucks, I spent considerable time making My Fontbook, and now you can use it for free.

If you use it, and you like it, leave me a comment on this blog.

link: My Fontbook font viewer


This image and caption is from the BBC:

Picture 8.png

Old Man Watching Fly


Ink on paper, color with Pixelmator

Death is Recognized as a Friend

After Käthe Kollwitz.

A sketch that I rendered at the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Berlin. The museum of her work is perhaps the most marvelous institution in a city of marvels.


Mechanical Pencil on Moleskin paper

Tiny Awesome Car

I was born in the land of Big. Big cars. Big muscles. Big breasts. Big country stretching from sea to shining sea. Big paycheck with which to buy a Big piece of meat from a Big cow, cooked on a Big open grill and served on a great Big plate. Big army with Big guns and Big bangs. Big sounds from loud guitars and Big bags of drugs, smoked up before the Big game. Big = Better. Biggest = Best.

Yeah that’s America. God’s glory. God Bless.

Time for something small. Because maybe Big isn’t the new Black. Maybe Big takes up too much damned space. What about what fits? How about enough?

They say gasoline in the United States is over 4 dollars per gallon. Good. I hope it goes to 6. Still a bargain for the energy equivalent of 500 hours of human work. Or when you consider that most of Europe already pays 8. The winds of climate change are tickling the chimes hanging from the awning of a house somewhere in the Missouri suburbs. And if the ringing has garnered the attention of the homeowner, is not because of Al Gore’s movie or Hollywood’s finest on parade. The catalyst for environmental change comes from economic self interest. Not “us” – me.

Americans have already spent half a trillion dollars on the Biggest boondoggle of a generation: the war in Iraq. Imagine for a moment, if you will, that kind of financial investment directed toward a well-researched energy policy. In my fantasy I envision my future hat, striking and stylish, providing both shade for my eyes and enough collected solar energy to propel my future middle-aged ass through the streets of Soho in the rain.

Time for something small. Time for something that fits. Because Big is clearly not sustainable when it is the thing everyone craves. And as I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that details how Hollywood has licensed the movie rights to board games, such as Monopoly, from toy-maker Hasbro for a new nauseating string of sequels and prequels, I am reminded that we have lost our grip on the one Big of any consequence or value: Big ideas.


Update: I noticed that WordPress listed a previous article of mine about a big fish under “similar posts”. I assure you that the irony is not lost on me.



Venice appears to float atop an impossibly vast lagoon, drenched in salty air and gelato. The city is a maze of cobblestone corridors and foot bridges, utterly unnavigable in the late evening after the crowds have returned to their hotel rooms and the storefronts are secured with heavy metal shutters.

On the banks of the canal Rio dei Mendicanti, opposite the Scuola Grande di San Marco (today the city’s hospital), English and Spanish speakers sit on the dark steps of the canal crossing beneath a public telephone sign. The voice of an American jazz singer from my Grandmother’s youth lifts above the soft chatter and into the warm night air. Golden light from the wine bar spills from an open doorway where the barmaid pours house red into deciliter glasses for a half Euro.


Venice does not really exist. Not as a city; not the kind of city that I have lived in or visited in former travels. Venice is a romantic memory of the past preserved in brick and brown stucco: a flotilla of opulence that emerged in layers from the salty backwash of the Adriatic Sea as ancient Italians sought refuge from marauding hordes. Centuries passed before she would rule the waters from Croatia to Crete, lining temples in marble and the pillaged relics of the orient, enriched through conquest and control of the lucrative trade route to India.


Time and Empire have an acrimonious relationship, and eventually the city fell – again and again – finally to Napoleon’s army, ever so keen to violently spread the ideals of the French Revolution, they banished the Doges from their palace above Piazza San Marco.

san_marco_night.jpgModern travelers to Venice find a museum without markers. A city without industry. Unlike Europe’s other treasures, Venice was spared from the bombs of the Second War due to functional irrelevance. As I pass through the mass of sunburnt spectators and marvel at the exquisite work of Renaissance artists and Baroque architects, I try and brush aside the nagging sensation that I am in a sort of Disneyland for refined adults. The facade of Venice is preserved (after the last devastating flood by a gift from the United Nations) but the soul of the city departed with the last Doge.

Polaroid of That Day

Jamie Livingston, filmmaker, took a Polaroid photograph every day for eighteen years until he inevitably died. His collection of photos is published against a sparse black background on a site called Some Photos of That Day. There are no captions, no biography or explanation, just a collection of thousands of sequentially dated moments in time.


Livingston’s project begins on March 31, 1979 with the foreshorten profiles of two anonymous women speaking to a person beyond the view of the lens. Through the next eighteen years he compiles a story of his life in frames: evenings with friends, strangers, travel, televised deaths of note, accolades, and more frequently: glimpses of the mundane. The warm and muted hues of old Polaroids connote childhood for people of my generation and the elusive shadows of the world immediately before existence, when parents were young adults exploring the world in the ways that are seldom revealed to their children. The flavors of grey-blue skies and eggshell white lends itself to the allure and mystery of Livingston’s catalog. James Livingston has perhaps crafted the precursor to the weblog in the textured form of an ancestor’s quilt.

I discovered this project on Mental Floss several months ago; an article by Chris Higgins reveals some of the mysteries behind the collection, though after viewing the photographs for myself, I find Higgin’s researched account as something of a spoiler.