Hazel Santino

Hazel Santino's illustrations are a perfect combination of creepy, mysterious and beautiful. The time each piece must have taken is evident when examined. Hazel's oil paintings are incredibly detailed and tend towards photo realistic; she also incorporates hand done cut outs such as the branches seen in one of the pieces above. Her color palettes are musky, full of neutrals, flesh tones and swirls of greys, a nice contrast to some of the super color saturated illustrative work very popular now. Subjects in her paintings are often human though she also seems to have a enjoy rendering small animals no one else appreciates — rats and pigeons.

The content may be dark, one of the pieces above is based on the story of a murdered girl stuffed into a tree, but Hazel's treatment is far from morose or morbid. There is something quiet and thoughtful in her work. She will be beginning her fifth year at The New School this fall finishing the second of her two degrees there, a BFA in illustration at Parsons and a BA in Literary Studies at Eugene Lang. It seems as though she has already been commissioned for a couple of jobs, CD and book covers, so here's to hoping we see more of Hazel's work recognized.

Hazel's Tumblr


PRESS HERE by Hervé Tullet

I was randomly browsing the kids section in the MoMA store and discovered this book. Attracted to the imperative PRESS HERE, I immediately began reading and followed all the instructions of this wonderful children’s book by Hervé Tullet. The book gives you the sensation of things actually happening as a result of your actions on the page (press here, shake the book, tilt it to the left etc.) and it feels magical. The first couple of times literally gave me a feeling of power. With a touch of my finger this dot will multiply!

I was so engaged with what was happening and the effect each turn of the page had that it hardly bothered me that I was laughing, clapping (acting a little loony) in the MoMa store. All I can say is that PRESS HERE is very compelling and makes the reader a key part of the book. The book is simply illustrated in primary colors with a raw quickly drawn style. Perusing through Tullet's equally playful site, PRESS HERE fits in very well with his body of work.

Chronicle Books released a book trailer for it as well showing children being very amused with the book. But only watch it if you’re not planning to go to a bookstore and read it because the video gives away most of what happens. And you wouldn't want to ruin reading it for yourself.

Wong Chiu Tat

Wong Chiu Tat (黃照達) is an artist whose comics are published daily by one of Hong Kong's larger newspapers, Ming Pao. His strip, called Zi Zi Za Za (translated literally) which I would translate as meaning White Noise, are typically four to six panels and comment on current social and political events. His work is a great representation of humor revealing truth; many of his strips critically analyze the Hong Kong government. Chiu Tat also recently published a book called Lonely Planet where the protagonist is a fired designer. Besides working as a professional artist, he lectures on comic and alternative art at Baptist University Hong Kong.

The blog he runs features a series of work called Hello World that consists of full pages of comics following a small boy called Wong Yut. Here, as in his strips for Ming Pao, the thoughts and reactions of the characters in the comic reflect current affairs ironically and with a grin.

My Chinese reading capability is good enough to make sense of the gist of things, but a lot of the more specific jokes and references pass me by. I enjoy the graphic style of his work without even reading the text though. It's similar to Chris Ware's work, perhaps most known for Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Chiu Tat's clean graphic sensibility stands out in a newspaper and is calling Hong Kong's attention to design by making it relevant to what people care about.


what did we animate: message received

Message Received from charis poon on Vimeo.
A little girl discovers something magical. (Alternative title: Old School Texting)
Created in Adobe After Effects.

Just completed my Motion Graphics 2 Final. Hurrah! A little sad I won't be taking an animation class next semester — hope I retain my knowledge of After Effects...


what did we not order: caramel brulee latte

I was questioning the Starbucks menu at the Los Angeles Airport; either I couldn’t see it properly or what I was looking for just wasn’t there. My eyesight is poor and I have owned the same glasses for about 5 years now despite my continuously increasing stigmatism. My contact lenses are up to date, but I make a point of wearing my glasses on flights longer than two hours so I don’t wake up from a nap with my eyes glued shut. Waiting in line, the seasonal drinks were tempting, but I would have been content with my regular coffee. The Caramel Brulee Latte in particular both looked and sounded promising; the promotional image showed it with plenty of whipped cream and caramel drizzled generously on top. Squinting, I could just make out that a tall Caramel Brulee was $4.05. Anything at the airport costs almost double what it should. Not quite convinced I should make the purchase, I began hunting for the calorie count when the cashier asked for the next in line.
Now closer to the menu, I continued my search for the elusive number that would tell me how much that latte was going to contribute to my daily calorie intake. Not wanting to hold up the line, I had just opened my mouth to ask the cashier, who was waiting patiently for my order, what the drink’s calorie amount was when I remembered my location. I remembered something about a law that food and beverage stores in New York had to follow. A Starbucks on the West Coast was in every way just like the ones on the East Coast except minus some surplus information: how many calories you were consuming per Starbucks product purchased.
It was not my failing eyesight and inaccurate glasses that were hindering me from finding what I needed to know in order to make the decision on my order, it was the unavailability of the information. Without the knowledge of what my holiday drink might contain, I ended up saying, “Just a tall coffee, please.” 


what did we attend: mumford & sons

     “Shall we have a dance?” Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford and Sons asked before strumming the opening of their debut album’s first single “Little Lion Man.” The light bulbs strung above the audience flickered on and 3,000 voices roared in approval. On November 16, Mumford and Sons played the final sold-out gig of their US and Canada fall tour, “Gentlemen of the Road,” at Terminal 5 in New York. Accompanying them on this 20-date tour were King Charles, who is a Londoner with a full mane of dreads, and Cadillac Sky, a five man Texan band with a sound that is a unique blend of bluegrass, rock ‘n roll and country.
With the house lights dimmed and to the cheers of the audience, Mumford and Sons stepped into the spotlight and began their first song, “Sigh, No More.” The four members of the band were standing in a row across the stage, each with their respective instruments: keyboard, guitar, dobro and string bass. Their voices were sincere and by the end of the first song, they had the crowd entranced.
Before beginning the quietest song on their album and of the set that night, “Timshel”, Marcus bantered a bit with the concertgoers. He asked them quite politely whether they were enjoying themselves and then suggested, “Let’s go fucking mental.” To Mumford and Sons, going mental clearly meant closing their tour in North America with as much effort and passion as possible. By the end of the song, both Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett had tears streaming down their cheeks. The look on their faces as they gazed at the crowd was one of amazement and proud achievement. It was evident to them that they had made it and that tonight was proof of their success. Going “mental” also meant ending the night by inviting both of the opening bands back out to play a spirited rendition of King Charles’ song “Lady on the River.” In the middle of the encore, King Charles declared that he had something to say, and after the other 13 musicians had quieted down, announced that he was giving his song to Mumford and Sons. It was a well-received gift.
The people packed together on the ground floor and lining the two balconies contributed to the exuberant energy of the concert. Many songs were transformed into massive sing-a-longs. Accompanying the band’s earnest vocals were the voices of many fans in love with what they were hearing. At the end of “Dust Bowl Dance,” the final song of their set, Marcus sings, “You haven’t met me, I am the only—” and the audience finishes the line—"son."
This tour has been evidence of the band’s popularity globally and not just in their home country of England. It has also clearly been encouragement for them to press on and go even further: produce another album and tour the world again. Most of Mumford and Sons’s debut album “Sigh No More” was played that night at Terminal 5, but so were three new songs, two of which are entitled “Lover of the Light” and “Below My Feet” which are expected to be recorded sometime next year. Shortly before closing the night, Ben Lovett told the audience, “We would love to come back next year.” New York would love that too.


what did we watch / listen to: skyence

Skyence – INSCT 
Collaboration between Skyence (Hamburg) and Johannes Timpernagel (Berlin).  

The animation for this video is great. I particularly enjoy the colors and intricate patterns that you only get tiny glimpses of as they pulse and you begin to wish they were on screen longer just so you could enjoy the detail in them. It's also an example of abstract motion graphics that's well done and not just flashy speedy lights and explosions.

And it's a perfect combination with the sound — which in my opinion is pretty cool stuff on its own. In fact I liked the sound design of this video so much that I've now been listening to Skyence on SoundCloud for the last hour. I don't usually listen to music without words (yeah, I realize that sometimes I'm quite musically close-minded) and I'm okay with my lyric driven songs most of the time. Discovering skyence and finding it compelling to listen to and interesting in its composition is my musical highlight of the week. Hurrah for expanding musical horizons!