Annatomix, a self-taught painter from Birmingham UK, creates geometric, origami-inspired animals on everyday materials of all sizes. Bumblebees and rabbits take shape on small surfaces like discarded paper bags and wood scraps, while foxes and peregrine falcons scale the sides of buildings. Crafted in acrylic and spray paint, pastels, graphite, and ink, her animal renderings balance a fantastical element while also responding to the environment they are painted into.
The artist’s lifelong interest in science, history, religion and philosophy have lead to her current body of work, which is “centered on nature of science and its connection with spirituality. I am using sacred geometry as the starting point to explore a broad range of themes that include; the creation of the universe, evolution and extinction, repetition and cycles in history, the illusion of reality,” as she describes on her website.
Annatomix’s newest murals will go up this week in Sweden as a part of the street art Artscape Festival and you can see recent in-progress and finished work on her Instagram. Many of her smaller pieces are also for sale on her website.
Yesterday morning, Paris-based luxury group Kering announced the appointment of Patrick Pruniaux as the new CEO of Ulysse Nardin, effective August 28.
Pruniaux comes to Ulysse Nardin with considerable experience in the watch industry, both at TAG Heuer, where he performed several roles over a nine year span, and at Apple, where he was involved in launching the Apple Watch. According to Kering’s statement, Pruniaux will be tasked with “accelerating the international expansion of [Ulysse Nardin], thanks to his innovative thinking and outstanding expertise.”
Pruniaux replaces Patrik Hoffmann, who served Ulysse Nardin in varied roles for nearly 20 years, most recently as CEO. Hoffmann was instrumental in transitioning Ulysse Nardin from being one of the few remaining family-owned watch companies to its current status as a Kering subsidiary.
Albert Bensoussan, CEO of Kering Luxury’s Watches and Jewelry division, commented: “I am delighted to see a talented individual such as Patrick Pruniaux join Ulysse Nardin, which once again illustrates the attractiveness of the Kering Group. His in-depth knowledge of the watchmaking sector, from product innovation to customer relations, and distribution, will be an important asset in the ongoing drive to develop this watchmaking House, building on its cutting-edge technical expertise and unique identity. I would like to thank Patrik P. Hoffmann and pay tribute to the pivotal contribution he has made to the growth and reputation of Ulysse Nardin for almost two decades.”
Here’s a few recent works by Oakland artist Gabriel Schama (previously here and here) who designs elaborately layered wood relief sculptures with the help of a laser cutter. The pieces are cut from a variety of different plywoods which he layers to create varying images of the human form, architectural studies, and mandala-like patterns. You can see more on his website, and in his shop.
HP Mars Home Planet is, say HP, “a global project to unite engineers, architects, designers, artists, and students to design an urban area for 1 million people on Mars and bring it to life through VR.”
The project builds on work initially done for Mars 2030, a virtual reality experience created by Fusion with NASA which built 40 square km of terrain on the red planet’s Mars Valley area. Working with NVIDIA and partners Autodesk, Fusion, Launch Forth, Technicolor, Unreal Engine and VIVE HP Mars Home Planet is inviting participants to imagine, design and experience how we might live on Mars through VR.
The first stage of the project, which is live now and runs until March 2018, is the Mars Urbanization Challenge. Initially, participants are invited to submit ideas for “a product, vehicle, building, or ecosystem that will form the living and working ecosystem for 1 million humans”. In the subsequent Modeling phase, participants will be given access to Autodesk software to build 3D models of their buildings, cities, vehicles and infrastructure for Mars. In the third and final phase of the Urbanization Challenge, those ideas will be translated into still, animated or VR renders ready for the next stage – the Mars VR Experience. Various prizes will be awarded at each phase.
“Your mission is to imagine, design, and visualize the cities, homes, buildings, shelters, school buses, bicycles, cars, shopping malls, electrical, water, infrastructure, amusement parks, and ski resorts that will exist in Mars Valley to support the 1 million humans living there,” HP say. The first 10,000 participants to sign up will receive a download code for the Fusion Mars 2030 game.
For the Mars VR Experience, a steering committee will select models to be brought to life, with the creative and technical guidance of Technicolor, to create a virtual reality simulation of what life on Mars could be like, to be released in August 2018.
Why is HP doing all this? In 2016, its HP ZBook Workstations were used on the International Space Station, so there is a natural link to build on there, but the bigger picture is around VR. On August 1, HP announced a portfolio of VR services and products aimed at positioning it as “the partner of choice for immersive customer experiences” for brands. HP Mars Home Planet is part of that strategy.
The post HP enlists creative and scientific community to help imagine life on Mars appeared first on Creative Review.
This week, there is no common theme, just a handful of very nice vintage watches. My favorite is undoubtedly the ultra elegant Vacheron Constantin reference 4560 with triple calendar and moonphase, but the story of the 1957 Rolex Submariner recently found on Ebay was definitely worth a mention as well. We will also feature two very different chronographs: a rare Aquastar Airstar; and a blue Zenith El Primero, the very 1970s reference A788.
A Rolex Submariner Reference 6536/1, With A Sad History
This rare Submariner reference 6536 originally appeared on Ebay last May, and was sold for parts for a very moderate price. And this is a modest way to describe it since in Buy-It-Now condition the price was only $600. Unsurprisingly, the owner received an incredible number of inquiries and was able to adjust its price upwards, and the watch eventually went into the hands of a watch dealer (the one presently offering this Submariner). While Ebay finds are always a thrill, the subsequent price adjustment here also feels more than fair, since the first and only owner of this watch had died wearing it back in the 1960s when he was struck by lightning, and the Ebay seller was his widow.
Granted, this Submariner at the time of its Ebay appearance was far from a beauty queen since the hands, and the plexiglass crystal were missing, and the insert was not affixed to the bezel. Since then, the watch has been revamped, including the addition of a new set of hands. Importantly, the original small crown characteristic of the reference 6536 and 6536/1 (the former being only produced in 1955) remained, and the watch retains the original bezel insert, with its catchy red triangle and the balanced 10 minute markers (while later design would introduce individual markers for the first 15 minutes). The condition of the gilt chapter ring dial is consistent with the backstory of this watch, and its storage without a crystal for more than 50 years.
LunarOyster is offering this survivor Rolex Submariner 6536 for $45,000.
A Vacheron Constantin Triple Calendar Moonphase Reference 4560, With An Elegant Rose Gold Case
The Vacheron Constantin reference 4560 is the darling of Vacheron Constantin collectors, who love its 35.5mm case (quite a large dimension for a watch initially launched in 1949) and its sophisticated claw lugs. This reference 4560 was available with and without a moonphase, as evidenced by the 1952 catalog below, but this additional complication really bring an outstanding balance to the dial. Stylistically, this Vacheron Constantin followed in the footsteps of the triple calendar wristwatches that the manufacture had offered throughout the 1940s (an excellent article on that subject can be found here).
The reference 4560 was only offered in yellow and rose gold, and the seller dates the present example to 1953, the 1950s also being a golden era for Vacheron Constantin triple calendar moonphase watches, before the complication was revived in the early 1980s. It exhibits outstanding legibility, with a smart display for each of its complications (note that the date disc is in Spanish), and the case looks to be in outstanding condition, with the characteristic claw lugs keeping their enchanting curves.
Matthew Bain sells this superb Vacheron Constantin reference 4560 for $42,000.
A Zenith El Primero Reference A788, Unmistakably From The 1970s
The El Primero movement has an exciting past, from its launch in 1969 to its near disappearance only a few years later. This caliber was indeed a technical marvel as it offered automatic winding with a chronograph complication, something that had not been accomplished before 1969. It was also the only offering that added a high frequency oscillator to the package, beating at 36,000 vph (and it still does to this day). Understandably, the El Primero was Zenith’s pride, and therefore many designs were unveiled in the first years of its launch.
Out of them, the reference A788, is one of the most striking, with its blue dial, and its very 1970s case. Indeed, this watch (and its silver sibling reference A787) was only produced in 1971 and 1972, for a total of 1,400 pieces (and 1,500 examples for the A787). The present watch exhibits a very sharp 38mm case, and the original Zenith-signed bracelet. The dial looks in excellent condition, with no blemishes to its blue finish and nicely patinated lume plots (matching the lume on the handset).
MentaWatches listed this funky Zenith El Primero A788 for $6,500.
An Aquastar Airstar Chronograph
The Aquastar brand, which was spun off from the watchmaker JeanRichard in 1962, is well known for its waterproof watches, notably the Aquastar 63 and the Regate. It also produced some epic chronographs, like the single-register Deepstar and the Airstar you see here. This elusive chronograph also existed as a JeanRichard model, as documented by the brand’s advertising. Yet, the very small number of Aquastar Deepstars seen, and their homogeneous excellent condition, lead many to believe that this model was assembled later, from unused parts stock, instead of being released in the 1970s.
Design-wise, the Aquastar Deepstar offers a great mix of dive watch and chronograph features, with a rather slim waterproof case with rotating bezel, and the ubiquitous Valjoux 72 caliber (yes, the same as in the vintage Rolex Daytona, and many other iconic chronographs). The black dial is also a model of balance, with a very nice patina on the lume. The seller notes that the hands show some minor aging, however the chronograph is said to work flawlessly. Lastly, the serial number of the case fits into the 200-unit range known to this day.
A European dealer priced this rare Aquastar Airstar at 6,500 Euros, or around $7,630.
Launching today, the new film from ITV Creative depicts dramatic moments from the show’s history as if the audience were there when they were actually being filmed. To keep things authentic, the scenes feature cameras and equipment sourced for each time period.
The iconic moments were recreated in part on the Coronation Street set as well as at Shepperton Studios, where Life of Mars and Endeavour art director Matt Gant dressed the sets to be as close to what the originals would have looked like as possible. Costumes were created by Michelle Mars using archive photography and references from the soap’s archivist Helen Nugent.
Actors were cast as classic character lookalikes, rehearsing the scenes so that they synced perfectly to the actors who created the original scenes in the soap.
“Coronation Street has a unique place in British popular culture,” says ITV Creative ECD Tony Pipes. “Everyone has a favourite scene, a memorable moment and the chance to recreate some of these was a beautiful adventure.”
Agency: ITV Creative
Executive Creative Director: Tony Pipes
Director: Caswell Coggins
The post ITV celebrates the craft of Coronation Street in new ad appeared first on Creative Review.
According to his mother, James Lavelle was “very unusual” even as a young child. This is easy to believe: by 14, when most of us are tentatively exploring the world, Lavelle was already travelling from his home in Oxford to work in record shops in West London. DJing and a column for Straight No Chaser mag quickly followed and at 18, he founded the Mo’ Wax record label, which became seminal in the 90s for introducing the ‘trip hop’ scene, and DJ Shadow, to the world.
“It felt very intimidating but that was what I was going for, that was the challenge,” he says of his precocious start. “I was just very hungry.”
Mo’ Wax was distinctive for its music, but also for its look: the label had a singular style from the off, making use of graphic design and unusual packaging to create a unique identity. Lavelle’s interest in art and design grew in parallel to his love of music and has been of equal importance to his career. Initially, his discovery of both was rooted in hip hop. As he got into the music of pioneering hip-hop artists Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa while still a young teen, he also discovered the graffiti art coming out of New York, which was showcased for the first time in the 1980s books Spraycan Art and Subway Art.
“At school they became the kind of naughty boy bibles,” he says. “You’d be sitting there in art lessons being taught about Matisse and Picasso and Hockney … at that age it was pretty boring so you’d be reading Spraycan Art and Subway Art and trying to replicate that stuff, and getting into trouble and thrown out of art lessons for that.
“My mother was an artist,” he continues. “So the home that I grew up in with my mother and father when they were together was very beautiful in its art and design. My mum was a stencil artist and she would take me to the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford and the Ashmolean – places like that, so there was this constant feed of visual stuff going on as a child.”
A record obsessive, Lavelle was keenly aware of how labels at the time were using identity to stand out. “Every major record company had a cool subsidiary that had identity,” he says. “Identity became really important to identifying music. If you bought something on a label you liked … Gee Street was a big one for me, I remember the first time I bought Stereo MC’s and then I had to buy everything I could find on Gee Street. I was very obsessive about history … so I was obsessed with finding out everything about the labels. And every magazine you could possibly find that would teach you about it – The Face, i-D … Soul Underground was really great.”
Another major design influence came from a work trip made shortly before the launch of Mo’ Wax. “I went to Japan just before Mo’ Wax with Straight No Chaser, and experienced the amazing design of Japan and Japanese records,” he says. “So the first Mo’ Wax records, the design aesthetic was based on Japan, on the ‘obi’, which was the wrap that they’d put around records in Japanese to explain what the credits were because they’d still print the covers in English.”
The label’s distinctive logo was designed by Straight No Chaser’s art director, Swifty, who also designed its early releases. Lavelle then joined forces with designers Will Bankhead and Ben Drury, who became art directors for the label going forward. He also brought his love of street art to Mo’ Wax, famously working with US graffiti artist Futura, who created many paintings for the covers, as well as the logo for UNKLE, which Lavelle established in 1992 with school friend Tim Goldsworthy.
Reminiscing on this period now, the excitement felt by Lavelle is still palpable. “That point was a real coming together,’ he says, “with the label and with the people around me – suddenly it’s like, DJ Shadow’s my age, Ben Drury, Will Bankhead … everyone’s into the same things.
“We were a bunch of kids,” he continues. “I had this office on Mortimer Street and it had been a lawyer’s office before, or accountancy … it’s funny looking back now because you realise we were still in that 1970s/80s England. Even though it’s the 90s. You look at the beginning of the 90s, it actually looks like the 80s. The end of the 90s is what I think people think the 90s looked like.
“So it’s not like you were suddenly in some uber-designed cool space, you’re in this weird accountancy space, carpeted. And we were lunatics running the asylum so it was a bit of a blag…. There was money coming in and I just went to town.”
The story of Mo’ Wax’s rise, and subsequent fall, is epic and significant enough to warrant a documentary, The Man From Mo’ Wax, which is directed by Matthew Jones and due to be released in cinemas this autumn. Featuring interviews with collaborators, friends and Lavelle’s mother (who provided the aforementioned insights into his early childhood), the film takes viewers into the heart of the creative boom of the 90s in London. Lavelle was at its epicentre, his interests crossing over from music into art, design, and – via his then-partner Janet Fischgrund, who worked with Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan – fashion.
You could live pretty well in London on not that much back then. We didn’t have kids, we didn’t have big responsibilities so the productivity was quite amazing.
Mo’ Wax’s output in the early years was immense. “It was an amazing time,” he says. “We were young, we didn’t have much, if any, responsibility. You could live pretty well in London on not that much back then. We didn’t have kids, we didn’t have big responsibilities so the productivity was quite amazing.”
Lavelle exerted considerable control over the label’s look. “I wanted to have complete artistic control over the imagery,” he says. “I was very, very open about music but the design I was really, really militant about. But you did have to start accommodating artists wanting to have their own identity.”
The label’s abstract approach was well-suited to DJ culture, however, which was less preoccupied with individual celebrity than the worlds of pop and rock. “We weren’t really bands, we were projects,” says Lavelle. “It wasn’t about having a photo of four people: the drummer, the guitarist, the bass player, the singer. These were like studio records we were putting out, and a lot of people who were putting them out didn’t want to be in photos. Especially in DJ culture and clubbing, you didn’t want people filming you and taking pictures. That wasn’t what it was about. Which is why there’s so little footage of stuff like that around.”
While the design made Mo’ Wax distinctive, it wasn’t always well received by the wider industry. “The music press would criticise you for being over designed,” says Lavelle. “But the style press would be really into it. So then you suddenly had this battle between ‘is it about music, or is it about design?’”
Despite the scepticism of some of the industry, Lavelle and Mo’ Wax found they were part of a network of like-minded musicians and artists across the world, based in New York, LA, Tokyo, France and London. “Pre-internet, this thing happened where there was a worldwide community that suddenly was created,” he says. “We were all collaborating – that was our ‘world wide web’…. Everyone was connected by both music and art.”
Pre-internet, this thing happened where there was a worldwide community that suddenly was created.We were all collaborating – that was our ‘world wide web’…. Everyone was connected by both music and art.
As The Man from Mo’ Wax tracks in vivid detail, Lavelle experienced the highest highs of the music industry, as well as its lowest lows (“it’s quite painful to watch for me,” he admits). While Mo’ Wax began as a proudly independent outfit, Lavelle was forced for financial reasons (in part due to costs incurred by Lavelle’s design and packaging experiments) to partially sell the label to A&M in 1996. An anecdote from Lavelle does well to sum up the atmosphere in the industry at the time of the sale.
“I was going between Virgin and A&M and they both came up with the same deal,” he remembers. “My manager said, ‘I’m going to go and work with A&M’ and I didn’t want to leave my manager. But I said, ‘Ok, I want one thing if I go with A&M’, I said ‘I want a Basquiat’. So they bought me a Basquiat.”
Perhaps inevitably, as things played out, Lavelle wasn’t the owner of the drawing by the iconic US artist for long. “I wish I still had it,” he says. “Unfortunately … life.”
Mo’ Wax and Lavelle were initially successful at A&M, and in 1998 Lavelle and DJ Shadow collaborated on UNKLE’s seminal album Psyence Fiction. Feverishly anticipated, this album set the collaborative style that has been a feature of all UNKLE albums since, and is the group’s most successful album to date. While it was a critical success though, it sparked a period of turbulence and decline for Lavelle, which also mirrored the music industry’s own struggles with the rise of digital technology.
In 1998, A&M closed down, and all its artists were folded into Island Records. Lavelle still owned the rights to the Mo’ Wax name but had no artists, with even UNKLE signed to Island. Mo’ Wax partnered briefly with XL Recordings, which proved financially disastrous, in part because of Lavelle’s experiments in this period with Mo’ Wax Arts, which produced toys, clothing and books.
While artists such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams have had immense success with similar merchandise in recent years – as well as brand collaborations, another experiment of Lavelle’s in this period – Mo’ Wax was a little ahead of the times with its products. “The irony is Mo’ Wax went down because we couldn’t sell half the stuff, and records weren’t selling anymore and people were complaining about the art and design,” says Lavelle. “It was sad that at the time people really didn’t get it.”
Lavelle was also experiencing turmoil in his personal life. As well as splitting with Fischgrund, with whom he’d had a daughter, Lavelle and DJ Shadow parted ways with some acrimony after the release of Psyence Fiction. Lavelle was also receiving criticism in the press, in part fuelled by his own put-downs of the NME on TV (the mag went on to give Psyence Fiction a highly critical review).
The irony is Mo’ Wax went down because we couldn’t sell half the stuff, and records weren’t selling anymore and people were complaining about the art and design
Watching The Man from Mo’ Wax from this point on is quite a brutal process. Mo’ Wax folded in the early noughties and, as Lavelle freely admits now, his hedonistic lifestyle – he was resident DJ at Fabric for five years – did not help. “I was very young, and Fabric, and … other things,” he says. “Lots of late night things, distractions. It didn’t work, and I lost a lot of money and that was the end of Mo’ Wax. I was 27, 28 when it finished. Coming out of that was difficult, very difficult.”
We then see Lavelle attempt, and fail, to reach the commercial highs of Psyence Fiction with subsequent UNKLE releases over the next decade (created in partnership initially with Rich File and latterly Pablo Clements), supported by various labels in a dwindling industry.
Many relationship fall-outs litter the period after the close of Mo’ Wax, which seems an indicator that Lavelle may not always be the easiest collaborator, yet there is another interesting thread that runs through the Mo’ Wax documentary that examines his creative role, within both UNKLE and the label.
In recent years, Lavelle has sung and written some of the songs on UNKLE releases but early on, his role was not one of a musician, but more a creative director or curator. These might be positions that are easy to understand within the art or design worlds, but in the music industry it was atypical and becomes a recurring symbol of frustration or resentment when tensions arise. In the documentary, we see DJ Shadow angrily refer to Lavelle as just an “A&R man” when Lavelle attempts, with failure, to get a co-writing credit on Psyence Fiction (crucial for him to make money from the album). Other musicians also question his contribution throughout.
It is telling that those featured in the documentary who seem to most understand what Lavelle achieved are those from the art and design worlds. “It’s his vision,” says Ben Drury towards the end of the film. “I think some people are uncomfortable with that. That they’re servicing the vision of this other dude. People think ‘why are we doing this for this guy, when we could be doing it for ourselves?’ And they underestimate what he brings. The fact that some people can’t see it has been quite damaging for him.”
It is also worth pointing out just how young Lavelle was when he was thrust into major success. “Which has had its benefits and its curses,” he reflects now. “I think the hardest thing is realising I didn’t really have a childhood, and the responsibility that I had was way too much. And you’ve got to understand at that time what the record industry was like – really ‘kill your friends’. It was fucking mental … and I was young, and I was hungry to experience everything and some of that experience took its toll. But I suppose I’m here now and I have stories to tell.”
The albums that UNKLE has released post-Psyence Fiction may have met with a mixed response critically, but what has remained consistent across all of Lavelle’s output is his devotion to experimentation with art and design. This has been seen in ground-breaking music videos from the likes of Jonathan Glazer and Spike Jonze, as well as artworks from Massive Attack’s 3D and innovative photography and film works from regular collaborators Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton-Jones.
Testament to Lavelle’s skill as a curator, over the past decade he has organised numerous exhibitions of art connected to his work with UNKLE and Mo’ Wax, as well as ‘Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick’, a large-scale exhibition held last year at Somerset House which saw contemporary artists exhibit works inspired by the filmmaker. In 2014, Lavelle also curated the prestigious music and arts festival ‘Meltdown’ at the South Bank Centre in London. It is the latter event that provides a happy ending to The Man From Mo’ Wax, and which also restored Lavelle’s confidence enough for him to return to the studio to create the new UNKLE album, The Road: Part 1.
Created under his solo stewardship, though with the many collaborators we expect from an UNKLE album, The Road: Part 1 clearly feels like a new start for Lavelle. “I’ve got a really great community that I’m working with and to me, it feels very much at the moment like when Mo’ Wax really started happening,” he says.
The artwork also reflects a shift in direction from the past sleeve designs. On the cover is a striking painting by German artist Jonas Burgert. “For me it’s moving into a contemporary art world, whatever that may be,” he says. “On the record, I’ve used classic logos, like the Futura logos and 3D logos but I wanted to move into a different place.
“The cover was important – the cover, the way it’s coloured, there are street art tones to the way some of the painting is. There’s neon colours. So I think you can see a weird synergy but it’s going into a slightly different place…. It’s a headless horseman, which I’ve felt like.
“There’s the old and the new – there’s the young girl and there’s the old man and there’s the skeleton. And all those things for me felt quite apt to this situation that I’ve come from and this new beginning of UNKLE. Because it’s me on my own now.”
The post James Lavelle on Mo’ Wax, UNKLE and the importance of design appeared first on Creative Review.