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July 1, 2013 - Comments Off on Missing en Masse

Missing en Masse

Today is sad day for the internet. Both Google Reader and Alta Vista are no longer. The former was a service I used everyday but the latter is nothing more than a nostalgic name. Reader's death has incited vitriol across the web while it's creator has so eclipsed all other search engines that no one seems to mourn Alta Vista whatsoever.

Technology is constantly in this cycle of death and rebirth. Much like biological life, each of us can only hope to add our unique additions to the communal pile. And though each contribution may seem miniscule, in the grand scheme each is vital to the progress of the total. We can only hope our work will provide the rich soil of inspiration from which future works will grow.

070113

Death may come for web services, but even he can't get to all the hardware in time.

Steve Jobs understood this evolutionary nature of the high tech sector though one would never know it from the way he brilliantly marketed Apple's wares as if each was a priceless, timeless, piece of perfection. Yet a recent documentary shows a more modest Jobs during his time at Next. Watch the fascinating trailer below.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Thinking Mechanism
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February 4, 2013 - Comments Off on Machismo Manifest

Machismo Manifest

Sunday Sunday Sunday! Hope you all enjoyed the Superbowl. Even for someone so wholeheartedly disinterested in spectator sports as I, there is a certain charm to this most holy of American television events. I neither follow nor root for any team but I still had a couple of friends over for ribs, pigs in a blanket, potato wedges, and pints beyond count. We shouted and jeered during the match only to fall silent during the witty ads which vied for our attention. Long blackout aside it was a great game to watch with some ludicrous displays. Such a strong cultural tradition but kick off some inspiration.

This week I played around with a new set of grayscale markers I got. They bled a bit but I'm really liking them. Here the triumphant Raven sits atop the 49ers pickax.

This week I played around with a new set of grayscale markers I got. They bled a bit but I'm really liking them. Here the triumphant Raven sits atop the 49ers pickax.

The true beauty of football, or truly any sport, is in the skill and finesse of the players. Much like a dancer, it is an athlete's job to perfect their every movement. Last night, Jacoby Jones moved like water down the field, running through San Francisco's defensive line and returning a kickoff a remarkable 108 yards! It was a thing of beauty. Shinichi Maruyama celebrates such beauty of the body in motion in this series Nude. Made by compositing a series of photos, and not via a long exposure as one might expect, we peak into the stunning fourth dimension where movement has physical form.

Nude

Nude

Let us not forget that this is also the season for skiing. I keep telling myself this year will be the year I finally get back on the slopes but I still have no plans on the horizon. At least I can look at this marvelous website for Snowbird, a fantastic looking ski resort in Utah. The site is a wonderful showcase of clever interaction design with marvelous hover states largely based around the resort's V-shaped logo. Each page seamlessly transitions into the next with such fluidity it's like watching a master carve up the moguls on a double black diamond.

Snowbird

But where does the future of sport lie. Our pastimes have remained largely unchanged for the past few decades. Yet some think athletes are now approaching the upper limits of the human body as world records grow narrower and narrower. More than ever it has become apparent that large investments of time and money are required to forge champions. And from the inspiring story of Oscar Pistorious to the betrayal of Lance Armstrong, sportsmanship is clearly undergoing a turbulent time. Who knows what's around the corner but I like to think this fantasy-retro music video might be a sign of things to come, robots and all.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Internal Mechanism
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January 21, 2013 - Comments Off on MLK’s ‘Merica

MLK’s ‘Merica

Happy Martin Luther King day. Today we honor the memory of a man who stood up for what he believed in spite of the colossal obstacles in his path. The timing of this holiday couldn't be better as we choose again to swear in the first African American President in our history, proof of the progress made. Yet the many issues now facing the President, and our government at large, remain a huge challenge. Yet all of us, from famous civil rights leaders to the everyday Joe, are given a chance with each new challenge to either flourish or fail. Such challenges are inspiring.

This week I sketched a quick portrait of today's hero, one of the best American's or our age.

This week I sketched a quick portrait of today's hero, one of the best American's or our age.

We recognize people who overcome great challenges with fame and celebrity. Their likenesses become representations for all that they have achieved. Who can forget the quintessential image of Obama by Shepard Fairey of "Obey" fame? That image alone represents Hope. Artist Charis Tsevis has taken on many famous personalities including President Obama in his pointillist-like works. They are part collage, part pixel art. He forms his images from abstract shapes or objects related to his subject. Though they may seem sparse in principle, Tsevis achieves amazing depth in his modern digital works.

We've Got His Back

Dancing with Circles

There are some characters who are admired for their ability to overcome any challenge: superheroes. This interesting animation experiment, the Good Man, explores the ideas of good and bad we think as a child. All done using modern web technologies, the style is minimalist and beautiful. Watch in Chrome for best results. While stunning, the hiccups in performance I experienced are representational of the current limitations of such technologies.

The Good Man

Life is a constant struggle, a whole series of challenges. This outstanding short, HEART, is a wonderful inspection of life through visual metaphor and symbolism. Though I'm still unsure what to take away from this animation, I can say it is undeniably a fantastic piece of work.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in Government, The Internal Mechanism
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November 19, 2012 - Comments Off on Mulbery via Momofuku

Mulbery via Momofuku

Happy Thanksgiving all! I hope you're planning on spending this Thursday with people close to you, or at least with some delicious food. Let us come together with friend, family, and fat alike to say thanks. I've become quite fascinated with how such traditions change over time. I fear the day when the reigns will be handed to my generation. Rest assured though, some things will most definitely stay the same. For instance Thanksgiving will always mean pie, which I plan to bring to this year's feast myself. And whether you prefer pumpkin, apple, or even strawberry-rhubarb we can all burp in agreement that pie is absolutely inspiring.

Drawing an 8-bit pie proved the be quite difficult. However Pieman cannot eat cherries, that would be cannibalistic. Instead he eats plump delicious turkey legs!

Pie can be a simple dessert but optimally it requires two things: cream (of the iced or whipped variety) and a nice warm beverage. Tomoko Shintani had the brilliant idea of using paper coffee cups to extend her canvas for her lovely ink drawings. In each, the simple line work interacts with the cup in clever ways resulting in cute original works. I'd suggest you follow her Instagram feed for your daily dose. The style itself reminds me of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and his famous Petit Prince. Each piece lives in it's own little world that engulfs the coffee cup.

While I prefer to make my own pies there are definitely times when this is an impossibility. Emporium Pies in Texas looks like a perfect fall back with their wonderful assortment of original flavors I'm dying to try. Till I visit however, I'll have to be satisfied with their flowery website. The simple design is accentuated by fantastic photography, font treatment, and hover states. Top this slice of goodness off with a great adaptive design and we definitely have a fair winner.

Come Friday of course we'll all be nice and plump on those lovely family feasts, not to mention leftovers. While many may promise quick simple ways to shed that dreaded Thanksgiving weight, I can provide you with the only guaranteed method. Results in 60 seconds or your money back. Enjoy and eat well!

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Sketching Mechanism
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October 29, 2012 - Comments Off on Mischief Masquerade

Mischief Masquerade

Welcome ghouls and goblins to my crypt...or should I say apartment. Sandy, now dubbed the Frankenstorm (I see what you did there), has brought much of New York City to a screeching halt. Yet Halloween cannot be stopped. It allows us to dress up and let out part of us we otherwise cover up. I ended up doing a thrift store Halloween for less than $10. Green tshirt, brown pants, goatee and a box of Scooby Snacks made me Shaggy for a night.  The quest for a good costume idea is an exercise in creativity itself, not to mention the challenge of then realizing it. What do you want your costume to say about you? How much time and money are you willing to put into it? From childhood to adulthood, Halloween is frighteningly inspiring!

Decided to make a full comic feature Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series. In these stealth games you can sneak around in boxes. Here Snake uses one as a fill in costume.

Halloween isn't all candy and costumes though. We mustn't forget the whole idea behind it: horror. I've never been a huge fan of scary films but I enjoy one every now and then. However I'm willing to bet Zdzislaw Beksinski doesn't mind so much based on his frightening works. Bones and teeth overflow past each piece's sepia tinged borders. They are immensely stark works that fit the holiday perfectly.

 Say hello to Staggering Beauty. This strange interactive worm-like creature is quite scary. Shake around your mouse and you'll see what I mean (or maybe we're just scaring him?).

Dark worlds have always shined on screen. Film is not only immersive but also begs to be watched in the dark. Both contribute to our sens of fear. There's an undeniable feel to a good horror piece. The unshakable feeling that something lurks around every corner, blotted out by shadow. The recent game Dishonored, highlighted in an illustration a few weeks past, exudes a darkness from every pore with its haunting steampunk dystopian setting. This series of short animations are part of a prequel that sets the scene for the game. Their beauty and noir style makes them worth a watch regardless of your level of interest in the game proper.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Sketching Mechanism
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August 13, 2012 - Comments Off on Missed Modicum

Missed Modicum

There are many things that pass us by unnoticed. And while technology has greatly improved our ability to suss out the forgotten or unknown, the more we consume the more we miss, summarize and abbreviate. Science tells us that everything we experience, whether consciously or not, can and often does have an effect on us. Such subliminal stimuli are probably as old as language itself. Every time we talk to one another, we are in a way imprinting an idea on our listeners. If there is a conscious intention to keep part of that impact a secret as there often is, it becomes subliminal. We are constantly manipulating and being manipulated by ideas from people, governments and religions. It is this communication of ideas that plants the seeds of inspiration, the most fruitful of which we are often never aware.

We often, and perhaps mistakenly, associate the subliminal with the noisy and busy. We have a bias which assumes that the more junk there is, the more likely part of that junk is meant to stealthily lodge itself in our brain. Yet there is something magical about a message arising from such noise. Danny O'Connor does just this with his pieces that border on the abstract. While the figures in his pieces are clear and anything but hidden, one begins to wonder what else may be concealed between the lines.

Subliminal messages have found new life on the web. I suppose the dreaded pop-up was created with the intention of manipulating users into buying a product by bombarding them with ad windows they'd have to view and close. Yet not all has been for ill. The portfolio site for young interaction designer Pierre Georges teems with information. Interaction design is the very definition of subliminal: done correctly it should never be noticed by the user though it unarguably leaves an impact. Pierre's site, and especially his portfolio, is a wonderful example of intuitive subliminal interaction.

Hidden messages are probably most famously found in film. The idea of hidden frames has been popularized by films such as Fight Club. Though now largely illegal, there are still occasional examples that seem to push the line by attempting to associate ideas by showing them together in film. Video artists such as Nam June Paik used a barrage of frames to create texture, motion and emotion. Such pieces often feel like there's many subliminal elements lurking behind them. The following video for Brooklyn band MS MR echoes Paik's work with its montage of pop culture clips edited to the music. I love the way the rough cuts imitate the stream of consciousness and catchy chorus: "welcome to the inner workings of my mind."

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin from our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Sketching Mechanism
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