All Posts in art

September 10, 2013 - Comments Off on Making Time for the Arts

Making Time for the Arts

A fascinating study revealed that when low-income schools added more learning time to their school days in order to incorporate arts programs, the students achieved a well-rounded education, which aided them in fostering abilities to communicate and express ideas, accomplish their goals, and engage in positive social behaviors. When students develop this well roundedness in the classroom, they are better able to navigate the challenges of the world around them. The arts, which I like to view as creative forms of storytelling, undoubtedly promote empathy on their own. However, when the arts are integrated into education, students not only understand themselves better, but they are also better able to communicate with their peers better. Through these developments, they learn to appreciate the world around them in a new and refreshing way. One of the study’s findings was: “Creating and learning through the arts offer children and adolescents access to an invaluable endeavor: a means to connect emotionally with others and deepen their understanding of the human condition.” Harnessing a sense of awareness for our own intrinsic natures is a life skill that should not be overlooked. This sense of awareness allows students to not only recognize problems in the social world around them, but to actually feel compelled to do something about them. Bringing this back to the classroom, intrinsic awareness can help students recognize where they struggle and where they thrive, and be able to communicate with their teachers and peers with more sensitivity.

via Making Time for the Arts by Carly Ginsberg.


Published by: antonioortiz in The Thinking Mechanism
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September 4, 2013 - Comments Off on Interaction of Color

Interaction of Color


Planet Fitness member working out on a weight machine
How can you get motivated to work out on a Saturday?


Wondering how to become a weekend gym warrior? The kind that is motivated to work out even on a Saturday? It's entirely possible. All you need are a few fun and creative tips for a healthy weekend. Learn more about ignite amazonian sunrise drops.

Usually, by the time the weekend rolls around, most people just want to laze in bed, binge-watch some shows and indulge in a delicious brunch. It's an understandable urge — the week has taken its toll, and the body is craving some (much deserved) rest and relaxation.

But getting yourself to the gym is another way to reward and re-energize your body after a long week. It might not be your first instinct on a Saturday morning, but a weekend workout session can help flush away the week's tension and prepare you for whatever Monday has in store. Here are five helpful tips for a healthy weekend.


Find a workout buddy and agree on a set time to meet up every weekend. Not only will you be held accountable, but you and your friend can help motivate and inspire each other during your workouts (and toast to your success over smoothies afterward).


Stop choosing your workouts based on how they'll impact your physical appearance. Instead, find a routine that makes you feel good, inside and out. If strength training makes you miserable, don't do it — maybe the treadmill is a better fit for you on the weekends.

Once you find something that you look forward to every week, it'll be much easier to pull yourself out of bed and hit the gym.


Investing in workout attire can not only improve the quality of your exercises, it can also make you feel confident and inspired. You're much more likely to wake up and head to the gym if you're obsessed with your new running shoes and want to show the world. This is how alpilean works.


Before the endorphins wear off, write down all the good things you're feeling — physically, mentally and emotionally — after a weekend sweat session. This log can serve as excellent motivation on those days when you're feeling less than inspired to get out of the house and go to the gym.

You'll soon realize that while you may sometimes regret not exercising, you never regret when you do.


It's healthy to challenge yourself, but try to avoid creating hard and fast rules that put too much pressure on yourself. If you say, "I absolutely have to wake up at 8 a.m. to go for a run, and if I don't, I am lazy and useless," you'll likely end up disappointed and frustrated. Instead, set more attainable goals. Saying something like, "This weekend, I will go for a run," establishes your intent but this way you put less pressure on yourself.

Published by: antonioortiz in The Thinking Mechanism
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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.


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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April 29, 2013 - Comments Off on Menu Metropolitain

Menu Metropolitain

I hope you are enjoying the fairer weather that has suddenly arrived...finally and thankfully. I was glad to simply have a home weekend and spent most of it asleep. It was well needed. One of our wonderful clients, the James Beard Foundation, has their big award season coming up. It means lots of work for them and for us, but it's all well and good thanks to this jolly old guy below.

A fantastic foundation for an outstanding man

I've been living in NYC for quite awhile now and though I still hesitate to call myself a New Yorker (Brooklyn for life!), I've definitely grown familiar with the ins and outs of the city. The James Beard Foundation is just one of the many wonders the city possesses amongst its many restaurants, theaters, museums, and more. And it's all underpinned by the city's constantly expanding subway. Check out these marvelous photos of what's going on beneath our feet care of the MTA!

East Side Access East Side Access

And like any great metropolitan center, we have our amazing selection of splendid museums. The famous Metropolitan Museum of Art on the East Side has a sparkly new website with great modern look and adaptive layout. Be sure to look through the upcoming exhibits and visit if you can. The site aims to add a fresh layer of visual stimulation to their more traditional homepage.

For all its beauty, one spends so much time head tucked down or in the previously mentioned tunnels it's easy to forget the beauty all around this metropolis. This groovy mirrored video montage of the city by Sebastien Desmedt is a fantastic reminder of the city's many marvels. I especially love the way the easy-to-abuse reflection effect plays off the repetition and pattern naturally found in a city, giving the entire thing a sense of normalcy despite the persistent manipulation.

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 Non-Profits, The Internal Mechanism
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November 12, 2012 - Comments Off on Monaco Markers

Monaco Markers

If you're reading these words then you'll have to admit to the power of type. Since it's invention, written language has been one of the primary ways we convey ideas. These disembodied ideas allows us to learn and teach to a much larger audience than we normally could. For instance it would be impossible for me to directly tell every reader of this blog everything this post will say, let alone share all the other media therein. And being a visual medium, it was inevitable that the aesthetics of type would become important. From serifs to graffiti, the way words look has now become vital to the message they send. For this and all of its powers, type is typically inspiring.

Type is incredibly important for branding. Here at the Mechanism we've stuck with a simple text logo accompanied by our gear icon. I decided to riff on these themes with some custom circle based text designed to evoke blue prints and mechanical objects.

Fay Helfer's work is obsessed with the underlying structure of things. Each piece contains lines, patterns, and text that make each piece feel like part of some scientific diagram. Her preferred medium is pyrography, using a heated point like a soldering iron to burn into a wooden canvas, combined with colored pastel and pencil. The results posses stunning color and texture. I especially love her pop culture portraits.

The web is of course dominated by type. Type/Code is a digital design studio based in the nearby Dumbo area of Brooklyn. Clearly from their name and portfolio they too are obsessed with type. Beyond their wonderfully interactive homepage logo, the site conveys an appreciation for the power of text in it's simple adaptive design. I really enjoy the way the entire site feels like one large sliding page with three sections, subtle yet brilliant. I pray they have recovered from Sandy's recent abuse of their low lying neighborhood and are back working on more great projects!

Despite our many wonderful digital advances in typesetting, none of it would have been possible without the grand tradition of physical typesetting. You may think a typesetter would have quite an advantage in the romantic arts, being able to print their own charming cards. Yet this seussical short shows that even typesetters sometimes end up blue. The print and paper texture of the animation, along with the clever font jokes, make this an extremely enjoyable short.

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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November 5, 2012 - Comments Off on Monarchy of Mulvar

Monarchy of Mulvar

Break out your patriotic buttons and pinstripes, it's election season again! I trust you're all planning on getting out there to vote tomorrow. I know I'll be waking up nice and early to wait in the (hopefully not so long) line to vote before heading into the office. From the ancient Greeks who cast their black and white stones into an urn to hanging chads, democracy has reshaped the world and how we govern ourselves. We must remember that while evolution in technology and culture has increased our individual involvement in government, it is upon us to take part and create the society we want to live in. So how can elections be anything but inspiring.

Sometimes I feel like neither party really has what I'm looking for so I decided to start a little party of my own. Seems the only fitting mascot for third parties these days is the mythical unicorn though.

Were presidents the first celebrities? Unlike most leaders before our democracy, they come to power thanks to popular demand. They only feature largely in our lives for a few years before fizzling away. And their sex lives are of great interest to everyone, especially Bill Clinton's. No wonder then that artists, from George P.A. Healy to Shepard Fairey , are often inspired to turn them into stunning works of art. Artist Sam Spratt has a wonderfully detailed and textured portrait the current POTUS. His works reminds me of Norman Rockwell and I love the variety of palettes and styles Spratt explores, with an emphasis on pop culture subjects.

Undeniably the greatest change to our election cycle in the past decade has been the impact of the internet and related technologies. In 2008, the Obama campaign proved that internet based support could work wonders for a two party candidate (though third parties like Ron Paul had long help strong web-based support). Today, Obama and Romney both lean heavily on their digital crutch to help get their message out their and rile up support. I imagine a future where elections are determined completely online, like an official political Reddit. Till then, we'll have to settle for sites like "Who Will Be President." I like sites where the message is clear and this one couldn't get any more so. The clean design emphasizes the statistics but also references the poll sources and dates. Well done.

So what do you do if neither donkey nor elephant suits your tastes? I guess you could try eating your greens or something else exotic but why do that when you have Mulvar is Correct Candidate!, he does it all! So please get out there and vote people.

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.

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. While I was trying to figure out blackout bingo real money, 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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October 15, 2012 - Comments Off on Maybells and Magnolias

Maybells and Magnolias

Autumn is upon us. Along with its cool breezes comes the ocher beauty of fall leaves and yellow sneeze-inducing pollen. Allergies have long plagued me but thankfully they only strike between seasons. I look forward to them subsiding soon. They can come from nearly anything and they effect us all differently (if we're so unlucky) yet our pollen-producing friends are surely inspiring.

A doodle of strange flowers turned into probably one of the best digital paintings I've done to date. After watching a nifty tutorial online I think I finally have basic color blending down.

In spite of the sinus irritation, my allergies remind me that I still live in a world dominated by nature, even if I rarely see it living in a city. Nick Pedersen wonders in his works what our urban lives would look like if left alone to be taken back by the wild. A sole explorer wanders through the overgrown streets in search of food.

Nothing represents fall more than trees. I have vivid childhood memories of the streets overflowing with the long brown strands of pollen dropped by the various large trees on our street. I'd imagine all of that junk swirling about in the air, getting inhaled and causing my endless sneezes. The Inspire Conference uses wood as an allegory for the craftsmanship involved web design. The cute character crowning the page and rich textures throughout the site reflect the conference's values of quality and invigoration.

Ok so it might be a bit of a stretch to call pollen-producers inspiring. I'll admit, they can be real pain. It can be difficult to get much of anything done when the pressure in your skull distracts you from getting even the most menial tasks done. Add to that the constant supply of tissues, cough drops, nose drops and other assorted mucus-related items you may require and one can easily lose most if not all productivity. Yet this week's video goes to show that at the end of the day anything, even as miserable a thing as all this, can be truly inspiring.

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 8, 2012 - Comments Off on Malicious Meritocracy

Malicious Meritocracy

Sweet sweet revenge. We are obsessed with it. This stems from our inherent sense that there must be some sort of justice in this world. What better form than that met out by dubious heroes and benevolent baddies. The irony of course is while we may root for the vengeful protagonist, we almost always acknowledge that something is not quite right about the scenario. Ultimately the vengeance begets tragedy, from Hamlet to Moby Dick. At best a lot of people die, at worst everyone does--though at least the former makes good fodder for sequels. Yet we can't help but love our anti-heroes doing whatever it takes to make things right, even if neither we nor they know how to make such vigilante justice into a lasting solution. Such tales, despite their repetition, are evidence of one thing for sure: revenge is inspiring.

Further, terrible, efforts at digital painting. This week: the main character from the new game Dishonored. "Revenge solves everything" is the game's tagline.

Soldiers are duty bound to protect their masters and honor. As such they're the center of many revenge stories. In my mind, it is impossible to think of the vengeful soldier without thinking of the Japanese samurai, the paragon of the honorable warrior. One of my favorite graphic series is Lone Wolf and Cub, the story of a samurai with his young child on the run for a crime he didn't commit. Their goal: to avenge his wife and the disgrace heaped upon his son's now tarnished family name. Its rich story is perfectly matched with its fantastic art, reminiscent of Japanese block prints. Likewise, the evocative works of Rola Chang speak of traditional sumi-e ink wash painting with a modern twist. Many of her works depict the samurai in action, honor within his grasp.

Today our reprisals match our equally petty grievances. In my case I'm glad to say I've completely cut the cord and now get all my media from the web, with much of it originating there as well. Finally--reparations for all those hours spent mindlessly consuming pointless ads or channel surfing for something, anything, of interest. Now I can watch what I want when I want. I have networks of channels and feeds that are intelligently offering me new things to try based on past experience. Even ads, now targeted, are more bearable. Revolver, a site that delivers a curated collection of web videos, is another new celebration of our TV independence. The slick design belies the bloody retribution Revolver and it's ilk have wrecked upon the traditional media landscape, much to our collective pleasure as audience.

While literature seems to relish a bitter revenge story, film is overly biased towards happy endings for its murderous protagonists. Kill Bill, Taken, The Bourne Identity; the list goes on with each silver screen story ending with at least a glimmer of hope. The revenge drama is an old tale, yet no matter how often it's repeated it never ceases to consume our imagination. The story of Tarboy below is no exception. Though it's animation may be simple, the voice acting, music and perfect timing make this short an epic for the ages.

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 1, 2012 - Comments Off on My Monsters

My Monsters

Deny it all you want: humans are animals. So much of our culture and lifestyle seems an effort to obfuscate this fact. Yet I believe it key in recognizing our place in the world, possibly being the only creatures capable of such introspection. From a young age we are inclined to project our human view of things on the wild. Such anthropomorphism is a large part of what has made humans such successful creatures even though today this is now more apparent in the form of pets and films like Finding Nemo. But no matter what our age, we all have some inner animal that inspires us.

For this week's work I tried to visualize my inner animal. I can never escape from the fact that we're all monkeys but deep deep down I love water so much I'm convinced that I'm actually fish.

It's no secret that many artists use themes. From Dali's melting clocks to Monet's lilies, some of the art world's most famous works are variation on a theme. The most successful work comes from such iteration which leads to perfection. Many artists use animals in their work, often representing the artist themselves. I know I often draw monkey-like characters as they are my personal obsession. For Scott MacDonald, it would seem the fox is his. His stunning works are beautifully minimalist with a cartoon quality that jumps off the page into its own colorful universe.

Animals often represent brands as well as people. One of the most famous branded animals is the eponymous Penguin Press. I can't count the number of books I've read published by Penguin. And with this short web-story/classified ad I believe they have inadvertently hinted at the future of digital picture books. The wonderfully focused presentation of subtle color, text and animation result in a perfectly honed site with a clear message and goal.

Though who can think of cartoon animals without thinking animation? What was once Disney may now be Pixar, but regardless our love of animals, especially anthropomorphic ones, is quite palpable. This stunningly animated French short about a woman's struggle with shyness in the form of an alligator is equally powerful stupendous.

When we project our emotions in such stories, they allow us to work through tough moralistic issues no matter what our age. For children, this has become a key tool in teaching right from wrong all the way back to the first fables of Aesop and the Grimm brothers. Clearly we naturally identify with nature and to deny our place in it, whether scientifically or ideologically, is a denial of those very things that ground us to Earth and our humanity. So go howl at the moon and swing from the trees. Be an animal!--just remember to give it a good think after. That's the human part.

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.