Saturday Creative Spark

Mehmet Ali Uysal's Ten / Skin © 2012

Mehmet Ali Uysal’s Ten / Skin © 2012

Mehmet Ali Uysal is a Turkish artist with a great sense of humor. He starts with a common object, a clothespin, let’s say, and changes what it does. The reaction is to stop in a space you would never even consider and look, smile, or begin to think about the space and the use of space as we go through life.

Clouds are the perfect symbol of the ephemeral–they appear, disappear, move, cast shadows, change shape and amaze. In the desert, clouds are rare most of the year. In New England, a cloudless day usually makes the news. But what about indoor clouds? Dutch photographer Berndaut Smilde’s creates his own clouds, in beautiful rooms, to otherworldly results.

He has a careful process blending humidity and air flow, but the best thing is watching the cloud drift. If you are in a hurry, it starts at 01:23 in this video.

IBM-Ogilvy2Ogilvy, France (a branch of the original Ogilvy and Mather) created a clever series of billboards for IBM. Normally, billboards are eyesores, something we want to avoid. This series of billboards help city dwellers cope with the environment a bit better. There are billboard benches and ramps, and even a billboard that helps you stay dry if it’s raining. This is a clever blend of creativity and marketing, not offensive, not loud, just simple. Olgivy’s trademark is simple.

Canadian photographer Ulric Collette is fascinated with the familiarities of of family features. In his photographic work, he blends facial halves (right and left) of two related people to show relationships both physical and photographic.  Some of the photographs are startling, but the one that fascinated me the most was the combined image of the two brothers in row six, right side. Amazing family resemblance.

Have a creative weekend!

–Quinn McDonald is amazed at the ability of art to transport.

11 thoughts on “Saturday Creative Spark

  1. Once again, Quinn, I have enjoyed the trip through the world of art but didn’t get to it until Sunday morning!
    I have to say I had the same thoughts as Pete did about the useful advertising. Why don’t we have a bus bench that’s just a beautiful bench? Still it is inventive, creative and functional. And I like that there is a plea in the advertising for more of this type of smartness even if it does come with branding.
    I enjoyed the work of Ulric Collette too! I would have liked to have seen the the photos before they were combined. What a fascinating work of art. Have you ever held a paper or book over half your face to see the differences there? It’s almost like two different people, much like these photos.
    Thanks for the trip!

  2. If we are to have advertisements and branding — and it’s a part of life that isn;t going away any time soon — I applaud those companies who find a way to get there brand name in the public in a helpful instead of offensive manner. I can remember when it wasn’t possible to see the scenery on a car ride because there were thousands of billboards in the way. Not that billboards are gone, but there are fewer. (Wasn’t it Lady Bird Johnson’s “Keep America Beautiful” campaign? Grow wildflowers, not billboards!) Perhaps she was chided later for her simplistic First Lady project, but it seems to me it was a pretty fine idea.

    If we’d taken her message to heart, maybe it wouldn;t be so acceptable to demolish our earth, one tree, one dig, one oil leak at a time. OK, so I got a bit sidetracked, but I do like the ramps, shelters, especially done in a rather understated, artistic manner.

    Thanks for these Saturday links, Quinn. They always take me somewhere I am happy to have seen.

    • Thank you for reminding us of Lady Bird Johnson’s contribution. She DID help us get rid of a lot of those hideous billboards, and encouraged us to plant “a tree, a shrub, or a bush.” I loved her for that. Now we have those horrible, distracting video billboards, but you are right, Bo. Let’s just for this moment be grateful for these milder, more useful forms of advertising.

  3. Those billboards, seen from the other direction, are canopies and benches and ramps with overt branding. It’s interesting how much we take branding for granted and even expect it. The kinds of objects that came into being within about the last hundred years seem to usually carry branding, to the extent that it’s hard to imagine, for example, a car that’s just “car” — not “Ford” or “Renault” or “Toyota”. Things from before then were more likely to be allowed to be themselves rather than totems of their (usually) corporate association.

    It’s association, not origin, because “made things” that carry signage only refer to one of the entities involved in the long process culminating in the thing itself being available to buy. Ascribing importance to various sorts of participation has unspoken rules.

    A package of frozen corn from the supermarket would not be available without the shipping company, the refrigeration company, the grocery retailer, the farmer, or the packager. The packager gets the credit, and the importance of all the other participants is assumed to be lower.

    It’s a different sort of experience to encounter a thing and let it stand on its own, not associating it with a brand name: “This is a motorcycle. Not a Honda, not a Harley, not a BMW; a motorcycle”. One of the automatic brand associations “that’s who created this thing” — but in fact that’s usually a false association. It’s harder than you might think to avoid associating a thing with a brand, and to avoid associating a brand with “making”.

    I wonder if this came from the art world, where the association between artist and product actually is (often) very close.

    • Interesting question. As someone who worked in ad agencies for years, I often ask, “who is the advertising company that took that unimaginative package and made it seem important or precious to us?” Because that is a kind of art. Or craft, which generally deals with the usefulness (functionality) of a thing.

    • I have a few sources I check and save the best of during the week. Sometimes people send me things. It seems only fair to share. The funny thing is, I started it as a way of not spending so much time on Friday doing a post, and now, of course, it’s the most time-sonsuming post of the week, but I love doing it.

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