Thursday, March 29, 2012

Strung Out

Some lovely illustrations diagramming Cat’s Cradle. This book from China was acquired by the American Museum of Natural History in 1904. 

I haven’t reduced these at all, so click on them for a slightly larger view.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Color Heaven Alert

Where: Mid-block on 13th St. between Avenues A and B, in NYC’s East Village.
What: The amazing rainbow swatch wall at Guerra Pigments.
When: The wall is visible from the street so walk by any time for a chromatic mood elevation.

Extras: Inside the store are the fabulous swatch books showing the range of effects that can be achieved with Guerra’s pigment dispersals—from luminous transparency to gritty pumice paste.

Read more about Guerra in Cabinet magazine.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ephemera Friday: Green Pieces

Not too much that's Irish here, but I'm going green from St. Paddy's Day with ephemera from my personal archive. Is drinking good for the environment? Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Remains of the Bay

As part of Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Dead Horse Bay is now a protected environment along with the other historic and natural sites in the area like Floyd Bennett Field, Fort Tilden, Jacob Riis Park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
Though hardly pristine, the stretch of beach is a far cry from its years as a garbage dump for New York. From the New York Times:
Dead Horse Bay sits at the western edge of a marshland once dotted by more than two-dozen horse-rendering plants, fish oil factories and garbage incinerators. From the 1850's until the 1930's, the carcasses of dead horses and other animals from New York City streets were used to manufacture glue, fertilizer and other products at the site. The chopped-up, boiled bones were later dumped into the water. The squalid bay, then accessible only by boat, was reviled for the putrid fumes that hung overhead. A rugged community of laborers, many of them Irish, Polish and Italian immigrants, lived in relative isolation on neighboring Barren Island, which shared the bay's unsavory reputation. (story) 
You can read about life on Barren Island in even greater detail, in this New York Times article from 1939. It is a report on the last 25 families to remain in the area as it was being cleared for construction of the Belt Parkway.

Here are some finds from a hot sticky early summer outing ...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Curly Bracketology

via Typophile

Just as “CD” can mean one thing to a banker and quite another to a music-lover, so too, the term “brackets” can have quite unrelated meanings to different people.

For example, I travel in circles where “brackets” are simply typographic characters. They come in straight and curly varieties and vary from typeface to typeface. 

But for most of the population, “brackets” is the diagram for the elimination tournament of the NCAA Basketball Championships. “March Madness,” as it’s called, (and which also has a whole other meaning), must be what happens when you watch 32 college teams play 67 games.

Far less lucrative to proprietors of sports bars, is the other “March Madness,” which occurs amongst European hares. The elimination tournament, which is especially frenzied during the month of March, is for the prize of mating with the doe, whose receptivity for breeding is limited to only a few hours during each of her six-week cycles.
A female will viciously fight off her suitors, giving them scarred ears. Hares have been observed to stand on their hind legs and hit each other with their paws, a practice known as "boxing" and this activity is usually between a female and a male and not between males as previously believed. When a doe is ready to mate, she will start a wild chase across the countryside, shaking off following males until only one remains. After this the female will stop and allow the remaining male to mate with her. Wikipedia
Why not try Book Antiqua?

Or you can pick a bracket style from the fabulous

(Whatever font you choose.)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Frank McMahon: Visual Journalist

Talk about witnessing history! The journalistic career of Franklin McMahon, took him everywhere from Mission Control to watch the first moon landing, to the Chicago Eight trial, to the Watergate hearings, the Vatican, and the inner workings of the European Common Market. McMahon, who died Saturday at age 90, recorded it all with a pencil and sketchpad.

In 1955, Life magazine hired McMahon to cover the Emmett Till trial in Mississippi. Till was the black teenager visiting from Chicago who, after whistling at a white woman, was taken from his uncle’s home in the middle of the night and brutally murdered. McMahon recorded visual snippets of testimony and he captured the truly historic moment of Till’s uncle being the first black person to testify against a white person in Mississippi. (The white male defendants, who were acquitted by the white, male jury, later admitted to the killing for a paid magazine story.)

Read about McMahon’s life and the global reach of his journalistic pursuits in his Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame bio.

At the end of the New York Times obit, there is an attempt to define exactly who this man, with no definable job category, was. First there’s a paragraph describing what he was not, and then McMahon gives us what I think, is a perfect definition of a visual journalist.
Mr. McMahon insisted he was not a courtroom artist, although he was widely praised for his coverage of the Chicago Eight … He also said he was not an illustrator, although he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. He was definitely not a portraitist, he said, because he never met his subjects. “I sit in the corner and make drawings of them,” he said.
And he even rejected the label of artist, though his work has been shown at many museums, including the Smithsonian. What he was, he said, was simply a reporter, who used art to tell stories.

Slideshow of Franklin McMahon's work at Chicago Reader

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