Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tales from the Unifactor

Frank is an innocent but not un-knowledgeable cat mouse who inhabits the surreal and unpredictable world called the Unifactor. Brilliant cartoonist Jim Woodring began exploring Frank's world in 1990, and has continued his investigations to this day through an extraordinary series of comics and collected stories. The first full-length Frank graphic novel, Congress of the Animals, has recently hit the shelves and it features our beloved protagonist heading into hard times, falling in with bad company, getting a job and fighting the spiritual battles for which he is uniquely well prepared.

Woodring offers explanations and signs copies of his new book at Elliot Bay Book Company on June 30 at 7pm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Light Fuse

You've still got about a week to get your fireworks. If you're around Seattle that means heading out to the Muckleshoot Reservation just south of Auburn. For a few weeks before July 4th, tribe members make a significant portion of their annual income from the parking lot full of fireworks stands. Of course the very best bargains are to be had in the 2-3 days following the holiday. Keep in mind that it's illegal to leave the reservation with explosives.

And I've linked to this website before, but it's well worth a second visit. Crackerpacks is a compendium of artwork from hundreds of firecracker labels from around the world, from the 1950's through today. Fun for hours and clicking won't burn your fingers. Ka-BOOM!

Thank you Grg Kimball for the photo above!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

10,000 Year Clock

A team of Seattle-based builders, designers and engineers is currently constructing a 200-foot tall clock some 500-feet deep into a mountain in the Sierra Diablos of remote West Texas. The massive timepiece is designed to chime every day for the next 10,000 years.

The huge undertaking is the brainchild of the Long Now Foundation and is being funded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

The father-and-son stone cutting team Stuart and James Kendall of Seattle Solstice stoneworks have created a custom robotic saw that will cut a massive spiral staircase into the mountain, and gargantuan gears 5 to 8 feet tall and weighing 1,000 pounds each are being built at Seattle's Machinists Incorporated with the help of another Seattle company, The Gear Works.

Six dials on the clock's face will represent the year, century, horizons, sun position, lunar phase, and the stars of the night sky over a 10,000-year period. Large plates which run down the center of the clock will generate a different bell ringing order for each day of the next 10,000 years. The clock will be "self-winding" through a combination of thermal power and 20,000 pound weights.

After many years of work, the final design and engineering of the Clock is nearly complete, and fabrication of the full-size Clock parts has begun. Stuart Kendall expects to start work on the staircase in the fall, and preparatory work is already underway in West Texas where a mining company is boring the entry tunnel.

The project website is here, and Wired Magazine has a long and detailed article on the technical aspects of the project.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Lovely cut paper art from Joe Bagley of Boston. An archaeologist by training he spends a bulk of his time on intricate paper art, which he shows and sells at his online shop, Papercuts by Joe.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


by Max Aub


Pasa una bicicleta
por la carretera.
Parece que no es nada
una bicicleta…
Pero vista detrás de una alambrada
ese trasto de dos ruedas
le llena a uno de ideas.

Por la carretera
va que vuela,
una bicicleta.


¿Qué treta
me juegas,
fortuna y rueda?

De mis pies nacen andas
y surgen sedas.

Por sólo altibajar mal las rodillas
yo mismo me llevo en sillas.

Ya más que Clavileño, Clavileña
dulce, metálica, sin par sorpresa:
¡Oh noble bicicleta!


A bicycle passes
along the road.
It seems to be
nothing at all…
But seen from behind the barbed wire
this stuff made of two wheels
fills you with ideas.

On the road
there flies,
a bicycle.


What trick do
you play with me
fortune and wheel?
My feet become platforms
and emit silk.

Just by poorly spinning my knees
I turn into the carrier of my saddle.

Rather than Clavileño, Clavileña
sweet, metallic, unexpected surprise:
Oh noble bicycle!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting Up Underground

All kinds of new work going up at the Underground Events Center. When I left on Sunday, most of the painting was still happening at street level. Were the artists waiting for me to leave before breaking out the paint-filled fire extinguishers? Not sure, but the result is stunning. Follow the work in progress by NKO, One Seven Nine, EGO and the Sign Savant right here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dingbat, Baby!

Got some empty space to fill? Spend some quality time browsing around Dingbat, baby! The dingbat inhabits the border between typography and clip art. Once reserved for serious print-related tasks like pointing, filling spaces, and exclamation, the dingbat now commands a higher level of respect and is useful for all manner of purposes. The cute and clever Dingbat, Baby sheds light on a different specimen daily. Click on the featured Dingbat to view and download its entire family. Just about all of the fonts shown are freeware or shareware and are eager to be adopted.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Audrey Hepburn Rides a Bike

A long lost portrait of Audrey Hepburn on the set of "Sabrina", captured by photographer Mark Shaw for a LIFE magazine article in 1953. This entire shoot had lingered forgotten for more than fifty years in a box at the home of Mark's first wife until they were found in 2008 and re-released only recently. You can buy an original print right here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Honor the Treaties

Beautiful images from the Honor the Treaties project have begun to appear around Seattle and, I assume, around the country. The project is being led by Seattle-based photographer Aaron Huey who has been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently Huey came to the realization that another expensive book or a gallery show would be an inappropriate and ineffective way to conclude his heartfelt project, which ultimately seeks to give voice to a great social injustice and a forgotten history.

Huey’s photographs depict high unemployment, broken families, alcohol abuse and life expectancy lower than that in Afghanistan. But more than that, Huey’s photographs show the legacy of the lies and broken treaties of the US government stretching back over a century. If the Treaty of Fort Laramie from 1868 had been observed, for example, then the Lakota and associated Sioux tribes would own land stretching across five states.

Huey enlisted Shepard Fairey to turn selected photographs into posters, and is now calling on students, graffiti artists and assorted volunteers to take the images straight to the public — pasting them on the sides of buses, subway tunnels, bus stops and billboards. You can buy an 18×24 print here, signed by Shepard Fairey and Aaron Huey, to support the project.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Flourishing Remnants

Until the 1970's the Beall Greenhouses on Vashon Island was the nation’s largest grower of roses and orchids. When the business went bust, the 25 acres of greenhouses and plants were left to themselves. Today, the corroding glass and steel structures are covered with both native flora and exotic plants grown wild. The Vashon-based photographer Heather Joy and her partner the painter Matthew Olds have recorded the collapsing greenhouses and their reclamation by mother nature in a new show titled Flourishing Remnants. Learn more about the artists and their work here.

At Vermillion Gallery, 1508 11th Avenue on Capitol Hill until July 2. The opening reception is on Friday June 3 from 6-9pm.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Martyr Murals

Very interesting article in The Guardian from a few weeks back about Ganzeer, an Egyptian graffiti artist. After the uprising in Egypt brought a new sense of change possibility to the street, this story surfaced about a young man who used the rare opportunity to paint unsanctioned murals on the walls of Cairo. His Martyr Murals project aims to produce public portraits of every single Egyptian killed in this year's uprising. As soon as he paints a mural, the government officials paint it over, but

"...in Tahrir and in protests all over the country, people got a taste for expressing themselves openly, and the government can't easily regain that control over public space again...Creating graffiti involves taking ownership of the streets, just like we did during the uprising. And so of course it's political, and illegal."

Read the full article here and check out Ganzeer's blog here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

as freedom is a breakfastfood

by ee cummings

as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
-long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame

as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
-long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung

or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common's rare and millstones float
-long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late

worms are the words but joy's the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts and thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
-time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

Thursday, June 2, 2011


From The Atlantic blog.

A single lightning bolt climbs the ash cloud of erupting Grímsvötn volcano, seen from nearby Vatnajökull, on May 22, 2011. By Jóhann Ingi Jónsson. More photos at In Focus.