me stuff

talking tactile (first posted 23 nov ’12)

i promised several people that i would post a list of the stuff i mentioned last week at the ‘papier hier’ talk and here it is, probably a meaningless list of websites unless you were there, the topic was ‘tactile’ and these are some of the people and projects i spoke about in that context…

‘boven kamers’ book by moon brouwer

‘happy faces’ by dennis van gaalen

posters from sergio alves

the wonderful toaster project by thomas thwaites

the austria solar annual report

underwater images by alberto seveso

fictional film sets by daniel agdag

tactile photography dan tobin smith

tactile photography bela borsodi

swiss artist ‘bernard voïta’ (hard to find, google him…)

swiss artist felice varini

human trees by jody xiong

string art from gabriel dawe

toilet roll art from junior fritz jacquet

tactile typography by marian bantjes

intricate layouts and paper objects from peter nencini

nail art chen chun hao (or google him)

nail art goshka macuga

‘balancing blocks’ short by part & parcel

‘bag charms’ by christian borstlap

‘frictions’ short by steven briand

and here above is me together with mister ian wright whom i certainly would have mentioned in my talk, except that he was already invited as a guest speaker that day…
(image above courtesy of ‘willie kerkhof’)

same perspective, different view (20th july ’12)

this is a post i wrote as contributor to the amsterdam ad blog ‘something related to amsterdam’ column, originally posted on the 20th of july ’12…

same perspective, different view

One of the things that makes the canal district in Amsterdam so beautiful (to me) is the combination of a master plan and complete randomness. The general layout is symmetrical and ordered; yet new houses have been squeezed in where a gap once was or tacked on to other houses at different times, with a totally different aesthetic and sense of proportion. There are plenty of dazzlingly weird views to be seen and even after twenty years I still see new things and odd details every single day. It is no coincidence that the whole area has been placed on the ‘Unesco’ world heritage program.

One of my favourite corners is where the Herengracht meets the Leidsegracht. (+52° 22′ 4.18″, +4° 53′ 13.11″) Every morning this collection of angular buildings, crooked lines and church spires seems to shift perspective as you pass by. In fact there is so much to take in that it must have been years before I even spotted the little red man hiding on the roof staring into the distance with his hands behind his back. Have you seen him yet?

m / 21-07-2012 15:47 - tags: , ,  

foto chroma eilers (posted 18th may 12)

this is a post i wrote as contributor to the amsterdam ad blog ‘something related to amsterdam’ column, originally posted on the 18th of may ’12…

foto chroma

The building in the foreground (shown above) is currently a rather expensive restaurant frequented mainly by wealthy american tourists staying at the ‘Renaissance Hotel’ (across the road) on the corner of the ‘Kattegat’ near Central Station in Amsterdam.

I have lived in the narrow street to the left for almost 20 years and (give or take a few cars, lots of sign posts and graffiti) this is basically what i still see everyday. The only big difference is that this colour image was taken almost 100 years ago by local photographer ‘Bernard F. Eilers’ whose ‘foto chroma eilers’ technique was one of the earliest and best of its kind.

To see more of his fascinating ‘Amsterdam in colour’ series, also worth a look is the enormous collection of the Amsterdam City Archive online: Stadsarchief.

Eilers was briefly celebrated for his work but soon overtaken by american competitors such as Kodak and Agfa, now themselves in turn, just a part of history…

see also this related post on the same subject, back in ’10

m / 30-05-2012 16:27 - tags: , , ,  

IJ (the 27th letter of the alphabet)

i have been invited to contribute irregularly to a new ‘inspiration’ column on the amsterdam ad blog together with a group of local creatives and some of my friends, we each post several times a year with an image (related to amsterdam) and a short piece of accompanying text

here below is my first entry, dated march the 16th 2012

There are so many things to inspire us all, for me one of the most inspiring things is not some amazing piece of graphic design or a life-size model of the Eiffel Tower built with match sticks but quite simply: language.

I love to read everyday and playing around with letters is even my job. When i first moved to The Netherlands and couldn’t speak a word of dutch a sign like the one above, would never cease to fascinate me. For an Anglo-Saxon brain this hoarding contains an impossible and unpronounceable combination of vowels and repeated consonants. Type somehow never fails to look really funky if you have no idea what it says. Strange how foreign things always look so much more appealing.

So what’s my point? well nothing special really… just a reminder to myself: never get complacent and remember that the most inspiring things are really ordinary & all around you all day, every day… they might even help you find a place to park your bike.

Martin Pyper
Born in Bristol, UK (The Beatles – Strawberry Fields) grew up in France (Plastic Bertrand – Ça Plane pour Moi) went to art school in the UK (New Order – Leave Me Alone) worked in Cambridge, UK (The Smiths – How Soon is Now), then moved to The Netherlands (Stone Roses – Breaking into Heaven) got bored and moved back to London (The Clash – Should I stay or Should I Go) got bored and moved back to Amsterdam for a year (The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode) didn’t get bored and stayed for 23 years.
Started me own thing in 2005. (Four Tet – Parks)

m / 16-03-2012 13:35 - tags: , ,  

tall yarns (first posted 16 jan ’12)

i received an email form UK graduate ‘amy’ last week asking some questions about my string typography stuff for her research project, i thought i’d share my response to her questions:

1. What influenced you to combine yarn and letters?

a large part of my work involves digital media (working behind a computer screen all day) and the idea to go back to handmade work was a reaction to/against this, string and nails are very flexible materials (literally and figuratively) so they offer a lot of space to make graphic shapes and typography this was the reason i chose them… also perhaps a certain nostalgia for ‘forgotten’ techniques like knitting and crochet (my mum taught me to knit when i was five) also the fact that working with these materials is very time consuming and often unpredictable adds interest to the process

2. Is legibility or visual impact more important in your designs?

legibility is certainly important in any design where text has to convey a message so yes… certainly it needs to be legible, unless making it difficult to read is part of the intention of the design (in my ‘bored’ piece made with pins this was partly the intention, i didn’t finish making the text as it was boring to do, that was a sort of design joke…)

however in most illustration pieces (at least my own ones) the impact of the visual technique is usually very important, if it is made by hand then it is usually also a priority to ensure that this is visible, otherwise it is pointless making it ‘by hand’ if you see what i mean…

3. Is it important for you to let your viewers know, how your type is made?

i partly answered that above by nr. 2, but yes it is generally definitely my aim to show the way it has been constructed and this is part of the reason i use these kinds of materials you can almost ‘feel’ how it was done… no tricks or hidden stuff, it looks like what it is…

4. What is your opinion on graphic design / craft collaborations? such as typography and embroidery, do you think there is a trend for this type of work?

well, there definitely seems to be a revival of ‘handmade’ type and analogue work, certainly as a reaction to the digital age and also because designers usually look for new techniques and methods to create imagery all the time

for me personally i do not hate computers or have a problem with digitally created work (quite the opposite in fact) i just like to use as many different methods as possible handmade work has prove to be a very fruitful route for me and my work in the past few years, however i always combine handmade and digital together whenever it suits me

i also love stuff like the ‘wild knitting’ trend and a lot of the 3D type work which is being made by young designers all over the world right now; i think it is a really exciting time to be a young designer right now…

hope this helps amy? let me know of you need any more info, incidentally there are quite a few pieces and interviews i’ve done on this subject on my blog (also an interview for IDN magazine) which you can find under the ‘me stuff’ part of my website

good luck & kind regards, martin

m / 16-01-2012 20:42 - tags: , ,