“I think creativity comes when you are worried that they are about to kill you. That’s what happened in my case.“
-Theo Padnos, September, 2016
In 2014, five American citizens, James Foley, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller, Steven Sotloff, and Theo Padnos, were being held by Islamic militants in Syria.
Today, only Theo Padnos is alive.
The story of his capture; his nearly two years as a prisoner of Jebhat al Nusra, a Qaeda subsidiary; and of his release and nostos, is the subject of the documentary, Theo Who Lived.
Directed by David Schisgall, and produced by Zeitgeist Films, Theo Who Lived will open in New York on October 7th and in Los Angeles on October 21st.
Artist and sculptor Mandy Smith uses paper as her preferred medium, one which is surprisingly diverse and allows her to build the most incredibly detailed and high-rising mansions, movie sets, and musical instruments, all stemming from a single dimension. Smith has worked with the art department behind Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, and other clients include Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Purex. When we first found Mandy's work, it was because of a series of hilariously uncomfortable sandpaper goods: a bikini, toilet paper roll, a playground slide, and other things that wouldn't feel great. We spoke with Mandy about her work, and why she's so drawn to paper.
Sam Kalda is a Brooklyn-based illustrator, graphic designer, and cat whiskers-collector with a portfolio we loved for its lovely combinations of narrative storytelling and flat design. Clients include papers and journals like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Mechanics, The Washington Post, and others, but Sam's portfolio retains a sense of playfulness and features many characters from literary classics, just for fun. We interviewed Sam recently about how Bob Ross got him on the path to illustration, and what is perhaps my favorite ever ongoing series, Men and Cats.
Lexigrams are cards that feature the most interesting, strange, and entertaining words in the English language, by illustrating their definitions. Not only do you have the opportunity to learn some of the most mischievous members of the dictionary, but you'll also get to see some pretty hilarious illustrations. Oh, and some of the illustrations involve some playful cartoon nudity, because these words are for the orally experienced.
We spoke with the creators of Lexigrams, Veronika Hecko Wu and Albert Wu, to learn more about this creative endeavor.
Bercy Chen Design Studio is a young architecture firm located in Austin, Texas. Former classmates Thomas Bercy and Calvin Chen founded the company in 2001 and have since built private residences, commercial buildings and designed concepts for resorts, museums and entire areas of redevelopment. Their work has won them over twenty awards and clientele from around the world.
Growing up, Bill Plympton dreamed of someday working for Disney. After his animated film, Your Face, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1987, Disney offered him a million dollars to animate the genie in Aladdin. Plympton said no. Disney wanted ownership of all his work and Plympton wasn't willing to give that up. Plympton has remained independent ever since.
Aleksandr Hrustevich is a musician from the Ukraine whose speciality is the bayan (that's a Russian chromatic button accordion), an instrument largely unknown in the United States, but gaining momentum in Europe, not least because of Mr. Hrustevich.
Sculptor Jaehyo Lee is a keen manipulator of resources. Lee works as easily with leaves and branches as he does with iron nails. He has created otherworldly works in stone that recall the extraterrestrial vision of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Eran Chen is the creative director of ODA, a prominent architecture firm based in New York City. ODA's mission of improving people's lives is attracting more clients and bigger projects.
Gray Kunz is one of the world's great chefs. As executive chef at the former New York City's Lespinasse and current Café Gray Deluxe Hong Kong, his reputation for innovation and creativity, and expanding the confines of a classical chef's repertory is unparalleled.
Sculptor Daniel Agdag focuses on details and demands both logic and beauty from his creations. His thoughts are filled with intricate machines, vehicles, and buildings. He realizes his visions in cardboard, and on film. His most recent exhibition is Sets From a Film I'll Never Make.
Zombies exoplode out of a giant pumpkin at the New York Botanical Garden.
A predator lurks within the pumpkin patch; a mutant pumkin sprouts arms and legs and threatens the life of an innocent gourd with a pairing knife.
No one is safe from the mind of Ray Villafane.
Master watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin honed his skills in London and Le Locle before founding his own luxury brand, Speake-Marin.
In 2006, he collaborated with Harry Winston to develop the Excenter Tourbillon
Recently, his Renaissance tourbillon minute repeater was preselected by the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève jury in the Best Complicated Watch category.
Terje Rypdal uses a cane to climb the stairs onto the stage at Le Poisson Rouge, for a rare concert in New York City. The crowd cheers and he waves his cane in recognition. He sits down, picks up his red Fender Stratocaster, and proceeds to unleash a barrage of color.
"When I have a really good guitar sound—like in New York--it sort of opens up and there is some brightness shining and colors."
For more than a century, artists and musicians of all kinds lived and worked in the 170 studios built on top of Carnegie Hall. Today, it's all gone. The film "Lost Bohemia" by former resident Josef Astor, documents the lives of some of these artists, and their fight to save the historic towers.