Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two films about very different girls.

So I've been slowly making my way through the "films to watch" list that I wrote in April. The latest films that I watched were The Double Life of Veronique by Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Happy Go Lucky by Mike Leigh. I like watching films where the main lead is a girl, because, unapologetically, I am a girl. We often subconsciously/consciously identify with the lead character in a film, and as that person is quite often, male; the female in me has nothing to connect to.

The Double Life of Veronique...seemed like a rather slow and solemn version of Amelie. There's atmosphere, there's European-ness, lovers using weird ways to contact each other. From there, it is not like Amelie at all. It's far too serious, far two existential. The story goes: there are two Veroniques; one living in Paris and the other, in Poland. They are not twins, they are not related, but they look identical - are they identical? It's never really explained how the existence of two identical girls came to be. I wonder, does this actually happen? Is there someone out there who looks exactly like me? I'd like to meet her. What's weirder?: that there would be someone out there who looks identical to you?, or that you are absolutely unique and there is no one like you?. Both of these prospects are pretty amazing.

Happy Go Lucky, yup, this film was very different. The main character, Poppy, is a perky school-teacher who refuses to take life seriously. I suppose that she was kind of charming; her character was pretty convincing. But I wasn't entirely taken by Mike Leigh's floaty slice-of-life style story-telling. The film just kind of drifted along, showing Poppy on a trampoline, Poppy taking spanish dance lessons, Poppy teaching her class about bird migration, Poppy going to visit her sister, Poppy having driving lessons with a mentally unstable instructor, Poppy hanging out with a homeless man in an abandoned industrial park. Generally, you feel like: gee, good on Poppy for giving life a good shot. Overall, did this film really resonate with me? Well, if you asked me while I was watching it, I would've said, "not terribly so", but actually it has stayed with me for over a week so there must be something in it.

Well, there's my films for the week. Writing about films is hard. Makes me appreciate really good film reviews. Ciao for now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The use of characters in graphic design (Perth).

As you may have noticed, I have started blogging about instances of character-design usage in commercial graphics. I am interested in the intersection of art and the commercial world, where the priority of design is to catch your attention and imagination in a simple and/or emotive way. Of course I also appreciate "fine-art", but often there is no particular urgency on the part of the artist to convey a specific message and have it understood. Sometimes the artist can't even articulate the meaning of a work to him/herself.

I feel that in the west/or just in Australia(?), that there is a sense that if an artist signs up for work in the commercial world; in advertising, marketing, etc, then they are selling out. Art is something "above and beyond" the commercial; something divine, something that people aren't allowed to touch. I think that this is definitely changing, as these fields grow and more creatives are involved in commercial work. I felt that Japan is so far ahead though, in terms of merging the artistic and the commercial. A lot of "ordinary", mass-produced items such as lunch-boxes, erasers, bowls, chairs etc are so artfully designed. Some of the advertising campaigns / promotions are surprisingly imaginative and thoughtful. "Corporate" doesn't necessarily equate with ugly, square and utilitarian. Artful and aesthetic objects and images are not just hung in galleries, but are pervasive all through day-to-day life.

I think that character design in advertising represents the joining between the creative and the commercial. Art is slowly pervading the corporate landscape, and overall I support this trend because it gives me something more interesting to look at than just the same old text-based signage. So, in this blog, I'll be presenting as many local/Perth examples that I can.

So, without further adieu, allow me to introduce "Teddy". I found this little mascot in the classifieds section of the Guardian Express:

TeddyClean Commercial Cleaning Services provides cleaning services to West Australian commercial and residential properties within the Perth metropolitan area.

The character is quite basic, but it is indeed, a cleaning bear; something just a little out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My first market - Made On The Left

First time selling stuff at a market
I finally had my first art stall on Saturday at the Made On The Left market at Hyde Park Hotel. My set-up was pretty minimal compared to many of the awesome stalls that day, but hey, it was my first try. It has inspired me to do some new art and hopefully try selling at a market again. Next time I think I will work at a better display.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meteor shower this week.

"The Leonid meteor shower occurs from about 14 to 20 November as the Earth passes through an old debris stream left by past passages of a comet. The maximum rate occurs within a day or so of November 17 and is usually less than 10 per hour."

Between 2 and 4am tomorrow morning, there should be meteors visible from Perth. Look North East, about 45 degrees up into the sky and you should see some? Please let me know if this is incorrect.

Here's some more information here and here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Perth Character Design - Megasealed Frog

Here is a cute frog touting tile grout called "Megasealed".

"Megasealed" is a two part chemical compound that looks like grout, but when it dries is as hard as the tiles bonding them together.
It can be used to fix gaps in shower tiles etc.

Megasealed is Australian owned and operated, with a Perth (franchise) branch. I found the Megasealed frog in the Guardian Express.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Japanese School Festival / 日本の学校 文化祭

Japanese school festival
Today I went to the Japanese School Festival in City Beach, Perth. I go there every year to eat dango and buy Japanese children's books. This year was no exception!