NoRelevance.com

For Lovers of Visual Junk

Robert J. Lang Origami Bugs

Sep

14

2012

I recently had the pleasure of seeing an exhibit of Robert J. Lang’s exquisite origami at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Lang’s work do yourself a favor and check out the wonderful documentary Between the Folds, which aired on PBS a while back and featured numerous other origami artists such as the master himself, Akira Yoshizawa. Robert J. Lang also has a TED talk where he discusses his process in greater detail. (more…)

baia Instamount Photo Cube

Jul

17

2012

I’m a sucker for 1950s color advertising photography, with its over-saturated colors and idyllic subjects and scenery. The packaging for the baia Instamount Photo Cube was no let down in this respect. Looking like scenes from bygone family-oriented TV shows the sides of this box, which held a once ubiquitous acrylic photo cube, wreak of family values and WASPy middle American life. The eye-catcher for me, though, was the simple 3-color baia logo set in a bold, slightly extended version of Clarendon. It feels rather modern for such a classic and commonly used typeface perhaps due to the even/odd interplay of the flipped words’ alternating characters. I owned a baia 8mm film editor some time ago and never paid much mind to the faded, black logo on it. I’d surely have kept the thing if the logo had appeared like this.

Austin Music Posters in the Wild [an online photo gallery]

Jul

9

2012

Austin Music PostersI’ve occasionally collected band/concert posters that I’ve managed to un-secure from walls and poles around the various cities I’ve lived in and visited, but they’ve always ended up rather mangled due to whatever packing tape, wheat paste or staples were keeping them in place. Not to mention have taken up a lot of space, what with their average 12″ x 18″ dimensions. And, no, I don’t remove posters before they’re “old,” so as to ensure they’ve lived out their intended purpose. Well, I’ve recently decided that I don’t need to own every piece of graphical ephemera I come across—mostly because I’ve mainly collected these posters as design inspiration rather than whatever precious little objects I or anyone else might believe them to be. So, here’s my online photo gallery of Austin Music Posters in the Wild. I’ll add new ones as I see/snap them. Sorry if the quality of some seem fuzzy. They are in the wild, after all. Please feel free to comment if you like and/or know the designers of any. Credit where credit is due.

HandPaintedType Project

Jul

3

2012

The HandpaintedType project is a collaborative, on-going effort to preserve, well,  the hand painted type of Indian street painters. A 10-minute documentary video introduces the project’s website visitors to a few of these forgotten masters as well as the computer-aided scoundrels who’ve made their skills “obsolete.” In the fast-moving haste of bustling Delhi, business owners prefer cheap and speedy Arial-based signs over the comparatively arduous, though stunningly artistic hand-painted banners of yore. (more…)

Bell Records Pocket Books 45 RPM Records

Jun

28

2012

bell-records-pocket-books-covers-tequilaBehold this recently acquired stash of Bell Records 45 RPM and 78 RPM 7-inch vinyl records, which were distributed by Pocket Books and featured cover versions or “sound-alike” versions of popular tunes of the time. Sound-alike versions were cheap to produce and, beyond the flat rate the musicians were paid, cost the record company only publishing royalties on top of manufacturing and distribution. A nickel and dime game perhaps, but there was certainly profit to be made if enough unsuspecting customers bought the sound-alikes instead of the real McCoys.  Some of the songs featured in this collection are Jackie Wilson’s That’s Why, here performed by otherwise-lost-to-history act, “The Muses” and the Kingston Trio’s hit, Tom Dooley, performed by the equally anonymous “The Four Dreams.” (more…)

New Hand-Painted Signs From Austin

May

15

2012

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Just an FYI that I recently uploaded some new hand-painted signs from Austin to the ever-growing exhibit, Hand-Painted and Hand-Made Signs. There are a few more, but this one here is my latest favorite. I love how universally used the bullet is for separating words that would otherwise run together.

The Lost Type CO-OP

Mar

23

2012

lost-type-coopThe Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind.” So reads the first line on their About Us page. I had to read their About Us page because I wanted to find out what the catch was. Here are several typefaces—many vintage-inspired—that I’d like to own and each has a pay-what-you-will price model that ruffled the skeptical feathers on this bird. But there’s no catch. The Lost Type Co-Op really does sell high quality fonts designed for print and sometimes web use (@font-face) for whatever price—including zero dollars—you are willing to pay. Upon entering the amount and clicking the DOWNLOAD button on a particular font’s page, your download starts immediately and you are then redirected to PayPal to complete your order. Yes, your product is delivered before you finished paying for it. (more…)

Vernacular Typography – a website, blog and film

Mar

9

2012

newarkFellow type-obsessed collector, Molly Woodward, has embarked far beyond the shores of this occasional blogger’s endeavors with her website, blog and Kickstarter-funded film project, all appropriately titled “Vernacular Typography.” Visitors of my Hand-painted & Hand-made Signs exhibit may see some overlap, possibly in one or two sign photos, but definitely in a related passion for the often overlooked typographic relics scattered throughout cities as exotic as Havana, Florence and Newark. Her film has been successfully funded and I can’t wait to see what comes of it. While future generations may not have the real artifacts to admire and study, there will surely be sufficient digital archives thanks to the tireless efforts of folks like Molly. Cheers!

Ernst Haeckel and the Unity of Culture via the Public Domain Review

Sep

29

2011

Renegade Darwinist/zoologist and truly “mesmerizing” illustrator Ernst Haeckel may have caused quite a stir when he posited organic matter as originating from inorganic matter through spontaneous generation. However, he’s most surely better known for his incessant visual chronicling of our planet’s oddest lifeforms and their myriad variations of form and color. In his article on the Public Domain Review, Dr Mario A. Di Gregorio, professor of the History of Science at the University of L’Aquila and author of From Here to Eternity: Ernst Haeckel and Scientific Faith, offers insight into the origins of Haeckel’s theories and the mind-bending art that came from his obsessive depictions of the Kunstformen der Natur, or Art Forms in Nature, which Haeckel published in 1904.

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Letterheady – Vintage & Not-So-Vintage Letterhead Designs

Jul

29

2011

LetterheadyClick on over to Letterheady, a one-page scroller featuring letterhead designs for such notable figures as Nikola Tesla and Adolph Hitler to obscure companies like the Liverpool-based Robot Salesmen Ltd. They appear to be legit, with sources linking to other sites from which the examples were culled. Some seem to have been Photoshopped to give them an empty, unused state. Who cares. They’re fun to browse and fit right in here with my love of Visual Junk.