Charting a course roughly post WW1 through to the mid-to-late 1930’s, The Harlem Renaissance was a movement which, above all else, demonstrated the stunning creativity of African-Americans despite the plethora of injustices and prejudices they faced, and in spite of a systemic racism – political, social and structural – that seemed committed to establishing a narrative of inherent racial inferiority/superiority. Indeed the literature, music, paintings, sculptures and photography that emerged from Harlem in these decades are a bold affirmation of life, a resounding challenge to the status quo and a showcase of the spirit, talent and artistry of Black America.
In the skateboarding world, they don’t come much more influential than The Gonz. Your favourite skater’s favourite skater, father of the modern street style, perpetually young at heart, constantly pushing boundaries and always, always doing his own thing. For many people, Mark Gonzales personifies the inherent creativity that resides at the heart of skateboarding – not only by skating with a fluid, free and innovative style, but by constantly creating, both on the skateboard and off it.
There is an undeniable art in knowing how and when to deploy a long take, and it takes even more skill to execute one effectively. It’s a technique that’s been used by countless directors and cinematographers to build suspense, grab the audience’s attention, maximise the impact of high energy scenes or preserve the intensity of methodical slow-burners. Renowned for being a means to flex some directorial muscle and demonstrate cinematic prowess, long takes have given us some of the most memorable scenes in cinema; from languid, haunting takes by Tarkovsky, to the stylish and buoyant sequences employed by Scorsese.
Controversy, innovation, humour, brutality, politics, personality, artistry, guts, gore – you name it, it’s been on the bottom of a skateboard, more often than not beautifully executed. And in a moment when skateboarding appears to be approaching the zenith of its popularity – when off-duty models and pop stars are wearing Thrasher garms, when the swoosh and the three stripes (along with other big-money sports brands) are pumping shitloads of money into the scene, when the fucking olympic games are attempting to carve out a spot for skateboarding in Tokyo 2020- it’s reassuring to cling to the things in skateboarding which will (hopefully) never change. Though, like everything, quality ebbs and flows, there has been a tonne of stellar skateboarding graphics throughout the years that demonstrate, concretely, the creativity that resides at the heart of the culture, and the vivid imaginations of those who associate themselves with the scene.
Generally regarded as being one of the last great masters of ukiyo-e art – “pictures of the floating world” captured in hanging scrolls, woodblock prints and paintings- Tsukioka Yoshitoshi is one of the boldest and most celebrated Japanese artists of the last 200 years. In a tumultuous career in which the artist was well-acquainted with both relative fame as well as crushing obscurity, Yoshitoshi navigated loss, mental illness, and poverty in order to produce works that preserved the rich and vivid tradition of woodblock printing against the encroaching western techniques of ‘modernity’. Prolific, yet met with just as much ambivalence as acclaim, Yoshitoshi’s work has slowly but surely established itself as canonical in the ukiyo-e genre; indeed many modern critics claim that his vision and creativity was instrumental in imparting ukiyo-e with “one last burst of glory”.
Time and time again, Adam Curtis has demonstrated an inimitable ability to delve into the heart of an issue – be it the manufactured and simplified story of militant islam as espoused by western powers in Bitter Lake, or the failure to harness the utopian potential of early technology in All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace – and sketch out the complex histories, mechanisms and important figures that underpin these particularly postmodern narratives. HyperNormalisation, which was released on BBC iPlayer on Sunday night, is Curtis’ latest attempt to trace the multifaceted malaise that seems to pervade overstimulated life in the 21st century.
The movement or discipline of street photography emerged at the close of the 19th century, when technological advancements ushered in portable cameras which enabled early practitioners like Paul Martin to practice ‘candid photography’ on London’s vibrant streets. There is a fascinating, almost improvisational nature present in the street photographer’s work; the chance encounters and unexpected events that spill out on the sidewalks of our cities, and the fleeting moments and fascinating figures that populate the subway carriages and train cars that dissect our metropolises, are often lost in time or to the chaos of our own manic lives. Street Photography often captures these ephemeral moments, distilling individual narratives of life – a person, a place, a found object, a time of day or any combination of all these things – against the looming backdrop of the restless, unceasing city.
Although heavily criticised for its grey appearance and totalitarian feeling, brutalism has seen something of a resurgence in the last few years, if not in the hearts of architects in that of members of the public. With more and more Brutalist structures being torn down across northern Europe, lovers of this polarising style have begun to document the remaining buildings and seek to ensure they don’t all disappear from our landscapes. In honour of these building, and those seeking to protect them, we’ve compiled a list of 6 great, (relatively) unknown brutalist buildings.
To quote William Bernbach, one of the founders of the famed DDB advertising agency, “Advertising is fundamentally persuasion, and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art”. In this article, we wanted to take a look at some of the most influential and outstanding pieces of advertising in recent memory. Our selections, both new and old, have either managed to embed themselves into pop culture and a popular consciousness, transform the face of the industry, or shape the culture and convention of the very society that the they operate in. Check ’em out:
The X-Rated Collection are self-confessed purveyors of original x-rated movie posters of the 60’s and 70’s. Their extensive, ever-growing collection is both an archive of our sordid past, a nostalgic remembrance of the ‘golden age’ of pornography, and a means of appreciating the brilliance of (often uncredited) illustrators, designers and photographers who produced these posters.