The A’ Design Awards & Competition is the world’s largest design competition. Juried by experts in the field, the competition recognizes the best and most exciting work in design from around the world.In addition to the award itself, participating and winning the A’ Design Award means recognition, publicity and as well as a long list of other benefits.
As mentioned, the A’ Design Prize is actually a comprehensive kit. This includes perks such as participation in an international exhibition, inclusion in annual hardcover yearbook, a press release, publicity through the Competition’s extensive network, inclusion in the World Design Rankings, an invitation to a gala-night event in Italy for a unique networking opportunity, an award trophy and certificate, translation services for your press release into more than 20 languages, feedback notes from the jurors, a Designer of the Year nomination, sales listing for your winning design and much more.
Entries to the Competition are judges by an international jury panel of scholars, industry experts and prominent journalists. Unlike many other awards, the A’ Design Awards & Competition follows a strict methodology including, a peer-review process with anonymous voting and evaluation of entries.
You can learn everything you need to know about the competition at designaward.com. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2018 and selected winners and results will be announced publicly (including here on Beautiful/Decay) on April 15,2018. You can register by clicking the link below.
ResoNet Pavilion – Sinan Mansions Pavilion by William Chen – Creative Prototyping Unit
flAVATAR Glowing flowers by Richard Kun
Nominate your designs for award consideration here.
Simply put, the A’ Design Award and Competition is the world’s largest design competition and a highly sought-after award. It aims to highlight the best designs, concepts and design-oriented products around the globe each year.
In addition to the extensive prize package, the A’ Design Award and Competition also serves as an independent and expert appraisal for design by providing valuable feedback and experience from a panel of from industry leaders, academics and prestigious journalists.
The comprehensive A’ Design Award Winners Kit, of course, is the main reason many register and compete in the A’ Design Award and Competition. Just some of the benefits this award package includes are participation in an exhibition at the Museum of Outstanding Design (MOOD), inclusion in an annual hardcover yearbook, publicity by way of tools such as a press release and marketing, inclusion in the World Design Rankings, an invitation to the A’ Design Award Gala-Night in Como, Italy, an award trophy (check it out), feedback notes from the jury, press release translation into more than 20 languages, the Prime Design Mark, and participation in a extensive PR campaign.
Entries will be judged by an international jury panel of academics, design professionals and press members using fair evaluation and an extensive methodology. This strong jury brings knowledge and insight to each category, evaluating them expertly and providing valuable feedback.
The deadline for submission is February 28, 2018 and results will be publicly announced on April 15, 2018 (including here, on Beautiful/Decay). You can learn more about the A’ Design Award and Competition at designaward.com.
Nominate your designs for award consideration here.
Exterior of Organic House House by Javier Senosiain and Daniel Arredondo
Interior of Organic House House by Javier Senosiain and Daniel Arredondo
Feather Coffee and Side Table by Apiwat Chitapanya-Asia Collection
Detail of the Bad Cafe Hybrid Functionality – Hospitality + Yoga + Retail by Nuru Karim
Dimensional Knit Winter Dress Coat by Martha L. Calderon
Point and Line, Seating and Waste Receptacle (detail), USA
MU’trans Home Accessories, MU’factory Cetti Davi and Dario Feo, Italy
How does your country stack up? The World Design Ranking (WDR) ranks nations around the world based on the number of creative designers that have received an A’ Design Award over the course of the past seven years. Envisioned to be to design what the Olympics are to sports, the A’ Design Award & Competition aims stoke innovation and the flexing of minds through international competition through the WDR. (You can find the full world ranking and each nation’s awardees at http://www.worlddesignrankings.com.)
Amazing and forward-thinking designs are submitted globally to the A’ Design Award & Competition each year keeping the rankings close and the list of represented nations long. There’s still time to represent your home and add to your country’s award total. The A’ Design Award & Competition registration period is now open and accepting submissions for numerous categories including packaging design; architecture, building and structure design; arts, crafts and ready-made design among many more. You can register and find out more here. In the meantime, check out selection of awarded submissions by designers from the top 10 nations on the WDR.
Life is a Flower Porcelain Artwork, Yasumichi Morita, Japan
Rising Moon Pavilion, Daydreamers Design, Hong Kong
Rising Moon Pavilion, Daydreamers Design (detail), Hong Kong
The Holy Ghost Furniture, Yi Chen and Muchen Zhang, China
S. Joao Structure Installation, FAHR 021.3, Portugal
The Monroe Chair, Alexander White, Great Britain
ANGLE Bookshelf, Selami Gündüzeri, Turkey
Metrotopia Public and Private Transportation, Simon Colabufalo, Australia
It’s safe to say that the art of graffiti, the once loathed medium that was reserved uniquely to the outlaws and high-art mavericks (see: Basquiat), has changed pretty much entirely. With no need to sneak around trash cans and lurk in fog-filled passageways (well – mostly), most graffeteros these days are highly regarded contemporary artists, while the occasional fling with the other side of the law has turned into a charming postmodern adrenaline hunt.
CanvasDiscount.com invites you to a street art gallery where paintings can emerge on a gritty channel side, and every street corner can be instantly changed into a genuine exhibit space!
Source Vulpes Vulpes stands for red fox in Latin. The artist conceived this illegal piece with the help of the local residents who, apparently, lied about the artist’s whereabouts. A rather simple, biting (no pun intended) representation of the man’s complex political views, it depicts a pack of foxes either devouring a single piece in equal parts or uniting their noses in the same manner musketeers used to cross their rapiers. Vulpes Vulpes is a self-confessed anarchist with unconditional love for foxes. An artist who likes to linger on the edge of the law, Vulpes is producing both legally commissioned artworks and something we’d like to call urban Easter eggs. The latter is usually the artist’s comment on the sociopolitical state of affairs. This particular piece is Vulpes’ take on the issues of economic recession.
What Goes in Must Come Out
source When two street artists come together for a collaborative piece, the results, predictably so, are usually really awesome. This “wall art” jumps on the trend and, just like so many other graffiti outlets these days, is playing around with the concept of dimensionality. Created as a part of the SCOPE Art Show (an annual fair taking place in New York, Miami, and Basel), its authorship is shared between Know Hope and Aakash Nihalani. As you can clearly see, both complement each other’s artistry incredibly well, creating a piece that stuns with its simplicity and the clever use of what little additional details there can be.
source Now, Pratt Institute is known for its progressive approach towards the arts and humanities, yet hardly anyone would think of its graduates as the most likely street art prodigies, dodging police in the maze of the urban jungle during the nights and scribbling on paper in the wee hours of the morning. However, with the likes of Leon Reid IV and Cake, it’s safe to say that the prestigious institution has indeed produced some of the most renowned contemporary street artists working today. This piece, however, is created by Willow. Using academic knowledge to conjure surrealist imagery on the local walls? Why not?
Borondo’s ability to pick seemingly random places that only add to the effect once the artwork is finished is remarkable on its own merit. If you’re not familiar with Dali’s painting or have no clue as to what the myth’s actually about, the long story short version goes as follows. A handsome thespian hunter that went by the name of Narcissus had a thing for his own reflection. Unable to grasp its beauty, Narcissus gave in and pretty much succumbed to his death due to his own prettiness. Borondo’s choice of location all of a sudden makes that much more sense…. Just imagine encountering this with no pretext!
source No, this wall is by no means graphic in the Internet sense of the word. Instead, it’s a genuine, large-scale monochromatic outing by the Italian artist known as 2501 (by now, it’s clear that street artists pick their public names with an ingenuity that vastly surpasses their pop music counterparts). Exploiting both abandoned slums somewhere in the outskirts and globally revered art galleries, 2501 twists and bends his lines to conjure compelling sceneries that are juxtaposed with urban and suburban environments to a surprisingly marvelous effect. Peculiarly, it really seems that the geography affects the signature. Just take a look at this and the last entry!
It may come to you as a surprise, but when it comes down to distinct, decades-perfected street art cultures, Bogotá takes the cake as a place where this particular medium has flourished like no other. Here, they’re called “Graffeteros,” and instead of being viewed as some sort of savages with illegal habits, they’re actually really embraced by the locals who encourage the group to embellish the facades of their houses and window shutters. Bastardilla, the author of the respective piece, is said to be a member of the Bogotá’s graffiti culture’s dream team – Animal Power Crew. We may never know, but her solo output is equally fascinating and distinctively Southern American in its richness and tribal undertones.
And, here’s yet another talent in the long line of Italian graffiti artists. With that said, Moneyless (Teo Pirisi) might as well be the most interesting and off-beat character of them all. Utilising the geometrical specifics of the space around him, Moneyless uses fishing line and hooks to create something that’s totally outside the threshold of the traditional street art with simple, geometric formations that present the Platonic viewpoint of geometry being the core attribute of nature. Very minimalistic with an aura of mystery that characterizes all good fine art creations, Moneyless shows us what exactly happens when austerity is used the right way!
This man needs no introduction. Banksy is pretty much the superstar of street art culture and probably the most well-known graffiti practitioner working today. Mostly appearing out of the blue only to disappear under equally mysterious conditions, Banksy adorns the walls of his native Britain (though not limited to) with painfully spot-on statements dwelling upon pop culture phenomena and national/international sociopolitical affairs. Excellently executed both form and content-wise, Banksy playfully challenges law enforcement and civilians to reflect on the issues we would usually prefer to push aside.
Massive, explosively colorful, and funny, the art of Kashnik is instantly recognizable and cannot be mistaken for somebody else’s. Referring to herself not only as a street artist but a full-fledged street activist, Kashnik paints large-scale murals often featuring a mustached gentleman with two pairs of eyes and often in somewhat kinky situations. However, there’s very little mystique as to why it is so. She is an active combatant for human rights issues with a particular focus on same-sex relationships. With the trademark impressive scope (the astonishing 50 Cakes of Gay is still a far cry from being her biggest) and vivid hues, Kashnik juxtaposes shamans, aliens, and gangsters to create a trippy and memorable street art extravaganza.
Wrapping up with what is possibly the most eclectic entry on the list, we have the Italy-based Ozmo. Although his creative output mainly focuses on exercises in portraiture, Ozmo’s oeuvre really has bits and pieces of everything. Producing sharp and edgy social commentary in the vein of Banksy as well as utilizing sheer scale in the same manner the previous entry does, Ozmo is also known for his monochromatic pieces, a technique that seems to be so popular amongst his Italian peers. Blending together technical prowess with a tongue-in-cheek humor and an in-depth knowledge of the history of art, the artist is no stranger to both streets and galleries. Here, you can see the Holy Mother going through some sort of Fallout head wrap glitch thing.
Explored and compiled by photo printing experts from Canvasdiscount.com, – one of the biggest and best-rated manufacturers and distributors of personalized photo wall decor and lifestyle accessories in the U.S.
As you may already know, the A’ Design Award & Competition is a very large and one of the world’s leading design competitions. Judged by academics, prominent members of the press and successful professionals around the world, awarded designers are the minds behind frequently very compelling projects. Further, there are many categories (100 of them, in fact) covering just about every facet of modern design. Registration for the award is now open. You can find out more and register here.
In the meantime, however, we take a look at past winners of one category: Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made design. This category encompasses works of art, crafted designs and ready-made objects as well as installations and functional sculptures. The Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design category would be of particular interest to professional and young artists, designers, design galleries, design and arts departments, and other art, craft and design oriented institutions in the creative industry around the world and all are encouraged to submit.
In addition to a trophy, invitation to a gala celebration in Italy and numerous other perks of a lengthy prize package list, award winners are also offered the opportunity to exhibit their work, a free service, and make their work available for purchase free of any commission. You can find the full award package and more information on the A’ Design Award & Competition at http://www.designaward.com.
Can your art, craft or ready-made design hold its own against these past winners? If so consider registering now here.
Into the Water (Women in Water Series) by Sonia Alins
Into the Water (Women in Water Series) by Sonia Alins
Walking up to the brick façade of an industrial NYC building, the rumble of a freight elevator vibrates through the entrance until it creeeeeaks to a halt on street level. The gate lifts. Paul Brainard pushes one foot down onto the bottom half of the freight elevator door so I can climb inside. Genial and quick, he leads me through a warren of artists’ studios, every space is spilling over with the alchemical instruments of the artist: tools, canvases, and paint. Nestled against a large window is Paul’s studio with a drawing table and painting shelf. After a few pleasantries, he reaches into a plywood painting rack and rotates with a golden frame that catches the evening light in a bloom of yellow. The drawing inside is so thick with gunmetal tone graphite it hardly resembles paper. Underneath glass, some images are suspended like intricate seahorses, in a thought-space, thick and transparent, like gelatin. Other images appear to dance languidly on the metallic ground. Paul talks briefly, painfully, about how both his parents passed away this year. He shows me a tattoo on his arm from an old New England gravestone rubbing. Everything, the language, people in his life, and images in his drawings, are appearing and receding like a tide. Paul addresses this topic we all eventually face with a solo show, My body is a grave, opening October 6th at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I want to try and link Paul’s art to contemporaneous philosophy and art history. Primarily through the writing of thoughtful people: the art historians Caroline Walker Bynum and Georges Didi-Huberman, the historian Charles Freeman, and the philosopher Martin Seel. Let me begin with the philosopher Martin Seel, in his book The Aesthetics of Appearing, he describes three forms of appearing: mere appearing, atmospheric appearing, and artistic appearing. Mere appearing is noticing an object through your sense of sight. Atmospheric appearing is when you notice something through your sense of sight, but the object goes beyond mere appearing by being a catalyst for further thoughts and memories. Artistic appearing is when an object is crafted in order to appear. Seel writes: “Artworks differ in principle from other objects of appearing by virtue of their being presentations.” (95)
Paul talks about his parents, and how they took him to see a Kiss concert when he was 8 and the film Alien when he was 10, and, at the same time, were Catholic. His describes his parents as liberal Catholics who were fans of his art, and that despite Paul’s images being a bombardment of pornography and death, they were always interested in and proactive in responding to his work. Paul’s father was a professor of chemical engineering, and would send Paul books about ecological and scientific crises. There are three things which emerge from this brief family history: pop culture, religion, and warnings about the future.
The largest drawing in the show shares the name of the exhibition, My Body is a Grave, and is rich with references to Paul’s oeuvre and art history. Along the bottom of the drawing is a dual-corpse with a dead body and a semi-decomposed portrait beginning to sit up, apparently from the same person. It is a self-portrait. The left arm points towards a small old-fashioned photo of Paul’s father. This type of double image dates back to the middle ages, and, in particular, this drawing reminds me of the Transi Tomb of Henry Chichele. Chichele was a 15th century Archbishop of Canterbury who briefly appears in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Panofsky called Chichele’s tomb a “double-decker tomb,” because it is two tombs. The tomb has two reclining statues: below, a desiccated corpse; above, a resplendently clothed man with open eyes. This type of art combines the physical decay of death, the rotting corpse, with the lasting effects of a person’s life, the resplendent robes signifying achievement and status.
The top center of My Body is a Grave has the words Toten Uber Alles, which is German for ‘Death Above All.’ The Transi Tomb has this text written in the area between the two bodies:
“Pauper eram natus, post Primas hic elevates
Iam sum prostrates et vermibus esca paratus
Ecce meum tumulum.
Quisquis eris qui transieris rogo memoreris
Tu quod eris mihi consimilis qui post morieris
Omnibus horribili, pulvis, vermis, caro vilis.
Above the head of the resplendently clothed Archbishop is the following inscription:
Etus sanctorum concorditer iste precetur
Ut Dues ipsorum meritis sibi propitietur.
This Latin inscription translates to “I was a pauper born, then to Primate raised/Now I am cut down and ready to be food for worms/Behold my grave./Whoever you may be who passes by, I ask you to remember/You will be like me after you die;/All horrible, dust, worms, vile flesh.” The inscription above the head translates to: “May this gathering of the saints pray in harmony/That God may be propitious towards their merits.” The Latin comes from this source: Kathleen Cohen, Metamorphosis of a Death Symbol: The Transi Tomb in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973) 15-16.
In Paul’s drawing, the double body is surrounded by skulls, one skeleton, three nude women, a dog, Rudy Giuliani, the ‘see something say something’ NYC subway ad guy, the photograph of Paul’s deceased father, and a child – and the corpse comes back to life. If we are dealing with medieval Christian art, like the Transi Tomb, then this relates to the sacredness of the body. If we are dealing with 21st century pop culture, then this body is a zombie bombarded by our chaotic culture. A zombie is a monster that refuses to die, and who eats brains – the ability to think; essentially the opposite of a graceful passing. Paul addresses this type of collapsing symbolic structure on his website, writing “Time is compressed; forms overlap and eradicate one another.”
Here is a weird etymological coincidence. I learned about this through the art historian Georges Didi-Huberman. 1. Paul’s father sent him books warning about ecological disaster. 2. Paul’s work is full of bodies that can easily flip between religious symbols and pop culture monsters. Latin for ‘to warn’ is moneo. Moneo is listed in some sources as the origin of the latin words monstrum and monstrare. Monstrum means both omen and monster. Monstrare means to show. Monstrance, a modernization of monstrare, is the word Catholics use for the sculpture that holds the Eucharist or a relic – to display the sacred body. The words which means to warn, to show, and monster are linked in ancient language. Can it be a coincidence that these three themes populate Paul Brainard’s work?
In the beginning of this essay I told you I would link Paul’s work to contemporary philosophy and art history, and, to that end, presented Martin Seel’s definition of artistic appearing – something crafted as a presentation. Seel’s definition is potentially the driest definition of art in existence. Looking briefly at Paul’s family and work, we found an etymological coincidence, linking these four concepts: showing, omens, warnings, and monsters. Paul talks about collapsing symbolic structure, and if you collapse showing, omens, warnings, and monsters – you get an idea very close to Seel’s idea of artistic appearing.
Let’s flesh this out a little. If a zombie is a permanently rotting body, essentially similar to the art historical transi sculpture, and we also recognize that within the same image we can have the sacred representation of life, then we are walking into a debate that is hundreds of years old and is still intellectually raging today. The sacred body enters in academic culture through philosophers like Giorgio Amgaben’s Homo Sacer, and into moral political culture through Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. If we keep in mind both the profane rotting corpse and the sacred memory of life, we can learn something from art history. Caroline Walker Bynum, an art historian at Princeton, wrote this about 15th century British transi tombs: “In contrast to the reliquaries, which both sublimate and reveal the object within, unveiling its decay-resistance as bone or wood yet lifting it to immortal life through gold or crystal, other medieval sculpture is obsessed with displaying not just death but also the decay that reliquaries resist. This quite common motif of the transi tomb (a sculpture which is decaying, worm-eaten corpse lies beneath a gorgeously clothed member of the elite, represented more as sleeping than as dead) uses the stone from which it is carved to image slimy, percolating flesh… (As opposed to reliquaries)…the lower part of the transi tomb are almost always naked stone; it is as if the transformation works the other way. Putrefaction is not just imaged; it is not just emphasized; it is made permanent. In the transi tomb, it is the clothes above (elegant and ordered) that deny decay, but below, the body seems (oxymoronically) frozen in its character as decayable and decaying.” Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: As Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe, (New York: Zone Book, 2011) 71-79.
Paul is frank about his politics, and voices his support for progressive policies and causes. The politicization of the body is at least as old as the Medieval period, and we can find a related historical example in the historian Charles Freeman’s fantastic and entertaining book Holy Bones, Holy Dust: In 1247, roughly one hundred and fifty years before Henry Chichele first rose to power in England, the King of England, Henry III, saw himself as gaining status and power via a blood cult. The blood cult centered around a reliquary containing Christ’s blood which came from Jerusalem. The Bishop of Norwich declared, regarding the distinction England earned via owning the blood of Christ while France only had the Cross: “Now it is true that the Cross is a very holy relic but it is holy only because it came into direct contact with the precious blood of Christ. The holiness of the Cross derives from the blood whereas the holiness of the blood in no way derives from the Cross. It therefore follows that England, which possesses the blood of Christ, rejoices in a greater treasure than France, which has no more than the Cross.”  Charles Freeman, Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011) 188-189.
In the drawing The Battle for Bedford Ave Paul Brainard enters into less personal territory, and addresses NYC and pop culture. Bearded Confederate generals mix with bearded hipsters, and the fictional MKULTRA type character – Jason Bourne, intermixes with Osama bin Laden, Iron Maiden’s power ballad zombie, and supermodels. In an interview for the show with Eric White, Paul expressed his beliefs about art and politics: “There is a certain reactionary atmosphere that surrounds current discourse in contemporary art that is very stifling and not very nuanced in the understanding that most artists are on the same side (and that this side is the side of liberal progressives). In general, I have found most artists are liberals or libertarians, opposed to racial, gender and sexual oppression. But you would never know this in the contemporary discourse surrounding contemporary art.”
Paul is also an accomplished oil painter, and makes compositions that have deep perspectival space – that at the same time is disjointed. The paintings have a feeling of rapid movement that is chopped into discrete moments. At the same time, a recurrent image is a flat wall with double doors, like a subway car. The paintings imply movement, stoppage, and passage.
This essay will finish with Paul’s oil painting Necros. Necros is the name of Mid-Western punk band whose most famous album was Conquest for Death. Necros is also very close to the word necropsy, which is another term for autopsy. The middle of the painting is filled with zooming diagonal spaces which set up a three-dimensional sense of depth. Foregrounded is a self-portrait of Paul in zombie makeup, and the words “Horror!!! your host Swamp Honkey.”
The A’ Design Award & Competition is one of the largest and leading truly global design competitions. The competition seeks to recognize and award the best designs and well-designed products from around the world. The registration period is now open and you can nominate your design here.
Are you an artist or designer? If so, there is a category for your work. In fact, there are 100 main categories including Unexpected Design; Interior Space and Exhibition Design; Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design; Website and Web Design; Photography and Photo Manipulation Design; Fashion, Apparel and Garment Design; and Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design. You can browse all of the competition’s categories here.
For competition winners, the A’ Design Award is actually part of an extensive winners’ kit. This winners’ kit includes a certificate and trophy, inclusion in a hard-cover yearbook publication and physical exhibition, invitations to a gala celebration in Italy and much more. Further, winners enjoy benefits such as marketing, consulting, inclusion in World Design Ranking, press release and press kit preparation and distribution and translation of a summary of your project into more than 20 languages. Entries will be judged by an international jury panel of academics, design professionals and press members following a strict and thorough methodology.
As mentioned earlier, the registration period is now open and the deadline for regular submissions is September 30. Learn more about the A’ Design Awards & Competition and register your project here. In the meantime check out some of the past awarded projects and designs.
Detail of Or2 Photochromatic Canopy Structure by Orproject
Flavoured Flints Food Tools by Léa André
Zip Tie Massimal Architectural Design Research Installation by Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin
Detail of Zip Tie Massimal Architectural Design Research Installation by Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin
Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl by Daisuke Nagatomo and Minnie Jan
Ten to Sen (Point and Line) by Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin
Saint Francis Chapel Room of meditation by Rafael Hintersteiner
TTMM (after time) Watchface Apps Collection by Albert Salamon
Artificial Topography by Ryumei Fujiki and Yukiko Sato
Double Cross Game Packaging by Mr. Pip
The Hex Kite by Wind Architecture Studio
Heaven is a Place on Earth Swarovski Veil by reginadahmeningenhoven
With a highly respected and influential panel of judges and an award that offers international audiences and recognition, the A’ Design Award & Competition is one of the world’s leading annual juried competitions for design. While design-lovers would be interested in perusing past years’ winners, artists and designers should know: the application period is now open.
The sought after “A’ Design Prize” entails an extensive winners kit including a certificate, a trophy, inclusion in a hardcover yearbook publication and much more, culminating in invitations to an exclusive gala-night in Italy. Winners also receive vital tools for international promotion and marketing such as project translation into more than 20 languages, media appearances through the press partners of A’ Design Award & Competition as well as press release preparation and distribution.
Each year, submissions are judged and winners are ultimately selected by a panel of leading designers, academics, entrepreneurs and prominent members of the press. This diverse group of panelists are selected from a variety of fields for their recognition and, more importantly, their experience and technical knowledge. To ensure fair evaluation, the basis for any proper design competition, the panelists abide by a conflict of interest policy and a jury agreement and judge the submissions anonymously using a rigorous methodology.
Does your work fit in with past winners and panelists’ favorite projects? I may not be a panelist (or even describe myself as “esteemed”), but enjoyed picking 20 winners from past years that especially caught my eye. When the results from this year’s competition are made public, we’ll feature a selection of our favorites once again. Enjoy the collection and best wishes!
Do you like the arts? (Spoiler alert: if you are browsing this website, you probably do). Do you believe that more people should have access to art and have the chance appreciate original artwork from their local community? Good. Now, do you like bingo?
If you are wondering what one has to do with the other, then you must have missed last week’s Art Bingo event with the Art Connection – a nonprofit program established in 1995 that connects artists and donors to community service organizations through the placement of original artwork. The charity finds homes for art pieces (donated by local artists and collectors) in healing environments, where the artworks serve to enliven the spaces and become points of inspiration that allow their recipients opportunity for reflection, comfort, and hope.
Recent placements include BEST Corporation, Elder Service Plan of Harbor Health, South End Community Health Center, and Victory Programs. So far the Art Connection has placed over 7,500 original artworks (generously donated by over 450 artists and collectors) in over 400 agencies. The declared and noble mission of Art Connection is to promote access to art in under-served communities – and what better way to achieve that than by coming together to play?
Why bingo, you say? Well, simply because it continues to be an immensely popular game of chance, easy to understand and familiar to everybody – it has even conquered the Internet, which has seen several gaming websites hosting online bingo games. Usually, such websites involve extra features that attract players, such as multi-room bingo –where players have the option to launch and play in more than one bingo room at a time– or bingo chat (complete with emoticons) to communicate with fellow players and make the game more social.
Bingo games remain very popular with charities in particular. The rules are simple: the game host draws numbers at random and each player takes care to match them on 5×5 cards, pre-printed in different arrangements. When a row is formed by the random numbers, the player calls out “Bingo!” to signal their win and claim the designated prize. In the case of Art Bingo the prize is one of twelve original artworks by local artists – so that every winner can take a piece home and become a proud art collector.
The event formed part of ArtWeek Boston, a biannual creative festival first established in Boston that features a wide range of events and interactive experiences throughout all of Eastern Massachusetts. This was the 6th annual Art Bingo organized and, as has become a tradition each year, one of the dozen games played showcases and promotes the work of a talented emerging visual artist from local Boston Arts Academy. Art Bingo also features premium silent auctions, with prizes this year ranging from ticket packages to Boston’s best theaters to gift certificates to dine in award winning local restaurants.
This year, guests crowded the lobby of the historic Ben Franklin Institute to engage with artwork and mingle with artists before attending the fast-paced games and auctions. The event saw Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley return as a bingo caller while VERY Gallery’s John Guthrie (also known for his work with Kate Werble Gallery in NYC, Tinku Gallery in Toronto, and Spazio Natta in Italy) has acted as the juror, choosing this year’s art pieces. Selected artists included renowned painter and art professor Marilyn Levin and photographer Timothy Wilson, well-known for his unique style that blurs boundaries between painting and photography, focusing more on shape and atmosphere than content or locale.
A highlight of the event was honoring Ellen Rich with the Annual Art BINGO Artist Award – another beloved tradition. Ellen was an original signer on the Art Connection’s bylaws, volunteered in numerous capacities with the program and even donated her own original works throughout the years. Some of her artworks have been placed with nonprofits such as New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Pine Street Inn, St. Francis House, Centro Latino de Chelsea, Inc., and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. Her collage “Marsden” (acrylic on paper) was selected as one of this year’s twelve works up for grabs.
Having fun for a good cause – one that includes building bridges between artists, those deprived of access to art, and the community as a whole. More charities should draw from this example of how to develop a power combination that truly boosts local engagement with the arts.
As an arts blogger I spend most of my day looking at amazing things created by artists, performers and creatives. If you’re reading Beautiful/Decay, a good portion of your time is likely also spent in awe of the creative output of others. I decided to make a move to the other side of the screen, rolled up my sleeves and learned to create something awesome. I joined forces with Skillshare, an online learning community that provides access to over 15,000 creative classes, to help accelerate my creative inspiration. Whether you’re looking to learn graphic design, illustration, photography or practically anything else, Skillshare can teach you what you need to know to execute your vision. Even better, they’re offering Beautiful/Decay readers two free months of Skillshare Premium (usually it’s $10 per month). Visit this link to redeem the promo or use the promo code BEAUTIFULDECAY..
I decided to take Skillshare Premium for a test drive with designer Aaron Draplin’s new class “Customizing Type with Draplin” and very quickly it became clear I was in for a fast, fun and, at times, very funny class.
Draplin began by “Junkin’ for References”—hitting shops around Portland, Oregon in search of inspiration, ideas, and cool vintage letterform. This brief video has had me really looking at the design I run into everyday in a new light and the overall class showed me ideas about letterform and text design that can’t be unseen.
Immediately, Draplin works to “get you away from the default,” as he puts it. That is, to not accept a font as it’s handed to you, but to chop it up, stretch it and generally do whatever it takes to create the unique design you need and want. He primarily works in Adobe Illustrator throughout the class and prefers continuously creating something to overthinking it, so it was helpful watching Draplin’s videos on one screen while having Illustrator open on another.
There were (more than a few) instances during the class I literally yelled “Yes!” at my screen as if cheering on good text design. Draplin covered fundamentals such as kerning, tracking and letterform, which was extremely helpful for someone like me, with a background in visual art but none in design. However, especially if you’re new to creating wordmarks, it’s his quick tricks, ideas and keyboard shortcuts that will also have you also cheering through your screen.
In the seventh video lesson, we got off the computer and back to the classics of pen and paper. Other lessons showed me how to lift those designs off my journal pages and back onto the computer, how to add texture to fonts and how to prepare designs for the real world on t-shirts, patches, coin purses.
If there is something you are excited about, you can inspire that same excitement in others through good design. This is the thought that is essentially behind Draplin’s personality and philosophy. It’s what made his video so enjoyable, encouraging me to create with an open mind instead of the usual self-deprecating stress. The large collection of student projects show that the message got through as students around the world create and share designs on par with the instructor. I’m looking forward to adding mine to the bunch. If you’re itching to go on your own creative journey, try two months of Skillshare Premium for free here, learn everything you need know (and some things you didn’t) and add your project to the gallery.