Mid-century modern illustration: Imagined futures of the past

I came across these illustrations over at Wanken, who has dedicated this week (Jan 3-7) to mid-century design. Shelby’s site is always a great resource to browse if you’re in need of some design inspiration, or if you simply want to marvel at all things mid-century. I’m consistently amazed by the architecture he finds and want to live in nearly every residence he shares, not excluding the drawings above.

What I love about these illustrations is the glimpse they give you into the future as it was imagined in the past. These are scenarios that artists in the 50s-60s dreamed would be commonplace today, or even years earlier. Unlike visions of the future we see today (with the exception of prominently placed television sets) they are devoid of robots or machine integration into everything it can get its circuits into. Instead, they paint a picture of human life and nature melded together, co-existing. Lounging in the canopy, hearing the flow of water beneath your floorboards, naturally formed rock as pool walls, all examples of respect for the natural world around us. All environments I’d like to spend some leisure time in, illustrated or not.

See the rest of Wanken’s collection here.


Growing is Forever

It’s 2011, and for my first post of the year I can’t imagine a more wonderful thing to share with you. Growing is Forever is a short film by Jesse Rosten with words written by Kallie Markle. The film, in the most poetic of forms, manages to encapsulate everything I want the coming year to be, one of growth and beauty, collaboration and peace. A year to focus on growing, both personally and as a community. Whose with me?

Here’s to much living ahead.


Maria Kallin: Day dreaming a Christmas walk

Maria Kallin is a photographer out of Sweden who has the ability to make everything she shoots look delicious. With the exception of the birds above, I want to eat all that she photographs knowing full well it may not be edible, yet still hoping a taste would transport me into the color field dream world she captures around her subjects. I chose these photos from among her rather large portfolio because they so nicely embody this time of year, at least here in the Midwest. They seize a certain chill in the air but manage to leave you with a warmth scarcely felt outside the holidays. Looking at this sequence of images I imagine a Christmas Day walk along the edge of the woods, snow crunching below taking special care to freeze these memories in time. Perhaps I’m idealizing these a bit much but as I’ve said before, I love to day dream, and these made me forget what I was doing for 20 minutes, and to me that’s a successful photograph. And a successful 20 minutes at that.

You can also check out her etsy shop where Maria has a number of prints for sale. Found via designworklife.


Expedición Extinción: Everything will fade

Expedición Extinción is a series of paintings by Colombian artist Edwin Monsalve. There are many reasons why this series jumped out at me.. my odd nostalgia for biology texts from college, traipsing through the Michigan woods growing up, collecting edible plants with my father or simply that they remind me of something I’d see in a 1940′s National Geographic. All these reasons are why I liked looking at them, on the surface. The concept behind them is why I’m sharing them with you…

These are all painted with chlorophyll, the green pigment found in plants and algae. The function of chlorophyll, in a live plant, is to absorb light and transfer the energy within it to help facilitate photosynthesis. The beauty of using this as pigment for a painting is that it fades over time, around 15 years by Monslave’s estimate, making the painting as alive as the living plant it portrays was and just as temporal. The idea is simply brilliant and I can only imagine how these must look in person. At first glowing with vibrant color then, as years pass, a faded remnant of what it once was, such is life. I would love to have one of these to watch it unfold. I bet the stain left behind would be just as intriguing as the day it was framed.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010