I may not talk about it much, but I love being an observer of good design. Product/industrial, interior, surface (textile/patterns), architecture... I particularly love well designed things that are part of our everyday lives. Since I was in my teens, I've been voraciously reading interior design and architecture magazines, and ripping out pages to stuff in my inspiration files. Paint colours, ceramics, textiles, furniture, gardens... the right combination of materials, textures, and colours can be like a religious experience - well, if you practice the religion of pretty things.
So, about that inspiration stuff... I liked the suggestions of collaborative arty projects. So I've been thinking about people who I know (or have known in earlier days) that now do cool inspiring art stuff. And here is a list of them, loosely in chronological order of when I met them from earliest to most recent with links to their stuff for anyone who's interested (go Google skillz). (I've only used last names where people use their last names publicly in case you're wondering why some are missing.)
(Photo by Kirsti)
I've known Kirsti since I was three weeks old. Most of her creativity is not documented online, but she is a crafter-extraordinaire, trust me. She just started blogging her craftiness, and I had to include her in the list, if for nothing else than her sock making skillz.
(Photo from Amazon.com)
I went to elementary/highschool with this kid back in the day. He was the kid who constantly got in trouble for drawing and not paying attention. I always really liked Riley, and he was a great artist back then, and wouldn't you know it, he's an even better one now. He actually went to art college, and now is a professional illustrator. He's done work for magazines and illustrated the graphic novel Seven Sons, and is now illustrating the comic book Proof--first issue just came out a couple months ago (now on issue 3)--with his partner in crime, Alexander Grecian. Check out his illustrations on his Wrinkle Graphics site, and if you like comics I totally recommend you go out and find Proof--it's available at most comic shops.
- Riley's homepage: Wrinkle Graphics
- Articles about Proof , 
- Proof on Wikipedia
- Proof on Comicspace
- Proof Issue 1 on Newsarama
- Seven Sons on Amazon.com
- Seven Sons on AIT-Planet LAR
- Review of Seven Sons on Zillas Comics blog
- Review of Seven Sons on Focused Totality blog
(Photo from judegriebel.com)
I also went to elementary school with Jude, but I didn't really know him. His younger brother (who was also a really good artist) was in my class, and he was about 3 or 4 years ahead of us. Jude has become a successful painter, doing a lot of work around the themes of childhood homes, animals, and dreams/imagination. He is based in Vancouver as far as I know, and regularly has shows at Bau-Xi Gallery in town. I went and saw his show there last year, and was instantly in love with his work. When I can afford it, I plan to buy one of his paintings as one of my first real art purchases.
(Photo by Elissa)
One final elementary school throwback. Elissa and I actually reconnected pre-facebook, and she does great photography mainly of Montreal, transit/trains (Richard--you should check out her Flickr!), and restaurant food. I think her Livejournal is friends only, but if you have an LJ or OpenID account, request to be friended, as it's a great way to keep up with her best stuff. Last year, the municipality of Westmount in Montreal came across her work on Flickr and hired her to do freelance photography for them!
Leslie is a friend I know through university friends. She is a great photographer, and has been getting more and more into portrait photography. She and her husband Mark recently started a full fledged wedding photography business, though she'd been doing it for quite a while, and I can safely say hers are my favorite wedding photos evar. I kid you not. She has this way of making romantic photos heartbreakingly cute without being cheesy. Also, check out her photoblog for documentation of her and Mark's travels through China and Taiwan. Amazing.
- Leslie's wedding photography business: Sakura Photography
- Leslie's old site: Camereye
- Leslie's photoblog archive
- Sakura Photography's Flickr
- Leslie and Mark's personal Flickr
- Leslie's older Flickr
[Gayla has done something sneaky so I can't show you any of her photos...you'll just have to click on the links to her stuff below.]
Okay, so I've never met Gayla in person. But I've known her for quite a long time now. She's the mastermind behind You Grow Girl--the successful and hip gardening website and book for urban green thumbs. I used to help moderate the YGG forums for a few years, and also wrote a plant journal on the site back when she had a bunch of guest writers contributing. But what you might not know is she's also a totally amazing photographer (be sure follow the links from her sites to her partner Davin's work too...), crafter, and graphic and web designer. Basically, Gayla is a superstar.
- You Grow Girl
- Gayla's photoblog: Making Happy
- Gayla and Davin's graphic and webdesign business: Fluffco
- Gayla's online store: Superfantastico
- Make sure you check out her ever popular YGG calendar
- You Grow Girl on Amazon.com
- Gayla's personal Flickr
- Gayla's YGG Flickr
I met Kelly through You Grow Girl originally, as she was one of the other long time moderator/plant journalers. Actually, to be accurate, I haven't actually met Kelly face to face either, but we have written each other back and forth plenty for me to consider her a friend and kindred spirit. She knits like crazy, gardens, and is a total photography nerd in the best possible way--she is the girl whose bathroom is a darkroom. Maybe that doesn't mean much to you, but to me, it is gold. She has lots of neato cameras too. Kelly has a unique style and is drawn toward subject matter that most people would overlook. For instance, she likes photographing old things in alleys, documenting things that have been left behind. She's also masterminded several rounds of Project Camera Release (see below) the most recent (and I believe not yet completed) one of which I participated in! She sends out a disposable black and white camera through a set list of people, each mails it onto the next taking a predetermined number of shots, and then at the end she prints them up in a little book/zine if she has the time and resources, or at the very least puts them up online. I can't wait to see how this one turns out! Kelly just started her own photography business a few months ago, and may well be (I hope!) moving back to Vancouver soon!
- Kelly's homepage/portfolio
- Project Camera Release
- Article about Kelly in Venus Magazine
- Kelly's Flickr
- Kelly's other Flickr
I would say that I more officially met Emira through You Grow Girl as she was another one of the plant journalers, but by then I already knew of her from her old blogsite Soapbox Girls which she co-wrote with her partner in crime, Lauren Bacon. She now writes about all things home, design, garden, and food related at her blog, Domicile. She and Lauren started Raised Eyebrow, a webdesign company, in 2000 and in the spirit of full disclosure, as fate would have it, they are now my bosses. The have a book coming out in May geared toward women running their own businesses called The Boss of You, and participated on a panel on the topic at SXSW (there's a podcast of it available too, see below). Emira, as you will be able to tell from her blog and Flickr photos, is an amazing crafter/maker of things and has great taste in fabrics and textiles. I don't know where she finds the time to make all this fabulous stuff, but she is definitely a crafty inspiration!
- Emira's Blog: Domicile
- Emira and Lauren's business blog: Boss Lady
- The Boss of You on Amazon.com (available for pre-order)
- Raised Eyebrow Web Studio
- Soapbox Girls blog archive
- Emira's Profile on the SXSW site
- Podcast of the SXSW Boss Lady panel
- Emira's Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/emira/
(Photo by Kris Krug)
Known to much of the world as kk+, Kris is someone from the geekery/photography community that I actually met in the summer of 2006 when I was only just sticking a toe into that community. I met Kris in Seattle at DrupalCamp, and I remember a bunch of us going to lunch, and he was sitting across the table, and I was thinking, "Geezuz, who is this guy???" Kris has a style and energy all his own, and as I've gotten to know him, I've discovered him to be very down to earth, and a creative force to be reckoned with. He, along with his friends and coworkers at Raincity Studios, drive a lot of what goes on in the tech community around here, and as if he isn't busy enough, somewhere in there he finds time to co-author the odd book, get his photos published in magazines, and do spots on TV and radio (see below). His side-gig slash hobby could easily be a full-time job on its own--he does photography (mostly in the fashion industry) for companies such as Arson (see their last couple catalogues--posted on his flickr) and also at events such as Fashion week, check out the Static Photography site and his Flickr for photos. Kris is without a doubt one of my favorite photographers, and his portraits are incomparable--he has this knack for being able to capture people in their most natural and raw state, it never ceases to captivate me. Oh yeah, and he might be one of the best and most prolific self-portrait takers that I know too.
- Kris' homepage/blog
- Static Photograhy
- Raincity Studio
- Kris on Wikipedia
- Beyond Robson article
- Interview on The Aesthetic Poetic
- Bit Torrent for Dummies on Amazon.com
- Video of one of Kris' segments on The Lab with Leo Laporte show
- Kris' pre-holiday interview on CBC radio
- Kris' Flickr
(Photo by Stephanie Vacher)
I met Stephanie this year through...well, I can't recall exactly (maybe Boris?)...but through friends/geekery/photography type stuff. She has been doing the design program at Emily Carr and documenting a lot of it on Flickr and her blog, and she is just generally a super creative person and superb photographer.
(Photo by Victoria Potter)
Finally, I also met Victoria this past year through friends/geekery/photography stuff... Actually, I think we more formally met at a party where neither of us really knew many of the other people there... She takes great photos, especially notable are her polaroids, and blogs about fashion, music, and other stuff.
Wow. That took a really long time to write up! If there's anyone or any links that I've missed, please add them in the comments for the world to see! Now if all that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is. I need to get my shit together and do something awesome.
(ps. if anyone is not ok with me having any of this up here, esp. photos, please let me know and i'll take em down. thanks!)