Whether your summer means jetting off to somewhere exotic, taking a break from studies or just spending the longer evenings in the garden, pack a sketchbook and include some creativity in your break. Take Francesco Borzoi’s alternative Grand Tour that he spent last summer on.
Armed with paint brushes, a drawing board and a swimsuit, hand-lettering fanatic Francesco spent last summer travelling around the Italian countryside creating beautiful signage for local people and businesses. Not only did he give his holiday a fun purpose, but he provided a smile-inducing service for the people he met, and came back with an excellent self-promotional film (above).
>> Read on for more projects to inspire you this month.
Danish artist HuskMitNavn’s ongoing series of three-dimensional sketches – which are made by bending and rolling his clever illustrations – have a particular summery vibe as of late, featuring beach scenes and leisurely pursuits.
Not only is HuskMitNavn’s drawing style a joy to behold, the clever twist (or fold) in his illustrations leave the reader itching to find out what brilliant visual trick he’s thought of next.
Similarly Jean Julien’s Instagram has been brimming with watercolours from his trips abroad recently, showing an inspiring way of honing your drawing skills when you’re on your jollies. Some of the most charming examples have been where Jean has studied just one thing (here bathers and fish) showing the variation in pose or scales.
It’s a great way to nail a particular element for a bigger piece (or for use in your work back home) and makes a very shareable piece for your socials.
Repetition and the beach also make a great combination if you’d prefer to work in three-dimensions, especially with regard to found or recycled material. In the most recent edition of Sculpture by The Sea, a initiative which invites and international roster of artists to make public artworks on the beach around the world, Arunkumar HG transformed 70,000 unused plastic bottle caps to form a horseshoe-shaped pavilion in Denmark.
A comment of the problems of waste tied up with disposable everyday items (like bottled water), the sculpture was also a huge technical feat in terms of weaving the structure together with metal wire.
As part of the same programme artist Subodh Kerkar used mussel shells to make a iridescent wave of colours in a much more ephemeral take on repeated forms.
And don’t just think this idea is one for the beach, there have been a swathe of similar projects popping up in galleries too. In Washington DC, playful architects Snarkitecture filled the National Building Museum with around a million recyclable plastic spheres, transforming it into a giant ball pool – an installation they interestingly called The Beach.
The Brooklyn-based studio has also kitted out the installation with matching white deck chairs and parasols bringing a bit of coastal excitement to an urban space.
If you’re interested to see how this could work in a more commercial setting, check out this exhibition at the Saga Prefectural Art Museum in Japan. For a retrospective of work by Tokujin Yoshioka, the Japanese designer developed stunning exhibition design by incorporating his work into a ‘tornado’ of plastic drinking straws.
Whether working in 2D or 3D, don’t overlook the power of repetition, especially of mundane objects.
Chances to brighten up the everyday are what all designers yearn for, and so are unusual canvases. For some inspiration as to how you can get your artwork on to more exciting spaces, check out these two incredible transport-related projects. The first is Mamutt Creatividad’s project for Metrobús in Mexico City, which saw 10 artists develop illustrations to adorn 10 special buses.
Three of the ten artworks were also cropped and transformed into metro cards. You can take a look at the project in a short film by creative agency Arto and All City Canvas below. It’s a smart way to inject art into the public sphere (TFL take note) and a nice play on the history of graffiti artists working (mostly illegally) on metro trains.
On a much more personal scale, Andrea Bergart pieces on cement trucks are truly worth checking out. The rotation of the drum has been used to great effect, creating psychedelic patterns and slowly revealing characters.
Perhaps the most striking thing about this project is the way Andrea chose to document it, both in gif form and with a drone-shot video by Timothy Hughes. A vital reminder that if you’re working in the public sphere (and even in private), video content is king in terms of showing both your process and any kinetic elements.
On the subject of videos, the past few weeks have offered up a bumper crop of creative films, especially when it comes to the idea of ‘doubles’. Regardless of whether you think the second series of HBO smash True Detective measures up to the first, the title sequence (again by Elastic and Antibody) is a masterclass in how to treat double exposures.
The studio has carefully overlayed shots of the urban and farmed landscape with pensive footage of the series’ main protagonists, adeptly matching areas of interest to highlight eyes and obscure mouths nodding to the idea of secrets being withheld. A striking blood-red shade that makes its way into every frame, keeping the overall feel consistent.
You’d have had you're head under the sand to have missed Rihanna’s blockbuster-feel video for Bitch Better Have My Money, directed by Megaforce in collaboration with Ri-Ri herself.
Here the idea of the double comes in terms of echoing cult classics: like True Detective, there’s the blood-red of Dario Argento’s B-movies, some serious Thelma and Louise-style road tripping and Carrie-lifted gore. Copying cult classics, if done overtly – or in this case in such an over-the-top fashion – is a very savvy way to ensure multiple rewatches, as fans try to spot every single homage.
But reworking existing creative ideas needn’t just be about iconic works. For M.I.A.’s new video for track The New International Sound Pt I, producer Gener8ion had the insightful idea to edit down Inigo Westmeier’s 2012 documentary Dragon Girls about the Tagou Martial Arts School in China.
Here mass martial arts training regimes make for jaw-dropping choreography to M.I.A.’s new tune, which again plays with the idea of repetition and the power of scale. With lyrics like “The ones that govern me / Ain’t the ones that can power me”, the adaption of the film (done in collaboration with Westmeier) makes a powerful comment about state control and the individual.
Repurposing existing material to make a point about the current climate isn’t anything new – it was no coincidence that Shakespeare decided to dredge up the tale of ancient Scottish king Macbeth shortly after the coronation of another precarious Scottish monarch James I, for example – but done well, can make an engaging point. Something to bear in mind for similarly uncertain political times.