...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town


At home with Dieter Rams

At the 'Less Is More – The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams’ Design Museum exhibition picture 2.

I was in London earlier this week, meeting my Bath-based friend Mark (that’s Bath the place, not the washing instrument) for our annual culture-and-comics spendathon. In order to keep our comic purchases down to a minimum, we indulge in several displacement techniques like eating, hanging out in design bookshops (tempting, but not as much as comic shops) or visiting exhibitions.

Which is why we found ourselves at Less is More – The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams at the Design Museum. I wouldn’t necessarily count myself as a fan of product design, but I was intrigued by the works of Herr Rams after seeing a fabulous interview that Tom Dyckhoff conducted with him for The Culture Show. Among the many contemporary product designers that Rams has influenced is Apple’s own Jonathan (Jony) Ive, which The Culture Show illustrated by comparing the similarity of some of Ive’s work for Apple to that of Rams’ work for Braun.

At the 'Less Is More – The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams’ Design Museum exhibition.

Walking around the exhibition, I was staggered to discover that some of the pieces that looked as though they were designed only recently, were in fact designed decades ago. I loved the simplicity of the work – looking at it gave me the same thrill that I get from ‘Swiss’ graphic design, sharing as it does the same user-centric discipline. After seeing all this beautiful work, we left the Design Museum in a state of grace. However, Mark and I could contain ourselves no longer, which is why a hour later, we found ourselves at GOSH! (via Ed’s East Diner – for a man cannot shop for comics on an empty stomach). As usual I could have gone completely mad and bought a truckload, but behaved myself (to the tune of £50) and we left after an hour before my willpower crumbled. I bought Paul Grist’s Rabbit Hunt, Seth’s It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken and Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka for Number One Son.

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Fri-llustrator-day #36

Astronaut playing guitar to aliens. Illustration by Benoit Jacques.

For this week’s Fri-llustrator-day, we’re continuing with the emigré Belgian illustrator theme begun last week, by visiting the brilliant Benoit Jacques. Mr J came to England and illustrated for the usual suspects, before leaving for France to produce books, sculptures and paintings. I’ve long been a fan of his work, since discovering him through the pages of The Guardian.

Screengrab of 'Presentation' page from Benoit Jacques' website.

Visit the Benoit Jacques website (screengrab above), a lovely, funny, Flash driven affair, to see more.

All images © 2010 Benoit Jacques

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Whoops, I did it again

Cover of Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Even tho’ I should be watching my pennies, when Sean Phillips announced via Twitter that he’d put up some Incognito books for sale on Amazon and that they’d arrive with a sketch of your choice, how could I refuse? Especially as I chose to have a sketch of the beautiful, but deadly, Ava Destruction.

Above left, front cover; above right, title page with sketch of Ava. Not pictured, Mrs K hitting me over the head with a tray for spending more money on comics.

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Lardwatch #41 (the lyin’, food-rich and the bathrobe)

No real lardwatch this week folks as Mrs K and I feel so fat we daren’t even get on the scales. Exercise is getting harder to fit in and we had a VERY large meal on Saturday at St Giles House in Norwich. The food so was rich, that our bodies spent all night busily (and noisily) digesting it, instead of turning off the power and allowing us to sleep. And speaking of turning off the power, we had a very unusual end to the evening. As we were sitting in the lounge of St Giles House after our meal, listening to the sofas groan under the weight of our stuffed frames, there was a power cut. Not just at St Giles House, but throughout Norwich City centre. We actually had to give our credit card details by candle light and walk back through a pitch black Norwich, finding our way to the car in the nearby multi-storey car park with a bat that the restaurant had kindly lent us. We did wonder if all of the power had been diverted from Norwich directly to our stomachs to tackle the calorific catastrophe to our diets, but no, EON energy were just having a blip.

Next week on Lardwatch: real news, weightloss and Kristen Scott-Thomas (and I hope you’ll remember that two out of three ain’t bad).

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Fri-llustrator-day #35

Illustration by David Libens

I have recently discovered a vast army of cartoonists publishing on the web – the quality ranging from amateur fan art to the slick professional enjoying the freedom to produce more personal work. Not quite sure where today’s Fri-llustrator fits into that, but I don’t care because I really love his work. David Libens is a Belgian cartoonist, based in the US of A, who draws in this wonderful free style that I adore. Drawing literally from his own experience, he makes beautiful, personal comics about life as a transatlantic cartoonist. It’s funny, ever since I discovered Reiser and Wolinski back in 1981, I go weak at the knees everytime I see lovely loose drawings with French captions.

Bande Dessinée from the David Libens’ sketchbook 1

I’ve illustrated this post with some of my favourite pages from his sketchbooks that he posted on his page at grandpapier.org and if you enjoy the wealth of material you see there, check out Badaboum Twist, David Libens personal blog.

Bande Dessinée from the David Libens’ sketchbook 2

All images © 2010 David Libens.

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I heart Heart

Illustration by Heart Artist, Ben Kirchner

One of my favourite illustration agencies/collectives is the groovy transatlantic Heart. Not only do they feature a roster of nearly all of my favourite illustrators (some of which I’ve featured in my Fri-llustrator-days) but they are also in the habit of sending me lovely goodies, like posters and a beautiful 2010 Diary, which I’m now defiling with my ghastly handwriting.

Anyway, they’ve just updated their website and it’s well fab, issit – I especially liked the Heart artists portraits drawn by other Heart artists. And if you keep hitting the Heart logo on the home page, the screen refresh changes the main illustration (see the cropped version of Ben Kirchner’s contribution above).

Lovely work, lovely site.

Image © 2010 Heart/Ben Kirchner.

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Lardwatch #40 (skinny starts here)

Steve Kirkendall as Astronaut from HMSS Lardy

Good news, Lardwatchin’ Lardwatchers – my odd power walk, lone cycle ride and the salads for lunch are working! On the first week of seriously trying to shed the pounds, I can report that the Earth’s gravitational pull on my good self has decreased by two pounds. Let’s hope that next week, I’m even more weight-less (geddit?!).

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