Five things that got me gingered up this February 2021

It’s the shortest month of the year, not that I’m counting the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds… If I had a fast forward button, I would press it and not let go until safely past the very annoying Covid-19 commercial break. Unfortunately that button’s been disabled and every single one of us needs to watch it play out to the bitter end!

However, I’m super glad that there’s plenty of creative and imaginative distractions still going on in the world to occupy our lockdown minds. Hang on in there, spring is on it’s way, it’s getting brighter, the days longer and warmer, the vaccine is being rolled out and the creative spirit is flourishing just as it always has!

No.1 / Penguin Cafe
A disparate group of musicians, creating unique genre-defying music.

I first came to know about the Penguin Cafe Orchestra in the ’90s and really liked the quirkiness of the music. Then over the past couple of decade, I completely forgot about them until recently when I heard a familiar sound on the internet somewhere. I did a search to look them up and to see if they were still around and if they’d released anything new over the years. I discovered a couple of things. No.1, unfortunately, the founder of the band, Simon Jeffes, had died in ’97. No.2. His son, Arthur Jeffes, another talented musician formed a the band Penguin Cafe, originally to perform his dad’s highly acclaimed music. It didn’t take Arthur long to start to create his own unique take on his dad’s musical legacy. No.3. They have indeed released a number of albums over the last few years and it’s now currently my go-to music to work along to.  

You can check out the band and the quirky music they create at a brilliant live performance played at the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

No.2 / Changing
A lively font, packed with numerous interlocking pairs.

I’m Loving this font from Pintassilgo Prints. Changing is an energetic font, full of character, including many automatic interlock pairs.

Pintassilgo Prints typefaces have a quirky handcrafted playfulness about them and the Changing font is no exception. I’ve used this font on numerous projects and haven’t tired of it. The many interlocking ligatures available with the font really sold it to me. It’s a sure winner for me in my go-to font toolbox when I’m looking for something really quirky, interesting and playful.

No.3 / Joanna Kustra
A fashion, beauty & commercial photographer.

Joanna Kustra is a fashion, beauty and commercial photographer (not to mention an incredible retoucher, colour expert and colour grading goddess supreme). I’ve only recently discovered her work. Her retouching and colour work is simply spectacular and what she doesn’t know about a colour wheel or how to combine colours is just not worth knowing.  Check out Joanna’s incredible images on instagram at @joannakustra

No.4 / The Bothy Project
A network of small-scale, off-grid art residencies set in stunning locations around Scotland.

I would really like the opportunity to stay and work in one of these bothy’s once we’re eventually lockdown free! The Bothy Project is a network of small-scale, off-grid art residency spaces in unique and diverse locations around Scotland. The Project offers a chance to stay, work and study in simple shelters designed to optimise exposure to their unique settings.

The objective of the project was to create platforms for artists and researchers to journey and explore the history, landscape and people in the areas surrounding the bothies. These platforms are established through the creation of purpose-built structures made in collaboration with artists, designers and makers to create a varied network of hand-crafted dwellings.

No.5 / Ken Ohyama
Cityscape photographer

Photographer Ken Ohyama recent series of photographs of unremarkable urban buildings from cities across Japan are amazing. In his images, Ken has carefully edited out the surrounding structures, leaving just the cutout of one building. This focuses your attention on these otherwise forgettable structures which would have otherwise blended into the otherwise busy urban landscape.

These now isolated buildings take on a new form and meaning. They now almost have the appearance of a Wes Anderson, miniature diorama model!

I really like the way Ken has also included some key details from the surrounding area, such as power lines, street signs, drains, cars and lampposts. I’m keen to try this technique out on my local cityscape and see what treasures are revealed. 

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