A Beholden Purpose

By Tom Ran

Published: March 22, 2016 under Film

Brennan Stasiewicz explores the paintings of Brad Kunkle in his most recent short film, A Beholden Purpose. The Pennsylvania born, Brooklyn artist use of gold leaf and central female subjects have drawn comparison to Gustav Klimt. Though their styles are nothing alike, Kunkle’s women lean towards realism while set in forests and surreal environs.

The film opens with a voiceover asking the artist to describe the woman he imagines. Kunkle’s response is enlightening. His paintings often depict women shrouded or swept up in a flurry of gold leaves. They are not vulnerable figures, instead they are “intuitive.” They are aware of their purpose and have control of their destiny.

The film bypasses the usual behind-the-scenes depiction of an artist. The viewer only sees a glimmer of Kunkle’s thought process. What the film lacks is entirely intentional and what it exceeds in is the highly visual. In a way, it serves as an extension of Kunkle’s paintings with the representation of a woman from his artwork.

Brennan has come a long way since he directed our short docs. A Beholden Purpose is further proof of his talent and the evolution of his artform.

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Kapital World Premier

By Tom Ran

Published: December 24, 2015 under Film

On location in Paris for Kapital's Spring 2014 collection.

Photo: Eric Kvatek

Kapital, the denim and American inspired clothing label from Japan has been around since 1984 but it wasn’t until the release of their epic catalogs did the rest of the world take notice. The locations that each catalog featured was as much a part of the brand as the clothing. From urban settings in Rio de Janeiro and Paris to rural landscapes in Lapland and Santo Domingo, New Mexico. This year marks the ten year anniversary between designer Kiro Hirata and photographer, Eric Kvatek.

We got a bit of insight into the collaboration last year when Hsiang Chin Moe tagged along to document the making of Kapital’s Spring 2014 collection. It not only gave us a behind the scenes look into how the shoot came together but the special friendship between the two creative forces.

The only way you were able to see it was through a handful of intimate screenings held around the world. But starting today, it’s available for everyone. The worldwide release of Kapital World is now on view on their website.

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The Artful Wooden Spoon

By Tom Ran

Published: November 8, 2015 under Publishing

The Artful Wooden Spoon: How to Make Exquisite Keepsakes for the Kitchen from Chronicle Books

Photo: Staff

Joshua Vogel, the Kingston, NY woodworker has substantially grown his body of work through the years – beginning with his hand-turned art vessels up to his meticulously constructed furniture. Along the way, his workshop (Blackcreek Mercantile) began producing everyday objects and tools for the kitchen that included cutting boards and his wildly popular wooden spoons.

In celebration of these dining tools, Vogel is releasing his first book, The Artful Wooden Spoon. It documents his approach to making this everyday utensil. From the methodology to the actualization of the spoon. Through historical methods and traditional forms he guides us through the steps to creating our very own keepsake.

The Artful Wooden Spoon by Chronicle Books goes on sale tomorrow.

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The House Velo Collection

By Tom Ran

Published: October 16, 2014 under Design

House Velo Bicycle

Photo: House Industries

When it comes to introducing a new font, House Industries comes correct. The Velo Collection is a new font family inspired by the sport of cycling. And true to form, House has accompanied the release with a collection of stellar products. They recruited old friends and new to produce a line that range from bike accessories and clothing to housewares and a fully hand built bicycle. The collection consists of Tanner bags, Tellasons jeans, Brooks saddles, Hasami ceramics, and much more. To celebrate the release, House will take over Rapha Cycle Club in NYC to premier the collection today starting at 6pm. Have a look the entire House Velo Collection here.

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Irving Harper: A Mid-Century Mind at Play

By Tom Ran

Published: October 7, 2014 under Art

Irving Harper: A Mid-Century Mind at Play

Photo: The Rye Arts Center

During the 1960’s as the director of design for George Nelson’s office, Irving Harper’s graphic and industrial design work were seen and experienced by millions. But in the privacy of his home, he found solace in crafting intricate paper sculptures for an audience of one. They were hidden away unbeknownst to the public until Metropolis magazine profiled Harper in 2001 revealing a body of work that numbered in the hundreds. From then on, his paper sculptures were the focus of attention whenever Harper was profiled. Last year Rizzoli and Maharam published a book devoted to his paper works. And now Rye Arts Center is exhibiting 77 pieces from the collection. “Irving Harper: A Mid-Century Mind at Play” is the first time these sculptures are on view to the public. The exhibition has been on open since September and will be on view till December 6th.

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State x State

By Tom Ran

Published: June 30, 2014 under Travel

Mazama Wares, The Good Flock, Tanner Goods, and Woodblock Chocolate in the debut Oregon State Box.

Photo: State x State

Back in 2003 Sufjan Stevens set out an ambitious project, to produce an album for each of the 50 states. He debuted the project with his home state of Michigan, a critically acclaimed album and commercial success (by indie standards). He then followed up with Illinois in 2005. And then, nothing. That was as far as he got.

Long have the 50 states been a theme for many projects whether they become a success or not. The wonder of travel, the diversity in landscape and the uniqueness of each region is a captivating topic that sees no end.

This summer a new project will debut that revisits this theme. State x State is a destination for curated products and travel inspiration. Think of it as a guide to each of the states from a local’s perspective. They have been building a network of creative types ranging from designers and artists to craftspeople and restauranteurs to highlight shops, restaurants, bars, and events. Additionally, State x State will collaborate with designers and curators to produce State Boxes. Each box will be assigned a state and feature products from independent and established heritage brands. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the research, and to produce and print each of the travel guides. With just 24 days left to go, they’re approaching their goal. Help them achieve what Sufjan Stevens wasn’t able to achieve and make this one of the successful 50 states projects.

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Alya Kazakevich

By Raven Keller
Alya Kazakevich in her shop in the Lower East Side

Photo: Rose Callahan

On a damp and muggy summer morning on the Lower East Side, Alya Kazakevich slowly stitched up the edges of a leather coin purse and recalled her childhood in Eastern…

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By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

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M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

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