Coletter.me: Not your average E-card + meet the creators

What do you get when a talented artist (Younes Abied) and a cool website designer (code name: Abel) work together? A really awesome artsy tool by the name of Coletter.

These guys mashed up the retro romance of sending cards, with unique handcrafted collage style artwork, and sleek, minimalist web design to create a one-of-a-kind, classy interactive tool that lets you send postcards by mail. The kind you don’t have to be ashamed of, unlike the kind your parents and overly affectionate relatives sent you when they just started to discover the Internet…

Because unlike those smiley-filled, sparkly, SPAM alert triggering – though well intended – eye sores of obnoxious E-vites and E-cards, these digital postcards are actually classy and use sophisticated, handmade illustrations.

The cards balance modern abstract composition with a retro postcard lay-out, infused with an oriental, Arabic flare. The artist tapped into Moroccan and Middle Eastern culture for illustration inspiration, color and design, which compliments the vintage feel and the romance and mystery of a wayward postcard that travelled around the world with a secret message. Certainly fit for a modern-day Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, who don’t necessarily have to be in Casablanca to keep the conversation going.

(All copyrights go to the Coletter.me founders)

How does it work?

The creators value the randomness of faith, so they left the automated match up of text and image up to chance. This way everyone gets to be pleasantly surprised by the (post) card they are dealt. The beauty behind these seemingly random combinations is the illusion that Coletter senses which visual will work best with your personal text.

In just a couple of steps (and in 350 characters), Coletter lets you create an exclusive card with limited edition artwork. Try it yourself and surprise someone who you don’t write nearly enough. Text messages don’t count.

The Reckless Animals Behind The Site

Enough about the site. Let’s meet the creators behind Coletter, because they were very willing to get into their Reckless Animals masks and participate in a photo shoot in the local recycling center. Yes, that means trash.

 

Younes Abied, illustrator + artist
aka owl & smoking polar bear

InstagramCapture_96ebcf68-5ae6-4c65-b8cb-e5539945d35e

What icons/artists do you look up to?
Basquiat, Mark Rothko, Michael Borremans, Raoul De Keyser, Cody Hudson, Christoper Nolan and Madlib.

Favourite artwork?
The swimming pool by Michael Borremans, but there’s so much great art…

What is your favourite city? And your favourite spot?
BERLIN if I ever get the opportunity to live there, that city breaths art. Favourite spot… I can’t really think of one right now, but I think it’s really chill to hang out in Coffeelabs in Antwerp and have a Latté.

Who or what is your soulspiration?
Actually that could be every person who is really passionate about something. It can vary from an independent bookstore owner to a painter. Everyone who invests time and energy in their passion and just commits to it.

Your favourite quote?
(Laughs) That has to be this one: “The only way to get smarter is by playing a smarter opponent.” —Fundamentals of Chess, 1883

Your favourite movie?
Inception,  Revolver, Basquiat, Seven, I saw the devil

Your greatest ambition?
My ambition leans towards the side of technology and neurology, being able to capture actual dreams. Or develop a machine that is able to recycle clothes and produce a new piece of clothing using your recycled fabrics.

What would be the ultimate recognition?
Yeah, that would be when my work is being featured in a gallery and the publication of my work in a book…

Who would you like to send your postcard to and what would you say?
Michael Borremans, your work is really inspiring and astonishingly beautiful. I hope there’s a lot more to come. Your work only keeps evolving. Sincerely, …

Best character trait? & Best character trait in each other?
Me: Determined, funny, creative & excited.
Abel: Creative, quiet, friendly, respectful.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A fox, because he’s fucking wily, sly and crafty and nobody would play chess against a fox in the forest… No, I joke, I would probably pick something that flies, like a raven.

You are an old man and you’re telling your story. Where are you telling the story from and how will that story go? 

I’ll be in my atelier, crafting something, and my grandchild will be there as well, puttering away at some project. I’ll be telling him proudly about the website I once made with uncle Abel, and I’ll tell him the website would translate text into images, and after that my grandchild will ask me: “What is a website?”. And then I’ll have to tell him there used to be something called ‘the Internet’ and that everyone was connected by it, but that it no longer exists, “so nevermind… go on with your crafts.”

 

Abel, web design + programming
aka fox & awkward wolf 

InstagramCapture_6c14cd35-e7d3-46cc-a9a7-201d28cfadab

What icons/artists do you look up to? 
That always changes, at the moment its D*face & KAWS.

Favourite artwork?
So many, last time I was impressed by a Tunisian street artist “El seed”. He painted a whole town in Cairo into a massive artwork.

What is your favourite city/spot?
NYC, favourite spot… the times i’m in the ‘creative zone’.

Who or what is your soulspiration?
At the moment: Tumblr

Your favourite quote? 
“Poor are those who have eyes but cannot see.”

Your favourite movie?
Ghost dog

Your greatest ambition?
Having a good and healthy life.

Who would you like to send your postcard to and what would you say?
To my girlfriend telling her that I love her.

Best character trait? & Best character trait in each other?
Mine: I don’t know.
Us: true Bromance 🙂

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
House cat. Eat, sleep, destroy sofa, repeat.

WP_20160521_034

Go check out their portfolios and work on Coletter.me. Start writing and I hope to receive a Coletter from you guys!

Like our posts? Follow Reckless Animals on Instagram and Facebook.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

OYA, an urban dance performance by @Sarahadadia and @crewPIT

This was a first for me too, but I need to say it… Get your music-dance-loving asses to Genk!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the rehearsals for Oya by dance collective Parents In Trouble. I met with a more than lively bunch of young aspiring dancers, whose ambitions got translated into a mesmerizing choreography by talented rhythm artist (yes, I’m pitching this term and hoping it sticks) Sarah Hadadia.

The choreo is Ibeyi inspired, which I love, because hello former blog post, and is called OYA, which pretty much stands for “change”.

Oya is a West-African orisha/goddess of change (and tempests and winds). She represents a reckless, changing and free attitude. All great qualities we want to see in a modern choreography.

Sarah (21) took these aspects and moulded it into a vibrant and hypnotizing piece of urban dance.

Impressive, because the young performers are all between 13 and 19 years old, but transform into mature, professional dancers when hitting the stage. The way they move is not just impressive, but expressive in a way you don’t expect from dancers their age.

Their performance is raw in precise motion and precise in raw emotion.

At times it’s like looking at wordless theatre, while they pull you in their story with their flowing movements and captivating rhythms, elegance and drama in all the right places.

The dancers move in unity, creating a perfect flow that guides you through the different elements that create OYA, without losing their individuality and the unique character they all add to the performance.

The way they surrender to the music, the motions and eachother is absolutely breathtaking. At times it’s like looking at a human scoubidou or – more elegantly put – a playful wind that ripples through a city, picking up, twirling and putting down everything in sight.

It’s the perfect blend of discipline and freedom.

You feel there is a community growing here. Basically it’s fun people, being weird, trusting eachother and cooperating, creating a dynamic piece of art.

So go. Let it take you in. Feel the magic that is happening here.

Meet the performers/movement masters of this production here:

Cast: Bueno Wintraecken, Nina Muñoz, Letizia Ospitalieri, Alexandra Fenucci, Floris Carpentero, Jennifer Meeuwissen, Ilaina Sponga, Riana Presti, Loredana Marceschi, Riccardo Schirinzi, Morena Husson, Chiara Troiani

Premiere date is tonight! You were supposed to get tickets here: http://www.c-minecultuurcentrum.be/programma/view/id/459/h/programma/c/te-gast… but they are SOLD OUT!

If you still want to score some tickets, put yourself on a waiting list or scour for leftover tickets on their Facebook page.

And be sure to visit Parents in Trouble and Oya Production’s Facebook Page.

 

MIA – #Borders | Where’s your “We’dom”?

MIA is back. She’s going to release a new studio album, named Matahdatah. I’m eagerly waiting its release, but M.I.A. has been steadily releasing tracks and the visually stunning videos that go with them.

The most recent one is Borders. A beautiful, self-directed clip in which she depicts the refugee crisis that’s hitting Europe. In her clip refugees run in straight lines and get confronted with fences they need to climb. They get crammed in small boats, floating aimlessly, and create a larger human boat together. MIA usually in the middle.

But the music video is of course more than just smart choreo. Her lyrics are simple, clear and still manage to grasp the complexity of the situation. She asks harsh, hard-hitting questions, that seem so simple, but still don’t really get answered. Questions that go straight to the point, but politicians and society seem to avoid. To say it in MIA’s words: “What’s up with that?”

Freedom, ‘I’dom, ‘Me’dom
Where’s your ‘We’dom?
This world needs a brand new ‘Re’dom
We’dom – the key
We’dom the key’dom to life!
Let’s be ‘dem”  MIA – Borders

MIA takes this song and uses it as a mirror on society. She doesn’t just look at a difficult situation and asks for pity. No. On the contrary. She asks you to question yourself. “Your values, what’s up with that?”

Egos (What’s up with that?)
Your values (What’s up with that?)
Your beliefs (What’s up with that?)
Your families (What’s up with that?)
Histories (What’s up with that?)
Your future (What’s up with that?)
My boys (What’s up with that?)
My girls (What’s up with that?)
Freedom (What’s up with that?)
Your power (What’s up with that?)”

Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

She proves she understands, by making her message short but powerful.

There’s a reason why she can comment so directly and clearly. MIA’s message is easily accessible and simple to understand. Yes, it’s kind of catchy, but without losing credibility and relevance. She masters her art. The best rappers don’t shy away from complex matters, neither does she. She has the words, the – slightly hypnotic – rhythm, a message, and – very important – a Voice. A voice that carries and is motivated by experience.

Her narrative in previous songs has on occasion also reflected emotions and frustrations of displaced identities, even referenced civil war, migrant status, and the struggle of growing up in scarred neighbourhoods.

In a recent tweet, she also reveiled that her uncle was one of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK and that he helped her family come over from Sri Lanka.

So now you know why I can’t wait for her album to drop. MIA seems to be a priestess of truth and I hope she keeps on dropping those – visually and rhythmically stunning – bombs, figure of speech obviously.

Wanna see/hear more from MIA? She also released Matahdatah Scroll 01 “Broader Than A Border”, which consists of 2 songs: Swords and Warriors, both featured in the clip beneath.

 

Sources: Pitchfork / The Verge / Spin

Nas, Usher & Bibi (want you to) reflect on society in #Chains | #dontlookaway #music #interactivevideo

Unless you have been living on a boat in the middle of the ocean without satellite reception for the last year, you might have noticed there’s something happening in America. Things like the #BlackLivesMatter movement, revolts, excessive violence towards people of colour (and actually people in general) often by people we’re supposed to trust (like police), gun violence in schools and other public places, religious terrorism towards African-American churches, and manic hypocrisy are stirring up society. Or that’s what the media coverage is telling me.

It is heartwarming to see the solidarity that the #BlackLivesMatter movement has been able to gather. All the other things are kind of chilling.

Artists have responded creatively, which is why I’m writing about this, because this is not a political blog, but a blog that tries to celebrate the creative reflex of human beings.

Artists like Lauryn Hill, Common & John Legend and Janelle Monae are speaking out and being heard all over the world. Rumour has it that Jay Z and Beyoncé have even been bailing out protesters who ended up in jail.

Now my favourite rapper Nas speaks out too. Actually it’s a collaboration. Usher, Nas and Bibi Bourelly worked on the song “Chains” together, talking about the injustice and making people face the victims it has created, quite literally.

Yeah, yo check
I am Sugar Ray Robinson, Booker T. Washington
W. E. B. Du Bois, I’m the modern one
Yelling at Senators, Presidents, Congressmen
We got a problem that needs some acknowledgement
I am no prison commodity, not just a body you throw in a cell
For any reason, just to bother me
Just for your quota, so it’s rest in peace to Sean Bell
Sleep in peace Eric Garner (Sandra)
Every street, every corner
Conspiracy, new world order
I spoke to Tamir Rice mom and she told me “be strong”
It won’t be long ’til it’s justice
They won’t have votes but refuse the discussion
On how certain cops they shoot us for nothing
Revolution is coming” – Nas, Source: Genius.com

I say “literally”, because the track includes a video project, an interactive music video called “Don’t look away”. The visual experience forces viewers to focus on the faces and stories of different victims of extreme violence and racial injustice. If the viewer tries to look away, the music stops, until the eyes are back on the screen.

Rekia Boyd

Source: Mic.com

How? The artists used groundbreaking interactive technology to design the visual confrontation. The video technology tracks the viewer’s eyes. To do so the streaming service asks permission to access a user’s built-in camera. This way the technology senses immediately when the viewers look away from the screen, that’s the moment the technology stops the music, forcing the viewer to look back if they want to continue the track.

Source: Mic.com | Music.Mic

Source: Mic.com | Music.Mic

The video project can be experienced exclusively at chains.tidal.com.

Beneath you’ll find the video, but make sure to try the video experience as well. It’s part of the message and the way the artists intended their music to be heard.

Oh, and #peace, please.

Sources: Egokick.com / Mic.com / Rollingstone.com / Sojourners / Tidal

Footprint – The tracks of Shoes in Fashion @MoMuAntwerp

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

As so many people do, I also love shoes, though I actually despise shoe shopping. If I go out to find shoes with friends, I’m lucky to have any friends left at the end of the trip. Not quite sure why I think it’s such a dreadful activity… Maybe it’s the usually dull displays, the fact that shoes never really look that good in a store where they are just piled en masse on the same shelves, or because I’m extremely picky and take too much time before falling in love with a damn shoe (and I’m impatient).

So when a friend invites you to go watch shoes in an exposition at MoMu, what are you supposed to do? On one hand YEAY, SHOES! and on the other “I hate going out to look at shoes, how dull can it be?”.

I decided to go, because MoMu never lets me down, I love shoes, and I had great company… But I was scared that the expo would be dull. I mean, it’s shoes. You can just look at them, you can’t even buy them or try them on.

So I went to “Footprint – The tracks of Shoes in Fashion” at the ModeMuseum in Antwerp. And guess what, I didn’t regret it or get bored for even one second. Who knew shoes could be so poetic, arty, punk and glamorous at the same time. It was fast paced and there was a lot of interaction and variation.

Shoes have played huge, legendary roles in movies, have had quite the cultural impact and are essential parts of an outfit (unless walking barefoot is your thing). If iconic dresses deserve attention then shoes deserve it too.

The exhibition takes you back into the glamorous – fashion – history of the shoe, but also takes a closer look at contemporary artists. The collections are diverse and fascinating.

dancers

I fell in love with the Salvatore Ferragamo collection. He wasn’t the ‘shoemaker of dreams’ for nothing. MoMu illustrated his corner in the exhibition with a room filled with screens that played classic movies featuring the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner (The Postman Always Rings Twice). But the Ferragamo designs also decorated the feet of Nicole Kidman (Australia), Drew Barrymore (Ever After – A Cinderalla story) and Madonna (Evita).

The Ferragamo team knows very well how much their name is tied up with the movie world, so they have created some magical and romantic/completely weird movies themselves, like “A Ferragamo Fairy Tale: White Shoe” and “The Walking Stories“. To know more about the Ferragamo muses and the founder, you should visit the Ferragamo website.

But I get carried away…

There was of course much more to see than just the Ferragamo corner.

drummer

The expo also features designer greats like Maison Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Tokio Kumagaï, Roger Vivier, Balenciaga, André Perugia, Vivienne Westwood, Patrick Cox, Raf Simons, Azzedine Alaîa and one of my personal favourites: AF Vandevorst, who combine class,edge and sexy. I brought a visit to another expo a couple of days ago, The Designers (in Bozar), where their gold boots were featured and I fell in love instantly. Too bad there’s no way to afford such shoes with my humble income.

All of these designers show classic as well as innovative designs, how their shoes express rebellion, eighties and contemporary edge, timeless class and the Christian Louboutin – David Lynch collaboration walks the line between sexy and kinky to completely scary…

If you’re in the neighborhood, I advise you to go.

Tickets are for sale here, the book here, go enjoy yourself. It’s even open on Sundays.

Kwabs : Love + War #Replay

Lately I’ve been walking through life on the rhythm of Kwabs’ baritone voice. He recently released his addictive debut Love + War on Deezer and it’s been pretty much on repeat since I first clicked “play”.

Normally I refrain from playing a song I like too often, because I don’t want to risk getting tired of it. Kwabs’ Love + War album however is so diverse, it doesn’t get old. It has so many layers and covers so many different styles, it keeps fitting every mood and still surprises. It varies from poppy tunes (you might get some boysband flashbacks when listening to Fight for Love, don’t know why, I just did), to classic R&B (with nineties and early nillies influences), to deep soul. Instant classic if you ask me.

Most of you might already know “Walk”. It has hit the radio charts hard. Listening to the CD it won’t be the only one of his songs that will demand airplay, they’re all radio-ready. If you haven’t heard “Walk” yet, you can take a listen and look here, because the clip is easily as intriguing as the song.

His lyrics tell complex stories and will speak to you again and again. Heartbreak, relationships, pride, … You usually feel more uplifted after listening to Kwabs. At least I do.

Personal favorite: Forgiven

If it’s too much for you to take,
Then save yourself and walk away
‘Cause we can’t stand on shaken stone
Head to head, two hearts alone

… and Saved

Are the synths and poppy effects not your style? He has acoustic sets too. Go to YouTube and type in “Kwabs” + “original” or “stripped back” and you get pretty damn good music videos with just him, a pianist or a guitarist, and some backing vocals.

At first listen he might remind you of James Blake, whose Retrograde had me mesmerized for a couple of weeks, and you would not be the only one. He even covered The Wilhelm Scream, which is pure bliss.

So if you’re looking for something fresh with substance, an infectious rhythm and a voice that gets under your skin, you might want to give this guy a try. Make sure to check out Kwabs’ YouTube channel as well, because his music video’s are all works of art.

Hallo, Mijn naam is Paul Smith | Hello, My name is Paul Smith #expo #MoMu #giveaway

Visited the Paul Smith exposition in Hasselt quite last-minute with Nele/Foxy Saxophone Lady and Melissa from mellowantsmore. Unfortunately this also means the exhibition is now closed… I’m sorry, I’m late… but trying to make it up to you at the end of the post. Intrigue? (Of course not, there’s a clue in the title.)

The Hello, My name is Paul Smith expo had been on my to-do list for quite some time. Peeping inside the mind of creative geniuses is one of my favourite pastimes. Luckily, Paul Smith’s world is one of colourful creativity, smudges of madness, pop-up inspiration and instant happiness.

The expo’s lay-out was very pleasant and gave me the feeling of being in a cotton candy cloud, spun from the designer’s pink and radiant mind threads. But it was also built like a maze, that let you visit every nook and cranny of Smith’s creative process. It made you feel slightly (or a lot) less guilty of your own messy desk, weird knickknack/trophy/souvenir collections, and chaotic room decorations…

Really liked how interactive the expo was. We were encouraged to take pictures, there was a carton Paul Smith to take a selfie or to pose with, and you could wander around a recreation of his atelier, his personal bureau, visit his favourite design pieces (not only clothes, also a car!) and personal photos of his muse/wife. There were video and audio installations, a button and inspiration wall, and personal anecdotes and quotes. It oozed charm and cool class, very much in the style of the designer himself.

Ohw yeah, to make up for being so late… There’s a giveaway attached! A DVD from Film & Fashion about Paul Smith (Paul Smith: Gentleman Designer). It’s narrated in English, but you can put Dutch subtitles. All you have to do is answer a simple question (bonus points if you like us on FB or follow us on Twitter).

RECKLESS ANIMAL’S PAUL SMITH DVD GIVEAWAY
*sorry, widget doesn’t always show…

Contest is closed. Yeay for our lucky winner: Lynn Claerhout.

Do you still see Yves Sans Logement, Christian Dehors & Jean Paul Galère? #Ayonslélégance

After the 31st of Mars most winter shelters decided winter was officially over and started closing their doors on the thousands of homeless people who were counting on a roof over their heads, sending them back to the streets.

In France alone 140,000 people are affected, of which 30,000 are children. A fact Aurore, an organisation that fights against exclusion and precariousness, didn’t want to go unnoticed. So they launched a campaign to bring this appalling situation to people’s attention. It’s not because the temperatures rise, that the problem melts away.

Aurore decided to raise awareness by raising visibility, using Paris’ glamorous reputation in their advantage, and showing the obvious gap between luxury brand rich and live-on-the-street poor. Aurore Association started hanging a thousand posters in the city center and the North and North-East of Paris, with the slogan: “Ayons l’élégance d’aider ceux qui n’ont rien” (“Be elegant enough to help those who have nothing”) printed on it.

Rémi Noël, the creative mind behind the concept and execution of the poster design, uses luxury brands to get attention for the people who go unnoticed on a daily basis and to confront people with the sad reality. Noël transformed Yves Saint Laurent to “Yves Sans Logement” for the occasion. Christian Dior became “Christian Dehors”. And Jean-Paul Gaultier couldn’t be forgotten either, so he was baptized “Jean-Paul Galère”. Small detail, the luxury brands weren’t asked for permission to cooperate. So in the beginning they might not even have been aware they were part of this project.

Aurore_YvesSansLogement Aurore_JeanPaulGalère Aurore_ChristianDehors

The campaign is getting good coverage and reviews. People on Twitter are using the hashtag #Ayonslélégance to express their appreciation. Like “La vraie élégance n’est pas dans les vitrines mais en regardant ceux qui sont sur les trottoirs” (“True elegance is not in the shop windows, but in noticing those who are on the sidewalks”).

In the meantime, the Internet is also eagerly suggesting follow-up slogans like “Dans quel monde Vuitton”; “Hugo Bosse Pas”, transforming Nina Ricci into “Nina n’a rien”, and referring to an older parody that went viral a couple of years ago: “Je Dors Dehors”.

642x999_7673165 2014-08-22-DansQuelMondeVuitton

If you feel like helping Aurore in their fight for better living circumstances and against poverty, homelessness and exclusion, visit their website (in French and English), or contact them on their Facebook page or via their Twitter account.

Stromae – First he takes SXSW, then he takes America …

Tipped by CBS, listed next to Seinabo Sey and Chance the Rapper by SPIN, and a major hit on the SXSW Instagram reports. Stromae (aka Paul van Haver) has definitely not set foot in America unnoticed.

Even though his French lyrics may not be very accessible to his mainly American audience at SXSW, this didn’t really seem to be an issue. His music, his beat, his act, they are all universal enough to concoct a comprehensible international symphony. By successfully blending hip-hop, indie, pop and electronic dance music, and infusing that melange with ethnic rhythms, Stromae (French slang – verlan – for Maestro) holds the recipe for international hit chart domination.

April 5th Stromae will kick off his North American tour. He will end the Spring tour 19th of April, when he’ll be playing at Coachella Music Festival (!). He will however be touring again in the Fall, and playing at Madison Square Garden (!!!). Yes, I’m liberal with the exclamation marks, but I think these are pretty WOW moments in a musical career.

More information about his tour dates, can be found here.

In the meantime, the Maestro has time to manage his music label, fashion label and attend all sorts of events. He was – for example – a noted guest at Paris Fashion Week. Making a stylish appearance at the Louis Vuitton and Valentino fashion shows.

And at SXSW he also had some time to set the record straight by explaining that French fries aren’t actually French at all. They are Belgian, and could they please stop lying about it…

And on that note/truth bomb, let’s all just agree with The New York Times:

A pop-star embodiment of a contemporary Europe that’s smart, increasingly heterogeneous, historically aware, anxious about the future, sleekly charming and unfailingly stylish.”

Merci for your beat, Stromae!