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 

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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.

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

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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

Exposition : Dries Van Noten – Inspirations

Last weekend I went to visit the Dries Van Noten exposition in the fashion musuem “ModeMuseum” (MoMu) in Antwerp.

Tip 1: Go visit it. Tip 2: Go visit it on a beautiful Sunday.

From the 13th of February until the 19th of July, MoMu Antwerp invites you into the mesmerizing mind of Dries Van Noten.

And apparently that mind is lined with flower covered walls, moss scented rooms and bejeweled fabrics…
The expo is like walking into Ali Baba’s cave. All kinds of treasures shine and seduce the audience from behind clear glass. Pulling you into the breathtaking universe of Dries Van Noten.

A visit to the exhibition offers you the possibility to take a stroll through the designer’s life, experiences, dreams, and maybe the occasional hallucinatory trip… Everything that inspired and inspires him to create and what made and makes him one of the biggest names in the fashion industry. Inspiration is all around.

I like it when you have something happening by coincidence. Just something in a book is enough. But I prefer a fragment of an image so you are far more free to bring in elements of your own.” ~ Dries Van Noten

In exchange for a small entrance fee you get to visit exotic countries and forgotten eras that worship decadence, elegance and exuberant beauty. You can go accessory picking with Iris Apfel, meet black-and-white movie stars, legendary rock stars, and take a look behind the scenes of the Dries Van Noten production team.

Various different people have inspired me throughout my career. From Francis Bacon to Vassareli, Coco Chanel to Christian Dior, Cecil Beaton, musicians, architects… the list is endless.” ~ Dries Van Noten

Les Arts Décoratifs de Paris combined different art forms to create an inspiring parallel universe. The Dries Van Noten galaxy also features stars the likes of Yves Klein, Thierry De Cordier, Victor Vasarely, Damien Hirst, Cecily Brown, Pol Bury, Christopher Wool, Hubert Duprat, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko en James Tissot.

You can still go visit the exhibition until 19-07-2015 @ MoMu (ModeMuseum) Antwerp.
Plan your visit here.

Tous Charlie – A global ode to freedom of speech| #jesuischarlie #jesuisahmed #jesuis

Ever since the attacks the 7th of January we are all Charlie, we are all Ahmed. I also use the hashtags #jesuischarlie and #jesuisahmed, because I support freedom of speech and I condemn the terrorist attacks.

However, I don’t feel comfortable using them, because I’m not really Charlie or Ahmed, am I? Could I ever find the courage Ahmed Merabet showed? Am I as brave as the people who died defending their principles? Or even as brave as the people who survived and went back to the office (or to the offices of Libération) to continue doing their jobs? I sincerely hope I never have to find out, because I’m pretty sure I’m not and I couldn’t.

Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire” – Voltaire (supposedly… origin unclear. Translation: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’)

Stéphane Charbonnier (Charb), Jean Cabut (Cabu), Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhac (Tignous), Bernard Maris, Philippe Honoré, Michel Renaud, Elsa Cayat, Mustapha Ourrad, Frédéric Boisseau, Ahmed Merabet, Franck Brinsolaro , and too many others have become victims of intolerance. Meanwhile they have also become martyrs for freedom of expression, heros of creative freedom.

Illustration by Nono

Illustration by Nono

And thus, a vicious circle of violence was supposed to begin. But instead of countering this act of violence with defeat and counter-violence, the artist world has stood up and defended themselves the best way they know how, with satire, pen and paper, and impassioned creativity.

It didn’t take long for kindred spirits to show support and solidarity through cartoons and hard-hitting critical remarks. The Internet was flooded with satirical illustrations, supportive drawings and quotes that support freedom of speech and condemn any form of violence.

And there will be more to come…

Newspapers and magazines around the world dedicated their covers to Charlie Hébdo. Websites payed their respects.

Graffiti artists are paying their respects as well by spraying beautiful hommages on walls and buildings alike. Stencil artists are even calling for action and are making stencils available for the public

On that note, I do hope peaceful and proud demonstrations and creative output will keep on setting the tone. Justice will hopefully prevail and Nelson Mandela couldn’t have been more right:

. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

For more responses of the art community be sure to check Creative Bloq..

The Big Draw | Antwerp edition

The Big Draw will be hitting cities all over the world starting the 1st of October until the 2nd of November. In Belgium the international drawing festival is being hosted in Antwerp this year until the 26th of October.
Mission: transforming the city into one big drawing studio where people can experiment, inspire creativity and exchange ideas…
Something that seems to be working really well with their mosaic of inspiring workshops that all seem to distinguish themselves in originality and creativity. Hundreds of these pop-up drawing studios and workshops will take you through the many techniques that the art of drawing has to offer. You can design buildings like an architect, learn penpho (mixing drawings with photography), draw models, go freestyle on a classic work of art, or experiment with shape, colour, technique and tools…
But there are also other activities, like expositions and walking tours.

The Big Window Walk is one of those tours. A couple of artists get to splash their creative juices on local windows from houses and stores. They use the windows as their blank canvas and leave a signature art piece. Some left messages, some plastered their known artwork all over the glass, some free-styled, some merely doodled. In exchange for the uniquely decorated window, the window host will give a little gift to the artist.

Here you can see Imge Özbilge and Siné Özbilge in action, whilst they take on the Malene Birger windows.
Imge studied visual communication design at the ‘Istanbul Bilgi University’ and has a Master degree in Animation from the ‘AKV St. Joost Academy’ in the Netherlands. She was born to Turkish parents in Vienna, and traveled back and forth between Spain, Austria, Turkey and the Netherlands.
At the moment, she lives and works in Antwerp and Istanbul and gets her inspiration from traveling. Meanwhile she is also studying at the ‘KASK School of Arts’ in Belgium.
She describes her work as mainly history related, surreal and states that her multicultural background gives her a different point of view which she translates to beautiful illustrations. Her style is eclectic and detailed, she considers herself to be an Absurdist.
You can visit her work on her website or her Facebook page.

Another walk will take you on a comic mural tour. This tour will show you all the walls that have been turned into famous comic book fragments. Impressive and definitely worth a look.

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You can find more information on the comic murals here.
More information on The Big Draw Belgium and its activities you’ll find here, and if you wanna go more international, you can take a look here.

So go join in and start drawing!

#TPIA : Café d’Anvers Turning People Into Animals since 1989

Today I’m actually posting a pretty special post. A birthday post. Yes, mine, but also of Café d’Anvers. We are both turning 25 today. Being born in the night of 18 and 19 October, 12.00 precisely, I actually feel entitled to celebrate the entire weekend. Because who is to decide whether I’m an 18 October girl or a 19 October girl… Well, actually my mom was, and she decided 19 October would be the day, but I’m 25 now and I feel old enough to disagree.

Anywayz… I’m not the only one turning 25, Café d’Anvers, a nationally and internationally renowned club, opened its doors exactly 25 years ago. Their slogan: Turning People Into Animals!
And doesn’t that happen to be what I’m doing on this blog, right here, right now?

Café d’Anvers is not one to pass a good reason to party, turning a quarter of a century may be one of those times you want to make memorable. So they did and they will. I opted for a birthday weekend, they chose a birthday month… With an entire birthday campaign, filled with art and spectacular music.
They even hired Steven Lemmens to turn famous artists and celebrities into animals. With a stunning result. Sergio Herman, Amélie Lens, Tanguy Ottomer, Nick Bril and Johnny De Mol all got a make over and look absolutely ferocious.

The artwork will be travelling through Antwerp during the entire campaign, but will land in Café d’Anvers during the birthday weekend, 17 and 18 October. The closing event of the campaign.
Afterwards the artwork will be sold on eBay and will serve a worthy animal inspired cause. (If you haven’t gotten me a present yet, you might want to take this hint.)

But the party itself will probably be pretty amazing itself. Café d’Anvers will be fitted with a new and unique decor, just for the birthday weekend. Antwerp based artist, Charlotte De Cock will get an entire wall at her disposal to decorate as she pleases – but in the theme of the slogan, of course. De Cock’s artwork will then stay on the wall until the next birthday.

Tonight the club will host Chicago legend Lil Louis, aka The Godfather of House. A suitable choice because his hit “French kiss” is also a 1989 baby. Lil Louis will be assisted by Reboot, a contemporary Cadenza artist. And of course Café d’Anvers will also be scheduling some of their residents: Compuphonic and Bollen & Fichtner to finish up their line up.

Yesterday the line up consisted of the best and most notorious of the past residents. Café d’Anvers hosted a ‘Best Of’ filled with artists who played at the club during the past 25 years. Former resident artists the likes of Sven Van Hees (1991-1996), Steve Cop (1994-1998), Koenie (1989-1998), Prinz (2000-2014)and Smos (1991 -2014) took the opportunity and the stage to fire up the club for this special occasion.

Hope to see some of you there to join in on the festivities!
More info @ http://www.cafedanvers.com/

Birthday weekend

Ibeyi : French Cuban Twins with a Yoruba soul, freshly signed by XL Recordings

XL Recordings added a new star to its musical galaxy. Or 2 stars actually. The British independent record label who has also embraced artists the likes of The XX, Jack White and Sigur Rós, signed the French Cuban Diaz twins aka Ibeyi (which means Twins in Yoruba).

A smart move. Ibeyi certainly seems to have that indie glow that makes the XL Recordings stars shine and stand out. Their je ne sais quoi is as rock’n’roll as it is genuine and mystical.

Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Diaz ooze heritage in their repertoire. Their songs, sung mainly in English and Yoruba, take you into a spiritual trance and make you want to echo their prayerlike lyrics and sounds. Because that is what their songs sound like: prayers. Sometimes possessed cries of worship, sometimes honest-to-god pleas filled with devotion to higher spirits no mind can grasp. A sound that is as minimal as it is complex and layered. A perfect blend of modern, electronic influences, acoustic renditions, and traditional Yoruba elements, strung together by a soulful and natural percussion that gets you in and through the rhythm of the tracks and gives every song its own heartbeat.


Although Naomi and Lisa-Kainde mainly grew up in Paris, they do stay true to their Cuban roots and Yoruba culture. They cite some more modern influences like hip-hop, ragga (a sub-genre of dancehall music or reggae), dancehall, soul and electronic music, but also jazz and blues, like Nina Simone. Another important influence seems to be their own upbringing. Being the daughters of famous percussionist father Anga Diaz and a mother who they described to Pigeonsandplanes as “a musician without an instrument”, the musical talent and rhythmic creativity seems to stem as much of the blood as it seems of the mind.

It is thanks to her [their mother] that we are musicians today, and thanks to our father that we knew we could be musicians.” – Pigeonsandplanes.com

Wherever their inspiration comes from, I’m eagerly awaiting what these multilingual, multicultural artists are up to next. But I’m sure XL Recordings will be a productive breeding ground for them. Not really fitting any kind of category, they were asked how they would label themselves, but they also admit there’s no real existing category to file them under.

It is hard for us to describe our music. If we had to we’d say we do contemporary Negro Spiritual, since our music is based on prayer.” – Pigeonsandplanes.com

Make sure to check out their website, Facebook page, and take the time to really discover them and all the facets of their musical portfolio.

Purple Ferdinand – Birds | Some tattoos, some ukelele and so much Soul

Recently my attention got drawn by a new up and coming artist by the name of Purple Ferdinand. A ukelele playing tattoo artist who launched a single titled ‘Birds’. Since I believe every artist who can combine my love for tattoos, ukelele and birds needs to be featured on this blog, I dedicate a post to her.

She brings beautiful songs that are deeply soulful as well as (neo-)folky. The snares of her ukelele pluck and plonk you from happy to sad to blissful tranquility. It’s a lovely vibrating melancholy that once made me fall head over heels in love with the sound of Amy Winehouse. Her sound also brings back memories of that Summer my playlist mainly consisted out of Eliza Doolittle, Corinne BaileyRae, Selah Sue, Jamie Woon and Hindi Zahra. Although Purple Ferdinand’s sound is completely her own, I do believe her songs will make this Summer as happy as that one.

I read on Pigeons and Planes that her debut album, Dragonfly, will launch July 23.

Don’t forget to check out her Tumblr account and Facebook page or her other YouTube videos! Especially Beautiful Anomaly and Speak True are more than worth a listen (x10) to.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

#DefineBeauty – Nowness takes a look at the definition of beauty

With #Define Beauty Nowness takes a look at the different definitions artists give to beauty and reminds me why this is one of my favourite websites. During 5 weeks, Nowness will release a new film every week on their blog. In this serie of 5 short movies, film makers reflect on beauty and beauty ideals, perfection and imperfection, and what makes it all real to them.

Director Saam Farahmand was granted the honour to kick off the series. He took this chance to take on the body hair debate with his movie: Les Fleurs, in which he lets a naked woman gradually transform from the hairless ideal image society has of a naked body to a more natural state.

 

 

Part 2 of the #DefineBeauty series took on the prejudice that falls upon plastic surgery and other forms of body enhancement. Director Clara Cullen sees plastic surgery as a form of art, which inspired the title of her short movie: Beauty Is A Form Of Genius. She found inspiration for her film in her home town of Buenos Aires. The women in her film all depict the Argentinian beauty prototype. For the story of her film she teamed up with novelist Maxine Swann. They constructed a film based on four stories that combines motives that vary from vanity to insecurity. You can click on the link below to watch the movie in HD.

Nowness – Beauty Is a Form of Genius

 

Don’t forget to check out the next part of the #DefineBeauty series, A Maximum Illusion: Creme Caramel, that will be launched on Nowness.com May 20th.

 

 

Supermarket Prestige : “Wheat is Wheat is Wheat”

Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is an exhibition by Peddy Mergui. It explores the levels of ethics in daily consumerism and luxury brands. Mergui gives you an inside look of what a supermarket would look like if prestige brands put their name on daily products, which shows us some fashionable fast moving consumer goods.

Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is a humorous yet provocative commentary on global consumer culture that may just have us questioning our next purchase. – SFMCD.org

 

The artist questions what the consumer actually buys when it spends money on a ‘brand’. Because wheat is wheat and sugar is sugar, no? Does the brand add this much to the actual value?

The exhibition will be open until the 15th of June and is being held in the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco.