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

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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

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”.

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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.

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!

All Love Is Equal : Portraying Romance

Another beautiful example of how Kickstarter makes creative dreams come true. The All Love Is Equal project is a true celebration of romance. Being a firm believer in love and the narrative magic of good photography myself, I can’t but include a post about it on our blog. Make sure to watch the video and get to know the artist behind the pictures.

Braden Summers, the photographer behind the pictures, challenges himself to capture the most beautiful romantic moments all over the world, crossing cultural and stereotypical borders. Because his lens puts focus on the LGBT community, who he finds underrepresented in romantic photography. 

All of my references for idealized romance were completely hetero-normative. It is of a man and a woman, we all know the story, we grew up with it.

So Summers, who is actually a classically trained painter, paints a picture of love with his camera and goes beyond the clichés. He illustrates what he thinks iconic romance should represent.

Now, I know firsthand that there’s a lot of love and romance in the gay community, and what’s lacking is representation of this in these mediums. Now what we do see of the LGBT community is often overtly sexualized and sometimes deviant. I want to show a campaign that illustrates the love and romance in various cultures around the world, that communicates all love is equal.

In his kickstarter video Summers explains what inspired his idea.

Last year I found myself living a dream. I was in love, I was in Paris, and I was inspired by the old world architecture and fascinating people and their classic French style. So, I created a bunch of portraits and I shot couples dancing in the streets of Montmartre and women gazing over the city of Paris from balconies. It was amazing. After creating some images of hyper realistic Parisian couples and glorified portraits, my boyfriend had suggested that I photograph a gay couple, and I asked myself, as a gay man, why was that something that I had not thought of instinctively? In fact, why had I not considered this at all?

But with this beautiful vision comes a budget. Insert Kickstarter. Summers calculated that he would need $20,000 to realize his vision. The money would be financing a team of creatives, models, a producer, and production costs for the iconic shots.

The plan is to travel to global destinations that capture the various cultures and romance the world has to offer. Starting in Paris, going to Mumbai, Beirut, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, New York City and Los Angeles. If we surpass our goal, I will continue to cities such as Mexico City, Bangkok, and Tokyo.

And yes, he succeeded! He gathered a $23,121 budget to fund his dream project.

So follow his website or facebook page to follow his dreamy romantic activities.

All pictures courtesy of Braden Summers. Like it? Check out his website for more!

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