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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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!

Icy & Sot – Iranian Underground Art

Icy and Sot, a band of brothers armed with a talent for graffiti and stencil art, spraypainted themselves from the streets of Tabriz, Iran, right into the country’s underground youth/urban culture. Defying law and censorship, their talent brought the two young artists to Brooklyn.

A bold, but necessary move since western art has been forbidden in Iran since the revolution of ’79. This is also the reason why you won’t find Icy and Sot’s work on the streets of Iran. They always had to document their work digitally fast, because graffiti would often be removed after one or two days, making their work ephemeral. At least in Brooklyn they can legally show their art and work in peace, without risking being thrown in jail or getting physique punishment.

Nevertheless the underground art scene in Iran flourishes. With talented filmmakers, musicians, writers and other artists finding their voice in the shadows of the law, it seems like the oppression is kindling the artists’ fire. Many of the Iranian creative crowd find themselves in similar positions as Icy & Sot, and decide to make the move to America, who in recent years seem to have been welcoming foreign artists. The brothers also made the leap inspired by a befriended punk rock band named The Yellow Dogs (see insert below), who fled Iran in favour of Brooklyn. The band’s manager, Salehezadeh (an Iranian-American) embraced the two boys upon their arrival and took them under his wings.
Icy & Sot - made in Iran ft. yellow dogs

At the moment they even have an exhibition going in Europe. They are currently showcasing their work in Amsterdam at The ABC “American Book Center” Treehouse [Opening Saturday, September 13th – 16:00 to 21:00]. You can even meet the artists on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of September. Find more information on the expo and the boys here.

More information on Icy & Sot you can find on their website (be sure to check out their videos ) and don’t forget to follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

See them in action here…

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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