I’ve been following Dan McPharlin’s work for a few years now, ever since his miniature synthesizer models started showing up on Matrixsynth. I fell in love with his perfectly crafted, perfectly photographed (seriously, the photography is almost cooler than the work itself) paper music machines. But after being introduced to his graphic/illustration work he quickly became one of my favorite artists. His illustrations are very reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Roger Dean, and are evocative of that prog-rock driven 70’s sci-fi art scene that, when done right, is just downright incredible.
So it’s been great to see Dan’s work start popping up all over the place, like here, here (Prefuse 73 cover), and here (Jakub, you really should have know better!). Beyond the visual beauty of his work, it’s just great to see someone being creative with such a novel medium. He brings the mind and eye of a designer to a world previously reserved for 60-somethings hiding out in their basements building model railroads. To see him wrap all this up and successfully translate that future-past-that-never-was aesthetic into commercial projects is a good thing indeed.
You can check out more of Dan’s work at his flickr.
On a side note, he’s posted some shots of his home/work-space here. Are you kidding? Amazing. My house looks like it was built of scraps from a 19th-century Troller Boat that ran aground in front of a hippie commune. Seriously, parts of a boat were used in the construction of this house, I am sure of it. Anyways, I am disorganized at best, slovenly at worst and I don’t think I have the skill set to keep such a meticulously minimalist situation like that up for any length of time. If I win the lottery I will get one of those modernist prefabs and put it in front of this house. I’ll then carefully place completely unusable angular furniture and German-designed objects all around it. Finally I will place a single synthesizer with wooden endbells and an analog sequencer on a white table with a molded plywood chair in front of it. When people come over I will tell them that’s where I get all my work done and then I will sit them down at a walnut coffee table with various important looking design books stacked neatly on top of it and expound on typography theory and then chastise them for not understanding the difference between kerning and leading. After they leave I will go back to my real house and eat a sandwich in my basement and watch Adult Swim and then not clean up the plate for a week or so.
These pin-ups are from the amazing Vintage Knob collection. There’s plenty more of these to see over there along with the more basic fare: close-ups of audio/visual equipment sans hot girls. That Marconi one up there is the best thing I’ve seen in a while; wall size print coming up as soon as they deliver the 9900. Seeing stuff like this always gives me mixed feelings. It just reminds me of the wealth of beautiful images out there that are just lost to time. Can you imagine being able to get the original negatives to these shots and do serious enlargements? It’s nice that sites like The Vintage Knob are making these available in some form, but 72dpi Jpegs just don’t cut it for print output.
Here is the second installment of Images From Where? and By Who? where we try to figure out who did the original design, photograph or product and if that becomes too easy then its hopefully just a nice small collection of images that might be inspiring for your day of creating.
The first image I just found yesterday and it had nothing attached and the link was generic. I would love to know if these are miniature or full size because i’d save up and buy that small brown one on the right.
The second image i’ve shown Scott once and told him if I could ever have any special power it would be being able to draw the way this car is drawn, incredible work in my opinion.
The third image is just of this generic floppy disc sleeve, you see I use to be a buyer sometimes for a few thrift stores back in Michigan and i’d spend a lot of time looking for a lot of things that looked exactly like this, to most it looks like whatever 80’s junk but i’d probably frame it.
Talk about inspiration; these are all simply incredible. I used to obsess over tapes when I was a kid, always looking for the coolest packaging or interesting design. But never in all those years did I come across any as cool as these. Most of these look to be a little before my time and, of course, are of European origin. I always wonder what effect growing up around such interesting design might have had on me. All we had in the states was this crap, while German kids got to record Ege Bamyasi to little plastic boxes coated in design goodness. Maybe it’s for the best, I guess now I can appreciate things like this more. Jubru has posted these scans to a flickr gallery where you’ll find many more great examples.
Happy holidays to everyone! Here’s hoping you get something as cool as this. Image via Breath Less
This was too good not to post, I’ve never seen graphic design walk around before. The hits just keep coming from the Google Time/Life Archive. Via Digg
Ok, chalk this one up as random-camp-kitsch, but I just couldn’t resist posting. Pedro Oliveira sent this link in response to my assertion that “everything was cooler in 70’s Sweden” in the Vint post. As the images above make painfully clear, that certainly was not always the case. As infinitely lame as most of the stylistic choices going in in these photos are, some of the typography isn’t half bad. I don’t know what they were eating in Sweden back in those days, but this is one unhealthy looking bunch of people, Toreson look like they hid out in an ice cave for 3 years before taking their big promo shot. Which is probably what really happened, they then emerged from the cave, decided on Cooper Black and the rest is history. There are a lot more over here.