October round-up

Current obsessions + good ideas:

It’s a bright, stunning fall day at the beginning of November, so that means it’s time for me to reflect on what’s been keeping me going this past month.

First off, I have to acknowledge that I skipped a September round-up, and for that I have this little guy to blame:

6 photos of lab puppy

Getting used to living with a dog has been a little hectic, to say the least! Lemon is a super puppy, and actually an excellent officemate (she sleeps a lot. She’s asleep right now), but she’s also, you know, a dog, and that means I now have to spend a lot of time keeping her from chewing everything and pooping in the house. Suddenly the days feel shorter and longer at the same time, and my productive hours are, well, less productive.

But enough with the excuses! After 6 weeks, we’ve found a rhythm, and I feel more balanced than I have in a while, so on to my October round-up. I’m going to devote this post to the theme of colour, partly inspired by the colours of the trees this time of year (which I’ve been seeing a lot of due to the number of walks-in-the-park we go on these days), but mostly inspired by this rad Creative Mornings* talk by Tiffany Pratt.

She is a painter, interior designer, art instructor, stylist, personal shopper, etc., but none of these descriptions really does her justice. A quick look at her site shows literally the whole rainbow — this woman loves colour and is not afraid to use it! But her talk was about way more than colour, and it made me reflect on the creative process, where to find inspiration in the world around us, how we as humans relate to others, how to be fulfilled creatively and professionally and personally, and how to stay true to yourself. I know it sounds like a wishy-washy, “just be yourself!” self-help type of pep talk, but I found it very relatable and relevant. I love seeing people carve their own path doing what it is they love to do, without compromising their own (colourful) vision, and being rewarded for it. “Plant all the seeds; be all the things.”


mirrored, translucent coloured house installation in a field

© Autumn de Wilde

This next bit of inspiration is something that I saw on Pinterest, and maybe you’ve seen it in a Cadillac ad. This sculptural installation is called “Lighting Layers and Reflections,” by photographer/director Autumn de Wilde, created for a Cadillac advertising campaign. There’s not much written about it on her site, apart from this short description: “I designed the sculptures so that they would interact and transform with the landscape as the sun rose, passed over us and set.”

© Autumn de Wilde

© Autumn de Wilde

I’d love to see these in real life. To me, this is one of those greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts sort of things. It’s so simple on its own, and it’s how the light interacts with the coloured panes that actually creates the complexity and colour variation, with the mirror panes adding some depth by reflecting the surrounding landscape. I’ve always loved overprinting — what happens when 2 or more transparent inks are printed over top of each other, creating a new colour where they overlap — and this is like a real-time, solar-powered overprint-in-motion. (Here are a few examples of overprinting which I’ve collected over the last few months. A few of these great posters are from the renowned Nashville letterpress shop Hatch Show Print. I’d love to take a road trip there someday to see their process first-hand!)  And speaking of road trips, this installation sort of makes me want to go on one, so there you go. Effective marketing, Cadillac.


Finally, here are a few large-scale murals by Brooklyn-based painter Maya Hayuk. This piece is an older one which I’ve admired for a while. As in the work above, I enjoy the unlikely juxtaposition of the colour with the surroundings:

Geometric stipe pattern on the side of a barn

© Maya Hayuk | Braddock 2008

Side of barn with painted geometric and stripe pattern

© Maya Hayuk | Braddock 2008

And here’s a more recent mural, painted in Miami, showing the close-up paint drips with I think add so much dimension to the straight lines and structure. And those colours!!! I am especially into the Mexican blanket vibe of the door on the left, and how that carries over throughout the work.

© Maya Hayuk

© Maya Hayuk | CHEMTRAILS MIAMI, December 2013, latex and spray paint, 15 x 40′, Wynwood Walls, Miami, FL

As luck would have it, Maya recently created a huge mural for an underpass in my neighbourhood! If you happen to head down Lansdowne from Dundas West I’m sure you won’t be able to miss it. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but I can’t wait to take the dog for a walk tomorrow and check it out.

PS. Here’s a totally mesmerizing video of the artist painting a mural at the Drake Hotel here in Toronto in 2012.


Thanks for reading, friends! May these bursts of colour help you get through the first few dark, cold days of November.

*In case you’re not familiar with Creative Mornings, this is a free coffee + lecture series featuring a different creative person each month. They get talk about whatever they’re in to, you get to drink free coffee and hang out with other creative folks, and the whole deal is basically inspiring and fun and you wonder why you don’t leave the house more often to so this sort of thing. The organizers record and archive all of the talks from every participating city (this happens all over the world), so their site is basically an enormous resource of excellent design inspiration and advice!