TCG Olympia Pack for 2015 Autumn/Winter

TCG Olympia Pack for 2015 Autumn/Winter

Thoroughly Crafted Goods, aka TCG, is the new name of the footwear brand formerly known as Thorocraft, a California-based company who built their reputation on shoes that toed the line between fashion and function. They’ve pivoted with a recent name change, expanding their catalog to include a new line of handcrafted sneakers with a runner’s profile and ergonomics in mind.


At first the new TCG Stadion Runners seem pretty substantial for a running shoe. But in fact both the mid and low height versions of these runners are attuned to the recent trend in running to move away from severely minimalist midsoles and return back to shock-absorption materials.

Thus the Stadion Runners sit on top of a platform of a high-rebound compound to reduce any shock to the joints while a Lycra sock-fit system snuggles into the heel tab and counter, hugging the feet securely with or without socks. And thankfully they’ve kept their signature copper rivet, a detail which marks the limited and hand constructed nature of TCG’s footwear. The combination all adds up to a sneaker which appears to be fit for fashionably forward attire while also thoroughly comfortable run when the need requires a sprint forward…no necessarily shoes you’ll run a marathon in, but could wear comfortably between mileage sessions in style.


Details coming forward at the TCG website.

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Bringing Photos Back to Life

Kickstarter is an awesome crowd sourcing site to find new inventions, gear and inspiring work by other photographers. Another pick this month is RetroPacks, for avid users of Instagram.  Founder is Lewis Pratt, a keen, self taught web developer and photographer. He currently works as a therapist but uses his free time to work on his hobbies! A keen outdoorsman who loves getting his hands dirty in the countryside. Dog and Orangutang lover.


© Retropacks


I’ve been a photography enthusiast for over 10 years and have spent a large amount of my early adulthood documenting my life through the use of digital photography. I studied photography at The University of Northampton (UK) and loved learning the ropes on Photoshop with digital images, but also felt a strong pull towards the very physical and tangible process of developing my own shots in the darkroom. Having a physical copy of one of my shots felt to me, as if I’d created something real, something that didn’t just exist in some mystical digital world, but something that was very much part of the real world.

Inevitably though, darkroom photography is dying out with the onslaught of new technology coming into the photographic realm. Don’t get me wrong, I love new tech and can often be seen drooling outside the local camera shop window, thinking of what I should spend my hard earned pennies on next. But I do feel that we’ve kind of lost touch with the original premise of photography these days and it could be suggested that for the majority of the time, photographs are now taken for the amount of likes we think they’ll get, rather than for appreciation of what’s actually in the frame.

Well, if you spotted the ‘Likes’ just there, you may have guessed that this post has something to do with that little known app Instagram. These days, the majority of photographs taken, say on a smart phone, go to one place, Instagram. Instagram says that there have been 30+ Billion photos shared through their app, with 70 million average photos a day. That’s mind boggling!

The problem is, nobody seems to own a physical, 100% touchable, real life, openable and closable photo album these days. And even less people are hanging up their pictures around the home to remember all of those moments.

This is something I love to do and it’s a great ‘pick me up’ if you’re having a rough day. Looking at a wall of lovely photos can often remind you of the good things in life and photos in your home can show others, and remind yourself, about what’s important to you as well as improve your mood.


© Retropacks

From speaking to friends and family and strangers (it’s a conversation starter!) the general consensus is that it’s not that people don’t want their pictures in their homes, the issue lies with the actual printing process. Common complaints were that printing online can often be confusing, complicated and the systems used can be ‘clunky’. People also said that if they went to a local shopping center and used one of their automatic machines it often turns into a drama when the memory stick isn’t recognized or the machine just will not connect via Bluetooth to your phone. Then there’s the issue of selecting out of the 3,975 photos you have on your computer or phone, which 10 you’d like. Then there’s the simple excuse of ‘ I can’t be bothered’ and really, I can’t blame people with the issues outlined above.

This got me thinking. How could I combine tech and physical prints to bring real photographs back into the hands of the everyday photographer, whether they be pro or amateur.

This is where RetroPacks comes in.

RetroPacks is a monthly subscription service that, if you want it to, will be entirely automated. RetroPacks connects to your Instagram account and can choose from your uploads each month, then print and ship three of them to you at the end of the month.

Each print will be in the format of a Polaroid print. At this point, there’s one format (overall size: 3.5 x 4.2 in ). However in future we’d like to offer additional formats.


Select photos each month from your Instagram account.


RetroPacks prints out your selected images.


And post them directly to your door. Simple!

The RetroPacks service is run through our website,, and benefits from a simple, quick and pain-free registration process, allowing users to login with their Instagram details. The website has been developed by myself and has been built from scratch to meet the needs of the service.

Once logged in, the user can select how they would like their pictures taken by picking a filter. At the moment we have Most Recent, Most Liked, Most Commented On and Manually. The interface for manually selecting your pictures is clean and easy to use. You also have access to an address book, so if you wanted to send one months box to your granny you could just select her address on the manual selection page and she would get a nice surprise in the post!

Because the photos are being pulled from the users Instagram account, it’s likely that each picture is one that’s already been approved by the user, meaning no more sifting through 3,975 pictures to find the ones you want.

Retropacks is photo printing done the easy way.

It’s a monthly rolling subscription with no long term contracts, meaning it can be cancelled at any time. It’s an easy way to share your online portfolio with those who may be disconnected from the online world ( elderly relatives), create an image gallery center piece in your home (photo wall) or put together a photo album of moments you don’t want to forget. The list goes on.

We’re currently on Kickstarter and have reached our funding goal of £600 with 10 days left to go! We’re so happy to have reached our goal and will now be able to purchase higher quality printing equipment and materials to improve the standard of our prints.

But we’re not ready to stop there! If we were able to raise more funding, we could invest further money into developing additional features for the service as well as offering additional options to our users.

Check out our website at and see what you think. Our Kickstarter link is on the home page (twice!).

Also check us out on social media where we will hold competitions and giveaways

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Want Better Ideas? Go Catch Your Swarm


by Paige Alexis Jones

We often romanticize ideas as an isolated ‘aha’ moment; however, they are built upon a foundation of multiple thoughts and information sources coming together. Bodong Chen, an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, describes ideas more as a swarm than of a single entity.

Great ideas come from a collection of hunches and “half-baked” ideas waiting to be connected with each other. These are thoughts that look promising, but are perhaps missing that key piece to make them ready to stand alone. It is tempting to throw them away as trivial or irrelevant, but they are the ingredients to your next big idea. Chen says the best thing to do with your swarm is to catch it:

Keeping a slow hunch alive poses challenges on multiple scales. For starters, you have to preserve the hunch in your own memory, in the dense network of your neurons. So part of the secret of hunch cultivation is simple: write everything down… We can see Darwin’s ideas evolve because on some basic level the notebook platform creates a cultivating space for his hunches; it is not that the notebook is a mere transcription of the ideas, which are happening offstage somewhere in Darwin’s mind. Darwin was constantly rereading his notes, discovering new implications. His ideas emerge as a kind of duet between the present-tense thinking brain and all those past observations recorded on paper.

Luckily, it is incredibly easy to catch your hunches — it can be as simple as carrying around a physical notebook or using the multiple functions of your smartphone. Mobile apps like Evernote and Pinterest allow you to collect web clippings and upload your own data. Alternatively, cloud services such as Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud make it easy to access your achieved hunches wherever you are. Even your camera phone is an excellent visual recorder (and is probably always on hand).

he key here is to record the information, but not spend any time categorizing it. First of all, who has the time to shift random information into preorganized categories? Secondly, you want all the information and hunches to mix together. Great ideas come from combining two seemingly unrelated hunches. In order to accomplish this, Chen says you need to keep the hunches alive by rereading through your notes. After all, it’s hard to connect hunches together if you no longer remember them.


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20 Must-Have Illustrator Add-ons for Designers

Are you an illustrator or a graphic designer, or you just like playing with vectors in Adobe Illustrator? If you fit in any of those categories, then you’ll definitely need to take a look at these 20 must-have Illustrator Add-ons for designers.

These must-have Illustrator add-ons will help you save a lot of time when designing. You can sketch logos/portraits/drawings, create chalkboard styled graphics, add stunning long shadow effects and beautiful font styles, all with just a few clicks.

Here they are! Which one of these great Illustrator add-ons would you want to use?

 Sketch Your Logo

Sketch Your Logo is a template and action for Adobe Illustrator. It will help you to present your work as a hand drawing sketch.

Sketch Your Logo

 Ink Sketch Lines – 21 Illustrator Brushes

This set includes 21 hand drawn ink sketch lines created with various sized quill pens. These brushes are perfect for giving your vector lines an imperfect hand inked look.

  Ink Sketch Lines - 21 Illustrator Brushes

Chalk Board Illustrator Graphic Style

This Illustrator Graphic Style is a Chalk Graphic Style. This could also be used for objects/shapes. It is vector based so it can be sized as needed without losing detail.

  Chalk Board Illustrator Graphic Style

Stitch Brushes – Illustrator Brushes

Vector Illustrator stitch brushes to easily spice up your technical apparel designs and drawings. The brushes are easy to colour. The Ai file and eps file with the original vectors for the brushes are included in the pack for easy modification.

  Stitch Brushes - Illustrator Brushes

3D Sketcher  | Illustrator Add-ons

This is an actions pack for Adobe Illustrator CS3 and above. There 6 hand-drawn action styles (Grass, Hair, Knot, Plain, Stone and Wool) with 3 types (light, medium, bold) and 8 extrude directions. This means there are 144 actions overall!

  3D Sketcher - Vector Actions Pack

Zipper Brushes and Sliders – Illustrator

This is a designer tool pack for zippers and zipper sliders. This file has fifty different zipper sliders and eight zipper brushes.

 Zipper Brushes and Sliders - Illustrator

Magic Eraser Illustrator Script

Quickly and easily delete paths and shapes outside Artboard, while not affecting your artwork inside artboard. Keeps illustrations editable after usage with accurate and clean results.

Magic Eraser Illustrator Script

Long Shadow Actions in Style of Flat Design

This add-on contains four Illustrator CS6 actions for an easy production of very customizable long shadows similar to a flat design trend seen everywhere.

  Long Shadow Actions in Style of Flat Design

Sticker Maker. Adobe Illustrator Graphic Styles

This is a collection of graphic styles for Adobe Illustrator. With the help of graphic styles, you can easily convert your text or any other vector objects to a sticker.

  Sticker Maker

Illustrator Graphic Styles. Stars Deco

Add a magic glitter effect to your texts. Available for AI CS +. Styles initially designed for 96 pt font size.

 Illustrator Graphic Styles Stars Deco

Grunge Text Styles | Illustrator Add-ons

Use this set of over 250 styles to give your text a distressed look. The styles come in eight different variations. Each variation comes in loads of different colors.

  Grunge Text Styles

Ice Illustrator Graphic Style

This Illustrator Graphic Style is a Ice Graphic Style. It is vector based so it can be sized as needed without losing detail. This could also be used for objects/shapes.

  Ice Illustrator Graphic Style

105 Borders Cycle Patterns Brushes for Illustrator

Here are 105 Patterns made with 100% Patterns Brushes for Illustrator. These  elements are great for cycle, rounded, badge, ellipses, label, frames, borders graphics, and more.

  105 Borders Cycle Patterns Brushes for Illustrator

Vect-Art Sketcher – Illustrator Actions Pack

In 3 easy steps turn your Photo in to a vector, hand drawn-like sketch. (for Adobe illustrator CS3 and later versions).

  Vect-Art Sketcher - Illustrator Actions Pack

Vector Pencil Sketch Brushes

This set includes 50 hand drawn pencil sketch lines created using various pencil techniques. These brushes are perfect for giving your vector lines an imperfect hand drawn look.

 Vector Pencil Sketch Brushes

Advanced Text Wrappers

These advanced text wrappers, are ready to use Ai vector text templates wrapped in very special styles, featuring fully editable texts with up to 32 unique styles.

 Advanced Text Wrappers

Illustrator Graphic Styles – Burner

You can apply these styles to any of you own fonts or objects. Available for AI 10 +. Styles initially designed for 96 pt font size.

 Illustrator Graphic Styles - Burner

Nautical Rope Brushes   |  Illustrator Add-ons

Here are 8 Rope style brushes. These are great for making borders on retro labels, nautical badges, and anything you can imagine.

 8 Nautical Rope Brushes

Comic Laugh Pattern

Here’s a pack of 6 fun and bright Illustrator pattern swatches. These are 100% vector so they can be scaled to any size without loss of quality.

 Comic Laugh Pattern

Fabric Graphic Styles and Patterns

Here’s a set of Graphic Styles for Adobe Illustrator. This set of styles was inspired by handmade textile crafts. Styles are designed with font size 120pt.

Fabric Graphic Styles and Patterns

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25 Websites Making Inspiring Use of Typography

Every website makes use of typography, but the vast majority of them don’t do anything particularly special with it.

25 Websites Making Inspiring Use of Typography

In fact, a lot of the websites I visit on a daily basis make quite poor use of typography (in my opinion), why is why I always feel a sense of overwhelming delight when I do come across a website that has really gone the extra mile as far as typography is concerned.

So, if you’re sick of seeing the likes of “Arial” and “Times New Roman” (I know I am!), or if you need some typographic inspiration for a future project, here’s a few sites making excellent use of typography:

1. V02 Group

V02 Group

V02 Group makes interesting use of typography on their website in the sense that some parts of it are hidden behind the image of the runner.

This helps to create a sense of depth and portrays an image of the typography floating in mid-air.

Fonts used: Crimson Text, Futura

2. What is Your Future?

What is Your Future?

“What is Your Future?” is a beautifully crafted website that uses typography sparingly.

The design as a whole is quite minimalistic and “flat”, which is most likely the reason behind such an adventurous font choice (Baron Neue) for the large type.

Fonts used: Baron Neue, Georgia

3. Jacob Grubbe

Jacob Grubbe

Jacob Grubbe has created an exceptionally simplistic website here, with typography being the primary focus point – as you type, the website reveals itself.

Jacob only utilises one typeface in this design (Roboto) but it works perfectly with the minimalistic design style.

Fonts used: Roboto

4. Secret Resolutions

Secret Resolutions

Secret Resolutions is a colourful, somewhat in-your-face website that much like Jacob’s website above, only utilises one typeface (Brandon Grotesque).

The typography is big, bold, adventurous and fun – a perfect choice considering the concept of the site.

Fonts used: Brandon Grotesque

5. Basics09


Basics09 does exactly what it says on the tin: it offers a “basic” website which once again, only makes use of one typeface (Benton Sans).

Benton Sans in itself is quite a simple and plain sans serif font, but the designer has used subtle styling and sizing to create a sense of hierarchy, even with just the one typeface in the design.

Fonts used: Benton Sans

6. Degordian


Degordian makes use of large, uppercase typography for the main elements of the design, complimented by smaller, normal-case text written in the popular font: Merriweather.

This combination of large background imagery and large uppercase typography is fast becoming a web design trend this year.

Fonts used: Futura, Merriweather

7. Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate

Brancott Estate has gone for a blackboard-esque, hand-drawn effect for their website.

We’re unsure what the main font they’ve used is, but it features alongside Georgia. What it is it, it’s an epic combination.

Fonts used: Unknown, Georgia

8. Miles Calder

Miles Calder

Miles Calder has created a very minimalistic website here and again, the site utilises just one typeface: Founders Grotesk.

He uses various sizing’s, colours and styling’s to create a sense of hierarchy in the design.

Fonts used: Founders Grotesk

9. Run for AJD

Run for AJD

Even though this website is written in French rather than English, it still looks a little hard to read thanks to the styling of the typeface used.

However, you have to admit that style-wise, it looks pretty great.

Fonts used: Avenir Book

10. essentially allows you to send a personalised message to a friend, family member or colleague with just a few steps.

The designer has utilised Proxima Nova as the only font. a typeface known for its beauty at large sizes.

Fonts used: Proxima Nova

11. Amazee Labs

Amazee Labs

It appears that Amazee Labs have created a somewhat new and unique typeface of their own for this design, but it features alongside Source Sans Pro and Museo.

These two fonts work beautifully well together, and especially well alongside the bright, colourful typography featured in the imagery.

Fonts used: Source Sans Pro, Museo

12. Oudolf


The Oudolf website is very simplistic and much like Jacob Grubbe’s website featured earlier in the post, the typography is pretty much the only element of the design.

However, this website uses a cool effect in which the text is effectively masked over an image, which then reveals itself upon rollover.

Fonts used: Mason Neue Book, Univers Standard

13. I Am Baaz

I Am Baaz

“I Am Baaz” makes use of two beautiful typefaces: Verlag Book and Acrom Extra Bold.

When combined with the video background of the website, the result is stunning. its almost like a moving, interactive movie poster in the way it’s been designed and styled.

Fonts used: Verlag Book, Acrom Extra Bold

14. FS Millbank

FS Millbank

FS Millbank is a website advertising the typeface: FS Millbank.

It’s described as a “wayfaring” typeface and if you’ve been to any airports or train stations recently, you’ll probably have seen something that looks just like it on the signs there.

It’s a beautiful font and definitely works well for its intended purpose.

Fonts used: FS Millbank

15. Studio Lovelock

Studio Lovelock

It seems that Futura PT is growing in popularity this year, and has made an appearance yet again on the website for Studio Lovelock.

It’s the only typeface used in the design, but it’s been used in many varying sizes, styles and weights to create an interesting design.

It doesn’t even look like the same font in some places.

Fonts used: Futura PT

16. Adoratorio


Adoratorio’s website is largely black and white, although there are the odd elements of colour, as demonstrated in the screenshot above.

Both Montserrat and Courier New feature in this design and although these aren’t the most interesting of typeface choices, the design has cleverly used colour and tracking/kerning changes to create a standout design.

Fonts used: Montserrat, Courier New

17. The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library

The Pattern Library makes very little use of typography, as it’s mainly an image-based site.

However, where typography is used, it is used primarily for the calls-to-action (i.e. the “download now” button). Clearly, the boldness ofMostraNuova is the perfect choice for this job.

Fonts used: MostraNuova

18. Spotify. Sweet Spot

Spotify. Sweet Spot

Spotify makes use of just one font in their “Sweet Spot” design for Valentines Day and it works exceptionally well when combined with the bold colour scheme and minimalist design of the site.

Various weights and sizes are used to create a simple yet obvious visual hierarchy.

Fonts used: Circular TT

19. 51 North

51 North

51 North is a design agency based in the Netherlands. Their makes use of two fonts: Minion W01 and Two Cen W01, both of which are used relatively sparingly.

One odd thing you’ll notice about this website is that a regular font weight is used for the main heading (“666″) whereas a bold weight is used for the subheading (“6th Anniversary”).

Fonts used: Minion W01, Tw Cen W01

20. RelaisBlu


RelaisBlu is a boutique hotel and restaurant in Italy. Unlike most of the sites featured in this post, the website actually makes use of three completely different typefaces.

Most of the time, using more than a couple of typefaces is various sizes and weights is a bit of a risk, but RelaisBlu manages to pull things off to create a visually stunning design.

Fonts used: Geosans, Fanwood, Theano

21. April Studio

April Studio

April Studio only uses one typeface in their design: Helvetica Neue.

Helvetica Neue is a relatively overused typeface these days (even Apple uses it in their OSX Yosemite and iOS8 operating systems).

However, by using various weights, sizes and colours, April Studio has created a clean and simple design with a clear visual hierarchy.

Fonts used: Helvetica Neue

22. EMyth


EMyth is a relatively simple and down-to-earth website, which is in part thanks to the choice of typography: Museo Slab and Proxima Nova.

Proxima Nova can appear quite bold and masculine at times, but by using Museo Slab alongside it, EMyth has created a no-nonsense design that is clean, clear and appeals to both genders equally.

Fonts used: Museo Slab, Proxima Nova

23. Melanie DaVeid

Melanie DaVeid

Aside from the custom typeface design used for the large headings on the left-hand side of the website, Melanie only uses one typeface on her website: Proxima Nova.

She keeps things simple by utilising a bold weight for the subheadings, with a regular weight for the main content. This creates a clear visual hierarchy, while her custom font adds personality to the design.

Fonts used: Proxima Nova, Custom

24. Formlets


Formlets is a company that has yet to launch, but appears to be set to launch a product that will compete with some pretty big players.

However, Formlets has used typography to help stand out from the crowd. Whereas most of their competitors boast a stale, corporate design, Formlets has opted for a more simplistic and friendly design. DIN Rounded and Roboto are used to achieve this.

Fonts used: DIN Rounded, Roboto

25. Nicholas Bussiere

Nicholas Bussiere

Nicholas has created an exceptionally minimalistic design and utilises just one typeface throughout: Apercu.

He uses two font weights (light and regular) and surprisingly, it’s the large headings that make use of the light font weight, while the smaller, less important text utilises a regular font weight.

He uses sizing and colour to ensure that there is still a strong visual hierarchy within the design.

Fonts used: Apercu

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Stunning Portraits Of Calcutta Street Vendors Posing With The Flowers They Sell

Travelling since he finished business college, like many wanderlusts, Ken Hermann first became interested in photography as a young adult. Still trying to figure out exactly which career he saw himself in, Hermann spent his time travelling and hoping the right choice would become clear. Not too long into his adventures did Hermann realize he […]

The post Stunning Portraits Of Calcutta Street Vendors Posing With The Flowers They Sell appeared first on DIY Photography.

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The Edge Effect

BAASICS: Bay Area Art and Science Interdisciplinary Collaborative Sessions

We met with Selene Foster and Christopher Reiger at Gracias Madre to talk about their collaboration through BAASICS, the nonprofit they founded together as a means of exploring contemporary topics through the juxtaposition of art and science. Their collaboration began when they co-curated A Live Animal, an exhibition at Root Division in July 2011.

We introduced the subject of collaboration and the pair jumped right in with some striking thoughts: when working with someone else you think bigger, you work off of each other’s momentum, work off of each other’s strengths. You don’t feel alone. You are a little more brave.


DSC_0942 DSC_0946


unexpected projects: What are the themes you guys have addressed so far in your events?

Christopher Reiger: The first event was in conjunction with the exhibition A Live Animal, so human and nonhuman animal relationships. The second was very broad called The Future, and it was about the 1950s idea of utopia-dystopia, what is just around the corner, things like robots and curing aging.

Selene Foster: Then the third was The Deep End, which focused on the connection between creativity and mental illness or mental differences. And the fourth one was Watershed, which talked mainly about our particular watershed. It was just around the time when, incidentally, the State of California declared an emergency in terms of the drought. And the fifth one was Monsters. For that one we broke out of our typical one-event structure and treated it as a longer process, and actually did two big events.

CR: Watershed was very exciting and to me one of the things I am most thrilled about is that we stumbled into commissioning — as much as we can with our small budget .The composer Karl Cronin wrote an original piece [“we were once, you and I, the same water”] that was performed with a quartet during the event; he went to Hetch Hetchy, walked around, and wrote a composition about Hetch Hetchy water coming to him in San Francisco.

SF: Music has a way of opening up people emotionally. We’ve found that having something at the beginning of a program, whether it is music or one of us speaking or whatever it is really puts the audience in a mode of taking in and feeling the theme as opposed to just thinking about it. Music is a great vehicle for that, or someone sharing a personal story.

CR: I think the best example of that was The Deep End program, which opened with Hannah Addario-Berry, who is a cellist, performing the first movement of a two movement piece by a Hungarian composer named György Ligeti. The story behind the piece is that he wrote the first movement as a gift for a woman with whom he was in love; she rejected his overture, both his love and the music, so he shelved it. Years later, he wrote a second movement in response to the first movement, which is this frenzied, intense, angry, emotive piece. So Hannah Addario-Berry opened the program performing the first movement. And then Selene gave a very personal introduction to the program, talking about her own experiences and interests in the subject matter (mental illness), which really personalized it. After intermission, Hannah played the second movement — but before she did, she explained the background of the music. She also talked about her dad, who had bipolar disorder, and described this particular piece of music as the best aural summation of what it is to be bipolar.

SF: That right brain activity [was] coupled with a data-driven presentation by a neurobiologist, Terence Ketter, from Stanford who works with bipolar people. I felt like there was a communion there.

CR: When you think about accessibility, there may be some person in the audience who is really responding to Selene’s opening introduction and Hannah performing music, but then someone else would respond more to Terence Ketter presenting data on bipolar disorder. The idea behind BAASICS is to juxtapose art and science, both of which are inaccessible to most Americans. Art is either this academic ivory tower world or a luxury market, both of which are very removed from most of the population. Science has always been this cloistered activity, and now much of the US can be hostile towards science. That distance exists because art and science feel alien. So how do you make these things less alien? I like the idea that some people in the audience might be more scientifically oriented, but find themselves opening to the art through the science, and they both become more accessible. Or vice versa.


UP: What are the strengths that you bring to the collaboration and what are the strengths of your partner?

SF: Christopher is more methodical, I’m a bit more impulsive. He’s very detail-oriented and I tend to be more big-picture.

CR: In agreement with that, when I think about Selene’s strengths, I get really excited when I’ve written something and sent it to Selene and she sends her edits back and I read them and think “this is so much better!” She might take an idea which I’ve treated in this very inhumane, hyper-rational way and gives it a lot of humanity and emotion and connection.

UP: That makes it more accessible to your audience. Together you create different entry points.

SF: Christopher is incredibly responsive with his communications; it is such a rarity in this particular world. I never have any fear that you, Christopher, are not going to be there when you need to be or I need you to be. You are also really good at pushing things forward. Something that would take me six months to accomplish we get done in two because Christopher is always pushing it forward and remembering the small things and sending the emails.

CR: And harassing people! All these things can be framed in a positive way but they can also be summed up as: “that guy is such a prick!”

SF: Whereas I have weeks when I do not want to open my computer, so if it weren’t for that dual component, BAASICS just wouldn’t work.

UP: But maybe during those times when your computer is closed, you’re exploring something that comes back into the collaboration.

SF: I tend to need to think about things for a lot longer.

CR: Often when you’ve traveled you come back with new energy and ideas, because you’ve been able to step away and process it.

SF: If Christopher didn’t have some sense of who I am as a person and sometimes my need to just say “I’m leaving,” it would be really difficult to work together because I would be afraid to talk to him and tell him what is really going on.

CR: This sounds dramatic but it is a relationship, it is a partnership, in the same way as, ideally, your life partner is. It doesn’t always work this way but sometimes I find if things are really good, if I fall into a bad place, a mild depression or if I am in a funk creatively, Elizabeth, my wife, will pick me up again. When she gets sick and grumpy and angry at the world, I become Mr. Sunshine. That is not my personality but I turn it on to keep the balance. And it seems natural; it’s never a conscious thing. In a collaborative relationship, the same thing happens in a different manifestation. I feel like even though Selene and I do discuss things going on in our personal lives and try to be there for each other on that level, also on a purely creative mode, when one of us is operating more in X capacity, the other goes more for Y to help spread it out.

UP: Also, in an intimate relationship as well as in a creative collaboration, which is intimate in a different way, you are trusting that the other person can take what you are going to say, and you can actually hear each other.

SF: And it’s fun watching that evolve. I don’t know if fun is the right word, but in the beginning we were super careful with each other and as it goes on you become less and less so but it is still important to be careful. I don’t want to be blasé about our partnership because Christopher is another human being. In that sense collaboration is also similar to [an intimate] relationship. You get so normalized with your partner and then you realize they still need you to put in extra effort.

CR: At the start, we definitely worried about how the other person would take constructive criticism or just frank disagreement. What I’ve gotten to through collaboration is to trust that if someone says something critical from which I naturally recoil, I can take a breath and think about it for however long it takes. Now, it doesn’t take me as long because I have had so much practice.


UP: How has collaborating together fed back into your individual practicing? Or is BAASICS your main practice?

SF: For me BAASICS has been the main practice. Only recently have I felt that I need to start drawing again. To the credit of our project, for the run of it, I have been quite absent from my other practice and fulfilled by this. Life is like that. There are probably cycles that I can’t identify. I know for sure that when I do start drawing again, that everything we have done together will feed into my drawing. So in that sense it is okay. It is actually kind of hard to say that out loud, that I haven’t made a drawing in months, because there are certain expectations that if you’re an artist, this is the product. I still struggle with those expectations even in the midst of this very wide-ranging practice.

UP: Those lines don’t have to be so rigid. You are making something; you are making a community. You are developing something; you are engaging in a creative way with several people. It is not a drawing, but you’ve created something else.

SF: Yeah, we’ve been able to connect with and learn from so many creative artists and scientists in this area that it has been a massive education that is going to take a long time to process.

CR: And I think too, curating A Live Animal, the show that preceded BAASICS, was a creative awakening. This is a creative arm of my practice, which I never knew could exist. I lost all interest in painting and drawing. It was still there in the back of my mind, but I didn’t miss it. Once I accepted that I was totally fine with BAASICS as my creative avenue. And then six months ago I started spending some time in the studio. I’ve started getting into photography —in fact, the BAASICS collaboration has introduced other modes of my own visual practice, which are now becoming something different on the side.


UP: What is the theme for your next event?

CR: Borderlands is our next event and the overarching theme is very broad. Borderlands can be something very literal like ecological habitats meeting, or gentrification, [or] philosophical concepts like blood–brain barrier, which has a physical manifestation but also dictates the body/mind separation. The next program we have lined up is a sub-theme of that bigger theme, with American Association for the Advancement of Sciences [who] publish the journal Science. The theme of their meeting is the “human epoch”, or the idea that humans are in a geological epoch. In Borderlands we are dealing with how the human landscape meets the nonhuman landscape. The title we will use for the subsidiary event at the AAAS meeting is “The Edge Effect”, which is a catchy name but is also an ecological term for the transition that happens when any two habitats change, particularly human and nonhuman.

SF: When we were talking with our advisory board about this particular idea for a theme, they said, “well that’s what BAASICS is, the coming together of art and science.” Typically we don’t like to shove them together, but instead to see what happens when [art and science] are next to each other. This is a similar principal to collaboration in general—when two separate people come together to make something work.


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