Revealing Close-Up Photos of Creatives’ Pencils

Most people reach for their laptops or iPads when giving shape to their ideas. But for all our conveniences, there are some things that a computer just can’t do like the humble pencil. In a new photo series by Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney, first spotted on Photojojo, the duo captures close-up images of the pencils used by artists, designers, writers, and tastemakers. Most of the subjects are British, and we would love to see more women involved with the project, but you needn’t be familiar with those featured to appreciate how unique their tools are and the way tiny details reveal personality traits. Browse the series in our gallery, and get to know the secret life of the pencil. … Read More

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Today Is Save Our Libraries Day in the UK

Today is officially Save Our Libraries Day in the UK. Some 400 libraries around the nation have been threatened with closure and severe budget cuts by local authorities, and book-lovers, including Philip Pulllman and many authors like him, are rising up in protest. There will be something like 80 protests and demonstrations throughout the day… Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Shoot Nations

Shoot Nations provides young, burgeoning photographers from around the world with a platform to display their not-so-naive work through an annual photography competition.

A joint project of interactive-photography org Shoot Experience and children’s charity Plan UK, Shoot Nations showcases a diversity of viewpoints by selecting a different global theme each year — the most recent being “City Living.” The winning photographs are exhibited at a number of galleries, as well as the United Nations in NYC.  In the four years since its inception, the competition has received more than 2,500 entries from 100 countries. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Graham Carter

British artist Graham Carter’s cartoonish paintings, prints, and illustrations combine quirky humor with precision and style.

Carter’s images of animals (sometimes including humans) in their natural habitats frequently grace both gallery walls and alt-culture illustrated books. With a retro flair, a nuanced palette, and a passion for intricate, immaculately rendered detail, the artist’s confections of flora, fauna, and the occasional beatnik are intense, and intensely beautiful. … Read More

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Pic of the Day: Forgotten Subway Advertisements

Recent renovations to the Noting Hill Gate tube station in London unearthed a small passageway with advertisements from the late ’50s, when the section was originally sealed off. Mike Ashworth, the Design and Heritage Manager of London’s underground tube system, uploaded photographs of these posters onto his Flickr site to reconnect them with the viewing public.

Once novel, now vintage, the advertisements seem quite simple in comparison to our modern breed of words and images meant to persuade customers to depart with their money. Many of the posters feature nothing more than a pithy statement with a minimal, colorful cartoon image. How well would these adverts work if they were plastered on subway walls today? … Read More

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The Man Who Turns Trash Into Accidental Art

In Stephen Alan Yorke’s case, another person’s junk is his art. Whenever Yorke walks back home, he regularly passes a tiny concrete ledge with a brick background, which probably used to be a window, but now seems to be a depository for garbage. Instead of picking up the trash and moving it to a garbage bin, he takes pictures of the discarded objects with his iPhone. Seeing the ledge as an ever-changing blank canvas for litterbugs — or what Yorke prefers to call “accidental artists” — Yorke has assumed the role of curator of this odd art gallery, and documents each exhibit on his website, Morgan Road Gallery.

View some of Yorke’s curated pieces and read the interview after the jump. … Read More

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Offensive UK Television Commercials and Their US Counterparts

Earlier this week, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority released the most controversial advertisements of 2009. Coming in at number one was The Christian Party’s retaliation bus ad, which read: “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.” The message was a response to the British Humanist Association’s, “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” ad, which was ranked number six on the list according to how many people called in to complain.

In the spirit of cross-cultural exploration, we thought we’d compare the UK’s most risky television commercials of this past year with some of America’s most controversial. We hope this exercise can teach us something about our neighbors overseas, and possibly ourselves. Are our commercials more disturbing? Less? Click after the jump and decide for yourself. Judge harshly. … Read More

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iHobo: Can an iPhone App End Homelessness?

Depaul UK, a London-based charity that aids the homeless, together with Publicis London, have released the world’s first philanthropic iPhone app. It’s called iHobo, and it’s a destitute, virtual vagrant in your pocket — sort of like a Tamagotchi. For three days, it’s your job to attend to all of iHobo’s needs, whether it be food, shelter, or emotional comfort via the touch of the screen. If you neglect him, he’ll run the risk of succumbing to a life of crime, drug use, and mental illness. Like any video game where survival is the goal, you can monitor his health to adapt your strategy as new problems arise. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Kate Nash

British singer/songwriter Kate Nash comes out of the gate with horns blaring, strings soaring, and hands clapping on her ’60s-pop laden sophomore album, My Best Friend Is You.

Produced by Bernard Butler, the former Suede man who has helmed records by everyone from the Libertines to Duffy, the record marries shimmy-inducing retro-pop with Nash’s whip-smart lyrics and delivery. Hurtling past the singer’s extremely promising 2007 debut, My Best Friend finds her vacillating between speak-singing, serenading, and full-on rants, indulging her dark and light sides with equal fervor — often at the same time. … Read More

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Daily Dose Pick: Longplayer

Longplayer combines an interactive sculpture and a systems-theory experiment in the service of a 1,000-year-long musical composition.

An ambitious project for anyone who ever wondered about humanity’s ability to pursue trans-generational art, Longplayer was launched in 1999 by composer (and Pogues member) Jem Finer and an advisory board that included Brian Eno. In 2000, the project was turned over to the Longplayer Trust, a compendium of experts dedicated to its preservation until the 2999 completion of its first cycle. … Read More

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