Riding around the Hudson in the fog

Before I started my morning ride around the Hudson I knew it had the potential to be pretty special. I started biking pretty early just as the light appeared to show the fog. No milestones were beaten as it seemed like I was stopping every couple of minutes to capture something on the water. The temperature fluctuated a little bit during the ride which kept the fog making everything look great.

Fall Cycling Around NYC

I’ve been a fan of watching the Tour de France for quite a few years but never had the courage to ride on the streets of NYC. That changed last year when I finally decided it was time to venture some exploration of the city that was different from walking. I tend to stick to riding around the Hudson river as it’s near my apartment and its a route I’m comfortable with. Now that I’ve been doing this for a year I thought it was time to look back at some of the photos I’ve taken this fall.

Ride this morning over the GWB

Morning ride over the GWB

It was nice seeing the sun again on my morning ride

Saturday ride

Perfect morning for a ride

Saturday ride

Saturday ride

Perfect morning for a ride

Perfect morning for a ride

Got a flat tire 10 miles into my ride tonight. Had to take the A train on 183. On the flip side I had time to shoot the GWB.

Calm waters on the ride tonight

Empire State Building as a Static Presidential Election Results Billboard

Last night as the results were being mentioned on TV and talked about on Twitter there was one other method people could see the results. CNN and the Empire State Building worked together to display the ongoing results on the spire of the building. As the results evolved so would the top part of the Empire State Building. Once the winner was declared the entire top would go to the winning party. As everyone knows by now the building was blue at the end of the evening.

I thought it was a great idea but during the night as the results came in the display felt a bit static. It wasn’t until the near the end that the building for me meant much. It was hard to know when the spire had actually changed. It felt gradual. I think if there had been some sort of signal of movement it would have been much more effective. Perhaps when something changed it pulsed, maybe the top cell blinked.

As a means to signify the night it was great. There was an enormous amount of people that shot the building as it turned blue and tweeted about it. I hope that the Empire State Building continues to do live tracking of other moments but with some slight adjustments to make it feel more active.

Empire State Building at 23:17 on 11.06.12

Empire State Building in blue

My Favorite Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection

I don’t typically write too much about fashion but I thought this was a worthy exception. Mei Liu has released her first collection under the name PRIORY OF TEN for Autumn/Winter 2012. Like I said I don’t know much about fashion but what I do know is a sense of proportion, attention to details and the art making something great. All of those elements are displayed in her look book. A couple months ago she walked me through her process. To see it all come together is really impressive. In terms of the look book, that was designed by another friend who’s a pretty good designer in his own right. Kevin Boothe put the look book together and identity. To see the full book with all the designs, just download the PDF.

Looking back at March in Photos

Empire State Building tonight from the apartment
Empire State Building tonight from the apartment

After the rain on Broome st #walkingtoworktoday
After the rain on Broome st #walkingtoworktoday

#walkingtoworktoday through Washington Square Park
#walkingtoworktoday through Washington Square Park

nice to see how fast this is finally going up
nice to see how fast this is finally going up

KATSU Graffiti poster outside a phone booth near 25th st. #walkingtoworktoday
KATSU Graffiti poster outside a phone booth near 25th st. #walkingtoworktoday

I didn't want to deal with the rain so I took the Q #walkingtoworktoday
I didn’t want to deal with the rain so I took the Q #walkingtoworktoday

Friday night in Soho at Gesture Theory
Friday night in Soho at Gesture Theory

first ice coffee of the spring FTW #walkingtoworktoday
first ice coffee of the spring FTW #walkingtoworktoday

I'm always happy when @roycyang sends me pics of things he's bought for team GT
I’m always happy when @roycyang sends me pics of things he’s bought for team GT

from above I can see loud people coming out of Penn Station #walkingtoworktoday
from above I can see loud people coming out of Penn Station #walkingtoworktoday

Tulips & ice outside a bodega on Thompson st #walkingtoworktoday
Tulips & ice outside a bodega on Thompson st #walkingtoworktoday

current desktop situation as I watch #tosstheprojector #sxsw
current desktop situation as I watch #tosstheprojector #sxsw

a new pier opened up with beach volleyball courts
a new pier opened up with beach volleyball courts

just received the die cut @gesturetheory stickers
just received the die cut @gesturetheory stickers

12ozprophet phone booth #walkingtoworktoday
12ozprophet phone booth #walkingtoworktoday

Early morning coffee outside on Thompson St #walkingtoworktoday
Early morning coffee outside on Thompson St #walkingtoworktoday

slightly old school pharmacy symbol #walkingtoworktoday
slightly old school pharmacy symbol #walkingtoworktoday

Village Chess Shop Mural #walkingtoworktoday
Village Chess Shop Mural #walkingtoworktoday

El Cels in Neon Green & Pink on Mercer St #walkingtoworktodayEl Cels in Neon Green & Pink on Mercer St #walkingtoworktoday

Looking at What Nocused Could Mean

listening to @debbiemillman before #walkingtoworktoday at #creativemorning

This morning I trekked off to DUMBO to listen to Debbie Millman talk at Creative Mornings. It was an invaluable talk for those that have not heard her speak in person before. During one of the points in her “10 things I wish I knew when I graduated college”, she spoke about how people’s behavior changes. I think the context had something to do with buying a car. All of a sudden after they made the purchase they saw the same car everywhere, whereas before they didn’t see it at all. She threw out the words noticed and focused very quickly to describe it. I could have sworn that I heard her combine the two words at one point to make the new word “nocused”. I’ll have to watch the video when it is released to hear if that was indeed what she said or something I just imagined. Either way I think I’m going to use the word. I like the idea of being able to create those type of experiences that help people notice & focus on what they feel is important.

It’s been a good year for creative people to make the best of a bad weather situation

It’s been a good year for creative people to make the best of a bad weather situation. First there were the stories of people being stranded because of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Now there’s videos starting to emerge from Blizzageddon. Below are a couple that I’ve enjoyed. It’s great to see people react to what’s in front of them for others to experience.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Idiot With A Tripod from Gothamist on Vimeo.

Stranded from Eyal Dimant on Vimeo.

Blizzageddon 2010

snowy Empire State Building

Blizzageddon in SoHo #walkingtoworktoday







yellow & pink Vespa's caught in a snow drift on Crosby St while not #walkingtoworktoday

Last year there was Snowpocalypse 2009, this year it was Blizzageddon 2010. The storm came on the 26th of December and didn’t really stop till the next day. The first image came from my window as the storm started. While the winds blew snow around there was something somewhat unique to this storm—lightning. The sky occasional got really bright from thundersnow.

Early the next morning I found myself in SoHo. These are some of the images showing how quiet things were. People outside of NYC always complain and ask what’s the big deal if it snows here. It’s just snow after all. While true it also shuts down the city. Not so much to traffic from Manhattan but because the road conditions to getting to the city are brutal. It’s not worth the risk driving in. Because there barely any cars in the city there’s a chance for people to take to the streets without worrying about traffic. It’s also dead quiet. The only sounds are of those walking in the snow, laughing and clicks of camera’s going off. I find that this type of experience happens once or twice a year so it’s worth running around exploring the snow on the concrete island.

Looking at the @Nooka Zub Zayu & Interview with Matthew Waldman

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Nooka Zub Zayu

Publisher’s Note: Anyone that’s visited this blog knows that I try to mention Nooka as much as possible without over killing it. They’ll also note that there’s an ad from Nooka on the right rail—they’ve been a great supporter of this blog. I’ve also worked with them on the redesign of their website that I mentioned in this post. With all that said this post like everything else I mention form Nooka is from the point of view of a fan and not as someone that just got paid with a briefcase of cash.

When I first saw a prototype of the Zayu it was an instant favorite. It had similar face to a couple of the other Nooka’s that I owned but had evolved it enough to be something new. The worst thing a designer can do is show another designer something really cool, and than mention that the cool thing won’t be available for months. So for the last six weeks I’ve been emailing weekly to find out when the Zayu would be finally out. It came in this week so here’s the pics I took above and below is an interview that I had with Matthew of Nooka while he was still in Japan for Tokyo Design Week.

MICHAEL SURTEES: Can you talk about how the Zub Zayu came to be. To me it looks like an evolution of the Zot, Zen and outer shape of the Zirc together.

MATTHEW WALDMAN: The zirc is my favorite design we’ve released in terms of form. It sits on the wrist almost weightless as the weight is transferred to the wrist bone when worn correctly. It also allows the watch face to be worn over a sleeve. Unfortunately we as a brand need to get better at telling these kinds of stories as well, and I think this was lost when we launched the zirc. Wanting to tell this story to a broader audience (i.e. More democratic price point) was my main motivation that led to the design of the zayu. To be honest, as a designer, I am never 100% satisfied with my own work and combing the appeal of the zubs with the things I like with our higher end models is definitely an evolution.

MS: One of the other features mentioned in the press release is a new battery power saving mode. I remember you mentioning during Design Week talk with Joey Roth that batteries are what’s constraining the features that a watch can do. Has the new battery technology influenced the design of the Zayu?

MW: Unfortunately it’s the old technology that forces us to innovate in this way. Necessity is the mother of invention right?

MS: A couple practical words that I’m picking up a lot in the press release and from other blogs is time capsule, ambidextrous, and asymmetrical. That’s a bit of a shift from the futuristic philosophy that I’m used to hearing. Has Nooka’s philosophy shifted much from the last year?

MW: Who says the future is not practical? It’s all rooted in futurism. The Zayu is a universal communicator of both time and cool—what can be more Nooka?

MS: Speaking of the future, are there any materials that you’d like to use yet haven’t been able to because of cost or are hard to manufacture?

MW: Tons! low power ELs, kenetic electric batteries, flat integrated LCD and OELD, self-cleaning surface coatings, bio plastics… The problem is that being a small company, we can never afford the license fees and minimum order quantities. I’ve reached out to the 3Ms and Duponts of the world, go to the industrial trade shows and we are active with the material connexion here in NYC, so making the effort is not the issue. Perhaps some high level people reading your blog will see this and reach out to do some cool collabs?

MS: One of the strongest brand attributes that Nooka has in my opinion is how fans share what they love about the company on Twitter and Facebook and how you and others at Nooka seem to respond to almost everyone online. How do you all keep up ?

MW: Convergence! I have Twitter and facebook on my iPhone so there’s no excuse not to check in. When I’m traveling I ping people in the Nooka lab to pick up the slack. Of course, it’s a bit of an addiction as I love attention, however virtual it may be.

MS: This time next year what can fans of Nooka expect to see that’s being thought about right now?

MW: I hope apparel, new strips (belts), new sunglasses, more watches and expanded fragrance offerings.

MS: Any plans for any more pop up shops in NYC or are you focused more selling online at Nooka.com?

MW: BOTH! Thanks to you and Yumi Asai, nooka.com looks HOT and i’d love to see more purchases there. We are planning more pop-ups as well as they are doing well in Japan for us. I’ll keep you posted.

MS: What’s the most misunderstood thing about Nooka?

MW: That our product is a really the philosophy of universal communication and not the physical objects themselves. Also, people think we are a larger company than the 8 people start-up we are which actually can get in the way of some things. Of course, it’s not a bad problem to have I’m always told.

A Couple Notes from Marian Bantjes talk for the AIGANY

Marian Bantjes talking to AIGANY

For the majority of people in attendance last night, Marian gave the perfect talk. It was effortlessly paced, she balanced personal observations with real work and inspired a lot of people. While the 3G was almost non existent inside the theatre, all the tweets that shared quotes were glowing.

Most of my notes from her talk dealt with process. What I was drawn towards was her clairity of self reflection and the reaction of why she was doing what she was doing as she was doing it. I felt that even if she had not showed one slide for her talk she would have still left the audience inspired. I summed up the talk on Twitter by suggesting that she could teach blind people to design. She wasn’t emulating a “how to”, but a “why to” think talk.

A lot of the process and reflection had to do with her book I Wonder that I’m still taking my time to read. The best part of her talk concering the book was explaining which blog posts might be printed on paper and the rational of what made the cut. Trying to elevate her blog words into something that only print could display was a great attribut to define what she wanted to communicate. The story of The Sun, the Moon, the Stars was a great story of how it came to be.

I wouldn’t disagree with much of what she had to say about design in Canada, (after all I sold everything to move to NYC myself) I couldn’t help be a bit disappointed with her remarks as someone that never needed anyone to make it here. At least from the outside it has looked like the design community in Canada has given Marian a pedestal to share her perspective more so than anyone else there.

While I did record an audio version of her talk last night that I’ll be listening over again today to discover stuff that I missed the first time, there will be a video of the entire talk available online soon from the AIGA NY. Once that’s online I’ll pass along the link as I think any designer would be smart to hear what she has to say at least once.

Blackboard vs Whiteboard


Anyone that does a lot of design work will find themselves in front of a whiteboard from time to time. I even have a mini Muji version with me by my desk. So when I ended up last night getting a tour of Debbie Millman’s great new space for her Masters in Branding program at SVA, the first thing that struck me was the wall to wall blackboard.

While I won’t comment on the actual illustration (I think it could be simplified a bit), the color bounces off the black in a way that a white board could never achieve. It looks amazing. Sure a whiteboard’s purpose isn’t to make things look pretty, I have to admit that I’d love to make a blackboard like this. I suspect that the best balance would be to have one wall painted for a blackboard and the opposite wall painted for a whiteboard. That way the best of both worlds can be used.

Sky Pics From My Staycation

staycation 001 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 8, 2010 at 8.04am

staycation 002 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 11, 2010 at 8.43am

staycation 003 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 12, 2010 at 8.32am

staycation 004 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 13, 2010 at 9.59am

staycation 005 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 14, 2010 at 9.16am

staycation 006 view vs #walkingtoworktoday
October 15, 2010 at 8.48am

gray + yellow
October 14, 2010 at 6.13pm

Back in the day which seems ages ago I would shoot the same image outside my window, crop it in to a square and post it to Flickr. One of the many grids that came out of that exploration can be found HERE. Starting that project lead to some fun collaborations that has evolved into what I’ve been up to for the last year taking one photo everyday as I walk to work. My wife Tamara was going to be in Canada this week visiting family so I thought it might be worth taking a couple days of myself to hang out with Madison, get some rest and catchup with a couple friends. I wasn’t going to be walking to work but I still wanted to maintain the ability to take photos in a series. Hence I decided instead of cropping a tiny square of sky I’d pull my lens out as far as possible. I wasn’t sure what to expect after a week seeing them all together. What ended up happening was that the light danced nicely in a different manner almost everyday. The last image is from one of the evenings on the other side of my window when the light hits things slightly different because of the time of year we’re finally at.

Walking Around Union Square Taking in Sukkah City

Sukkah City
Shim Sukkah by tinder, tinker of Sagle, Idaho

Sukkah City
Star Cocoon by Volkan Alkanoglu

Sukkah City
Star Cocoon by Volkan Alkanoglu

Sukkah City
Gathering by Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen of New York City

Sukkah City
Gathering by Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen of New York City

Sukkah City
LOG by Kyle May and Scott Abrahams

Sukkah City
LOG by Kyle May and Scott Abrahams

Sukkah City
Single Thread by Matter Practice

Sukkah City
Repetition meets Difference | Stability meets Volatileness by Matthias Karch

Sukkah City
Sukkah of the Signs by Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello

Sukkah City
Sukkah of the Signs by Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello

Sukkah City
180 of Union Square

Sukkah City
Fractured Bubble by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan of Long Island City

Sukkah City
Fractured Bubble by Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan of Long Island City

Sukkah City
Time/Timeless by Peter Sagar

Architecture is one of those constants that is always around—a person can’t really escape an urban area that hasn’t been considered by a person. But there’s also the part of architecture that is viewed on screen that rarely makes it outside into air. When I first came across the idea of Sukkah City (Biblical in origin, the sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.) from various sites I was intrigued. The structures looked cool but I wondered how they would relate once built and people were interacting with them.

I got my chance to compare what I thought looked best on screen to what worked best on the sidewalk of Union Square. On the screen my fav was Gathering by Dale Suttle, So Sugita, and Ginna Nguyen—it was unlike anything I had seen before. Seeing it in person I still liked it a lot. It seemed pretty solid and maintained my interest. However there were a couple others that I missed on paper that when built really came together. In the use of materials and form I really liked Shim Sukkah by tinder, tinker of Sagle and Star Cocoon by Volkan Alkanoglu. They both bent materials in ways to create structures that I’d like to spend time in. While the Star Cocoon felt more of a personal space, the contrast of the Shim Sukkah would be an interesting environment to gather with friends.

If there was one consistent, it was that each unique design felt at home at Union Square projecting very different personalities. Contrasting the scale of the Log with the messages of Sukkah of the Signs was amazing. Coming from very two different directions each made an impact which is all I could ask for on a Sunday afternoon.


Sukkah City

NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Sukkah vs. Sukkah

BLDGBLOG: Sukkah City Approaches

CORE77: Sukkah City Arrives in Union Square

NYT: A Harvest of Temporary Shelters

Review of Marc Newson at Gagosian

marc newson at gagosian 012 bw

marc newson at gagosian 08

marc newson at gagosian 013

marc newson at gagosian 09

marc newson at gagosian 01

marc newson at gagosian 02

marc newson at gagosian 03

marc newson at gagosian 04

marc newson at gagosian 05

marc newson at gagosian 06

marc newson at gagosian 07

marc newson at gagosian 011

OK—this isn’t much as a review as it is a sense of wanting to mention the attention to details that any designer could look at and be inspired. Marc Newson’s themed collection at Gagosian aptly titled Transportation shows off a number of great designs that up until now I’ve only seen as images. There’s a car, a plane, a personal jet pack, space ship, bike, surf board and a pair of shoes. While I don’t think any of the larger designs have been mass produced aside from the boat (which the gallery is selling 22 of…), the attention to each pice fitting together is nice. While everything feels “designed”, each piece doesn’t smack of ego. The form has been bent to Newson’s pov yet respects what the function needs to perform.

There’s a couple elements that industrial designers tend to overlook that I think Newson pays attention to. Typography and the information design that is presented. The Ford car has one of my favourite dashboard’s. There’s a larger version of the Ikepod embedded into the car. The type on the side of the boat and plane are other examples. They are enhanced do to the nature of the information presented. The only slip up is with the space ship—it’s awful, but one example isn’t going to ruin the whole experience.

The exhibit TRANSPORT runs from September 14 through October 16, 2010 at Gagosian 522 West 21st Street, NYC. I suspect I’ll make another visit or two before it ends.

Gagosian Gallery

NEW YORK OBSERVER: Built for Speed? The Collector Chats With Marc Newson About His New Gagosian Show

CURATED MAG: Marc Newson “Transport”

MONODO BLOG: Marc Newson @ Gagosian

Great Info Graphic from the NYT about Traffic Lanes on Broadway

I actually came to the NYT story Broadway Is Busy, With Pedestrians, if Not Car Traffic from a post on Reuters by Felix Salmon How the NYT sees bikes on Broadway which offers a fascinating counterbalance to the original article. However that isn’t what I’m wanting to post about. What I did want to note is that the info graphic is an interesting study of simplification and visualization of a street that I’ve often walked down. If a person walks down any of those cross sections of bike lanes, car lanes and sitting areas, it changes constantly yet has a consistent flow. I’ve often wondered what the pattern looked from above—now I know.

QR Code Replaced Long URL on Poster

noticed NYC TV Life using QR Code on bus stop billboard #walkingtoworktoday

This morning as I do every morning that I walk to work I try to capture a photo of something that caught my attention. Today I stopped to notice a poster that had QR code on the bottom of it. Up until now most of the QR code stuff that I’ve seen on ads has been pretty gimmicky—but something about the placement had me curious. Plus the poster was from nyc.gov so I figured it probably had more value than just a coupon.

The three images show the chronological order of events. First I saw the poster, hence photographed it. Once I uploaded the image to Flickr I pulled out iPhone and pointed it at the QR code. Once read a bit.ly url popped up so I opened the url on my MacBook Pro after I emailed myself the link. The link btw is http://nyc.gov/html/media/html/schedules/schedules.shtml#life_schedule Turns out that the link is for a schedule of events on a number of different NYC TV channels. Everything worked perfectly to get to the site however the schedule in terms of getting me interested was pretty low. For all the effort to get me to the site I would hope that they would take some time to make the schedule readable outside of an excel form. At the minimum, include an image with each of the headings, at the max give me some filtering options with descriptions.

While I’m scratching my head wondering why they didn’t make the entire experience great, I do have to mention that it is pretty rare that I take the effort to actually check the url on any poster.

A Bathroom Worth Noting

window at Pulinos

Bathroom door at Pulinos

Sunday morning I had the opportunity to hang out with Randy J. Hunt, a smart design guy that I respect a lot. He has a habit of mentioning great places to eat so when he emailed me on Saturday wanting to meet up on Sunday I wasn’t going to say no. I had never been to Pulinos before but have walked by it quite a bit with Madison checking out what was going on Bowery.

We ended up splitting a couple pizza’s. There was the Nutella (extra virgin olive oil, sea salt + nutella) and the Ottima (Ricotta, wild blueberry jam + bacon). Having never had those combinations before I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Nutella was a plain thin crust with a side dish of Nutella and sea salt. The Ottima was had a decent proportion of the description above. They were both amazing for different reasons. Nutella and sea salt are a great combo while the ottima was a solid combination of three elements.

While the food was really good what made me want to do this post was the bathroom. Strange as that sounds there was a perception shift that I had never really felt before. A lot of bathrooms in NYC are multifinctional—meaning they’re both for women and men, but the doors at Pulinos would suggest otherwise. Walking down the stairs there’s two doors—women’s and men’s. Kind of obvious until a person washes their hands. The bathroom was empty while I was there, though I suspect the experience would have been different if I had seen anyone inside. In any case as I turned my head to my right I noticed that both the women’s and men’s doors lead to the same spot that I was standing. It was a really interesting gut hit to see that. I could have photographed the whole experience after the fact but I think it is worth going through without the visual ahead of time.

I would love to know the process of how this bathroom came to be. I’m going to assume that this idea isn’t completly unique but it was the first time I’ve experienced it first hand. That situation was a great example of taking a set of parameters that most people would have complained about, and made it something memorable to the context of a shared bathroom which isn’t exactly uncommon in NYC.

Rain Inspired Sunday Afternoon Outside my Window






With the humidity at levels that I can’t really tolerate I’ve been spending most of my Sunday afternoon reading. I’ve also been keeping an eye on the clouds roll in and out, sometimes turning my view completely white. But things move fast and a couple moments later I had a new pointillism inspired view. Tons of clear raindrops turned my view into something that if I didn’t capture that moment would likely not be seen again. Here’s a couple of those images.

It should be noted that these images are best viewed with the DJ Shadow’s Pandora channel playing in the background.

Checking out the Os Gemeos x Futura mural at PS. 11 Going Up

Os Gemeos and Futura2000

Os Gemeos and Futura2000

This morning I found out from a tweet of MarcDSchiller that Os Gemeos and Futura2000 have a painting going up. After spending some quality time enjoying the great weather at Madison Square Park I decided to walk a couple blocks to check out the progress. The painting is going up on the side of a school at 320 West 21st street and looks to be titled the “giant project” according to a post from Os Gemeos website.

UPDATE: Below is the press release for the mural.

For More Information: relations@akanyc.com

Brazilian artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo also known as ‘Os Gemeos’ and pop culture legend ‘Futura’ have partnered with New York City-based creative studio AKANYC and street art website 12ozProphet to create an eightyfoot mural on the west-facing wall of P.S. 11, William T. Harris elementary school, in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

Allen Benedikt, founding Creative Director of AKANYC, has been coordinating the mural project with each of the three artists for close to a year now after the success of Os Gemeosʼ previous New York City mural on Bowery. Working directly with Robert Bender, the principal of P.S. 11 and and along with additional support from Nike and MTN Colors, the project finally began in the afternoon of Friday, August 6, 2010- dovetailing with Nikeʼs World Basketball Festival. The overall theme of the mural is a message of international unity. Os Gemeos’ iconic yellow character (sometimes referred to as as ‘the giant’ or ʻgiganteʼ) will be seen adorned with flags representing countries around the globe in varying color patterns. Of the design, Os Gemeos says, “We are using different flags painted with non-traditional colors. The idea is ‘one world one voice’, no borders, no separation, just everything and everyone working together for a single cause that is a better world.”

The hope from all parties involved is that the mural will serve as a gift for the neighboring community and the children of P.S. 11- which is why the public wall was chosen over a private or more commercial space- and to also help initiate a larger empowering art movement within New York. “We want to open a dialogue with the city of New York and work with local and international artists to create a regular mural series that we believe will inspire and enrich the creative communities throughout the city,” says Benedikt.

Futura’s art will be seen within parts of Os Gemeos’ overall design, where he will add his signature style to the piece. Benedikt notes that bringing Futura into the project was something really important to him. “He [Futura] is a hometown hero for New York and it was important for us to have someone from the city working on the mural,” says Benedikt. “There’s a great dynamic between Futura and Os Gemeos. They each have very distinct and respected styles. Coming together, they prove there is a symbiotic relationship between their aesthetics and that is the true essence of collaboration.”

The mural will be completed this Friday, August 13, 2010. AKANYC has a production team of photographers and videographers documenting the entire process. These assets will become available to media outlets by request from AKANYC after the project’s completion. Os Gemeos, Futura, and Allen Benedikt will be available for select press interviews on Friday afternoon. Please contact Brittnee at AKANYC via the details below for scheduling information.


contact information: relations@akanyc.com
press contact: Brittnee Cann
Media Relations Manager AKANYC
www.akanyc.om | 51 MacDougal Street #235 | New York, NY 10012

AKANYC x 12ozProphet x Os Gemeos Mural at P.S. 11 in NYC

About Os Gemeos
Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo aka Os Gemeos
Os Gemeos (pronounced “ose zhe’-mee-ose”) are two artists from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Born in 1974, they are Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, identical twin brothers whose pseudonym, Os Gemeos, translates to “the twins” in Portuguese. In addition to painting, sculpture and installation work, in recent years Os Gemeos have gained international notoriety for their incredible works created on the streets of Sao Paulo.

Os Gemeosʼs particular process has led to a unique vernacular very specific to Sao Paulo. Most works are created using latex house paint, rollers and spray for the details. The artists championed this new style and mixed different influences from the street to create their own distinctly recognizable aesthetic. Improvisation plays a big role, as the work is shaped and formulated according to their surrounding environment.

Os Gemeos divide their painting mode in two, painting together, and starting and finishing each otherʼs works. The works convey their vision of day-to-day life, simple scenes that are sensually rich. The artists are interested in what lies inside of people, beneath the surface. Characters are often rendered smelling the insides of their clothing as if to say, “it is only here, behind the clothing that a personʼs true essence can be found.” They are influenced by the folklore and people of Brazil, creating characters that are reflections of both indigenous customs and the urban sprawl mimicking the contradictions of the world around them.

About Futura
Futura, born Leonard Hilton McGurr in 1955, is an internationally acclaimed artist who got his start in the 1970’s painting graffiti on New York City subway trains. His abstract approach to painting with aerosol gained him popularity amongst the art industry and in the early 80’s his work was featured in galleries alongside peers including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Growing as a more serious artist, Futura began collaborating on music projects- first in 2000 with English rock band The Clash when he helped to produce the sleeve artwork for their 7″ single ‘Radio Clash’. From there Futura went on to do another collaboration with the band during their ‘Combat Rock’ tour by live-painting on stage during their musical performances. Years later in 2002, Futura appeared in DJ Mehdi’s music video for single ‘Breakaway’ where he covers a room with his signature tags using black marker and spray paint. Most recently, in 2006, he was featured in a John Mayer music video alongside other street artists like ‘DAZE’ and ‘Tats Cru’. All of these successes and more have earned Futura globally established credibility in art, music, and pop culture circles. Today, 54 years old, Futura is still a well-respeted artist, not only for his graffiti art but his illustration and graphic design as well. Under the label ‘Futura Laboratories’, he designs his own clothing line headed out of Fukuoka City, Japan.

AKANYC is a boutique New York City-based creative agency that works with select clients to deliver online and offline media relevant for urban art and lifestyle culture. The companyʼs expertise includes graphic art, web design, studio photography, video production, and custom book publishing all. AKANYC’s client roster includes brands like Nike, Supreme, ALife, DQM, and Deitch Projects.

AKANYC was established in 2005 by Allen Benedikt and is also branded under the alias ALSO KNOWN AS.

About 12ozProphet
12ozProphet is one of the premier online communities for street art and popular culture enthusiasts. Founded in 1993, the website began as a fan zine featuring photographs of street art, articles about the underground movement, and selling art supplies like spray paint, caps, and other items including apparel and books. After reaching cult status in the late 90’s, 12oz moved business from it’s humble catalog to grow into a website that, still today, hosts forums where artists from all over the globe can congregate to discuss art and other musings. In the years since it’s move online, 12ozProphet has evolved to become a platform for many of the culture’s most authoritative voices by hosting blogs to a number of world-famous artists and photographers including Os Gemeos, Todd James aka Reas, Cody Hudson aka Struggle Inc, Martha Cooper, Haze, and Jamil GS.

www.akanyc.om | 51 MacDougal Street #235 | New York, NY 10012

Some Recent Press & Four Years in NYC

Bar codes get around town and get more useful

Gizmodo: What’s Your Tech Setup to Watch the World Cup?

Fast Company: World Cup: How Are You Watching?

Perspective: Michael Surtees on User Experience within an Ecosystem of Screens

I celebrated a small victory this morning. Four years ago was my first full day in NYC. I moved from Edmonton, Alberta Canada after setting my sights here for about six years. It has been a truly crazy and exciting time with lots of ups and higher ups but rarely any regret. I can honestly say every single day has been completely different from every other day. Ironically I think I’ve said that each year around this time. I’ve been truly lucky to have a great group of people here that have been encouraging, motivating and inspiring. You know who you all are and I thank you.

It seems like I’ve been on a roll lately with some press. Above are a couple things that I’ve been up to. The most recent was an interview I did with Mobile Behavior. It was a really good opportunity to refresh my thinking on a number of design issues so I think I might expand on some of those ideas expressed in the discussion in the upcoming weeks.

First impressions of Beyond the Street, the 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art

enjoying the book release of Beyond the Street at Deitch

Beyond the Street, the 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art cover

Beyond the Street, the 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art. Listings of who's in the book

Beyond the Street, the 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art pg 136-137

Beyond the Street, the 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art  pg 30-31

Before I jump into my reaction to Beyond the Street: With the 100 Most Important Players in Urban Art I think it’s important to explain what I think is good street art and why I’ll stop and photograph something outside. While I’m familiar with a lot of the “names” out there I do try to stay a bit ignorant of who’s doing what. I don’t want to be persuaded by reputation—I want to be as interested in stuff on their own accord, not what other people have said or sold in a gallery. I’m a visual guy so I can tell pretty quickly what’s been done with skill. I don’t think people should just live off their reputation if they’ve done shit work recently.

Last night I checked out Deitch whom was hosting the book launch of Beyond the Street: With the 100 Most Important Players in Urban Art. I’ve been a fan of this project for quite some time. Patrick Nguyen who is one of the editors contacted me a couple years ago asking if they could use a photo that I shot. I said sure as I wasn’t doing anything with it. Time passed and I forgot about the whole thing. Out of the blue a couple months ago I received a new email explaining that they ended up not using it. To be honest I wasn’t sad about it but appreciated the fact that they kept my two year old email and wanted to let me know. He also mentioned that they were going to launch the book soon in London & New York. So that brings me to last night.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the word spectacular ever in a post, but as I flipped throughthe book for the first time that’s what I was thinking. It’s one of the first book on street art that has managed to do a great job of balancing images and text together. The design is really tight though occasionally the type reminds me of Print & ID magazine. Aesthetics aside, how does the content hold up? It’s hard to say as I haven’t read the book yet. What I can say is that I’ll be spending some quality time with it over the long weekend to find out. The title is pretty ambitious though at first glance probably can seems like it’s covered a lot of what is worth documenting and talking about. Obviously they’re not going to be able to please everyone with the list but for me that actually wants to learn a lot more about some of the characters out there this book is a great starting point.

While I don’t know a lot about who’s doing what, there were three sets of people that I looked for and didn’t see in the book. I’m a fan of what peru ana ana peru and how they spread their stuff over the city. The designer in me likes how some things stay consistent while at other times become consistent in their inconsistency. The second group is Graffiti Research Lab. They blast digital stuff on to outside walls. How they’re pushing ideas, tech, and o pen source is worth mentioning. The third is Monsieur Chat. From an aesthetic pov he’s doing a lot of really tight stuff. I would have liked to have known more about each of those people and would have been good additions to the others.

The other thing that I would have liked to see is possibly a timeline along with criteria of how the people were chosen. Keep in mind that I haven’t actually read the book and there might be a rational embedded in each story that becomes apparent as to why certain people are listed. But with that all said I think this book should be on the shelf (and read) of anyone that has stopped briefly outside to look at marks that most people ignore in the busy daily life.

Visual Culture over the Weekend


Brick by Brick: the LEGO Brick sculpture of Nathan Sawaya

DQ Chairs

Taking advantage of the great NYC weather last weekend I was out and about as much as possible. Above are a couple things that I saw that caught my eye. It would be impossible to make much of a pattern from this aside from a couple of these things reminded me of years ago when I was much younger, and stuff that I think is cool while also showing the power of design that in some ways is timeless.

The first image was shot on the wall of my friend byAMT in her new studio in Soho. There’s a necklace and a couple rings. I really liked the flat geometric details of it. I’m curious to see how it looks on someone live.

The Lego image is from Brick by Brick: the LEGO Brick sculpture of Nathan Sawaya that I saw at the Agora Gallery. While they didn’t allow any photography I did manage to shoot this while they weren’t looking. There was a line up when I showed up on Saturday so if it’s something that might interest you to see, maybe head there early in the morning.

The last image is a couple seats from Dairy Queen. I still enjoy seeing stuff like this because the shape is so ingrained in my personal culture that I instantly knew where it came from.

Behavior Design Summer Internship Program 2010

Behavior Design

Behavior Design Summer Internship Program 2010
Duration: 6-8 weeks
Schedule: Full or Part-Time

Application Deadline: May 7th
Please submit portfolio, cover letter and resume to: interns2010@behaviordesign.com
[We will contact you – please, no phone calls]

Behavior is an award-winning New York web design consultancy focused on building compelling and elegant digital user experiences for business and culture. We have led the user experience and interaction design strategies for clients and projects across many industries, including HBO, BusinessWeek, The Smithsonian Institution, McGraw-Hill, JPMorgan Chase, The National Geographic Channel, AARP, the AIGA and The Onion.

Current Positions/Internships

· Visual and Graphic Design internship
· Design Technologist (HTML, CSS, JS)/Flash/Actionscript Developer internship

· Portfolio demonstrating conceptual and hands-on skills/capabilities
· 2+ years of experience at the college level
· Prefer One/Two recommendations (professor, supervisor, etc)
· Demonstrate an ability to work across a wide range of projects
· Prototyping and Production skills
· Passion for design and technology

Key Activities
· Work collaboratively, creatively and resourcefully with Behavior staff
· Brainstorming for current projects
· Help define strategy and create design expressions
· Assisting with design/development on current projects and new business pitches

· Must be able to create visual interaction designs (layouts, color palettes, typography, user interface elements, etc)
· Proficient in Adobe CS4 Suite
· Understand Information Architecture and Concept Design
· Conceptual and Hands-On Required

Recording a Normal Week One Photograph at a Time


A couple weeks ago I received an interesting invitation out of the blue. Kevin Boothe who currently is in Paris on an exchange with Parsons and OCAD asked me if I wanted to be a part of his series titled Weeklies. While the concept manifests itself in a number of ways, Kevin asked me to record one photo a day for a week. The kicker was that I couldn’t put it up on Flickr or show it publicly until he posted it. It’s a bit strange I realize but I like throwing things up online. In any case the week I chose to document was my last normal week at Daylife before I decided to give notice. It had a bit more meaning than an average working week because after I let the start up know I was moving on, things wouldn’t be the same. And afterwards it was a bit uncomfortable experience at times—but I digress. In any case I wanted to show a typical week, starting off with a morning view, a couple different work views, some walking home from hanging out with friend’s images and the crazy snowstorm weather that hit New York. And the water shot was from Toronto as I flew there to update my visa. You can view my contribution to Weeklies at http://documentmagazine.ca/weeklies/?p=157 It was a great project to be a part of and I highly recommend people taking the time every once in a while to stop and shoot a typical week to see what their environment is. I’ll probably do that from time to time myself.

EVENT: PSFK Conference New York 2010

PSFK Conference New York 2010 - Eventbrite_1268162282483

Piers and PSFK have been pretty good supporters of the blog and helpful to me, so when he asked if I’d mention PSFK Conference New York 2010 on Friday, April 09, 2010 I said sure. Below are all the speakers—I’ve seen and heard a couple of them before and can attest to their smarts.

Colin Beavan – Green pioneer and journalist aka No Impact Man
John Dimatos – Lecturer concepting tech solutions for Unicef at NYU
Nick Felton – Designer and creator of the annual infographic Feltron Report
Zach Lieberman – Creative technologist whose work bridges the real world with the digital
Andrew Hoppin – CIO who leverages digital media to create social impact across New York
Grant McCracken – Anthropologist and author of the book Chief Culture Officer
Shantell Martin – Illustrator & DJ who creates vivid video-projection ‘Oras’
Steve Powers – Contemporary artist who recently created the city-wide A Love Letter For You
Erik Proulx – Creative catalyst who inspires peers about their future; filmmaker behind Lemonade
Tina Roth Eisenberg – Graphic designer; and global tastemaker through her blog SwissMiss
Rob Walker – national columnist and instigator of Significant Objects

A couple Notes from Listening to Richard Saul Wurman and SenseMaker Dialogs

Familiar & Strange, Strange & Familiar

While attending SenseMaker Dialogs for their second event I was quite impressed with Richard Saul Wurman, the first of the two speakers last night. The term speaker is probably not the correct term to describe him though. As I walked in fifteen minutes early he was already on stage having a conversation with the audience that was there. That conversation continued until he stopped just before 8pm. His fluid approach as a conversationalist as opposed to lecturing was quite refreshing.

I probably wouldn’t do justice to his talk by trying to relive the whole conversation in a post though a couple points and observations did stand out for me. He strongly suggested that listening is a skill to strengthen at all times and to hold of on writing stuff down. That’s a contrast for me because I’ve always thought it was best to write something down as I’m more likely going to remember it. In terms of concepts he talked about the interplay between familiar and strange and the inverse of strange and familiar. Recognizing those patterns often lead to insights that in turn be acted upon.

Here’s my 140 tweet review of Richard…

If you get the chance to hear Richard Saul Wurman, I highly reccomend paying whatever it costs. Great conversationalist...

Following Richard’s talk there was a brief introduction of the SenseMaker Dialogs series and their speaker format of inviting two guests to present for forty five minutes each a couple times a year. While they have a Facebook page I hope they launch a normal site for SEO purposes. As far as I can imagine they have no way to check the analytics to see who’s visiting the site, who’s pointing to them or what’s being said outside of Facebook.

After that introduction Garry K. VanPatter talked about Humantific’s approach to design. I winced at seeing the concept of design mashed together with numbers like 3.0 or 4.0 because it felt forced. I think we’re passed the versioning thing. With that said there were a lot of points that I could consider as I continue to design. I’m just not a fan of someone on stage suggest that they’ve been at the forefront of a generalized concept of design for the last ten years and now everyone is ripping him off. The most fascinating part of his talk for me was the sketched design processes of a number of different types of people—students, to designers to business people. He could have easily just talked about that for the entire time and would have kept people interested.

Time to Iterate on Notify NYC and Weather Alerts

NYC at the moment



national weather service

notify nyc


As I went to bed last night I mentioned on Twitter that Snow was getting over hyped this year, though if good reason considering the record downfalls near DC. The only problem with it is that NYC has barely seen the same type of accumulation. We want crazy weather too. So as the latest storm rolls through my area I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the blizzard that I’m currently going through is be carried out online.

I’ve been signed up to Notify NYC for quite some time which tells me when something pretty crazy is happening, though from time to time the alerts have to do with wind, debris and street closures. This morning the alert was about the current blizzard. I’d never taken a really close look at the email alerts but noticed this morning that there isn’t a url for more info or something to track back. I mention track back because if there had been a url I would have used it a tweet. So what I did do was copy + paste the alert text into search to see what results I’d get. In the results there was a page from the National Weather Service, a site I don’t think I’ve visited before. I was surprised in this day and age that this page hasn’t been redesigned, it’s begging for clearer communication. I can understand back in the day when fax’s would look like this, but today there really isn’t any excuse. I don’t even know if NYC is mentioned on the page to be honest. My next step was actually going to the Notify NYC web site to see what information it could provide. I almost missed the small alerts on the right rail that are being feed in through RSS. I think this home page if not all of Notify NYC’s web site could use another iteration on the design side. The alerts are played down and the sign up process isn’t very inviting. The email alerts I get provide a good service yet if I used the home page as an indicator of value I’m not sure why anyone would sign up. I was also surprise that each alert didn’t have their own permalink. If there had been I would have pointed a tweet to that link, but it’s pretty pointless pointing people to the home page that is hard to recognize important information. My last info find was that Notify NYC actually has a Twitter account. I did start following them but noticed that the tweets and the email alerts was different—probably because within email that there’s an unlimited character count as opposed to Twitter that only has 140. If Notify NYC could create a permalink to the original message and integrate that url system into both the email and tweet alerts there would be no discrepancy in messages.


from Umbrella Today

And since I’m talking about the weather and alerts, these two alerts popped up on my iPhone as I was outside with my weimaraner. One is a basic weather tweet while the other is from Umbrella Today.

American Apparel vs Diesel on the Streets of NYC

American Apparel Poster

Diesel Poster

Walking to work today I thought these two posters almost side by side were worth noting if for no other reason than to show the state of posters on the sidewalk of NYC. Whether you love or hate American Apparel ads and for what they stand for, they’re certainly standing out from everything else out there. On the flip side Diesel has been getting a lot of attention for their tagline of Be Stupid, not so much for their visuals though something tells me that things could change in that category.

L Train Brooklyn Bound Violin

L Train Brooklyn Bound Violin

L Train Music

I don’t take the subway that often. I try to walk most of the time from location A to B in NYC for any number of reasons. There’s tons to look at, it’s a great way to get a feeling for what’s going on and there’s just so much to take note of. The only time I typically take the train is if I’m late for something or visiting friends in Brooklyn. Sunday afternoon was one of those instances when I was headed to Brooklyn to meet up for conversation with a friend. While waiting for L train in Union Square I and a couple others were treated to the perfect Sunday afternoon waiting for the train while it was drizzling outside violin music. It was so good I recorded a couple minutes of it on my iPhone. I’ve never recorded a musician like that before, but I was surprised at how decent it came out. The surrounding sounds of other trains, people walking by and announcements improved the sound experience. While I love all the visual stimulation outside while walking, sometimes a concert of one is all a person needs to get inspired.

L Train Brooklyn Bound Violin MP3 (01.24.10): 3.02

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