April 27, 2012

Alan von Lützau: Zirkeltraining

Today I like this book by Alan von Lützau, a freelancing creative based in Amsterdam and Berlin. Its title in German is "Zirkeltraining", in English it would be "Circuit Training". 

The lovely black and white book is published by Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz. Please check out their great program specialized in typography and graphic design.
"Books and products by 'Schmidt' are 'more than just a book' and possess the impetus to be the most significant and beautiful, perhaps even the very first publications on the specific subject matter."  

Just because it fits so well: They have also an online shop where you can order these two foxes by famous German graphic designer Otl Aicher, best known for being the lead designer for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Both posters were part of Aicher's controversial image campaign (1976) for Isny, a small resort in the Allgäu. Instead of green fields and blue sky, he created an environment completely in black and white - that was a bit disturbing for some people ...

 (Images: Verlag Hermann Schmidt, www.typografie.de: Otl Aicher: Isny-Plakate, Motive "Fuchs im Winterwald" and "Fuchs")

April 24, 2012

A Book from the 60s: Innenausbau im Wohnhaus

Last Saturday the annual flea market at the Theresienwiese took place here in Munich, with around 20.000 visitors each year. You can imagine, how big this market is. I was there very early in the morning and found many nice things: paintings, embroidered pillowcases, even a three wheeler, dishes from the 50s. I was so packed, I barely got home ...  

Lucky me I was able to get some nice books too. Here is my favorite: It calls "Innenausbau im Wohnhaus" in German, in English the title would be "Interior Fittings in the House" or something like that. It's probably from the early 60s (I'm searching and searching, there is no date in it) and contains drawings of living, sleeping and workings rooms, floor plans, sketches, lots of lovely photos. Very instructive and informative, I'll have to read a lot in it.

(Eichhorn, Karl; Gaugele, Eberhard; Haberer, Albert; Ruoff, Christa und Emil: Innenausbau im Wohnhaus, Verlag Ernst Heyer, Essen) 

April 19, 2012

Kelly Lynn Jones: Little Paper Planes

 Finally I have it! I was looking forward to this fine one:
Kelly Lynn Jones: Little Paper Planes. 20 artists reinvent the childhood classic, April 2012.
You can pick up a copy here or here!

"Little Paper Planes" has been published this month by Chronicle Books and is packed with 20 paper airplane projects by "some of today's hottest artists" among them Gemma Correll, Michael C. Hsiung, Julia Rothman, Alyson Fox, Christopher David Ryan, Ashkahn ShahparniaElisabeth DunkerLittle Paper Planes is also the name of the extraordinary online store and super creative artist community founded in 2004 by San Francisco based artist Kelly Lynn Jones. To find out more, please head over to their website and blog featuring many talented rising-star artists and lots of affordable art in the shop. Don't miss their other zines and books!

All planes are printed on perforated paper for easy removal and construction. If I'm honest I'm thinking about removing some of the most beautiful pages just to hang them on the wall - unfolded ... maybe this boring idea results of folding paper planes from YouTube videos for my 4-year-old each and every day ... 
Want a hint? This one is flying very well!

April 16, 2012

Exhibition: Favorite Technologies of the 1950s

There is a temporary exhibition about the 1950s at the Deutsches Museum here in Munich. We were there yesterday and it was fun to see all the fully automatic washing machines, hairdryers, toasters, recorder players, tube radios, nostalgic advertising and even a few books, mainly for the husband to show them in the wall unit or for the housewife to learn better baking or cooking ;) We were also here of course. 

April 13, 2012

Sebastian Lörscher and Kunstanstifter Verlag

Some weeks ago I got a mail and some jpegs from Sebastian Lörscher, author and illustrator of Ziegenmilch & Zeichenstift, published in Kunstanstifter Verlag. I like his book which he wrote and illustrated together with his 93 year old grandfather Ernst Körber. It's about his own and his grandfather's first 25 years of life. In 50 short stories it becomes clear - even though the times had changed so much - how similar their personal experiences, fears, major goals, disappointments and moments of happiness had been. More about the author/illustrator here and here.

The Kunstanstifter Verlag is a small independent publishing house, founded in 2006 by Susanne and Niklas Thierfelder, based in Mannheim, Germany. The publishers have many more fine books in their program, so I love to share my other favorites with you as well (all in German, so please click on the links to find out more). Here you can browse their current catalog.


April 11, 2012

Faces: Anja Brunt, Zoe Miller, David Goodman

I'm a big fan of Anja Brunt's 365 faces project. Last year she created a different face every day. And this year she continues making and finding faces here and there. Have a look at her stunning blog!

(All images and faces: Anja Brunt)

Even more faces by Brighton based designers David Goodman and Zoe Miller: new 25 wooden blocks to create hundreds of unique faces. Here you find more of their brand millergoodman, launched in 2008. And here it goes to their Shhhop!
They also made a book about faces (published 2011).  "On every page of this inspiring and imaginative book the reader will encounter unusual and creative ways of making faces, using printing, collage, geometric shapes and sculpture. Surprising details are revealed by lifting flaps, looking through holes or turning the book upside-down. As well as being entertaining and engaging, `Faces` offers an insight into major modern art movements, including pop art, op art, abstraction, junk art and kinetic sculpture. The book's designers reference key artists, including Alexander Calder, Joan Miro, and Eduardo Paolozzi as well as graphic designers of the 1950s and '60s." You can pick up a copy here or here.

(Zoe Miller / David Goodman: Faces, Tate Publishing, 2011)

There are faces everywhere. Please don't miss Sabine Timm's fantastic work

April 02, 2012

Jaja Verlag: Interview with Annette Köhn and Marie Geißler

Founded in autumn 2011 the Jaja Verlag is a small independent publisher based in Berlin-Neukölln, more precisely in the Musenstube, a shared studio (this doesn't exist in English: ein Gemeinschaftsatelier) for illustrators, authors, artists, web and graphic designers, among them Ulrike Jensen, Antoine Villoutreix (listen to his chansons!), Elly WirthSalom Beaury. Please visit their sites and blog, it's all worth-viewing (take some time). Here you find all Jaja books, buttons, stickers at the publisher's webshop. Last week I had the great pleasure to ask publisher Annette Köhn and illustrator/author Marie Geißler a few questions about their work and Jaja.

(Image: Jan Köhn/Panomenia)

Saskia: Annette, please tell us a bit about your work as a publisher. Do you work alone or as part of a team?
Annette: I’m born under the sign of Pisces, so I’m already a plurality! Kidding aside: my publishing house is like a child of mine, and somehow I’m running it alone - but from the time when the publishing process for a new book starts, I’m working in a sort of team together with the author. At least it feels like that, and generally, a close cooperation with the author based on mutual trust is very important for me. In any case, combining ideas from author and publisher and bringing the new book into the world jointly is usually very fruitful.

Saskia: Annette, erzähl uns bitte etwas über deine Arbeit als Verlegerin. Arbeitest du allein oder im Team?
Annette: Ich bin ja im Sternzeichen Fische, also ich allein bin schon Mehrzahl! Okay, Spaß beiseite: Der Verlag ist mein Baby, ich mach das irgendwie alleine, aber in dem Moment, wo es darum geht, ein Buch zu veröffentlichen, arbeite ich ja im Team mit dem Autor irgendwie. Zumindest fühlt es sich so an und mir ist eine vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit sehr wichtig. Auf jeden Fall ist es meistens sehr fruchtbar, wenn Autor und Verlag ihre Ideen zusammenschmeißen und dann gemeinsam das Baby zur Welt bringen ...
(Illustrations: Marie Geißler)

Saskia: How did you come up with the idea to start a publishing company? Was this something you have always wanted to do?
Annette: Hmm, I’m stumbling over the first part of the question, since in my view, ideas come all by themselves. Starting my own publishing company has been an on-again-off-again dream or plan of mine for quite a while. Finally, in 2011, the time was ripe for putting this plan into action, and so was I.

Saskia: Wie kamst du auf die Idee, einen Verlag zu gründen? War das ein lang gehegter Wunsch von dir?
Annette: Wie kamst du auf die Idee ... Über den Fragenanfang stolper ich schon immer. Die Idee schwirren doch rum, die kommen von selbst. Und einen eigenen Verlag zu gründen, ist ein immer mal wieder geträumter oder geplanter Wunsch gewesen. 2011 war die Zeit reif dafür. Und vor allem ich.

(Image: Jan Köhn/Panomenia)

Saskia: Sales and printing are associated with significant costs, I suppose. How difficult is it to obtain sufficient funding for publishing activities?
Annette: Yes, production is quite expensive, therefore sometimes the authors bear a part of the production costs. I try to keep the costs within a reasonable limit by focusing on small numbers of copies… The sales task is a real time killer, but it makes some of the spent money magically come back! But publishing is financially feasible for me only when I can compensate for the expenses using other sources of income, namely my work as a graphic artist and illustrator.

Saskia: Vertrieb und Druck kosten ja sicher einiges. Wie finanziert ihr euch?
Annette: Ja, die Produktion schluckt viel Geld, manchmal tragen die Autoren die Kosten mit. Mit niedrigen Auflagen versuch ich meine Finanzierungen überschaubar zu halten ... Um den Verkauf kümmern ist dann vor allem ein Zeitschlucker, aber so kommt auch wieder bisschen Geld zurück, magic! Das Verlegen geht also immer nur, wenn ich gute Grafik- oder Illustrationsaufträge habe, die mein Konto füllen. 

Saskia: What are the criteria for selecting the books you are going to publish? Which criteria are prime?
Annette: Entirely after my fancy... Sometimes I’ve simply asked illustrators, drawing artists and authors from my circle of friends for input, but mostly they have been approaching me. Of course, I also receive portfolios and finalized concepts from people I didn’t know before. What is important for me is that I feel fully comfortable with the respective work, that its method of production matches its content, and that it fits into the line of works already published by Jaja.

Saskia: Wie wählst du die Bücher aus? Was ist dir dabei wichtig?
Annette: Ganz nach meinem Geschmack. Teilweise habe ich die Illustratoren und Zeichner und Autoren meines Bekanntenkreises einfach aufgefordert, mir was zu liefern, aber meistens kamen die auch von selbst auf mich zu und natürlich schicken mir jetzt auch "Unbekannte" ihre Portfolios oder fertigen Ideen zu. Wichtig ist mir, dass ich mich ganz wohl fühle mit dem Werk, dass die Produktionsweise zum Inhalt passt, dass es in die Vielfalt der bisherigen Publikationen passt.

 (Image: Jaja Verlag Blog)

Saskia: Which book are you currently reading in your free time? What are your all-time favorite books?
Annette: Currently I have no spare time at all for reading… But I’m reading Eragon to my son. My favorite books? Dune, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter, Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures, Glennkill, Snowcrash, Diamond Age …

Saskia: Was liest du zurzeit? Was sind deine liebsten Bücher?
Annette: Gerade habe ich gar keine Zeit zum Lesen ...  Meinem Sohn lese ich Eragon vor. Lieblingsbücher? Der Wüstenplanet, Der goldene Kompass, Harry Potter, Rumo, Glennkill, Snowcrash, Grenzwelt ...

(Images: Jaja Verlag Blog)

Saskia: Can you tell us about ongoing publishing projects of Jaja Verlag? To which new Jaja books can we look forward to this year?
Annette: Indeed - plenty of projects! Our upcoming project is „Luna&Luno“, a comic book for children (at last!;-). Furthermore, we have “ZOO-ABC” on our agenda (a cardboard book for small children), and in summer a few literary works are planned to appear where the focus is on text instead of illustrations. I have a super-large number of projects in the queue, but I’m not going to disclose all of them yet.

Saskia: Gibt es aktuell neue Buchprojekte des Jaja Verlages? Worauf können wir uns dieses Jahr noch freuen?
Annette: Ohja, Projekte ohne Ende! Am aktuellsten ist "Luna&Luno", ein Comicbuch für Kinder endlich mal! Dann kommt irgendwann "Das ZOO-ABC" als Pappbuch für die noch Kleineren und gegen Sommer sollen ein paar ernsthaft literarische Sachen kommt, wo der Schwerpunkt mal auf dem Text liegt ... usw. Ich habe eine superlange Warteliste, aber die verrat ich noch nicht komplett.

Saskia: Marie, you are the author and illustrator of the charming cook book "Kochen wie fliegen" published by Jaja. How did the idea for the book occur to you?
Marie: The cook book originated from a request from my mother, who was pleasantly surprised at a visit at my place in Berlin how tasty and wholesomely vegetarian dishes can be. She highlighted that she felt unusually “light” after vegetarian meals, being accustomed to “heavier” cooking habits at her home. Therefore the book title „Kochen wie fliegen“ (“Cooking like flying”). Generally, I like to take up requests from family members and friends and use them as an inducement for drawing. The great thing here is that I can approach such ideas totally freely, relying fully on my artistic means of expression or trying out new means. Moreover, these works make the presentees happy and sometimes they can even be turned into commercial products. 

Saskia: Marie, du bist die Autorin und Illustratorin des "Kochen wie fliegen"-Kochbuchs, erschienen im Jaja Verlag. Erzähl uns bitte, wie es zu der Kochbuchidee kam.
Marie: Das Kochbuch entstand aus dem Wunsch meiner Mutter, die bei einem Besuch bei mir in Berlin freudig überrascht war, wie lecker und vollwertig vegetarisches Essen schmecken kann, und vor allem  anmerkte, wie leicht sie sich nach der Mahlzeit fühle, da sie zu Hause andere Kochgewohnheiten als ich hat. Daher der Titel "Kochen wie fliegen".
So greife ich geäußerte Wünsche von Familienmitgliedern oder Freunden gerne auf und nutze sie als Zeichenanlass. Das Tolle ist, dass ich dann ganz frei ans Werk gehen kann und meine zeichnerische Sprache eins zu eins umsetzte oder Neues ausprobiere. Außerdem freuen sich die Beschenkten und manchmal kann daraus ein Produkt entstehen.

Saskia: What do you like most at your workplace, the Musenstube?
Marie: That the Musenstube is a hub for a large number of creative artists. Most of us are illustrators, but there is a large network of people from other creative professions too, such as musicians and authors, who also use the Musenstube as a contact point. I enjoy it very much that this allows us to work jointly on projects and to hold events together. This way one doesn’t grow lonely cocooned in one’s own work, and it inevitably brings about new ideas.

Saskia: Was gefällt dir besonders an eurer Ateliergemeinschaft Musenstube
Marie: Dass die Musenstube ein Knotenpunkt zwischen vielen Kulturschaffenden ist. Hauptsächlich sind wir ja Illustratoren, aber es gibt ein großes Netzwerk von Kreativen, wie Musikern oder Autoren, die die Musenstube auch als Anlaufpunkt nutzen. Ich finde es sehr schön, dass wir gemeinsam Produkte machen und auch Veranstaltungen, so vereinsamt man nicht innerhalb seiner eigenen Arbeit und kommt zwangsläufig auf neue Ideen.

Saskia: What is inspiring you more (and why): cooking or drawing?
Marie: Hmm, both is fun, but after all I feel more at home with drawing, because this is where I have more expertise. But there are similarities, of course – for me, both cooking and drawing have much to do with improvisation and both require a harmonious composition of several ingredients. In a way, I perfect my drawings on completion like I would season a freshly cooked dish.

Saskia: Was beflügelt dich persönlich mehr: Kochen oder Zeichnen? Und warum?
Marie: Mmh, mir macht beides Spaß, aber beim Zeichnen bin ich doch mehr zu Hause, weil ich mich da besser auskenne. Es gibt natürlich einige Parallelen, bei mir hat beides viel mit Improvisation zu tun und verschiedene Zutaten ergeben eine Gesamtkomposition, die am Ende gut sein muss. So schmecke ich meine Zeichnungen auch am Ende nochmal ab.