Our blog has moved to http://brooklynindustries.tumblr.com/. Come for a visit, won’t you?
Our blog has moved to http://brooklynindustries.tumblr.com/. Come for a visit, won’t you?
Archimedes, had his famous eureka moment while taking a hot bath. For Jacob Heftmann, it was a hot shower. While trying to figure out what he was going to wear after showering, Heftmann came up with the idea for Wevther.com, a stylish and smartly minimal site that offers up fashion inspiration depending on the weather outside. Heftmann created the algorithm and design himself, and despite the site only launching recently, it has already garnered praise and coverage from Swiss Miss to Refinery 29, and has even attracted a few resumes from those eager to work on the new project.
Heftmann’s studio/apartment in the heart of Bushwick is not unlike his website – it is tasteful, spacious, well-curated, but also approachable. It’s orderliness however belies the insane amount of work coming out of the space. Juggling the newfound attention to Wevther.com with Heftmann’s demanding client work can be especially challenging at times when there’s an overwhelming urge to work all the time when your studio is ten feet from the shower. To keep a balance between work and play, Heftmann often throws dinner parties at his ten seat table, and makes a concentrated effort to meet clients and collaborators at coffeeshops, or in our case, for a short walk around the neighborhood to shoot photographs and answer a couple of questions right outside the Morgan train stop.
What led you on the path to becoming a Graphic Designer?
I actually studied philosophy and art history at the University of California – Santa Barbara. I spent half of the year traveling and competing as a sponsored snowboarder, and in the summer and fall I would take 20 units worth of classes so I could graduate on time. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was in school. After I graduated I realized it was going to be hard to get by on degrees in philosophy and art history. I came from a very art and design conscious family so design just sort of happened on its own. I’ve always been interested in technology and when I started to see the potential of design in that context, I knew what I wanted to do. That was around 2007. I was frustrated by my choice of degrees at first but in retrospect I’ve come to appreciate their value; philosophy taught me how to think and art history taught me how to see, which are good tools for a designer.
What are your inspirations for your creative activities?
I’m dubious about the idea of trying to force inspiration. The best ideas come from a combination of seemingly unrelated concepts, and that has to happen organically. To borrow from Chuck Close, you have to kind of just show up and get to work.
The closest you can get is to put yourself in the right situations. I almost always have a camera with me. It reminds me to keep my eyes open, rather than just floating along. I try to travel three to four months out of the year, which is a big part of why I work for myself. It sounds pretentious, but I can’t stand glamorous travel. Traveling is the best way to learn if you allow yourself to be in uncomfortable situations.
One thing I try not to do is look at what’s happening in graphic design, especially digital. It makes for derivative work. I follow it, of course, but I’m more interested in other disciplines, like architecture, photography and science.
We met Lauren Silberman recently during a night out dancing at Kinfolk Studios, and were thrilled to discover her great series titled Afterparty, a candid and colorful collection of the chaos, disappointment, and beauty that is the after party. We caught up with Silberman afterwards to ask her about her work.
What was your inspiration behind the Afterparty series? So it’s hard to say where the inspiration came from – I guess there are a few things. When I began the series, I was going through a very hard time and dealing with the loss of someone close to me. I was trying to negotiate finding happiness in the sadness that had consumed me. There is something obviously sad about these images. When printed large, they confront the view with a party that is over… the viewer missed the party. The room is empty, with only traces and evidence of something that happened there. But the images are lush and full and colorful – all qualities that I am drawn to and find beautiful, and make me happy.
The series is shot in various unique Brooklyn spaces. How does your connection to the scene influence your work?
The series is informed by my connection to my own nightlife scene in Brooklyn that’s very (I hesitate to use these words because they are so overused) underground and DIY. I’ve been participating in events for years in some way or another, and I have a real connection to these events that are true labors of love by their participants. I am really drawn to the attention, care and sometimes obsession that people put into creating their own culture – and that’s exactly what these events are about. People spend so much time decorating the space, booking acts and DJs, and organizing the door and the bar – a lot goes into these to create a very special experience for people who attend the parties. Without events like this, New York would be really boring.
What’s up next for you (what’s after the Afterparty)?
As far as for what’s next, the Afterparty series is kind of a long running project that I’ve contributed to slowly over the past 5 years. During that, I have spent a lot of time in New Orleans shooting friends and acquaintances who are loose members of the post-Katrina burgeoning art scene. It’s such an amazing city, where unlikely people flourish in an unlikely place. People really make things happen for themselves there in their own way, that is really different from the way people do it in New York, and I find it really inspiring. They’re not trying to be a part of something else or bigger, but just doing what they do, and doing it for themselves, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air. I’m also really interested in exploring the city of Los Angeles, and have been researching the history of its nightlife spots. The architecture in the the city is fascinating, and there are some really beautiful venues with a history that I would like to photograph… but that’s very much in the beginning stages.
View more of Lauren Silberman’s work on her website.
Like superheroes, all companies have their origin story. For Brooklyn Industries, it began with two young artists – Vahap Avsar and Lexy Funk in a Chelsea apartment in 1996. Staring out the window, Avsar often found his gaze landing on an old Marlboro billboard that had been weathered from months and months in the New York weather.
Sifer-Chyper, 1991, Vahap Avsar
Drawing inspiration from his large body of work that mostly concentrated on the semiotics of visual language, 3rd world bricolage, and upcycling art from common objects, Avsar began sewing the bags in their apartment, and when demand outgrew their tiny quarters, the partners moved to a warehouse in the then gritty Williamsburg where they worked and lived without heat or air conditioning. When the amount of knocks on their warehouse door became untenable, Funk and Avsar opened a retail space that was to become the genesis for Brooklyn Industries.
Last year, the company began re-establishing production in Brooklyn with one craftsman and one sewing machine making one bag at a time. One year later, we’ve set up a small production facility at our current headquarters in Brooklyn called Factory, and are celebrating it with the re-release of the Crypto Billboard Bag. Prior to the re-release of the original line, we’ve released a number of new designs made in house this past year, including the Sunnyside Bag, the Java Tote, and the Corlear Bag. As an added bonus, each bag comes with a limited edition, numbered screen printed poster commemorating the re-release.
Each custom-made, waterproof messenger bag is completely unique with its own different cuts and decontextualized designs. With digital advertisements dominating the visual landscape, Avsar sought to bring back a sense of nostalgia towards tactile messaging. The Crypto bag line is the latest in Brooklyn Industries’ new releases that is helping the company establish a greater local manufacturing presence.
Brooklyn Industries is throwing a holiday office party for some of our favorite bloggers and their staff… and you’re invited too! Come meet the tastemakers, photographers, and designers behind the blogs, and booze it up with them – Office Style!
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
What have we been up to this week? Cutting snowflakes with scissors… lots and lots of them. This year, we’ve kept up with the tradition of upcycling office material and paper – from photo shoot backdrops to used printer paper to craft our 2012 holiday windows. Special shoutout to our window display artist, Koh Tomioka for constructing these great winter wonderlands.
Miles, our store manager in Nob Hill shares his favorite neighborhood spots in Portlandia.
Salt & Straw - 838 Northwest 23rd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97210
Salt and Straw is a new addition to NW 23rd Ave, and people literally line up around the block to get their mitts on these decadent ice cream creations. In particular, the Sea Salt Ice Cream w/ Caramel Ribbon is so ostentatiously tasty I had to write haiku:
put the “Salt” in straw
caramel time is the best
the ooey gooey
Other flavorsome options include Cheddar Apple Pie, Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, and Pear with Blue Cheese. A must for any gastro-tour of Portland.
Cinema 21 - 616 Northwest 21st Avenue Portland, Oregon 97209
Any time your local, independent theater brings Crispin Glover to town for a Q and A, you support that local, independent theater.
Muu-Muu’s - 612 Northwest 21st Avenue Portland, OR 97209
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a muumuu as, “a loose often long dress having bright colors and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii.” Muu-Muu’s Restaurant and Bar on NW 21st Ave, however, can be defined using only one word: scrumptious. The friendly staff and romantic lighting, coupled with a decidedly eclectic menu makes Muu-Muu’s the non-Hawaiian themed Restaurant and Bar of the Nob Hill neighborhood.
One can’t really go wrong with the entire left side of the menu. From steak bites and seared wasabi tuna, to caprese salad and steak bites, to steak bites and steak bites, it can be difficult to decide what to order! But fear not – at Muu-Muu’s, prices are so reasonable you won’t have to think twice about ordering all twenty items on the menu at once. I call that move “Muu-Muuing.” Do yourself a favor and drop by Muu-Muu’s late at night, the lovely staff and bespectacled barkeep will always treat you right. Also, sometimes they have a guy with huge dreadlocks who DJ’s, and by “DJ’s” I mean he selects songs from his laptop without crossfading them into one another. People come for the steak bites, but they stay for the steak bites.
Sammy’s Flowers - 2280 Northwest Glisan Street Portland, Oregon 97210
Sammy’s Flowers is a great local flower shop just up the street from Brooklyn Industries Portland that will always help you say just what you need to say, with flowers. The shop actually just moved into this new building with much more street visibility after extricating itself from the shadow of the local Trader Joe’s. They’re great for birthdays, anniversaries or let’s say, hypothetically, that you got yourself into a lovers quarrel and really need a big gesture to smooth things over. Well if that’s the case, then Sammy’s Flowers is the place!
And while you’re in Portland, come say “Hi!” to Miles and the gang at Brooklyn Industries Portland at 735 NW 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97210. 503-241-4898