Category Archives: Art & Design

A Phenomenal Woman Passes

Poet Maya Angelou reading ‘Phenomenal Woman’

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
from ‘Caged Bird’ by Maya Angelou

The NYTimes obituary for Maya Angelou reads like the life stories of 4 or 5 people, crammed into one: poet, author, journalist, playwright, singer, dancer, first black conductor on the San Francisco trolley, and more. And all of that action was translated over a lifetime into poems and memoirs that inspired and left an impression on the culture. To sample her works and collaborations:

The Complete collected poems of Maya Angelou – PS3551.N464 A17 1994

Gather together in my name / Maya Angelou – E185.97.A56 A29

I know why the caged bird sings / Maya Angelou. – PS3551.N464 Z466 2009

Life doesn’t frighten me / by Maya Angelou ; illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat – PS3551.N464 L54 1993 OVERSIZE

Now Sheba sings the song / by Maya Angelou ; with art by Tom Feelings. – PS3551.N464 N67 1994

Tony Palladino Covers

Last week designer and SVA faculty member Tony Palladino passed away. Our archivist, Beth Kleber, has a nice remembrance of Palladino on the SVA Archives blog, Container List. While you are there, take a look the image collection to which she links. As it happens, the latest version of the SVA Archives’ display case in the front of the library is currently dedicated to Palladino’s work as a designer of book jackets. Like so many designers of note, a search for his name does not turn up a lot in the Vision catalog, but that does not mean he didn’t leave behind a considerable legacy.


Under Eden’s Selective Sequential Neuron of Nearness – new books!

Eden and After / Nan Goldin – TR681.C5 G67 2014

Under Wildwood / Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis – PZ7.M51635 Und 2012

Neurocomic / by Matteo Farinella, Hana Ros – QP376 .F37 2013

Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can’t Learn about Sex from Animals / Marlene Zuk – QL761 .Z85 2002

China is Near / Joyce Kozloff – N6537.K659 A4 2010

The Visual Language of Comics: Introduction to the Structure and Cognition of Sequential Images / Neil Cohn – PN6710.C64 V57 2013

HR Giger’s World

HR Giger, creator of the nightmarish world brought to life in the Alien films, just passed away. Before that Giger had worked on the visual style of Alejandro Jodorowksy’s Dune, a film which was never made (though is the subject of a recent documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune – We’ll add that to the collection when it’s put out on DVD, but in the meantime, take a look at Jodorowsky’s Constellation).

“My planet was ruled by evil,” Giger said of his Dune design, “a place where black magic was practiced, aggressions were let loose, and intemperance and perversion were the order of the day. Just the place for me, in fact.”

Giger’s vision and style, mixing eroticism, horror, and biomechanical beings with a surrealist’s touch had a far reaching impact, from film design to album covers, and beyond.

(image from Www HR Giger com)

More on Giger: Juxtapoz slideshow, Dangerous Minds, boing boing, Rolling Stone album covers

In the stacks:

Www HR Giger com / text, H.R. Giger – ND1460.F35 G55 1997

HR Giger ARh₊ / editing and production, Gaby Falk

H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon 2/ NC988.5 G53 N4

N.Y. City / H. R. Giger – NC988.5.G53N48

Alien – dir. Ridley Scott – V-F S467 AliD DVD

Logo Redux?

Have you ever seen a logo that seemed a little too familiar? The website LogoThief offers cases of design theft, or heavy borrowing, depending on the case. The site provides a place to track and report such cases, and possibly serves as a warning to would-be logo thiefs.
To explore copyright and logos further:

Copyfraud and other abuses of intellectual property law / Jason Mazzone. – KF2994 .M399 2011

Logo lab : featuring 18 case studies that demonstrate identity creation from concept to completion / by Christopher Simmons. – NC1002.L63 S55 2005

Logo life : life histories of 100 famous logos / Ron van der Vlugt. – NC1002.L63 V68 2012

Logo brainstorm book : a comprehensive guide for exploring design directions / Jim Krause. – NC1002.L63 K73 2012

Logo savvy : top brand-design firms share their naming and identity strategies / Perry Chua & Dann Ilicic ; WOW Branding. – NC1002.L63 L657 2007

Logo design workbook : a hands-on guide to creating logos / Sean Adams & Noreen Morioka with Terry Stone ; designed by Sean Adams & Jennifer Hopkins. – NC1002.L63 A3 2006

Masters of design : logos & identity : a collective of the world’s most inspiring logo designers / Sean Adams. – NC1002.L63 A32 2008

Logolounge 6 : 2,000 international identities by leading designers / Catharine Fishel and Bill Gardner. – NC1002.L63 F57 2011

How Many ‘100 Best Animated Films’ Have You Seen?

TimeOut polled experts and came up with a list of the 100 Best Animated Movies. We dug through it to see what the SVA Library owns and what we didn’t. The good news is that we had 89 out of the 100. The bad news is that there were only three titles we did not have that are also available to purchase (or the right format).
That means “The Bugs Bunny & Road Runner Movie”, “When the Wind Blows”, and “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” by Don Hertzfeldt will soon be added the collection. If you see any of the following available on NTSC Region 1 DVD, let us know! What we do not have: Feherlofia (Jankovics), Goodbye Mr. Christie (Mulloy), The Tale of the Fox (Starewicz), Only Yesterday (Takahata), Mind Game (Yuasa), Consuming Spirits (Sullivan).

Looking through the list, are your favorites included? Any titles you think should have made the list but didn’t? Let us know in the comments.

Here are their Top 10:
10. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) – V-AN A535 Fan DVD
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – V-AN B877 NigC DVD
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – V-AN D476 Sno DVD
7. The Iron Giant (1999) – V-AN B573 IroS DVD
6. Dumbo (1941) – V-AN D476 Dum DVD
5. The Incredibles (2004) – V-AN B573 Inc DVD
4. Toy Story (1995) – V-AN D476 Toy1 DVD
3. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – V-AN M592 My DVD
2. Spirited Away (2001) – V-AN M592 Spi DVD
1. Pinocchio (1940) – V-AN D476 Pin DVD

Definitive Fairy Punk Eno Place Lego Set – new books!

The LEGO book / by Daniel Lipkowitz. – TS2301.T7 L455 2012

Brian Eno : visual music / by Christopher Scoates – N6797.E55 A4 2013

Fairy tale comics : classic tales told by extraordinary cartoonists / edited by Chris Duffy – PN6720 .F35 2013

Fashion : the definitive history of costume and style / produced in association with the Smithsonian consultant, Susan Brown – GT511 .F365 2012

Art & place : site-specific art of the Americas. – NX456.5.S57 A78 2013

Punk : an aesthetic / edited by Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage – ML3534 .P863 2012

Food for Fines – Spring 2014

Need to clear some fines in order to graduate or check stuff out, or maybe just to have a clean slate? This semester we are extending the normal Food for Fines period to three weeks!

When: April 14-May 5 (last day of the semester)
What: You bring in canned food items. Each one knocks $2 off your fine total.

All of the food goes to City Harvest, to help those in need. Clear your fines for a good cause – everyone wins!

Image by Helen Kwok.

Eco-fonts? Typography in the News


You may have seen the story recently about high schoolers who calculated that the US government could save as much as $400 million dollars by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond, because the latter used so much less ink due to its thinner lines. Appealing as this proposal might be, it had some flaws to do with legibility (since 12 point Garamond is really 15% smaller than 12 point Times New Roman, therefore harder to read) and government printing costs have more to do with per page contracts with outside vendors than direct ink purchases. That said, the basic idea is sound, as shown by the case of Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, which made mid-70s phone books more legible while cutting ink costs.

In the wake of this news, Ryman Eco, a free font designed to reduce ink use by 33% has just been offered to the public in order to cut environmental waste and printing costs. To my amateur’s eye, it resembles Helvetica in outline, but built with fine lines that “take advantage of how ink bleeds on paper“. At a small size, it appears solid. Scaled up, the lines create a dynamic look.
>>[Ryman-eco creator and Monotype Director Dan]Rhatigan says that the key with Ryman Eco was to find the perfect balance between saving ink, legibility and esthetics, which he did by looking at how our eyes and brains compensate by filling in ‘missing’ areas of what we see.<<

In the stacks:

Design futuring : sustainability, ethics, and new practice / Tony Fry – NK1510 .F77 2009

20th-Century type / written by Lewis Blackwell – Z250.A2 B57 2004

Getting it printed : how to work with printers and graphic arts services to assure quality, stay on schedule and control costs / Mark Beach & Eric Kenly. -Z243.U5 B4 1999

Green graphic design / Brian Dougherty ; with Celery Design Collaborative – NC997 .D64 2008

Eco design : the sourcebook / Alastair Fuad-Luke. – TS171.4 .F83 2002

At the New York International Children’s Film Festival, pt.3

Pt.3 from Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna:
My co-workers say that I practically live at the school. Well, ever since the festival has picked us as a venue, camping out at the SVA Theater from 11am-9pm, sure feels that way. Surprisingly there was plenty of “free” food being passed around. Whole Foods, Stonyfield, Organic Valley and Ms. Meyers were some of festival’s sponsors who attended passing out an endless supply of goodies. To quote the flyer:

“Get your snack on with FREE TASTY TREATS to keep you from talking during the movie! All day at SVA Theater.”

Talk about making a kid’s day. Made my day – it’s not everyday you get yogurt pouches pushed on you by hunky guys. Nothing but organic snack foods for the whole day. For the cow bean-bag toss I thought they had to play for chocolate milk. I found out that the cow toss was just to get kids active. The raffle was for $50 worth of free Organic Valley products. After the milk was gone, in came the string cheese.

Topping off this weekend were three special film entries.

“It’s not nice to mess with Aunt Hilda”:


Known in it’s native France as “Tante Hilda!“, the film was produced by studio Folimage, and directed by Jacques-Remy Girerd (A Cat in Paris, Mia and the Migoo – click the links to see the SVA Library’s copy information) and Benoit Cheiux. Aunt Hilda! tells tale of a woman named Hilda who lives as a botanist far away from the world of polluted cities, dust cropping fields and GNO (OGNs). She’s a “flower child”, literally. Her life is at peace with nature. However that peace becomes short lived when a genetic experiment, headed by the corporate conglomerate DOLO, goes awry. The end result gives life to the ultimate Frankenplant that could very well destroy Earth’s eco system. It’s up to Hilda to save the day. The animation style of this feature harkens back to what they called the “flower power” classics. The retro 70’s animation style of rough lines and color can clearly be seen in this film. Considering this film was made in the 2000s. Despite it’s small use of CGI, this film could still be displayed alongside a animated film from the 70’s and feel right at home. The one thing I found interesting about this film is that it has a more complex narrative than previous films by Girerd, as it deals with touchy subjects, like GMOs, corporate greed and politics. Like Mia and the Migoo, both films deal with issues of preserving nature and the dangers of what happens when man treads too far, disrupting the natural order of things. All and all it’s a wonderful film to see and a grand piece of work. The families that attended seemed to enjoy the film as well. The Frankenplant had quite a few children on the edge of their seats. This film definitely deserves a DVD release here. Mia and Migoo and A Cat in Paris are available at the SVA Library. So come check them out. I highly recommend them.

Jacque-Remy Girerd was not available for this screening but was available the previous weekend for the film’s debut. Sadly I could not attend due to a clash in the scheduling.

This film also contains the 7 deadly sins, massive honey consumption and attack bees. “Go Bees!!”

“Are you afraid of falling to the ground or falling into the sky?”


This weekend, crowds got to see the North American premier of the anime feature ‘Patema Inverted’ (Sakasama Patema), directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura. This is possibly the 5th work by the director and screenwriter. Yoshiura is best known for his sci-fi work; ‘Time of Eve’ (Ebu no Jikan) series which was screened back in 2010 as part of the festival’s “adult” segment. Like ‘Time of Eve’, ‘Patema Inverted’ was originally produced as a four part ONA (Online Net Animation), which streamed online in Japan back in 2012 under the title Patema Inverted: Beginning of the Day. In 2013 it was compressed into a full length feature film.

The story follows a girl named Patema, who lives in a underground civilization. Or is it? Due to her curiosity of trying to explore and find other worlds, she accidentally finds herself falling into another world where she’s upside down and they’re right side up. Or are they? She meets a young boy her age, named Age. The world in which he lives, is controlled by totalitarian society the likes of George Orwell’s, 1984. Where the freedom to think and dream are to be cast out and accept what you’re told. People who have fled the surface due to the great past catastrophe are known as the “inverted” or “sinners”. But which is the “real” world? Yoshiura’s take on using perspective to tell the tale is somewhat original and a different take on another beloved Ghibli classic film Castle in the Sky, by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s like taking a classic work and re-creating it in different way, but the similarities are almost uncanny. Some years ago director, producer and screenwriter, Makoto Shinkai, creator of Voices from a Distant Star, did a feature titled ‘Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, which was screened back in 2012 (which is now available on DVD). This film while different in it’s plot held many influences from Castle in the Sky. However Patema Inverted’s plot shares a much stronger connection with visuals and pacing that is right on the same level as Castle in the Sky. The only thing missing is the “blue” stone. It’s still an excellent film. In a way I’d say it pays homage to past Ghibli works. The reaction from the crowd pretty much summed it up. I sat between two mothers who’s daughters held different reactions. The one on my left had her knees up to her chin with her eyes covered, while the girl on my right, who was a little older, held onto her mother for dear life. Yet it was her mother who felt the movie was so intense. Did she enjoy it? I did. Hopefully this title will see a release here.

Time of Eve, is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and has since been available on DVD.

“One part history, one part fiction, connecting the beauty of Ghibli and Kenji Miyazawa.”

The last entry was the North American premier of the anime feature ‘Giovanni’s Island’ (Gionvania no Shima), directed by Nishikubo Mizuho.

Released in theaters in Japan on February of this year this film came as an unexpected but highly welcomed entry to the festival. This was a very heartfelt film. I tell you there was not a dry eye in that theater. Screenwriter Yoshiki Sakurai (see photos below), was available for the debut, and did Q&A after the film. Sakurai is best known for his work on the Ghost in the Shell series. Produced by studio Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell, Jinroh, A Letter to Momo, Blood the Last Vampire, etc…) Giovanni’s Island tells the story of two young boys Junpei and Kanta, who dub themselves Giovanni and Campanella, characters from the popular classic children’s novel ‘Night of the Galactic Railroad’, by Kenji Miyazawa, published in 1927. Their story takes place on the Japanese island of Shikotan, which became part of the Sakhalin Oblast during the Soviet occupation after WWII. This is a feature that deals with the hardships of war and and an occupied territory. While these elements are part of the plot the main point of the film revolves around the friendships created by the children during those troubling times. The downside is the reality one has to face that your friend is still one with the enemy. Director Nishikubo felt that this was a story that needed to be told. Sakurai during the Q&A, stated that while the film does contain fictional elements, some of which revolve around Kenji Miyazawa, they wanted the film to still be true to telling the history of a past event. Originally, conceived as a live-action film, the producers had to take a different approach due to the restrictions regarding the actual place of events. He stated that only residents born of Shikotan are allowed to return to their homeland. So they decided to make the film into a 2D animated feature allowing them the freedom to produce such a work. Another plus, was finding and speaking to past survivors that could give them historical details on the events on that time. The casting for this film features both Japanese and Russian speakers playing their respective roles giving it an authentic flavor of diversities trying to overcome the language barrier. Giovanni’s Island is a grand piece of work, of an untold story. One woman stood during Q&A, as she addressed Sakurai and her voice cracked as she stated how much she loved this film. She stated that “we need to see more films like this” not only to entertain but used as a way to teach history reaching a wider audience. One man asked if there was any influence with Isao Takahata’s ‘Grave of the Firefiles‘ and Mark Hermans’ ‘Boy with the Striped Pajamas’. Sakurai agreed that there were indeed strong influences to this film, especially Isao Takahata. I feel this film will be elected for an award and a license for a DVD release. Only one more week until the awards ceremony that will decide which films will receive an Academy Award, and possibly a North American releases.

President and co-founder of the NYICFF, Eric Beckman, is ever-present, as always:

Screenwriter Yoshiki Sakurai:

Beckman & Sakurai:

Pictures attached of the event. President and co-founder Eric Beckman, of the NYICFF is ever present as always. Shaking hands and speaking with parents who have either been with the festival in the past or are first timers.