SpearTalks: Heather Powazek Champ

In 1994, years before the Internet became the world's diary (or ashtray, depending on your point of view) that it is today, Heather Powazek Champ launched her first home page. Some form of addiction formed in her constant forays into self-publishing, and after some years the avid photographer found herself co-founding JPG Magazine, the Photoshop-restrictive publication loved well (if not equally) by purists and digital mavens alike. Today, Heather plays the role of Community Manager at Flickr, the hugely popular photo-sharing site.

We chatted with Heather about plastic cameras, digital vs. film photography, and the shortcomings of the iPhone, and learned a few things about ourselves — i.e., "˜The Perpetually Posting' — in the process.

Joshspear.com: What inspired you, initially, to start taking pictures?

Heather Powazek Champ: My parents. They were both inveterate shutterbugs. My sister and I found thousands upon thousands of slides when my father passed. My mother purchased an SX-70 when they were first introduced by Polaroid in the 70's. The sleet aluminum and metal camera became an object that I lusted and desired after. (more…)

MSU Student Invitational

Okay graphic design students "“ it's time to get your ass in gear and win the adoration of your peers and design-lovers far and wide. Plans at Mississippi State are heating up for the 3rd annual AIGA Student Invitational File Save As"¦ Soirée and they want you to enter. Students from anywhere are eligible and you get unlimited entries for a paltry $15. That's right "“ for the price of two Starbucks you could be well on the road to global design superstardom.

Plus you get your work in front of heavy-hitting industry judges like pattern designer and Also Design co-founder Julia Rothman, and award-winning illustrator, comic book artist, and self-described "typographic thing-maker" (and Carmel Hagen lust-object) Ray Fenwick.

The deadline to enter is February 8th, so there's not time like right now. No, really. Right now "“ turn off Project Runway and enter already.

You Are Beautiful

We live in a world that bombards us with fear-inducing marketing aiming to convince us that we're too ugly, too fat, or too old so that we'll go out and buy stuff to fix it. How often, if ever, do we get sweetly and succinctly told that there's nothing wrong with us? It's the simplicity behind You Are Beautiful that makes its message so immediate and powerful.

The creators of the site and all it's members are anonymous, choosing to let their message speak for itself. Collaborators design different versions of the three words "you are beautiful" and then hi-jack public areas that would normally contain advertising. From more traditional graffiti spaces to usurping billboards and lining the insides of advertising-riddled subway cars, the idea is to replace the ubiquitous consumer-driven messaging we normally see with a compliment. A little burst of positivity, unexpected in the midst of buy-buy-buy messaging, that asks us to do absolutely nothing but feel good about ourselves.

The collected images of how the message has manifested itself created an exhibition that's appeared in galleries around the world. Living up to the true nature of its movement, You Are Beautiful seeks out individuals to contribute as well. People can let out their inner artist with their very own version of the message, be it public or private, and send pics to the site for posting. The only thing they ask is that the message not be commodified or sold in any way – to just always be free and always be true to itself.

Plus, for just the price of postage, Are You Beautiful will mail you a free package of stickers. Spread the message, take pics of where you put your stickers, and send them to the site to be added to the collection.

Jawbone Films

Sure, we've been yammering on about the uber-awesome noise canceling Jawbone headset since 2004, but despite our consistent praise and even a few giveaways, not everyone owns one yet. You're probably holding out until you see it in action, and I guess we could understand your consumer hesitance, but you're about to be converted. Aliph, the creator of the headset that allows you to hear all of your cell phone conversation in the rowdiest of situations, has released two hilarious new videos to put the accent on just how phenomenal of an invention the Jawbone is. The first video was directed by Samuel Bayer of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" fame and features the lovely Miss Missouri 2007 along with a shark used in the films Deep Blue Sea and The Perfect Storm, while the second video may or may not appeal to your love of Rugby.

(NSFW, depending on where you work. Like, say, the Christian Coalition.)

Christian Lessing

A friend of mine just bought a condo here in Brooklyn. It’s quaint, charming, and cost about the same amount of money that a six bedroom house on an acreage in Utah probably does. Expenses aside, it has — and I’m speaking in common opinion terms here — the stupidest balcony any one of us have ever seen, owner included. It’s maybe a foot and a half deep, three feet wide, and looks headlong into the brick facade of the building opposite. After thinking a while on it, the quick fix for this space was a curtain, but you can be sure I’m sending along the link for Christian Lessing‘s balkony (flash page, no permalink) as a happy alternative. The series of bars and hook-in add-ons make use of an otherwise useless space. The rest of his portfolio is well worth a click, too.

Jeremy Dower

Welcome to Jeremy Dower's universe. It's a bizarre world inhabited by phenomenally strange symmetrical creatures like Schmoopy and Planky, just begging to be mimicked for a line of mimobots. The Australian character designer and concept artist has created works for both MTV and Nintendo, the latter of which makes a lot of sense, seeing as some of his creations look like something you'd see in a Mario Bros. game. Dower's latest creation, entitled "Isometric Picturesque" is an astonishingly detailed work featuring a wide array of his quirky characters along with a glossy, almost three-dimensional landscape. It is quite a sight to behold.

The Countdown: Season Two


Our darling friends over at Refinery29 are back again this year with their second installment of The Countdown, offering insight to the collections of five different labels in the lead up to Fashion Week. In collaboration with Myspace, the video offerings are made available every Friday, kicking off last week with Thom Browne, following this week with (ex-Trovata, perpetually gorgeous) Shipley & Halmos, with Erin Fetherston, Band of Outsiders and Preen still to come. Click here for all the episodes, past and present — or watch this week’s, above. Fantastic work as always, guys.

Eduardo Srur's PET Project

Metro daily newspaper’s Sao Paulo arm reported yesterday that the other day city police found a giant plastic bottle floating down the river’s Tiete River. However, just so you don’t get the idea that this river is otherwise usually spic and span and could be used to boil your veggies, know that plastic bottles are an amphibious species as common in this sickenly polluted waterway as the man-eating bacteria that co-habitate with it. The reports didn’t specify its size, but this was no experimental family-size soda container. It apparently was a test for Sao Paulo artist Eduardo Srur‘s next PET (an acronym for polyethylene terephthalate, a resin used for containers) project, in which he will place 30 gigantic 40-foot-long inflatable plastic PET bottles along the river’s banks for a month to make a point about the need for recycling and the importance of cleaning up the water. Srur’s previous works are super interesting, like the one he did a few years ago in which he set off paint bombs on Sao Paulo billboards. In both cases so far, yeah, I think he’s made his point.

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