‘Summertime City’ by Kadir Nelson

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This week’s New Yorker cover is a doozy, from no other than artist Kadir Nelson. The magazine interviewed him about the work and why he prefers the slow process of oil painting in the digital age.

I love the oil medium. It’s timeless and has been used for hundreds of years. I want to create artwork that will live outside of the printed medium or the computer. I like to think that I’m creating fine art that happens to work as a cover for The New Yorker.

— Kadir Nelson’s ‘Summertime City’

The relationship between the user and product in mind

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“Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design.”

Dieter Rams

‘It takes a real man to tell a lie’

An animal may be ferocious and cunning enough, but it takes a real man to tell a lie.

H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau

‘Don’t shy away from discomfort’

book cover Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius

“Don’t shy away from discomfort. Enter it, especially if it’s a potential door to progress. When I picked up those paint supplies as a suddenly jobless thirty-year-old with three young kids and without enough savings to coast, it was a very uncomfortable move. The left side of my brain was screaming at me to go find a job, any job, before I ran out of money. It was screaming at me to stop screwing around with some ridiculous art form at which I had no experience. But my right brain was telling me otherwise. I knew it was right regardless of the logic that told me it was flippant and dangerous. The truth was that I cared deeply about what I was doing and that the greatest danger lay in going down another wrong path and finding myself stuck in another rut at forty.

Erik Wahl, Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius

‘If I don’t try to tell it, it risks not being told’

“What has prompted me to write over the years is the hunch that something needs to be told and that, if I don’t try to tell it, it risks not being told. I picture myself not so much a consequential, professional writer, as a stop-gap man.”

John Berger, Confabulations

Margaret Atwood teaches creative writing

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Called the “Prophet of Dystopia,” Margaret Atwood is one of the most influential literary voices of our generation. In her first-ever online class, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale teaches how she crafts compelling stories—from historical to speculative fiction—that remain timeless and relevant. Explore Margaret’s creative process for developing ideas into novels with strong structures and nuanced characters.

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Coming fall 2018

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Illustrations for Amazon Prime Day

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Whether’s the art in Apple’s app store or Amazon’s prime day gifs, I continually to be amazed by some of illustrations coming out of the world’s biggest brands.

The ones above appear on Amazon’s giphy channel to help promote Amazon Prime Day, staring next Monday.

If you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up here to get a 30-Day free trial.

The nothing special

Look for a way of life, unmoored from staring at the donut hole.

Conversely, the hybrid of work and life is what makes the donut whole.

The game of goal-setting is paradoxically non-interventionist.

You don’t attack the carrot, you chew on it slowly.

The policy of non-engagement holds into force the inertia of nature’s progress.

Overworked and lost in the myriad force of competition and conformity, you inevitably emerge with fewer exuberant efforts and more residual impact.

What remains is essential, remarkably slow, vanished is the hurry.

“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” — Virginia Woolf

Why you should be using Grammarly to proofread your writing

This post was proofread by Grammarly. Download it free on the App Store!

Simply put, Grammarly ensures that your writing is at its best.

Make your writing stand out

Write with confidence

Grammarly proofreads your writing in Gmail, Microsoft Office, Google Docs, WordPress, Facebook updates, Tweets, LinkedIn, etc. — pretty much anywhere you write on the web.

My favorite part of the app is the auto-suggest word replacement feature. As someone who tends to repeat the same words, Grammarly recommends using stronger, alternative but similar words to help me strengthen a sentence.

Never miss a comma again!

Grammarly also provides contextual explanations for any errors in punctuation, subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, run-on sentences, and other mistakes to improve your prose.

Fix your verb tenses

You can install the Grammarly app for free as an extension in Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, or on your iPhone or Android, for instant proofreading or wait to check your writing aftward with a click of a button.

There’s also a standalone native browser on Grammarly.com and a native Mac app for more focused writing.

You can find all the free download options right here.

Write confidently everywhere

Get context-specific suggestions to improve your writing

I always run my blog posts, work emails, tweets, cover letters and resumes (yes – Grammarly has a resume setting for premium users) to ensure the most effective and mistake-free writing.

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Alone in the mess


You can never feel alone when you’re enjoying yourself.

Like a magnet, you’re drawn to do what we’re born to do. The vocation calls you like an ambient siren song dangling emotional clarity.

The goals that forced upon you are often dreary. They produce zero enjoyment, so fraught with ‘ought,’ threatening to stain the attentiveness to the present.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

The intuitive self, while sometimes feeling detached, invites you to travel down the road of discomfort for a long time.

Pursue the strength you think you have and embrace the pain.

The middle of the road is already too full of indecisive fence-sitters suffering at the glitch of mental software called FEAR.

Staying edgy…

The audience already exists. The hard part is getting them to pay attention to your story.

How do you gain a fan base in the era of distraction? You select a specific audience, even one person, and write for them.

Different is attractive. 

The first few years of anonymity are hardest but they are also the freest. You get to write what you want with zero expectations. It’s the recognition that threatens your edginess.

“Success blurs. It rounds off the rough edges.” — John Peel

The trick to longevity, therefore, seems to be in the durability of your original pursuit.

If you can maintain your uniqueness while sharpening the tools, why dumb down your art to maximize reach?

Yet, the harshest reality as an artist is that your work may never get noticed. Van Gogh only sold one print while he was alive, and it was to his brother!

Posthumous recognition or not, you can only try to do your best work, to stay dedicated and keep showing up even if no one cheers you on.

The fire within should create enough artistic rage to keep rejuvenating itself.

“We do with our life what we can and then we die. If someone is aware of that, perhaps it comes out in their work.” — Francis Bacon

Churches built in post-colonial India

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Vividly-coloured and shaped like stars, ships and castles, several churches in Kerala appear to defy one of the basic tenets of architecture as set by the influential American architect Louis Sullivan – “form follows function”.

Read Why are some Kerala churches shaped like stars, ships and castles?

‘I wish I’d spent more time on…’ and ‘I wish I’d spent less time on…’

Imagine you are eighty years old – assuming you’re not eighty already, that is; if you are, you’ll have to pick an older age – and then complete the sentences ‘I wish I’d spent more time on…’ and ‘I wish I’d spent less time on…’. This turns out to be a surprisingly effective way to achieve mortality awareness in short order. Things fall into place. It becomes far easier to follow Lauren Tillinghast’s advice – to figure out what, specifically, you might do in order to focus on life’s flavours, so as to improve your chances of reaching death having lived life as fully and as deeply as possible.

Oliver Burkeman, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

Leonardo da Vinci and the Codex Huygens

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The Codex Huygens is a Renaissance manuscript for a treatise on painting closely related to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Its author has been identified as the North Italian artist Carlo Urbino (ca. 1510/20–after 1585), who must have been familiar with Leonardo’s notes before they were dispersed. Some of the drawings are faithful copies of now lost originals by Leonardo. Others, like the Vitruvian Man, are related to Leonardo but independent interpretations in their own right. The extant manuscript, which appears to be only a fragment, includes five sections (books or regole).

Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin

Copy-paste, retweet, regram. We have it so easy.

Can you imagine having followers who traced your work so these pieces could live on?

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