Who I’m Following on Behance: Adam Spizak & Billelis

Why 2 artists and why these 2 artists? Well, 1. They’re awesome 2. They both were asked to create a wallpaper for Desktopography. Created in 2005, The Desktopography Project is a site where you can download high quality nature based desktop wallpapers made by talented designers. It’s by invite only, but if you feel your work is up to snuff, they encourage you to contact them. It’s a fun non-profit initiative with stunning results. Wallpapers are available in many different sizes for free, so find some you fancy and spread the word! Check out their 2011 Gallery.

I’m never disappointed when Adam Spizak publishes a new project on Behance. Spizak is a Polish illustrator and designer whose work has been featured publications like Computer Arts and Advanced Photoshop Magazine. His wallpapers are some of my favorites and usually inspire compliments from curious onlookers. I just direct them to his Behance Portfolio or the blog that he co-created with Gregory Machon called Art is Navi.

Adam Spizak Desktopography Entry

Billelis is a nickname for Billy Bogiatzoglou who is a digital artist with a passion for photo-manipulation, illustration, and 3d and motion graphics. He’s a member of the Keystone Design Union and I believe I was first introduced to his great work through a Coca-Cola competition that I entered on Eyeka. I thought his entry (among the best submitted) was lively and powerful . Check out Billelis’s Portfolio on Behance.

Billelis Desktopography Entry

The Behance Network is a major online tool for creative professionals to showcase their work. Access portfolios from a plethora of talented artists from all different genres. If you create a portfolio or a follower profile you can keep track or “follow” artists that you like. You receive updates whenever they upload a new project. The Behance Network has many perks for it’s users like job postings, competitions and networking. Check out My Profile on Behance.


All You Need Is Love

One of my favorite shirts is a black one that says The Beatles and every time I wear it I get asked “You know about the Beatles?” My reply, “Yeah, of course!” I guess at the ripe young age of 24, they’re supposed to be beyond my generation, even though I think all my friends know who they are and some listen to them too. Anyway, there’s an installation at the Miami Airport made out of flowers that inspired me to create the piece below. It said “All We Need is Love.” I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it and of course think of the Beatles. With my image I wanted the word Love to be the main focus. It needed to be big, very red, and pop off of the page (view in portfolio).

I’ve been eager to work with splashes or the liquid effect. They bring such a sense of life and movement. Not to mention, they’ve been quite popular and appear in many different graphic works. Just check out the Ultimate Roundup of Photoshop Tutorials from 2010 by Pixel77 and see how many involve liquid of some sort. My awesome resources though, came from the wonderful folks of Media Militia. They made a High Quality Paint Tossing Pack, FREE to download, and free for commercial and personal use. They even have their own tutorial showing you how to use them. Enjoy!

If you’re a Beatles fan you may like the movie Across the Universe, a story told through Beatles songs. Here are a few of my favorite songs from the Beatles:
I Saw Her Standing There (always perks me up!)
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Day Tripper
Come Together (I like Michael Jackson’s version)
Let It Be (from Across the Universe, this scene makes me cry)

What’s your favorite Beatles song? Do you have a piece using splash effects that you love?





Hot Artwork for Your Feet

Shoe fanatics brace yourselves. Husband and wife team, Philip and Courtney Mason, are creating shoes that will rock your world! It’s Fine Art for your feet as each shoe is hand painted by them in fun funky flirty designs and colors. Their business goes by the name Studio Jellyfish located in Miami, but you can order their one-of-a-kind pieces online. Every shoe has a name, back story, and a pretty price tag (I did say it’s fine art). Want to have your own shoe story? They will work with you to create the custom piece of your dreams. They use top products, special durable paint, then seal the shoes with a clear coat, but just like a regular shoe it can be scuffed, so be careful! Fashionistas, don’t want your shoes to walk alone? Studio Jellyfish also designs handbags and men don’t feel left out. I’m sure they can design some kick-butt custom kicks for you too. Kudos to their style, skill, and creativity.

My shoes lean toward the converse variety and I hardly ever post about fashion, so how did I come to know of Studio Jellyfish? Well I entered the 2011 Fiat SEMA Design Challenge (my entry here) and so did Courtney Mason. She posted her work on the Fiat USA facebook page and it caught my eye. It linked to her portfolio: Punky Chicken, which included shoes by Studio Jellyfish. The rest is history (well this post). You’ll want to check out more of her work.

Students Teach Themselves? That’s Crazy!

Or is it? One of my favorite movies is called Accepted, starring an ensemble cast including Justin Long and Jonah Hill. Bartleby, played by Justin, has been rejected by every college he’s applied to (even his safety school), much to his parent’s dismay. So he implements an elaborate plan to make one up. Congratulations, he’s been accepted to South Harmon Institute of Technology! Only problem is, several hundred other kids were accidentally accepted to South Harmon too. Ooops! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, STOP and watch the trailer below, the rest of this article depends on it (not really, but it would be nice if you did).


What does Bartleby do in the face of this academic dilemma? He visits an actual college and decides that South Harmon should be nothing like a traditional institution. He asks his students, “What do you want to learn?” He lets them set their schedules and decide the curriculum. They become the teachers and they figure out what projects they would like to spend their time on. Yes, it’s a smart and funny work of fiction, but what if I told you there’s a real place where these ideals exist.

Welcome to Hyper Island, a place where the students teach themselves. Hyper Island is an English-based program created in 1995, by 3 media professionals who were concerned about the quality of knowledge that recent graduates possessed when entering the workplace. They believed the problem was a result of traditional mainstream education in which students had little influence over what they are taught and their learning experience was controlled by a teacher. At Hyper Island there are no tests and no homework. Students work on real life projects with actual clients, solving real industry needs. Their methodology is that you “Learn by Doing.”  To quote their website Hyper Island is about:

– Active participation, driven by passion
– Learning by experiencing, doing and reflecting
– Being open to the idea of failure; it is often our most powerful learning tool
– Working and developing as part of a team, both as a leader and a player
– Using interactive media as a tool for implementing growth and change
– Developing the capacity of people to be self aware
– Understanding group dynamics
– Real clients, real needs and real lifelong learning

Hyper Island currently offers the following programs: Learning Designer & Facilitator, Digital Media, Mobile Applications, Interactive Art Director, Ecommerce Business, Motion Graphics, and Interactive Media Design & Management. They have locations in Sweden, but they encourage applicants from all around the world. Here is Hyper Island in A Nutshell


Don’t feel like this type of methodology has merit? Here are some Hyper Island Statistics:


Everytime I watch Accepted I find myself cheering for South Harmon Institute of Technology. Granted it was originally created for all the wrong reasons, but the end result was people who were excited about learning and had the passion to increase their knowledge and skills  in subjects that were important to them, hands-on. In parallel, I cheer for Hyper Island. Their unorthodox (yet sensible) methods may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to know you have the option.


Party Like A 5 Year Old!

That’s exactly what we did. The idea came from the exuberant mind of my aunt/coach/boss (she prefers the first 2 titles), who wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday in a very special way. So she dropped the 0 and came up with an event-filled weekend that tapped into our inner-child. There was kite flying, arcade games, balloon toss, bumper cars, bowling, and home-made funny hats. Months before, we discussed which events she wanted (and her love of Pac-man), and I designed the invite seen below as my gift to her. I made versions in Adobe Illustrator for print and web. All in all,  the entire weekend was loaded with fantastic activities, friends, and laughter, but one thing I found truly commendable was that she requested that she be given no material possessions. Instead, she asked that attendees donate their time or the money they would have spent on a gift toward 2 local charities:

WOW:  Women Empowering Women – A Helping Hand for Single Mothers! They provide “Helping Hands” ready to help educate, inspire and “empower” single mothers to seek out solutions to their challenges. Help by donating money (their first preference), beauty products, clothes, and diapers or volunteer. Their website provides other ways to help.

Community Project for Seniors  – Their mission is to enrich the lives of low income senior citizens who reside in subsidized housing. They provide critical services for elderly individuals without a family support system, and mobility-challenged individuals over the age of fifty. Help by donating money, toiletries, blankets, games, cleaning supplies, or food.  A detailed list can be found on their website.

Birthday Invite Created in Adobe Illustrator


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