Author Archive: Catherine Gaffney


Catherine joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Trinity College Dublin and Central Saint Martins. She wrote for the site between June and August 2012.

76 articles
  1. Michael-schoner

    Amsterdam-based architect and designer Michael Schoner is responsible for these pieces, and yep, they’re pretty damn great. They can store and display objects in all sorts of different configurations, and the furniture itself can be swapped and changed around – a bit like life-size lego blocks.

  2. Erin-fostel-list

    Do you remember when empty carboard boxes were basically the best thing ever? When they could be boats or cars or spaceships or televisions and you could shuffle around for hours in all their corrugated glory? Well, Erin Fostel does, and she throws a dress-up box into the mix and takes us off to lands inhabited by dinosaurs and fighter-robots. A graduate of drawing and art history, she makes incredibly photorealistic drawings using just charcoal and paper, and appears to be inspired by a nostalgic look at mid-twentieth century North American visual culture – with warplanes, fairy-tales, and the Wild Wild West all getting a beautifully rendered look in.

  3. Kiji

    Immerse yourself in Keiji Shinohara’s work and breathe in the calm, beautifully rendered views. The printmaking artist is originally from Osaka, and trained for ten years in the traditional Ukiyo-e style of printmaking in Kyoto before moving to the United States – where he is currently based. The mesmerising colourisation, precise compositions, and beautifully measured textures and gradations are all the more startling when we realise that Shinohara works primarily with woodblocks and is fully responsible for every stage of the printing process. The abstracted landscapes convey his keen interest in the natural environment, and are printed on handmade kozo paper with water-based inks. Very impressive indeed.

  4. Luc-melanson-other-list-possibly

    Quebec-based illustrator Luc Melanson caught our eye yesterday, when one of his works accompanied this piece in the New York Times about Olympic poetry. His visual track record gives us every reason to cheer – his work is consistently lively, immediate, and extremely engaging. Along with contributing clever, to-the-point editorial work to the New York Times Book Review, Reader’s Digest US, No Brow, and L’actualité, he also produces personal work and illustrations for children’s books. His use of limited palettes, as well as the highly effective colour gradations and use of texture within, ensure that the images engage immediately and linger afterwards. A true champion, we say!

  5. Jacob-hashimoto-list

    Now, here’s a high-flying artist – since completing a degree in fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jacob Hashimoto has had his installations exhibited all over the world. What’s more, his primary material these days is… kites! Using plain and patterned papers strung up by bamboo framing networks, he constructs site-specific artworks comprised of these kite-elements, that seek to challenge the conventional boundaries between pictorial and sculpted space.

  6. Kumi-yamashita-1

    Kumi Yamashita’s work has an understandable tendency to go viral. With an ingenius use of materials that draw attention to the shadow-casting capabilities of relatively simple materials, the New York-based artist presents dual and mutually compatible works that are both abstract and extremely naturalistic.

  7. Gallery-of-lost-art-lead

    Tate Media has just launched an ultra-absorbing online exhibition entitled The Gallery of Lost Art. It showcases, in great detail, the numerous significant artworks of the past century that have been stolen, destroyed, rejected, or have simply disappeared. The project, which kicked off today, will run for an entire year – with new items being added each week. Curated by the Tate and designed by ISO Design, its interface provides the user with a view of a grey warehouse floor-space, with different ephemera laid out on widely set apart desks, and stenciled typography categorising works by the manner in which it was lost. It features any surviving images of the works under discussion, along with fascinating essays on the circumstances that led to their disappearance.

  8. Chrisoph-sillem-1

    Have a wander through these strange, hyper-real images from German photographer Christoph Sillem. Are you in a video-game? Or a cartoon? Not quite…

  9. Wendy-list

    This month, MoMA PS1 opens Wendy, the winning entry to its 2012 Young Architects Program. The entrants were expected to contribute a design for an outdoor recreational space in the MoMA PS1’s triangular entrance courtyard – a popular concert venue during the summer. The objective also involved making the most of available space and materials – and the winning entry, along with the finalists, approaches the brief in very distinctive ways.

  10. Things-hero

    This week, we got zillions of super-awesome Things in all shapes and sizes. They just kept on coming – seriously, the basket where we keep them is overflowing as I type. So it was a struggle to whittle it down to five, but we did it just for you and here they are, in all their glory!…

  11. Robin-chevalier-1

    Robin Chevalier’s illustrations caught our eye the other day, when his brightly coloured work accompanied this recent Economist article on the data available in urban environments. With playful use of pattern and outline, and a sharp evocation of city bustle set against buildings presented as measuring containers, the image readily engages potential readers. An exploration of Chevalier’s other editorial illustration work reveals the same vitality, and, with a background in printmaking, his work appears well-suited to print and online publication alike. There are nods to screenprinting, with appealingly uneven overlaps of colours and this, combined with humorous line-drawing, ensures there is a consistently child-like quality, offering a warm welcome into complicated subject matter.

  12. Catarina-botelho-1

    Portuguese artist Catarina Botelho graduated in painting at the Faculdade de Belas-Artes in Lisbon, and since then has specialised in photography, producing strong, beautiful, and carefully composed images that are both intimate and familiar. Much of her work demonstrates her background in paint; The Time and Manner series, for example, features boldly coloured objects set against tiled backdrops that seem to reference pale, differently textured canvases. Her domestic interiors also demonstrate a keen affection for light and colour, where differently toned walls and fabrics are skillfully employed in the make-up of each scene.

  13. Edvard-munch-3

    Edvard Munch and social networking – who’d have seen the connection? Well, Tate Modern have and in their new exhibition of Munch’s work, there is a large variety of snaps the artist took of himself; his face is usually turned away from the camera, like an aloof Facebook profile photo, and the curators speculate that these self-made shots are the first such images in photographic history.

  14. Mark-wallinger-1

    Order, chaos, and chance play out throughout Site, Mark Wallinger’s new exhibition, which has just opened at the BALTIC Gateshead (22 June to 14 October 2012).

  15. Things-list

    All of this week’s Things are publications of various shapes and sizes _ but don’t let that fool you; they contain a huge range of subject material from modernist architectural photography to Raspberry Ripples, and pretty much everything in between. Everybody ready? Then we’ll begin…

  16. List

    Naples-based architect Cherubino Gambardella’s illustrations for his projects are beautifully rendered. In an age where the development of architectural ideas is largely carried out using digital technology, it’s lovely to see something so textured, layered, and varied. Mixing a variety of media, Gambardella’s images conjure up visualisations that evoke, not only the built shapes, but the atmospheres, materials, air-quality, traffic, and weather patterns of these urban environments. You get a strong sense of space and the interactions between structures, and there is also a slightly dark, sinister quality that intrigues as much as it engages.

  17. Zoran-pungercar-list

    Ljubljana-based Zoran Pungerčar first started designing posters as a teenager for various punk shows his friends were involved in. Since then, he has cultivated a career as a graphic designer and developed a huge interest in illustration – and, thankfully for us, posters for music gigs and festivals have remained a staple.

  18. Till-hafenbrak-1

    Cheers to Till Hafenbrak. Detailed, very well worked, and full of fun, the Berlin-based illustrator refreshes the traditional visual languages and processes of graphic design and reminds us of their extraordinary illustrative power.

  19. Mvm-1

    Magnus Voll Mathiassen, having co-founded the design studio Grandpeople in 2005, left to set up his own independent practice, MVM, in 2009 and in the years since we published this news on our website, the Norwegian graphic designer and illustrator has been producing all sorts of fascinating work. He has just launched his new website with a host of great new projects including his recent Granimator app that allows you to create custom wallpapers for your iPad, producing vistas that are both engaging and abstracted. Indeed, much of his work emphasises abstraction, to varying degrees; I particularly like the variously arranged striped scarves on the Fra Lippo Lippi packaging, and take a look at his Objectified series, in which he employs an occasionally Mondrian-esque style to make abstractions of everyday objects; think of it as a quiz, and try to identify every single one!

  20. Julie-chen-1

    Julie Chen, book artist and book arts educator, founded Flying Fish Press in 1987 in Berkeley, California, and has been producing unbelievably amazing bookworks ever since. Exploring the sculptural and interactive potential of the book form, she challenges and literally re-shapes our notion of what a “book” can be, both writing and illustrating her projects, endowing both textual and visual elements with further layers of meaning by the way in which they are physically assembled.

  21. Owen-gatley-1

    Last week, our Things section featured the latest publication from YCN, Ideas Illustrated, and examining the magazine’s beautiful pages our eyes were particularly drawn to the maps of New York, London, Copenhagen and Paris, as illustrated by Owen Gatley.

  22. Chris-keegan-1

    Y’know those breezy summer days when you lie on the grass and cloudgaze, spotting dinosaurs, lampshades, oceans and strange faces with a variety of expressions? Well, Chris Keegan does a very long-distance version of this. We’re talking light years. Digitally manipulating images found by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Keegan’s Celestial Artworks feature all sorts of creatures built of the stars, space-clouds and various naturally-occuring visuals found far, far away.

  23. Fred-tomaselli-list

    Caifornian born, Brooklyn-based artist Fred Tomaselli’s images are an utter explosion of detail; leaves, pills, images of eyes and mouths, and acrylic-painted forms drape, interlace, and overlap to reproduce incredible visuals that evoke fairy-tale illustration and freewheeling psychadelica alike. A graduate in painting and drawing, Tomaselli executes much of his massive work on wooden panels, bestowing the works with a bygone or otherworldly air. The forest scenes, birds, and landscapes are mesmerising enough, but keep zooming – and the image fragments into yet more discovery–- building-blocks of butterflies, herbs, photography. Woah.

  24. Calef-brown-1

    On the inside flap of Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks, its states that Calef Brown, its author and illustrator, “is a blue elephant.” I was about nine when I first became acquainted with this work, and struggled to understand how the elephant illustrated above the short bio could wield a paintbrush so effectively with its flat circular-soled elephant foot. But as there was no other explanation, I could do nothing but accept and move on to the hugely enjoyable array of bizarre rhymes and wonderful images on its pages. I can still recite any of them, and am still entertained by the glorious juxtaposition of creatures and beasts and contemporary North American culture.

  25. Chris-pell

    In 2009, we featured Chris Pell in our Graduate feature, and since then, he has continued to produce very impressive work. Literally drawing on a strong interest in early human civilisation and fantasy worlds, the Brighton graduate creates visually compelling compositions and landscapes filled with all sorts of strange beings and goings-on. There is a sense of the mythological in his work, with beasts, hybrids, and monstrous-looking individuals cropping up time and again – along with allusions to tribal ritual.

  26. Mia-pearlman-1

    Take those scraps of paper lying around your desk, draw on them, cut pieces from them, tack them up somewhere… and BAM, supersculptures! Well, not quite – far more detail, hard work and concentration occurs in the production of Mia Pearlman’s work, which utilises the layering, sculpting, and light-admitting capabilities of paper to wondrous effect.

  27. Creature-comfort-fred-rowson

    A curator at a natural history museum stumbles upon a lost and unidentifiable animal, and searches for somewhere to put him. Smooth direction from Fred Rowson and clever stop-motion animation from Susie Jones – check out the beautifully drawn primate illustrations, as well as the atmospheric lighting, for some decent creature comfort.

  28. Things-list

    The weather this week has been a frenzy of unpredictability; now and then it looks like summer’s going to make a reappearance, and then the rain comes pouring down, slamming on the glass windows at the top of our studio and leaving a mountain of soaked umbrellas by the door. But at least – thanks to our wonderful contributors – we can always rely on Things to brighten up our day! Today, we’re looking at all sorts of publications showcasing beautiful illustrations, rom-com stills, the cool kids of Los Angeles, supercool layouts, aaaaaaand lessons on how to make our own beer and soap!

  29. Jenny-griggs-1-

    Take a peek at these striking illustrations from Australian illustrator and graphic designer Jenny Grigg. Exploiting the layering and sculptural capabilities of paper, she succeeds in producing work that is bold, silhouetted, and rather beautiful. Check out in particular her process work for a portrait of the main character in Peter Carey’s novel, My Life as a Fake – Chubb, an unhappy, second-rate poet, is a cubist-style portrait compiled of discarded sheets of paper. Nice.

  30. Andy-baker-society-all-that-we_ve-become

    Take a look at Andy Baker’s animated black and white music video for Society’s All That We’ve Become. The shadowy, pen-and-pencil aesthetic is very suited to the narrative’s connotations of teenage angst, while the hand-drawn qualities – in particular, the texture of the rotating record – present the “craft” elements of the production alongside its overall high finish. The use of lighting in the work – the electronic glow from the television, for example – is particularly beautiful.

  31. Julie-mehretu-4

    Julie Mehretu’s surges of colour, line, and geometric form are pretty awesome. Her energetic combinations of painting, drawing, and digital layering processes reflect many aspects of our physical and virtual environments, and yet consistently and engagingly retains their visual abstraction.

  32. Erwin-wurm-one-minute-sculptures-3

    Vienna-based sculptor Erwin Wurm has a history of using whatever objects and materials are at hand. In the early days, it was because he couldn’t afford to buy them; his first sculptural works were therefore made of wood, because he lived above a wood shop, and the next batch were made using cans and buckets (because he had moved near a factory that produced them).

  33. Julien-pacaud-1

    French illustrator Julien Pacaud creates mesmerising fictional spaces that welcome the viewer with a stirring clash of the strange and the familiar. Trained in cinematography, Pacaud is heavily influenced by the enormous back catalague of images from film and television – which he routinely raids for his own collage-style compositions. He concentrates particularly on “retro” visuals from the 1900s to the 1970s, and this, in addition to a great fondness for Magritte and a strong taste for the geometric, produces scenes and environments that playfully evoke the fascinating mythology of a not-too-distant future.

  34. Christian-montenegro-un-artista-del-trapecio-list

    A recent South American edition of Franz Kafka’s Un Artista del Trapecio (English title: First Sorrow ), which concerns a successful but lonely trapeze artist, showcases a talented illustrator at the top of his game.

  35. Ball-nogues-yucca-crater

    Last October, this structure was filled with saltwater; you could climb up the curved outer walls, survey the reflective ripples, and jump right in – escaping the desert heat for a refreshing swim. The interior surfaces even had brightly coloured rock-climbing holds, so you could perch yourself at various points in the structure – either to practice diving from different angles or perhaps just take a break. It was a welcoming, man-made oasis in an arid landscape, fifteen miles from human civilisation.

  36. Rainer-kohlberger-detail

    Berlin-based artist and designer Rainer Kohlberger knows a thing or two about digital design. The clean flat colour fields and neatly arranged gridworks on his website attest to his expertise in the area, and with a solid education in multimedia from the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, and with teaching stints in algorithmic media creation and audiovisual design, he’s well placed to produce work that is not only technically proficient, but visually and intellectually arresting.