Category Archives: Sketchbook

  1. 01.14.13
    Peter Nencini’s “Beginnings”

    We’ve been known to practically beg designers to put their sketchbooks on view for the world to see. But with one of our favorite London-based graphic designers, Peter Nencini, it was much easier than that. Nencini’s sketchbook is basically an open browser window: For nearly five years, the designer has been running one of our favorite inspiration blogs, where among the uncovered gems, he periodically posts direct source material, drawings, schematics, and studies for new work. Nencini trained as an illustrator and says drawing is what comes most naturally to him, even though his work has ranged from designing sets for television to creating amazing found object heirlooms for Partners & Spade to collaborating with wife Sally, a fashion designer, on embroidered and appliquéd upholstery.

  2. 07.13.11
    Walter van Beirendonck and Erwin Wurm’s Performative Sculptures

    There are plenty of obvious reasons that Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, in preparation for his summer solo show at Antwerp’s Middelheim museum, would have invited Belgian fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck to engage in a collaborative project: Both are known for blurring the line between fashion and sculpture, both deal with notions of space and volume as they relate to the human body, and neither is one to shy away from the grand gesture. Wurm says he’d long been a fan of van Beirendonck’s work before the pair batted ideas back and forth for their new “Performative Sculptures” series, essentially five people hired to walk around the museum garden wearing giant headless costumes made of tutu tulle. But there are also not-so-obvious similarities that led the two artists to this apex, including the amusing — if coincidental — point that they both failed their art-school entrance exams. Wurm had spent his youth wanting to be a painter, but was rejected from the painting department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and consigned to the sculpture program instead; while he now works across many mediums, he’s best-known for his One-Minute Sculptures, in which he directs someone to pose with a bucket on his head, or a shirt tented over his body, only long enough for Wurm to snap a photo. They’re a kind of precursor to his work with van Beirendonck, who for his part failed to get accepted to Antwerp’s Royal Academy on his first try — he had to spend a preparatory year polishing his drawing skills before going on to become one of the school’s biggest stars. Van Beirendonck’s professional hiccup certainly had less of a transformative effect than Wurm’s did, but his talent for illustration has been an integral part of his process ever since, which is why Sight Unseen asked his studio for the drawings behind the “Performative Sculptures” series as a way of visualizing how the idea evolved.

  3. 03.26.10
    Benjamin Graindorge, Product Designer

    Benjamin Graindorge really wants to design a fireplace. But here’s the problem: When he tries to draw fire, it tends to end up looking like water. You can tell it’s fire because it’s yellow or orange, he thinks, but once he makes the flames brown or green or black, well, not so much. “When I find a way to represent it with another color, I think then I’ll be able to move on to the real object,” he muses. Clearly, drawing is an instrumental part of the young Parisian designer’s process. In fact, most of his objects don’t even start off as ideas, they start as swirls of color and form: “The first stage of my work is only a nebula, without humans or objects.”

  4. 11.03.09
    Dominic Wilcox, Designer

    Life presents us with countless problems on a daily basis, some common (how to communicate with someone who speaks a different language; how to toast drinks while maintaining eye contact) and some decidedly less so (how to pop a balloon without waking the baby). Dominic Wilcox addresses a full range of everyday conundrums on his website Variations on Normal, which he uses as a kind of instant sketchbook for expressing his ideas at the moment of inspiration.

  5. 11.03.09
    Dan Attoe, Artist

    Dan Attoe makes a drawing a day. And when I say a drawing, I mean a drawing that comprises many detailed parts, creating an explosive, Mark Lombardi–style map. “For seven years I completed a painting every weekday,” the Portland, Oregon–based artist writes in his statement. “Now I do daily drawings.”