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Geometric Portraits by Allison Kunath

Re-imagining the human form through geometrical patterns and shapes

by CH Contributor in Design on 21 October 2014

Illustration, Portraits, Prints, Murals, Drawings, Art, Art Installation, Geometry, Mathematics

by Chérmelle D. Edwards

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Allison Kunath, a Los Angeles-based visual artist and fashion designer, has developed a distinct style over the past few years, creating geometric portraits of people—such as famed figures like Maya Angelou and Frida Kahlo—as well as animals. "It was a merger of two styles into my own, fragmenting human forms into geometric shapes and detailed illustration," Kunath tells CH. "I use a low poly technique, geometric fragmenting, geometric portraiture and it’s the simplification of everything and the shading of fragments into triangles and cross hatching for density and body." The results are familiar faces seen through a new lens.

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When contacted by the non-profit organization Beautify Earth, which scouts walls and pairs business owners with artists to transform them, Kunath found herself bidding on her largest portrait project to date—importing company Marco Polo Imports based in Venice, California. "They wanted a portrait of Marco Polo with a modern twist. The wall is massive, probably about 20x50 feet with a door in the middle," says Kunath.

Turning the massive surface into a testament to Marco Polo’s legacy of travel and adventure, Kunath’s process involved a lot of quiet planning before her pen touched paper. Treating the project as if it was one huge mathematical equation, Kunath deduced a method to transfer her original 9x12 (inch? ft?) sketch onto an estimated 20x50 foot stucco surface.

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"I work ruler-free, making straight lines with short distances from one another. Once it’s broken down into simple shapes, I can actually go ahead and do it. Each triangle then informs the next and the shading is always relative to the triangle next to it." describes Kunath. Since Marco Polo’s travel to Asia was by land with a return by boat, Kunath kept the theme of movement as the focus, while imposing a sartorial three-piece suit for modernity. Free-styling the entire wall, she used a combination of water-based house paint, Krink graffiti pens and brush work—the latter more so—to create the mural in just 36 hours.

Peruse Kunath's full body of work online, including wearables, digital work and paintings.

Images courtesy of Allison Kunath

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Stratospheric Visuals from ODESZA

The electronic music duo launch their album into space and back with this new video premiere

by Hans Aschim in Tech on 21 October 2014

Music Videos, GoPro, ODESZA, Space, Stratosphere, Electronic Music, Premieres

Seattle-based electro outfit ODESZA has captivated critics and fans alike with their unique blend of chillwave synths and textured vocal sampling. Known for creating sonic landscapes with their layered sound, the duo partnered with German "near space" innovators Stratoxx to create stunning visuals for their new video. Premiering on CH, "Koto" sees 3D-printed renditions of the band's logo lifted into the stratosphere for a satellite's view of Earth. Onboard GoPros captured the launch, flight and eventual return to terra firma, while an airborne speaker blasted the band's 2014 release In Return for the duration of the flight.

"We always use a weather balloon, a parachute and at least two GoPro cameras," explains Stratoxx project coordinator Amira Hussein, "we also flew with a speaker and an iPod to play the whole album during that flight. Inside the carrier will always be one power pack and at least three GPS trackers to make sure we find the carrier after it spends two and a half hours in the stratosphere." The final shot of the video sees a peaceful landing among the treetops, but it wasn't necessarily part of the plan. "After using a slingshot we finally got it down and it was fine," says Hussein with a laugh. "At least the album was still playing so we had some good entertainment in the forest."

ODESZA is currently wrapping up the US leg of their tour. Check out their schedule for upcoming European and Australian shows.

Image courtesy of Stratoxx

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Subway Series Jewelry by Shahla Karimi

Wear the Harlem to South Ferry route on your wrist from the Brooklyn-based designer's debut collection

by Gabriella Garcia in Design on 21 October 2014

Brooklyn, 3D Printing, Independent Designers, Jewelry, MTA, NYC Subway, NYC Transit, Cuffs

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Sometimes inspiration comes from the most ordinary experiences. For Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Shahla Karimi, that inspiration came from her daily commute. Drawing from the MTA subway map, Karimi has created a collection of rings and cuffs that trace transit routes between some of the city's most famous destinations. For the aptly-named Subway Series, Karimi creates a simplicity in design which contradicts the chaotic frequency that buzzes beneath the streets of the five boroughs. "If you can look past the noise of the text, the lines are very organic and beautiful when isolated," Karimi explains.

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Shahla Karimi presented the Subway Series to CH during our third annual Pitch Night. The collection, which is part of Karimi's just launched online shop, consists of three cuffs and three rings which can be worn individually or stacked. The first Series features three unique routes—Inwood to World Trade Center, Yankee Stadium to Wall Street, and Harlem to South Ferry—available in sterling silver, 14k gold and, next month, gold vermeil. Karimi hopes, however, to expand the collection to cover more of the city. "There are so many routes I want to create," she says, "I have to finish [Manhattan] and then Brooklyn will be next—it's where I live and work." Karimi will also introduce a finer line that will feature diamonds to mark express stops.

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Karimi uses 3D software and printing to design the Subway Series, which she says is the only way she could have possibly captured the exact curves of each route. "I would have never been able to hand carve these to be an exact tracing of the current map," she says. Karimi also uses traditional lost-wax casting methods, creating what she calls an "intersection of old world techniques and new world technologies." Through this fusion, Karimi presents a seamless, polished collection that holds mystery in its abstract forms.

Karimi shows ultimate appreciation for the city that inspires her by keeping all of her manufacturing in NYC, noting that keeping production local is very important to her. Though she has been working in product and product strategy for nearly a decade, her store launch marks Karimi's debut as an independent designer. "Launching my own jewelry line has been a pipe dream since 2007," she says.

Subway Series silver rings ($160 for a set of three) and cuffs ($200 each) are available for pre-sale online, shipping 11 November 2014. The collection will also be available at the STORY holiday shop (144 10th Ave, NYC) this November.

Images courtesy of Shahla Karimi

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