Ukraine-born artist Mark Khaisman creates truly outstanding art using a really mundane material – brown packaging tape. By putting various layers of translucent tape onto Plexiglass and then cutting it into certain shapes, the artist remakes scenes from old Hollywood movies, art history, certain 20th century cultural icons or his own photographs.
The Plexiglass that the brown tape pictures are placed on is also used as a light medium. Light, the final part of Khaisman’s artwork, passes from behind the images to illuminate the multiple layers of tape, allowing them to interact with each other and create a gorgeous glowing effect. The final image makes you appreciate brown tape a lot more, as it creates a stunning sepia effect that makes the images seem nostalgic.
Brown packaging tape art is not an entirely new discovery – we wrote earlier this year about Dutch-born artist Max Zorn. This only casts Khaisman’s scrupulous and eye-catching artworks in a new light and makes you wonder – could this be a new movement in the art world?
«Mi bienestar está relacionado con tu bienestar; mi sufrimiento, con tu sufrimiento. Pretender buscar mi felicidad y mi seguridad como si yo fuera una isla es una estupidez. De esta sabiduría viene el altruismo, y ahí es donde budismo y ciencia se separan, porque el altruismo no es común en la ciencia.» —B. Alan Wallace
It’s hard to believe that this lean, purposeful café racer started out as a beaten up 1978 Yamaha SR500—an ex-AHMRA race bike that was standing in Chris Chappell‘s Los Angeles shop. Despite the fact that it had a pink FZR front wheel, Ninja rear wheel, no side stand and no exhaust, client Andrew Ehlers saw its potential and chose it as the donor for his dream build.
Perhaps it was because Ehlers himself was just as banged up as the old SR. A collision with a careless SUV driver had landed him in hospital with multiple broken bones, and wrecked his previous bike—a RYCA CS-1 café racer. He recalls: “I really liked the RYCA, it was a light and nimble bike that was fun to ride and had a cool look. I told Chris I liked the single cylinder and how light the bike was, so that was the main reason I chose the SR.”
Everything aside from the frame and engine was ditched, and the build was under way. “Andrew was still on crutches and in an arm cast at this point”, says Chappell, “so time wasn’t really an issue.” An XS650 front end was grafted on, rebuilt with new seals and progressive springs, and powder coated mirror black. The rear end received brand new Works Performance shocks and the bike now rolls on stock SR mag wheels.
Ehlers had never been mad about the RYCA’s fuel tank, and had always wanted a more traditional café racer look. Chappell obliged by painstakingly hand-pounding knee indents into the Yamaha’s stock tank. But the biggest challenge was the seat. “We had a few café seat pans laying around and, honestly, they just didn’t fit the bike the way they should,” Chappell explains.
The solution was to build a vacuum forming machine, make a new mould and create the perfect seat for the bike, wasting a ton of materials in the process. Chappell Customs now use the machine to produce their own line of custom seats, available from their new online store, Tuffside.
The frame was de-tabbed and modified with a new rear loop, while clip-ons and ZX-10 rearsets were fitted to improve the riding position. Both the frame and the wheels were then powder coated ‘Gunmetal Pearl,’ while the exhaust header and reverse cone muffler were coated black. The bodywork was finished off in gloss black, with metallic gunmetal accents.
Chappell also fabricated a neat front sprocket guard, and modified the triple clamp to house the ignition and ‘idiot lights.’ A new wiring harness was installed and the battery eliminated to shave additional weight. At its heart, the SR is still a race bike—with a 540cc piston kit, ported head, race cam and valves, along with a new clutch, carb and intake.
Not surprisingly, Ehlers has nothing but praise for Chappell: “He really is a talented builder. He listened to what I was looking for and made all of it happen”.
Deborah Finding and Chris Aukett of design research agency The Big Picture predict a six-pack of trends for next year’s craft beer designs.
Craft beer is rather like indie music: a hard-to-define genre where authenticity is key and beards are plentiful, and in which our choices say a lot about who we are.
The Big Picture’s recent market research with beer drinkers and bartenders revealed the ‘three Ps’ influencing buying behaviour – product, provenance and personality – and showed how these are all communicated through design, as well as looking at where the category seems to be headed.
Here’s what to watch out for…
01. Cleaner designs
Fun as the ‘sweet shop’ style of the craft beer shelves has been, it’s left consumers unable to even pick out the names, the brands or the product at times, let alone choose between them.
Look out this year for others to follow anti-establishment hero Brewdog’s recent example and ditch some of the crazy labels and mishmash styles in favour of more grown up brand identities and cohesive ranging.
02. Understated confidence
Craft beer drinkers expect a superior product, delivered through care and consideration in the brewing process, and quality ingredients. Brands such as Bermondsey-based Kernel use a deliberately ‘un-designed’, industrial style in order to communicate at a glance that they focus on the beer, not the packaging.
However, as other brands follow Kernel’s lead, watch out for extra touches to the simple, undone packaging.
Textured typography or corrugated paper labels may still communicate that the brands are happy to let the beer do the talking, but as Dolly Parton once said, “It costs a lot to look this cheap” – and these ‘handcrafted’ additions may soon only be the purview of the bigger brewers.
Though the 330ml brown bottle remains the industry standard, craft aficionados know that it’s actually the humble can that best protects the beer inside from the degrading influence of heat and light.
In order to change the perception that drinking from a can is a negative experience, several US brewers are innovating to replicate ‘glass-feel’ – see the raised lip of Sam Adams and Sly Fox’s fully open can.
While the high production cost again means that most craft brewers will not be able to deviate from the standard structure, or add textures, such as this embossed can recently developed by Heineken (above), design agencies have nevertheless already started imagining how cans could communicate those attention-to-detail credentials essential to craft beer.
04. Cult of personality and place
E-readers and MP3 players have made it harder for us to judge each other by book and music collections – but craft beer is stepping forward as a viable identifying alternative.
As well as drinking Camden Hells when in Camden, or a Belgian summer ale from Hangar because of the country’s brewing credentials, craft beer drinkers we spoke to also used the provenance of the beer to stand in for their own characteristics – whether real or aspirational. So while Nordic noir’s Sarah Lund fans might go for the pared back Scandi-cool of Einstok, wannabe Shoreditch Blondes or Brooklyn-ites are in luck too. Surely only a matter of time before there’s an online quiz called ‘Which craft beer are you?’…
05. Mastering the craft
Showing expertise and artisanship through serious, apothecary-style packaging might be more commonly associated with whiskey or perfume, but it could be the next major route for craft beer.
As tasting evenings and food pairing menus start to emerge, watch out for the gold or silver edging, crests, and scientific or scripted labels that communicate care and attention to every detail of the brewing process.
06. Craft… other
And finally – look for craft beer brands to diversify into other areas, such as sprits and soft drinks.
Because craft beer brands, in Simon Sinek’s words ‘start with why’, they usually come with an inbuilt brand narrative and personality, as well as a strong visual language.
If consumers have already bought into the story, whether that’s a tale of supporting the little guy, or of going against the grain, extending the brand becomes much easier. Germany’s Fritz-kola is already showing how a grown-up craft soft drink range could be done, and Chiswick-based Sipsmith is leading the way with passionate production of artisan gins and vodkas. Independent spirits, indeed…