Of the many talents I wish I had, but never fully developed, design may top the list. As early as elementary school I was interested in art. I’d stay after school for “art club” and took pride in my drawings (which, at that age, often consisted of things like Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joes). In high school my work had extended beyond cartoon characters, and I began to think of myself as a pretty good artist. I continued to take art classes through high school and every year throughout college. Nonetheless, I never fully committed to it. It wasn’t a difficult decision really. Although I enjoyed it a lot and thought I was pretty good at it, I knew I wasn’t great at it. Many of my friends, nearly all of whom were artists, were clearly better skilled and more creative than I was. I was aware that as an artist, I didn’t take direction well, and I told myself that I wouldn’t want to pursue it as a career unless I could do it on my terms, and that would have required more talent that I had.
Instead, I decided to use my other skills for my career (I was always told I’d make a great attorney) and chose to keep art as my hobby, untainted from the demands of a career. It seemed like a good compromise: I’d put my best skills to work for my career and pursue my interests in my free time. The problem though, is that over the years I’ve rarely put my artistic talents to use. As with many other things, I’ve found that if you don’t use those skills you lose them. I no longer really think of myself as an artist – and certainly not as a good one. To be honest, I’m OK with the way things worked out. Through this blog I’ve found other ways to create and engage in my passions. Nonetheless, I still love visual art and design, and as a result, I have a profound respect for creative people who use their skills either as their hobby or in their careers. So, with that in mind, one of my favorite bloggers/designers is San Francisco-based Scott Hansen who runs ISO50. His designs are warm, clean, crisp and exude a gently faded vibrance, creating the sense that the pieces are well preserved artifacts from the 70’s or early 80’s VHS-era. Hansen is also a musician who creates music under the name Tycho. He recently released his debut album Dive, which strikes me as the perfect sonic manifestation of his artistic vision. The opening track, “A Walk,” is a bubbly, but mellow groove with a bright, distinctly analog sheen to it. The album’s first single, “Hours,” follows the same approach relying on a a driving rhythm, dust-blown synths and well-constructed electronic arrangements. The sprawling, brightly-lit landscape of the album’s title track, “Dive,” which features a sparkling effervescence and a powerful, simmering rhythm is another highlight. Nonetheless, the power of this album comes from the fact that it doesn’t rely on highlights, or any brief moments of brilliance to succeed. Hansen approaches the album as a single piece of art in which each element is only part of an overall composition with a single unifying vision.
The first thing I noticed when I tried Kasey’s Minted Apple Fennel Juice was how crisp and clean it tasted. Adding fennel to juice may sound unusual, but this juice recipe, although exceptional and unique, is surprisingly approachable. I found the color of the juice to be striking as well, and this combination of factors, the crispness, cleanliness and brilliant colors, made this recipe feel like an excellent musical pairing for Tycho’s Dive.