August 5, 2006

WGSN is an company that decides what colors will be popular, years in advance. They sell this information to designers who need to start producing the fads long before you know you want them.
Colors popular in the past include:

Popular colors need to be precisely documented before they are popular, so that no one risks an entire collection of merchandise. Trendy colors are agreed upon this way by the biggest companies. Forbes magazine claims that WGSN has 1,500 corporate clients paying a $25,000 membership for this inside scoop. “The scoop” is the culmination of reports from around the world – fashion runways are the obvious, but there’s also trend spotters embedded in every summer festival, and major concert / cultural event / street, in the world (!). This info boils down to a single forecast, and that’s where color comes from.

Here’s Pieces of a forecast I found

for Spring Summer 06 –

Of course sometimes they get it wrong. After 9-11, global mood changed instantly and no one wanted any of the colorful crap that was planned for fall. Industries even tried to flip the publics thinking to save the season – something like “you want cheerful colors to defy terrorism – to bounce back”. But no one was having it, and many business were lost completely. Companies with a somber color scheme like Prada did very well, on the other hand.

Have you ever read a book?

August 3, 2006

I have. I just finished Al Qadeda and What It Means to Be Modern, and I can’t stop talking about it / thinking about it. I love an argument like John Gray’s here. He skips the narrow debates; makes left and right look dumb with the largest ideas & damning patterns. A weird companion piece to Guns Germs and Steel which I’d read just prior, with A Short History of Mexico squeezed in between. All deal with atrocities and their components like we’re seeing in the news today. And – t o d a y – And today.

The Lance

August 2, 2006

I’d like to highlight the work of The Lance here, but I have NO photos. Only memories. That’s going to be tough. (Here I’ve drawn a few pictures from memory.)

The Lance seemed to be a runaway with some emotional problems, living in Key West Florida, most of the 2-3 years I was there.

The Lance may be one of the best and most real street artists you’ll ever meet. I knew this at the time, but lacked the courage to do anything about it. (or what could I do?). I tried to talk to him once and he couldn’t hear me. He was walking in zig-zag patterns reading a book upside down and I was following him, raising my voice. I thought I’d waited a long time to make this decision; to make this connection, and now I looked really foolish because it wasn’t solely my decision to make, was it?

Finally Lance pulled giant orange industrial earplugs out of his ears and said “Oh, Hello.”

Then I explained I loved his work and named all I knew of, or had seen.

There was the time he dressed in a business suit and wore an cell-phone ear-piece and yelled, really yelled all sorts of business jargon in the middle of the Key West crowds. It was so funny. But to see him going at it, you knew it wasn’t a joke for him, and there was no chance he was earning money as a busker for this.

One time he walked around with a box labeled Top Secret, looking down into it, totally shocked and silent.

Much of the time he would read out-loud from books with a fury that would make you dismiss him as mad. Then you’d hear from the towns only copy shop that he’s there all the time creating stacks of pamphlets with big bold words like “Lance is great”. Or other pseudo-campaigns that would take the rest of the day to hand-out on the street. And that made me think he was really quite clever and self aware.

I don’t think he ever documented his work, and while I was standing there praising him, I saw no sign of pride, not even concealed pride. He just looked through me and asked if I’d read “1984”. It was in his hands and he had to be specific with what alarmed him right then. I didn’t need to meet anyone so “real” and selfless, but I really think I did. I’m a cynic, but Lance was authentic.

Lance was a mystery. Where did he get money for these projects, where did he come from each day?

The last things I’d seen him do – was his name in straight forward letters: The Lance, spray-painted in fluorescent colors on trash.

He’d touched on graffiti from street performance, but it was so funny that while 5 or 6 of us in the tiny town wanted to do our part for graffiti, meaning do something like a Bronx Burner, and we would all get arrested eventually, The Lance never looked up or played that game, just flipped it. I still think seeing big horrible letters freely written all over piles of trash is some of the most amazing street art I’ve seen. The surprise and legality of it had fooled everyone and you couldn’t slow him down without the town becoming less wasteful.

The very last thing I saw was a 4ft cow probably from Ben & Jerry’s – installed in an abandoned shop window. a connected thought bubble told you who’d done it. It looked ridiculous. There was a crime of breaking and entering & some kind of street art installed. But you couldn’t say there was anything cool about it. It just looked so funny standing in the window. It was real Dada. He stuck society with society, which is smarter than say; a cool stencil of anything “revolutionary”.

He also played music on an acoustic guitar that he pounded till it sounded amplified.

Where is Lance now? I’d like to know. My friends say he’s not in Key West.


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