Open Call for Co-Editor

As you may have noticed, activity on Art Sponge has slowed down over the past few weeks (months?) and the reason for that is simply a lack of effort on my part, faced with other growing priorities and parallel personal projects. Letting the blog die however has never been an option I’ve considered though, and I do intend on reviving things here in some form or another—I just need some help.

Without going into many details about how I envision the future of Art Sponge I’d like to make an open call to any Berlin-based creatives interested in working with me to provide new content for the blog. I’m very open to new ideas and would love to discuss new ways of developing this blog!

All I ask of anyone interested beforehand is that you be based in Berlin, speak English and/or German and have preferably relevant experience in blogging, visual art curation or something of the sort. This isn’t a call for an intern: if we’re on similar wavelengths and we find collaborative potential, the blog will gradually become your online channel to showcase art and design which inspires you, your own personal projects and hopefully local talents as well.

If interested please send a few words about yourself, what you think you could contribute and maybe an idea of something you’d see yourself working on with the blog (no need to be too serious).

Zinio Digital Magazine Subscription Giveaway

Now I’m sure this will interest some people out there… the nice people at Zinio are giving away 9 magazine subscriptions (that is, 10 including one for my dear self). Their online bookstore holds some really great publications like Wallpaper, Aperture, Juxtapoz, Computer Arts, Zoom (and that’s just from the Art section).

Zinio is also offering another great deal: get a 2 year subscription for the price of one on select magazines. More info here(finishes on feb 4th).

Anyway I’ll let you make up your own minds – to enter the contest, simply fill in the form below (including which mag subscription you’d like).

Review: M83 in Concert at the S.A.T in Montreal

Above you’ll find a video of the latest performance of M83 on “Jimmy Fallon”.  As much as I like watching shows on Jimmy Fallon, this performance is really a stripped-down and almost bland version of their show I saw here in Montreal last Saturday, which was utterly mind-blowing.

The M83 concert I saw on Saturday was an experience beyond most gigs I’ve been to (with maybe the exception of Fever Ray, James Blake and Suuns). Initially I wasn’t going to post on the show because I’m camera-less these days and it wouldn’t be much fun to read a concert review without some pictures. Luckily I came across these great shots by Andrew Colvin that really capture the visual atmosphere that was going on.

There really was no better place for such a band to play than the newly re-opened S.A.T (Société des Arts Technologiques). The space is huge, unlike the stage which stands almost isolated in the back of the room. What’s great about this is that it added to the overall feeling of being in some inter-galactic dance rave, with the band lifting off a UFO. This might sound a bit exaggerated, but just have a look at the first band appearance:


Honestly, I’m not too sure where this creature comes from (although I like to think it came up with that scream in the background of Midnight City), but it marked the lift-off of the show with the first track appropriately named “Intro”.

I would have been more-than-satisfied if the band had just played any songs from their repertoire without deviating from the studio recordings, but of course M83 did more than that. They expanded upon all their songs– driving the build-ups with epic drumming, and layering more sounds leading to incredibly exhilarating climaxes– always keeping us in an epic dream-like state.

If you haven’t heard Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83’s new album, there are a couple songs on our music player on the sidebar.

Local blogger Acquiesce To… wrote a great song-by-song review of the show, check it out.



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All the pictures are by Andrew Colvin.

On how to overcome creative blocks and how to improve your self-management

Some of my friends (not many, but there are a few) who know how I use the web will tell you I’ve always got some kind of neat Firefox add-on or a little Mac app that can help getting over problems of productivity, self-management or creativity.

But my addiction to this sort of thing goes further. I actually spend a lot of time procrastinating by reading through self-help articles relating to such things as productivity or procrastination. Obviously this habit has become a bit excessive, since I usually end up spending more time finding new ways to work more efficiently than actually doing any work.

…My point being, I’ve become reasonably slightly knowledgeable on these topics of psychology. All that means is, I’ve read quite a few great articles around the web. And I’d like to share a few of these with you, since, although the conversation is generally more one-sided, I believe you’re all human beings (and most likely creative ones) and must often run into problems of productivity, creativity, self-management and self-improvement.  Am I wrong?

On creativity:

Well, if this is where you’re having trouble, I’d advise figuring out which type of creative block you’ve got.

Concerning what to do about it however, most creative blocks revolve around an issue with your inner critic – you know, all those negative thoughts telling you it’s not worth it or you can’t do it? well in most cases those thoughts can be envisioned as coming from your inner critic. But don’t be fooled, the inner critic doesn’t manifest itself as obviously as one might think. As Denise Jacobs over at A List Apart explains (she likes to call an inner critic a troll):

“The resourceful and clever troll employs many tools to complete its task, ranging from the subtle (distractions and boredom), to the complexities of perfectionism, to diminished confidence and a paralyzing fear of failure.”

And once you’ve dwelt with that biggie, how do you get back to work? I’d suggest this great read on how to reignite your creative spark by the same author.

If that’s not enough expert advice, listen to Brian Eno, he’s got a fair amount of street cred. And maybe even download his cool idea-generating app– Oblique Strategies

On Self-Management:

I have three regular social networking service profiles [Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Twitter], one very comprehensive RSS-reader [Feedly], a few other profiles I’m slowly building up [Diaspora and Linkedin] and countless other accounts on services such as Tumblr, Pinterest..etc. And finally a couple email addresses; one personal and one for the blog.

Gosh, it almost looks like I’m bragging about this neat chain of distractions I’ve wrapped around myself. But the truth is, I do completely embrace the social web, and I have a hard time resisting the urge to open a new account on every new service bringing something enticing to the table.

So instead of shutting myself off from these ‘distractions’ that constantly nag me for attention while I’m trying to produce some kind of work, I read on how to improve my self-management.

First one must understand the science behind procrastination, and how it is a basic human impulse. Everyone procrastinates, it’s not just college students putting off essay deadlines– but also politicians, generals, economists; people who’s actions (or lack of) have real consequences.

That’s if you care about knowing what it’s all about– obviously there are lots of cool tips and tricks on overcoming procrastination.

But it all boils down to self-discipline and self-control or in other words self-management. And again, one must consider that science is revealing more and more on how our self-control may be a muscle that gets tired like any other muscle if used too intensely. I think it’s fair to say that makes sense to most of us– our willpower and the strength to resist an urge is limited.

That’s why re-gaining your self-control or self-discipline when you’re down isn’t a one-step process. You can’t just decide to go back to the gym, spend less money, stop watching tv crap and focus from 9 to 5 everyday from now on. Take little steps one way, and it will affect all other parts of your life with time.

When it comes to online self-control, I like to use the app appropriately named SelfControl.

What’s your take on avoiding / overcoming a creative block or a bad case of procrastination?

p.s: have a great weekend guys!



On Photo Crediting: Let’s get the platforms involved

Believe it or not, Art Sponge has been around since 2009. That year coincides closely with when I started spending a significant amount of time everyday browsing through Flickr photostreams, blogs much like this one, and image bookmarking sites such as yayeveryday! (in its previous form that is) or . Later on I set my Tumblr dashboard to endless scrolling and that’s where I’ve lost a large part of my days since.

Along with this habit came the awareness of how much stuff gets lost in this vast web of ours. Yet with time I started also realizing there is a discrepancy between images that aren’t credited back to their author simply because of they’re floating on a sharing platform such as Tumblr (that’s no excuse– but there is a difference between clicking ‘reblog’ and actually creating a whole new post), or pictures that are sitting on a website’s front page or a fully formatted blog post.

I recently came across a great write up by photographer Amy Stein (note to self: feature Amy Stein’s photography here asap) who took a great approach to the problem. Her view is that artists cannot avoid having their photos or artworks being shared all over the net, given how the web has become based on social sharing now. Therefore they’ve got to let it happen, and with the help of others in the artist community those who ‘forget’ to link back should be reached out to and asked to attribute the work.

“Let’s create a kind of attribution Neighborhood Watch where we confront site owners, editors and publishers that post images without crediting the artist and kindly ask them to get with the program.” Amy Stein

Personally, I think is a delightful idea– and although it’s never been given such a charismatic label, this kind of movement happens all the time in sporadic outbursts around the web. Most recently I came across a post from personal blogger Yoojin Chung who was having exactly this problem, with the help of her followers who sent emails to the offender she got the website owner to attribute her photograph. There are loads of other example of this sort.

So, what’s my point? Obviously Amy has done a pretty great job at explaining the problem before me. Well my point returns to this idea of there being two kinds of uncredited images: the ones floating around the platforms, and the ones posted on websites. Most often, the former is a result of the latter. For example, a tumblr-user reposts an uncredited image found on a blog and it just keeps being reposted until nobody has any idea where it originated from.

Resolving this might need more than a Neighborhood Watch which can only be effective if the movement is carried out by significant numbers– reaching out to the platforms themselves seems also very important to me.

From my knowledge, I’ve rarely seen much of an emphasis put on crediting the origin of images on the formatting back-end of platforms such as Tumblr, Blogger or even WordPress.

What I mean by emphasis is there should be something that intervenes in the writer’s process of inserting an image that triggers a search for a link to the image author.

Or at least a caption raising awareness around this issue. Or something. Honestly I’m just throwing a suggestion, but I’m sure many people out there have better ideas on how the great people behind blogging platforms could implement a solution to the problem of unattributed images.

What is your take on this issue? Got any suggestions? Fire away!

in the mean time, spreading the word on such websites as LINKwithlove is also great. And if you’re having trouble figuring out what to do with an image you’re about to post, Erin Loechner from Design For Mankind has pia bijkerk created an amazing poster to help out:

New Editor: Mary-Joy Ashley

I’m extremely pleased to announce we are expanding the Art Sponge team and welcoming more editors. Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Mary-Joy is entering her last year as a graphic design student in Nottingham Trent University.

She’s already an experienced blogger and a talented graphic designer as you can see below.

See more of Mary-Joy’s work on her portfolio, and stick around to start reading her articles from now on.

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Noway Tee Giveaway

Noway Apparel, a project freshly launched by a couple young creatives in based in Milan, are giving away four (yes, four) of their great t-shirts.

These are hand silkscreen printed t-shirts, meticulously detailed and in limited editions. There are several designs, and the shirts are either black or white. The editions/color might vary depending on availability.

To participate, simply click our ‘like’ button on the sidebar and on Noway’s Facebook page. And leave a comment below.

The contest ends on Sept. 23rd.

Check out the rest of the product shots! [peekaboo name=”noway”]

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