Collaboration watch

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A decade ago collaborations had a “new” feeling you could almost say refreshing. These days collaborations are all around, so limited that people go crazy for them. I culled a few “it” collaborations that are coming out. If your looking to get them better start waiting in line now.

Fragment Design x Nike
Just one of the shoes from this collaboration with Hiroshi Fujiwara. It’s going to be in high demand.
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Alexander Wang x H&M
Another homerun collaboration for H&M with another big wig fashion designer. You’ll find these pieces on ebay even before it gets released.
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Palladium x Alpha Industries
Probably not as hyped as the previous two collaborations but one that puts two companies together that make for a perfect match.
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Guide to the Hawaii International Film Festival 2014

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Partners in Crime (Taiwan, 2014)

I was pretty stoked to score a pair of tickets to see the new Takashi Miike flick at the AFI Fest. We don’t get to see works by the Japanese director on the big screen here in L.A. very often, and Over Your Dead Body is especially awesome because it’s his return to horror. Did I mention that you can score tickets to that particular festival for free? If you’re a film lover who lives near Hollywood or is able to leave work early, you might want to check it out…

But attending a festival in your hometown isn’t quite the same as traveling to one. Saddled by responsibilities–work, family, pets, or whatnot–it isn’t easy to totally commit one’s self to binging on movies and popcorn.

So I recommend booking a last-minute flight to Honolulu for the Hawaii International Film Festival. I love it because the programmers have great taste, booking a perfect balance of art and trash, high end and low budget, with a ton of new movies from Asia. It doesn’t hurt that the audiences are packed with way more film freaks than industry wannabes and bullshitters, and did I mention that it’s in Honolulu? And then plan your week something like this:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30

Spend the morning and every morning at the beach before it gets crowded, go someplace awesome for lunch (The Pig and the Lady, Jimbo, Marukame, Gina’s…) before having a snack at Waiola, Leonard’s, or Liliha Bakery. Eventually, get to the Dole Cannery to flash your badge, grab some hurricane popcorn, and see some movies.

6:00 – Partners in Crime (Taiwan, 2014). The plot involving a group of friends who investigate their friend’s death sounds like it could be Stand By Me or River’s Edge. Doesn’t hurt that director Chang Jung-Chi won a Golden Horse Award for best new director in 2012 and is a filmmaker to watch.

9:15 – The Midnight After (Hong Kong, 2014). I’m a big fan of Fruit Chan, who is best known for directing the gritty indie film Made in Hong Kong in 1997. His latest movie features his typically everyday characters on a bus from Mongkok to Tai Po who wind up in a Twilight Zone-esque situation.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31

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6:00 – NUOC 2030 (Vietnam, 2014). This stylish sci-fi whodunit has a subplot involving climate change, and is helmed by Nghiem-Minh Nguyen Vo, who grew up in his family’s movie theater in Vietnam and then obtained a PhD in physics from UCLA. As is the case with many films, the director will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. (What filmmaker wouldn’t go to Hawaii?)

9:15 – Man From Reno (USA, 2014). Indie director Dave Boyle is responsible for  Surrogate Valentine and Daylight Savings, two of my favorite low-budget flicks that happen to feature friends Goh Nakamura, Michael Aki, Ayako Fujitani… Fujitani has a central role in Boyle’s latest flick, a mystery writer who finds herself in a real-life mystery.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1

6:15 – Thermae Romae II (Japan, 2014). Kind of like Hot Tub Time Machine but in a sauna, a Roman gladiator finds himself transported to a sumo ring and back. Japanese movie buffs will recognize lead actors Hiroshi Abe and Aya Ueto from Kore-eda’s Still Walking and Ryuhei Kitamura’s Azumi movies.

9:00 – Lupin The Third (Japan, 2014). Ryuhei Kitamura made his mark with an over-the-top indie action movie called Versus. His Pan-Asian, live-action take on Monkey Punch’s detective has received mixed reviews but I’ll see anything with actor Asano Tadanobu and Meisa Kuroki wasn’t bad in Crows Zero or Space Battleship Yamato.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2

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4:45 – Banting (Singapore, 2014).  A movie about a young woman from a strict Muslim household who enters the arena of masked wrestling? Sounds good to me and where else will you see this on a big screen. First-time filmmaker M. Raihan Halim will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

7:00 – The Golden Era (Hong Kong, 2014). Ann Hui is a legendary director and this docudrama was not only the Closing Night film for this year’s Venice Film Festival but is Hong Kong’s official foreign language submission for the 2015 Academy Awards.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3

3:30 – Dearest  (China, 2014). Peter Chan is one of the most respected filmmakers and producers in Hong Kong, China, and Asia in general. This thriller features Bo Huang and Zhao Wie, from Stephen Chow’s Journey To The West: Conquering Demons and Shaolin Soccer, respectively!

6:30 – Crows: Explode (Japan, 2014). The ultraviolent high school saga continues in this adaptation of the much-loved manga by Hiroshi Takahashi.

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TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4

6:00 – Wood Job! (Japan, 2014). An awkward coming-of-age movie set deep in the woods of Kamusari. Our hero tries to escape the challenges of the wild until he realizes that he is neighbors with the cover girl on the flyer that brought him there.

8:45 – What We Do In The Shadows (New Zealand, 2014). Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark) reunite to make this mockumentary about vampire roommates who must learn to coexist with hipsters, computer programmers, and other tribes in modern Wellington.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6

5:45 – Beyond Clueless (UK, 2014). This British documentary includes and attempts to digest over 200 teen movies from Idle Hands to Eurotrip, narrated by Fairuza Balk from The Craft.

9:15 – The Torture Club (Japan, 2014). Based on a comic but not for kids, this is probably one of the trashiest and smuttiest movies of the fest. But does it have a heart, too?

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7

6:15 – Aberdeen (Hong Kong, 2014). Although Pang Ho-Cheung is best known for genre movies like the slasher flick Dream Home and softcore comedy Vulgaria, his latest effort is described less odd but equally surreal. Perhaps like a Don DeLillo story based in HK?

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8:30 – CART (South Korean, 2014). This pro-labor muckraking movie about workers who go on strike sounds totally unlike so many other South Korean flicks which are about about status and shopping. Intriguing and hopefully good.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8

6:30 – The Great Hypnotist (China, 2014). Taiwanese director Leste Chen has enjoyed success with several romantic comedies but returns to the horror genre with this thriller starring Karen Mok–one of Hong Kong’s coolest.

8:45 – Tokyo Tribe (Japan, 2014). Sion Sono’s super stylized take on the ultraviolent manga is reportedly part West Side Story, part pinku exploitation movie, and all craziness. Not for the easily offended in terms of gender politics, good taste, or proper storytelling.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9

3:30 – Mudbloods (USA, 2014). The documentary about real-life Quiddich players follows a team from California to New York to play for the collegiate championship.

6:30 – A Hard Day (South Korea, 2013). There are so many South Korean cop movies out there but this one sounds out of control and off the rails, not to mention up a dead man’s ass.

9:30 – My Man  (Japan, 2014). This Lolita-like story sounds difficult to watch but Asano stars in it I’ll give it a try…

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9

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12:00 – Neko Samurai (Japan, 2014). Cat gang vs. dog gang, samurai style!

4:00 – Black and White: The Dawn of Justice (Taiwan, 2014). Mismatched cops fight bombings, missiles, and deadly virus. What else can go wrong?

6:30 – Scarlett Innocence (South Korea, 2014). A sick love triangle that could only come from South Korea with a sordid past, secret identity, two generations of the same family, and blindness.

There’s a lot of other stuff I’d want to catch: shorts from up-and-coming filmmakers, stuff by locals, documentaries about local topics. Martin Scorsese and Andrew Lau’s Revenge of the Green Dragons will have to wait until I got home and same goes for the new Olivier Assayas flick.

And if my choices seem lousy to you, the great thing about film festivals is that two attendees could have the best time ever yet never see the same movies. Look up the schedule yourself and go! There are definitely worse reasons to fly off to Hawaii…

What We Do In The Shadows (New Zealand, 2014)

What We Do In The Shadows (New Zealand, 2014)

Check out the Hawaii International Film Festival at hiff.org and follow Imprint Culture Lab via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more articles, events, and announcements…

8 Questions with: Philip Lumbang

Philip Lumbang is an accomplished young artist, based in Los Angeles. When we first met about a decade ago, Phil was art assistant to American stencil master Shepard Fairey (of OBEY fame) and also interning at a mutual friend’s clothing label. It’s been amazing to watch Phil’s progression and growth as an artist: developing his style, fleshing out his Happy Bear characters, building an impressive following, and generally repping his “HUG LIFE” mantra to the fullest. In many ways Phil is disrupting the old gallery world – he’s found it more lucrative and rewarding to produce & sell art via his own online store, and hasn’t paid much attention to the traditional exhibition route so far. Assessing the situation bluntly, Phil said, “The era of the gallery-driven artist is over.” Read on to learn more about Phil’s fascinating role as a talented creative and stay tuned to his Instagram account for more on upcoming projects such as his mural at Spotify’s new HQ coming this fall. And you can check out his brand new merch store too.

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What are you currently working on?
I’m working on my juggling act! Three kids, a wife, and a freelance career is a lot to keep up with. Kids-wise, I’m trying to see if i can raise some decent human beings who hopefully contribute great things to society. Wife-wise, working on keeping the flames of love fanned. Career-wise, I have a few things I’m working on. I’m most well known for my happy bears, so pushing that is top priority and getting freelance gigs like the Vince Staples “Hell can wait” EP cover. I guess I really want to work on diversifying every artistic outlet I can.

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How would you describe your job?
My job? Let’s see…I’m like a “not-so-stay-at-home dad/art guy.” 

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What does your average work day look like?
I wake up about 8am, to one of my crying twins, make her a bottle, then 15 minutes later, her sister wakes up. Go back to bed around 9-ish and siesta till noon. My wife is on maternity leave still, so we kick it throughout the day, taking care of all the kids. When my 3-year-old takes his nap around 7pm, that’s when art stuff takes place. I’ve got a studio in Downtown L.A. where I get all my work done, so I’ll either be painting, designing or shipping for about 3 hours, then head back home to a cranky toddler, 2 crying babies, and beautiful lady. Watch Netflix or Amazon Prime all night, put the girls to bed around 4am, and BAM all over again. I mean it’s not the most exciting life but, shit, someone’s gotta do it. 

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Where do you find inspiration?
The Internets, LOL. No, but seriously, everything is on the Internet, so why go anyplace else? My search history is pretty funny…anything from “HIGH RES FOREST NIGHT” image searches to “FROST DK ROTATION.” Ok, but seriously, seriously, inspiration is all around me, my best ideas are kind of the “AH HA” moments where it just hits me out of nowhere. I’ve always got ideas running through my head – the hard part is filtering out the winners from the losers.

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What’s the best thing about living and working in LA?
The best thing about living and working in LA has to be LA right? I mean my god, what a place to be, what ever you want, LA got it. Whats your flavor? You got it! I’ve been in here for almost 8 years now and the energy of the city, the people is electrifying. I’ve lived all over the greater-LA area, from Van Nuys to Silverlake, Monterey Park to Burbank, so many different cultures and communities it really keeps you motivated; you are part of something bigger.

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As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in the early ‘90s, like when Food Network was a new thing, and I remember watching Emeril Lagasse, and being like, “Damn, that’s what I want to do.” And I was completely serious about it up until high school and realized I drew on EVERYTHING. I’m talking about homework, agendas, desks, and chairs. Teachers would get hella mad at me. But yeah, I was really ready to go to culinary school and start working my way up to becoming some dope-ass chef at some dope-ass restaurant. I still cook like every day and I’m pretty good at it, maybe that could be something I could do still, hell I’m only 28!

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What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve been into Reddit for a bit now, and slowly over time it has become my one-stop-shop for all my news, and entertainment. The front page is sort of like this meta Internet world where the most popular news, pictures, trends etc of the day are marked and labeled ready for consumption. Other than that, I really enjoy reading tech reviews, I am a huge gadget buff, and I love speculating about new devices and what next big thing is coming, like smart watches. I’d totally get one but the battery doesn’t even last a 24hr day with moderate use…See what I mean? Interesting stuff.

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What’s your favorite post-work destination?
I’m an avid gamer, I even built my own gaming PC, so that’s what I like to spend my free time doing. Other than that, going places with the fam is always fun. My son likes to go bowling and mini golfing so we try and do that as much as possible. I always try to be as far away as possible from all things work, all work and no play makes Phil a sad boy.

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D3 Traveller

If you take your travel as seriously as our most recent Imprint Presents speaker Jan Chipchase does, you’ll appreciate the D3 Traveller, a truly world-class travel bag he’s carefully designed over the last few years. Jan worked with a dedicated team of early adopters and beta testers to prototype and fine tune this impressive design. Described as an, “Ultralight, strong and discreet duffel that packs down to the size of a sweater,” the bag is designed to fit under an economy class seat which should save you from ever having to check it. It supports a range of carrying styles including an original backpack conversion. The construction and fabrication is rather unique thanks to Cuben Fiber which is four times stronger than Kevlar, at about half the weight. With no external branding this is a sleeper in the finest tradition of Prohibition-era rumrunning.

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Air New Zealand’s “Epic Safety Video”

There’s Southwest Airlines with their creative safety briefings, Virgin America with their fancy, choreographed safety video, and then you have Air New Zealand’s recently self-proclaimed “most epic safety video” inspired by the third and last installment of the Hobbit Trilogy. From a branding and advertising perspective, this is just absolutely brilliant. Air New Zealand gets plenty of exposure for an airline that would typically fly under the radar and the LOTR and Hobbit franchise will remind viewers just how amazing that series was and to go back and watch them ALL over again (think holiday LOTR merch sales…).

Munchies

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What happened to that food show with the asian on youtube? It seems with the success of Eddie Huang’s other venture Fresh Off the Boat is no longer that, Now we get Eddie Huang’s Huang’s World.

They’ve just began to rewrap the original episodes and can be found on Vice’s food channel called Munchies. Take a moment and rewatch some of his “classic” episodes and hopefully soon we’ll get another season of Huang’s World.

Until we do… also check out the other amazing content on Munchies. It’ll get you salivating. Remember don’t watch on an empty stomach. This video below shows a real gem of a personality.

Four or Five Eye Jobs

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The phone call I got from ABC’s Nightline earlier this month wasn’t the first time a television producer had contacted me asking if I would provide my take on cosmetic eyelid surgery for Asians.

I never asked to be a spokesperson on the topic but I’m pretty sure it started in 2004. A reporter who was writing about the subject called the home office/garage where Giant Robot magazine was being made and was looking for quotes. I used juicy terms like “self-mutilation” and “heartbreaking.” You can read the article at womensenews.org.

After a long weekend in 2008, I played back a message on my answering machine from a producer on the Tyra Banks TV show who wanted me to talk about Asian eye jobs. The decision to appear wasn’t a slam-dunk. I was worried about coming off like a macho jerk telling grown women what to do. After some thought, I decided to go for it. At best, I’d come across as intelligent and help promote our tiny magazine. At worst, there would be hair pulling and chair throwing but a great story to tell.

The actual experience was somewhere in between. It was awkward being in the same green room as the subject of the segment and her plastic surgeon. They didn’t know that it was my task to say that cutting up her naturally Asian appearance gave a message that the Western look was superior. I think Tyra was rougher on the subject than she expected, and I told her that she looked great and did a great job before leaving.

Unlike me, I’m pretty sure the other two got paid to appear on the show and I recall them giving head shots to the assistants to pass along to Tyra. Yes, the super model looked stellar. The whole segment happened so fast that there was no time for her to say hi to guests, thank them, or get a picture taken. Oh well.

After the segment aired, I remember the more political members of the Asian zine community trashing my appearance on the show. GR was glossier, bigger, and more pop culture oriented, so a lot of them thought we were encouraging fetishism or selling out. That hurt, but it turns out those comments were nothing compared to what Tyra gets on YouTube. Yikes!

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I was asked to be on Dr. Phil’s show just a year later and said, “Sure.” It wasn’t that different but they framed the cosmetic surgery on pragmatic aspects. Does the double-fold eyelid make a person look smarter? More alert? Can it help one’s grades, career, or love life? My response was that self-confidence is great but the surgery still gives a message that an Asian appearance is inferior to a more Western one.

I actually don’t remember too much about the taping except that when Dr. Phil thanked us guests and shook our hands, he had gigantic, baseball glove-sized mitts. The plastic surgeon has shared the video to promote his business and you can see it on YouTube.

CNN contacted me in 2011, and had a more international perspective than Tyra or Dr. Phil. They were profiling a 12-year-old girl in South Korea who was about to get an eye job, and asked if I’d go to the CNN headquarters for an interview by Skype. The magazine had just bit the dust after 16 years, but why not? I’d be right next door to Amoeba Records!

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That time, I talked about cultural imperialism. That sucks, but even more problematic is the idea of performing cosmetic surgery on children. How can a pre-teen make that kind of decision? That’s depressing and disturbing. And it’s happening more than ever.

So when Nightline called years later, I was over it. There was no magazine to promote and what else could I say? Why couldn’t they find a celebrity or academic with more authority than me–a guy who was never a “real” journalist to begin with? Or at least find a woman to make a comment on the subjects who are always female although they could profile dudes that get the surgery as well.

The producer insisted that she needed my take for her story, and kept following up after I couldn’t say no. When I was driving around and not answering my phone, she tracked down my mom and dad’s phone number and called them, too! So I acquiesced. A cameraman was sent to my house that afternoon and we did the interview over speakerphone in my own backyard.

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It turns out the subject of the segment was an African American woman getting a nose job and swearing she doesn’t have Michael Jackson Syndrome. I don’t think my quote about Asian eye jobs was a perfect fit for the story but it is flattering to be wanted.

I think it’s sad that the phenomenon of Asians cutting up their faces to look the same as everyone else is more rampant than ever, that the news story keeps running over and over, and that I’ve been called so many times to give my spiel. The latter is probably because I’ve never asked for money. But cultural imperialism, the beauty myth, self-loathing–shouldn’t someone in Hollywood make a stand against that sort of thing? Most likely no one in showbiz wants to piss off the talent, and in the meantime I’m just getting older and more haggard each time I get the call.

Maybe I could benefit from a little surgery?

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8 Questions With : Carly Chiao

Carly Chiao is another wonderful individual I met through John Maeda a few months back. She is currently a designer for Victorious, a platform that enables content creators (e.g. YouTube stars) to connect and engage with their fans on a more meaningful level. With the massive volume of content that is being pushed out every minute of every day it can be incredibly difficult to build a loyal following that will choose you over your “competitors.” As a result, we’re seeing a large market for third party content and monetization channels developing out of this gaping need, with Victorious at the forefront of it all. Additionally, with the level of accessibility to today’s technology content creation continues to stimulate its own growth – the more that is created and exposed, the more viewers desire to become the creator and launch their very own content, paving the way for companies like Victorious.

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1. What is Victorious and how did you get involved?
Victorious is a start-up based in the heart of Santa Monica. We’re offering a platform for content creators to build and publish their own interactive mobile apps. Our primary goal is to put creators in control of their own brands and empower them to engage with fans directly. I’d like to think that each app is a hub, where creators can publish all of their content in one place and fans can interact with the community.

I got introduced to Sam Rogoway, the CEO of Victorious. I was told that Sam is very selective for hiring designers. Just out of curiosity, I took my chances and met him. It was a short 30 minutes talk, but I was hooked to the product he envisioned. I feel we’re solving a real existing problem.

2. The third party market for media/video is booming, where do you see it going in five years?
With the rise of advanced camera technology, easier accessibility to platforms for distribution and editing, and more social communities to build around video, it’s not hard to say that video will increasingly become a vital medium for entertainment, information and communication. It’s not only presenting us the in-person experience but also easy to digest. It’s naturally engaging and has high “shareability”. The roadblocks for creating videos will be diminished to nothing, it’s just a matter of ideas, so much choice is in the hands of the creators.

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3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?
A flight attendant. I used to dream how I could travel around the world while I’m working. I didn’t become one but I’m still working towards my voyage planning.

4. What do you find most challenging about your current role?
Working on a new product without much data to begin with, what I find most challenging is to figure out feature rich vs. too many features. It’s always hard to understand in the beginning. We want to embrace the power users but are also afraid of potentially confusing the novice users. We started to do some usability testing post development and hopefully we’ll find the sweet middle ground for all users.

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5. What does a typical workday look like?
My workday usually starts with listening to podcast while driving. it’s such a relief to my long commute and become my creativity jump start for the day by listening to other people’s stories. After I got in to the office, if I continue to where I left off the project, I’ll review the flows and make sure whether they still make sense before I proceed. If I’m kicking off a new project, I’ll do my due diligence by researching similar products in the existing market. It’s always effective to learn why and how other people are doing well with their designs and features, or failed with things we would have never thought about. These findings will potentially help us to form a better vision. I usually work in Photoshop for mobile and web design. Illustrator would be handy whenever I’m dealing with vector shapes. Then I’ll eat lunch around 12pm or 1pm. Sometimes I’ll work through lunch if I have a meeting around that time. I work very closely with product and engineering and enjoy how fast we craft and iterate the product.

6. What’s your favorite post-work destination?
Home. To catch up with my two little ones and my terrifically supportive husband.

7. As a designer, where do you find your inspiration?
My surroundings.

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8. If you could give some advice to your teenage self, what would it be?
Growing up from a typical Asian family, my dad told me that I need to be honest, humble and listen more than speak up with what I have in mind when I was little. I’ll keep the same principles except the last one. What I learned over the years, voicing my ideas is equally important; because for me, that’s a way to show that I care.

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Better with Pets 2014

Last year, Imprint’s founder, Julia Huang, spoke about our Architecture for Dogs project at the first Purina Better with Pets conference in New York City. You can revisit our posts about that event here and here. I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Better with Pets summit earlier this week, at the impressive Skylight Modern in Chelsea. Much like last year’s event, it was a fascinating line-up of primarily dog and cat experts of all stripes, with some entertaining interludes for very good measure.

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The speakers included 14-year-old inventor Brooke Martin, creator of IC Pooch; the founders of Minneapolis-based Cat Vid Fest; TV host Victoria Stilwell, who champions positive training; and several noteworthy veterinarians and psychologists. The performances included hip-hop from youth program B.E.A.T. NYC, a clever spoken word poem about pets as poets by the Mayhem Poets trio, and live piano accompaniment to the talk from the founders of music therapy for dogs, Through a Dogs Ear. There were also some short video screenings such as Henri Le Chat Noir (scroll down for this, seriously) and an powerful film about pets and PTSD from Purina.

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In this midst of all this incredible content, I think my favorite must have been Mark Deadrick of 3Dyne who talked about 3D printing prosthetic limbs for dogs. Mark cleverly brought along his first and totally awesome patient, Turbo Roo, a tiny Chihuahua born with missing front legs who has been the recipient several evolutions of a cart for highly improved mobility at an amazingly affordable price. I’m not giving away any secrets here as Purina have promised the talks will all be available online in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can check out some of their initial coverage here.

How it’s made

How it’s made, I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one episode of the show that seems to captivate audiences with the process of how things are made. But even more so now people have been creating their own content that follow the “how it’s made” concept. I thought I’d bring two interesting examples that keep me glued to my screen for hours at a time.

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Tested
I think the best thing about finding an awesome youtube channel after it’s been around for years is that you can binge watch. Tested happens to be one of those. They do all kinds of interviews with people that produce cool things in the tech/comic etc. industry. Here are two examples from the site.

DiResta
At the School of Visual Arts in New York Jimmy Diresta teaches 3D design, he’s also had a TV show and he has an awesome youtube channel. After you watch a few of his videos all you’ll say is “He can make anything”. Note: Lots of videos are in timelapse and the sound may make you crazy. But it’s enthralling to watch the process.