December 2009

Let’s skip December 2009 and go to 2010

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Welcome to the future, welcome to a tea-towel about tomorrow. Let’s forget about the GFC, Copenhagen, Swine flu, 350 parts per million, 1.5 degrees or less, and professional celebrity.

Let’s immerse ourselves in a truly new year. Let’s imagine that 2009 just didn’t happen. Let’s put ourselves in a new space of the ‘endless fun times’, and welcome in the future – December 2010.

Inspired by the Australian Christmas stamp issue of 1977 by Con Aslanis – we think, 1977’s surfing Santa was a one of Australia’s most controversial issues. Coming from a time where Christmas messages at the highest level were mostly of a religious nature, the surfing Santa was seen to trivialise the message of Christmas.

The studio Christmas / holiday tea towel celebrates a utopic Australian way of life. We have smashed together several clichés and paid homage to a dreamy summer where the days are hazy, laughter filled, pigs do fly and Koalas along with Reindeers surf as one.

Thanks to Ben and Shelley at SuperSpecial for their super special screen printing efforts, Chen at Jardan for sewing tags through the night, and to you for your ongoing support, ideas and friendship.

Have a safe, happy, fun filled 2010 and beyond

Sarah, Pip and Andrew
Studio Pip and Co.

P.S. if you would like our tea towel – email us at ideas (at) peoplethings.com

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A map for all in Fatland

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The studio was commissioned to develop an A6 custom map for the clients of Melbourne fashion retailer Fat4. Along with the mapping details each map has one of four A2 posters by friends of Fat, including one by the studio – ACE clothes. Thanks again to the Fat crew.

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2010 the international year of chillaxing

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In response to some recent feedback regarding the appropriateness of our 2009 Christmas image, we felt that it was apt to note the ideas and influences that led to the generation of the outcome.

Each year the studio can send up to 400 hundred cards, and in the twenty so years that Andrew has made Christmas cards he has explored the notion of the Christmas message. There are several Christmas themes under his scrutiny which include – the commercialisation of Christmas, religious themes, the Australian lifestyle, the universal message to take into account all cultures, the notion of making best wishes.

This year we explored taboos, while the year before we send out a message of universal peace. Over the years some cards go by with little comment, while other cards, such as the card produced in 1999 had clients either wanting copies to frame or copies to burn.

This year with all of its up and downs we felt it was time to find a comfy cliche and mash it up – like giving Rudolf a little vice, while at the same sending our best wishes to one and all.

Our work is research and observation based. In the course of researching ideas and outcomes, we come across many strange and curious ways and means in which people communicate.

This year we encountered the wonderful work of Sassy Park. Sassy is a Sydney based artist who recently produced a show of ceramic works and jewelery – Smoking Girl and other Tales, which explored the idea of mixed childlike themes and ideas. Sassy’s work made a lasting impression upon the studio and we liked the idea that of smoking could be associated with something as innocent as a child.

The Smoking Girl struck us in May 2009 and since we have spent many hours looking at the idea of sending mixed messages. The advertising of the 1950s, the sculptural artworks of Jeff Koons, the word play of Australian artist Jon Campbell, and fractured fairy tales – ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak, the animation series ‘Fractured Fairy Tales’ and the curious German fables for children (originally written in 1845 by German physician Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894)), ‘Der Struwwelpeter’ – all struck a chord as they are loaded with well intended yet mixed messages.

Our work is often centred around phrases and these phrases inspire the potential images. This year’s Christmas campaign started with the idea of wishing all of our clients and friends the best year possible in the coming 12 months. After much debate we agreed upon – Have a smokin’ new year, because as a phrase it had the potential to generate a range of mixed messages. According to the Slang Dictionary, smokin’ [?smok?n] is a : 1. mod. excellent; really hot; overpowering. : If you wanna hear some smokin’ vinyl, just stay tuned. Further to basic definitions the actual origins range from cigarette smoking, the boxer Smokin Joe Robinson to speed racing car slang.

As a homage to Sassy’s work and 1950s advertising messages we mused with the idea of pushing the Rudolf cliché – a Rudolf that has many conflicting ideas going on yet with always the best intentions. Tiger Woods may also be a recent candidate.

As a studio of non smokers, in world that is increasingly difficult to freely smoke cigarettes, the idea of associating one of Christmas’s cutest icons – Rudolf, with one of the world’s most unlikely matches – cigarettes, seemed to have potential for making a lasting impression with our audience. As smoking has become proven to be a habit that can bring on, or fast track cancer, cigarette smoking in recent years has rapidly become one of Australia’s most unfashionable habits. The irony being that 60 years ago such an idea may have well been acceptable. In contrast, 60 years later we are opening ourselves to scrutiny by the religious and politically correct members of the community.

This year’s image is again executed with rubber stamps, cut paper and a generous dash of time – all cards are hand made by members of the studio.

As another amazing year comes to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you out there for visiting our space and engaging with our way of doing things. With what is left of this year we promise to meet a few deadlines, reflect a little, dream up a few half baked manifestos and take some time out.

Happy, healthy, prosperous and smokin’ new year to all

Again, we invite you to explore Sassy’s work, her ceramic charms and jewelery are fine, cheeky, and an artful artwork you could own and wear. Visit Sassy here

The Smoking Girl by Sassy Park

The Smoking Girl by Sassy Park, image by Karl Schwerdtfeger

The original ‘Der Struwwelpeter’ – a lesson of stealing

The original ‘Der Struwwelpeter’ – a lesson of stealing

1950s cigarette advertising samples

1950s cigarette advertising samples (note the smoking penguin)

Happy whatever – 1999 for Precinct design

Happy whatever – 1999 for Precinct design

Peace Dove by Studio Pip and Co, 2008

Peace Dove by Studio Pip and Co, 2008

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