Archive for February, 2009

Face It, Life’s a Rat Race.

Posted in Artwork with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by bendey14

jamesclar_mouse1

This one comes from James Clar & Associates and their Traffic Design Gallery studio in Dubai (still winning).  I encourage everyone to check out their website, it’s full of incredible art and design experimentation, specifically with lighting.  Very awesome.

This latest piece reminded me of my New Media Driver’s License class and all the exploration we’re doing with new technology and media.  Here’s a series of words directly from the archives detailing “The Rat Race”.

“The Rat Race” is a piece jesting at the social ideal of the rat race, the idea that we are all rats in a competitive race to the top. Technology plays a key role in enhancing each rat but staying on top of technological progress (new software, programming languages, memes, etc) is a job onto itself. What technologies enhance our daily lives or make our work more streamlined? “The Rat Race” is a fusion of rat and technology.

Who survives the rat race?
The rat race.

With that in mind… here are a few more pictures just to help you waste your valuable time, and in turn, allow me to get two steps ahead of you in this gigantic rat race.

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Mr. Dubai himself

Mr. Dubai himself

Advice:  It may look enticing with that nice wooden table and place setting, but never eat the peanut butter.

UAC Update: Peace Out Valentine’s Day

Posted in Artwork, Random BS, UAC Updates with tags , , , , , , on February 24, 2009 by bendey14

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Sorry for not posting this sooner, but it’s been busy over here at the studio the past couple weeks and I don’t see an end to the Madness. 

In order to keep you readers interested, here’s a quick update for Underground Art Concepts…well actually, this update is technically about a project I’ve been working on for one of my Studio Art classes, but it’s got that “UAC flavor” naturally and I think you all might enjoy it.  And yes, in between doing art and robbing banks, I actually do find time to go to my classes.

I tried getting this up in time for Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s good that I didn’t, since this latest sculpture of mine might have dampened the mood of the glorious day that we have so recently been blessed with.  In general, there is a lot of thought that went into the completion of this piece.  And for those of you who know me pretty well, I think you’ll see some pretty deep inspiration coming from other places.  I’d hate to delve into all that right now, but if you’re curious, feel free to contact me with any questions.  I also sort of went along with a quote I thought up a while ago, “Love is like a nuclear weapon, die or live deformed”, which is pretty pessimistic, I know, but that metal contraption at the base of the sculpture had the word, “HOPE” printed into it when I found it.  Gives it a nice emotional balance, don’t you think?  Welp, here are some pics of the “Nuclear Weapon.”

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nuclear-weapon-2

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Yep, that thing up top is a heart, and that crazy looking chrome base is either sucking the life out of the heart, or breathing it back in.  I’ll let you decide.

New Social Media Stays Winning.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by bendey14

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Yep!  It’s official now.  If you aren’t down with what my buddies call the “intranets” at this day and age, then you’ll be nothing more than a burger flipper with a baby on the way mid-stroke of your junior year.  Nah, I’m kidding.  But let’s seriously assess your situation…you’re probably a freshman or sophomore here at MSU majoring in advertising or marketing, and you’re thinking to yourself…”What am I going to do?  I got that party coming up this weekend that’s gonna be off the hook!!!” 

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Yep. 

Definitely. 

But!  Let’s think about the future of your career for a second.  You’re about to be in a GIGANTIC harvest of worthy peers that could equally take that perfect post-graduation job straight out from under you.  Face it, you need a solid punchline for the resume and interview.

That’s why I’m here.  Listen up.

In the Spring semester of my senior year here at Michigan State, I enrolled in a class called the “New Media Drivers License“, which has undoubtedly changed my life forever.  Derek Mehraban, the instructor, is WITH IT.  Now I’m not just saying this guy is cool… I’m sayin’ this guy is legit.  He is the CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing in Ann Arbor, MI.  (Don’t worry, he’s straight Spartan, none of that Wolverine B.S.)  The foundation of the class is centered around a personal blog that you create, weekly online assignments, as well as constant facebook interaction.  It might seem like another load of unfortunate homework assignments on top of your standard ISS and IAH classes, but let me speak to you student-to-student for a second… this class is not only incredibly fun, but it’s very valuable to you and your future.  It gives you the opportunity to connect with your classmates, build your portfolio, network with professionals, and finally…keep it real!  Upon graduation, you’re going to need an edge, and that edge is going to include experience in everything I just listed.  As you can see, this small blog I’ve got flowing right now is essentially a crystal clear window into my thoughts, daily shenanigans, and overall my own personal creative outlet.  Enrolling in the New Media Drivers License course isn’t required for your degree, but if it were up to me… it would be. 

this could be you.

this could be you.

Peep our Facebook Group.

Get more info from the class Blog.

I encourage you to check it out, give it some thought, and shoot me any questions you might have:  mbender@undergroundartconcepts.com.

Stay winning ya’ll.

The Quest for G.

Posted in Commercials + Virals, Products with tags , , on February 17, 2009 by bendey14

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My boy Sean Blair, of Royals Review, and his team of fellow internet kings have put together a little something I like to call a “collablog” (collaboration + blog = collablog… oh c’mon, you know it makes sense) titled Code 2 Avenue.  I’m always tuning into what these guys post and am looking forward to the absolute hilariousness to continue.  Here’s a nice Gatorade commercial… maybe more like a short film… straight from Code 2, check it out!

Before you view it, be aware that this baby’s close to 10 minutes long.  It’s part of Gatorade‘s viral “What’s G?” campaign.  Definitely have to give them props on the nice spoof of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and if you haven’t seen that movie yet… stop reading right now and go rent it.  I’m dead serious.

Cast:

Kevin Garnett – King Garnett the Glorious

Derek Jeter – Sir Jeter the Gifted

Jimmie Johnson – Sir Jimmie the Other Gifted

Usain Bolt – Sir Bolt the Gutsy

Usain Bolt’s Head – Sir Bolt’s Pet: Ego

Misty May / Kerri Walsh – Misti & Kerri the Two Headed, Three Legged Knight

Alicia Sacramone – Alicia the Girl who made horse trotting noises

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – The Legend: Captain (Goat-Man)

JabbaWockeeZ – Bridge Guardians

Michael Jordan – Voice of G (Poodle)

Once more, a big thanks to the fellas over at Code 2 Avenue!

Lupe Fiasco breathes Hip-Hop

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2009 by bendey14

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Last week’s Thursday night was something I have been looking forward to for quite a while.  The night started off with a nice trip to the bar with some of my professors and classmates…and my night concluded with another trip to the bar that left my roommate and I in a heated debate of East Coast/West Coast rap.  Specifically, Tupac and Biggie. 

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Now before I open the door to any verbal abuse via the comments section.  My roommate and I had to agree on one thing, Lupe Fiasco brought it.  In between our trips to the bar Thursday night, we attended Lupe Fiasco’s concert here on our beloved Michigan State campus.  Last year’s show was great, but this year’s show sealed the deal for me.  Lupe will remain in the top 5 on Bendey’s List of The Greatest Hip-Hop Artists of All Time.

Here’s a video explaining why.

The energy Lupe and Bishop G (his hypeman) brought was on a different level.  Period.  For some artists, going through the motions is all it takes to sell out a show.  But when it comes to Lupe Fiasco, you often fear he’s going to collapse on stage from exhaustion, and no it never gets sloppy… this man breathes hip-hop.  Aside from a microphone breakdown during the second song, everything was seamless and incredibly intense.  Even the show’s opener, Asher Roth, every US college’s current poster boy, did exceptionally well.  Despite a failed attempt to burn a University of Michigan shirt on stage, his performance was crisp and on point. 

I’d add more videos from that night, but I’m still figuring out how to work this new camera, so here are a few pics instead.

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Search Engine Optimization

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 13, 2009 by bendey14

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On the web these days, we hear a lot of talk about how companies and organizations are directing traffic to their websites.  This is called “Search Engine Optimization” and it’s not as scary as it sounds.  At first it can sound complicated, but there are a lot of valuable websites out there to help you get started and become familiar with what it takes to get your website at the top of those Google searches.  Check out a nice outline by Google made especially for you readers about to dive in.  My New Media Driver’s License instructor, Derek Mehraban, has also posted a short introduction to SEO basics with things to consider when designing your site.

Now I’m no stranger to building a website and optimizing it for search engines.  I wouldn’t say I’m “experienced”, but I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way.  My website, www.undergroundartconcepts.com, is nothing more than a big photo gallery that I continuously add to every month or so.  I guess you could say it’s like a big virtual portfolio.  My main objective is to get my name out there and get exposure to people around the world.  My hosting server has a great statistics page for my website that allows me to check on the traffic that my site receives.  Here is a screen shot of referring URL’s to my site.

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As you can see, this is just one page of several different sets of data I can view.  I can also view what search words commonly bring up my website in search engine queries, what browser’s my viewers are using, and even what pages are getting the most clicks.  When trying to optimize a website for great search engine results, a tool like that is very valuable.

I am currently in the process of updating my website (I feel like I ALWAYS am) and re-designing a few of the pages.  After reading up on SEO and taking a look at some online guides, I definitely see some areas on my website in need of some improvement.  Accurate descriptions, a uniform presentation, and organized photo sets are specifically what I’m going to be focusing on in the near future.  I’ll keep you updated with the results!

Colgate gets Sweet

Posted in Print, Products with tags , , , on February 11, 2009 by bendey14

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Check this one out.  You can read the little blurb with the image by clicking on it, so I’ll keep my explanation short.  Instead of the usual free samples given away at events, Colgate started giving away Ice Cream and Candy!  Oh, but it’s not just sweets they were giving away, they all come with a friendly reminder at the end.  Great advertising and clever design…except that I’m guessing some people might confuse the wooden stick as a hair comb.

A UAC Update

Posted in Artwork, Graphic Design, Print, Products, Random BS, UAC Updates with tags , , , , on February 9, 2009 by bendey14

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With my first post here at Vivid Underground, I claimed I’d be keeping all you readers updated on Underground Art Concepts‘ top secret projects.  As you can see, I haven’t stayed true to my word, and I figure I should give you all the skinny before I forget.

First up:  Got my buddy’s old snowboard here that he left in my basement.  It’s been sitting there for about 5 years and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t miss it.  I’ve got a nice layer of copper spray paint, as well as a few streaks of new Krylon colors on there.  A couple weeks ago I thought it’d be a good idea to smother one end in some black enamel.  On top of that, I used the board to catch the drops of a bloody nose before a tissue was attained…(yea, a little messed up but what would art be if it didn’t have blood on it!?).  I’ve got some designs sketched out, but 75% of the time, they never end up on the final product.  Stay tuned for this one’s fate.

habit-board

Second:  You know I have to give it up for the ladies… and by ladies, I mean Megan Fox.  Nah, I’m just kidding, but seriously, it is Megan Fox, but she’s not the only one …if you catch my drift.  This one has been hanging up on the drawing board for about 7 months now.  When I get bored, I’ll spend about 10 minutes on it and then get preoccupied with something else.  But fear not, she’s almost finished…and I can gaurantee you’ll be amazed once the final touches are made.  This one will be of the mixed media flavor.

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Last but not least:  Gotta throw the book up there.  I know most of you have seen this already, but I should probably drop it one last time. 

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

 

a bonus pic because I love you

a bonus pic because I love you

yes, I really love you

yes, I really love you

 

I swear, I'll call you tomorrow...

I swear, I'll call you tomorrow...

 

sorry ...I must've lost your number?

sorry ...I must've lost your number?

 

 At the end of December, I released a book full of “secret photography” titled Your Dreams Are Shit.  You can order your own copy here.  It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s something I’ve been working on for the past 4 years and it’s a very personal project that I felt I should finally share with the rest of the world.  Don’t let the title mislead you, by the end of the book, you’ll hopefully realize that there’s much more to life than just 4 little words, but sometimes all it takes is 4 little words to make you finally see it.  I don’t want to take up too much pixels here with an explanation of this book, but if you’d like to hear more about it…by all means, don’t hesitate to contact me.  My email is benderm6@gmail.com or my AIM screen name, jx240.

Social Media and Networking

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 6, 2009 by bendey14

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This weeks New Media Drivers License assignment post is all about connecting with eachother.  Social networking websites haven’t been around that long, but they’re quickly becoming a great tool for connecting with valuable outlets of information and keeping in touch with people close to you. 

I’ve had a Facebook profile for going on 4 years now (you can find it here and add me as a friend!), but that’s literally the only web presence I’ve had throughout my college career.  I’ve recently jumped on board with LinkedIn and Twitter, which are quickly becoming my new favorites.  LinkedIn, very similar to Facebook, is a great way to meet people in your “industry” and connect with different networks.  Although I’ve only just started putting together my profile (much like a public resume), I can see that it is going to become a very valuable tool upon graduation and looking for a career.  People often say, “It’s not about who you are, but who you know.”  I’ve been chewing on these words for the past couple years now and I think it’s safe to say…those people are right.  You can be at the top of your class in what you do, but if you don’t have connections on the “outside” with people on the “inside”, your job search is going to be quite difficult.  I hope to use LinkedIn as a great tool to network with my peers and mentors to gain an edge when seeking a suitable career.  Connect with me on LinkedIn by clicking here!

Another valuable networking website is Twitter.  The best way to describe Twitter is probably that it’s a fast-paced public update of what you’re currently doing…and it’s incredibly fun and addictive.  You’re free to post links, what your plans are for the weekend, what projects you’re tangled up in, or even just to tell people they should stay away from that McD’s on 9th street because their fryers are broken!  You can network with friends and colleagues to have their updates fed right into your home page and vice versa.  Another great thing about this site is the application to your data device or cell phone.  My cell phone currently is unable to get this feature (can’t wait to get a Blackberry), but being able to update your Twitter feed from your cell phone while stranded in bumper to bumper traffic is quite a convenience.  I hope to use Twitter to connect with my friends and colleagues to “stay in the loop” or on the same page with them.  For example, if my buddy Josh finds a great deal on NCAA March Madness tickets, he can easily let me know about it before they sell out through Twitter!   Follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

Advertising That Sticks

Posted in Commercials + Virals, Products with tags , , , , on February 4, 2009 by bendey14

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Did anyone catch the Miller High Life one second Super Bowl ad?  I was aware that they would be airing something of the sort, but I did not know when.  Luckily I had my TV on in my room and as I was passing my doorway en-route to the bathroom upstairs, I was able to view it out of the corner of my eye… all one second of it.  Now I’m not sure if this is a stroke of genius… or an act of “sticking it to the man”.  Either way, it’s worth a look. 

We all know it costs millions of dollars to get air time during the Super Bowl, but what’s the point?  Sure, people will laugh at the outrageous over the top 30-second spots and gaze in awe at a company’s computer animated 3D ads, but in this day and age, some company’s are doing more with less.  With that being said, check out Kit Kat’s new website.  Yup, that’s it.  A website that essentially does absolutely nothing.  Genius, pointless, creative, waste of time?  You be the judge, but aren’t you already thinking about a nice Kit Kat bar right now and wondering how those advertisers got to you?  Well maybe you aren’t, but still, Kit Kat’s are great and you’d be a dirty liar if you said anything different.

Another famous example of “breaking the mold” in advertising is called Guerilla MarketingCartoon Network’s Adult Swim launched a marketing campaign for it’s animated show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, a couple years ago that triggered a city wide bomb scare in Boston.  Of course, I don’t think the bomb scare was the main objective, but it received national media attention and got “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue for a couple weeks. 

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The campaign consisted of nothing but LED characters, like the one above, stuck up on walls and signs around major cities.

Today, there’s a statisitic going around that says people are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages each day.  Some may find that hard to believe, but that’s because we tend to turn a blind eye to them.  It’s advertising like this that makes us stop and think for at least a few seconds.  A commercial during the Super Bowl is “thinking inside the box”, a commercial during the superbowl that lasts only one second is “thinking outside the box”, and an incredibly inexpensive campaign that throws lights up on street corners that eventually sets society off in a terrorism panic attack is what I might call “unfolding the box, using it to prop up that off-kilter table leg, and getting back to work because you’ve got better things to do than think about stupid boxes.”