Interview with OK Parking on Drift November 29, 2010

After completing university Joost van der Steen and William van Giessen formed OK Parking in 2005, a graphic design company based in Arnhem, Holland. Now a design studio taking on large commercial projects the duo have maged to chanel much of their unbrideled creative energy into creative side projects including the OK Blog, OK Periodicals and the OK Festival. Recently releasing their fifth issue, the OK Periodical is a biannual magazine comprised of content submitted by designers from around the world in response to a theme. Having no editorial agenda means the magazine is a playful showcase of work. Involvement in magazine production has lead to the creation of the OK Festival, a three day independent magazine love-in in Arnhem. First held in may 2010, the next is scheduled for some time in 2012. We interviewed the duo about drift and the nature of creating design.

Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?

When we (William and Joost) studied at the art academy we started experimenting with making mistakes on purpose. We started making glitch images, movies and installations. We deconstructed digital cameras, webcams, computer screens etc. It’s fascinating to see what happens when things don’t work the way they should. And you should open your eyes for this. Mistakes/accidents aren’t always bad because they can help you in your process and they can help you in making things you had never expected. The best thing is when you are able to take control of the accidents…not completely of course but a little is good. So you can steer the accident. After graduating we went on experimenting with these glitch projects. This way we ended up in the Glitch Book “Glitch: Designing Imperfection” by Imon Moradi and Ant Scott. These days we are less active in searching for the mistakes but we are sure happy when we find one and will always try to use them. I don’t know if it’s more original but it sure is more surprising and fun!

Was there ever an element of drifting into the career that you now have? Or did you set out expressly to be here, and everything is how you planned it to be?

No, we drifted in to this. When starting our company it was an impulse without any idea of what we wanted and where we were going. We wanted to work together and to make nice things, earn a little money and have fun. And this is what we started with an then once in a while a projects or ideas pop up in our minds and 9 of 10 times we will start with this project blind folded not thinking about money, time or if it is going to fail. These sometimes crazy projects form us as a company make us the way we are right now but will also change us in the upcoming years.

After you have made a piece, does it ever take on another life beyond its original purpose? Have you ever had work adopted or used for something else, and if so, by whom?

We are graphic designers so not really. Well not that I know of. Of course all the paper designs we produce will sometimes be used as wrapping paper, or shopping list.

How does time play a role in the way you work, particularly when focusing the way that you have to achieve something by a deadline, or letting work drift towards a conclusion?

Time always plays a role, even with our self initiated projects we have deadlines when it should go to the printer or when it has to be finished. But it’s nice if the deadline isn’t too short. This way you have the time to think about and take a second look at what you made and most of the time this makes the design better. Just put it away for a few days and take a look at it afterwards.

In terms of finding things that you use for inspiration, as a basis for work, how deliberate are you in research, or is there a tendency to drift through sources - the endless depths of the internet allow this?

I love to drift over the internet with Twitter and Facebook on my side. Just clicking links and seeing where it takes me. This often happens when working on the O.K. Periodicals magazine. Searching the internet within one theme brings you beautiful and curious things. But next to the internet inspiration is everywhere when I’m out of inspiration or energy I always go and have a walk to see things and people and clear up my mind. And then of course there are magazines, books and cycling (that’s what we Dutchies do) through the city. All these can bring inspiration and most of the time it’s easier to find it when you’re not looking for it.

With O.K. Periodicals you set a topic and then let people send in work they think fits. How does the theme move when the work begins to come in?

It’s funny that we always have ideas of what we want people to send in but they almost never do. The last theme is about the Body we hoped that people would have a free mind in this and that not everybody would send us pictures of human bodies……but they did. Now we have a big collection of human bodies in the magazine and it looks great. So after all we are very happy with it. It’s always a surprise what people will send us and that’s good and keeps it fun to do.


The Hundred in the Hands on Drift November 24, 2010

Formed in late 2007, the Hundred in the Hands are a Brooklyn based duo. Jason Friedma and Eleanore Everdell make a luscious noise combining intimate narrative vocals, tugable guitar riffs, knee-jerk disco beats and analogue synths. Their debut single released on Pure Groove records lead to them being snapped up and signed by Warp Records. Their self-titled album was released this September. We interviewed Jason drifting, music and the creative process.

Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?

Yeah, it’s very important. Trying to merge accident and intention is probably the best way to think about what song writing/recording is. A lot of what we do live is controlling and building up sonic textures, letting them spill out and sopping it up again. The nice thing about digital recording is the ability to revisit accidents and respond to them. In a way, it’s a lot more like painting where you slowly build up layers, step back and then react. Read more ⇒


Paper Girl Manchester on Drift November 17, 2010

Around five years ago in Berlin, amidst squabbles at Anti-Graffiti Conferences and debates over tightening laws against street artists, a young Aisha Ronniger found herself contemplating how to artistically connect with the public and make a pleasing impression on the urban landscape. Finding inspiration in the bicycle-mounted paperboys and girls of America, she came up with the nice idea of riding around the streets of Berlin, handing out rolls of donated art works to passers-by. And thus the original Papergirl was born.

Since her conception, other Papergirls have cropped up in various places over the world, the closest to home being in Manchester. Over the summer months, Janice, AKA Papergirl Manchester, called for submissions of all kinds of art works to involve in the first Papergirl project here. Every submission, without exception, has featured in an exhibition at the Soup Kitchen, Manchester, lasting until the 21st October. After this date, they’ll be rolled up and collected into bags ready for Papergirl and her delivery boys and girls to take to the streets by bike and do their rounds.

Unlike with traditional newspaper delivery, Papergirl’s distribution route and time are kept secret, and each delivery offers something entirely unique and unpredictable. The idea is that it centres on an element of unknowability - not targeting any specific demographic but catching the un-expecting, whoever they may be, as they go about whatever it is they go about in their lives, and leaving the destination of these gifts of art to chance.

By releasing it from the confines of gallery walls where its reception can often be limited and putting it in motion (literally), the project gives art a life, allowing art to find the public and be exhibited according to the whims of whoever’s hands it passes through. Drifters of Manchester, walk with your arms at the ready and you may be lucky enough to catch one of these rolls of art in the very near future. We had a chat with Janice recently, and if the giving is as much fun as she assures us, then the receiving is sure to brighten any Mancunian autumnal day.

First of all, what route has the Papergirl concept taken in moving beyond Berlin?

An unplanned route. I guess it is Papergirl that has drifted rather than me. I love how it’s inspired people to set it up in their own city. What I don’t understand is, why now? I only knew of Papergirl Berlin and Papergirl Portland before I started planning in Manchester, but now there are loads around the world - mostly launching this year.

Read more ⇒


Autumn Book Reviews November 11, 2010

Here is a selection of this issue’s book reviews.

Faile: Prints and Originals 1999-2009

Read more ⇒


Mercy on Drift November 10, 2010

In our first interview about the last issue’s theme Drift, we talk to creative agency Mercy. Split between London and Liverpool, Mercy have their fingers in many pies, from writing to do design, to events. They have worked with a whole host of companies and organizations including record labels, fashion houses and galleries. In addition to this they have found time to work on several of their own projects, including a fantastic zine.

Does accident play any part in your creative process? Do you ever arrive somewhere without meaning to, and how do you use it when this happens? Is it more original?

Yes. Absolutely. Mercy learns from its mistakes all the time - especially in the beginnings of creative process. We have special exercises, a bit like the Surrealists’ Automatic Writing and drawing, where we do things superfast just to see what amazing kinds of accidents happen. You could almost say that accidents are more honest than clinically produced things. With writing, design, and performance final products though, I’d say it was Mercy’s style to hone and polish the material from emerges from these accidents before we let the outside world see it.

Read more ⇒


The Drift Issue Out Soon October 9, 2010

So, Saturday night in the office? Hell yeah! Intergalactic FM, coffee, crisps and homous. This baby is going to print on Wednesday, so it’s layout time for the next however many hours. Alright. If you haven’t caught on already this next issue’s theme is Drift. Drift as in rambling narratives, going off topic, hobos, situationist walking trips… There will be no cars skidding around on wet tarmac, which is perhaps the most boring thing ever.

Issue 1 Volume 2, the Drift Issue, out some time soon!


the Drifter Shoot - A Nice Day Out in Brightside September 30, 2010

Last weekend saw the Drifter photo shoot for issue 1 take place in the industrial nether region between Sheffield and Rotherham, the humorously named Brightside. Focusing largely on workwear and warm clothing the shoot stems from the issue’s theme Drift: an allusion to hitch-hiking and hobo-ing, being a drifter.

After cruising in the van for thirty minutes, we settled on shooting on Stevenson Road. An industrial back street which provided a suitably run down industrial vibe. We figured at 10am on a Saturday it would be a good quiet spot. This proved not to be the case. Cars constantly whizzed past, usually aiming at our photographer, Jodie Blackburn, snapping from the road, and bemused looking locals carried plastic bags full of god knows what as they walked god knows where.

Clothes for this shoot included Carhartt, Acne, Libertine Libertine, Penfield, and women’s designer Harriet Gould. The models were the Heebie Jeebies and Sophie Bailey. Photography was by Jodie Blackburn. Assistance and documentation Anna Westerman. Clothes courtesy of Ideology and Carhartt. Issue 1, the Drift issue, will be out in mid October.


Jodie Blackburn September 17, 2010

Jodie Blackburn just graduated from the University of Salford after studying Fashion Styling and Image making. Right now we are working with Jodie on our Drifter shoot for the upcoming issue. You can read her blog here.