The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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Creative rambling…

So… I’ve been running NoPattern for almost 6 years now. I opened my online store, NP&CO over 4 years ago. Benjamin and I started The Brilliance over 4 years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot and meet some incredible people. So - at this point in my life, I’ve been feeling pretty fulfilled. Lots of great client and personal work over the years, collaborating with some of the most talented people around, learning a lot from Benjamin and Virgil via emails/hanging out/reading their posts on here…But for some reason over the last month or so, and I’m sure many of you can relate, I’ve gotten this urge to create totally fresh challenges for myself. Feeling like I’m at this point where I have to sort of shock myself into new things. New personal projects, trying to learn and grow in photography/illustration/publishing - things that I’ve always dabbled in but never really truly tried to master. It’s so easy to let yourself get routine. Anyways, I went to Art Chicago a few weeks ago and was just totally blown away by some of the work there. People like Angelo Musco, James Roper, Alyssa Monks, and…I mean, artists doing some serious, incredible work. Kind of made me take a look at myself, my own work, and what I’m currently capable of and think wow, if only there really were more hours in a day, I’d be doing (or attempting to do) so much more. I want to think bigger, think huge…Trying to learn more from people, figure out ways to actually apply all the ideas that pop up in my head, and take some crazy steps in new directions. The ‘be a sponge’ cliche is such a good metaphor. It’s the part where you ring out all that you’ve absorbed that’s the truly hard part. Anyways, we always love to hear thoughts, comments, inspiration, ideas, etc…so email with any of that. Anyways, I guess I titled this ‘creative rambling’ for a reason…ha. Get to work!!

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Best in Lookbook, Saskia Diez!!

On my usual stroll thru the internet it’s amazing how quick really great photography will stop me in my tracks. This look book changed my mind about what a good lookbook looks like. Jewelry designer Saskia Diez has got a very fresh aesthetic and very cool jewelry. Real simple, cool designs, great materials. Flipping thru all her look books makes me want to get off my couch on this friday night and start shooting all these knick-knacks around my loft. Hmmm… This Canon G10 and its Macro setting are worth a whole other post on its own. Check the link, get inspired.

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What’s important: Twitter’s search!! Duh?

This might be a ‘duh’ to everyone, but Twitter’s search seems to matter to me more and more everyday. So first off, press/media and getting press/media attention is a funny thing. The first time you get it for a project you’ve done, business you own, etc, etc you’re like ‘whoa, I’m being talked about!’ Or are you?? I remember my first time getting in the local business paper here in GR I was so stoked, front page, etc…and oddly it did very little for the traffic/awareness of my project. Maybe because of the reader demographic, etc, who knows. But I remember realizing, ‘wait, these papers are in the business of having pages full of articles..thats pretty much it’ and then I kind of grasped that papers, blogs, etc, will write about anything to simply get content. And 99% of the time the writer isn’t some fabulous taste-maker - they’re simply doing their job. So, the reality is, I was indeed being talked about…but by only one person, that writer. When I launched my last project, I pretty much stopped checking what blogs/press outlets where saying and strictly relied on Twitter’s search function to see what ‘the people’ where saying. People were giving their opinions, thoughts, likes, dislikes, etc, and it was all happening in real-time and quickly. I then searched a competitors name and found very little - even though they had considerably more traditional press than I did. Was super validating - my product was getting more traction with the actual public - the consuming public. I’m still figuring out where I sit with Twitter personally…but I guess that doesn’t matter does it? The public has already made their decision and that collective decision has made for some pretty awesome free market-research available to everyone who wants it.

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ArtPrize, Grand Rapids!!!

Ah, I love it. Right in my city, Grand Rapids, the world’s largest art prize. Just announced last week, the 23rd of April, this is going to be just huge both in the art world as well as the impact its going to have on my young city. I’ve made a handful of posts about Grand Rapids and how much I’ve enjoyed living here and participating in its growth over the pst 6 years or so…and this is just bringing it to a whole other level. It’s hard to draw comparisons, and I almost don’t want to as its really a totally new thing, but I would imagine that what SXSW is to Austin the ArtPrize will be to Grand Rapids. I love the thought of that. We have such a fantastic city, I can’t wait to show it off to the world a bit via this project. The official site explains it better than I will here, but the concept is to build a framework where businesses/spaces/parks/etc can open their space to artists to exhibit in - where the public will ultimately decide the winner by popular vote, which requires registration in person, perfect. It’s open to any artist, anywhere in the world. The attention grabber being the prize: $250k for 1st, $100k for 2nd, $50k for 3rd, and $7k each for 4th-10th. More to learn on the site, but its pretty simple and straight-forward stuff with super huge potential. I can’t wait for it…the art, the atmosphere, the parties, the voting, the creative use of spaces, the response, everything. And right here in my city…nuts. Thanks to Rick for putting this together, and Grand Rapids, get ready.

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Dude. YES!1! I just drove a Tesla Roadster!!!

Man, I don’t get too excited about most things. But this…this?! I remember when the Tesla was announced I was like, ‘man, I cannot wait to figure out a way to get in one of those and do a post on THE BRILLIANCE about it. It was kind of like my holy-grail of posts. Really. So I won’t go into the detail of how, but about 30 minutes ago I was fortunate enough to squeeze myself into the tiny cockpit of the oh-so-famous all electric Tesla Roadster. Metallic black, natural hide seats, and dust gray wheels. Man. You could have put almost any car in front of me and I would have picked the Tesla to try regardless. It’s not just a luxury car, its not just a crazy sports car…it’s that car. The first production electric sports car…and it can smoke a Lambo. So after fiddling around throwing it into the only gear it has, I drove down one of my favorite streets here in GR, Ionia Street which made this whole thing even sweeter. Right here in my city, on my street. The steering is super stiff as its not assisted, the car begins braking when you take your foot of the gas due to the regenerative braking feature, yeah, the seats are tiny, the hum from the motor actually sounds pretty vicious, etc, etc…who cares about all that, its crazy, crazy fast. No shifting, no gears, no crazy roar, just instant power and acceleration. So, so cool. I didn’t get to drive it for too long…but long enough to know that yeah, I kind of want one. Duh. So there it is, check it off my list of things to do on THE BRILLIANCE, I’ve driven a Tesla Roadster, and it was awesome. Check the pictures at the link below. ***Next to check off the list is that interview with Steve Jobs…

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Ben’s r@ndomzzz!!!1

Man, I haven’t posted in forever - even before my last post it’d been a while. So yeah, I gotta do my ‘randomzzz’ to get back into it. Go: Where is summer man?! I can’t take much more, its like 50 right now, but freezing at night, I hate that on late night rides. I don’t know if I posted this before, but I started wearing simple Adidas Superstar track tops in black and its become a bit of a uniform for me, its my Steve-Jobs-turtle-neck. It’s super utilitarian. How crazy is twitter?? I’m surprised how much I’m using it. Travel, travel, travel. I want more of it. I’ve been doing little trips here and there, but I really need to do a vacation - zone out style. How many posts have I said that in?? I just picked up a copy of ‘Everybody Dance Now’, so good, have to admit I would have bought it for the cover alone. I wish we had a really nice rail system here in America like Europe has. Like overnight trips from Chicago to New York on a well appointed train car…how nice would that be? Amtrak doesn’t quite cut it. Why doesn’t Vans do a series with all solid color shoes, like solid red, grey, blue, orange, etc? Seems so obvious. I’ve got a new project coming up that will be my first step into the fashion/clothing world, something I’ve been working on for a while. Speaking of new businesses, I predict the economy we’re headed into is going to foster, and hopefully treat well, super small businesses. I hope we see a return to tons of smaller businesses. Has anyone who reads this ever gotten acupuncture? I’m interested in trying it out. I’m also still pretty obsessed with solar/wind energy for emerging areas that don’t currently have grid-access - I have a feeling alternative energy is going to be a trickle ‘up’ rather than ‘down’, like, we’ll see it be completely normal and functional in 3rd world countries before we see wide acceptance - I like the thought of that. This remix, done by Death To The Throne, is crazy. Alright, I think thats it. I got another post I want to write too coming shortly.

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Pete Doherty’s Grace/Wasteland album…

Kind of hard to put our typical ‘!!!’ after the title on this one - the album’s tone just doesn’t fit with it, ha, details. I started like really listening to the Libertines, Babyshambles, and all the studio/b-side Pete Doherty stuff last summer I think? Chuck sent me a track off ‘The Blinding’ quite a while before that, but it kind of didn’t stick with me, and then I guess I just randomly started researching his music a bit more. Actually, I think it was after seeing photos of him/Babyshambles in Hedi Slimane’s photo diary stuff. Anyway, I’m quite a fan of Pete’s work. Like it or not, he’s truly an iconic figure in British music and I suppose rock in general. All the music, drama, look, Kate Moss, drugs, etc. He kind of epitomizes the shambolic rocker we’d all like to be every once in a while right? His debut solo album, Grace/Wasteland, has been on rotate for me since a bit after it dropped. Compared with his studio stuff and band stuff, its quite different. Really, I guess dramatic, or maybe even theatrical at points. I believe he himself said its truly ‘him’ on this record, in that its exactly what he wanted. That always provides good context when listening. I’ve only been to London once, but listening to this album reminds me a bit of it - its just so quintessentially English, you know? Good album though, I’m still enjoying it, favorite track would be: New Love Grows On Trees.

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How To: Make Dior Jewelry!!!

This site-jewelery-video is so good it hurts me to watch it. Ahhh. I want to be a jewelry designer so bad. Dior does is the most cutting edge stuff. It makes all other jewelers look like kindergarten doodles from an art standpoint. Click on the girls ring once you get in. It’s crazy to see what goes into making each piece. Next time you look at the price tag, just think about the 4 months of work it to get there. The precious stone placement, the vibrant colors, the different casted elements are all works of art. Victoire de Castellane is the genius behind it all. You tube her and find out where all the ideas came from. From a designers standpoint what i love the most about her end products is the sense that tons and tons of the manufactures must have been like, “we can’t do that” or “we have never done this before” and she succeded at getting her full idea out. Bravo.

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N*E*R*D is gonna mess around and be bigger than HUGE!!!

This is super super good. This new jam ‘Soldier’ with Santogold on the hook. BLAZIN’ I was waiting for the verse to come in and when it did….I was blown away. I love the double drummer set up…Shae killed it too. I just love the fact that NERD has gelled into a band. Back when I was bumping their first albums there was like one tour each. Nowdays they are constantly touring, putting on a crazy live show. NERD is in my top 5 dead or alive, they don’t need to put out another album. Crazy thing is they are just gettin’ started. I remember them saying back in the day they were too rock for hip-hop stations and too hip-hop for rock stations. Today neither genre matter…enter this rasta-rock-ska-jam ‘Soldier’ by NER*D.

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Scanwiches, its all in the name!

So random but so interesting. Last week or so I did this super cool 2 day photoshoot. Photography was always that creative field I never understood the magic of. Now I wanna know everything there is to know about it and lighting. Pure science. I guess thats what intrigues me about this blog I just happened upon. Scanwiches….the lighting and lack of on these images are AMAZING. This can’t be the same scanner I am sitting next to right now…Remember when scanners first came out, they were ultra expensive, ha. So kill 5 minutes check out this blog. If you weren’t hungry before you will be afterwards.