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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Nathan Sawaya the Lego Magician!!

Love this…love it. Something tells me about 90% of our readers were heavy into Legos as kids. I think I made reference to it in a post before, but there is something about the ‘savvy-set’ and Legos that go hand in hand. So yeah, Nathan Sawaya who used to be a lawyer decided to quit that gig and build Legos for a living. Yes. Don’t ever tell me you can’t do what you’re passionate about for a living…honestly. He’s got the whole museum thing on lock, doing huge commissions for Fortune 500 companies, one-offs, etc. His work isn’t just novel either – its really pretty intense stuff in some case. In the image I posted this with: the ‘self-made-man’ – you have to love that. I’ll do a follow-up on this post when I get the slightly-larger-than-life Veuve Clicquot that I just commissioned Nathan to do – yeah, that’s going to look CRAZY in my kitchen!

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New Interview with Nino Scalia!

Hope everyone had a good weekend…it was quite nice here. Is the Weather Channel is getting their forecasts crazy, crazy wrong lately?! Or is it just Grand Rapids? So yeah…our new interview with Antonio Scalia who is currently managing team Ice Cream – Pharrell’s skate company. This is probably one of our better behind-the-scenes interviews we’ve had in a while. Virgil actually got this all together – many thanks to him on that. I think the first time we talked with Antonio Scalia was from an email he sent us to just say ‘whats up’ and that he liked our blog, etc…we kept in contact which resulted in an interview, good stuff. I think what I dig most about this interview is the candid responses to our equally candid questions. Ice Cream holds an interesting place in skating – it actually gets a decent amount of ‘flack’ from the community…so its always really interesting to go behind the curtain and see what really makes the brand tick. I think a lot of the ‘haters’ will be quite surprised. All that aside, Antonio Scalia is a super, super cool dude doing his thing and this interview is a peek into that life – living it and loving it…check the interview.

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Nike throws it into another gear!!

Just when all the cool kids are clearing out there closet from that ravenous stretch of shoe collecting and buying Vans for cheap, Nike knocks on the door like, “hey….I bet you wouldn’t think we’d take it here…” This shoe is so right. Nike is daring and all but this is something I wouldn’t have predicted. Thank you Comme for spurring this along. I still want a pair really bad even though I can predict they will look really bad on my feet. I mean I wear size 12, they are low tops, and have no tongue to stick out. Way to go Nike, still got me putting shoes on my shelf even though its not cool anymore. This brings about a cool concept…I got an idea and I am too entrepreneurial to spill it here, call me if you wanna hear it Mr. Parker or whoever, this could be HUGE!!! If they don’t call me I’ll spill the beans in our first book, whenever that comes out…don’t let these creep on sale at Urban Outfitters people. I will buy them all, dump them on my floor and display them like this picture and call it art…

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Real World Mac Commercial!!

Why does this feel like what it would have felt like if 2 Pac and Biggie would have sat down in 2007 talking about ‘stuff’. Sheesh….Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, just talking. I am writing this as I watch it…..amazing…just think these dudes and their crew made what I am doing possible. Wow this is too inspirational. So check these videos out, theres some real history recap going on. And this summer is gonna be incredible. That multi-touch Microsoft thing and of course the iPhone/new mac books. The irony of this real world mac commercial is just too much.

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What blogs I read: The Life Files!

This was hard to find a little image for…in fact so was the last post I made. So blogs I read…I guess the real question is: do any of the people who read THE BRILLIANCE care? I’ll just assume some do, ha. Enter The Life Files or Virgil actually put me on to this quite a while back – glad he did. The content is actually a bit hard to classify – little bit of hip-hop culture, street/niche culture, pop culture, celebrity gossip, paparazzi, fashion stuff, and some randoms – all good stuff. It’s kind of ‘right-by-the-checkout-magazine-rack’ that you only read while on vacation, you know? And, the big plus, its often updated…love that. We should update our site more often, ha. So yeah, its Monday morning and that’s my post.

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Comfort Tee Recipe!!

Every once and awhile I feel the do-it-yourself itch. Its like the kid in me or something. I remember in college I thought I was a head of the curve by dying a pair of jeans purple. Not quite ahead of the curve…yet…maybe after stonewash jeans, colored jeans be cool. Anyways its just cool doing something that has a personal touch, and making something your own. I found this nifty recipe for distressing t-shirts. Turn that brand new college tee you bought from Steve & Barry’s for like $4 and turn it into a $70 tee they are selling at Barney’s and whatnot.

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My Blackberry + Google Maps + GPS!

Looks like I am a couple days late on this…but yeah, whoa. Very cool. So I got the Blackberry 8800 a month ago I think…downloaded the Google Maps app, was cool – but couldn’t figure out why it didn’t integrate with the GPS built into my Blackberry. I guess they were working on it! I just downloaded it this evening, and my ride from Ada to Downtown GR was a lot more dangerous with me staring at my Blackberry watching it update the map and my location in real time. Yeah, cause my Saab doesn’t have navigation. Google is wild, they give everything away for free – and in this case they knocked out the TeleNav application that hit for $9.99 a month. I actually kind of feel sorry for TeleNav – even if it has a few more features that Google Maps doesn’t – I can’t see a lot of people actually paying roughly $120 a year for it. So that’s my post…off to Bar Divani for the night.

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Green Label Art!!!

Last November I got an email from Hawaii Mike Salman over at Seed Communications about participating in a project for this new Mountain Dew campaign coming out Summer 2007. I was like, let’s DEW it! ...................... Anyways…... Just from a behind the scenes perspective, Mike, Nat (ASF), and all the crew over at Seed are really great people to work with. So open minded, patient, and cool…really - so much respect to send their way. So this new project launched this past week - Green Label Art. Basically this is Mountain Dew’s new program launched with 12 limited-run designs of aluminum bottles created by a slew of incredible artists and designers. The site is really fresh…Full of videos from the participating artists, galleries of their work and their bottle designs, and much more. “We wanted to show who these artists are, the events and things going on around the launch, and the other side of that is the contest, the design your own bottle campaign,” said Mike Salman. Which brings me to this next part - this crazy contest they’re holding. Basically go over to the site and click on ‘Contest’ up top. If you’re an artist, designer, or just dabble in Microsoft Paint, you’ve got until June 30th to create a bottle design to enter in this contest. If you win, you get $10,000. Seriously. That’s an incredibly awesome prize… That’s $10K…cash. To you. Not some lame $10,000 to the charity of your choice…YOU get this money to spend however you want. That was horrible of me to say. But yeah…Check it out. Some of the artists include Jeff Staple, Chris Pastras & Paul Rodriguez, Methamphibian, Dr. Revolt, Adam Juresko, and more. Very cool…

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Silicon Valley: It’s not about the nerds anymore?

I am an avid…really avid reader of TechCrunch. Even when it started to get a little trite these past couple months…that aside, this latest post about Silicon Valley needing a downturn was perfect. The last thing I like to hear is some guy’s fire-and-brimstone opinion about bubble…cause at the end of the day they are really just hating on growth. Things are supposed to be uncomfortable in growth!!! But why I posted – I really like how Michael Arrington addresses the lack of innovation and appreciation of truly beautiful and genius products being developed by great minds. Silicon Valley is Hollywood now – now I’m from a far, far away land known as the Midwest, but its obvious even from this distance. It’s about funding and PR more than it is the next amazing idea – more than it is about totally nerding-out and doing wild new things. So yeah, this isn’t a ‘debbie downer’ post…I just think Mr. Arrington has some good points on why technology/innovation is supposed to be fun – not always super-Hollywood. ***Where are all the Steve Jobs like guys…tripping on acid, acting crazy in meetings, not wearing shoes?!

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Josh Keyes!!

Chuck sent me a link to Josh Keyes’ work yesterday…and I think I’ve honestly had a browser window open with it since than, ha. Like opening it, scrolling thru it…thinking how it would work in my home, etc. Really just ‘floored’ by his stuff. I think I made mention of it in a pervious art post – but how I dig stuff that is looming or almost scary maybe. His work hits that dead-on. Has a great starkness to it – how it floats on the middle of the canvas as well as the colors…they are so perfectly flat. In fact, in an interview he mentions that he studies a lot of 1950’s - 1960’s school books and how their diagram art looked, etc. You can certainly see that influence in the ‘side view’ or cut-out pieces where the root structures, dirt, etc show…really amazing use of that. But beyond all that – the actual environments he creates, with the blending of water and three-dimensional stuff is so wild, seriously, I love it. The half in water, half out of water deer (shown) and how the water distorts the color, reflects on its fur…then how it refracts the actual image of the deer. Man…ha, I could go on for a while with this! Check his work, so inspiring.