{Paper Wall}


Posted in graphic design by thepaperwalls on January 14, 2009

california union pacific

They aren’t kidding.  It was 83 degrees today in Los Angeles. I ate ice cream outside in a T-shirt on my lunch break, but it is January.  No wonder certain people are in denial about their age out here… years pass so vaguely when the seasons are amorphous.

The ad is from the August 1947 issue of The Atlantic.


grad school

Posted in books, graphic design by thepaperwalls on December 18, 2008



Posted in Uncategorized by thepaperwalls on December 17, 2008

A brief photo essay on rainy days in LA.






Posted in books, film, graphic design, thrift by thepaperwalls on December 16, 2008

Again in honor of gift-giving times, here’s a book that was given to me by the lovely Africia H. Before I even got to reading the film history inside, I was struck by the layouts of its pages:


americanmovie76    americanmovie77

americanmoviegreed americanmoviehunter

Thanks again, Africia! There are some great stills in the book, little works of art in themselves.

Everett Aison, its designer, was also a screenwriter and director, an author, a designer of title sequences and film posters, and co-founder of the School of Visual Arts Film School.  That’s just the kind of multifaceted involvement in media, and film in particular, that I admire…

double d

Posted in books, graphic design, thrift by thepaperwalls on December 12, 2008

Perhaps my favorite find ever at Strand. A two-volume set of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot (in German). This is almost actual size:

dostoyevski  dostoyevski spines

If only I wasn’t foolish enough not to pick up the other books in the set because I had already read them…  Dumb broke college kid!

thrift gift

Posted in art, books, thrift by thepaperwalls on December 11, 2008

This is my suggestion for those of you who are in similarly dire financial straits. It’s nothing new to me, but it may be to you, and thus, you may not know how to shop on a budget.  Here is afforable art at its best: independent, educational, accessible, and, yes, affordable.

I’m not normally a fan of semi-ironic celebrity portraiture, but I’ve been laughing over Aiyana Udesen’s “Drawing” book for years. This is why:

nelly cover nelly 2 nelly 3

nelly 6 nelly 10

The artist’s website, complete with examples of other books, is here.  The challenge comes in finding the book to purchase! I found it at both a local comic-book store, and a local bookstore.  So get away from the Internet for a moment and go look… it will make your gift more meaningful.

Of course, there’s also 20×200 for other affordable art, if you’re a bit lazy.

ink spots

Posted in graphic design, thrift by thepaperwalls on December 10, 2008

I do wish that the records within this sleeve were not warped and scratched, but for $1 it seemed worth it just to see this:

ink spots

These days I can just download the tunes anyway,  pull out the damaged goods from the sleeves and pretend they’re what I’m hearing.  A simulated experience, yes, but it’s a recording either way, no?

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Posted in graphic design by thepaperwalls on December 9, 2008

When you live in Los Angeles, but grew up in a colder climate, you need to put a little more effort into it to really feel any holiday spirit.  A high of 80 degrees is predicted for tomorrow.  That still doesn’t spell December to me.  Now, strings of lights do.


The package above is from 1929, while the same product was sold in packages like the one below during World War II.


According to this site, certain inks were in short supply during the war, so packages would be made using duller or more unusual colors.  Oddly, Uncle Sam is replaced by Santa on the wartime box as well.  Looks like deliberate seasonal packaging to contemporary eyes…

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Posted in thrift by thepaperwalls on December 8, 2008

Possibly my favorite thrift-store find is the $1 lunar globe found in a bin of clothing and broken toys in the as-is section of the St. Vincent de Paul.  Like many people, I’ve always been fond of globes.  Of looking at them, learning from them, wasting time playing the spin-the-globe, drop-your-finger-somewhere-ramdomly game.  The lunar globe adds an even greater fantasy element to the game, and to whichever room it’s in.

The shapes of the surface elements are interesting, but the nomenclature fascinates me more.  I see an Edison crater, but have not found a Tesla yet.  Even the moon has its controversies.  Cabinet magazine recently had an article about the naming of features on Mercury.  The Mercury Task Group opted to utilize the names of cultural figures rather than scientists.  They made an effort to be cross-cultural, but have almost entirely excluded women.  Uh, there are women in all cultures, folks.  But I guess you can’t make everybody in the universe happy.

lunar globe

lunar globe

lunar globe


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Posted in books, graphic design, thrift by thepaperwalls on December 5, 2008

Another bright, patterned German book cover to enjoy.

panter tiger     panter tiger spine     panter tiger back cover