Category Archives: NERDINESS

Font face – Zapfino

I have been working on my second installment of anthropomorphic fonts for what seems to be ages. Finally, I was able to find the time to pull a weekender and finish writing, editing and assembling everything! So without further ado, here’s what I think Zapfino looks like, if it was a human!

The model I chose for this is lovely Roberta Pazzesque, who also assembled the outfit. What can I say… got to love a jack of all trades!

As per usual, click on the images to see them full size! 🙂







Friday’s links – movie edition

This time I’m going to swerve a bit from my usual linking habit and talk about the latest indie/bmovies that caught my eyes.
A little background: I spend a lot of my evening time editing photos, but once the main look of a set is decided, the rest is grunt work… cleaning up skin, fixing hair, adjusting the styling and so on. I have a very low attention span and prefer to multitask, so in order to get any work done without going crazy I watch stuff on the side. This has the unfortunate byproduct of constantly having to find crappy tv series and low-brow movies that won’t distract me from the main task, but will still keep me reasonably entertained. Here are the latest of the bunch, enjoy!

The ghastly love of Jhonny X

There’s been a recent trend, one I’m digging thoroughly, of making movies that have the look and feel of old classics. The H.P. Lovecraft Society has produced a couple of excellent ones and now this little gem popped up: rather than taking its cues from Hammer like the Lovecraft ones, Jhonny X is a cross between camp sci-fi and the greaser rock n’ roll exploitation movies of the fifties and sixties. Extremely good photography that uses the black & white medium to the most, nice styling, catchy songs… I hate Grease with a vengeance and am generally wary of musicals, but ended up liking this one a lot, so if you’re caught up in the vintage/retro craze or are a Cramps fan, take a look at this: it’s well worth the time.

John dies at the end

Another John -but a totally different movie. This one deals with a semi-sentient drug, the ongoing bromance between two loser friends and the end of the world as we know it. It could probably have used a bit more budget for its creature effect, but the fact that it’s filled with meta references, mental mindfucks and a healthy dose of sarcasm makes it stand out from the mass of trite “we are the chosen ones, gotta save the world” movies that are always popping out.

Hansel & Gretel get baked

As you might have surmised by the previous movies, my ideal form of comedy is stoner humour. Give me a Cheech & Chong or a Kevin Smith flick and I’ll laugh from scene one to the closing credits, without even have to resort to additional help of the herbal variety. Unfortunately, these movies are a hit or miss thing: Bong of the dead is a perfect example of how a great idea (probably born between tokes) can be badly executed and turn into a mediocre movie. That said, I just had to check this one up to see if it stood a chance despite being produced by the spawn of hell that gave us Twilight. Don’t confuse it with the other Hansel & Gretel movie knocking around, the one with Jeremy Renner: I think the totality of cast and crew was stoned out of their mind the whole time when producing that turd.

A little bit zombie

The zombie comedy is an established subgenre nowadays, but there’s always something new popping up. Milan is plagued by mosquitoes for the better part of the year…people get bitten even in winter (they keep coming back like Terminators on wings!) but in the summertime shit gets real fast and people close to water start sporting a red polka dot skin. This little comedy about what would happen if a mosquito drank zombie blood and went to bother regular people afterwards is the perfect thing to watch while you’re spraying yourself with Vape for the nth time.

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Friday’s links

This image sums up pretty much what I’m going through these days, apart from the fact that despite the heat I’m not reduced to going topless. Photography posts are rare these days, due to a series of unplanned events… I’m relocating to another house, one that needs a load of work to be done in order to get it ready in time. Add to that the fact that early summer is hellishly busy at work and you get why my evenings are spent drawing maps on Illustrator and fighting with the Ikea catalogue (how can you arrange 700+ cds without making it look like a record store display?) rather than retouching skin and illuminating eyes. Hopefully I’ll be able to publish the second chapter of my Font portraits before the tsunami of boxes engulfs the computer… till then, here’s my picks of the week!

Schermata 06-2456464 alle 10.32.12Lexican
Being a bookworm, I love words…I am constantly in awe with how powerfully certain words can convey a concept, but also I’m fascinated by the unusual and the quirky: those words that have very specific meaning and are seldom read, let alone spoken. That’s why I got immediately hooked on Lexican, where you can find such gems as mesonoxian (of or related to midnight), slubberdegullion (a slovenly or worthless person) and my personal favourite, which will be used for whatever lair I inhabit till the day I croak: Growlery (a retreat for times of ill humour).

100 abandoned houses
Detroit has become sort of a poster case for the results of economical crisis: dwindling from 2 million people to less than 800.000 means that more than half of the city is abandoned, despite a core center that still flourishes. There have been several photography projects dedicated to this decaying city, though what I saw tended to be more on the atmospheric, gritty side. This website, on the other hand, does exactly what it says in the url, showcasing in an almost clinical way house after house.

Recovering the classics
A very nice crowdsourced project focused on public domain book, often plagued by poorly designed covers. Artists can submit their covers and users can download ebooks (or even print actual paperbacks) with the cover of choice. Apart from being quite a lovely collection of inspiring designs, I’m looking forward to add my take on a couple of these once I’m settled in my new home.

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Friday’s links

The word of the day is Underpantones

South African creative agency Mark did a couple of packaging prototypes and what can I say… if they sold these I would already be sporting a Pantone 186C.

Post-Punk And New Wave Rock Stars Reimagined As Superheroes

Butcher Billy caught my eye some time ago with his brilliant Sid & Nancy revamped as Mario & Peach. His Behance gallery is filled with pop culture mashups that are just begging to be hanged somewhere, but this project in particular caught my eye. Siouxie as Wonder Woman and Billy Idol as Aquaman, what’s not to love.


Two designers each week create a single letter illustration, then the results are pinned against eachother. Admittedly, it’s like mixing a wrestling match with watching grass grow as far as entertainment goes, but the letters are lovely.

Evolution of Type

Speaking of type, Andreas Scheiger and his projects, combining typography with antique methods of scientific illustrations and presentation, are making me want to rob a bank in order to buy a whole alphabet.

TV’s best fake sites

Eerily creepy compilation of all the fake websites that keep on popping up on tv series and movies… it’s strange how you can spot those that were created by an intern that was told “we need a new refill of coffee and a website mockup in five minutes, go!”

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The hated font – Comic Sans girl

Sometime during the past Christmas holidays I decided that I wanted to try my hand in a continuative, multishoot project: while I stil had free time and was in a somewhat relaxed atmosphere, I brainstormed for ideas and decided that I wanted to bring together my love for typography with my style of portraiture.
As we already (more or less consciously) associate distinct personalities to the more commonly used fonts, I thought that bringing these characters to life would be an interesting project and something that could be worked on and off through the year without having to discard working on other shoots.
Little did I know that I was getting myself into something of insane proportions: first my idea of including a brief history that could help flesh out the character of the font to non-obsessed fontaholics got me researching high and low for material, then my desire to include as many easter eggs about the history of the fonts into each portrait had me switch from one single shot to three, tied together in an editorial setting. Fast forward three months and after a ton of emails, preparations, countless hours of shooting, retouching, trial and error (and of course cursing!) the machine got finally rolling. This is the first of what I hope will be several chapters, enjoy!


I realise that the text is impossible to read like this, so click on the photos for a larger version! ^_^



model:Cleo Viper
make up:Claudia Malavasi
all the rest (type, copy, photos ecc) is from yours truly ^_^

BONUS: here’s a little backstage of the make up process. This was definitely the longest make up job I ever witnessed, lasting more than 10 hours! So kudos to lovely Claudia for the work and to Cleo for being a real trooper trough all of it!



Links of the week – video edition

I’m not spoiling anything, but shit gets serious around the 30″ mark.

I never grow old of hearing people poking fun at Comic Sans. It’s like a hobby that spans the whole world, uniting people through hatred of that squiggly, overused worm of a font.

Epic prop video… I’d love to own half of these babies, despite the fact that their only use might be paperweights or doorstoppers.

Piracy might have played a significant role in establishing a strong fanbase for several big-time series (such as Game of Thrones, which is the one this video deals with). More than that, some argue that the hard-core downloaders are also movie and tv series buffs that might be viewing the content through improper channels, but more than make it up by buying the dvds and merchandise (where a lot of the money is to be found)… I can only vouch for myself, but that sounds exactly like the modus operandi of most people I know. 😉

One of the newish tracks from Swede Mason, aptly named “The human condition” and made by splicing up legal notices from pharmaceutical advertising. It doesn’t have the ring of some of his past stuff (I still catch myself humming Jeremy Clarkson’s beatbox from time to time) but it wins at making you realise how hideously stereotipated most of the commercials in the field are.

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Necronomicon nails

Secondo capitolo delle mie manicure libresche. Stavolta ̬ un classico: Necronomicon РThe best tales of H.P. Lovecraft
Io adoro Lovecraft… la mia tendenza alla logorrea si trova perfettamente nel suo stile che per molti invece è troppo ampolloso; la cosmogonia che ha creato è stata fondamentale per parecchi autori considerati al giorno d’oggi come i massimi esponenti di horror, fantascienza e fantasy…. ed era un amante dei gatti per cui di default vince tutto.


Ho svariate raccolte e saggi di mr L. ma questa versione omnibus recuperata in un bookshop londinese e imbarcata a mano al ritorno perchè non stava in valigia è perfetta per farsi una maratona di disgrazie cosmiche (altrui), tentacoli e orrori inenarrabili… certo, bisogna chiudere un occhio sul lettering atroce del titolo, un Papyrus deformato a causa della lunghezza del nome, ma considerando che il Necronomicon è un libro fittizio scritto da un pazzo yemenita, il Papyrus è ancora una scelta ammissibile. 😉


Se si parla di Lovecraft si parla di Chtulhu. E se si parla di Chtulhu si parla di tentacoli. Ho ripassato lo smalto nero di base con pennellate di nero glitterato argento per dar più materia al disegno.


Orrida qualità fotografica, purtroppo, dato che ho usato a)una digicam compatta del secolo scorso e b)ho scattato mentre facevo colazione, ergo in modalità provvisoria.


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The incredible (and drinkable) Hulk

Fa un caldo boia, il computer non è minimamente d’aiuto nel refrigerare l’ambiente e neanche sparare il ventilatore al massimo cambia granchè. Risultato? Sto consumando litri di liquidi e dato che non posso farmi fuori casse di Coca Cola, entra in campo la menta a salvarmi dall’overdose di caffeina. Ovvio che, dopo un paio di settimane, dovevo sperimentare un po’! Partendo dal presupposto che il verde mi ricordava i raggi gamma, volevo qualcosa che ricordasse il colour scheme (viola + verde) di Hulk: inizialmente avevo pensato a qualche grenadine o sciroppo, ma i frutti di bosco interi si possono mangiare alternandoli ai sorsi per cui c’è varietà di gusto. E dato che sono costantemente in saldo, è diventato il mio drink preferito per le serate davanti al Mac, per cui già che dovevo testare un soft box ho immortalato il risultato. 🙂

Ovviamente questa è la versione virgin: un Bruce Banner, hahaha! Per arrivare a Hulk è bastato aggiungere un bel po’ di vodka -perchè qualsiasi cosa sta bene con la vodka.

Il bicchiere è uno dei Toxic waste glasses che che mi sono arrivati in regalo secoli fa e che mi sono tenuta stretta fino al momento giusto.



Reanimator revised

Qualche tempo fa ho avuto l’orrida notizia che la moda del teen-remake è arrivata a toccare anche quel piccolo classico del gore che è Reanimator, con prevedibili risultati di epic failure: le foto di preview farebbero incazzare chiunque da quanto sono malfatte e ovviamente sono riuscite a strappare l’ennesimo “ma stiamo scherzando?!” di incredulità alla sottoscritta.
Personalmente, non sono contraria al remake, se è fatto da gente con un minimo di cognizione di causa: si diceva che Brian Yuzna aveva intenzione di fare qualcosa del genere in futuro e al di là della sua abilità personale, avere il team originale sicuramente avrebbe dato risultati migliori dell’aborto linkato sopra. Inizialmente mi ero chiesta: quanta audience può sperare di avere una serie televisiva *per teenager* dedicata a un rianimatore di cadaveri con un’etica discutibile e più omicidi alle spalle di John Wayne Gacy? A quanto pare, basta prendere un po’ di ventenni bellocci e dallo zigomo affilato, magari mettere qualche stellina glitter sul Necronomicon per coprire le parti peggiori e voilà, il prodotto finale è pronto per il nutrito pubblico di (non esattamente) teenager che si sciroppa da qualche anno qualsiasi stronzata soprannaturale.

Cliccate sulla foto per apprezzare al meglio il new look del povero Herbert West, se riuscite a sopravvivere ai lens flare. Da notare il reagente che per qualche motivo da verde è diventato viola, forse perchè fa più gggotico.

Il perchè di tutto questo rant? Ma per introdurre la mia personale versione del personaggio, ovviamente!

Ho passato gran parte del ponte a casa dei miei e già da un po’ volevo usare la loro orrida soffitta prima che i muratori buttino giù tutto e bonifichino l’area liberando i miei gatti da incubi di piccioni mutanti assassini e me di una location per scatti horror… non avendoci messo piede da mesi, mi ero mentalmente preparata set diversi (una ghost story vittoriana? Un esorcismo vecchio stile?) ma dopo un sopralluogo e una sessione di brainstorming su quanto il martire modello era disposto a subire (c’è un limite anche per il fratello più paziente!), ho deciso di metter mano nuovamente alla collezione di cianfrusaglie di famiglia, questa volta a tema medico, e realizzare un piccolo tributo a Reanimator. Un processo laborioso, dato che ci sono volute circa tre ore di lavoro per creare il set, quattro per gli scatti veri e propri, un’altra oretta per sbaraccare di nuovo tutto e il resto della serata per decontaminarmi dai chili di polvere tossica accumulati nel processo. Di contro, la post è stata molto più veloce del solito, dato che volevo avere scatti volutamente grezzi, con colori neon e sgranature da filmaccio anni ottanta (il primo Reanimator è dell’85).



Pre-Avengers fun

Mancano un paio di giorni all’uscita di Avengers, per cui ne approfitto per postare qualche scatto vagamente a tema che finalmente ho avuto il tempo di editare: la citazione di Black Widow non era minimamente voluta al momento degli scatti (si trattava di un sopralluogo/esplorazione/gita in posti insalubri effettuato qualche settimana fa e purtroppo rimasto bloccato nel limbo del mio mac rotto) ma al momento c’è una rossa in tenuta militare che campeggia su qualsiasi media, quindi volente o nolente Isabella mi ha ricordato l’agente Shield. 😉

In questo periodo, vuoi per il fatto che i miei trigger sono tutti un po’ malmessi e ogni volta sono bestemmie per farli funzionare, vuoi perchè continuo ad avere fortuna con il tempo, sto scattando moltissimo in luce naturale e anche queste rientrano nel numero… anche se prevedo un ritorno di fiamma dei flash, dato che il mio prossimo progetto è scattare nella soffitta di casa mia prima che venga demolita!