May 22, 2013
(7 examples, after the fold…) (more…)
May 20, 2013
In “Monsanto,” another series of package-related artworks by Peruvian artist, Eduardo Villanes, we find an email campaign and silk-screened collages on the inside panels of unfolded Kellogg’s corn flakes boxes—(a prominent brand, known to contain Monsanto’s patented, genetically modified corn.)
In 2007, Monsanto and the Peruvian government (under President Alan Garcia) intended to legalize the use of GMO seeds. By that time I was living in a rural area in the US for many years. This allowed me to imagine what could be the impact of GMO crops in my country, if they were allowed.
At that time there was not much awareness in Peru regarding this imminent threat, except for an indigenous farmer’s organization. So I decided to start a visual campaign in Lima, the political bastion of the country…
(More maize artworks, after the fold…) (more…)
May 17, 2013
Eduardo Villanes is an artist in Peru who used Gloria® evaporated milk shipping cartons in a series of artworks. (Note: the panel above right unfolds to reveal silk-screened artwork on right…)
Gloria Evaporada (Evaporated Glory) is a series I made in 1994 and 1995, during the regime of Fujimori, in those years I was attending the National School of Fine Arts. The series is about the kidnapping and execution of ten people by Grupo Colina, a paramilitary group, a case known as the Cantuta Case.
Gloria is a brand of canned evaporated milk that is distributed in cardboard boxes. The logo on the box reads Gloria leche evaporada (Gloria evaporated milk). During the 90s this box was an everyday object reused in many ways: to dispose trash, as a baby crate and by street vendors to sell goods.
On June 1994 the charred remains of ten people were returned to their families by the government. Months before a paramilitary group kidnapped, executed and charred them to ashes using kerosene. As an act of contempt the remains were returned in cardboard boxes, most of them of Gloria milk.
On June 14th 1995 the regime issued the Amnesty Law, setting free the paramilitaries that were sentenced to prison for this and other crimes. On the dawn of June 17th I made a collage on a wall of a central highway in Lima, next to the National Stadium, using spray glue and cutouts from Gloria boxes to write the word EVAPORADOS (EVAPORATED).
On June 23rd I organized a collective performance: I covered my head with a box of Gloria milk and invited passer-byers to do the same and march towards the Congress to protest the Amnesty Law. The boxes had the phrase “evaporated milk” changed to “evaporated people”. The boxes were thrown in front of the Congress building.
I like Villanes’s idea of using these branded, culturally-loaded packages in protest/performance. Gloria’s brand name and product name certainly lent themselves to these other meanings.
Having its product packaging reused to contain the remains of murder victims must have been a public-relations nightmare for the manufacturer. They were not complicit in the murders, and yet their brand’s image would now be associated with a horrifying new way in which its packaging could be “reused.” (See also: Packaging & Moral Turpitude)
One purpose of packaging is to conceal, but using these boxes as masks seems to cut both ways. Masks are sometimes worn by paramilitary thugs who wish to conceal their identities. Masks are sometimes be worn by protesters who wish to conceal their identities.
(One more photo, after the fold…) (more…)
May 16, 2013
As someone who only speaks English, I’m more accustomed to the adjective coming before the noun. So I sometimes get confused when it’s the other way round as is the case in so many other languages.
It was this confusion that recently lead me to learn about Gloria Cámara, when what I was really searching for were photos of packaging shaped cameras…
1. Cámara Gloria
Gloria brand evaporated milk is a popular food staple in Peru. Gloria’s promotional, can-shaped cameras came, packaged in a box labeled: Cámara Gloria.
2. Gloria Cámara
She also appeared in a few movies. The one that I’m most interested in seeing right now is Megatón Ye Ye, directed by Jesús Yagüe in 1965.
Cámara plays the role of Isabel, who appears to be a competing brunette love interest for the main male protagonist, Juan (Juan Erasmo Mochi).
“One day Juan meets Isabel, daughter of a film producer and forgets about Elena.”
This movie has a lot of 1960s Spanish rock music, and at least one atomic explosion during the opening credits.
Don’t know much about it, but I’m hoping I can find a version with English subtitles so I can watch it and fully comprehend.
Cámara is the woman appearing on the left in the video clip below with Mochi accompanied by “Micky and the Tonys.”
(Some screen shots, album covers & another evaporated milk camera, after the fold…) (more…)
May 15, 2013
When it was initially announced in 2011, Coley Porter Bell’s rebranding of Morrisons “Value Line” was accurately described, except with regard to the illustration on its tomato ketchup bottle…
“The look of the range will be significantly different to Value, with the retailer ditching its green and yellow colour scheme in favour of a clean, white background, with individual illustrations on each line representing the product itself-for example, a drawing of a tomato on the Savers ketchup bottle.”
Morrisons reveals the plan behind M Savers, The Grocer, December 2011
Either the writer above had confused their ketchup bottle with their plum tomatoes can, or someone at Coley Porter Bell had a sudden inspiration to switch it to a tomato “splat.”
Each of the hundreds of products in this line was given an economical 2-color label, but because the colors according to product, the overall effect is more colorful. While I generally like the illustrations, it’s the tomato ketchup splat that most attracts my attention.
There’s also an M Savers Tomato Ketchup children’s slide with a splat-shaped landing pad…
“Morrisons, in partnership with Play England, has launched its Savers Summer campaign. It offers parents free and low cost ideas on how to keep the kids entertained throughout the summer holiday. As part of the campaign, Morrisons is touring the country with its M Savers Summer Play Parks visiting ten locations across the UK… Kids will love playing on the amazing ketchup slide with splat noises…”
(A photo showing more of M Saver’s packaging design, after the fold…) (more…)
May 14, 2013
The Targeteer Target Launcher ($67.50 on GunAuction.com)
Everything you ever wanted to know about Arthur M. Johnson’s beer-can “Targeteer Target Launcher”…
Shooting at tin cans is a packaging reuse that we’ve covered before. (See: Target Packaging)
Arthur Johnson’s target thrower
One autumn when he was hunting wild turkey in Pennsylvania, Arthur M. Johnson, a retired Naval officer, stopped to do a little target practice. Both he and the friend who was with him strained their arms tossing aloft the empty beer cans they used for targets. “There must be an easier way to do this,” Johnson opined, as his muscles began to ache. He went home and fashioned his Targeteer, a gun that throws a beer can by the propulsive force of a blank cartridge. Johnson knew he had a good invention because he is an expert marksman himself and has many sportsmen friends. In fact, his first move after he had made up his first two Targeteers was to lend them to friends, one of whom was Pete Brown, the gun editor of Sports Afield. Brown tried the device out on his Arizona ranch, approved it, wrote an article about it in his magazine. It was also publicized and recommended in John Stuart Martin’s authoritative book, Learning to Gun. On the strength of his standing in the field, and this send-off for his invention, Johnson could readily have found a company that would purchase rights to making it.
Instead, he decided that, with sales channels open and the production problems simple, he could make far more money by manufacturing it himself, selling by mail and in major sporting goods stores. His judgment was confirmed by first year sales of 20,000 units, largely mail orders.
Kenneth O. Kessler, Norman V. Carlisle
The Successful Inventor’s Guide:
How to Develop, Protect and Sell Your Invention Profitably
Unfortunately for Johnson, the evolution from flat top steel beer cans in the 1960s to the light weight aluminum cans in use today, makes the Targeteer less useful nowadays. The beer cans that today’s alcohol & firearms enthusiasts would have on hand are more likely to be crushed by the propulsive force of the Targeteer’s .22 caliber blank cartridge. And the cans are too light and flimsy to have much momentum in the air, anyway.
One interesting regulatory hurdle for this product was whether or not it should be considered a firearm. In the description above it’s described as “a gun that throws a beer can,” but the catalog ad below insists that it’s “Not a firearm.”
From a 1964 Sunset House mail order catalog (via: And Everything Else Too)
Because it was mainly a mail order product, the packaging for Targeteer was a more of a shipping carton than a retail package.
(A video, the original patent and early press coverage, after the fold…) (more…)
May 13, 2013
(See also: Smiling Package Week)
May 10, 2013
Remember back in December when we featured Katsu Kimura’s cigarette boxes? (See inset on right)
Described as a parody cigarette pack containing “little oblong boxes in the form of filter-tips,” I was drawn to the idea simply because I like seeing familiar rounded objects made square. (and vice versa) See also: Square Eggs
At the time I thought that Kimura’s design for his pack of “cigarette” boxes within a cigarette box was fractal and high-concept.
It never occurred to me at that there might actually be some advantages to square or rectangular cigarettes.
Or that some inventors had already obtained patents for the idea.
But apparently they did.
Here now are the three examples that I found in the order of their invention:
1. Samuel C. Miller’s 1931 patent for “Cigarette and Cigarette Package”
In this patent, the squareness of the cigarettes seemed almost an afterthought, the main thrust of the patent protection being for the design of the packaging and for the idea of using transparent “cellophane” instead of opaque cigarette paper. (Which is why the tobacco is visible in his patent drawing of square cigarettes below)
“The cigarettes may be pressed into the square form shown or not, but this form is desirable in order that the cigarettes may be nested closely together with large superficial surfaces for the engagement of the side flaps 8 and 9 and for the purchase of the adhesive.”
2. George A. Shouse’s 1994 statutory invention registration for “smokable rods” on behalf of R.J. Reynolds.
This invention included a molded rectangular cigarette, as well as a triangular version.
One of the chief advantages claimed by the invention was a more efficient package with less wasted space. An interesting close-packing strategy: change the product to fit the package.
The invention also included a manufacturing method for pressing the cigarettes into a square molded shape. (Similar in concept to the hard-boiled “egg-deformers” alluded to earlier)
Can’t tell if R.J. Reynolds ever test marketed this idea, but there’s ample documentation of their giving it some serious consideration…
(More about the R.J. Reynolds “square cigarette,” after the fold…) (more…)
May 9, 2013
In yesterday’s post, we quoted Charles G. Shaw, the writer and abstract painter. Today we’re taking a look at his 1937 painting entitled, Wrigley’s. One of the so-call “Park Avenue Cubists,” most of his paintings were either non-representational or highly abstracted. This painting, with a realistically rendered “hero shot” of Wrigley’s Spearmint chewing gum package, is an outlier in Shaw’s oeuvre.
… Shaw conceived of a design for an advertising poster for Wrigley’s chewing gum. He worked on the idea through April 1937, and although the poster was never produced, the painting that was its model remains a testament to his endeavor. The artist rendered the package of spearmint gum relatively faithfully, positioning the outsized item against a series of rectangular forms that suggest the Lower Manhattan skyline … Shaw simultaneously echoed and contrasted the blocky, static forms of the vertical skyscrapers with the levitating, rotating rectangle of the package. This witty juxtaposition aligns Wrigley’s gum with the excitement that surrounded urban life at this time, particularly through the breathtaking modernity signaled by the skyscrapers. … it also advanced Shaw’s plans for promoting nonobjective art. The painting is not purely abstract; nevertheless, its underlying structure is geometric and relates to a series of works that featured, as the artist wrote in an essay called “The Plastic Polygon,” the Manhattan skyline “treated semi-cubistically.” He further asserted that the “polygon, sprouting, so to speak, from the steel and concrete of New York City,” was “essentially American in its roots.”
American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago: from World War I to 1955
Shaw would have also been aware of Wrigley’s early advertising which touted its product as “the perfect gum in the perfect package.” And what was Shaw’s own artistic intention if not to simplify and perfect?
A photo of this poster concept (below) is part of the Smithsonian Archive of American Art’s collection of Charles Green Shaw’s papers.
In the archives, the photo is incorrectly identified as a “Photograph of the construction of Wrigley building with a pack of Wrigly’s gum, between 1920 and 1924.” The building looks nothing like Chicago’s Wrigley building, and the city appears to be New York with the Empire state Building in the background.
At first, I thought that the archivists must have failed to do their due diligence. Did they simply assumed that any building with a giant pack of Wrigley’s gum superimposed in front of it must therefore be the Wrigley building? Talk about sloppy research… they even misspelled the brand name as: Wrigly’s.
But then I noticed that the inaccurate description and misspelling actually came from a note written on the back of the photograph.
Perhaps this is a photo of New York’s skyline in the 1930s that Shaw himself made from his studio window, with a hastily scrawled note to himself about the idea —(to instead show a picture of Chicago’s Wrigley Building under construction)— but, as mentioned above, the poster was never produced.
Had he ever been commissioned to design this poster in the first place? His writing for in the 1920s for “The Smart Set” (as quoted yesterday) was on a freelance basis. This magazine kept an advertising office in Chicago, located in The Wrigley Building.
One odd detail: even though it’s certainly not the Wrigley building, the drapes in the uppermost windows create an illusion of three Wrigley-trademark-style arrows at the top of the building.
The photo also shows that, while the gum pack was realistically painted in his otherwise reductivist painting, Shaw did simplify/perfect Wrigley’s package design somewhat by omitting the illustrated mint leaves.
(More about Charles G. Shaw and Wrigley’s gum, after the fold…) (more…)
May 8, 2013
Straw-tipped “Pera” cigarettes packaging from 1910 (via: Delcampe)
Long before anyone could have conceivably noticed a similarity between artificial drinking straws and cigarettes, both products already had their own connection to the tubular, reed-like “straws” found in nature.
Marvin Stone’s “artificial straws,” as we noted yesterday, actually replaced natural straws as a beverage sipping tool.
…And early cigarettes were sometimes “straw-tipped”…
Perhaps her American readers will be Inspired by the knowledge that —“Queen Mary likes a glass of sherry before lunch, and afterwards a Virginia tobacco straw tipped cigarette; her eldest son, while still Prince of Wales, taught her to smoke…”
Straw-tipped cigarettes were also mentioned in this satirical magazine piece by Park Avenue cubist, Charles G. Shaw…
Dick: A package of platitudes. Delivers the world’s most famous banalities with the most evil sounding inflection. Wants to be considered a devil but doesn’t know exactly how to go about it. Smokes straw-tipped cigarettes and uses a patent lighter. A long way from the old home town. Phone: Livingston 1129.
from “A Gold Digger’s Social Register” by Charles G. Shaw,
The Smart Set, The Aristocrat Among Magazines, February 1923
Judging from the context of the two quotes above, “straw-tipped cigarettes” were fancier and more expensive than regular cigarettes, and the design of the fancy package above also bears this out.
But what did these “straw tips” actually look like?
(Two possible answers, after the fold…) (more…)