OC Editorial: Art, Mountains, Plants, Sex, Shoes & Michael Jordan with Haw-lin

BY Gillian Tozer | Tue. October 2, 2012 | 12:00 AM | A La Mode,Culture Club
I love that in my RSS reader Haw-lin's feed shows up with the simple header "MOOD." This Tumblr is the stuff dream mood boards are made of and no matter what kind of mood I am in when I click on the link, I always leave the page feeling a little better. Every image has a purpose and perfectly complements the one before and after it—even if it's a red canary flanked by Abbey Lee’s pierced nipple and the clothing tag detail of a JF & SON top (true story). The images feel fresh and the emphasis placed on color, symmetry, and hot girls is unparalleled. I interviewed the site's creators and our most recent editorial collaborators, Nathan and Jacob. Read on to hear about their curatorial process, recent projects, and some of their favorite images featured on the site thus far.
Gillian Tozer: Who and what is Haw-lin?
Nathan Cowen and Jacob Klein: Haw-lin is run by Nathan Cowen and Jacob Klein. It is an online mood board of inspiration, interest, art, mountains, plants, sex, shoes, and Michael Jordan. We select images and forms that appeal to us when placed within a certain contextual sequence or arrangement. Sometimes this tells a story and sometimes it doesn't.

GT: Where are you both from? How did you meet?
NC & JK: Nathan was born in 1983 in Santa Cruz, California and grew up in Kailua, Hawaii. He studied graphic design and lived in San Francisco for seven years before moving to Berlin. Jacob was born 1980 in Warendorf, Germany and grew up in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany. He studied visual communication in Bielefeld, Germany before moving to Berlin. We met in 2008 while sharing a desk as interns for the Berlin graphic design studio Hort.

GT: How do you come across the images and how do you curate the page?
NC & JK: In no specific manner, really. The image research is a mixture of free associative Google image searching, work-related procrastination, IRL experiences, etc. A lot of the time the research reflects the flow of image chains in the sense that one step leads the next—a search for bananas may lead to a Rietveld chair. Haw-lin has always worked with a basic individual approach. We research and post images independently of one another and because of our shared interests they seem to work seamlessly together. Oftentimes we cannot remember who was responsible for specific images.

GT: How can we distinguish between a Nathan-chosen image and a Jacob-chosen image?
NC & JK: Well, most people assume we select the images together. As we mentioned, our tastes overlap a lot. In the end Nathan is probably guilty of posting the majority of women- and basketball-related images.

GT: How many images do you post per day?
NC & JK: Initially, it was one post, including 30 images, per day. That productivity is still a goal but recently it seems only two or three posts get published a week.

GT: Has there been one image that has received a lot of feedback?
NC & JK: No, not really. A few times close friends have received a job or sold a work of art because their work was discovered on Haw-lin. But those are just personal accounts—have you heard of anything?

GT: What are some of your favorite Tumblrs or blogs?
NC & JK: Our friend Tim Schmitt's YouTube screenshot blog is pretty interesting: http://retina.polymetamorph.com/

GT: How did Haw-lin Services come about?
NC & JK: Haw-lin Services is the creative extension of Haw-lin, established early 2008. While working together for a couple of years at Hort we began to develop quite an online presence with Haw-lin. We received many requests from brands and artists to publish their work. Therefore it seemed only natural to approach the brands and artists that we in turn respected and propose various collaborations. Flash forward to now…

GT: What kind of projects does Haw-lin services offer?
NC & JK: We offer art direction, graphic design, and research in the fields of fashion, architecture, art, and product and interior design. We believe it is important to develop projects through iterative collaboration. Recently we have been producing more and more photography, focusing mostly on fashion and products. We are currently developing a corporate identity and campaign for a new luxury bag brand and most recently wrapped up a workshop at the Bauhaus university in Weimar, Germany.

GT: What would be your dream project?
NC & JK: Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have created a path worth aspiring to. We are involved in so many random aspects of design and most of the time our focus is directed towards consolidating these ideas into a simple vision. Our idea of a dream client is someone who we can work with on an equal level, where we're not just executing a brief.

GT: What music are you currently listening to in the studio?
NC & JK: Freddie Gibbs, CFCF, Hype Williams, Sade, and a lot of Wu-Tang Clan.

GT: Offline, where do you find inspiration in Berlin?
NC & JK: Everyday situations and places. Again, it is never anything specific. Simple conversations and friendly interactions lead to a nice night of research on the net.

GT: Is anything forbidden on the site?
NC & JK: For the sake of having rules: No bicycles and no guns. This might need an explanation… We both love and ride bicycles regularly, however, it seemed to us that images of bicycles somehow defined a website in a particular way. Regarding guns, we tend to avoid imagery that presents them in a positive light. You may find images that include guns and bicycles in some way but they are usually not the focal point.

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