B Paper Surgery

Paper. What a fragile, soft, crumpled and easyburning word. If paper sounds almost outdated, as old as stone or bone, it’s because it has been displaced by the digital efficiency of glass. Our fingertips run on its surface, tapping on contents which magically pop up, slide, zoom and disappear. But none of the content on your tablet, smartphone or computer screen can aspire to the same level of interactivity of paper. Digital content is as fast as a fish you see darting under the translucent icy surface of a frozen lake. We call it “eskimo effect”. You see it but you can’t catch it, unless of course you cut a hole into the ice crust and try to stab it with your harpoon. The access to digital information happens on a sleek, shiny surface that’s also a barrier to deeper understanding. Paper, on the other hand, is  a deep, tridimensional, physical medium you can play with in endless forms.

The Brandpowder Team realized, this time under the supervision of Carlo Muttoni, a series of photocollage that, after photographed,  have been destroyed. This is a selection of pictures inspired by “Paper Surgery”, a theme we already developed before, as a reflection between the evanescence of plastic surgery and ethernal beauty as Nature’s way to endlessly recreate us beyond us.

B Born Again

B Drunkard

B Egoist

B Exhibitionist

B Flatterer

B Flirter

B Inscrutable


B Prayer

B Smuggler

B Spy

B Whisperer

B carpet ok




Helvetia Drop 00

Helvetica is the most widely used typeface in the world. Designed in 1957 by Eduard Hoffmann and Max Alfons Miedinger for Haas Type Foundry in Zurich, it was rapidly adopted by graphic designers, ad agencies and printers worldwide for its clean lines, elegance and great readability. Initially it was called Helvetia but Haas didn’t want this type to by identified with his own Country (Helvetia is the latin name for Switzerland) and the name Helvetica – which means “from Switzerland” was chosen.

The Brandpowder Team, to honour the 56° anniversary of this aesthetic achievement, designed the first open source typeface in the world. It’s called Helvetia Drop, and everybody can use it for free. Here’s how it works: start from the Arial Bold MT Rounded, a free typeface which is identical to Helvetica but bears another name for copyright reasons (don’t ask). Write your text or logo on Illustrator. Then select the outline mode and choose the color of your background (i.e. white, if you want it on a white surface). By giving different thickness to the outline (1 up to 20 points, depending on the size of your type) you’ll be able to reduce the type’s appearance. It will be thinner and smoother, as sand shaped by sea ripples. Its gentle contours convey a sleek, modern look to your text and it’s readable also on small type, even if it’s not suitable for extra small print such as in legal notes or pharmaceutical instructions. That’s all folks!

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Helvetia Drop 01

Helvetia Drop 02

Helvetia Drop 03

Above: popular commercial logos written on Helvetia Drop acquire a new life.

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Above: chromatic torture test. Helvetia Drop is nice also in bright green and pink.

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Above: Monica Turlot, photographer and chief designer for the Helvetia Drop project. The Brandpowder Team celebrated a great moment last week. Monica was nominated for the prestigious Hardon Design Award for Excellence. She’s kind of shy and didn’t want to pose for a picture. We had to catch her by surprise. Nice shot! – she said, but when she found out we used her beloved Hassleblad, she got mad at us. 🙂


small face 01

The Brandpowder Team will soon publish a book about John Trefford and his huge oil paintings. It’s a comprehensive retrospective of his work, back from 1967 when he started as a chaffeur for Rotchko. Five years later he was the assistant and lover of Klaudia Klammewitz Obermayer, the Prussian, blue blood gallerist who launched him as the rising star of Mitteleuropean Modernity, the wunderkammer, enfant prodige of a monstruous hyper-reality. She died last year, aged 101 like a rare cognac, squashed under the grand-piano she loved so much to play, which fell from the third floor of her new villa in Wien. Klaudia, better known as K.O. among friends and admirers, left a legacy that will influence the art world for decades to come. John Trefford didn’t attend the funeral because he was painting. And that’s what he basically did for the last 40 years: painting. That’s why there not much gossip about Trefford’s life, apart rumors about a complicated relationship with Susan Dill Don, heiress of the Dilldon empire. He is the prototype of the real contemporary artist: ambitious, selfish, and cursed by his ghosts, mostly when drunk. Trefford paints only on big surfaces made of rough linen he damps into a solution of benzene and plastalc before applying the first layer of paint. He is comfortable to work only with vintage, boar hair, shaving brushes and he prepares his own colors starting from natural pigments and mineral powders he grinds on a marble mortar, following the old school of painters from the Renaissance. John Trefford’s work is considered a safe bet in the contemporary art market, today. Given his laid back attitude, and the fact he doesn’t really need to paint to survive (his last portrait sold for 14 million dollars) collectors need to be patient if they want to bring home one of his marvellous works. We publish here only a few portraits from the 2012 series “Big Faces, Small Pussies”, and a few of his tools. All photos by Monica Turlot for the Brandpowder Team, courtesy of the artist.

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Opening picture (top): Lyn Ann, 1999 (10 x 7 ft) – Private collection, New York. Above: Gwenda, 1991 (10 x 7,5 ft) – Recently bought by the MOJA Museum (NJ).

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Above: Klaudia, 1971 (12 x 7,5 ft) – Property of the artist. Below: Tyra, 2003 a big canvas commissioned by the China World Fair, and later bought by a Mongolian collector.

small face 3


Above: Kuwalla, 1988 (13×10 ft) – private collection. This painting was stolen in 1984 and sold twice to the same owner. Below: a rare picture of Trefford at work, while painting Lyn Ann in 1999. (photo archive, courtesy of Life Magazine).

painting small face

Below: The artists tools, numbered by colors. Boar’s hair is strong and delicate at the same time and Trefford always rinses his brushes with a solution of water, carnauba wax and vinegar. He told us turpentine oil can be ruthlessly harsh on brushes and it shortens their lifespan.


caseAbove: Trefford never travels without his vintage pinewood oil case, a gift he received from Rotchko. Working as a chaffeur was very important for Trefford, a life-changing experience, according to him, because it helped him to find his own way as an artist. “Rotchko was filthy rich and all he did was splashing colors on a canvas. I wanted that kind of life, even if I never needed someone to drive my car.” – Below: some of the natural powders Treford uses for his paintings and a large splash of Terra di Siena during preparation.



Below:  The book about Trefford, soon to be published by the Brandpowder Team. It will include more than 350 paintings, plus many pictures and documents about the artist’s life.

book trefford

open trefford
mut painter

Trefford is now painting at the Mowers Mental Hospital where is recovered after his breakdown in 2007. His psychiatric conditions are stable and, fortunately, didn’t compromize his artistic vein and ability as a painter.  He told us, at the end of our meeting, that things are never like they apPEAR. We laughed together. We couldn’t agree more.



“This is totally crazy!” – that’s what we were told when we first presented our project to the Board of the Police Department of New York City, back in 2003. “How did you come out with this idea, for a start?” – they asked. We explained them our intention was to create a new Police Unit to help citizens in sorting out nonmaterial issues. Crime fighting – we told them – should focus on metaphysics, since people suffer more from spiritual loss rather than from material one. Traditional police, in a nutshell, defends just material property, both public and private, and punishes whoever try to steal or damage it for his or her illicit personal gain. But what about all those fundamental human needs that go beyond materialism? Shouldn’t we protect them, in order to promote another kind of value, namely all Traditional Values? The Integrity of the Soul, The Wealth of Love, The Treasure of Memories, The Richness of the Spirit: aren’t all these a metaphysical currency?  Our proposal to the big shots of the Police Department was to add a new division called the Platonic Police. The name – we said – was a tribute to Greek philosopher Plato, the first one who seriously investigated the nonmaterial essence of human beings and later taught to a young Aristotle the basic principles of modern metaphysics. Our project didn’t require big investments: its objective was to reintegrate retired police officers who, instead of rotting at home in front of a tv set, could go back to the thrill of action, adding also a little salary to their skinny pension. Their invaluable experience could serve a good cause. We proposed to use old, discarded police vehicles, properly restored by car enthusiasts supported by private micro-donations. Our idea, at heart, wanted to give a double social message to all citizens: make them understand and value the nonmaterial side of life, since existence shouldn’t be based only on money and success. The other input was to lessen the social burden of neglected old people, re-introducing them into the social tissue, making good use of their wisdom, selflessness and experience.

After a long debate, we were able to convince our audience. Our first meeting with the authorities was in 2003. Today, almost ten years later, the Platonic Police is a sound reality we are all proud of. It counts 6,000 active officers only in the U.S. and many affiliates are joining the cause in Canada, France, UK, Germany, Japan, Brasil, Chile, Russia, Iraq, India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, Greece. The Platonic Police is formed by an elite of volunteers from all over the world.

Opening picture (top): the Platonic Police Headquarters in Chicago. On top of the building, one of the most popular platonic mottos has been carved into stone: “THE GREATEST WEALTH IS TO LIVE CONTENT WITH LITTLE”.

board PP

Above: The Brandpowder Team has developed a full corporate identity: the double “P” mirrors into an ancient runic symbol that stands for a “journey through force”.  This ieratic image is adjoined by the Police’s emblem where the face of the Greek philosopher Plato is inscribed inside a circle with a bright sheriff’s star. The five-pointed star, quite popular into American Heraldry and iconography, was selected by the Brandpowder Team for the Pythagorean pentagrammatic perfection, an original manifestation of metaphysical force that is found also in ancient Bahà’ì faith.

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Above: one of the pages from the Brandpowder’s Sketchbook. Pluto, in our view, is the corrupted symbol of dumb plutocracy promoted by mass media. Its apparent jolly, cheerful, carefree nature hides the poisonous message of a dog subjugated by the childish caprices of a capitalistic rat. Plato, on the other hand, represents the aristocracy of the soul. Aristocracy, in its original meaning, meant the power in the hands of the best people. The Greek philosopher was unanimously voted by the Brandpowder Team as the keystone of a philosophy for a new, ideal city. We added the greek word “polis” to Plato, and the Platonic Police was born.

Below: the Platonic Police’s rubber stamp is used to seal every solved case, at the end of a metaphysical enquiry. This is a very reassuring symbol for the people who are growing fond of this institution. The Platonic Cops are considered like guardian angels serving the Community.

guarantee rubber stamp

Below: The Brandpowder Team was later asked to create a social campaign to raise public awareness, also explaining how the Platonic Police could really help people to find a solution to nonmaterial matters.


Below: a soul-searching ad promoting the activity of Platonic “bobbies” in UK.

searching PP


Above: another ad run by the Platonic Police in Texas. “People are very much concerned by time, which is now considered the new currency,” – Sgt. Tom J. Forbes told a local paper – “It’s strange nobody ever thought to protect it, before. I’m proud to represent the Platonic Police and help people to get their time back. This is a bloody good way to serve my Country.”
Below: an ad that appeared in several High Schools throughout the Unied States. Love is a critical issue, among teenagers. The Platonic Police helps youngsters to deal with the soft turmoil of their feelings, teaching them sex, for instance, shouldn’t be separated from love. And viceversa.

platonic car poster

Below: the French Gendarmerie offered a fleet of six vintage Citroen SM to the Platonic Polic. These cars are extremely fast and comfortable, which makes them the ideal vehicles for quick response and intervention. Jacques Milieu, Head of the Platonic Police in Paris, said materialism is ruining his Country. We are grateful to the Brandpowder Team for making this utopia come true.  We are all fighting for a better society. People should finally understand that life is much more than smelly cheese, champagne, trufles and parfumes.



Above: The Platonic Police is proposing also “early tools” for helping parents to raise their children with real values. The PP Handbook is a learn-through-fun publication translated, so far, into 17 languages. The Brandpowder Team is currently at work on a new book. People asked us why not a digital version for iPad or an app with a geo-locator that tracks emergency calls on the map? The reason is we don’t like digital tech. We think the Platonic Police should stick to old fashion relationship with their fellow citizen, instead. You can’t hug a person through an iphone, can you?

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Above: an old Platonic Police cruiser in Canada. Days can be very quiet, here. When there are not emergency calls, the Platonic Cops just hang around patrolling the streets, stopping sometimes for a cup of tea. People love them to bits and invite them into their homes to have a chat.

Below: The Platonic Police of Germany couldn’t resist to give their vehicles the usual “panzer” look. This old Volkswagen T1 has been transformed into a snow cat. Metaphysical dilemmas, according to local statistics, are more frequent during the winter season because snow, with its white blanket, can induce gloomy thoughts promoting metaphors of death.

wolkswagen PP

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Above: this yacht may seem a blatant oxymoron. How come the Platonic Police, who is supposed to fight materialism, is indulging with such a loud symbol of it? The answer is quite simple: the fancy boat was a donation from a Greek millionaire to the Platonic Police serving in the Aegean Sea. Metaphysical emergencies are more frequent than you may think among the filthy rich. This floating dreamhouse is the most convenient way to approach such people, making them feel comfortable during their existential crisis.

coffe PP

Above: A nice cup of coffee is always waiting anyone who happens to stop by any Platonic Police office. The California District also serves delicious star-shaped cookies called Plato’s Chocolate Fudge.


Above: Leon Panetta, former US Secretary of Defense, awards Liut. George Ruanan, Platonic Police’s coordinator on behalf of the Brandpowder Team, the Medal of Honor for distinguished service and the spiritual improvement of Society.

Please support the Platonic Police by spreading this message. A big thank you from the Brandpowder Team.



We are living in tough times and money is tight like a lemon’s butt.  The Brandpowder Team received a call for help from one of the most celebrated Australian fashion designer, Don Pezzano (who happens also to be an early supporter of Brandpowder and a friend of us). Don asked us to find a reasonable alternative to top models’ ludicrous wages. “They simply ask too much,”  he told us. “And what they do, at the end of the day? Nothing, really. They drink Evian and chain-smoke in the studio, posing in front of a camera with the usual ‘I am unreachable for you’ kind of attitude and, when the photographer is done, they pretend to keep every dress they tried on and, as if this weren’t enough, they make a doggy-bag out of all the food they can put their hands on. These are not models, for God’s sake, these are fucking locusts!”

We calmed Ron down and suggested him to adopt our new technology: Sklwedfr© by Brandpowder. It’s a lousy name – we admit – but at least it’s not on Google. Sklwedfr© is a smart analogic software that creates composite fashion pictures starting from a bio database of 5,000 virtual dolls we created for this purpose. There are endless possibilities and the result is striking: no more models, no more crazy fees, no more ravaged buffets in the studio. Just brilliant, sexy girls who can do everything for nothing.  We are now launching a beta-version of the software and, for the occasion, we are introducing a few samples of Sklwedfr© pictures. Many fashion designers can’t wait to buy our super no-bullshit innovative technology. Sklwedfr© is not going to decree the end of top models and their ridicolous cachets but, after all, even dinosaurs laughed a lot when they bumped into the first mammals.