Norman Rockwell’s Reference Photos For His Iconic Paintings Revealed

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Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) was a celebrated 20th-century American painter and illustrator, whose works became the imagery depicting everyday life in the States. It appears, Rockwell’s photo-realistic artworks were often accompanied by staged photographs which artist then used as a reference to paint his nostalgic scenes.

Storytelling is a natural part of all of Rockwell’s paintings. Often disguised, the true story would reveal itself through the smallest details which the artist always considered beforehand. Take his illustration called “Marriage Counseling” (below): the intention is clear but there are many unfolding details like the man’s black eye or even the books stacked in the shelves reading Van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. Due to these impeccable narratives, even the reference photographs become works of art.

“There were details, accidents of light, which I’d missed when I’d been able to make only quick sketches of a setting. A photograph catches all that.”

At first, Norman Rockwell was hiring professional models but after awhile he switched to having his friends and neighbors posing for the photographs. For example, the tattooed sailor (below) was also Rockwell’s neighbor, Clarence Decker. During his career, artist produced over 4,000 original works and snapped more than 20,000 reference shots. The collection was revealed by the Norman Rockwell Museum and its curator, Ron Schick. It was also turned into a traveling exhibition and book titled “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”. (via NPR)

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Absurd But Genius Inventions By Dominic Wilcox

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Bed made from a template of Dominic Wilcox’s body.

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Tea cup with inbuilt cooling fan.

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Finger nose stylus.

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Finger nose stylus.

Dominic Wilcox is a British artist whose works balance on the margins of bizarre, yet somehow very logical and poignant at the same time. His cutting-edge inventions vary from unbelievable tech-wizardry (GPS shoes), to everyday objects that would actually find a place in our household (tea cup with a fan). Despite often humorist approach, Wilcox crafts his devices until they look and work like intended.

When asked, what is it that he does, Wilcox hesitates: “If I had to title myself, I would say I’m an artist/designer/thinker.” He says he loves innovation, creativity and finding conceptual surprises hidden in the banal, mundane things that surround us everyday. Thus, most of his concepts are light, direct and with a pinch of witty intention. Artist isn’t afraid to be the lab rat for his works. For example in the Switch project (below), he was wearing the metallic toggle for nearly a month, day and night.

Besides actually making these crazy inventions, Dominic starts each idea with a sketch. To pay tribute to all the unaccomplished ideas, he has published a book titled “Variations on Normal”. Full of insightful illustrations, this book may give you some inspiration on your next invention, say… a family poncho or a machine that strengthens handshakes.

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Extremes Of North Korea’s Developing Capital Recorded Beautifully In This Time-Lapse Video

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Videographer Rob Whitworth together with city-branding pioneer JT Singh create a stunning flow-motion panorama of the mysterious capital of People’s Democratic Republic Of Korea, commonly known as North Korea. “Enter Pyongyang” is their another collaboration combining the stunning effects of time-lapse photography, HD and digital animation, acceleration and slow motion.

According to the creators, North Korea, which is mostly imagined as a country “immune to change”, is rapidly developing. Besides the uplift in tourism, the whole infrastructure is rising with new railways being planned and special economic zones launched. Whitworth and Singh accurately capture this shift in their video filmed with the help of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency who provided the team with exclusive access to the city.

“As is standard for all foreign visitors to the country, we were not allowed to shoot any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel. Other than that we were given relatively free reign.”

North Korean society is highly enclosed and lifting the curtain, especially for a video, is a truly unprecedented behavior. However, “Enter Pyongyang” captures the controversial reality of this multimillion capital: from its high-end golden statues and modern glass skyscrapers, to the humble and earnest citizens. The fast-paced video conveys what is essentially Pyongyang’s biggest wealth – the dynamism and energy driving it to the new heights. (via The Awesomer)

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Meet The Families Who Live Among The Dead In Cairo’s Cemetaries

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In her project “City of the Dead”, Iraqi-Canadian photojournalist Tamara Abdul Hadi  documents the lives of families living in the cemetery of Bab al-Nasr in Cairo. For the past 60 years, generations have been residing in this modern day necropolis among their deceased ancestors. Children were born and raised in the ruins of the graveyard, they attend schools nearby and even work in the area.

“This is a cemetery of the living”, says one of the residents, Mohammed Abdel Lateef.

Such illegal settlements as the City of the Dead, date back to the 1980′s. They were a primary coping method for local poor and “ultra-poor” inhabitants. Despite unsanitary conditions with no electricity or running water, workers were moving to the urban slums in order to stay close to employment. Overall, there are five main cemeteries like Bab al-Nasr and the whole area was said to have a population density of a whopping 12,000 inhabitants per square mile.

Abdul Hadi is already widely known for her documentary photographs of the Middle East, giving us a close-up look at their controversial culture and society. She states that the Arab world faces many misconceptions, such as oppressing patriarchy, ignorance and others. In her work, Abdul Hadi tends to bring up the softer and peaceful side of the communities which is rarely shown by the mass media. (h/t Middle East Revisited and The New School)

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Mind Blowing Real-Time CGI Transforms A Models Face Into A Futuristic Canvas

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In his latest project OMOTE, Japanese producer Nobumichi Asai combines explicit real-time face tracking and projection mapping to create unbelievable transformations of a human face. While projecting computer generated imagery (CGI) onto buildings, room walls or cars isn’t new, using a live model as a dynamic canvas demonstrates an advances use of technology.

To accomplish such realistic and mesmerizing effect, Asai gathered a team of digital designers, CGI experts, and make-up artists. Together they created a set of digital “masks”, or, as Slash Gear referred to it, “electronic equivalent of makeup”. As shown in the video, model’s face should be scanned and mapped so the graphics can be projected and manipulated in real-time, even when the face moves around.

Despite that lots of technical details about OMOTE are left unsaid, Internet users have already started speculating on the possible use of such technology. Most suggestions include testing of products such as make-up, clothing, or even tattoos. Some state that advanced versions could be employed for medical purposes, like projecting X-Rays or creating “instant previews” of plastic surgery. Not to mention the game industry. (via Gizmodo)

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Dreamlike Food Photography Creates Alternate Edible Worlds

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Russian self-taught photographer Dina Belenko creates alluring still life images which she calls “photoillustrations”. Combining creative and well arranged compositions with photography and a little bit of photo manipulation skills, Belenko creates beautiful food photography starring various inanimate objects: food products, utensils and other props.

According to the photographer, “every object around us keeps our emotions, expectations, feelings”, thus photographing things and capturing their soul can be equated to making powerful human portraits. To create her daydream-like photographs, Belenko uses simple everyday materials: sugar cubes, coffee, paper cutouts, clay models, etc. To get more exquisite accessories, like dentistry or jewelry tools, she delves into old closets or visits flea markets.

Belenko also feels the need to manifest the possibilities behind still life photography. According to her, it is one of the least popular genres in Russia, mostly pictured as a boring composition of flowers and fruits.

“I prefer still life because the role of chance is incredibly limited here. You may feel as a director <…> Each failure is your own failure, but every victory is also completely yours.”

Belenko is participating in an ongoing project called “An Endless Book”. Each week, participants have to upload an artwork under a self-selected topic. At the end of 2015, a huge panoramic image will be made featuring all of their works. You can read more about it at the official website.

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Famous Cars Soar Through The Sky In Gerry Judah’s Gravity-Defying Installations

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London-based artist Gerry Judah has been widely known for his large-scale outdoor installations. Especially noteworthy are his works commissioned for such famous car brands as Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and others. Collaborating with the sponsors, Judah has created a series of gravity-defying suspended installations featuring scale-sized model cars shooting as high as 35 meters in the sky.

Gerry Judah has been building his car-themed sculptures since 1997. His tremendous structures have always been a sight at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, England. Judah works extensively with steel. Naturally the amount of it consumed for each installation can go as high as whopping 175 tonnes (Jaguar, 2011). Despite the rugged material, Judah’s structures seem to be incredibly lightweight flexible. His works are particularly appreciated for the cohesion with the style of cars they represent. Here’s Judah talking about the design of Porsche 911 monument (above):

”The 911 is a fantastic shape that can’t be deconstructed or embellished, so in this context, the sculpture had to provide the right platform for the car to soar up and shine in the sky. <…> The concept was that each car is shooting into the sky, supporting one another, racing each other, captured in a perfect moment. Like the cars it displays, the sculpture is superbly engineered, lightweight and reflective of the Porsche 911 itself: simple, pure and built for the job.”

His latest work for Mercedes-Benz (below) features a 160-tonne steel sculpture with two Mercedes-Benz cars passing each other in midair. The installation is 90 meters long and soars 26 meters into the sky. It celebrates the 120-years-anniversary of motorsport heritage by Mercedes-Benz.

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Artist Creates Elaborate Black And White Scratchboard Illustrations By Etching Into The Black Ink

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Paris-based illustrator Nicolas Delort creates mysterious black and white scratchboard illustrations. Using nothing but black ink and sharp tools, Delort etches his elaborate drawings into the surface of a clayboard. Despite the monochromatic palette, his works carry out a sense of colorfulness through their dynamic and wondrous scenarios.

Because of his scratchboard technique, Delort‘s works are focusing more on the negative space and its function in the art world. His high-contrast illustrations are full of apocalyptic dynamism, accentuated by the eccentric compositions, intrinsic etching and attention to every minuscule detail. Despite that, artist says his workflow is pretty chaotic.

“Up until the final inking stage, my work is mostly improvisation, because I’m basically never happy with my stuff until it’s finished <…> I start out with a bunch of thumbnails and when I find one that I like open it up in Photoshop and move stuff around until I’m satisfied. I make a final sketch, transfer it on to the scratchboard and scratch away till my wrist hurts.“

While some of Delort‘s narratives might be utterly unknown, others illustrate scenes from literary works such as Harry Potter, American Gods, or are designated movie posters. Although modern in content, Delort‘s works remind us of such artists as Gustav Doré and even Albrecht Dürer who‘ve been advocating the noteworthy art of etching years past. (via Lost At E Minor; Hypocrite Design)

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