About Nathaniel Smith

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Polar Vortex- Andy Goldsworthy’s Ice and Snow Sculptures

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Although most of America (currently enduring one of the worst winter cold snaps in nearly two decades) would like to ignore this fact in for favor of bundled layers and heated blankets, sometimes even the dire cold, snow and ice can provide the tools and inspiration for those who brave it’s elements.  Famed land and installation artist Andy Goldsworthy (previously here and here) has often utilized ice, frost, snow and frozen earth to create his trademark land interventions. And rather than avoiding the elements, Goldsworthy is only able to create these delicate and precise sculptures by embracing the cold.

In Goldsworthy’s 2004 documentary, Rivers & Tides, several scenes document the difficulty in attempting to harness the cold’s elements. One scene shows the artist, braving the winter elements for hours at a time in finger-less gloves (so as to be able to properly feel and hold the materials) fusing together icicle chunks together with warm water, holding them in place while they freeze together into naturally-made though unnatural shapes. The smallest temperature changes, light, and even chance cause the ice sculpture to collapse, repeatedly, which is all part of Goldsworthy’s process. Says the artist, “Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that  I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. Nature is in a state of change and that change is the key to understanding. I want my art to be sensitive and alert to changes in material, season and weather. Each work grows, stays, decays. Process and decay are implicit. Transience in my work reflects what I find in nature.”

Goldsworthy’s process is only captured through the use of photographs, and the often detailed notes (below) which the artist uses to document the difficulties and triumphs of each individual piece.

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Van Orton Design’s Stained-Glass Style 80′s Movie Posters

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Italian-based twin brother design team (who go by the nom de guerre) Van Orton Design created a hit recently with their latest project of stained-glass style movie posters. Digitally composing the images using iconic characters and scenes from each film, Van Orton replaced saints and religious iconography with pop-culture standards like the Terminator, The Joker and Jack Burton, juxtaposing them with the time-honored (and increasingly disappearing) art of stained glass sectioning.

Van Orton’s selection of now-classic films from the science-fiction, action and cult fantasy genres adds an interesting element to the genesis of these designs, in that they seem to replicate stained glass coloring books more than the classical stained glass reminiscent of Europe’s grand cathedrals. This design choice adds to the light-hearted and nostalgic mood of the series, and appropriately separates it from ‘high art’ (though the Batman Poster for example certainly has visual similarities to the work of famous British artists Gilbert & George). The combination of thin and thicker black lines (replicating the lead used to secure colored glass) holds a wide prismatic array of colors, which also brings a unique, crisp quality which can only be achieved through delicate digital design.

You can purchase your own posters (pre-colored or not) by Van Orton Design here.

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Alicia Martín’s Cascading Book Installations

Alicia Martín

Alicia Martín

Alicia Martín

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Alicia Martín (formerly featured here - as well as in our Best of 2012) has kept busy this year, expanding on her signature style of cascading book installations that we first saw in BiografíasEach installation begins as a wire and aluminum structure, to which hundreds and thousands of books are attached, creating the illusion of waterfalls of pages and spines wrapping around objects, wrapping around themselves, and pouring from windows and underneath walls.

In works such as Singularidad, the Madrid, Spain-based artist focuses her waves of books into a more circular shape, resembling a vortex rather than a waterfall. Playing with the idea of a black-hole, or naked singularity, the collective swathe of books consumes itself, rather than bursting forward. In Contemporaneos, Martín plays with the idea of the books being the background, the support, or what’s behind the object, pouring out of (or cracking through) a wall – engaging in a dialogue with more indoor, site-specific contemporary installation. However, Martín continues to re-imagine her waterfalls, with newer pieces expanding on previous work’s pouring from buildings, as well as running down streets, through windows and around trees, with pages blowing in the wind at each amazing installation. (via mymodernmet)

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Josh Lane Combines Ancient Egyptian Gods With Modern Geek Gods

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As 2013 draws to a close, it becomes easier to see the trends in art, design and visual storytelling that attracted especially popular interest over the year. Among them were the use of superheroes, which only decades ago were confined to a mythology only ‘nerds’ spoke of. But with superheroes becoming ever-more popular and Geek culture no longer a source of shame, comic book and science fiction heroes have become instantly recognizable forms of pop symbolism for many. Beautiful/Decay featured the work of Andreas Englund’s aging superhero paintings, Alex Lukas’ referential superhero screenprints and Antonio Strafella’s comic heroes as saints, all who took these mythologies and blended them with updated styles, forms, perspectives and techniques.

Josh Lane (Ln) took the same cues with his perfectly titled Hero-Glyphics series, combining a variety of classic comic book (the X-men, Spiderman, the Avengers) and sci-fi (Star Trek) heroes, and re-imagining them in the style of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Ln expands on the classic heroes as well, also casting 90′s nostalgia (in the form of the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as well as newer comic and movie characters (Kick-Ass).

Prints available here, “excavated and restored by artist and adventurer Josh Ln”.

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Daniel Siering And Mario Shu’s Incredible Street Art Illusion

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Perhaps one of the best street-art interventions of the year comes at the very end. Daniel Siering and Mario Shu developed a unique strategy for their site-specific public project in Potsdam, Germany. By wrapping a tree and covering the wrapping with incredibly detailed spray-paint, the duo manages to perfectly capture a stunning sinhle-point perspective which gives the illusion that the tree is bisected, with the top half mysteriously floating above the fields and horizon in the background.

As this is a developing story, there are precious few pictures to properly show the project (including proper links to the artist, or previous works) but check out this video (which as of now has less than 300 hits) to see the simple yet effective trompe l’oeil the two artists created, and hope that the two release more pictures, and more fantastic public projects, in 2014. (via streetartutopia)

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CJ Hendry’s Incredible Drawings Of Fashion And Luxury Will Seduce You

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Australian artist CJ Hendry takes the items consumers long for: fashion accessories, high-end labels, designer purses, shoes and luxuriously-packaged perfumes, and spends days recreating them with absolute precision. Although there is precious little information to be found about the artist online (she maintains an active Instagram account, but does not seem to have a website or bio), it is quite obvious that she has an interest in seduction. By using the items which seduce consumers and inspire fashion choices, Hendry in turn makes them more seductive through her large-scale, pen and ink renderings of them, stating “It is all about the object. I am a product person and that is obvious through my obsession with the particular placement of each piece. It starts with the acquisition of the product I am intrigued by or have been obsessing over.” Hatching, shading and intricate line-work are used to entice the eye, an extension of the principles used by the fashion industry, designers, and advertisers to tempt the desires of consumer culture.

When asked to describe her detailed but simplistic rendering style in an interview with Youthedesigner, Hendry stated “There are so many ways to describe my style and I am sure people will have different things to say. I look at finished pieces and feel a strong feeling of simplicity. That might sound strange because most pieces are so detailed in their own right but the intentional use of negative space encourages an uncomplicated reaction with all focus on the object.” (via booooooom and youthedesigner)

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Mark Khaisman’s Film Noir ‘Drawings’ Made With Packing Tape And Lightboxes

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In the past, artist Mark Khaisman has used his signature style of translucent packing tape, acrylic paint/film panels and lightboxes to create an extension of drawing which focused on decorative objects (such as rugs, chairs and fabric patterns), luxury items (handbags) and portraiture (previously here). For his most recent series, Stills, the Ukranian-born, Philadephia-based Khaisman channels Hollywood’s Classic Era and Film Noir into layers of tape, hand-rolled and variously removed so the light shining through each image creates lines, texture and shading.

Although Khaisman freely sources images from a shared historical film lexicon, his work also takes on a thoroughly modern, almost pixelated feel and reference, particularly in his more colorful works. Says the artist of his signature process,

“The tape is the message. A parody on Marshall McLuhan’s famous quote could explain the superficial motives, which make up the work. Subjects are categorized into different groups: fragmented stills from classic cinema, iconic objects from art history, portraits. The works are exploring the familiar as our shared visual history; made of a familiar material formed into a familiar image, asking the viewer to recognize and complete the work, stimulating both memory and interpretation in the process.” 

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You Won’t Believe What You’ll See When You Zoom In On Ferdi Rizkiyanto’s Awe Inspiring Digital Paintings

Ferdi Rizkiyanto

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Ferdi Rizkiyanto creates digital art that speaks volumes to the strength of the medium, utilizing high-definition rendering, texture, light and incredibly minute details to create emotionally narrative scenes from the ordinary. By day, the Jakarta-based Rizkiyanto works in advertising and art directing, creating his own works as exercises in visual storytelling to enhance his skills.

In works like Uncharted (above), Riskiyanto takes a basic object and adds motion to create compelling narratives which actually unfold through the small details. Giving a twist to the classic tale of Icharus, where several wax figures try to reach the bright light of the candle they emerge from, skillfully shown to be melting the closer they get to reaching their goal. Meanwhile, several figures at the base of the candle appear to be boosting up the explorers, as well as vainly attempting to hold the whole eroding structure from toppling. Perhaps this is why the artist fully explores the Lilliputian details in his narratives, because the closer a viewer is drawn into the work, the more they investigate and learn the story of the work. (via mymodernmet)

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