65 Artists Bring You Holiday Cheer By Cleverly Interpeting The Yule Log

yule log

Untitled from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Reruns from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Christmas Spirit Fingers from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Yule Log 2.0 is a series of short films by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, all revolving around the holiday Yule Log. Traditionally, the Yule Log is a hard, giant log that burns in a fireplace of traditional Christmas celebrations. In 1966, video of a burning log was televised by WPIX-TV as a gift to viewers, starting a phenomena that has yet to die. Urban Outfitters has even packaged and sold it at the appropriate time of the year, and you can view it on Netflix. Yule Log 2.0 takes on the log in a number of ways. Some are abstract representations, some are stories, and others rethink the log using different materials (including painted hands). Vignettes last from 10 seconds to a minute and half.

Yule Log 2.0 is a project curated by animator and illustrator Daniel Savage. He told Cool Hunting that he had the idea when looking for the original on Youtube, but was dismayed by all of the low quality videos. He explains, “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a bunch of people to redo this?” Savage enlisted the help of 65 creatives and created 53 films, which all employ the quintessential wood burning noise. He was delighted by the quality of films, stating, “I didn’t really know what to expect from everyone; I know it’s a busy time of the year so I assumed they would be simple, but then some people blew my mind—like the marshmallow one [created by Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva, Bianca Meier]. Getting three people to work on one was amazing.

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Jeff Friesen Uses Legos o Satirize The 50 US States

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Texas: Rounding up little doggies who have lost their way.

Maryland: Today the crabs decided to have a picnic of their own.

Canadian Photographer Jeff Friesen uses the iconic Legos to build dioramas that he later photographs. In the series 50 States of Legos, Friesen satirizes each state in the United States using the toy’s characters, blocks, and accessories. Scenes are set against colorful backdrops like mountains, beaches, and grassy lands. Some include aliens, cowboys,and even historic figures like George Washington.

Each state has their own legacy or a reputation for something. Friesen plays on these associations and includes witty captions that accompany them. I live in Maryland, for instance, where eating crabs is a cherished pastime. Friesen pokes fun at this, turning crabs against a couple trying to boil a crab. Other places receive the same, if not more over-the-top treatment. Alaska features a Yet fishing with an Eskimo. A cowboy in New Mexico is prodded by an alien. There is a dragon in the mines of West Virginia. Friesen’s series is a light-hearted look at the states, which are made even more amusing the more time you spend with them and their details. (Via Honestly WTF)

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Shanna Allyn Documents A Strange World With Even Stranger Faces

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Photographer Shanna Allyn is the master of a universe where women are covered in kittens, faces are obscured with food, and they have eyes like a cartoon character. Her series, Strange Beautiful, is, not surprisingly, strange. This coupled with Allyn’s style of photography (which seems less focused on technical aspect and more on documentation) takes the viewer through a bizarre world where there are more questions than answers.

In a statement about her work written by T. Martin Crouse, co-founder of the publisher Sic Semper Serpent, he describes it as, “The use of quirky objects combined with the locations and postures of her models creates a sense of surrealism. Out of place props in a variety of lateral interpretations have a strong effect.” Later, he goes on to say, “In Shanna’s universe of tampon cigarettes and hotdog mouthpieces, who really has control?” That statement itself is absurd and captures the essence of what Allyn is trying to do. These photographs record what goes on in her world, which is comprised mostly of a group of women with cartoonish eyes. They wear them as a mask, allowing them to look unaffected and apathetic. Nothing phases them, and we don’t immediately understand their motivations.

I see Allyn as a documentarian, capturing images that aren’t full of tension or sadness, but just show a day in the life of Strange Beautiful. The emotions that these models don’t show is compensated by our associations to objects in the images and content she presents.

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Sebastian Errazuirz Crafts Shoes To Memorialize His Ex Lovers

Sebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - ShoesSebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - ShoesSebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

In Sebastian Errazuirz’s series 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, he constructed wearable memorials to the women of his past relationships. Each shoe is designed with a specific person in mind, and is accompanied by short anecdotes. They give us a context for the relationship and why it ultimately failed. For this project, the artist paired with shoe maker Melissa (who has also partnered with the likes of  Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld) and made shoes featuring faux honeycombs, tiny gold men, icicles, arrows, and more.  Melissa is known for producing high-quality plastic shoes, and pairing with the artist reflects their quirky-yet-stylish aesthetic.

In Sebastian Errazuirz’s series 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, he constructed wearable memorials to the women of his past relationships. Each shoe is designed with a specific person in mind, and is accompanied by short anecdotes. They give us a context for the relationship and why it ultimately failed. For this project, the artist paired with shoe maker Melissa (who has also partnered with the likes of  Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld) and made shoes featuring faux honeycombs, tiny gold men, icicles, arrows, and more.  Melissa is known for producing high-quality plastic shoes, and pairing with the artist reflects their quirky-yet-stylish aesthetic.

“Honey” was very touched and said she didn’t know she had that impact on me. “Heart Breaker” wrote me an email to say she didn’t know if she should feel incredibly embarrassed, enraged or honored but that if I ever revealed her real name she would kill me. “Gold Digger” hates my guts.

While this project is one-sided (none of the ex lovers offer a rebuttal), it’s a very interesting way to pay homage to relationships that, good or bad, have impacted Errazuriz’s life. Designing the shoes, recounting each episode, and sharing his personal life with the world has hopefully had a cathartic effect on the artist, in addition to delighting viewers. (Via Bored Panda)

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Simon Beck Incredible Drawings Created Using His Feet And Miles Of Snow

Snow Installation

snow drawing

snow drawing

Simon Beck - Snow Installation

Simon Beck’s geometric landscape artwork doesn’t require much more than a good snowfall, careful planning, and a lot of patience. To produce his works, the artist treks through miles of snow, patterning his walk carefully to create large scale designs. The results of his efforts can best be viewed aerially, as they cross acres of land. Conveniently, he’s installed some of his work under ski lifts and across valleys, where they can dazzle passersby.

Beck’s work is reminiscent of a Tibetan Sand Mandala, which too requires hours of work (his snow patterns take 8 to 10 hours to complete), has ritualistic movements, and whose existence is fleeting. Both will eventually be destroyed, as it is inherent and built into the ritual. But, while the breakdown of a mandala is ritualistic, Beck’s snow murals are at the whim of mother nature. (Via Huffington Post)

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Grotesque Human And Animal Hybrid Sculptures By Liu Xue

Sculpture Sculpture

human animal hybrids Liu Xue - Sculpture

Chinese sculptor Liu Xue combines a human with an animal, creating a hybrid being.  Each being has a human head with animal appendage (or appendages). A man is merged with a pig, a woman with a chicken, a man with a dog, and more.The result is something we haven’t seen before, one that seems non-threatening, but still grotesque at the same time. Xue has honed his craft and painted the sculptures to be so life like that they fall into the uncanny valley.

Xue’s choice to pair a human with an animal seem to be because it’s funny, and the hybrids fit with each other thematically.  For instance, a giant, bald man is given the tiny wings of a bat. Another work pits this same man with a seahorse bottom. We know both of these creatures are tiny, and the disparity in size is what makes it humorous. Other sculptures aren’t so amusing. An older man is combined with the body of greyhound dog. The gaunt appearance of the dog’s body and pained look on the man’s face makes this piece somber.

The unnatural combination of Xue’s work explores the notion of what’s considered attractive or glamourous. A naked, conventionally pretty woman, for instance, is given the unwieldy feet of a chicken.  Likewise, a young man has the same features. In the artist’s attempt to make both appear seductive, it’s hard to imagine these creatures moving gracefully.

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Kyle Lambert’s Hyperrealistic Portraits May Look Like A Photograph But In Fact Are Painted Entirely On An iPad

Kyle Lambert - Digital Painting Kyle Lambert - Digital Painting Kyle Lambert - Digital Painting

This picture of Morgan Freeman is not a photograph. It’s actually a hyperrealistic digital painting by Kyle Lambert. Using an iPad, the app Procreate, and over 285,000 brush strokes, the artist recreated a picture of the actor (the original photograph is by Scott Gries). The result makes you do a double and then triple take. Lambert’s painting is nearly identical to its source. The entire thing took over 200 hours, and he created a four minute time-lapse video that details the process.

Touted as “The World’s Most Realistic Finger Painting,” Lambert approaches the construction of his piece in a traditional way. He prepares a solid ground to paint on and works in layers, building up volume and texture. He refines details with each stroke. Just when you think the portrait is nearly done, Lambert continues to add highlights and details to the tiny hairs in Freeman’s beard. Here, the his fingerprint works to his advantage, as he uses light pressure to make subtle, light strokes.

There’s no denying that technology has changed painting. With apps like Procreate and the ease of holding an iPad, it’s possible to create something like Lambert did with enough practice and skill. You don’t necessarily have to know hold a paintbrush, or have knowledge of traditional methods of painting. You just need to know how to use the program. Working digitally gives an artist the chance to zoom into their piece, adding fine details that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s also very forgiving. Instead of having to cover up part of a painting with more paint, they can simply undo their last moves. Whereas a covering up an oil painting will show some evidence of what’s beneath, in a digital work, no one is the wiser. (Via Twisted Sifter)

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Crystal Wagner’s Sprawling Installations Created Out Of Cheap Dollar Store Items

dollar store Installation

cut paper Installation

paper installation Installation

Crystal Wagner - Installation

Crystal Wagner’s installations are a combination of printmaking, cut paper, and cheap, dollar store objects. Her work has a very organic feel to it, as if we are about to walk through a luscious forest or happen upon a moss patch. This isn’t surprising, as Wagner has spent a lot of time immersed in nature, spending extended periods  in Yellowstone National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. The large, site specific works convey the awe-inspiring beauty we experience in places like  Old Faithful.

Using items like police caution tape, chicken wire and table cloths, the artist crafts multi-layered and complex forms that occupy walls, floors, and everyday spaces. I’m reminded of green wall technology, in which moss grows decoratively on walls and gardens. It is not only good for the environment, but visually dazzles. This is much like Wagner’s work, which uses  what already exists in our world to create a calming, tranquil environment.

Wagner has a formal education in printmaking, and this training works to her advantage. She is able to refine her installations by adding intricate prints of forms that look like vines and petals. It contrasts nicely with her construction, which focuses more on structure and building volume. These are the heart of Wagner’s installation, and tell us the most about the essence of her work.

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