Using toys, computer hardware, beading, and even money, Argentinian-based artist Elisa Insua assembles images of popular culture with the items that make up popular culture. The intricate works take similar textures, colors, and shapes to form iconic portraits of Darth Vader, a Playstation controller, and the lion from the 20th Century Fox logo. Sometimes, Insua also covers three dimensional objects, like Maneki-neko (fortune cat) and toy guns and dinosaurs.
Erika Rae on Core77 described these works as appealing to someone who used to thumb through the I Spy series, a set of books where the reader would find a specific object among many, many others to solve a puzzle or riddle. Looking at Insua’s works, this description feels very appropriate. The mosaic of bright and cheery objects is alluring to our eyes, and focusing on the innocence of all of the toys in every image is almost escapist. For a period of time, we can slowly look over every part of Insua’s and be mesmerized by past popular culture. (via Core77)
In a surreal and slightly disturbing series titled Running Gag by the Hamburg-based studio POP. Postproduction, they imagine what it would be like if shoes teeth to accompany their tongues. POP specializes in photo-retouching, and manipulated the images has the loafers, boat shoes, and Converse sneakers laughing and grinning. Some have a gap tooth, others a gold grill, while some have hardly any teeth at all.
There is some correspondence with the teeth and the shoe. For instance, the pink canvas shoe with decorative laces has a mouth full of braces, so we’d imagine they are a teenage girl. The gold-studded loafer is an “alternative style” to the preppy shoe, so its gold lip ring feels appropriate.
Despite being slickly-produced and brightly-colored series, the Running Gag is subtle, and it’s only after more than a seconds glance that you realize there are teeth in these shoes. It’s POP’s Photoshopping skills that add to the believability of these characters, and they look liked they’d be right in place in a horror film. (Via Design Taxi)
Move Mountain is the latest stop-motion animation by Kirsten Lepore, a Los Angeles based director and animator. We’ve featured films by her before, and Lepore’s newest work does not disappoint. She describes the short film as “A girl journeys through a vibrant, pulsing, macrocosmic landscape, but a precipitous incident compels her to venture up a mountain in an attempt to save herself.” The story itself is a surreal tale, and at one point oscillates between dreams and reality. It also shows us that at any given time, we are at the mercy of our environment.
The film is Lepore’s Master’s thesis from California Institute of the Arts and took her two and half years to produce. The use of handcrafted characters and fully modeled sets is really impressive. With the current trend being slick-looking techniques, it’s nice to see evidence of the hand in this film. (Watch the behind the scenes video after the jump.)
In addition to Lepore’s own character designs, she’s enlisted the help of animator friends, including the likes of Julia Pott, Lizzy Klein, Ethan Clarke, and more. They make one of my favorite scenes in the film, which is an unexpected but welcome surprise.
In the series No Seconds, photographer Henry Hargreaves recreates and records the last meals of Death Row inmates. He captures not only what they ate, but accompanies the photos with what was on the menu and the crimes they committed. Hargreaves is no stranger to the Beautiful/Decay blog, where he was last seen collaborating with food stylist Caitlin Levin. With this particular project, it’s all him, fueled by his towards incredulousness of the US Death Penalty as inspiration. “In New Zealand (where I’m from), and in fact nearly any where else in the developed world, the Death Penalty is just not even in the conversation.” Hargeaves states. “It is a remnant of an earlier era. This little bit of civility, ‘hey we are going to kill you but what would you like to eat?’ just jumped off the page.”
These last meals are recreated beautifully, and the photographer depicts each with its own style. Some, like the fried chicken dinner of John Wayne Gacey appears greasy and gluttonous. Others, like Victor Feguer’s single olive is a poignantly positioned on a gold-trimmed plate.
Food is a common thread amongst diverse groups of people, and the eating habits and choices made can tell you a lot about a person. In researching the project, Hargreaves tells Vice, “The thing that kind of struck me with these last meals was how many of them were these big, deep fried meals, which we like to call comfort food. Here were these people in their last moments and all they really want was a little bit of comfort.” This is one of the last messages someone on Death Row could send, and their choices make you contemplate the message they might be trying to send. What was Timothy McVeigh trying to say when he ordered two pints of ice cream? We’ll never know. (Via Huffington Post and Vice)
Wooden framework, first stage for mounting elephant
Assembling bones for Nodosaurus dinosaur skeleton from dinosaur bone collection
Charles Lang and Carl Sorensen working on skull of Palaeoloxodon antiquus italicus
Museum staff with fossil shark jaws under restoration
If you’ve ever been to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you’ve probably spent some time marveling at the grandiose installations and the larger-than life exhibits of species that are both alive and extinct. The Research Library at the museum kept incredible records of how these things were produced and have the photographs available for view on their website. These behind-the-scenes looks are fascinating, featuring taxidermy, assemblage, and the hoisting up of giant bones.
Employes built a lot of the structures from the ground up, forming armatures for what were birds, elephants, antelopes, and more. There was also fun to be had with large fossils, like a shark’s jaw, where we see one of the employees suspended in air, sitting on it, paying the giant teeth very little mind.
Removed from context, there is a surreal quality to these photographs. They represent a different time, an era when we didn’t have all the technological advances that we do today. Because of this, things in the museum have the tendency to feel dated and look aged, but these records show the amount of knowledge of craft and handiwork that had to go into the giant exhibits that we still visit today. (Via Fish Eyes)
Linny and Pat, met on Craigslist ‘Missed Connections’
Mariela and Tiago, met on Tattoodatingsite.com
Cora and Will, met on Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’
With so many ways of finding love online, it’s no surprise that nearly one-third of married couples in the United States were introduced this way. In the series We Met On The Internet, photographer Jena Cumbo teams up with writer Gina Tron to document couples whose love stories started from an encounter on the web. Cumbo photographs the couples in their homes and occasionally out in public, while Tron records their story. You might think of Match.com, OKCupid, eHarmony as the way most people find their mate, but in reality, they meet in a bunch of different and sometimes strange ways. We get a glimpse inside of the lives of couples who took advantage of the matchmaking that the Internet has to offer.
Perhaps one of the more unconventional introductions was between Cora and Will (photo directly above), who met through Craigslist “Free Stuff”. Here’s their story:
Cora and Will met because of a Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’ listing. Will had free movie tickets and Cora was the taker. This was back before Craigslist anonymized responses. In the signature of Will’s email, Cora noticed his website. She clicked on it and discovered he was a talented graphic designer. She was intrigued by his work and they kept in touch, and their friendship turned romantic. They are now married and had a daughter in 2011 and a son earlier this year.
We Met On The Internet is an ongoing series, so if you or someone you know met their partner online, you can contact Cumbo. (Via FeatureShoot)
Combining Western cinema and traditional Ottoman motifs, Turkish artist Murat Palta designed a series of images that blend the style of the Ottoman empire with films like Pulp Fiction,Alien, and Clockwork Orange. They are made to look historic and aged, and once you see past that, Palta has illustrated some of the iconic scenes of the particular film.
The Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire, was one of the longest running empires in history. Palta’s works recall the Miniature Style of the Ottomans, which was a part of Ottoman book arts that included illumination, calligraphy, paper marbling, and bookbinding. Miniatures were usually not signed because they were not created entirely by one person. Production included the head painter who designed the composition, and his apprentices that drew the contours and then painted the scene.
Like the Miniature Style, Palta has included stylized two-dimensional characters, flattened views of architecture, and a lot of contrasting patterns. He references the Ottoman tradition while still making it his own – After all, I don’t think that the old illuminations included men beating someone senseless with a nightstick or a tiny green Yoda. (Via That’s Like, Whoa!)
Years before the project Miradors became reality, photographer Erwan Fichou saw a man standing in a tree that looked like a UFO. This image stuck with him and he eventually turned his memory into a reality, working with gardeners to design topiaries of varying shapes and sizes. Afterwards, he invited people off the street to climb those trees and photographed them at the top.This strange and light-hearted series illustrates the interesting progression of what happens when we have a memory. Often times we see things as we walk down the street, file them in our brain, and move on. So, it’s refreshing to see that Fichou returned to this moment and developed something completely new from it. He touches on this idea in a short statement about his work:
What’s interesting about pictures isn’t their function, to represent reality, but their dynamic potential, their ability to spark and build projections, interactions, narrative frameworksmechanisms that structure reality[ ...]an image is the result of movements that are temporarily sedimentary or crystallized in it[ ...] Beyond metaphors, we must understand that, paradoxically, our contemporary sensitivity predisposes us to prophesy, not history. We live in a world of images that precede reality; we’re not looking to see, unless it’s déjà-vu. (Via This is Paper)