The technological wizards at Burton Inc. have developed a 3D laser display that can project images onto thin air. By focusing laser beams onto a single spot and firing the lasers in bursts of 100 times per second, images appear out of nowhere like 21st century pointillist magic. So far, the images are rudimentary, looking for the most part like simple sketches in .GIF form. But it’s still a fantastic advancement of the technology.
“This is the only device that can show text and pictures in mid-air, without using a screen,” says Akira Asano, Burton Inc.’s director and head researcher. The first and foremost application of the technology has been for emergency warnings — such as in a tsunami scenario — or as signals in pedestrian-heavy areas, such as at a crosswalk.
Not only does Burton Inc. hope to see this technology implemented in public spaces but also in people’s personal cars, thereby transforming even civilian vehicles into portable 3D displays. (via This Is Colossal)
It’s a popular thing to draw on fairy tales and the fairy tale tradition as inspiration for art, but painter Stephen Mackey has invented a whole fantasy world of his own. Working with oil on wood, his paintings are by turns in media res cautionary stories and mysterious rituals straight out of make-believe myths. Each painting is labeled in cursive script or all caps serif, and the titles don’t do much except further the enigma. “Somnambulist as a Bride Ascending a Staircase Backward,” proclaims one. Another is straight out of the recipe book of some apocryphal apothecary: “Charm No. 2: Attar of Knotgrass.”
Populated with velvety plush clouds and soft-focus girls, Mackey’s world is certainly charming. There are friendly faces in his darling cat-headed children and the moon, which is adorned with a Mona Lisa smile. However, there is sense of danger in the still water: a menacing shadow looms in “The Secret People,” and another painting shows a little girl being lured to a cottage by a wolf-headed mother. The latter is simply called, “What the Moon Saw.”
Mackey’s paintings seem to all occur in the twilight hours or at least before waking. They hint at elusive stories that promise to be as interesting as they appear. Richly colored and filled with wonder, they feel like an elaborate game of hide and seek with one’s own dreams.
Rustam Qbic specializes in street art that seems larger than life. His paintings are saturated with lush storybook colors and are defined by a playful sense of the absurd. Popping up in both expected and unexpected locales, his murals beautify not only the crumbling walls of derelict buildings but also that of apartment buildings.
There’s a stunning sense of synthesis between Qbic’s art and its surroundings. His art recalls the various motifs of house and home, nature, and man’s role. The juxtaposition of the familiar with the unexpected evokes a magical feeling of whimsy. A boy lounges in a boat full of houses while a man with a house for a head unleashes a flock of birds. Yet another boy rides a fish under lily pad clouds — and another man with a house for a head fishes peacefully in a creek. The theme plays over and over again.
Qbic’s work almost seems to suggest that we are inextricable from our environment. Like a dream folding in on itself, it’s impossible to tell where our influence ends and where nature begins. (via This Is Colossal)
Kazuhiko Okushita is better at Etch-a-Sketch than you: He creates whimsical animations and illustrations with just one single line. His art is refreshing in its simplicity, though there is also a quiet depth to his creations. His 2009 animation, “Red Thread” (link below), wordlessly captures the rhythms of life. The characters that emerge and vanish from the eponymous thread are amazingly expressive, like two-dimensional puppets come to life with emotions and mannerisms all their own. “Red Thread” also employs a classic symbol of Japanese and Chinese mythology: the red string of fate which is supposed to connect soulmates and should be impossible to be severed — though of course life doesn’t always work that way.
Other examples of Okushita’s work, such as his GIF animations of a pet jellyfish and goldfish, are more straightforward and make excellent use of the medium. There’s something soothing about watching jellyfish disappear and re-appear. Its outline is graceful and mesmerizing. To put it simply, Okushita’s work shows that less is definitely sometimes more. (via Spoon & Tamago)
The women in Ewa Juszkiewicz‘s portraits have experienced a decapitation of an unusual sort: their heads replaced by a series of inanimate object from plants to mollusks.
“In my paintings I take critical view on the way women have been pictured in history of painting and other visual media up to today,” Juszkiewicz explains in her artist’s statement. “I work mostly in the field of portrait, which I intend to approach from a different angle that avoids focusing on the appearance.”
Her paintings, which are based on real historical portraits, seem to draw on some sort of surreal symbolism, perhaps meaningful partly because of their inscrutability. “I am interested in how the replacement of the face by different forms changes the perception of the human figure,” Juszkiewicz says.
In pursuit of that, she erases the identities of the women she portrays, completing their objectification literally. Her subjects are robbed of any sort of expression, instead gazing out at the viewer with an impassive beetle’s head or a shroud of cloth. (via Artnau)
We’ve covered designer Gareth Pugh’s funhouse fashion before, and his 2015 ready-to-wear line is no less delightfully deranged. Pugh drapes his models in the regalia of pagan rituals, occasionally borrowing from the mind-expanding sensibilities of modern glitch art.
One design harkens back to the scarecrows of ye olde corn fields, complete with a material reminiscent of burlap; at the same time, another figure is shrouded in geometric mystique like a Magic Eye illusion.
“I wanted it of the earth, rather than landed from a spaceship,” Pugh said of the collection. To do so, he draws on raw textures of chiffon thistles and gauzy silk, and for inspiration, he reimagines a time when masquerades and ritualistic sacrifice were still a thing. One of his designs calls up the image of a court jester, reincarnated as something slicker and more sinister. A woman stands under the brim of what brings to mind a stalk of wheat, dressed in virginal white. Some of them are crowned with papier-mâché skulls.
The result, even with the modern twists, is nothing short of raw occultish charm, a wonderful mixing of the ethereal and the profane. (via Style.com)
Aptitude, a digital agency based in Bedfordshire, U.K., pays cheeky homage to the (lost?) art of the album cover. They’ve picked an array of such album covers, some more tongue-in-cheek than others, and played around with the design by showing what’s been left out. On their site, you can scroll over each photo and “zoom out” to view the imagined bits from the cutting floor.
“Album cover art used to be meticulously created to portray some kind of message that the band or artist was trying to convey,” Aptitude says. In a way, that sums up their mission with this project as they set out to turn that message on its head. Their designs also function as a retrospective as they add a time traveler’s souvenirs into the mix: Justin Bieber’s My World pans out to reveal his untimely arrest; Bubbles glares balefully from a jail cell on the outskirts of Off the Wall.
Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born in the U.S.A. zooms out to show the rock star approaching food truck serving — what else — burgers. In the foreground is a stereotypically hefty American. A bit on the nose? Maybe, but all in good fun.
“We all have a favourite album,” the agency says. “One that means something to us more than others.” (via Demilked)
Illustrator Eugenia Loli assembles interstellar collages that are truly out of this world. A terrestrial globetrotter, Loli has lived in Greece, the UK, and the United States; her career has also spanned everything from computer programmer to nurse to filmmaker. Likewise, she seems to utilize disparate jigsaw pieces in her art and assembles them in ways that form a flawless whole.
The execution is truly flawless: whether it’s a woman driving into a galactic sunset or a jewel-encrusted roast beef dinner, Loli’s collages are transformative and transport the viewer into another universe. There’s also a vintage quality to the images, freezing them in time and space. In her artist’s statement, she says:
“Her collages, with the help of the title, often include a teasing, visual narrative, as if they’re a still frame of a surreal movie. The viewers are invited to make up the movie’s plot in their mind.”
There does indeed seem to be a sort of in media res quality to her illustrations, though it would seem that they would be just as inexplicable and magical even if the viewer had some inkling of how it all began. (via This Is Colossal)