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Red Poppies Flood Like Blood From The Tower Of London Commemorating WWI Centenary

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Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.

For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.

“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”

Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.

The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)

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Kimchi And Chips Transforms Light And Mist Into Mesmerizing Morphing Geometry

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Kimchi and Chips is a design studio that creates 3-D installations using light in a variety of ways. Their most recent project is Light Barrier, where they project morphing shapes like circles and pyramids on mist. Their aim is to “add to the visual language of space and light” which they deliver. The shapes appear and disappear slowly, fading away into each other in time to sounds. It’s mesmerizing to watch, and you’re conscious that this is truly something you would never be able to see or possibly even envision without the advanced technologies we have today.

In another of their projects, Lunar Surface, they create orbs of light that look like moons. The moons are imposed on photographs of industrial room (maybe within the Kimchi and Chips studio?) so it looks as if they exist within those spaces. The moon shapes are created using an interesting approach. A sheet is set up with fans on it so it will move. A projection of the circumference of a circle is set up on the sheet, and a sensor picks up the movement of the sheet so that they create the shape of the moons. Once again, the shapes create a new visual language. They seem like jellyfish orbs floating in air. (Via Artlog)

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Todd Baxter’s Stylishly Retro Sci-Fi Utopias

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Multimedia artist Todd Baxter has created a retro futuristic image series inspired by narratives of science fiction utopia. Long fascinated with the technology and physics of the Space Race era, with “Project Astoria: Test 01,” Baxter tells a story that revolves around the experiences of children growing up in a an Earth-like world that has recently been colonized. Baxter’s wife, Aubrey Videtto, is writing the story that the two created together. They hope to collaborate with other artists for the project, including a graphic novelist and musician, to further execute their concepts and designs.  Of this project, Baxter writes, “With Project Astoria, I wanted to play with that childlike hopefulness — that anticipation of humans finally mastering our existence and our technology. Especially as we were reaching such new and magical realities as landing on the moon, the late 60s was the perfect period, in my mind, to add in this alternate history where we all get together and say, ‘Hey! We could go colonize this other Earth-like place and really do it right this time. It could be perfect. Utopia!’ Of course, it doesn’t go perfectly, which is good. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make for a very fun story.”

Baxter’s process is quite involved, but it starts with him pulling out sketches for ideas he’s had. He then browses the images on his computer for environment and landscape images he’s shot, and begins to weave together these environments with Photoshop. Baxter then plans the next elements based on these general compositions, producing photo shoots of his subjects that he continues to compose and retouch with Videtto until each image is fully realized. The result is a playful narrative with an almost kitschy aesthetic, evocative of the likes of Wes Anderson. (via behance and bleek magazine)

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Antonio Mora Transforms Human Portraits Into Mind-Bending Illusions

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Double exposure portraits by Spanish-based artist Antonio Mora (a.k.a. Mylovt) blend human and nature worlds into surreal hybrid artworks. Mora works with images he’d found browsing through online databases, magazines and blogs, and then fuses them together using skillful photo manipulation techniques. His seamless way of mixing various concepts together leaves the viewer with mind-tricking illusions.

“I want people to feel inspired when observing my artworks, and that is what I long for. I often look at images hundreds of times without finding anything, and then the spark just arrives. It’s a bit like fishing, a matter of patience and intuition.”

Mora describes his artworks as cocktails, mixtures of ordinary elements merged into forceful and expressive daydreams. According to the artist, his inspiration is provided by the limitless Internet itself and he feels as a medium between the two parallel worlds: real-life and the Web.

Antonio Mora originally graduated from graphic design. Right after his studies, he started a personal design studio which turned him into an art director for 15 years. Gradually, artist decided to concentrate on his art solely. Mora is one of the artists whose instant fame relies on social media: “Social networks, especially Pinterest, have been an important vehicle to spread by artworks”.

His mind-bending photo manipulations are very accessible to the public, as Mora offers anyone the chance to have their own portrait turned into an astounding work of art. (via Writeca)

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Intimate And Intense Photos Of Shaolin Monks

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Shaolin Kung Fu, developed in China beginning in 495AD, has infiltrated popular culture in the West. Depending on your age, you might be familiar with the 70s TV show “Kung Fu” or Mortal Kombat : Shaolin Monks. Neither captures the essence of Shaolin Kung Fu. Based on Buddhism, its major forms of expression are martial arts and techniques. Shaolin emphasizes meditation, development of the body through rigorous training, and pain endurance.

Training in Kung Fu is mostly done without an opponent, as it was never meant to kill, and the poetic names of the moves imply that it is more of a meditation than a fight. However, the only difference between breaking a clay jug and smashing a human skull with one’s bare hands is consciousness of will. Despite the commercialization, Kung Fu retains a mystical character closer to a monastic discipline than to the performances of modern gladiators.

Tomasz Gudzowaty captures the monks in artistic black and white. The classical composition of these photographs only serves to enhance the amazing strength, endurance, and concentration of the monks as they train. Gudzowaty doesn’t use effects or manipulation to increase the impact of the images—he doesn’t have to. The monks provide all of the interest themselves: walking up walls, standing on their heads, balanced on a foot and an elbow. They seem fully immersed in their training—oblivious to the camera, wholly in the moment.

“Sports fascinates me as a spiritual practice, which is not readily visible today in mainstream events. I made it my long-standing quest to photograph peripheral, exotic sports.”

This series is a masterful match of content and form, skilled subjects and talented artist.

Via The Mind Unleashed

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Roberto Foddai Turns The Camera On Himself In His Dramatic, Erotic, And Comedic Self-Portraits

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It is the age of the selfie, and yet Roberto Foddai’s self-portraits feel like anything but. His images range from dramatic, erotic snapshots to costumed and posed portraits. The Photoshop manipulations he executes, notably in the “make it double!” series, are both subtle and transformative. He merges pictures of himself into the same frame, doubling the impact. Two Robertos laughing together, two lying on the same bed, and, memorably, one pleasuring his “other” self. The effects are transparent and the narrative in the pictures exists outside of their computerized genesis.

Why the costumes, the playacting and grimacing? Why two Robertos in the frame? He answers:

1. I like to be other people as I am often bored of myself.

2. It is easier to be boring in my daily life and dressing up in photographs fills the need I often have to be different.

3. I think, as Feminist and writer Carol Hanish said “The Personal is Political” so it is me in the pictures but they are often a political statement and maybe not as personal as they look.

We see Roberto Foddai as Freida Pinto. Roberto Foddai as a pink gowned ingénue. Wearing a necklace of shuttlecocks. In a swim cap, a nightgown. In underwear and red socks. Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits in disguise are called to mind, but unlike Sherman, Foddai makes very little effort to camouflage himself completely.

I always liked the idea of documenting my own life for myself. Keeping a visual diary of my life also gave me other ideas or other subjects I could work on. This is clearly a work in progress and without any doubt one of my favourite parts of my work. I often struggle with the way I look but it helps me to look at my life in a more objective way.

In many of these self-portraits Foddai is not conventionally attractive. Sweaty, with decayed looking teeth, and testicles poking through his underwear, these images are raw and unadorned. And it’s that truth in the images, in the portraits, that makes it difficult to look away.

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David Irvine Enhances Crappy Thrift Store Paintings With His Own Funny Additions

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If you’ve ever visited a thrift store, you’ve no doubt seen the wonderfully-awful paintings that people have given away. Completed paint-by-number sets, idyllic landscapes, and amateurish attempts at impressionism are common sights. Artist David Irvine takes thrift store paintings and enhances them with additions of his own. He brings in characters from popular culture to these compositions, such as Darth Vader, the Marshmallow Man, and Bambi. Irvine maintains the original style of the paintings when creating the mashup, making the figures look as though they’ve been there all along.

Some of the paintings are subversive and a feature villains about to tear through the town or city that they’re in. Other times, the characters are helpful, like the Storm Trooper that’s helping with yardwork. Twisted or not, these works are funny, and the kind of artwork from the thrift store that you’d actually want to display in your home. (Via Demilked)

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Cory Arcangel Satirizes Aspiring Authors With His Book Of Tweets From People “Working On [Their] Novel”

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Cory Arcangel’s recently published book – which originally exists on twitter as @wrknonmynovel – is a compilation of people who have tweeted “working on my novel”. The tweets come in all kinds: humorous, pathetic, emphatic, delusional. Seeing the phrase over and over again kind of makes your mind numb. I imagine these people probably NOT writing and then Arcangel completing a work of their impotent attempts. It’s the post-modern cyclical concept: I make a novel of you not making a novel, but the novel isn’t really a novel, it’s just your tweets about (not) making a novel. Maybe this is too cynical, though, as another way to look at it is that, now at least, these authors are published! In any case, the tweets themselves can be entertaining, if not sometimes painful, and from what I can tell each of the aspiring authors will receive a copy of the book from Arcangel.

Arcangel is a bit of an enfant terrible; a computer programmer, composer, and artist, his work spans a large range of media and he has received wide approval from institutions such as MoMA, Tate, and Smithsonian. What’s often interesting in work like Arcangel’s is its very serious reception from these highly respected art authorities. It presents a sort of ‘Emperor wears no clothes’ situation, where its unclear how seriously Arcangel takes himself, but painfully obvious how easy it is to buy his wares. The best way to enjoy him is to find entertainment in his projects and remember to be wary of the orbiting bullshit. (Via The Fader)

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