First grade school teacher Russell Powell takes a favorite children’s past time and has turned it into something awesome. Using ordinary acrylic paints, he builds up realistic portraits of celebrities, musicians or cultural icons on his palms, then while the paint is still wet, he stamps them onto paper. He calls the process ‘hand stamping’ and has no doubt developed his skill over the 14 years he has been teaching kids to explore their own creativity.
Powell is able to utilize the lines, textures and indents of his hands to add to the detail of the faces he paints. He has stamped the faces of many – from TuPac, to The Girl With The Pearl Earring; from Kurt Cobain, David Bowie and Gwen Stefani, to the Dalai Lama. Powell has also been working on some original artworks – or rather faces that he creates as he paints. His pieces usually have a empathy about them; it is easy to see the San Jose based artist is a lover of people, characters and their humanity.
The Weather Channel and Toyota have come together once again for their second annual photo contest to find the most beautiful, provocative, and jaw dropping photographs in their “It’s Amazing Out There” competition. Both amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit their most spectacular images that best depict the wonder, impact, and beauty of mother nature.
The Weather Channel recognizes that “weather” is so much more than the forecast or even weather elements. With that in mind they are asking talented photographers (that’s you!) from all over the US to submit works that fall under the categories of nature, adventure and/or the elements. The first prize is a whopping $15,000 with a second prize of $5,000, and third prize of $1,000. That’s a lot of lenses and photo paper so don’t pass up this opportunity to share your work with the world and win some much deserved money for your artistic efforts.
The deadline for the “It’s Amazing Out There” contest is July 16th at noon ET. Read the complete rules HERE And enter your photograph HERE.
Julie Watai is a photographer and contemporary artist whose acid-bright, digitized works draw heavily on the worlds of Japanese manga, anime, and otaku culture. Distorted-yet-realistic, Watai combines images from pop cultural fantasies — from gun-slinging anime girls, to cyborgs, to “kawaii” dolls — with 3D (real-world) imagery, creating a glitch-type portraiture that excites and overloads the imagination. In a fascinating interview with The Creator’s Project, Watai explains how she seeks to unsettle reality using her love for manga and hyper-futurism:
“One thing that all my artwork has in common is that I never try to portray too much reality. I was really influenced by the two-dimensional world of manga as an adolescent, so I always try to get rid of things like pores or the texture of skin. I try to make the models smooth-skinned like dolls. I try to create images that allow people to experience the best parts of photography and 2D or planar art at the same time.” (Source)
Channeling surreal imagery from Tokyo’s digital-culture underground, Watai’s images are also informed by interesting perspectives on the female body, youth, and the “kawaii craze.” In regards to Watai’s choice of female models, she explained to The Creator’s Project that her photography acts as a way to preserve beauty: “you capture that beauty forever, even when it no longer exists” (Source). Many of Watai’s photos feature herself. In these images, she is achieving ownership over an ephemeral moment, converting the fleetingness of beauty and youth — including her own — into digitized immortality.
Watai’s works are also imbued with a playfully critical twist. Highlighting the obsession with youth in kawaii and otaku culture, Watai’s images consciously spill over into the aesthetic realms of excess and the grotesque: colors clash violently against each other, teddy bears overrun bodies, and girls mesh provocatively with machines against hyperbolic, interstellar backdrops. In a postmodern blend of celebration and critique, Watai depicts fantasy cultures with the same passion and power that drives them.
In addition to photography, Watai also expresses her love for computers and gadgets through her work as an iPhone Apps developer, musician, and radio personality. Last month she was invited to attend the Maker Faire Shenzhen in China. Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page to follow her work. (Via The Creators Project)
Portfolios are the only way for designers to be evaluated and picked up for a job. Michael Lester was challenged to get his out there and he did. Literally. His portfolio is the size of a postage stamp, has pages that can be flipped and everything!
He reduced his ideas to only feature the key notions, making his portfolio a synthesis of short sentences facing shrinked illustrations. He conceived the whole thing at home. Testing the format by printing over 100 times the mini book on his home printer and finally hand bounding it himself.
The project originated as a brief from Jelly London for the D&AD New Blood Festival, challenging students to get people talking about their work.
“They say the best ideas fit on a Post-it note,” says Michael Lester “so I decided to take it a step further, seeing how little could tell the most.”
The world’s smallest portfolio went above and beyond Michael Lester’s expectations. The news went viral on the internet, creating a buzz around the portfolio hence his work. As a designer and illustrator he could not have wanted a better publicity. Proving that not only the idea is essential but the guts to actually do it is even more crucial. In a world where being the best at standard tasks is the challenge, standing out by going out of the norms is obviously what works. A superbe lesson taught, thank you Michael.
Perhaps one of the more curious photo projects to surface recently is the glow worm pictures from Joe Michael. He photographed the insect in its natural environment on million year old limestone caves in New Zealand. The bioluminescent effect on the viewer is mystical and shows the perfect combination of scientific documentation and aesthetic beauty. Very Lord Of the Rings or Elfish, the glow worms allow you to see the caves in a different way. Because of their unique structure the insects project a nature consciously created by a higher design and you begin wondering for what purpose? In the meantime we can enjoy the spectacle they have become. Their green light projects an unusual glow reminiscent of constellations and lighthouses seen off into the distance on a foggy night. It also hints at infrared paranormal activity.
The worms vary in size attesting to the irregular light structure captured in the caves which provides further awe to their curiosity. In some Larvae species the adult female will glow to attract males during mating season. In others the light is used as a warning signal to predators or to lure prey.
The art of pencil carving is becoming more and more widespread, intricate, and skilled. Over the past few years we have come to see many incredible things being carved from the humble pencil. Whether it is colored, or plain graphite, a leaden tip can be transformed into many icons, symbols or dioramas. Artist Tom Lynall‘s effort sees him shaping pencil tips into emojis, tiny characters and landscapes. From an artist’s paint palette, to idyllic pastoral views, to Rapunzel in her tower, to the hearts, lightning bolts and happy faces from our smart phones, Lynall is capable of achieving great detail on a minute scale.
A bespoke jeweler by trade, Lynall is no stranger to working at this level, or at the pace required to finish a delicate piece. But only having started his pencil carving hobby last November, he is quickly adapting to his new material. Being malleable and dense, graphite is an ideal material to carve intricate and complicate details into. He says about his new time consuming hobby:
I love art but I have never been able to draw so this is a good way for me to create things with the limitations of my skill. The main tool I use is the scalpel blade shown in the pictures as well as a few pins which I have altered the end of to give me different blades.
This is great fun to do so if you would like to give it a go the best advice I can give is to not get annoyed when they break, they are extremely fragile but once your done they are fantastically satisfying. (Source)
The incredibly detailed pen and ink illustrators of Toronto based artist Paul Jackson take on the form of animals and humans, with their insides ascending from their bodies. His rendering of skeletal structures of wolves, dinosaurs, and humans is anatomically something to be admired. His illustrations have a dark aura, as he portrays different animals with layers of organs erupting from their skin. We can see Jackson’s well-refined skill in the very believable texture of the fur, skin, and bone in his work. Each illustration remains very realistic, despite their mystical nature. His creatures are like spirit-animals that are attempting to rise out of their earthly shell, erupting out of their exteriors.
There is a strong element of life and death his Jackson’s work, as many of his drawings contain half living creature and half skeleton. Pushing this boundary of the living world even further, many of Jackson’s works contain a visible “glitch.” There is a disruption in the composition. A face slowly turns into waves of “white noise,” like a sound wave encountering interference. This interference literally blurs the line between a creature, like Jackson’s bear, that is alive, with one that is dead. The artist has created his work on a large and small scale, and even has many of them available as prints, t-shirts, and patches. Make sure to check out his website for more astonishing illustrations and a great time-lapse video of the artist in action.
If you can’t get to a beach this summer, then you will be thankful for design duo Snarkitecture‘s new installation at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. The space is filled with 1 million translucent polystyrene balls in a massive wading pool, the floor is carpeted and scattered with deck chairs and beach umbrellas, inviting the beach goers to enjoy a day reading, wading, or playing paddle ball. There is even a summery snack bar available selling popcorn, candy, chocolate bars and soda pop. Every Wednesday the Museum offers different events where the snack bar will also offer bar service.
The Beach is a part of the program the Museum likes to offer each year – they dedicate the 10,000 square foot space to a gimmicky exhibition that will draw the crowds. And this year the honor went to Snarkitecture to produce something that would entertain the masses. Established by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, Snarkitecture is a design studio that focuses on minimal and intelligent design solutions, not only for spaces, but for objects as well. Drawing their name from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of The Snark, the team like a challenge and enjoy re-imagining existing objects and architecture. The poem describes an “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature”, and Mustonen and Arsham take on this idea quite literally. They state their mission as:
Snarkitecture’s approach focuses on the viewer’s experience and memory, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with their surrounding environment. By transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected. (Source)
The duo have been responsible for some very clever installations in many different spaces. You can check out their back catalog here. Or take your bathing suit and towel and head to their artificial paradise. The Beach is open until September 7. (Via Washingtonian)