Hello Kitty was stirring up the Internet in late August because it was discovered that she in not, in fact, a cat. Now in LA, Hello Kitty is once more the object of attention, as Sanrio celebrates the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty at the Line Hotel by decking some of the rooms out in Hello Kitty paraphernalia and custom furniture.
Many fans were extremely unnerved at the news that Hello Kitty was not a cat. “Her creators think of her as “a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.” (LA Times)
One might argue that, although she is never seen on all fours, she does have whiskers and cat ears, which might indicate she is a cat. It seems odd that Sanrio would insist so fervently that Hello Kitty is not a cat. On the other hand, if that’s how her makers imagine her, it’s an interesting thing to know.
Apparently, Hello Kitty’s fans have not left her after this revelation, as the hotel is fully booked for the duration of the installation’s stay. There are many creative manifestations of Hello Kitty, including toilet paper, couches, baths, and a stall that is graffitied in part with Hello Kitty’s name. (Via Fast Co)
The Singapore based 3D printing company Pirate3D are making something very special happen. Using the fairly new technology of 3D printing, they are producing real objects based off photographs and drawings for the visually impaired. The campaign follows 5 different participants and their reactions to ‘touching their memories’. In the video produced by Lowe and Partners Agency LOLA in Madrid, we learn more about the memories each person sees in their minds.
There is Gabor – a director of photography who, despite losing his eyesight 12 years ago, still regularly shoots films. Now, after shooting a film in Bolivia, he is able to touch a reproduction of a scene he remembers so vividly. He runs over every detail from the frame – where the table was sitting, what the woman looked like on the chair. You can see how perfectly his memory and the miniature match up with one another. There is also Mario – a blind musician who lost his eyesight because of glaucoma. His memory that is printed for him is the cover design of his album a friend designed. This is the first time he can see how others see him.
Fred Bosch from the project says about the powerful effect of the experiment:
There were very long silences while we saw emotions wash over their faces as if they were being transported in time, but Daniela was perhaps who stands out the most. She chose a memory that not only brought her back to her childhood and the ski holiday she spent with her family, but also reminded her of intimate details that she had forgotten, like the wool cap she was wearing at the time and the crunch of the snow beneath her boots. (Source)
Their reactions make it obvious the potential of using technology to benefit our everyday life. And just like Braille, 3D printing is once again changing how we share and absorb information. (Via Designboom)
Japanese artist Kohei Nawa created an amazing foam installation that took over the entire room of a gallery in Japan. The perfect finishing touch, tiny specks of light like a night’s sky, added a dash of poetry to the ambiance.
Titled Foam, Nawa experimented with various combinations of glycerin, detergent, and water until he had realized the ideal, perfect, pliable foam, one that would not be affected by gravity or lose shape. The installation, which was being altered continuously by eight different pumps in the room, had an eternally shifting presence which made the clouds even more realistic. Looking at it scientifically, he said:
“Small cells bubble up ceaselessly with the slight oscillations of a liquid. The cells gather together, totally covering the liquid as they spontaneously form a foam, an organically structured conglomeration of cells. The risen volumes of foam link together and reach saturation, but continue to swell, occasionally losing vitality and spreading out over the ground.” (Excerpt from Source)
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)
Though made of clay and designed as functioning vessels, the ceramic vessels created by Prague-based artist and designer Adam Železný are anything but ordinary. Using an innovative method of controlled detonation, Železný sends shockwaves into small refractory containers holding masses of clay to create unique works of art. Appropriately titled “The Blast,” this series of works offers an unconventional approach to a familiar art form— “a kind of punk analogy to an industrial porcelain production.”
Based on complex tests and intricate measures, Železný’s system of charges results in one-of-a-kind bowls spanning various shapes and sizes. While each bowl is undoubtedly a work of art in and of itself, to the artist, it is not the finished product that is key but, rather, the process itself.
In order to capture this fascinating method of production, Železný has documented the entire process in a video. Depicting the artist’s “alternative methods of ceramic shaping,” the short video shows Železný himself as he sets off the explosions and subsequently creates the sculptures. While the video also briefly depicts the project’s initial set up and final, tangible results, its focus remains on the process—which is, ultimately, presented as a work of art.
April Dauscha toys with subtle extremisms through her use of lace. Existing somewhere between performance art and fashion design, she wraps her tongue, her hands, and covers her eyes in various ways, half concealed beneath the delicately woven fabric. She makes tongue slips and singular gloves that she can put on, slowly, for the camera.
Some of the documentation is done through photographs, although there are also short videos which feature Dauscha, up close, putting things on her tongue. In this instance the work is quite phallic; sliding her tongue into the lace wrapping easily reminds one of a penis coming into contact with a condom. This wrapping, veiling, covering of the mouth in this particular manner seems an easy metaphor to an obstruction of either speech or individuality. She enters the fabric and is simultaneously entering an illusion, a changed version of herself. Neither fully obscured yet not limitless as before, her tongue is then partially concealed but operable. In yet another video she binds her tongue with a long piece of string, circling it around the tongue tightly, like a corset. Then she pulls the entire thing off. Dauscha attaches a lot of meaning to these pieces and movements:
“My making focuses on feminine objects and materials. Lace, veils, undergarments and hair adornment speak not only of womanhood, but also of the duality of human nature. Lace speaks of purity and sexuality, it reveals and conceals, it is humble, yet gluttonous in its ornamental overindulgence; lace is the ultimate dichotomy. I use it as a potent symbol to represent the duality of body and soul, right and wrong, good and evil. Historically, neglected, disheveled and unbound hair was a sign of mourning and penance, a physical representation of one’s sin and sorrow. In my work, hair comes to represent an uncomfortable binding of one’s self to one’s alter ego, while helping to
British architect/artist/technical wizard Alex Chinneck is at it again. We have written about his last project here on Beautiful/Decay, and his latest public sculpture is just as impressive as his others in the past. Known for creating strange, surreal interpretations of urban architecture (like a slouching building facade, and a levitating market building), Chinneck has a knack for surprising even the most cynical observers. Keeping with his habit for curious titles, his newest work is called A Pound Of Flesh For 50p and is visually as interesting as it’s label. Working for over a year with many different chemists, wax specialists and engineers, Chinneck has managed to build a house completely from wax.
Perfecting the art of replicating bricks from wax, he has completed another one of his ambitious projects, this one featuring over 8000 authentic looking bricks. He has built a two story building for London’s Merge Festival and it is definitely a sight to behold. Set to melt over the course of 30 days, this house will eventually be nothing but a pile of waxed lumps coagulated on the ground with pieces of window and door frames sticking out. Naturally, Chinneck has to manually set it alight to help the structure melt in the right way, assuring the disintegration happens at an even rate. The process will be something of a surreal slow motion break down of matter; where the wax will look like an organic disease spreading out down the building. The wax will consume itself – like something out of a bad B Grade horror movie.
Celebrating the Bankside district in London, this project links back to the original building on this site that was actually a candle-making factory a couple of hundred years before. (Via Fastcodesign)
Javier Perez is a commercial artist and designer who has been having a blast on Instagram creating quick and simple sketches that combine the 2D world with our own 3D reality. Perez obviously has a lot of fun playing around with different ways to combine the two visual effects and create a hybrid in the photograph, which makes it equally a joy to view. He uses his fingers, or objects like food, matches, toothpicks, and the like as the props for his drawings.
His bio on his website states:
My work is very simple and minimal. I want that the person can take a break of the saturation of the photos in general. I never imagine that the people of the world will love my illustrations. It’s amazing the thousands of messages and fanarts I receive.
“Create every day. No matter your skills.”
He brings up a really great point about saturation. We truly are bombarded with so much imagery, especially through the Internet, and so a great deal of the appeal of Perez’s work comes from its simplicity. It allows the viewer to breath and rest peacefully on the image. Each one is enjoyable and easily understood; there is no ambiguity or doubt as to what is going on. (Via Faith is Torment)