For Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki, dyslexia prevented him reading music in the traditional sense. But that didn’t stop him playing it. Instead, he adopted a playful approach and created an installation that invites viewers to produce their own music using color markers. Visitors draw along the curvy lines on the floor, and then the robots translate their marks into one-of-a-kind sound pieces.
The robots are called Color Chasers, and they associate each color that they find on their path with a sound. This small, unique orchestra features five different machines that each have their own sound and shape. The Basscar has a Dubstep-like sound, the Glitchcar reproduces computer-like sounds, and the Melodycar, Arpeggiocar, and the Drumcar to add rhythm.
This imaginative work was recently selected by the New York MoMA for their collection. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Based in the Netherlands, artist Stefan Bleekrode creates astonishingly intricate drawings and paintings of landscapes, architecture, and urban environments. For his Cityscapes series, the artist has rendered unbelievably detailed drawings depicting metropolises both existing and imagined.
Using ink, Bleekrode composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, and bridges. With stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and a stunning amount of detail, the scenes portrayed in each drawing look almost photographic, as if each one were taken from a bird’s-eye view.
While some of his pieces are set in very distinctive and familiar locations, like London Bridge& the Shard or Broadway and 5th, most possess ambiguous—albeit conceivable—titles, such as Italian City, City in Holland, or City at the Foot of the Mountains. This is because Bleekrode works entirely from memory, describing his completed works “as snapshots of things I’ve seen when traveling or just going through my everyday routine, small bits of beauty in familiar settings.”
Whether representing actual settings or conveying scenes rooted purely in fantasy, the cities depicted in Bleckrode’s elaborate drawings are surprisingly realistic and undeniably impressive.
If you want to say something, say it on a cake. People have come out via frosting, and now graphic designer Sarah Brockett created the Bold Bakery project as a way to impart some sassy sayings onto sweet treats. Curse words abound, they are on full display on cakes, cookies, and in the filling of a pie. The juxtaposition between the beautifully-crafted baked goods and their harsh sentiments make this series amusing. It might make you hungry, too. Brockett explains the thinking behind her bakery:
Though it’s branding may make it appear cute and friendly, the Bold Bakery is not where you want to purchase Grandma’s birthday cake from. It is, however, the perfect place to have a pie created for your cheating husband, or your bratty pre-teen daughter. This establishment simply oozes with sarcasm and sass. Don’t have anyone on your “shit list”? That’s okay. Plenty of our customers partake in “cake wars”, where they gift their friends with raunchy baked goods for no reason at all. Sometimes a little crude humor and chocolate cake is all you need to get by in life. (Via iGNANT)
Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.
“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)
The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.
“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)
Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)
Lisbon based graffiti artist Odeith has a very specific talent – one he has refined since picking up his first spray can in the mid 1980s. He has a unique way of using only paint on flat walls to create amazing eye-popping 3D effects that seem to float in between surfaces, or jump out from corners. He earned his chops in the 90′s mostly bombing on train tracks and street walls, until he started noticing large scale murals around the place, and wanted to follow suit – to paint something with a message. Slowly his murals began growing more ambitious in size, and more detailed.
Early on, [Odeith] showed a special interest in perspective and shading, in an obscure style, which he later called “sombre 3D”, where the compositions, landscapes or portraits, messages or homages, stood out for their realism and technique. (Source)
After deciding to shut his tattoo parlor in 2008, he dedicated all of his time to graffiti art and eventually gained international recognition, in particular for his optical illusions and anamorphic graffiti. But that’s not to say Odeith is a one trick pony, or only limited to spraying his name with different effects. He also paints large homages and portraits of musicians, actors, politicians, as well as film scenes, commercial billboards, banners for football clubs and murals for Portuguese city halls. He has created artwork for London Shell, Kingsmill, the Coca-Cola Company, Estradas de Portugal, and Samsung.
Odeith talks about his success and having to have confidence in ideas that seem unsuccessful at first:
If [you] want to put your name on top, you need to work, no matter what people say, you need to believe [in] yourself. After years thinking [about] what I could do different[ly] I start[ed] with that crazy anamorphic idea, and it worked well. (Source)
Photographer and pop surrealist Dina Goldstein’s large-scale project titled Gods of Suburbia features a collection of deities and religious figures set within the context of modernity. Buddha, Mohammed, Satan, and others exist alongside technology, science, and secularism as it relates to living in the (anywhere) suburbs. Goldstein explains:
The series plays with narrative and religious iconography in order to communicate how organized belief has become twisted within a global framework driven by consumerism and greed. The project challenges the viewer — religious or secular — to embark on a journey of self-reflection as they contemplate the relevance of dogma in modernity.
Goldstein’s moody images highlight some less-than-stellar facets of our modern culture. Lack of compassion, unwillingness to learn/accept other beliefs, and bullying are just some of the themes that the photographer touches on. The series, while strange, is poignant and relatable as we read more and more bad news everyday.
Each photo in Gods of Suburbia features thoughtful and interesting explanations of how every figure relates to contemporary society. Read it on Goldstein’s website.
While the professional portfolio of photographer Claudia Gonzalez is comprised of portraiture spanning classic high-fashion shots and intimate boudoir photos, her personal work presents a much more touching focus. In her series, Reassign, Gonzalez teamed up with CENESEX, Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, to offer a glimpse into the country’s transgender community through before-and-after portraits of individuals undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Comprised of two photos—one depicting the individual as they appear pre-procedure, and the other presenting the “after”—each piece in Reassign speaks to the complexities and astonishing results of this life-changing resolution. Since the differences between the photos that comprise the pairs are remarkable, it may surprise you that each was taken on the same day; most of the before-and-after sets are merely representative of these individuals’ journeys, and do not document the literal, typically years-long process.
Clearly, the changes in clothing, addition of make up, and styling of hair indicate an obvious change in gender identity. However, it is the individuals’ expressions—often somber and aloof in the “before” shots and self-assured and radiant in those that follow—that truly demonstrate an undeniable shift in confidence, elevated happiness, and, poignantly, an uplifted sense of self. (Via Feature Shoot)
Since 2011, Raptor Blood (Blackie Burns) has been following a group of urban explorers (going by the name of Cave Clan) around the tunnel and cave networks underneath Sydney in Australia and photographing what they see, where they dwell and how they live. Connecting with the group through their shared interest in urban decay and abandoned architecture, Burns is able to access areas that are usually closed off to outsiders. He says of his first encounters with some members of the group:
The two dudes I met with seemed pretty cool and were informative about the group and had a strong appreciation for the architecture of the tunnels we visited. Although, our expedition was a little worrying when I was walking between the two going down a drain that was barely my shoulders width. We were walking for about 10 minutes, [and] as the tunnel got deeper, hotter and more humid, our conversation started to get a little strange. The guy walking behind me started to talk about masturbation and how he liked to watch himself through a mirror… I asked to leave and luckily enough nothing too strange ended up happening.
Cave Clan thoroughly live their passion of exploring underutilized and forgotten spaces. They turn the most understated corners into homes, personalized with objects of meaning and importance. Burns talks about his surprise of how comfortable some of the dwellings he visited were:
The first, which is located under a huge castle looking sandstone bridge was equipped with electricity, bbq and bar. The area was dusty though, to the point where anybody would feel sick from being in there too long. The second was in a connecting chamber in a network of tunnels running underneath one of Sydney’s secondary CBDs. The drains were surprisingly dry with no bugs. Any Storm water was directed from the living areas and during summer it was surprisingly cold down there, really not a bad place to live!
See more footage of his explorations here on his tumblr and here on instagram.