A most fascinating thing has been found in Kazakhstan, Russia, by urban explorer Ralph Mirebs: the decaying shell of a space shuttle. The long-abandoned air craft was a part of a project called the Buran program. Launched in 1974 as part of the on-going international space race, this pet project of the Soviet Union was one of the largest and most expensive space exploration programs.
‘Buran’ is Russian for ‘snowstorm’ or ‘blizzard’ and a few prototypes of the shuttle were built (from plans stolen from NASA), but only one actually flew. Tens of millions of dollars were invested in this particular program, so it is such a shame to find the shuttle in such a demolished and forgotten state. Mirebs discovered this particular air craft in an old hangar that is still used by Russia today. It is located on a site called the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and is a launch pad for shuttles to reach the International Space Station.
This hangar is gigantic – at 433 feet long and 203 feet high, it has massive sliding doors on either end to let the shuttles out. Containing heavy duty cranes that can lift up to 400 tons, the building in itself is an incredible sight. Full of peeling paint, rusting beams and steel that can withstand shock waves from an explosion, the hangar is a piece of architecture that should be preserved.
Hopefully along with the publication of Mirebs’ photographs of this incredible discovery, someone will realize these historical artifacts need to be restored or at least protected from further decay and damage. Be sure to check out the amazing footage of the one and only shuttle launch in 1988 after the jump. (Via Bored Panda)
Stefan Siverud is a Swedish hobbyist who has been giving snails fun custom shell designs. Humorously titled Snailpimp, his project includes shell upgrades depicting everything from rainbows, to spikes, to popular logos; snails resembling sharks, Pac-Man, volcanoes, and McDonald’s advertisements populate his endearing and slimy collection. Since 2010, Siverud has been uploading photos of his beautified, living creations onto his blog, providing amusing backstories with each one. Some of his works even derive from social and political matters: the pirate snail, for example, is a marker for the Piratpartiet (Pirate Party of Sweden). This snail was painted the day after the party won a seat in the EU parliament.
The made-over snails in the photographs seem unperturbed, moving along in their indifferent way and attending to their usual business in the garden. However, some people may suggest that the colorful new hardware could endanger the snails; for example, it might make it difficult for them to maneuver if the shell has been physically modified (such as the one with the lighthouse fused to it), or it could mean they become more visible to predators. Siverud, however, has his best intentions for his mollusk companions. He uses non-toxic paints that will not harm the snails’ sensitive and porous bodies. In addition, the bright colors may also prevent people from stepping on them. In this way, Siverud’s project is one aimed at appreciating the lives and uniqueness of our tiny invertebrate friends.
What do you think of Siverud’s snails? Comment below, and be sure to check out more photographs of the Snailpimp project after the jump. (Via My Modern Met)
Flowers made out of paper mache and Italian crepe create a beautiful aesthetic in the work of Tiffanie Turner. Her technique is presented in various petaled forms some which recall a state of purgatory. These are striking in their faded and withered state somewhere between life and death. They could be her most interesting work because the subjects are not traditionally beautiful and possess character. Through a delicate design they become a metaphor for life and speak about aging beauty. Besides dying flowers, Turner has created giant umbrella sized replicas of Dahlias, Marigolds and Chrysanthemums. These resemble not only the natural state of the subject itself but also hand hooked rugs. Their narrative takes on a more jovial tone celebrating the beauty of these vibrant buds. In larger pieces one can see the minute detailing and extreme care needed to create such an object.
Turner says her interest in the work stems from a lifelong obsession with floral and botanical drawings. Her process begins with a longing for the repetitive and a challenge to create pieces which explore scale. She is a licensed architect who lives in California with her family.
In the endless patterns of mandalas, one can find tranquility through its sacred geometry. You can find this peace in the spiraling colors of the mandalas artist Alison Moyna Greene creates. However, things are not always what they seem in her work. What is mesmerizing and calm at first glance is actually rough and defensive up close. The artist constructs her mandalas with individual cactus spines that jut out of the surface at the viewer. The process of using such a harmful medium by hand does not only take an intense focus, but also can be physically harmful. However, this meditative process of picking this material, painting them individually, and placing them onto their surface is a practice of care and love. Greene takes something painful and turns it into beauty.
The incredibly metaphor for transformation and healing is realized through this intricate series. The artist explains that her work acknowledges the coexistence of light and darkness and explores the balance of both necessary elements. The mandala is a traditional symbol of harmony. In this harmony, we find brilliant colors and winding patterns. However, we also find sharp, unsafe objects that make up this symbol. This contrast makes Greene’s work even more beautiful as she finds comfort in the amazing transformation of suffering into serenity.
This series of artwork uses thorns and cactus spines as a metaphor of changing pain and suffering. The process of hand plucking, hand painting and hand placing speaks about the transformation of pain into beauty and fear into love.
– Alison Moyna Greene
A tent made out of elephant skin as a large scale art installation. This does sounds like a shocking and provocative piece. Douglas White rips off our hearts and makes us angry before we even realize that he brilliantly fooled us. We are actually looking at an interpretation of what he encountered himself: an elephant’s deflated skin, draped and folded next to its bones like a collapsed tent. “Here was a body become landscape, a body both present and absent in which the distinction between the inner and outer had evaporated in the heat and decay. It was a body you could walk through…” said the artist. “Of all those objects that I ever encountered, this is the one I wanted most to possess…” Douglas White creates shapes, in between figuration and abstraction. Through his sculptures he is looking to get us sensitive on current problems like the environment, mass consumption and industrial products waste.
Ten years after his trip to East Africa and after numerous attempts in his London studio, the artist discovered a new way to work with clay. He conceived a thick and cracked texture close to a pachyderm’s skin. From there he developed a work of art around wood and clay. The result is bluffing: over 2500 lbs of wet clay suspended by a strange system of ropes, pulleys and wooden poles. By collecting thrown away or lost objects, Douglas White prefers to work with used materials to create spectacular and strange sculptures. Carbonized tires, containers, decomposed trees on a metal structure; through his art, Douglas White gives a second life to these abandoned materials.
If we makes analogies and dig into our primal instinct we can clearly see the reference to the structure of a circus big top. And if we dive even more deeper we can allow ourselves to link the song from Disney’s Dumbo soundtrack, “Song of the Roustabouts” to the name of the piece and we would be right to do so.
Inspired by the beautiful wildlife around her, artist Marine Coutroutsios cuts and constructs intricate, abstract birds out of colorful paper. Relocating from Paris to Sydney Australia, where she currently lives and works, Coutroutsios’s work is heavily influences by her environment. This series of hers titled Australian Birds contains patterns and colors that are found in the Australia native species she sees in her everyday life. With names like Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo and Pale Headed Rosella, it is no doubt that the artist has named them after the individual bird species that each piece aims to resemble. It is interesting that although these pieces do not resemble the shape of a bird, nor do they possess a beak or even a head, we can still see that they are unmistakably birds. Resembling a target shape, it is almost as if the bird has been flattened into a nearly symmetrical circle.
Throughout childhood, Coutroutsios was always creating something, whether it is through embroidery or origami, which accounts for her incredible skill in paper cutting. Always feeling a connecting with nature, she also creates her own environments with her paper installations full of brilliant colors and shapes. She does not only pull inspiration from nature in the sky, but also nature in the water. Make sure to check out her Ocean Series where she takes her circular shaped method of sculpture and applies it to swirls of cut paper, creating whirlpools of color. (via BOOOOM)
“Through my travels I’ve realized how much I feel connected with my environment. It keeps me grounded and humble regarding our place in this world. With my work I’d like to inspire and engage you to reconsider the value of your surroundings. I think beauty is everywhere and it’s a powerful source of energy.”
– Marine Coutroutsios
Takeshi Haguri is an artist from Nagoya, Japan, who creates incredibly detailed wooden sculptures of traditional figures from Japanese art and culture. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Haguri created series of works depicting musicians, “Yankees” (delinquent Japanese youth), and melancholic outlaws. His more recent works, featured here, are modeled after traditional prints from Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan, such as Toyokuni Utagawa’s “Kauraiya: Portrait of an Actor on Stage” and Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. In a current series titled Otokogi (meaning “chivalry”), Haguri features a cast of men wearing fundoshi (undergarments) while standing proudly and wearing masks of traditional creatures and characters, such as the long-nosed tengu and clownish Hyottoko.
Several of Haguri’s works are covered in beautifully painted tattoos in the style of traditional Japanese art: dragons coil around torsos, koi fish arch over shoulder blades, and sakura bloom across arms and legs. Created by Haguri’s apprentice, Miki Nagasaki, the tattoos signify an interesting reversal of 2D and 3D art; instead of woodblock prints on flat surfaces, Haguri’s wooden sculptures transform the traditional images onto dynamic, wooden “bodies.” Drawn from the rich archives of art, myth, and cultural memory, these characters (and their tattoos) can be viewed and appreciated from all angles. By exploring tradition through a different medium, Haguri reinvests age-old images and artistic practices with his beautiful and contemporary style. (Via Sweet Station)