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Gravity-Defying Sandcastles Look Like Strange Sea Monsters

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Unlike most sandcastles, Sandcastle Matt’s creations appear wholly organic; as if birthed from the sea, his structures resemble organisms composed of some primordial tissue, emerging like great unknown beasts from the deep. The artist uses wood, sticks, or vines as a base for these abstract visions. Later, he covers the sculptures in sand using a special technique you might recall from your own childhood: mixing sand and beach water, he creates a sort of paste, which he allows to fall from his hands in drips, which eventually dry and harden.

The artist must carefully construct the bones of the structure according to mathematical law so as to prevent it from toppling over when weighted; the arresting marriage of calculated geometry and unpredictable, organic-looking dribble results in a uniquely seen vision, one that is not easily discerned as either natural or manmade. It is, in fact, both, though one of Matt’s images was circulated on the blogosphere as a meme and mistakenly identified as the startling result of lightning hitting sand.

Like any good sandcastle, Matt’s architectural monuments allow for imaginative play. Viewers are invited to wonder, to make up stories (viral meme or no): are these the relics of some ancient, tiny civilization? The bones and flesh of a sea monster? Seen through the archway of one of Matt’s distinctive structures. the entire Boston skyline is dwarfed, silhouetted as if reflected in some strange mirror; seemingly against all natural law, his castles balance effortlessly, stretching out to the waves before them. (via Colossal)
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Colorful X-Rays Show The Shocking Intricacies Of The Human Body

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The photographer Xavier Lucchesi doesn’t use a camera to capture his portraits; instead, he penetrates the human body with an advanced x-ray machine, revealing organs, arteries, and bones. The artist adds color to the medical images, highlighting the intricacies of the human body in electric blues and deep, bloody reds. For Luccesi, the act of seeing is active and passionate; a passing glance is insufficient, and to truly view another truthfully is to dissect and peel away exterior layers.

Lucchesi’s portraits are perhaps those of our deepest human core: when our superficial features are stripped back, a more primal self emerges. Lucchesi’s sitters are laid completely bare; though they might pose or strain, their bodies betray secret inner worlds and open them up to a profound vulnerability. A triptych presents a man in three stages of undress: clothed, then nude, then uncovered and unprotected by skin. As he lays with his arms crossed, the x-ray bears down on him, and he becomes increasingly naked, at the mercy of our eager, inquisitive eyes.

As we reach new levels of intimacy with our own bodies, they reveal themselves like brightly colorful and graphic foreign roadmaps; red blood vessels line the figure like highways, leading to pale geometric bone or grassy green lungs in either direction. Like an intricate maze of machinery or a small, delicate cityscape, the miraculous pieces of the human being—the flesh, the lungs, the ribcage— function autonomously, just beneath the surface of our gaze. Take a look. (via Design Boom)
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Maciek Jasik’s Surreal Photography Blurs The Identity Of Nude Bodies

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Polish photographer Maciek Jasik creates blurry, colorful compositions that feature both female and male nudes. Jasik’s subjects exist in a surreal, hazy and colorful landscape, one that nullifies their identity but exposes their natural state of being. The artist is particularly interested in conveying privacy, expression through a medium [photography] that, for the most part, focuses on revealing detailed and realistic portrayals.

Inspired by the emotionally charged impressionist painting of the 19th century, Jasik insists in creating work with photographic techniques that more or less do the same as a loose brushstroke on canvas.

“I began experimenting with an in-camera technique to dissolve the focus and saturate the space with color. There were several post-Impressionist paintings there that stunned me with how emotionally powerful they were, with scarcely any detail, I wanted to evoke that same feeling in photography by emphasizing color and movement.”

(via HuffPost)

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Rachel Sussman Photographs The Oldest Living Organisms In The World

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Nearly 10 years ago, photographer Rachel Sussman began researching with biologists and traveling world to document forms of natural life that are at least 2,000 years old for her project titled “The Oldest Living Things in the World.” Part art, part science, Sussman’s project engages with the natural world in order to capture a brief moment in the organisms’ millenia-old lives; her photographs ask viewers to consider their own lives alongside these natural ones, some on the verge of extinction. Each of her photographs includes text below the image describing the subject, its location, and its age. In the preface to her project’s book, Sussman writes,

“What does it mean when the organic goes head-to-head with the geologic? We start talking about deep time and the quotidian in the same breath, along with all the strata in between. All of these organisms are living palimpsests: they contain myriad layers of their own histories within themselves, along with records of natural and human events; new chapters written over the old, year after year, millennium after millennium. When we look at them in the frame of deep time, a bigger picture emerges, and we start to see how all of the individuals have stories, and that all of those stories are in turn interconnected — and in turn, inextricably connected to us all.
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The oldest living things in the world are a record and celebration of the past, a call to action in the present, and a barometer of our future.”

To fuel more intrigue, be sure to check out filmmaker Jonathan Minnard’s trailer for Sussman’s book as well as Sussman’s 2010 TED Talk about her project. (via brain pickings)

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Andy Warhol’s Groundbreaking Computer Art Recovered

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Digitally created visuals are so ubiquitous today, from commercial applications to advertising to contemporary art, that it is hard to remember a time when it was a rudimentary technology used only be a few specialists. Commodore’s “Amiga 1000″ changed this, bringing image creation programs into the home, allowing anyone to create original and edited computer images for the first time. To promote the public launch of their groundbreaking model, Commodore asked Andy Warhol to create an image using the software, demonstrating the accessibility of the program, and the possibilities in the hands of a pioneering visual artist. Seen in the following clip of Warhol “painting” Blondie singer Debbie Harry in 1985, it was assumed that Warhol only used the program once, his digital experiment being forgotten. 

It may have stayed that way had it not been for the curiosity and effort of another pioneering artist, Cory Arcangel. Well-known for his early hacked video games and glitched aesthetic that came to be known as Net Art (or Post-Conceptualism), Arcangel was curious if the Prince of Pop Art created any other works on the early digital format. This search led to conversations with curators at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, who owned most of the equipment (discs, hard drives and floppies) that might contain these experiments. Connecting Arcangel to the nearby Carnegie Melon University’s computing club, who have experience in recovery and “retrocomputing”, the combined effort to recover Warhol’s files took three years.

In a more tech-savvy description of the difficult process at Wired.com, Liz Stinson notes, “Because of the disks’ age and fragility, extracting data posed a serious risk. The archiving and viewing process could irreversibly damage the content, but letting the disks slowly degrade was an even worse option.”

The team was eventually able to recover eighteen images (some of which are shown above), among the first digitally made images by an already famous visual artist. Describing the astoundingly original files, Arcangel said, “What’s amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital.”

A documentary about the recovery, Trapped: Andy Warhol’s Amiga Experiments, will premiere May 10th at Carnegie Mellon (and will then be viewable at http://nowseethis.org/.), after which many more of the images will probably be released to the public for the first time ever. (via wired)

 

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Jon Pyzel- The Art Of Hand-Shaped SurfBoards

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Jon Pyzel has been part of the surfing community for as long as he can remember, growing up surfing from a young age in the historic surfing town of Santa Barbara, CA. After traveling around surfing and competing, Jon realized that he needed to surf better waves in warmer water, making a permanent move to an even bigger surfing location, the North Shore of Oahu. Getting his start fixing surfboards in a factory, Jon quickly learned the ins and outs of the business working his way up from fixing basic dings on boards to working under some of the best shapers and glassers in the industry.

Finally setting off on his own, Pyzel has become one of the most sought after board shapers for weekend warriors as well as pro surfers from around the world. Shaping each board from scratch, Pyzel knows every curve, bend, and turn on the masterfully crafted boards that he builds.

In the age of mass manufacturing Jon Pyzel has had the conscious decision to take things back to the basics with his world class hand-shaped surfboards. The result is master craftsmanship and attention to detail that only decades of experience and a steady hand can provide.

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Dead Woman’s Possessions Poignantly Brought Back To Life In 2-Minute Video

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In 2010, Gemma Green-Hope’s grandmother died; scanning a flimsy memorial service program, the illustrator desired a more intimate way to remember her grandmother. After inheriting her beloved relative’s old possessions, she animated them in search of traces of permanence left behind by a mortal soul. In this stop-motion video, titled Gan Gan, viewers see an entire life literally flash before our eyes; both mundane and exquisite objects are transformed into momento mori, as if we ourselves were at the moment of our death.

The whimsical, nostalgic animation elegantly draws upon literary and artistic themes of womanhood, so that in the wake of Gan Gan’s passing, a fertile, creative and distinctly feminine presence remains unharmed. Green-Hope recites the “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” hymn, a poem associated both with funerals and the sea. The sea remains a theme throughout the entire short film, and bodies of water are often seen as female, powerful, penetrable yet containing mysterious depths. The countryside, fairies, and the hearth—all iconographically seen as the woman—skip mirthfully in and out of the video. Left with the shot a books written about the sea, pulsating like waves, viewers are encouraged to see the matrilineal thread as something permanent and endlessly magical.

For Green-Hope, the cosmic and the personal are intertwined; amidst religious and natural icons, we see photographs that are poignantly unique to the deceased. Similarly, we are told in Gree-Hope’s sing-song voice specific things like “she rode a blue bicycle” and “she once shot a spider.” Unlike the mortal life, this video can be played over and over, forever preserving a memory that might otherwise fade away. (via Colossal)
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Purity Portraits: Young Virgins Promise Their Purity To Their Fathers Until Marriage

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Stockholm-based photographer David Magnusson captures bizarre father-dauther portraits in the U.S. These portraits are inspired by a very disturbing ritual called Purity Balls, a relatively new Christian religious, wedding-like ceremony that inspires American virgin girls (as young as four years of age ) to promise purity to their fathers.

The formal events tends to include ballroom dancing, a keynote speaker, and a lot young girls in white dresses. During the ceremony, the fathers, the so-called “High Priest of the home and family,” make a pledge to protect their daughters’ “purity” during the affair; often times they exchange purity rings.

“You are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” – A father says to his daughter during a Purity ball.

Intrigued and fascinated  by an article about the topic, Magnusson took the iniciative to investigate these balls, and its participants, further.To create this photographic series, the artist spent five months traveling to and attending purity balls in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. On each occasion, he spent about an hour interviewing and photographing the father-daughter pair. The interactions between father and daughter on camera were up to the subjects themselves and not at all directed by Magnusson.

Many of us would think that the photographs look and feel odd; and not that there is anything weird about hugging and holding your father’s hands, but the way in which these pairs interact…most of us can agree that it is a bit creepy. The artist, however, keeps his judgement out of the picture and he tells his audience that for the most part the fathers are caring and respectful, and the daughter possess their own character and are often very independent. How true this is to each of us personally differs, of course. This very point, the idea of relative truths and opinion, is what Magnusson is most interested in:

“The purpose hasn’t been either to belittle or glorify the ceremonies–the interpretation [of the photographs] is all up to the eye of the viewer.”

The series of photographs are now part of Purity, a book of text and images put together by the artist himself. Purity comes out in August, and you can order it here. If you are interested in learning more about this ceremony you can check out The Virgin Daughters, a documentary that further examines the nature of Purity Balls. (via FastCo Design)

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