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Rescued Lab Rodents Take Part In An Enchanting “Alice in Wonderland” Photoshoot

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Italian charity La Collina dei Conigli ONLUS rescues rabbits, mice, rats, and guinea pigs from labs or mistreatment. The now-adoptable pets were the recent subjects of a photo series by Rachele Totaro that’s inspired by Lewis Carroll’s famous novel Alice in Wonderland. Volunteer Attilia Conti had the idea, and it commemorates the first 10 years of the charity’s operation. So, why Alice in Wonderland? Because the book and organization both started with a white rabbit.

The fantastical photographs feature the animals holding objects, poking out of a teapot, and of course, gazing into the looking glass. “Mice were the most cooperative models, while guinea pigs were the laziest (they stayed still only with food present),” Totaro writes. “Rats were the most attractive, and rabbits… were the most disapproving.” You can see that with some of the critters, there was no coercing them into any sort of cutesy pose.

The charity’s rescue center is located in Monza, near Milan, and many of the animals are still looking for new homes. If you’re local to the city, you can adopt one. (Via Bored Panda)

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Slava Fokk’s Surreal Art Deco Inspired Paintings

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Russian painter Slava Fokk creates surrealistic art with elegant lines and bold colors. Inspired by art deco, Fokk’s work inhabits a geometrical world filled with stunning detail. Fokk also draws inspiration from a range of sources, from the Netherlands in Jan Van Eyck to Germany in Otto Dix. According to his biography, he explores “allusions, paradoxical and phantasmagoric combinations” in his artwork, using Russian symbolism in some to evoke deeper meaning.

Much as his style is eclectic, Fokk himself has himself traveled internationally. He’s showcased his art in Arizona and California, though he has now returned to his native Russia. According to Tutt’Art, he says of his background: “I felt that the atmosphere where I was living was pressing on me. It seems to me that everyone at some point in time needs to leave…to live somewhere else, far away. As a native of Krasnodar, I knew that I would have to work to adapt to another city, another culture. I knew that it would be very useful.” (via I Need a Guide)

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An Insiders Look At An Indoniesian Tribe Who Slaughters Animals As Part Of Ancient Death Rituals

Nat Wilkins - photography  Nat Wilkins - photography
Nat Wilkins - photography
Nat Wilkins - photography

Photographer Nat Wilkins spent two weeks documenting the ceremonies and death rituals of the Troajan tribe in the highlands of South Sulawesi in Indonesia. In his series Dealing With The Dead, The Troajan Of Tana Toraja, he takes a close up look at this fascinating world and wishes to examine his own understanding of death and decay. The funerals carry on for a number of days and are one of the most important part of the culture in the highlands of Tana Toraja. When a family member dies, they are embalmed and lay waiting inside the family home until the ceremony can take place. Wilkins explains a bit more about the process:

When the time of the funeral comes illegal cock fighting, illegal gambling, buffalo fighting and the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs mark the occasion. The wealthier the family the grander the funeral, with this grandness being marked by the number of buffalo slaughtered, a minimum of one buffalo is required to pass to the land of souls but wealthier families will slaughter 10 to 20 sometimes 30 buffalo and the richest Torajan’s will kill hundreds.

To some these rituals may seem over-elaborate, and excessive, but to the Troajans, it is essential to ensure their loved ones cross over safely to the ‘land of souls’. Devoutly Christian, the tribe places great emphasis on life after death, or the treatment of the body and soul once dead. The living who are left behind, make great sacrifices to provide what is needed for those who have passed. But with the weight of this responsibility comes much hardship. Wilkins explains again:

From an outside perspective it can seem that to the living these funerals are used as a reflection on the importance of the deceased’s family, a status symbol for the rich. On the flip side though, death can be a serious burden on the poor. Every spare penny earned by the living goes to honoring the dead and the importance of a good funeral puts serous weight on the poorer Torajan’s with the poorest getting serious debt problems just to slaughter a buffalo.

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Michael Salter Recycles Styrofoam Into Giant Robots

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A digital arts/new media professor at The University Of Oregon, has found a clever, new way to recycle Styrofoam. He builds gigantic robots out of it. The robots are massive and according to artist Michael Salter, reflects the local streets he sees everyday. It’s not the livelier sections,  but the mundane, plain parts which inspire him to create. It’s a bit hard to see the connection to this statement because there is nothing plain or boring about his Styrobots. Perhaps what the artist means is that they embrace quiet, domestic scenes reminiscent of these faceless places, which is true.

Exhibited in about 20 museums to date, the Styrobots can stand 16 inches to 22 feet high.  Various displays have shown them upright, sitting, holding hands with a tiny friend, surrounded by a smaller group or headless and torn apart. The standing bots embody characteristics mirroring the lead character in The Iron Giant. For those not familiar, the animated movie centers around a giant war robot who crash lands in a small town and befriends a young boy.  The Styrobots have the same gentle giant quality displayed in the movie.

Salter finds his material through donations.  Styrofoam is primarily used for packing but can be utilized as pipe insulation and preventing roads from freezing over. The material itself, polystyrene is extremely flammable and carcinogenic. When lit, it has the capacity of releasing 57 different kinds of chemical by-products.  (faithistorment)

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David Spriggs Creates Otherworldly Holograms With Paint And Glass

David Spriggs - Installation

David Spriggs - Installation Installation Installation

David Spriggs‘ installations are crafted meticulously with acrylic paint on panes of glass, producing an otherworldly effect that is utterly complete. Appearing like holograms before the viewers, they make a spectacle out of the conceptual, exploring ideas such as perception and emergence and consciousness.

In many of his pieces, it’s as though Spriggs has caught something ethereal and fleeting on a microscope slide, allowing us to inspect it however temporarily. His painstaking methods and striking presentation force viewers to look beyond the surface of his works, allowing the amorphous metaphorical nature of his subject matter to take center stage.

Perception of Consciousness,” for instance looks at first glance like the many layers of a cloud. However, suspended in mid air, the image beckons and implies a deeper meaning. “My interest in clouds and atmospheric phenomena is not one so much of learning about them as natural phenomena, but rather an interest in their symbolic nature and representation,” Spriggs explains. “The cloud is an ephemeral form, without boundaries, and in constant change; interesting properties that in the context of history of art find affinity with Futurist theories and certain concepts of the light and space artists of the 60/70′s on the nature of space and form.”

Spriggs draws his inspiration from a wide variety of disciplines, such as psychology and the information age. He seeks to examine the relationships and dichomoties between abstractions and the way they affect the material world. The space they occupy is just as important as their shapes themselves. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Dive Into the Underwater World of Adam Wallacavage’s Magnificent Octopus Chandeliers

Adam Wallacavage - epoxy clay, lamp parts, epoxy resin and spray paint

Adam Wallacavage - Wire, lamp parts, glass beads, epoxy resin, epoxy clay

Adam Wallacavage - Wire, lamp parts, glass beads, epoxy resin, epoxy clay

Adam Wallacavage - Wire, lamp parts, glass beads, epoxy resin, epoxy clay

What do you get when you combine underwater sea creatures with elegant and sophisticated lighting? You get the weird and whimsical octopus chandeliers of artist Adam Wallacavage. The Philadelphia based artist uses traditional ornamental plastering techniques to create working chandeliers in the shape of octopus and fantastical sea life. Each chandelier is created from a wide range of materials such as epoxy resin, iridescent powders, spray paint, and glitter. His inspiration and ideas come from a very eclectic range of sources such as flashy church decoration, tales of underwater adventure, and, not surprisingly, taxidermy. His absurd style is both gaudy and Victorian while still being absurdly fun.

Wallacavage’s childlike imagination turns a seemingly normal object into wonderfully gaudy and kitschy chandeliers full of shiny colors and tentacles. Each chandelier Wallacavage constructs is unique with their wide array of pastel, glittery colors and their endless ocean-life motifs. These include green seashells, purple tentacles, pink pearls, and even big, round eyes starring straight at you. Some of his chandeliers seem to be inspired by the pastel colors and ornate design of the Rococo period, while his other chandeliers have a louder palette with strange faces and eyes. His octopus creations create a surrealistic atmosphere as each sea monster is suspended from the ceiling, reaching out its tentacles, which happen to hold the chandelier lighting. After seeing Wallacavage’s highly imaginative and extravagant chandeliers, you realize how much chandeliers already looked like octopus! Not only can you find the artist’s octopus chandeliers in several New York City galleries, Wallacavage is also an accomplished photographer. He even has a book published on his photography titled Monster Sized Monsters available in many museum stores.

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Mike Rea’s Meticulously Crafted Wooden Sculptures Are A Film Nerd’s Heaven

Mike Rea - woodMike Rea - wood  Mike Rea - wood Mike Rea - wood

Chicago artist Mike Rea builds hyper-realistic wooden replicas of objects that have a connection to the culture of a stereotypical heterosexual male. His sculptures are either props from science fiction cinema, or personal memories – made primarily from wood, burlap and Styrofoam. Rea builds things like jail cells, video cameras used for filming pornography, Anaconda snakes, pick axes, robots, strange bits of machinery, Scuba diving tanks, and amplifiers. All are meticulously crafted and are rooted in pop culture. Rea is a self confessed film geek, watching up to 3 films a day and draws a lot of inspiration from the ‘swagger’ and macho attitudes in films like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

Rea describes his own take on his practice:

There is a kind of wry sense of humor to the work, but at the same time it’s coupled with this process—this meticulous, very specific kind of over-detailed expression of these contradictions and maybe the most stupid stuff for subject matter. I’ll spend six months on a stupid joke seeing if that makes it better. They’re these large wooden sculptures that are hopefully a little funny and a little bit dark. They’re probably over-built, which is usually just a process of me making lots of mistakes and having to add another layer to cover up where a seam didn’t match. (Source)

Using humor and wit, Rea is trying to see how our desires and obsessions (usually those of a hetero male – weapons, substance abuse and the opposite sex) are tied into popular culture. Whether you are a nerd or not, you will no doubt be delighted by the incredible wooden wonderland Rea creates. See more sculptures after the jump.

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Alex Cornell Captures The Strange, Rare Sight Of A Flipped Iceberg

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Icebergs, while massive in size, are usually seen in one way – as white objects that stick out of the frigid water. But, in rare situations, they take on a different, more brilliant form. When an iceberg is flipped over, it appears as a gem that cloaks itself in the color of the surrounding water.  Interface designer Alex Cornell happened upon this phenomenon last month as he sailed through the Drake Passage to Antarctica.  He was able to shoot pictures of the iceberg using his Canon 5D Mark II camera.

“We were lucky to see a massive iceberg flip; when this happens, the color is a surreal, alien blue,” he tells PetaPixel. “They don’t flip often, so it was a pretty rare sight to see. It’s hard to tell scale, but this was an epic iceberg.”

It’s often said that 90% of the iceberg itself is below the surface, and this is the cause of it being topsy-turvy. “It was amazing to see the interior. There were air bubbles and flowing water throughout. It looked like an alien artifact.” (Via 123 Inspiration and PetaPixel)

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