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Sculptor Jonathan Brilliant Builds Universes With Coffee Stirrers

Jonathan Brilliant sculpturejonathan brilliant sculpturejonathan brilliant sculpturejonathan brilliant sculpture

Sculptor Jonathan Brilliant builds universes using the residue of coffee. Not the natural kind but the recyclable paper stirrers and holders millions throw away each day after ordering their morning joe. These common conveniences end up as swirling dervishes in Brilliant’s work, referencing everything from musical rhythms to Andy Goldsworthy.  Like Goldsworthy, who takes items from his natural surroundings and builds site specific installations, Brilliant does something similar using the coffee shop instead of a rural location, signifying a place today where a lot of our organic interaction takes place.

His process oriented storytelling has a viral mentality. Rows and rows of sticks (sometimes as many as 40,000) invade staircases and ceilings throughout his installations. The effect likens itself to looking inside a grand piano when notes by Mozart or Beethoven are being played. Dozens of sounds spiraling off each other entwining into a grand design. The free form technique makes the work interesting and gives it a profound quality. A product that was manufactured by man from a natural resource on earth that goes full circle to rejoin with similar material in a recycled format.

Brilliant stands as a new type of environmental artist. Another that works in this style is Wade Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh creates structures out of measurements taken from motion such as running or walking and creates patterns with this information, mostly in rural environments. He also collaborates with painter Stephen Nguyen to build viral structures some as large as trees made out of recycled paper and other found materials.

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A Spectacular Concept Hotel Structured Like An Amethyst Geode

NL Architects, Amethyst Hotel - Architecture and Design NL Architects, Amethyst Hotel - Architecture and DesignNL Architects, Amethyst Hotel - Architecture and DesignNL Architects, Amethyst Hotel - Architecture and Design

The Amsterdam-based company NL Architects has proposed a beautiful and “slightly insane” project: a series of luxury hotels resembling amethyst geodes. The unique buildings would all vary slightly in their shapes, sizes, and forms, but their layout would be similar: hallways along the periphery (or shell) of the building that connect to rooms adjacent to the violet, crystalline center. The architects describe this project as “a mutation of the innovative hotel typology as developed by the architect and real-estate entrepreneur John Portman: hotel rooms lining a sensational void” (Source). Portman — who has designed hotels for Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott — is known for his high-rise buildings with interior atria. The Amethyst Hotel is similar in structure, only it has been bisected, thus revealing a spacious and awe-inspiring interior.

The goal of the Amethyst Hotel chain would not only be to produce structures of stunning (and arguably utopian) beauty, but to replicate and harness the well-known positive energies of the violet mineral. Deriving etymologically from an Ancient Greek word meaning “without drunkenness”, amethyst was thought to prevent intoxication. Today, it is still attributed with natural healing powers, and is believed to detoxify the body and mind, helping to cleanse the consciousness from “drunken” (delusional) thoughts. It is also seen as an aid in the treatment of stress, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. While the concept may seem somewhat idealistic and far-fetched, should these effects be simulated in the Amethyst Hotel, NL Architects will have designed a space wherein the geodic form matches and manifests the building’s function: a hotel that fosters both “hospitality and well-being” (Source).

The first Amethyst Hotel would be located on China’s Ocean Flower, a man-made island currently in development. Check out NL Architect’s website for a slideshow explaining their concept and goals for this project. (Via designboom).

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Arthur Drooker Snaps The Bizarre Underwater World Of Mermaid And Mermen Conventions

Arthur Drooker - photograph

Arthur Drooker - photograph

Quite often the saying of fact being stranger than fiction is true, and this story is no exception. Photographer Arthur Drooker has been attending the most unusual conventions around America and compiling the images into a series called Conventional Wisdom. He recently attended a celebration of mermaids and mermen at The Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, North Carolina. Over 300 Merfolk attended Merfest this year, and Drooker was there to capture this wondrous and enchanting subculture.

This year the participants were able to attend workshops on breath-holding, underwater modelling, talk to a professional mermaid, and purchase different mermaid accessories – tails made from fabric and silicon (and ranged in price from $80 – $4000 for a custom made tail).

For many attendees, the desire to be a mermaid was spawned in childhood after seeing a movie, reading a book, going to the beach or an aquarium. A mermaid embodied an idealized self: beautiful, graceful and confident. To emulate a mermaid one developed a mersona, akin to the fursona that a furry at Anthrocon inhabits to model an animal character s/he aspires to be like. (Source)

For most Merfolk the transformation that happens when they either pull on their costume, or the moment they enter the water is something that cannot be compared to in any other way. Christian Obrocki, a merman from Baltimore tells Drooker of his experience:

It’s a rush. What better way to be in touch with your love for the water than to be kind of a part of it. When the tail goes on, the human side goes out the door. (Source)

Drooker’s other series include his visits to Clown conventions, gatherings of Santas, an assembly of Ventriloquists, a meeting of Furries, and a Bronies meet-up. See the other sets here. (Via Cool Hunting)

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Amazing Before And After Images Of Classic Vintage Photographs Colorized




Have you ever looked at a black and white photograph and wondered what it would look like if it were taken in the modern day? The Dutch website NSMBL recently uploaded GIFs of vintage photographs being colorized. We are not only able to see the original range of black, grey, and white tones, but we can see the color each hue translates to.  As each nostalgic scene turns to color, we realize how different contemporary technology is and how far it has come. The new colors and tones are not muted or faded like we might expect a color vintage photograph to be. They are ultra-bright and full of vibrancy, leaving each image looking near perfect.


Because the images look too high quality for real vintage color photos, they almost make it seem as if we were in the frame of the picture within the scene, or like the photos were taken in modern times. Either way, it breaks the time barrier that creates such a nostalgic distance between the photograph and the viewer. It makes you wonder what images would have been captured if they had better technology during those times, or perhaps, what advanced technologies will capture images of our lives in the future. Contemporary film photography is becoming more and more obsolete, as vintage film is becoming aged and damaged over time. These images are refreshing to see as these classic photographs are now often documented digitally. We can both marvel at the technological advances in film photography while still seeing the timeless and beautiful original.


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Dan Witz’s Epic Paintings Take You Into The Heart Of Violent And Energetic Mosh Pits

Dan Witz - Oil and Digital Media on Canvas

Dan Witz - Oil and Digital Media on Canvas

Dan Witz - Oil and Digital Media on Canvas

Dan Witz - Oil and Digital Media on Canvas

Artist Dan Witz seamlessly combines traditional, academic realism with rebellious vibes of the underground punk scene to create his massive paintings of mosh pits. His impeccable technical skill allows him to paint photorealistic scenes that embody the pulse and energy of the punk music scene. Each painting is an energetic force to be reckoned that demands a serious presence. The amount of people crammed into each piece accurately captures the chaos and action involved in mosh pits in real life. Dan Witz’s work is packed full of incredible movement and human energy that can be felt in the viewer. Because in almost all of these paintings the image is completely devoid of an environment or setting, they have a deeply psychological affect. An excitement and anxiety is created as you see the range of expressions on each person’s face in the sea of bodies. As Witz fills each frame from right to left with herds of people, an unmistakable flow of powerful strength is formed.

Based in Brooklyn, Witz is a painter as well as a street artist. Spending time in punk clubs and playing in bands when he was younger influenced the subject in which he paints. However, we can also see the influence of classical painters due to his more traditional painting style. This type of hyper-real approach is often associated with a more academic way of thinking within the establishment. He is able to take this conventional method of painting and use it to rebel and revolt. Dan Witz’s Mosh Pits series has recently been featured in this past month’s issue of Juxtapoz. This quote from the interview explains the influence and effect punk rock has had on Dan Witz.

“Punk rock had opened my eyes enough for me to understand that art could be about more than providing expensive wall candy for rich people. I could actually speak truth to power…”


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Botanical Artist Makoto Azuma Photographs Alien Ice Flowers

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In his latest exhibit, Iced Flowers, Makoto Azuma plays into a cryogenic aesthetic. The principle behind cryogenics is the study of material at sub zero temperatures. Azuma uses this theory to encase exotic bouquets in frozen water and photograph them in various stages of melting. The end result is nothing short of dazzling. Behind a solid block of ice, the flowers become even more alive (than dead), transforming into an army of alien creatures before our very eyes.

On his website, Azuma describes himself as “a flower artist” who has been working with unusual arrangements since 2005. During the course of a decade, he has run a haute couture floral shop in Tokyo, called “Jardins des Fleurs” and his own gallery. He currently operates a botanical research institute under his name. This is where all his present studies take place. An experiment he conducted last year, where he sent a rare bonsai tree into space is right up there with the frozen flowers.

A lot of people confuse the study of cryogenics with the science of cryonics. Both are related but the latter is specific to preserving human life in very low temperatures in accordance with other sciences, in order to prolong and continue good health until better technology comes along. It’s surprising that it hasn’t gotten more mention in recent years. Azuma’s petrified flowers are a type of cryogenics and example of his ability to create art out of a temporary chilled moment. (via

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Mike Tanis’ Dramatic Abstract Paper Forms Crafted Without The Help Of Glue

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Philadelphia-based artist Mike Tanis produces intricate paper sculptures using a combination of origami and kirigami techniques. If you’re not familiar with what those are, they’re Japanese art forms that  fold and cut paper in complex ways without the help of glue. Here, Tanis has used these methods to create abstract structures that appear soft and wavy as well as splintered and fractured. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell that they’re made of paper.

Tanis tells Quanta Magazine that he uses a scalpel to make any cuts and doesn’t use directions or crease patterns. “I start with a folding technique or principle and improvise once I start to feel the 3d form developing,” he explains. The results are dramatic forms that are reminiscent of architecture and nature. His taller, cut-paper structure mimic skyscrapers while his completely-folded pieces conjure images of the beach or a mountainscape.

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Photographer Julian Feeld’s Cryptic And Visceral Images Of Naked Bodies In The Woods

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The works of Julian Feeld — a Paris-based (but internationally-experienced) photographer — are shrouded in mystery. This particular series, titled La Forêt, is especially cryptic. The images immerse you in a dark, wet forest, and at first you may not be entirely sure what you are seeing — or how you feel about it. Gradually, shapes take form: a naked body lying prone on a rock; human legs splayed open amongst the undergrowth; genitals encroached by moss. Some of the images are beautiful, appealing to that romanticized idea of the “natural” body in tandem with nature; others are dark and disturbing, fragmenting the body into an inhuman shape as if it were just another dead tree lying motionless on the forest floor. What Feeld is doing here is an exercise in perception, capturing us in our own moment of subjective interpretation; we have to make sense of these photos, we have to determine whether we feel “peaceful” or “alarmed,” we have to decide if the bodies are part of what we call “Nature,” or separate from it. The critical beauty of Feeld’s work is that it reveals to us our deeply personal signifying practices.

It goes without saying that Feeld’s images are much different than your typical nude photographs. Speaking to this, Feeld writes: “For La Forêt, I wasn’t interested in taking ‘nudes’ in the classical sense, but rather in creating a sort of chimera, an impossible ‘thing’ using human flesh as the provoking visual element.” The chimera — that mythical hybird with a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail — embodies the sort of categorical ambiguity that Feeld is driving at; the naked bodies in his photographs are so interwoven with the environment that the boundaries defining what is “human,” “nonhuman” (the trees) and inert (the rocks) become obscured. The result is slightly troubling to the imagination, as we so often narcissistically imagine ourselves as separate from the world in which we exist.

The darkness and obscurity of La Forêt comes to a head in its sister film, Le Chien, filmed in collaboration with Feeld’s partner, Mathilde Huron. In the film, a naked man (played by Feeld) scrambles desperately at a dense thicket, panting heavily. Something seems to be barring his entry, but he continues to writhe and push anyways. Feeld explains that this film was inspired by a story told by Huron about her dog, “how she watched it try to dig itself into a giant pile of wood and debris, seeking death, pushing itself into the next world.” Like the photographs, Le Chien troubles the idea of what is “human”: this man is behaving like an animal bent on completing an unknown objective. The audio track is similarly disturbing, in that it sounds like a multiplicity of human voices panting, gasping, and overlapping in different octaves. The result of both La Forêt and Le Chien is an indescribable uncertainty; a visceral, pre-intellectual state wherein we must make meaning — or accept that there is none.

Follow Feeld’s Twitter to keep up with his thought-provoking art. More of La Forêt after the jump. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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