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Sponsored Post: Malibu’s Best Summer Ever Project

With summer in full swing we’re looking forward to lots of new adventures in the sun. Whether it’s hitting the beach with friends, going on a road trip to unseen sites, or throwing the ultimate party, we’re looking to make this summer the best one ever! The good folks at Malibu love summer just as much as the rest of us and have decided to help us start on the right foot by encouraging all of us to just say yes to fun, sun and adventure with their Best Summer Ever Project. All you need to do to get started is to visit their YouTube page and create your very own Best Summer Ever List out of hundreds of fun suggestions. If you’re feeling extra brave hit the random button and Malibu will randomly assign you your very own list! If that’s not enough starting on July 17th you can watch Malibu’s Youtube reality show where four friends spend forty days taking on 40 challenges. They’ll be in the drivers seat and you’ll get to watch all the fun and crazy shenanigans as they embark on their summer adventure. So on your mark, get set, Go! Your best summer ever awaits!

This post has been sponsored by Malibu.

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Robin Moore’s Four Year Quest To Find Frogs Last Seen 160 Years Ago

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In 2010, photographer and conservationist Robin Moore set out on a global quest in search of frogs and salamanders that were last seen between 15 and 160 years ago. The undertaking was accompanied by over 120 scientists in 21 countries and took four years to complete.

It was worth the time and effort, however, and Moore’s journey produced some incredible rediscoveries, such as: the Ventriloquial Frog from Haiti, capable of throwing its voice, and the Borneo Rainbow Toad, which was unseen in 87 years. And, amusingly, a new species from Colombia was introduced called the “Monty Burns Toad,” which is reminiscent of the cartoon villain from The Simpsons.

From this quest came a book titled In Search of Lost Frogs, which includes information about the project and shows over 400 gorgeous photos of Moore’s findings. The sizes of each creature, their variations in color, and image quality are crystal clear. When you compare all the different frogs and salamanders, it’s remarkable just how many variations there are. It is that sentiment- one of hope and wonder – that Moore wants you to feel; to motivate you to care about the amphibians and the potential loss of their species. He explains:

As conservationists we often get so caught up in communicating what it is that we are losing that we forget to instill a sense of hope,” Moore says. “We need to revel in the weird and the wonderful, the maligned and the forgotten, for our world is a richer more wondrous place for them. Stories and images of discovery and rediscovery can help us to reconnect with our inner explorer – they can make us feel part of a bigger, wilder world. Rekindling a connection with the world beyond our concrete boxes is the key to caring about the way we are treating our natural world.

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Tom Sanford’s New York State Of Mind

Tom Sanford

Tom Sanford

Tom Sanford

Tom Sanford just might be todays urban Norman Rockwell. Like the famed painter from the mid 1900’s Sanford is concerned with American culture. From paintings of famed rappers such as Tupac to history paintings featuring sleazy right wing radio hosts, Sanford documents, interprets and comments on the American psyche.

For his latest show opening this Saturday at Kravets|Wehby Sanford painted the famous, eccentric, historical, powerful and colorful residents of New York City that inspire him. Film maker Spike Lee,  street artist Steven Powers, and even Mayor Bloomberg make appearances in paintings that shift from smooth graphic rendering to impasto patterning.

“I didn’t grow up in New York City but I moved here to attend Columbia at eighteen. I remember around that time my grandfather told me that “When you leave Broadway you’re camping out.” I have been here (pretty much) ever since, and I plan to stay. I relate to Dylan Ebdus in Lethem’s “The Fortress of Solitude.” I feel like I am missing it all, between my pathological devotion to my studio and my daddy duties I can go days without leaving home at all, and sometimes weeks without getting on the subway. But I need New York City. I feed of the culture. All the amazing people who inhabit this magical place, doing fantastic things. They create an energy, or perhaps an anxiety, that nourishes me and I must be close to the source. Hopefully I am contributing that energy as well.

For this show I made New York genre paintings, portraits and scenes of ordinary life in my city. The portraits are of some of the thousands of New Yorkers that make this place so rich. These are people that I associate very strongly with New York and the city’s culture. Some of them are people I have met, some I know, some I have just seen at a deli or on the street.  –Tom Sanford

See more works by Tom Sanford here and check out a studio visit we did with him a while back here.

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Mike Dargas’ Lusciously Hyperrealistic Paintings Of People Dripping In Honey

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German artist Mike Dargas paints hyperrealistic works of women’s’ faces covered in honey. The luscious, visceral images are up-close, frontal portraits that show the gentle creases in skin as well as the viscous glare on the liquid as it travels down their face. It’s fascinating to see people dripping with thick substance – it’s as if they’re frozen in time.

Dargas finds the models for his painting in everyday life, and they aren’t limited to specific types. According to his website, “He portrays young and old, beautiful and dark, fragile and strong people. They are lost in thoughts, show inner conflicts or transmit a unique and sometimes even holy calmness.

Dargas isn’t the only one to douse his subjects in honey. Check out Blake Little’s photos of nude models covered in buckets and buckets of the stuff. (Via The Artful Desperado)

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Street Artist Hula Takes A Break From The City To Paint Hyper-Realistic Women’s Portraits In The Middle Of Water

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Hula balances his paddle board on the water the same way he balances the hyper-realistic paintings of women he depicts above the surface of that same water. The artist chooses abandoned sites and approaches the walls of his future murals by paddling on his surf board and carefully bringing his paint and brushes along with him.

Sean Yoro, a.k.a. Hula, represents women gracefully enjoying the contact of the water. The colors used are natural, dissolving with the stone color tones of the murals and the grey/green tones of the water. Geometric pastel signs are drawn onto the naked parts of their bodies such as the neck, shoulders and arms. The rest of their bodies is covered with water as Hula depicts only the top parts of the women’s bodies. The reflection of the pictures onto the surface of the water creates a double image, accentuating the peaceful and intimate moments caught by the artist.

Hula captures the smiles of pleasure and well being the women are experiencing in hidden places. Leaving the viewer wondering who these women are and if they even exist. Away from the city of New York, with nothing but his paint and his women, the moments spent scouting locations and painting in solitude in the middle of nowhere confers a meditative break to the artist.

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Katerina Kamprani’s Uncomfortably-Designed Objects Make Your Life Worse, Not Better

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Good design is supposed to make life easier. Ideally, it’s beautiful, intuitive, and useful. This can be said for things like Apple products, for instance, but the same doesn’t apply to Katerina Kamprani’s The Uncomfortable project. The architect has applied the exact opposite principles to objects such as forks, watering cans, and rain boots.  Instead of helping improve our lives, they make it harder but being oddly contorted, ill-placed, and out of the wrong materials. This includes hairy dishes, a cement umbrella, and steps that lead to nowhere (paired with a door you can’t enter).

Kamprani (also known as KK) ponders if these designs are vindictive, or perhaps a helpful study of everyday objects. Her goal was to make them uncomfortable (hence the name) but technically usable and to maintain the essence of the original item. While they aren’t totally unusable, they certainly won’t improve your life. (Via La Monda)

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Alexey Titarenko

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Alexey Titarenko sees dead people.  When he has a camera in his hand, he conjures spirits from other dimensions.  I love his ghostly imagery.  He started summoning apparitions via photographs in the early 70’s.  In 1978, he became a member of Leningrad photographic club, Zerkalo.  Since Alexey’s work did not conform to the Communist agenda, he was not able to publicly declare himself an artist until 1989.  Now his photographs are featured in museums around the world.  Alexey is currently represented exclusively by Nailya Alexander Gallery in NY.

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Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun

Portlander/Swede, Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun staged a wonderful show featuring paper cutouts at Portland’s tremendous space, Nationale, in 2009. In November of last year, he came back to Nationale to exhibit drawings and collage that give us an idea of what Saul Steinberg’s work might look like if he were still around.

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