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Kai Sekimachi’s Delicate Bowls Made Of Leaf Skeletons Can Take A Pounding

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Kai Sekimachi - leaf bowls

Although she is more known for her weaving and looming, artist Kai Sekimachi has shown she can branch out into other areas of expression with her impressive bowls made from leaves. Defying the very nature of the materials she works with, Sekimachi has come up with a way to make a flimsy leaf into a structure that can support heavier objects. By adding Kozo paper, watercolor and Krylon coating to the leaves, she is able to turn a skeletal transparent leaf into something that isn’t those things at all.

Having written numerous books on arts and crafts with her husband, Bob Stocksdale, she is an expert on many areas of handmade items and objects. The pair’s practices are both anchored in nature, and show their extensive knowledge as pioneers of American Craft.

Sekimachi creates distinctive pieces from natural materials such as linen, decaying leaves, shells, and grass, and pairs them with nature inspired motifs. (Source)

Sekimachi is not afraid to try her hand at new things, and proves repeatedly that she is a fast learner. After seeing a group of students weaving at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1949, where she was also enrolled, the very next day, the curious artist spent all of her savings on a loom of her own. She then went and perfected her craft over the next few years.

The influential couple will be having an exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum titled In The Realm Of Nature from July 3 to October 18 in Washington. (Via Bored Panda)

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The Strange World Of A Dwarf Theme Park In China

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After stumbling across a photograph on the internet depicting people posed in a dwarf theme park, Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde conducted a little research and discovered that the Dwarf Empire, or Kingdom of the Little People, is a real theme park that operates in the Yunnan province of China. In this park, dwarfs provide entertainment – singing, dancing, and various other forms of amusement – for tourists who visit the park. De Wilde eventually contacted the park’s manager and was invited to take photographs of the park and its 77 little people for a project she calls “The Dwarf Empire.” As soon as she arrived, she immediately felt compelled to consider questions regarding the morality of the park’s existence, namely if the workers were happy there, or if they felt more like they were being put on display and exploited. Additionally, “For me, it’s about how this kind of place can exist,” De Wilde says. “What does it tell you about a person who starts this and creates it? What are his intentions?” Founded by a tall, rich man who wanted to “do something good” for the little people, this park is a “Chinese charity dressed in commercial attire.” Much of the park appears run-down, but seems to have a solid foundation.

While she partook in the project of documenting the park, De Wilde, a tall blonde woman, found that she stood out in the park – for the tourists, she became a character in the show created at the park, something she found exhausting. She would even hide with the little people “to be free of the claws of the tourists…they want to touch you and have a part of you.” After she got home, De Wilde spent about a year culling through her images; during this time, she even received letters from some of the people claiming they’re happy and thankful to be working at the park, something that De Wilde viewed as a bit suspect.

From her statement, De Wilde writes,

 

“I embarked on an adventure with a handful of ethical questions about commercializing social care. Every story has two sides but in this place every question and every answer seemed contradictory. My adventure ended up as a modern anti-fairytale, a collection of images of my making, and theirs. My own trick forced upon myself.” (via lens culture and slate)

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The Amazingly Expressive Origami Of Nguyen Hung Cuong

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Vietnamese paper artist Nguyễn Hùng Cường creates origami pieces in a style that is distinctively his own.  His pieces often begin with dó paper – a unique paper, made from the bark of the rhamnoneuron balansae, that is traditionally made throughout many of Vietnam’s villages.  Typically striving to create his work from only one sheet of paper, he has been known to often fold work from a single bill of Vietnamese money.  Nguyễn has been working in origami since he was just a small child creating his first original piece at ten years old.  [via]

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Illustrator Felipe Goncalves

Felipe Goncalves atSea4web

Felipe Goncalves draws silly doodles.  Some are better than others, but his drawings have a charm of their own.

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Hikari Shimoda’s Adorably Horrific Children Comment On Horror, Innocence, And Human Existence

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Hikari Shimoda’s most recent series of paintings blends the innocence of childhood with the fears and challenges od adulthood. By combining cute looking round eyed kids with scenes of horror or despair, she establishes a connection between the carefree days of being a child, and the harshness of the contemporary world in which these children grow up. Although her paintings depict children dressed in superhero outfits, playing together, or surrounded by cute looking objects and creatures; a closer look will allow you to notice the dark details, blank stares and distant fires which are also part of the composition.

Shimoda’s use of cheerful, bright colors and manga inspired drawing giver her pieces a mistaken air of simplicity. The beauty of her work lies in the details and, in taking the time to look closely at what she puts in her paintings. Little things like sparkly stickers, and little messages scrawled in round handwriting to piles of toy rabbits, hospitals and burning homes. Through her candy colored scenes she addresses issues of emotion, identity, existence and, our relationships sith others. The children in her pieces are both the messengers and the creators of this message. She has created a magnificent combination of the carefree aspects of childhood and the worries and challenges of adulthood in a mixture of bittersweet portraits.

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Filippo Minelli’s Vibrant Smoke Bombs Consume The Natural Beauty Of Breathtaking Wilderness

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Artist Filippo Minelli uses the ethereal smoke bomb to paint atmosphere in vibrant colors in his striking series Silence/Shapes. This title refers to Minelli’s intention of giving the concept of silence a physical form. His clouds of color give off the impression of a demanding presence, taking over the incredibly picturesque surroundings that it inhabits. The photographer’s smoke bombs always take place in breathtaking environments, like deep in the mountains are on the surface of a serene lake. The boldness of the colored smoke is a harsh contrast to the calmness of its environment. However, the smoke can be as unpredictable and wild as the wilderness it is in, as it swirls and explodes with color into the misty air of forests and meadows. Even further, some of the most incredible views of Filippo Minelli’s compositions are of his smoke bombs wafting through the air of abandoned buildings. The organic shapes that the clouds take on create an amazing juxtaposition against the manmade structures that enclose around it.

When exploring this aesthetically genius series of Minelli’s, you realize that there is a complete absence of human form. No people are ever present. It is almost as if the colored clouds are a life of their own, standing in for human life. In one of Filippo MInelli’s photographs, it even appears that a bright, orange cloud is resting on a bench outside. The smoke begins to take on personality and substance, traveling to different natural environments and absorbing their majesty. Filippo Minelli explains the inspiration behind the series.

“The idea came to his mind when looking at political demonstrations footage, when he noticed that when the smoke was coming into the scene people stopped screaming and the scene was visually silenced too, so he thought of the smoke as the shape of silence taking over.”

Silence/Shapes is now currently on view at Beetles + Huxley Gallery in London until September 5th.

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David Meyer’s Installations made of Sifted Flour

Artist David Meyer‘s installations could blow away at any moment.  He forms these installations of letters and figures from sifted flour.  Concentric circles of words spelled in capital script letters surround a gallery pillar.  The seeming permanence of the letters disappears as a viewer crouches – each letter clearly becomes only a small pile of flour.  In a way, Meyer uses the  installation to illustrate the nebulous nature of language and images.  While words may at times seem heavy and express real ideas, they begin as hazy thoughts like mounds of flour waiting for a breeze.  Much of David Meyer’s work explores similar ideas.  His installations conjure thoughts of permanence, memory, and information.

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Street Artist INSA’s Animated Graffiti Gifs

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Street artist INSA paints graffiti murals that he then turns into gifs – called “gif-itis” – by photographing multiple frames of a mural he paints several times, then combining the successive images to create animated gifs. Animating these street murals allows for a viewer to engage with the street artist’s work without leaving their home. The murals exist in the real world as a static image, but when combined with technology, they become a moving image only accessible in the virtual world.

In 2013, INSA traveled to Kubuneh Village in Gambia to paint murals on local structures for the Wide Open Walls Project. He completed his most recent piece (the revolving skulls and hearts at the beginning of this post) a few weeks ago after spending 2 days painting 8 layers of the mural.

You can watch a video of the making of one of his gif murals here. (via don’t panic)

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