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Tommy Nease explores the supernatural

Photographer Tommy Nease’s “Exploration of the Supernatural” series captures a truly unearthly reality.

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Richard Balzer’s 19th Century Optical Toy Gifs

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Forty years ago, Richard “Dick” Balzer saw his very first magic lantern – an early image projector invented in the 1600s. This encounter would prove to be the start of an intense preoccupation with early animation technology. Following this discovery,  Balzer began collecting magic lanterns and other optical toys, eventually amassing thousands of illustrations and machines that can now be found at his Boston-area home. His collection includes literature concerning the early animation machinery, as well as 150-year-old optical toys like henakistiscopes, zoetropes, praxinoscopes, and other “scopes” and “tropes” derived from the Greek words for “viewer.”

According to Balzer’s site, “There was a period, the last seventy five years of the 19th century, when scientific experimentation based on the phenomenon of ‘the persistence of vision’ in which the brain retains the impression of an object for a fraction of a second after its disappearance creating the possibility of apparent motion.” These early animation toys and machines sought to merge images to create uninterrupted motion. “We’re all interested in seeing movement,” says Balzer. “It was a different time, but the same challenge: How do you make things move?” These early animated loop illustration toys and machines mark the beginnings of the animated loop file we frequently encounter on the internet – the gif.

Five years ago, Balzer began digitizing his collection with the help of LA-based animator, Brian Duffy because he wished to share the early animations with a larger audience. So far, Balzer and Duffy have digitized only a fraction of the collection (which they periodically upload on Tumblr) due to the trial-and-error process involved in getting the speed of each animation just right. The creators of the early toys and machines probably never anticipated that their images would become as widely and immediately available as they currently are through the work of dedicated people like Balzer and Duffy.

The Verge notes, “Balzer refrains from theorizing about how his archival work may influence others, or what it might say about digital art and visual vocabulary today, noting that there are several other organizations undertaking similar efforts. His goal, he says, is to simply share his passion with as wide an audience as possible while preserving works of art that may have otherwise been forgotten.”

Balzer says, “I mean, these are just extraordinary feats of animation that took place more than 150 years ago.” “And if you’re just holding on to them, I think you should share them with other people.” (via the verge and wired)

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Adam Levene

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Columbus, Ohio based Illustrator, Adam Levene, graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a BFA, and attended Illustration Academy for an extended study. His illustrations have a very classic style to them with a very strong sense of narration. Out of everything of his work, I really enjoyed his portraitures. Not only is he consistently generous in story, but character as well.

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Garbage Played Their Last Headline Show Of The Year At A Casino… Everybody Won!

Shirley Manson from Garbage sings to an adoring fan, “Why do you Love me?” at the San Manuel Casino on December 6, 2012.

It was a long trek in rush hour traffic from Los Angeles to Highland, CA to see Garbage‘s final headline show of the year at the San Manuel Casino, but well worth it! I was lucky enough to catch their “rehearsal” back in early April at the Bootleg Theatre and I can tell you that even after touring most of the year (Shirley announced that this was their 100th show of the tour), they still have incredible energy and power and obviously love playing together.

They performed songs from their new record Not Your Kind Of People and of course many  hits from their entire catalogue. During the opening of Stupid Girl, Shirley went down and did 20 perfect push-ups sharing with the crowd that she’s still in amazing shape after all these years. I’m sure I’m not the only one that would pay to see Gwen “Abs of Steel” Stefani and Shirley Manson in a push-up contest. Shirley went on to dedicate, #1 Crush to Bean from KROQ’s Kevin & Bean morning show stating how incredible and brave he was. Bean recently underwent kidney transplant surgery to help long time KROQ staffer Scott Mason, It was actually one of the most touching song dedications I have ever heard at a concert.

Garbage heads to New Zealand and Australia starting in February, 2013 so definitely check them out if you’re able to!

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Exploring The Los Angeles Art Scene With Me!

EXPLORING THE LOS ANGELES ART SCENE
Somehow along with doing Beautiful/Decay, making my own art and occasionally sleeping, I have also been teaching a class called “Exploring The Los Angeles Art Scene” at UCLA for the last six months. The word “teaching” actually might be a bit misleading as we don’t meet in a classroom, and there are no tests or lectures. It’s more like a series of field trips that we take to some of the most exciting galleries, artist’s studios, and collections in and around Los Angeles. We meet at a new location on the first Saturday of every month and get an insiders view into some of the major (and aspiring major) players in the LA art scene. I never bothered posting about the class on here but it occurred to me that it may be interesting to some of you out there in blog land.

 


Starting in January I’ll be teaching the class once again and visiting a whole slew of new galleries and artists all around town. There are around 25 slots for the class and half are already filled so If you’re looking for something fun to do on Saturday mornings sign up and join professor Amir!

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Artist Interview: Michael DeForge Is King Trash

The world of child mafias, gooey relatable beasts, funky leathery space dudes, soft bodies, diseased bodies, and crusty bodies, is the world of DeForge. Toronto-based Michael DeForge is running amuck in the independent comic’s scene. He is consistently putting out top-notch work executed in his very distinct style, a style that allows for plenty of room for experimentation while still being immediately recognizable as the “DeForge touch”. At age 24, with just a few years solidly devoted to comics, it’s amazing to imagine what he will achieve in his lifetime. On top of that, he does prop and effects for the wonderful Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. He has the drive. He has the look. He has it all. He is King Trash.

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Beautifully Painted Scenes Of Death And Tragedy

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A beautiful car crash. A lovely death. Chilean artist Fernando Gomez Balbontin paints haunted and haunting scenes in his series “Thoughts About Life and Death.” The subject matter is difficult, though not gory. Crumpled cars rest on roadsides, smashed and crushed beyond repair—these can’t be anything but fatal crashes. The figures next to the devastated vehicles are often otherworldly. A seeming specter of death wears a dark hood. Girls’ faces are obscured with blobs and blotches of color. Is it blood? It’s impossible to be sure. A priest stands next to one ruined car, the pope another. A man flees the scene.

Yet there’s beauty among the wreckage. The colors are often candy bright. A geometric structure floats, untethered, dripping in a way that’s reminiscent of tears, or blood. There are lots of these drippings in the works, adding an organic element to the mechanized disasters.

Balbontin paints the loveliest skies—peach and purple, cyan and gold. Nothing should go wrong underneath those skies, and yet…

“Denying death is denying life. So perhaps it is necessary to understand that tragedy is not the supposedly reality of death. Tragedy is about not accepting this possibility and consequently, not having enough time to live.”

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Spellbinding Death Masks And Sugar Skulls

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For Epitaph, British photographer Rankin teams up with Beaty Editor Andrew Gallimore to create spellbinding death masks inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and Roman Catholic All Souls Day. Like the sugar skulls, or calavera, used to celebrate the holiday, these elegant masks put a vital and lively spin on death. Decked out in intricate beading and filigree, their models look luxurious and festive.

Calavera, normally colored in vibrant greens, reds, yellows, and blues are often eaten after the holiday; adorned in glittering stars and blooming daisies, these living skulls look like sweet confections. The female faces, painted in black, become a youthful template for imaginative explorations of an afterlife that awaits us after old age. As if from another world, their gray-green eyes stand starkly against coal-toned flesh. Rankin and Gallimore infuse the editorial with a hefty dose of high-fashion edge, introducing elements like metal spikes and and chains. These harder elements blend seamlessly with the iconography of the Day of the Dead; in one mask, a red clown nose made of punk-rock studs puts a contemporary spin on the timeless tradition.

Rankin is not new to the theme of death. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, he was compelled to break cultural taboo surrounding the dead, to face head-on his fears of dying. For last year’s photo series ALIVE: In the Face of Death, published by Hunger Magazine, he photographed those effected most by death, giving voice to grieving family members and to resilient individuals living with terminal diseases. Here, his enthusiastic lens provides solace from the fear of the unknown, inviting us to celebrate those we’ve lost as we mourn them. (via Trend Land)

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